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A Light in the Midst of Trauma

Friday, October 1, 2021

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Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Iron Dome Funding Prevails

by Dmitriy Shapiro~JNS

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Rep. Ted Deutch speaking on the floor of the House about a bill funding the Iron Dome missile-defense system to Israel.

Friday, 24 September 2021 | Pro-Israel Democrats scrambled on Thursday to restore approximately [US] $1 billion to help fund the replenishment of Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system after funding was stripped earlier this week from the House of Representatives’ legislation due to an effort by progressive members.

The funding had previously been included in the short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that was passed along partisan lines on Wednesday but removed from the bill on Tuesday after Democrats realized that it would not receive support from Republicans, as it raised the debt ceiling. Facing the prospect of no Republican support to pass the bill, House Democrats sought to pass the legislation on partisan lines, needing every Democrat to vote for it.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus met with Democratic leaders and indicated that its members would not support the CR if the Iron Dome interceptor funding was included in the bill. The progressive caucus includes members of the far-left group of representatives known collectively as “The Squad.”

Provisions for Iron Dome funding were then removed and passed, while Republicans questioned the Democratic Party’s support for Israel.

“The Iron Dome exists to defend civilians inside our nation’s great ally, Israel, against offensive air strikes. We saw the Iron Dome’s importance and effectiveness several months ago when the terror group, Hamas, fired thousands of rockets at Israel,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, said in a statement. “It’s very telling that ‘The Squad’ and their allies despise it so much. It’s even more telling that Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Democratic leadership are willing to put Israel’s safety at risk because they are unwilling to stand up to the most radical voices in their party.”

Despite not being able to pass the funding within the government funding bill, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and a group of pro-Israel Democratic members introduced Iron Dome funding in a standalone bill on Thursday.

While the Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022 enjoyed overwhelming support, it sparked heated debate on the House floor while under consideration.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and a member of the appropriations committee said she supported the bill and was proud to help introduce it.

“I’m proud to have worked on a strategy with other pro-Israel Democrats in our House leadership to ensure there is no question about our commitment to the safety and security of our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel,” she said. “I urge the United States Senate to take up this urgent funding bill immediately to defend our ally Israel and increase prospects for peace and avoid the [continuing resolution] debt limit debate.”

Democrats throughout the debate blamed Republicans for not supporting the original bill, which would have included Iron Dome funding. Republicans said the Democratic Party was now being led by the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic members of the progressive caucus, rather than US President Joe Biden, who supports funding for Iron Dome, and congressional leaders.

“Interestingly, we didn’t see the same visceral reaction to leaving more than a billion dollars’ worth of artillery in the hands of terrorists and Afghanistan as we’re seeing with this defensive system,” said Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee. “They are openly opposing a capability that protects women and children from terrorist rocket attacks.”

The debate continued along these lines until Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) had her turn to speak on the House floor.

“I will not support an effort to enable and support war crimes, human-rights abuses and violence. We cannot be talking only about Israelis need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system and are dying from what, Human Rights Watch has said, are war crimes,” said Tlaib. “The bill claims to be ‘a replenishment’ for weapons apartheid Israel used in a crisis it manufactured, when it attacked worshippers at one of the most holiest Islamic locations, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, committing, again, numerous, numerous war crimes.”

‘Let Us Stand with Israel, Let’s Combat Anti-Semitism’

After saving up his side’s time for most of the debate, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) unloaded on the Democrats and Tlaib.

“Mr. Speaker, the truth is finally come out on the floor of the House in the United States of America,” he said. “I heard some of my Democratic colleagues stand with me, with Israel, with our ally, to fight terrorism with a defensive weapon system,” he said. “…We heard right now from my colleague across the aisle with a shocking statement. She opposes this because they have a vocal minority in the majority party that is anti-Israel, that is anti-Semitic, and as Americans, we can never stand for that!”

Fleischmann implored the Democrats to condemn Tlaib’s speech.

“You just saw something on this floor I thought I would never see. Not only as a member of this House, but as an American,” he said. “Let us stand with Israel, let’s combat anti-Semitism, wherever it is in the world—whether it’s in the United States, whether it’s from terrorism.”

Fleischmann’s call was answered shortly by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), who held up a prepared speech he was going to present on the floor but decided to go off-script after Tlaib’s diatribe.

“I cannot, I cannot allow one of my colleagues to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and label the Jewish democratic State of Israel an apartheid state. I reject it,” said Deutch. “Today, this caucus, this body, the House of Representatives, will overwhelmingly stand with our ally the state of Israel in replenishing this defensive system. If you believe in human rights, if you believe in saving lives—Israeli lives and Palestinian lives—I say to my colleague, who just besmirched our ally, then you will support this legislation.

The bill was put to a vote after the debate and passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support in a 420–9 vote.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 23, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/C-SPAN

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that the Iron Dome funding has been reinstated by the US Congress. Pray for members from both parties that are supportive of Israel to be successful in combating the anti-Semitic views of a small but very vocal group within the Congress.


“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.

- Isaiah 54:17

IAEA: Iran Reneges on Agreement to Let Nuclear Inspectors Service Monitoring Equipment

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International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi delivers his opening remarks to the IAEA board of governors.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021 | Iran broke an agreement to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to maintain monitoring equipment at Iranian nuclear sites, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency said on Sunday.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi “stresses that Iran’s decision not to allow agency access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop is contrary to the agreed terms of the joint statement issued on 12 September,” the IAEA said in a statement, Reuters reported.

Grossi met with the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami in Tehran on September 12, where it was agreed to allow the IAEA to reset monitoring equipment and replace memory cards in surveillance equipment at Iranian nuclear sites.

Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to do so “at all necessary locations in Iran, with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the TESA Karaj complex,” Sunday’s IAEA statement said.

Iran’s envoy to IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, tweeted on Monday that the TESA Karaj complex doesn’t fall under the agreement.

“During the discussions in Tehran & Vienna, Iran indicated that since Tessa Karaj Complex is still under security and judicial investigations, equipment related to this Complex are not included for servicing,” he said.

“Therefore, DG’s [director-general’s] report on Sep 26 isn’t accurate and goes beyond the agreed terms,” of the September 12 agreement, he said.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 27, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: D. Calma/IAEA/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that any discussions regarding the JCPOA will be ended immediately, at the very least until Iran honors its agreement to allow IAEA inspectors “to reset monitoring equipment and replace memory cards in surveillance equipment at Iranian nuclear sites.” Pray that Iran’s refusal to comply with this agreement will be a wake-up call to the nations, revealing Iran’s duplicity as it continues on its path to nuclear weapons.


And those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You.

- Psalm 83:2b–5

Prominent Iraqi Figures Advocate for Normalization with Israel

by Kate Norman

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The Iraqi flag

Monday, 27 September 2021 | More than 300 Iraqi public figures attended a conference in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on Friday, advocating to normalize ties with the State of Israel.

The participants called for Iraq to join the Abraham Accords, the US-brokered 2020 peace initiative normalizing ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, followed shortly by Morocco and Sudan.

“We demand full diplomatic relations with the State of Israel…and a new policy of normalization based on people-to-people relations with citizens of that country,” said Wisam al-Hardan, Sunni leader of the Sons of Iraq Awakening movement, at the conference, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

In addition to the 300 in-person attendees, comprising political, civil and former military leaders both Sunni and Shiite, others attended the conference virtually. Former Israeli President Shimon Peres’s son Chemi Peres gave a virtual address.

The conference was held in partnership with the Center for Peace Communications, a New York-based nonprofit striving to “resolve identity-based conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa,” according to the organization’s website.

Iraq, which has technically been at war with Israel since 1948, currently has anti-normalization laws in place, criminalizing contact with Israeli citizens or promoting “Zionist values”—“crimes” previously punishable by death but downgraded in 2010 to a life sentence in prison, the Times of Israel reported.

Al-Hardan urged that Iraqis “must choose between tyranny and chaos on the one hand, and an emerging axis of legality, decency, peace and progress on the other.”

He also wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that their public meeting was the first step forward.

“Next we will seek face-to-face talks with Israelis,” the Sunni leader wrote. “No power, foreign or domestic, has the right to prevent us from moving forward. Iraq’s anti-normalization laws, which criminalize civil engagement between Arabs and Israelis, are morally repugnant.

“We extend a hand of friendship to our brothers and sisters in humanity across the region and around the world, and we ask for God’s help as we move forward toward a brighter future,” Al-Hardan concluded.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted his praise of the event, calling the “call for peace with Israel” a “call that comes from below and not from above, from the people and not from the government, and the recognition of the historical injustice done to the Jews of Iraq is especially important.”

“The State of Israel is reaching out to you for peace,” Bennett concluded.

However, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi was quick to condemn the conference and distance his government from the calls for peace.

“The Iraqi government expresses its categorical rejection of the illegal meetings held by some tribal figures residing in the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan region…” the prime minister said in a statement, adding that the meetings “do not represent the people and residents” of Iraq.

The prime minister concluded that “the concept of normalization is constitutionally, legally and politically rejected in the Iraqi state” and that Iraq supports the Palestinian cause.

In fact, official Iraqi backlash against the event has been so severe that Al-Hardan and others connected to the conference had arrest warrants issued against them by Iraqi courts.

Iraq was once home to a strong, thriving Jewish population descended from the Jews sent into Babylonian exile by King Nebuchadnezzar over 2,500 years ago.

In the 1940s, however, things turned sour, beginning with the Farhud pogrom in 1941 that saw over 180 Jewish Iraqis killed and over 900 homes destroyed. And after the Jewish state was reestablished in 1948, the persecution of Jews in Iraq grew worse, prompting Operations Ezra and Nehemiah, in which over 120,000 people were airlifted to Israel between 1950 and 1952. Today, hundreds of thousands of Israelis trace their roots back to Iraq.

Despite the official position of the Iraqi government, the open conference signals the willingness of forward-thinking Iraqis to right the wrongs of the past and seek peace with Israel.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 27, 2021)

Photo Credit: jorono/Pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for Wisam al-Hardan and other Iraqi leaders who have risked their lives by publicly supporting the normalization of relations with Israel. Pray that their sincere desire for peace, legality and progress will spread across their nation and the region, perhaps adding Iraq to the growing list of Arab countries that are recognizing the benefits of peaceful relationships with God’s chosen Land.


All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.

- Psalm 86:9

Israeli Counterterrorism Op Prevents “Significant Terrorist Attacks”

by Joshua Spurlock

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An IDF operation thwarted significant terror activities (illustrative).

Monday, 27 September 2021 | An overnight IDF [Israel Defense Forces] operation spanning multiple locations in Judea and Samaria that was part of a broader weeklong counterterrorism effort is believed to have prevented “significant terrorist attacks,” according to comments from IDF Chief of Staff Maj.–Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

Kochavi’s assessment of the operation, part of a larger report posted to the IDF website as translated from Hebrew by Google Translate, said the counterterrorism campaign has “seriously thwarted this network” of terrorists. The IDF website report said that at least five terrorists were killed in the operation that started on Saturday night, while two Israeli soldiers were seriously injured. Other terrorists were wounded and arrested, while weapons were also apprehended.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement that the Saturday night operation was “against Hamas terrorists who were about to carry out terrorist attacks in real time.”

Said Bennett, in the comments published by his office, “The soldiers and commanders in the field acted as expected; they engaged the enemy and we back them completely.”

Not surprisingly, Hamas not only condemned the Israeli counterterrorism operation, they also threatened revenge and called for more “resistance” efforts, which is a term regularly used for terrorism and other actions such as protests.

“Hamas affirms that the blood of the martyrs will not be wasted, and our Palestinian people, led by the leaders of Hamas and its members, will remain at the forefront of the ranks to confront” Israel, said a press statement posted to the Hamas website.

“We call on the masses of our Palestinian people in the valiant West Bank [Judea and Samaria] to escalate the resistance against the occupier at all points of contact.”

The IDF Twitter account said the Saturday night operation was “based on accurate intelligence and was able to “stop Hamas terrorists from carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians…We will continue to keep Israel safe.”

The IDF website report said there were multiple exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and terrorists in areas in and around multiple villages, including the incident in which two IDF soldiers were injured when they “stormed” a terrorist. The IDF noted that friendly fire was also being investigated as a possible cause for the wounds. The injured soldiers were given “life-saving treatment” and then evacuated to Rambam hospital.

The Times of Israel reported that in total, at least seven Hamas terror cell members were arrested on Saturday. Four of the terrorists were killed in gun battles, according to the Times of Israel report, while the fifth was killed in a riot that broke out in response to the operation. The complex mission that began Saturday night was conducted jointly by the IDF, Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization], Israel Border Police and the Israel Police.

While the Saturday night raid was more dramatic than usual, Kochavi put it into a broader context of Israeli efforts to stop terror.

“Every week [the IDF] arrests dozens of terrorists and operatives in activities that combine initiative, intelligence and advanced technology. [Last night], as per usual, impressive operational capabilities were demonstrated by ground forces and IDF troops,” Kochavi, was quoted as saying in a series of posts to the IDF Twitter account.

“I would like to give my well wishes for the fast recovery of the wounded soldiers from [last] night’s incidents. We will continue to operate in every arena and region, ensuring the protection of the residents of Israel.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Mideast Update on September 26, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the success of Israel’s counter-terrorism campaign, resulting in the prevention of significant terror attacks. Pray for the safety of the ground troops and IDF forces that are involved in these efforts and cry out to the Lord for His guidance as they operate in every “arena and region” to protect the lives of the residents of Israel.


Blessed be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle—my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.

- Psalm 144:1–2

Lapid Speaks with Swedish Counterpart, Mending Seven-year Diplomatic Rift

by Itamar Eichner

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Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde

Friday, 24 September 2021 | Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced Monday he spoke with his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde, ending a seven-year diplomatic rift between the two countries and thawing ties with the Scandinavian nation.

“I spoke with [Ann Linde], the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden. This phone conversation, the first in 7 years between the Foreign Ministers of our countries, symbolizes the relaunching of relations at this level,” Lapid wrote on Twitter.

This is the first contact between the nations on the foreign minister level since Sweden became the first major European country to officially recognized a Palestinian state in 2014, a move that prompted Israel to recall its envoy from Stockholm.

Israel has refused to allow Linde and her predecessor Margot Wallstrom to visit the country ever since, despite repeated requests from the two.

Lapid further noted he appreciated Linde’s statement regarding “Sweden’s strong and solid commitment to the security of Israel and her recognition in the course of our conversation of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.”

The two also discussed Israel participating at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Anti-Semitism, which is scheduled to take place on October 13.

Linde came into office in September 2019, and soon after managed to enrage Israel when she said she did not view the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement—which promotes boycotts and economic sanctions against Israel—as illegitimate and nonviolent.

Linda qualified her statement, saying she did not support boycotts against Israel and even supports expanding trade and cooperation with Jerusalem, but also stated, on the other hand, that she viewed boycotts as a legitimate political means to a nonviolent political struggle for human rights, democracy, freedom of expression and ending the so-called Israeli occupation on Palestinian territories.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on September 21, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken Cropped by GeMet/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that relations with Sweden are beginning to warm. Pray that Israel’s leaders will be successful in helping Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde understand the realities of Israel’s struggle against terrorism and the effect that the BDS movement and its propaganda have on their efforts to defend the nation.


For the Lord will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants.

- Psalm 135:14 ESV

New York Times Pits “Principle” against Powerful “Rabbis” in Iron Dome Vote

by Alan M. Dershowitz ~ Gatestone

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New York Times building

Wednesday, 29 September 2021 | In purporting to “report”—not editorialize—about why AOC [Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, Democratic representative from New York] changed her vote from “no” to “present” on the Iron Dome [aerial defense system] funding, the New York Times congressional correspondent Catie Edmondson “reported” the following: “[Progressives] have been caught between their principles and the still powerful pro-Israel voices in their party, such as influential lobbyists and rabbis.”

She cited no support for her “reporting” on the pressure placed by “powerful…rabbis,” nor did she name them, because her “reporting” simply was not true. She just made it up, because it supported the anti-Semitic narrative that AOC and her “Squad” deploy to deflect justified criticism of their anti-Israel and anti-American votes.

No powerful rabbis or lobbyists were needed to pressure the nearly 500 Democrats and Republicans who voted to fund the Iron Dome defense system that was jointly developed by the United States and Israel and that is currently being used to defend American troops from rocket attacks.

The Iron Dome kills no one. It saves the lives of Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians who are targeted by Hamas rockets. It’s also saves the lives of Gaza residents by reducing the need for Israel to invade in order to stop the rockets. No objective person should oppose funding for this life-saving system.

But Edmondson decided to “report”—make up—a canard that has deep roots in the sordid history of anti-Semitism: namely, that powerful rabbis—sometimes called “the elders of Zion”—pressured elected officials to surrender their patriotic American “principles” by voting in an unprincipled way in support of a foreign power.

This not only demeans Jews as having dual loyalty, but it also insults every member of Congress who voted for this allegedly “unprincipled” result, presumably because of illicit pressure from lobbyists and rabbis, and not because they believed it was the right thing to do for America and its ally.

No mention was made by the Times of powerful pro-Palestinian lobbyists or imams, or of the pressure placed on AOC and others by radical leftists who hate Israel. No: it was supposedly “principles” that motivated the anti-Israel votes and “powerful” rabbinical pressures that determined the “yes” and “present” votes. And this purports to be objective “reporting” from the newspaper of record.

After much criticism, the Times quietly removed the reference to “rabbis” without apologizing for its reporter’s mendacious anti-Semitism or disciplining her for her journalistic malpractice. Just imagine how quickly a journalist would be cancelled if she engaged in comparable bigotry toward another group. But the Times has long suffered from a double standard toward Jews and the Jewish nation.

The Times has repeatedly felt the need to apologize for its persistent insensitivity—and worse—toward Israel and its Jewish supporters. Remember the Der Stürmer-like cartoon it published in its international edition? It must do better. It must take steps to identify and control biased reporters, such as Edmondson, and reporting, such as her false claim about powerful rabbis, before they have to apologize for the damage that has already been done.

The Times has the right to editorialize against Israel, as it constantly does. It has the right to publish multiple columns and op-eds that are skewed against Israel, while employing only one pro-Israel columnist. But it has no journalistic right to editorialize on its news pages, as it repeatedly does. It defrauds its readers by disguising its subjective and biased opinions as objective unbiased reporting of the news. In this regard, the Times is among the worst offenders of any influential newspaper.

So let the reader beware. You are not getting “all the news that’s fit to print” about Israel. You are getting only the “news” that its reporters and editors fit into their preconceived and biased narrative.

I challenge the Columbia School of Journalism, or any other objective academic institution, to conduct a study of the Times “reporting” on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict over the last few years. The results will shame the Times and caution its readers to skeptically evaluate what passes as “reporting.”

In the meantime, the Times must publicly, clearly and substantively apologize for its reporter lying about “powerful…rabbis” and explain how its editors could permit such an obviously anti-Semitic canard to be published on its pages. Quietly eliminating the offending words from its online version is cowardly and insufficient. It must acknowledge the harm that its false reporting has caused.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School and served on the legal team representing President Donald Trump for the first Senate impeachment trial. He is the author of numerous books, including his latest, The Case for Color-Blind Equality in an Age of Identity Politics. His podcast, “The Dershow,” is available on Spotify and YouTube. He is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: (This article was originally published by Gatestone Institute on September 28, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that this blatant and outrageous anti-Semitism by a New York Times reporter be properly apologized for and the reporter appropriately disciplined. Beseech the Lord to expose the Times’ shoddy journalism and anti-Semitic reporting, forcing their anti-Israel bias to end.


Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back. Let them be as the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up.

- Psalm 129:5–6

Rain Falls on Sukkot

by Janet Aslin

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Bridges for Peace Sukkot celebration

Monday, 27 September 2021 | The city of Jerusalem woke on Friday morning to raindrops on cars and wet pavement on the roads and parking lots. Later that afternoon while we, a group of Bridges for Peace volunteers, were listening to a teaching on Sukkot (Feast of Booths or Tabernacles), we felt raindrops coming through the palm-thatched roof of our sukkah (booth). The return of the early rains after the dry, hot summer is cause for additional rejoicing during the joyful season of Sukkot.

This year’s “early rain” began right on schedule. Typically, the season for rain should last from the fall feast of Sukkot until the spring feast of Pesach (Passover). According to the My Jewish Learning website, “a short prayer for rain is inserted into the second blessing of the Amidah Prayer” tomorrow (Shmini Atzeret or the Eighth Day of Sukkot) and will be recited until Pesach.

The Lord set a pattern for the annual rainy season when He brought the Jewish people out of Egypt and gave them the Promised Land. As he relayed the instructions of God to the Israelites, Moses included these words: “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil” (Deut. 11:13–14).

Although 80% of Israel’s drinking water comes from desalinated sea water, the early rains are important for agriculture as they soften the parched ground to prepare it for planting winter crops. And it seems that the entire nation pays attention to the level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), rejoicing when it is full and anxiously awaiting the winter rains when it is not.

Equally important, though not visible, are the underground aquifers which contribute water needed for agriculture. The Kinneret, streams and rivers and the aquifers are all dependent on the rain that falls from heaven. Even with five massive desalination plants, the Land of Israel still needs and welcomes the early and the latter rains.

While most of us were not prepared for rain in the sukkah last Friday, we rejoiced. Our teacher paused in her presentation of the wedding feast and we all glanced upward with smiles on our faces. Perhaps the best expression though, was that of the eight-year-old daughter of one of our Israeli staff members—she jumped up and dashed out of the sukkah to fully embrace the first raindrops of the season!

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 27, 2021)

Photo Credit: Mary Lee Becker/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the blessing of rain during the celebration of Sukkot. Thank Him for His ongoing care for His nation and people as their hearts were turned toward Him during the holiday that remembers His faithful protection during the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. Pray for a year of abundant rain that will fill the aquifers and bring the Kinneret to its fullest. And pray that as the Lord releases His rain from the heavens, His peace would also fall gently on the land from Dan to Beersheva.


I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing.

- Ezekiel 34:26