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A Light in the Darkness in 2023

Friday, October 20, 2023

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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.

Ground Offensive will be Aimed at Destroying Hamas from Bottom Up

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

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IDF forces setting up camp near the Gaza border on October 14, 2023

Monday, 16 October 2023 | As Israel’s security cabinet and the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] finalize plans on Sunday ahead of the expected Israeli ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, it is becoming clear that Israel’s objective will be to eliminate all Hamas military and political infrastructure in the Strip, from bottom to top.

The IDF has called for residents of northern Gaza and Gaza City to evacuate south, crossing the Wadi Gaza river, to avoid their use as human shields by Hamas’s terrorist army, which is commanded by Mohammed Deif and which has some 30,000 operatives.

Since Hamas came to power in Gaza in 2007 via a violent coup, it has built, trained and armed a terrorist army and guerilla force, and has entrenched it in high-rise buildings, subterranean bunkers and tunnels, in the midst of Gaza’s civilian population.

As a result, fighting is likely to take place in and around multi-story residential buildings converted by Hamas into military targets, doubling as command posts, lookouts and firing positions for the terror group.

The IDF can be expected to send in armored vehicles, infantry, combat engineering, artillery and special forces, backed by close air support and firepower support from the navy as well.

The mission will be to seek out and destroy all Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets, including senior operatives hiding out in bunkers and combat tunnels, thousands of kilometers of which crisscross Gaza. Repressing rocket fire on the Israeli home front by systematically destroying rocket launchers as the maneuver progresses will also be a key mission.

The forces can expect to come up against terrorists appearing from tunnels and buildings, firing shoulder-fired missiles, sniper rifles, mortar shells and other weaponry that has been mass produced in Gaza with Iranian funding or smuggled into the Strip with Iranian assistance.

The IDF has been training for years for this type of urban warfare, based on the concept of the 360-degree threat, in which enemies can appear from any direction, including from above and below.

In 2018, Maj. Guy Madar, a former Givati deputy battalion commander and a key planner of a war exercise held that year to simulate just such an offensive, told JNS, “When they [the IDF] enter the combat arena, they could have [enemies] under their feet. And they need to look up [too]. The enemy is not naïve. It wants to try its own surprises against us.”

He added, “Those who will win are those who act with cunning and creativity. It will be those who know how to think differently.”

Fighting at night, with armored vehicles, in closed combat areas with a stress on tall buildings and tunnels, and giving smaller units at the platoon and company level independence and flexibility to destroy their assigned targets, will be key to this offensive.

Such smaller units will likely prove to be the decisive factor in achieving victory, and the more they are decentralized in their freedom to act, the faster they can adapt to the asymmetric and brutal enemy at hand.

Platoon commanders are expected to be the ones experiencing utmost friction with Hamas’s terror army.

The IDF will also likely be counting on the Trophy active protection system, installed its Merkava 4 tanks, to provide support for the armor, and on its combat network to detect and share new enemy targets in seconds, enabling rapid fire on those targets.

Field commanders at the company level will have quadcopters and drones at their disposal for gathering their own aerial intelligence and building their own picture of the battle space, rather than fully depending on the air force to do this.

Meanwhile, speaking on Sunday, IDF International Spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht repeated calls for Gazans to evacuate southward, describing reports that Israel bombed a convoy of Gaza evacuees as fake news.

“We showed some aerial pictures of them [Hamas] blocking the convoys, and they’re trying to do everything to block it,” he said.

“We’ve opened a new corridor,” he added.

The Israeli Air Force has continued large-scale strikes against senior operatives and terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, with the assistance of the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet), and has killed the commander of Hamas’s “Nukhba” forces in southern Khan Younis, who was responsible for the Kibbutz Nirim massacre, the IDF announced on Sunday.

“The IDF also struck over 100 military targets located in Zaytun, Khan Younis, and west Jabaliya. These strikes impacted the capabilities of the Hamas terrorist organization, by targeting its operational command centers, military compounds, dozens of launchers, anti-tank missile launch posts and observation posts. Furthermore, operational command centers belonging to the Islamic

Jihad terrorist organization were struck,” the IDF added.

Hecht said the IDF is still reinforcing the Gaza barrier and border areas.

He noted that in the north, speaking shortly after a Hezbollah cross-border anti-tank missile killed an Israeli and wounded several others, “There is a certain threshold that people in the region know what it means,” referring to the danger of war breaking out with Hezbollah.

The United States has meanwhile deployed a second carrier battle group, the USS Gerald R. Ford, which will join the USS Eisenhower carrier strike group already off the Israeli coast, days after a US cargo plane landed at Nevatim Air Force Base in the South with munitions supplies for the IDF.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi has maintained regular contact with US CENTCOM [United States Central Command] Commander Gen. Michael Kurrilla.

By Sunday afternoon, the IDF confirmed that over 1,300 people were murdered on October 7 during Hamas’s cross-border attack, 126 IDF soldiers were killed and 126 hostages were being held in the Gaza Strip, including young children and the elderly. Over 6,000 rockets were fired at Israel since October 7.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 15, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Erik Marmor/Flash90 /jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cover this impending ground operation in prayer, asking God’s hand of blessing over every aspect of it. Pray for wisdom and discernment for Israel’s decision-makers. Pray for protection over the Israeli soldiers, that the Lord will bless them in their mission to protect the people of Israel, as well as the innocent civilians in Gaza.


“Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”

- Deuteronomy 20:3–4

Hamas Releases Clip Purporting to Show 21-year-old Israeli Hostage

by JNS

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A screenshot from a clip published by Hamas purporting to show Mia Shem, an Israeli abducted by Palestinian terrorists.

Tuesday, 17 October 2023 | Palestinian terrorists are holding between 200 and 250 people hostage in the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida claimed in a televised statement on Monday evening, as the terror group released a video purportedly showing one of the Israeli abductees.

Some 200 hostages are currently being held by Hamas, while around 50 others are in the hands of other terror factions in the Strip, the Hamas propaganda chief claimed.

“We assure our people, our prisoners and their families, in every occupation prison—without exception—that, inshallah [God willing], we are determined to bring joy to every Palestinian home,” said Abu Obeida, apparently hinting at a possible prisoner-exchange deal.

Hamas terrorists killed at least 1,400 Israelis and wounded more than 4,100 in a massive offensive launched from the Gaza Strip on October 7, which included the firing of thousands of rockets at Israel and the infiltration of the Jewish state by terrorist forces.

The terrorists butchered men, women, children, the elderly, the disabled and even babies. Some were decapitated, while others were raped or burned alive.

At least 199 hostages, including an unknown number of foreign nationals, were taken to Gaza, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel announced on Monday.

Abu Obeida confirmed that Hamas was holding prisoner “a group of prisoners of different nationalities,” explaining that its terrorist forces did not have “the opportunity to verify their identities during the battle.”

“Any fighter in the occupation army, we consider him a direct enemy, and we will deal with him accordingly, even if he becomes a prisoner and regardless of his other nationality,” warned the spokesman.

Meanwhile, Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades on Telegram released unverified footage allegedly showing one of the Israeli captives. The video appears to show a young woman receiving medical care in Gaza.

“I’m Mia Shem, 21 years old from Shoham. Currently, I’m in Gaza. I returned early Saturday morning from Sderot—I was at a party. I was seriously injured in my hand,” the woman says, calling on Israel to “get me out of here as soon as possible.”

Shem was kidnapped while taking part in a music festival in the desert near Kibbutz Re’im, where Hamas gunmen also massacred at least 260 festivalgoers.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 16, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Plead God’s divine hand of protection over the Israelis taken captive in Gaza. Pray for their safety, both mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Ask the Lord to open the door for their quick and safe return home. Ask God to give their families comfort as only He can during this time of fear and darkness.


“I cried out to You, O LORD: I said, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name.’”

- Psalm 142:5–7

IDF Proof: Palestinian Terror Rocket Caused Deadly Blast at Gaza Hospital

by JNS

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Visual evidence from the IDF of the failed PIJ rocket launch that caused an explosion at a Gaza hospital on October 17, 2023.

Wednesday, 18 October 2023 | A failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ] rocket launch at Israel caused the explosion at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday night, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] confirms.

“The IDF has concluded an After Action Review and can confirm that the Islamic Jihad was responsible for the strike on the hospital in Gaza City,” Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said at a press briefing on Wednesday morning.

Terrorists fired a barrage of rockets at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, and at 6:59 p.m., PIJ fired another barrage of around 10 rockets from a nearby cemetery. This was the exact time that the hospital blast was reported, Hagari explained.

“According to our intelligence, Hamas checked the reports, understood it was an Islamic Jihad rocket that had misfired—and decided to launch a global media campaign to hide what really happened,” Hagari continued.

“They went as far as inflating the number of casualties. They understood, with absolute certainty, that it was a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad that damaged the hospital.”

The IDF provided a recording of a conversation between Hamas operatives regarding the hospital bombing, which confirms that it was a failed Islamic Jihad rocket launch that caused it, including that it looked “like local shrapnel and not like Israeli shrapnel.”

One of the Hamas operatives said that the Palestinians launched the rocket from a cemetery behind the hospital and that “it misfired and fell on them.”

Aerial footage shows that the hospital was not directly hit and that the only place showing damage was the parking lot next to it, Hagari said.

It is common for Gazan terrorist rockets aimed at Israel to fall short, causing Palestinian casualties, Hagari noted, adding that the IDF has counted approximately 450 rockets that misfired and hit in Gaza.

“Palestinian civilians pay the price,” he said.

Hagari said that the information was being shared with partners, including the United States.

“We want maximum transparency because we take any incident involving civilians very seriously. Unfortunately, many in the media immediately reported the statements coming out of Hamas-controlled Gaza, which blamed Israel,” he continued.

“Instead of waiting for the examination of credible information from the IDF, some media outlets ran with Hamas’s lies. Some of those headlines are still up and have not been corrected.

“I understand the desire to break news, but I hope you will all agree that accuracy and credible information comes before speed,” said Hagari.

“The IDF acts in accordance with international law,” he noted.

“In conclusion, this incident shows how allegations—in this case, false and baseless allegations made by terrorists—against Israel can spread and inflame tensions in the region,” Hagari said.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 18, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out on behalf of these innocent people, that the world will see and hold the true murderers accountable. Pray that the truth will be made known far and wide, that the lies of the enemy will not drown out the truth. Ask the Lord to drown out the lies far and wide with His truth about what happened to the hospital in Gaza. Pray against the attempts to point the finger at Israel for this horrible atrocity.


“LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; he who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor…He who does these things shall never be moved.”

- Psalm 15:1–3a, 5b

No Quiet on the Northern Front

by JNS

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IDF tanks and units guarding the Lebanon border

Thursday, 18 October 2023 | Israel’s northern border with Lebanon heated up again on Wednesday afternoon after a brief period of quiet, with the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] reporting another round of rockets and anti-tank missile fire.

The IDF said that nine rockets were launched from Lebanon at the Kiryat Shmona area in northern Israel around 5:30 p.m. At least one rocket impacted in an open area inside the city of Kiryat Shmona. Four more were intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system.

The rocket attacks caused no injuries or significant damage, the IDF added.

In a separate incident, an IDF drone strike thwarted a Lebanese terror cell launching mortars at the Tel Turmus area.

In addition, anti-tank-guided missiles were fired from Lebanon, targeting the northern tons of Metula, Malkia and Manara.

The military responded by hitting the launch sites with several waves of artillery fire.

Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, enemy missile fire was directed at the area of Dvoranit along the border. The IDF responded with artillery fire at the source of the attack.

Around 15 minutes earlier, the IDF reported shots fired towards an IDF post in the area of Zar’it, a moshav in the Upper Galilee near the Lebanese border. The IDF responded with artillery fire at the source of the shooting.

No injuries were reported. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the afternoon cross-border attacks, saying that it fired at three sites with anti-tank guided missiles and gunfire.

Earlier on Wednesday, four Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded by a Hezbollah missile near the border moshav of Shtula. The IDF responded with artillery fire at the source of the attack.

Before the afternoon salvo, Hezbollah had fired at least seven missiles at northern Israeli towns and military posts over the previous 24 hours. Two soldiers and a civilian were wounded on

Tuesday morning in a cross-border anti-tank missile attack on the northern Israeli town of Metula—the first of three rounds of missile attacks throughout the day.

The terrorist group has been probing Israel’s northern border in the aftermath of Hamas’s October 7 assault on the Jewish state, initiating a series of exchanges of fire as the IDF engages Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Five Israelis—four soldiers and a civilian—have been killed on the northern front since the Hamas terrorist rampage in the south that left more than 1,400 people dead and 4,400 wounded, and at least 199 held hostage in Gaza.

During a call with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called for Hezbollah to cease its attacks on the Jewish state.

Austin also updated Gallant on “upcoming deliveries of security assistance to Israel and reiterated the US commitment to the safe return of hostages held by Hamas,” according to a Pentagon readout.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 18, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ayal Margolin/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Lift up Israel’s northern border in prayer, asking God’s protection on this separate front as Israel faces attacks on multiple fronts. Pray that the Israeli soldiers guarding the northern borders will be alert and watchful, and ask for God’s protection over them as well as the civilians they are guarding. Pray against any schemes the enemy has to continue its attack on Israel’s north.


“The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”

- Psalm 34:7

Israel Strikes Syria, US Sends Second Carrier as Conflict Threatens to Expand

by Joshua Spurlock ~ Middle East Update

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An Iron Dome launcher launching a missile (illustrative)

Monday, 16 October 2023 | Israeli strikes shut down the Syrian Aleppo and Damascus international airports over the last week, as the Jewish State aims to prevent Iran from sending weapons to attack Israel from the north. Meanwhile, the United States is sending a second aircraft carrier to the region to deter Hezbollah or others from entering the fray as Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza continues.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that Israel hit the Syrian international airports on Thursday, shutting both down, and then struck the Aleppo facility again on Saturday to take it down again. The attacks come as Israel is engaged in a full-scale war with Hamas to the south of Israel, following the unprecedented terror massacre of more than 1,300 Israeli civilians by Hamas.

While Israel doesn’t generally comment on strikes against Syria, the Head of Strategic Affairs for Israelis Ministry of Foreign Affairs Joshua Zaka on X (formerly Twitter) openly acknowledged Israel’s motive behind the attacks was to stop Iran from arming enemies to the north. His comments came in response to a post on X by the Director of American Center for Levant Studies Joel Rayburn stating that Israel’s airport attacks are a “strong indication” that Iran is “trying to move strategic weapons to or via Syria to open a northern front” and that Israel is “determined to preempt that.” Zaka replied, “1. They are 2. We are”.

The airstrikes come as an Israeli civilian was killed by a Hezbollah anti-tank missile in more northern fighting on Sunday. The Times of Israel report on the attack said that on Sunday alone, Hezbollah launched at least six anti-tank missiles at Israeli targets. Israel counterattacked, but does not sound interested in heating things up in the north. A spokesman reported that the IDF “attacked Hezbollah infrastructure all day long. The organization is escalating on the northern border to challenge Israel… but we are focused on the goal—to fight Hamas and bring security to our citizens.”

In addition to the anti-tank missiles, the official IDF feed on X reported that nine rockets were fired in a barrage at Israel, with Israel intercepting five. The Times of Israel report said Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets fired from Lebanon. Hamas terrorists are known to be hosted in various countries in the Middle East, not just Gaza.

Amidst the growing tensions to the north of Israel, the US is sending another aircraft carrier, as well as other warships and fighter jets, to the Middle East. And they are coming with a warning to any party looking to join the Israel-Hamas conflict. In a direct statement on Saturday from US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin published to the Department of Defense website, Austin said he ordered the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to join the other carrier strike group in the eastern Mediterranean as “part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel.”

Austin noted that earlier last week they had announced the deployment of squadrons of F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft. “The increases to US force posture signal the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and our resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war,” said Austin.

On the diplomacy front, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in comments on Friday published by the State Department that a “big part” of his tour of the region was to work with nations to tell their contacts not to use the Israel-Hamas war as an opportunity to “choose to create more trouble in some other place.” With regard to a second front in the Israel-Hamas war, Blinken said this is “something that we’re very focused on. We have been from day one. We want to make sure that no other country or entity try to take advantage of the situation.”

Blinken pointed to warnings from US President Joe Biden to other actors not to get involved, implicitly including Iran and Hezbollah—with the US aircraft carrier group underscoring that warning. “So that’s clearly designed to help ensure that anyone contemplating getting engaged doesn’t do it,” said Blinken.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Middle East Update on October 15, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
It is yet another front that Israel has to face against another threat, and pray that the Israeli military will be able to preemptively thwart all threats coming out of Iran through Syria, striking weapons shipments and other threats before they have a chance to reach their destination. Pray also that the American military presence will have its intended effect of deterring Hezbollah and Iran from attacking Israel further.


“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.”

- Psalm 34:19–21

Tales of Heroism: Soldier Saves Friends by Jumping on a Grenade

by Elisha Ben Kimon ~ Ynetnews

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Matan Avergil was killed when he threw himself on a grenade to absorb the impact of the blast (Illustrative).

Monday, 16 October 2023 | The parents of Matan Avergil from the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] received the heart-wrenching news of their son’s death on Wednesday. However, it was only a few days later that they discovered the heroic act their son had committed. Avergil had selflessly thrown himself on a grenade that was aimed at him and his companions, a courageous act that ultimately saved their lives.

In the initial hours of the unexpected attack by Hamas, soldiers from the Golani Brigade were engaged in intense combat in Kibbutz Nir Am. As per the accounts, seven soldiers including Avergil found themselves under attack by a multitude of Hamas militants. His fellow soldier, Daniel Varach, recounted, “Matan and we were in the armored vehicle, completely encircled with no escape route.”

Unexpectedly, a terrorist tossed a grenade into the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) housing the seven soldiers. “Matan spotted the grenade and lunged. I attempted to restrain him but he was resolute. When I opened my eyes a minute later, he was over me, expressing ‘I tried to do everything to protect the people of Israel’. Being a medic, I tried to rescue him, but when I could not feel a pulse, I realized he was no longer with us,” recounted one of the soldiers.

On Thursday, Avergil was laid to rest. One of his comrades from the APC honored him saying, “On our behalf, and on behalf of all the unit members, our deepest gratitude goes to you. You shielded us all, taking the blow onto yourself. You are a genuine hero, a noble spirit. Your memory and story will eternally live on in my heart.”

Eric, Avergil’s father, addressed the soldiers who shared the APC with his son, saying, “We love you all like we love our children.”

Avergil, the youngest among four siblings, belonged to a longstanding family within the Hermesh settlement in the West Bank. Two of his brothers had also joined the army. A tragic loss befell the family when his cousin, Avraham Cohen, was killed at a nature gathering in the south.

Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Council, mourned his loss saying: “You displayed no fear or hesitation. You battled and succumbed alongside your brothers in arms, defending our homeland and our people. You hail from a lineage of warriors, descendants of King David.” He appealed to “the Defense Minister and the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Chief of Staff to bestow upon him the highest privilege, the medal of honor.”

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on October 15, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Facebook/Flckr/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bless the memory of this brave young man, and lift up all of his loved ones and friends in prayer, that the Lord will comfort them and bring them peace. Pray for all the Israelis who have lost loved ones amid these terrible attacks. Pray that the Lord will comfort His people. Ask the Lord to protect the IDF soldiers, Border Police, security personnel and emergency responders who are working to protect the nation of Israel.


“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

- Psalm 34:18 NASB

Biden Promises Israel: ‘You’ll Get What You Need’

by David Isaac ~ JNS

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US President Joe Biden delivers departing remarks during a visit to Israel on October 18, 2023.

Thursday, 19 October 2023 | US President Joe Biden pledged to Israel that it would never be alone during parting remarks from Tel Aviv on Wednesday afternoon after a one-day visit, when he met with Israel’s leaders as well as families of hostages and survivors of the October 7 attack on Israel’s south.

Just before departing at around 6 p.m. Israel time after a stop of less than eight hours, Biden delivered a speech in which he expressed sympathy for the losses Israel suffered during the October 7 rampage by the Hamas terror group, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,400 people—mostly civilians—and the capture of at least 199 more Israelis, now held hostage in the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas committed atrocities that recall the worst ravages of ISIS, unleashing pure unadulterated evil upon the world,” Biden declared. “We’ve seen it described as Israel’s 9/11. But for a nation the size of Israel, it was like fifteen 9/11s,” Biden said.

The wound Israel suffered would “cut deep” in any country but cuts deeper in Israel, he said, noting that the murders occurred on a Jewish holiday, surfacing memories of “millennia of anti-Semitism” and the Holocaust.

“The world watched then. It knew, and the world did nothing. We will not stand by and do nothing again,” he said.

“We’re going to make sure you have what you need to protect your people, to defend your nation,” the president said, adding that he was going to ask the US Congress “for an unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense. We’re going to keep your Iron Dome fully supplied so it can continue standing sentinel over Israeli skies, saving Israeli lives.”

Biden also referred to the two US aircraft carrier strike groups sent to the Eastern Mediterranean, reiterating his warning to other actors in the region not to take advantage of Israel’s weakened position to strike at the Jewish state.

Although Israel has a long record of avoiding civilian casualties, the president nevertheless noted to Israel the importance of not targeting non-combatants in the Gaza Strip.

“You’re a Jewish state. You’re also a democracy. Like the United States, you don’t live by the rules of terrorists. You live by the rule of law,” he said. “You can’t give up what makes you who you are. You give that up, and the terrorists win.”

“Today, I asked the Israeli cabinet I met with for some time this morning to agree to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to Gaza based on the understanding that there’ll be inspections so that the aid should go to civilians, not Hamas,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s Office announced just prior to Biden’s speech that the wartime cabinet decided “in light of the overwhelming and vital American support for the war effort and in light of US President Biden’s demand for basic humanitarian aid” that Israel would not block humanitarian supplies from Egypt.

The cabinet also conditioned those supplies on the promise that they won’t reach Hamas. It said that no supplies will be allowed from Israel’s territory until the hostages are returned.

Critics say there’s no way to ensure that humanitarian aid doesn’t go to Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, calling any such aid effectively a resupply of the terror group.

Biden also announced that the United States would provide US $100 million in new funding for humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza, as well as in Judea and Samaria.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 18, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: YouTube/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this show of solidary from President Biden and his willingness to stand by the people of Israel during this dark time. Pray that the US will continue to stand with Israel amid mounting international pressure to condemn the Jewish state, and pray that the rest of the world will follow suit and stand with Israel as she fights for her survival.


“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so…Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety’s sake.”

- Proverbs 3:27, 29

Hamas and Iran: Slaughtering Jews for Decades

by Khaled Abu Toameh ~ Gatestone Institute

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Body bags with the slain after the deadly Hamas attack in southern Israel on October 7

Tuesday, 17 October 2023 | Hamas’s October 7 war on Israel did not surprise those who have been following the actions of Iran and its regime-backed Islamist terror group since it was founded in late 1987.

Since then, Hamas, with Iran’s help—Hamas does not have a productive economy in Gaza—has carried out countless terrorist attacks, killing and wounding thousands of Jews by suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings and car-rammings, as well as by firing tens of thousands of rockets into Israel, a country the size of New Jersey (roughly 22,000 square kilometers [8,494 sq. mi.]).

In 2002, Hamas committed one of its deadliest massacres during the Jewish holiday of Passover in the Israeli city of Netanya. Thirty civilians were murdered and 140 wounded when a Hamas terrorist, disguised as a woman, detonated a suitcase filled with powerful explosives in the dining room of a hotel where Jews were celebrating the Passover holiday. Most of the victims were senior citizens (70 and over). The oldest victim was 90 and the youngest 20.

Hardly a day has passed without another Hamas statement concerning the need to “liberate all Palestine” (meaning destroy Israel).
Days before the latest Hamas attack on Israel, the terrorist group called on all Arabs and Muslims to “continue the legitimate struggle in all forms” until Israel is defeated and expelled from “our historical land.”

The statements by Hamas officials and leaders over the past three decades were not empty threats. They were backed by literally thousands of terrorist attacks against Israel. Sadly, many in the international community chose to look the other way as Hamas continued its threats and terrorist attacks.

The indifference has reached a point where some Western media outlets and officials continue to label Hamas terrorists as “militants.” The October 7 carnage, during which Jewish women, children and the elderly were brutally murdered, shows that there is effectively no difference between Hamas and the Islamic State (ISIS).

The Hamas terrorists who invaded Israel used the very tactics employed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq: burning people alive, raping women, beheading civilians and abducting women (including an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor in a wheelchair) and children.

Why, then, are Hamas terrorists labeled “militants” while ISIS members are called “terrorists”?

It is because of the identity of the victim. When the victim is a Jew, then the perpetrator is a “militant.” Yet when the victim is a non-Jew, the Muslim extremist is called what he really is: a terrorist.

The 1988 Hamas charter states that “our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious.” It quotes Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Hamas is an offshoot), as saying: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

In its charter, Hamas makes it clear that it remains faithful to the words of the prophet Mohammed, who was quoted as saying:

“The Day of Judgement will not come until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O’ Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” (Article 7)

Notably, the new Hamas program did not replace its 1988 charter. In fact, the program repeated Hamas’s commitment to the destruction of Israel through jihad [“struggle,” war with unbelievers (in Islam)], but pointed out that since this goal cannot be achieved under the current circumstances, the group is ready to accept a temporary state on any land it obtains as a first stage toward the annihilation of Israel. Hamas, in short, is saying: we will take whatever you (Israel) give us now—starting with a Palestinian state—and we will use this to slaughter you.

Additionally, no senior Hamas official has ever gone on the record to announce the revocation of the charter, which calls for eliminating Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state. On the contrary, Hamas representatives have gone to some lengths to let it be known that they have not abandoned their desire to kill Jews and destroy Israel.

Days after the political program was announced, Hamas’s envoy to Iran, Khaled al-Qaddoumi, asserted that there was no change in his group’s attitude toward Israel. The program, al-Qaddoumi said, does not include any recognition of the “Zionist entity,” adding: “The Palestine that we believe in and want is every inch of the historical land of Palestine, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. Therefore, this [program] is an affirmation of the principles of Hamas, that it wants everything.”

Hamas did not carry out the October 7 massacre because Jews were living in settlements in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] or Gaza Strip. The Jews who were butchered on that day lived inside Israel, near the border with the Gaza Strip. Israel, it should be noted, withdrew from the entire Gaza Strip in 2005.

Hamas launched its attack on Israel because it does not see a difference between a Jew living in a West Bank settlement and a Jew living in a city inside Israel.

Hamas launched the attack as part of its effort to slaughter Jews and obliterate Israel.

Those who continue to defend Iran and Hamas are complicit in their campaign of genocide against Jews. Such a defense is an outrage not only to the Jews, but also to the many Palestinians who are being used as human shields and cannon fodder.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by Gatestone Institute on October 12, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/Government Press Office/Wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for justice. Pray that Hamas and Iran will be held accountable for the blood that they have spilt. Pray against their evil plans and that all their schemes will be thwarted.


“I said in my heart, ‘God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”

- Ecclesiastes 3:17