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Every week, we post from 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.

Israeli Defense Minister: “Whoever wants peace must prepare for war”

by Yoav Zitun

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Defense Minister Lieberman tours northern border

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 | The Lebanese military has become inextricably linked to the Hezbollah terror group operating on the country’s soil, according to statement made on Tuesday by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Addressing IDF soldiers during a celebratory event marking the festival of Sukkot at his sukkah in the Kirya IDF headquarters based in Tel Aviv, Lieberman told his listeners that preparation for the next round of hostilities was of paramount importance, highlighting that the lines between countries and regions were rapidly disappearing.

“We have to prepare for every scenario. The new reality poses new challenges for us. If we once spoke about the Lebanese area, now there is no longer such an area. There’s only the northern area,” Lieberman said.

“In any development that takes place, it will be one area—Syria and Lebanon together, Hezbollah, the Assad regime and all collaborators of the Assad regime. Regarding the Lebanese region, we’re no longer talking solely about Hezbollah,” he continued as he delineated, not for the first time, his description of the ‘New Middle East.”

“We’re talking about Hezbollah and about the Lebanese military, and unfortunately this is the reality,” he stated gloomily. “The Lebanese army has become an integral part of Hezbollah’s campaign under its command. The Lebanese army has lost its independence, and has become inextricably linked to Hezbollah.”

The next outbreak of violence, he warned, would require the mobilization of the IDF on multiple fronts, unlike the last few wars it has fought.

“Also if the next campaign develops—and it doesn’t matter where it develops—in the north or the south, it will immediately become a campaign on two fronts. There is no longer a campaign in one area, and this is our fundamental premise. We are preparing the army for this,” the soldiers were told.

“My basic tenet is ‘if you want peace, prepare for war.’ Whoever wants peace must prepare for war, and I hope that our enemies on the other side will think carefully about each and every step they take against the State of Israel, so we won’t need to illustrate the strength and abilities of the IDF,” Lieberman warned.

The old prism through which Israel conducted its military business and made its evaluations were now a thing of the past, the defense minister insisted.

“All our efforts are to prevent the next war but in the ‘new’ Middle East, the same assumptions we previously drew about low probability are simply irrelevant presumptions. The reality is fragile. It could happen at any moment, from one day to the next,” he claimed.

“Everything is based on the fact that we must ready ourselves for a serious maneuver, and there is no maneuver without serious firepower,” Lieberman concluded. “The armor and artillery are supposed to supply that firepower. Exactly like the air defense is supposed to thwart a significant portion of the damage to Israel.”

Source: (Excerpt of article originally published by Ynet on 10 October, 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry

Prayer Focus
: As all Israel hopes to prevent the next war, leaders face the changing Middle East landscape and a “fragile reality.” In sincere prayer, lift up the IDF soldiers, political and military leaders. May they look toward God Most High as their guide and stronghold as they stand ready to protect the land and the people from a possible war on two fronts.

Scripture

My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, You save me from violence.


- 2 Samuel 22:3

Hamas, PA Unite to “Work Together Against” Israel

by Ilse Posselt

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Gazans celebrate the signing of a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah

Friday, 13 October 2017 | After more than a decade of strife, bloodshed and bitter contention that has left the Palestinian people divided, the two main role-players in the Palestinian political landscape—rival factions Fatah and Hamas—yesterday inked a reconciliation agreement in Cairo. According to the Hamas deputy political leader, Saleh al-Arouri, the agreement will unite all Palestinian forces in order to “work together against the Zionist enterprise.”

The agreement is the culmination of a series of talks between Hamas, the terror group reigning over the people of Gaza with an iron grip of fear and indoctrination, and Fatah, the so-called secular Palestinian political party under the leadership of Palestinian Authority (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas, which began on Tuesday in the Egyptian capital.

Commenting on the agreement, Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyah vowed, “We will go to any length to implement the agreement and turn over a new leaf in the annals of our people, forever closing the book on our divisions.”

For his part, Abbas confirmed that an accord has been reached, calling it the “final agreement to end [Palestinian] division.”

The so-called “division” refers to more than ten years of bitter enmity between the two rival Palestinian parties, which began in earnest after the last Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. Hamas scored a surprise victory against Fatah and the terror group’s elective, Ismail Haniyeh, became the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Tensions between Fatah and Hamas continued to simmer and finally erupted in a violent conflict known as the Battle of Gaza in June 2007. Over the course of five bloody days, Hamas combatants seized control of the coastal enclave, murdered various Fatah officials and drove the rest from the Strip. Fatah fled in a cloud of disgrace to its stronghold in parts of Judea and Samaria, where it continues to govern pockets of the Palestinian population, while Hamas remained in the Strip to rule over the Gazan people.

The ensuing decade did little to diffuse the discord. Various attempts to reconcile the two parties and form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the pockets of Judea and Samaria that the Palestinians govern proved unsuccessful. The animosity between the two parties escalated over the past six months, with Abbas taking radical steps in a bid to pressure the terror group to renounce control over the coastal enclave.

These steps include crippling sanctions, slashing salaries paid to the Gazan government, denying Gazan patients access to Israeli hospitals, refusing to foot the bill for Israel’s electricity supply to the Strip and ceasing its shipments of diesel fuel to the coastal enclave to run the sole power station. Cash-strapped and power-starved, with an unemployment rate of 42% and half of its residents relying on humanitarian aid to survive, Gaza’s rulers found themselves in a stranglehold.

Abbas’s tactics proved efficient. Last month, Hamas announced that it is ready to bury the hatchet. The terror group vowed to dissolve the administrative committee that ruled the coastal enclave, welcome the Abbas’s government back to the Strip to operate in its place and hold the first united Palestinian elections in over ten years.

Now, less than a month later, the reconciliation deal has been sealed. The terms of the accord entail that Hamas will hand over full control of the Gaza Strip to the PA by 01 December 2017. Moreover, a senior Palestinian official told AFP that some 3,000 PA police officers are set to be deployed in the coastal enclave as early as 01 November 2017. “This effectively means the PA would resume both security and civil responsibility [in Gaza],” he said.

However, Israel Radio states that Hamas—a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist party that several governments, including the United States, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the European Union have inscribed on their terror list and that has the destruction of the Jewish state inscribed in its charter—refused to disarm, a demand which Abbas insisted on in the past. Reports from Egypt indicate that the terror group instead agreed that it would refrain from using its weapons unless the unity government agreed to do so. It does, however, remain unclear how Hamas plans to deal with its 25,000-strong military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade.

For its part, Israel warned of the adverse effects of yesterday’s agreement. “Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas makes peace [with Israel] much harder to achieve,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned on his Facebook page.

Hamas’s determination to continue “to dig tunnels, manufacture missiles and initiate terrorist attacks against Israel are incompatible with… the efforts of the United States to renew the diplomatic process,” he said.

Israel, he continued, would stand against “any reconciliation in which the terrorist organization Hamas does not disarm and end its war to destroy Israel. Reconciling with mass-murderers is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Say yes to peace and no to joining hands with Hamas.”

According to The Times of Israel, a government source from the Jewish state revealed that Israel will not recognize a unity Fatah-Hamas Palestinian government unless the terror group disarms, ceases all terror activities and recognizes Israel.

“Any reconciliation between the (Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority) and Hamas must include a commitment to international agreements and to the conditions of the Quartet, first of which is recognizing Israel and demilitarizing Hamas.”

The official further indicated that “so long as Hamas does not disarm and continues to call for the destruction of Israel, Israel sees the group as responsible for any terror activity coming out of Gaza.”

“Israel demands that the Palestinian Authority does not allow any Hamas terror activities to be undertaken from the PA authority’s territories in Judea and Samaria as well as from Gaza, if indeed the PA gains control there. Israel will examine developments on the ground and react accordingly.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 13 October, 2017)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Al Jazeera English

Prayer Focus
Call out to the Lord, the tower of strength for Israel, beseeching Him, that by His miraculous hand, this agreement will close the door on military and terror activities intended for the destruction of Israel. Appeal for strength, courage and wisdom for Prime Minister Netanyahu and the government in the face of a newly-unified opposition, PA and Hamas.

Scripture

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.


- Psalm 61:2-4

Israel-Iran Conflict in Syria Reaching Point of no Return

by Alex Fishman

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PM Netanyahu receiving briefing from Major-General Yoel Stirck on Israel’s northern border (illustrative)

Monday, 09 October, 2017 | The open conflict taking place between Israel and Iran on Syrian soil is increasingly reaching a point of no return.

  The Iranian regime, it seems, isn’t taking the public warnings issued by the Israeli defense establishment heads seriously and is hectically pursuing its talks with the Syrian regime, as well as patrols in search of a military airport near Damascus which would serve as a base for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ combat squadrons.

At the same time, the Iranians and the Syrians are making progress in the talks for an autonomic Iranian military pier in the Tartus port and the creation of an Iranian division on Syrian soil.

Israel, however, has made it clear both to the Iranians and the Syrians, as well as to the Russians, that it will not allow any Iranian presence in Syria, especially war planes or an Iranian pier in the Tartus port.

According to the Israeli policy in the current crisis, there is no diplomatic way of bringing about a significant change in Iran’s regional conduct. Thus the only way to deal with it is by stepping up the sanctions—in other words, punitive measures—or through “a different crisis” in the form of a military threat against Iran, in Syria or in any other arena in the region. The atmosphere created by the Trump administration against the nuclear agreement is contributing to the approaching hurricane.

The effort to prevent a deterioration will resume immediately after the High Holy Days. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu will arrive in Israel in nine days for a meeting with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and with the defense establishment’s top brass. The next day, the defense minister will leave for the United States for a meeting with Secretary of Defense James Mattis. All these meetings will focus on the Iranian issue, both on the regional level and on the global level, as President Donald Trump keeps alluding to a possible change in the US policy toward the nuclear agreement with Tehran.

In a Congressional hearing last week, General Mattis voiced his objection to any change in the sanction regime against Iran. In his meeting with Lieberman in Washington, the defense minister is expected to present the Israeli evaluation of the situation, which supports Trump’s stance and points to the three weak links in the nuclear agreement: One, when the agreement expires in 10 years there will be no system for restraining the renewal of the Iranian nuclear race; two, the current agreement allows Iran to pursue the research and development of a nuclear weapon, preventing supervisors from entering dozens of military facilities which are not mentioned in the agreement as sites that must be supervised; and three, the agreement includes no international restraint of the missile development area.

In spite of these arguments, it’s unlikely that Israel will be able to change the American defense establishment’s stance on the nuclear issue. It will be more successful in enlisting the Pentagon’s support for stepping up the war on Iran’s subversive expansion in the Middle East, from Yemen to Gaza and Lebanon. A hint of this war was provided Saturday in The Times’ report on an American plan against Hezbollah as part of the war on Iran and its satellites. This war fits very well into the alleged Israeli secret measures against the Iranian expansion in the region and against the arms smuggling.

Unlike his American colleague, the Russian defense minister’s influence on the policy against Iran is marginal, or even nonexistent. Shoygu will simply finalize and execute what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on in their meeting a month and a half ago. When it comes to renewing the sanctions against Iran, however, Israel and the Russians won’t see eye to eye.

Israel will ask the Russians to prevent the establishment of Iranian bases in Syria and the renewed activity of a missile production facility in Syria that was hit in a mysterious bombing several weeks ago. Israel will also ask the Russians to ensure that the permanent agreement in Syria would include a return of the Golan Heights to the 1974 disengagement agreements, which require full demilitarization on a five-kilometer [ three-mile] strip from the borderline and a dilution of forces inside Syria. Israel will even ask to set the Daraa-Damascus road as the line which no Iranian would be allowed to cross toward the west.

So far, the Russians have rejected the Israeli requests on all issues related to the Iranian deployment in Syria. In recent months, however, Israel has been detecting quite a few fundamental differences of opinion between the Iranian and the Russian interests which may benefit Israel. Moreover, the Russians need Israel in several areas, primarily in the intelligence field. While the Russians have already declared victory in Syria twice in the past year, they are still engaged in a daily battle against Islamic State and al-Nusra Front forces resulting in casualties and damage. In this state of affairs, the last thing the Russians need is another front on Syrian soil between Israel, Iran and Hezbollah, which will make it difficult for them to implement the reconciliation policy.

And on the sidelines, in light of the perceived Israeli support for an independent Kurdish state, the Russians will likely ask Israel to keep an even lower profile. If the Israeli diplomatic move fails to bear fruit, we are headed toward a conflict with the Iranians.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published article on 08 October, 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Pray for timely Israeli diplomatic moves to successfully prevent Iran’s continued subversive expansion in Syria. Appeal to the Heavenly Father for the Israeli diplomats who are pursuing agreements, that they will have wisdom, courage and trust in the Lord of hosts.

Scripture

“All you people of the land take courage,” declares the Lord, “and work; for I am with you,” declares the Lord of hosts. “As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!”


- Haggai 2:4b-5

Hamas Elects New Deputy Chief Known for Orchestrating Kidnappings of Israeli Teens

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Hamas flag

Monday, 09 October, 2017 | Hamas has elected senior group member Saleh al-Arouri, a man best known for orchestrating a lethal triple kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, as deputy chief of its influential Political Bureau, The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

Al-Arouri is the mastermind behind a long list of terrorist attacks in the West Bank [Judea–Samaria]. In June 2014, a Hamas cell in the West Bank kidnapped and murdered Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel and Israeli authorities suspected al-Arouri of coordinating the abductions. Al-Arouri later took credit for the kidnapping and killing in the name of Hamas.

The Palestinian Information Center, a Hamas news site, confirmed that al-Arouri had been elected deputy to Haniyeh and is now “the Hamas movement’s number two man.” The statement further noted that “Twenty three years of detention and expulsion have not weakened the resolve of the leader Saleh al-Arouri.”

Al-Arouri’s promotion is seen as toughening the Islamist movement’s posture in advance of reconciliation talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA). Hamas rejected this week the PA’s demand for disarmament and has vowed to hold onto its weapons to fight Israel.

Hamas and Fatah negotiators are set to meet under Egyptian leadership in Cairo next week in an effort to end the political division between the West Bank and Gaza, which erupted after Hamas took over control and began to govern Gaza in June 2007.

Al-Arouri also plays a major part in Hamas’ attempt to establish a foothold in Lebanon with the support of the Iranian regime in a bid to intensify strategic ties with the Tehran-led Shiite axis.

Al-Arouri moved with other senior Hamas members from Qatar to Lebanon, where Iran’s Shiite proxy Hezbollah is in complete political and military control. The terrorist organization, on orders from Iran, allowed Al-Arouri to establish a foothold in the country and, about two months ago, he visited Tehran with a high-profile Hamas delegation to attend President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration and cement the relationship.

Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 06 October, 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Guilhereme, Paula/Oren neu dag/wikimedia

Prayer Focus
As Hamas grants high leadership to a proven enemy of Israel, appeal to Almighty God for righteousness to reign in place of a deeper foothold for terrorism in the region.

Scripture

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.


- Psalm 7:9

Anti-Israeli UNESCO Resolutions Postponed by Half a Year

by Moran Azulay

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The UNESCO headquarters building in Paris

Monday, 09 October, 2017 | There won’t be any anti-Israeli resolutions raised in the upcoming session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after the chairman of the organization’s Executive Board worked to postpone in half a year two such votes.

In recent years, the Palestinians, with the help of Arab nations, have pushed for several anti-Israeli resolutions in UNESCO, including one that failed to recognize Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, one that rejected Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and one listing Hebron’s Old City—and with it the Cave of the Patriarchs—as a Palestinian World Heritage Site.

But the fact there will be no anti-Israeli resolutions put to a vote in the coming UNESCO gathering is not due to the lack of trying.

Arab nations planned to push two resolutions on Jerusalem and Palestine—identical to resolutions passed six months ago—but the chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board, former German ambassador Michael Worbs, worked to postpone the vote by six months. The two resolutions will therefore not be voted on this year.

At the same time, Israel has been working to create a bloc of countries that would vote in support of the Jewish state. In October 2014, the pro-Israel camp included only the United States, but its ranks have since swollen to 10 nations.

Israel maintains that UNESCO is not the place for political decisions against the State of Israel or the Jewish people, and its official policy is that until the persecution against Israel in UNESCO stops, it will not hold talks concerning UNESCO’s mandate.

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, said that “Until I hear the chairman hitting his gavel and declaring (the resolutions are postponed)—I won’t believe it is happening. Just in case, I will be writing two response speeches.”

  He went on to say that while “It’s nice to hear resolutions are not being passed against you, for us even postponements are pointless.”

Nevertheless, he said, “At this point, we’ve decided to view it as a significant step towards stopping and completely erasing such resolutions. Pulling the resolutions and postponing them by at least half a year is encouraging—certainly when compared to the obsessive persecution of the State of Israel and the Jewish people—but it is not enough.”

“Time will tell if this is a tactical change or a change of attitude that points to significant progress toward cleaning house in the organization and putting a stop to the incitement and politicization against us,” Shama-Hacohen added.

“After the last few unpleasant years, I’d be happy to reach a point in which Israel and its neighbors can work positively in UNESCO and cooperate on education, culture and science as if there were no political conflicts. These conflicts should be left for the leaders in the relevant halls and rooms. Peace will not be achieved in UNESCO, but trust-building steps are possible, instead of dangerous incitement surrounding the most sensitive issue, the Temple Mount.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 08 October, 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Michel Ravassard/wikipedia

Photo License: wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Praise God Most High for the postponement of anti-Israel resolutions in UNESCO. Thank Him for the 10 nations that have aligned themselves with Israel. Persist in prayer for Ambassador Carmel Shama-Hacohen, as he strives to create a situation where Israel and its neighbors can work positively for the true goals of UNESCO.

Scripture

These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.


- Zechariah 8:16

Israel’s Investment against BDS Pays Off

by Tova Tzimuki

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Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 | The legal battle being waged by Israel against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has thus far cost the State of Israel NIS 1.5 million ($430,000), and has registered numerous victories.

Since Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) took over the Justice Ministry, a reinvigorated campaign has been launched in which her office has pursued legal avenues to stymie efforts to boycott Israel.

To that end, she established an inter-office team headed by the Deputy Attorney General (International Law) Roy Schöndorf.

In addition the Justice Ministry established contact with leading attorneys in Europe and the US who have undertaken intensive efforts in local courts on all cases involving the BDS movement.

Indeed, so far the coordination with the lawyers appears to have paid dividends since almost all the cases have resulted in a failure for the BDS.

For example, as part of the attempt to strike at economies of settlements in the West Bank [Judea–Samaria], Palestinians recently filed a complaint to the US District Court in Washington DC, a federal court, claiming that people and groups operating in the settlements are committing crimes against humanity.

The complaint however was dismissed after the court refused to consider it on the grounds that it was inserting into the legal realm a sensitive political subject.

On the other side of the Atlantic, in Spain for example, 24 legal rulings and expert opinions were made against the BDS movement, while in France significant rulings were made against its activists who tried to lead a boycott against Israel.

For example, one court decision ordered that a financial penalty be imposed on BDS activists demonstrating outside supermarkets calling on consumers to boycott Israeli products.

Alongside representation on the courts, achievements were recorded in the legislative realm, demonstrated by the fact that in the last year several pieces of legislation have been ratified in US states against the BDS movement.

Last May, for instance, Texas passed a law forbidding ties with, or investment in, companies that boycott Israel.

“Through Sisyphean work we expose the real face of ‘human rights activists’ and ‘peace activists’ around the world, whose sole goal is to weaken the State of Israel,” Shaked said as she praised the results of her ministry’s initiatives. “This is the new anti-Semitism, only today it is facing a strong and determined state.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 08 October, 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Amos BenGershom/GPO/Wikimedia

Photo License: wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to the Father in heaven that almost all of the legal cases against the BDS movement have resulted in failure for BDS activists. Thank God that the true face of these ‘human rights activists’ is being revealed in courts in many nations. Seek continued heavenly guidance for the work of the Justice Ministry and Ayelet Shaked, minister of justice.

Scripture

I have done justice and righteousness; do not leave me to my oppressors. Be surety for Your servant for good; Do not let the arrogant oppress me.


- Psalm 119:121-122

Thousands Retrace Ancient Route through Hills of Samaria in Israel’s Bible Marathon

by Ilse Posselt

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Samaritan hills near Tel Shiloh

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 | Thousands of international and Israeli runners flocked to the hills of Samaria on Friday to participate in the third annual Bible Marathon, a unique race that winds through the biblical heartland of Israel, the patch of earth that served as the stage on which some of the most well-known stories in the Old Testament played out.

The route led runners from the winding peaks of modern Rosh Ha’ayin (called Even Ezra in the Bible) to Shiloh—the Jewish people’s first spiritual capital, the center of Israel’s worship after their 40 years of wandering in the desert and home to the Ark of the Covenant for over 400 years—following in the ancient footsteps of “a man of Benjamin” described in 1 Samuel 4:12.

The very first “marathoner” ran his race after the children of Israel fought a losing battle against the Philistines. “So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent” (1 Sam. 4:10). Some 30,000 Israelites were killed in battle, including Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, the high priest serving at Shiloh. Moreover, the Philistines also managed to capture the Ark of the Covenant.

In the aftermath of the slaughter, a young Benjaminite raced from the battlefield to the Tabernacle to bring news of the terrible defeat to the prophet Samuel. “Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day, and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dirt on his head” (1 Sam. 4:12). According to Jewish tradition, the man from Benjamin was a young King Saul.

Thousands of years later, research showed that the distance between the battlefield in Even Ezer to Shiloh measures 42 kilometers [26 miles], the official length of an Olympic marathon. This realization gave birth to a dream to reenact the race described in the passage from 1 Samuel 4. Three years ago, this dream came true and the Benjamin Regional Council in conjunction with the Israel Marathon Association hosted the very first Bible Marathon.

This year saw some 3,000 runners from a 100 countries around the world, including Brazil, China, Sweden and Spain, gather at the starting point as the sun was about to spill over the hills of Samaria. The piercing call of the shofar signaled the start of the race. A dozen men dressed in biblical white robes spurred participants on with the rhythmic beat of ancient tarbooka drums. The steep, uphill course, which rises a total of 1,097 meters [3,600 ft] from start to finish, took runners past patches of silvery green olive groves and lush vineyards, proof that the God of Israel is faithful to His promise: “You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food” (Jer. 31:5).

Lukasz Wilk, a Polish tourist who identifies himself as a “Christian Zionist” crossed the finish line first in a time of 3 hours, 23 minutes and 25 seconds. Yiftach Paschur, a native Israeli from a kibbutz in the north of the country, took the second place. Israeli fitness coach, Ayelet Shrem, took the gold in the women’s race.

“I love the people of Israel,” Wilk declared right after crossing the finish line, Breaking Israel News reported.

Wilk visited Jerusalem last year with a delegation of 100 other Polish Christians for Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), when a friend told him about the annual marathon. “When I heard about it, I knew I had to run in the Bible Marathon,” he told Breaking Israel News.

Wilk shared that his participation—and first place—sent a message to the people of Israel as well as to his countrymen. “Some of my friends in Poland said Israel is not a safe country and that I should not come here. I knew it was a lie. Israel is beautiful and safe. In the Second World War, Poland destroyed many Jews—many people and things. But I believe that now we are restoring that past and on a better path… I am very in love with Israel and the Jewish people.”

Apart from the full 42 kilometer [26 mile] course, the program for the day also included a half marathon as well as 10 kilometer [6.2 mile] and 5 kilometer [3.1 mile] fun-runs for the family.

Li Weiyi, a tourist who came to the Jewish state as part of a Chinese delegation to pray for and bless Israel and its people during Sukkot, participated in the 5 kilometer race and shared her experience with Breaking Israel News.

“We are believers in the Bible,” she said. “We came to this race because we wanted to walk in the path of the Bible. It was amazing and spiritual and like nothing I have ever experienced before. This land is amazing. This is the Holy Land.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 10 October 2017)

Photo Credit: Abraham Sobkowski/wikipedia

Photo License: wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Give honor to the Lord for the 3,000 runners from 100 countries who came to participate in this historically significantly marathon. Praise God for safety, enjoyment of the beauty of the land and desires to forge a better path.

Scripture

Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.


- Micah 4:2

Israel Develops Pilotless Drone to Evacuate Wounded Soldiers

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New “Air Hopper” drone

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 | Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the nation’s largest aerospace and defense corporation announced last week that it has enhanced the capabilities of its unmanned drones to evacuate wounded soldiers from the battlefield or to transport supplies to troops in isolated sections of the battlefield.

IAI recently demonstrated a remotely-controlled drone, called Air Hopper, to top officials of both Israel’s defense industry and the IDF, The Times of Israel reported.

The two scenarios simulated for officials involved both the rescue of a wounded soldier and the transport of needed equipment to isolated troops. In the first simulation, the Air Hopper transported a wounded soldier and monitored his vital signs while reporting the readings to the ground. In the second scenario, the drone brought needed equipment to isolated troops near the front line without endangering additional soldiers. Both simulations were carried out successfully.

The Air Hopper’s design is modeled on that of a small manned helicopter and it can carry between 100 and 180 kilograms (220-400 pounds), and can stay airborne for up to two hours and achieve a maximum speed of 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour.

Because the cost of the Air Hopper is “considerably lower” than that of a comparable manned helicopter, services can afford a greater number of them.

The operators can manage flights and missions of the Air Hopper from a safe location outside of the battlefield.

The successful tests mark “an important milestone for IAI in the world of unmanned vehicles, developing the future battlefield and in offering optimal unmanned operational solutions that minimize the risk to human lives as much as possible,” according to Shaul Shahar, corporate VP & general manager, IAI Military Aircraft Group. “I believe these developments will open many doors for us in local and global markets, military and civilian alike.”

Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 04 October, 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/IAI video

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord God for this drone, made for rescue and delivery in combat. Praise the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the deep value of human life that is imbedded in Israeli hearts. Give Him honor for the “Air Hopper,” with enhanced capabilities, that can successfully transport a wounded soldier from the battlefield and report vital signs to medical help, without endangering additional human lives.

Scripture

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.


- Job 33:4

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