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A Year of Crisis

Friday, October 28, 2022

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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.

Terror Spree Continues: Israeli Wounded in Stabbing Attack

by Ilse Strauss

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The attack happened in Al-Funduq.

Wednesday, 26 October 2022 | In the latest terror episode playing out in Judea and Samaria, a 55-year-old Israeli man was seriously injured in a stabbing attack yesterday afternoon in Al-Funduq, a Palestinian village in northeastern Samaria, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson’s Unit said.

The man was reportedly shopping in the village and was attacked after exiting a store. Despite his injuries, he was able to reach his car and drive to a nearby junction for help. Medics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service treated the man at the scene, after which he was taken to the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan.

The IDF launched a manhunt in the area to capture the terrorist. He was arrested later last night in Al-Funduq.

In a separate incident last night, a Palestinian teenager carrying a knife was taken into custody at a border crossing close to Jerusalem.

The 16-year-old carrying an object in a plastic bag aroused the suspicion of the security forces stationed at the crossing. They called to him to halt, after which he attempted to throw the bag away and flee. The security forces gave chase and managed to apprehend him. He was found to be armed with a knife and told officers that he planned to carry out a stabbing attack.

Yesterday’s incidents are but the latest episodes in a long list of terror attacks, attempted terror attacks, violent riots and firefights in Judea and Samaria. Tensions in the so-called West Bank have simmered near boiling point since spring, when the IDF launched Operation Break the Wave to curb a deadly terror wave that saw 19 people murdered in six separate attacks across Israel in a matter of weeks. The operation entails security forces undertaking near nightly military forages into the Palestinian towns and villages to apprehend would-be terrorists before they can strike.

These anti-terror raids have routinely escalated into violent clashes, with heavily armed Palestinian gunmen engaging the IDF forces in fierce firefights.

The IDF’s efforts have born fruit though. In the seven months since Operation Break the Wave was launched, more than 2,050 counterterrorism operations have been carried out, during which thousands of wanted individuals were apprehended and hundreds of weapons confiscated. More importantly, the operation brought an end to the deadly wave of terror and returned a sense of security to Israel’s streets.

Yet there has also been a price to pay. Tensions have spiked in Judea and Samaria, particularly in northern Samaria, with a sharp uptick in terror attacks and attempted terror attacks on soldiers and civilians.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 26, 2022)

Photo Credit: أمين/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord to act to bring a swift end this relentless wave of terror that has plagued Israel for months, particularly in Judea and Samaria. Pray that He will draw a hedge of protection around soldiers and civilians alike, keeping them safe from the vicious hatred that seeks to spill their blood.

Scripture

Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; in You I take shelter…In Your mercy cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul; for I am Your servant.


- Psalm 143:9, 12

Iran’s Khamenei: The West Now Fears our Drones and Missiles

by JNS

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Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei

Friday, 21 October 2022 | The West formerly paid little attention to Tehran’s missile and drone technologies but now concedes that they are very dangerous and complains about Iran giving them to “so-and-so,” Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said in a statement broadcasted on Wednesday.

According to the video reported by MEMRI, Khamenei’s remarks broadcasted by Iranian Channel 1 could be a reference to recent accusations that Russia is using Iranian-made “suicide drones” in Ukraine.

Israel has been providing Ukraine with “basic intelligence about Iranian drones” that Russia is deploying in its war against Ukraine, the New York Times reported last week.

Khamenei further stated that the drones represent Iran’s pride.

Later in his speech, he said that global industrial usage of nuclear energy has expanded and that if Iran had not begun developing its nuclear project many years ago, it would have had to do so now and bear the repercussions of being far behind the rest of the world.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 20, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Khamenei.ir/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray against the budding ties between Iran and Russia, an alliance that is not only proving deadly to the people of Ukraine, but will also have severe implications for Israel. Pray that the potential lethal fruit of a Tehran–Moscow coalition will be cut off and brought to nothing before it can ripen and yield a fatal harvest.

Scripture

For my enemies speak against me; and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together…Let them be confounded and consumed who are adversaries of my life; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor who seek my hurt.


- Psalm 71:10, 13

Google Opens High-tech School in Israel

by JNS

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Google and Reichman University have established the School of High Tech at the university’s campus in Herzliya.

Tuesday, 25 October 2022 | Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Israel’s Reichman University have established a school to train high-tech professionals. The school will offer courses in computer programming, sales and data analysis, among other subjects, the university said on Monday.

“We believe that a variety of voices, opinions and perspectives enriches Israeli high-tech and its developments,” said Barak Regev, managing director of Google Israel.

Although Israel has a thriving high-tech sector, a significant shortage of experienced tech professionals has resulted in tens of thousands of open job offerings.

The School of High Tech in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, will subsidize students from various communities “including women, the ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, members of the Ethiopian community and people from the geosocial periphery and disadvantaged socioeconomic groups,” the university said.

Courses will be introduced over the next weeks and students who complete them will receive credit towards a degree, the university announced. The program will include core academic studies.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 24, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: jns.org

Prayer Focus
Sing praises to the Lord for this tremendous initiative that will create opportunities and equip Israelis with the necessary skills to take this tiny nation with such huge potential forward. Ask the Lord for His blessing over the school and its students, and that He will use it to fulfill His promise that Israel will serve as a light to the nations.

Scripture

The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.


- Isaiah 60:3

IDF Launches Week-long Drill in Northern Israel

by JNS

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IDF forces during a training exercise near Katzrin in the Golan Heights

Friday, 21 October 2022 | The Israel Defense Forces [IDF] announced on Thursday the launch of a planned week-long military exercise in northern Israel.

During the drill, local civilians will see increased military traffic and may hear explosions, according to the IDF Spokesperson.

It stressed that the drill was planned, and was part of the military’s 2022 training program.

In September, the IDF held its first-ever International Operational Innovation Conference at the Tze’elim Ground Forces Training Base in the northwestern Negev, where it hosted chiefs of staff and commanders from dozens of militaries around the world.

They witnessed the elite Multidimensional Unit—a kind of innovation unit that tests out operational concepts before they are handed down to the rest of the IDF—take part in the live fire drill together with Armored Corps tanks, Golani Brigade infantry, IAF [Israel Air Force] fighter jets and helicopters, drones that drop grenades on precise locations, Ground Forces robots and others.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 20, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Michael Giladi/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Bring every man and woman involved in this exercise before the Lord, praying for His blessing, protection, strength and peace over them. Ask the Lord to give supernatural insight to those in charge of this exercise so that it will serve as a means to equip and prepare those standing guard over Israel with whatever they need to keep the land and her people safe.

Scripture

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.


- Psalm 32:8

Israel Destroys Nablus Bomb Factory, Eliminates Terror Group Leader

by Ilse Strauss

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IDF soldiers in Nablus (illustrative)    

Tuesday, 25 October 2022 | Nablus awoke in the predawn hours this morning to the crackle of gunfire and angry shouts of “Allahu Akbar” as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out an operation deep in the heart of the Palestinian city to crack down on the Lion’s Den, a terror group responsible for a spate of recent terror attacks.

The military hailed the operations as a success. During the hours-long raid, security forces targeted the group’s headquarters, destroying an explosives factory and killing the group’s leader, Wadi al-Houh.

According to the army, the raid sparked intense clashes, with armed gunmen opening fire on and hurling stones at the IDF forces. The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry reported that five Palestinians—including al-Houh—were killed and over 20 were injured. According to Palestinian media, all those killed were members of the Lion’s Den group.

The Lion’s Den was formed in response to the IDF’s Operation Break the Wave, which the military launched in the spring following a terror wave that saw 19 people killed across Israel in six separate terror attacks. The operation consists of near-nightly counterterror arrest raids, particularly focusing on Nablus and Jenin.

Al-Houh was reportedly the founding father of the terror upstart, with his home serving as the terror hub. He was also responsible for manufacturing explosive devices and procuring weapons for the members of the group. The IDF highlighted him as a “main target of the operation.”

Despite its small size, the Nablus-based group was able to carry out a number of shooting and bombing attacks against Israeli troops and civilians, most notably the murder of St.-Sgt. Ido Baruch in a drive-by shooting.

“Israel will never be deterred from acting for its security,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said this morning. “Part of this squad are people who hurt Ido Baruch, and the moment they hurt us, IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians, they should know it will end badly.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 25, 2022)

Photo Credit: Israelsoldier at English Wikipedia/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for providing the Israeli forces with the insight and ability to dismantle this new terror upstart before it was able to commit more terror attacks and shed more blood. Pray that the remainder of the Lion’s Den will scatter and the group completely disappear now that their leader has been illiminated. At the same time, continue to pray for the loved ones of St.-Sgt. Ido Baruch as they mourn his death.

Scripture

Blessed be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.


- Psalm 144:1

UN Commission Report Slams Israeli ‘Occupation’ as Illegal

by Dmitriy Shapiro ~ JNS

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Children rush out of a school after a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the building.

Monday, 24 October 2022 | The UN Human Rights Council’s open-ended Commission of Inquiry (COI) into Israel released its first report to the General Assembly on Thursday, deeming the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria illegal under international law.

The report found what it called the “occupation” to be illegal “due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de-facto annexation policies,” according to a statement released along with the document.

“Recent statements by the Secretary-General and numerous member States have clearly indicated that any attempt at unilateral annexation of a State’s territory by another State is a violation of international law and is null and void; 143 member States including Israel last week voted in favor of a General Assembly resolution reaffirming this,” stated Navi Pillay, chair of the commission.

According to the UN, the COI’s review was based on “interviews with experts and stakeholders, and submissions received following a call for submissions.”

“By ignoring international law in establishing or facilitating the establishment of settlements, and directly or indirectly transferring Israeli civilians into these settlements, successive Israel governments have set facts on the ground to ensure permanent Israeli control in the West Bank,” Pillay continued.

Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices, told JNS that the commission was set up to find Israel guilty.

“It was staffed by individuals that already said Israel was guilty before they got the job and then, surprise, they find Israel guilty,” she said.

Bayefsky called it a deliberate attempt to demonize and destroy the Jewish state.

“That’s what it intended to do. That’s what the Human Rights Council members who voted for it intended it to be. That’s why they picked those individuals to launch their campaign, and now, they’ve closed the circle,” she said. “And the only question that remains is whether any serious person takes this modern form of anti-Semitism seriously and will the United States adopt the COI Elimination Act to ensure that American taxpayers are no longer footing the bill—because right now, until that passes, we’re still picking up the tab for this UN assault on the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Jewish organizations involved in advocating at the UN unanimously condemned the report.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations released a joint statement from chair Dianne Lob and CEO William Daroff, calling out the commission for its double standard.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council and its Commission of Inquiry on Israel are a complete and utter farce,” Lob and Daroff said. “The 28-page report references Israel 277 times and not once names or even acknowledges the actions of Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the dozens of terrorist entities and terrorist proxy groups seeking the explicit destruction of Israel and death of the Jewish people. Further, it does not mention that these organizations fire rockets and deliberately target innocent civilians.”

By not recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself, the commission, according to Lob and Daroff, has given its seal of approval to the terrorist organizations committing violent attacks on Israeli targets and for the Palestinian Authority [PA] to continue its malign actions, funding programs to kill Jews such as its “pay-for-slay” program.”

The Conference and other organizations pointed to the COI commissioners’ history of making anti-Semitic statements, including a recent interview where Commissioner Miloon Kothari questioned Israel’s legitimacy during an interview and expressed the belief that Jews control the media.

“Based on the outrageous and anti-Semitic comments made by some of the members of the Commission of Inquiry over the summer, WJC [the World Jewish Congress] had little hope that their first report to the UN General Assembly would be a balanced one and one that would contribute to bringing Israelis and Palestinians closer together. Unfortunately, we were not wrong,” WJC wrote in a statement.

American Jewish Congress CEO Ted Deutch also focused on the report’s lack of condemnation of terrorist organizations and called for the commission to be disbanded. He called the report biased and urged countries and organizations worldwide to reject it.

“There’s no mention of Hamas. There’s no mention of terrorism. There’s no mention of the thousands of rockets that rained down on Israel with the sole intention of killing as many civilians as possible, and there’s a failure to acknowledge that every country, including Israel, has a right to defend itself,” said Deutch in a statement. “The members of this commission were biased. They expressed that bias right from the start. This commission is malicious. It is illegitimate. It should be disbanded.”

B’nai B’rith International recalled that another member of the COI once said that Jews made complaints of anti-Semitism “like rice at a wedding.”

B’nai B’rith President Seth Riklin and CEO Daniel Mariaschin wrote in a statement that the COI demanded that only Israel, not the Palestinians or others, comply with international law, as evident by the commission’s referral of Israel to the International Criminal Court.

“If it weren’t clear enough from the unprecedented scope of the ‘commission,’ from the fact that it has almost entirely focused its condemnation on Israel after the Human Rights Council condemned Israel in advance, and from the appointment only of commissioners with public, preexisting views against Israel, the two first reports of this body confirm a prejudice that is as extreme as it is blatant,” Riklin and Mariaschin wrote. “The commission members, operating within a system that condemns Israel more than all other countries combined, patently do not see a need even to pretend to conduct their ‘inquiry’ objectively.”

Mariaschin and Riklin expressed outrage that the report spoke extensively about Israel violating the property rights of the Palestinians, claiming that Israel acquires land by force—land which it calls an “integral part to the Palestinian identity”—and that Israel is meting out collective punishment against the Palestinians. The allegations were based on interviews with six Palestinian sources. But the commission did not interview or mention any Israelis who have been harmed by myriad attacks by Hamas and Palestinian terrorists.

Finally, the report concludes that it is the Israelis who are standing in the way of the realization of a two-state solution, rather than the intransigence of Hamas and Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political party] leaders.

“The commission report fails to note that Israel had previously completely withdrawn all civilian residents and military personnel from the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian Sinai and southern Lebanon; that Israel had previously offered Palestinians a state on nearly all the territory of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza; and that prior Jewish inhabitants had been forcibly removed from eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank beginning during the regional war of 1948,” Riklin and Mariaschin said.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 23, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Echo American Jewish Congress CEO Ted Deutch’s call before the Lord. Pray for this blatantly biased commission to be disbanded. Ask the Lord to reveal the true motive behind the report as a premeditated attempt to demonize and destroy the Jewish state. Pray that countries and organizations worldwide will not be deceived but rather reject both the report and the commission that authored it.

Scripture

They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips…Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted.


- Psalm 140:3, 8

Britain’s New Prime Minister and Israel

by Kate Norman

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Wednesday, 26 October 2022 | The United Kingdom’s new prime minister and new head of the leading Conservative Party, Rishi Sunak, has a history of supporting Israel and standing with the Jewish people.

Sunak took over as Conservative party leader on Monday to replace outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss. He is the first UK prime minister of color and is also the wealthiest to hold the position in the nation’s history, with a personal fortune estimated at nearly double that of King Charles III’s fortune.

And good news for Israel, the incoming prime minister has voiced his support for Israel and the Jewish people, calling the libel that Israel is an apartheid state “offensive,” recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and vowing to do more to protect and stand with the Jewish people against anti-Semitism and hatred.

“With remarkable frequency it emerges that those who label Israel an apartheid state also deny Israel’s right to exist,” Sunak told the Jewish Chronicle in August. “It is a claim that stands as an obstacle to peace, and the government should be calling it out at the UN and wherever else it is used.”

“The apartheid claim is not only factually incorrect but quite frankly offensive,” Sunak added. “Like any nation, Israel is not perfect, but it is a vibrant multi-ethnic democracy with a free press and the rule of law. It stands as a shining beacon of hope in a region of autocracies and religious extremists.”

Also in August, Sunak attended a Conservative Friends of Israel event, the Times of Israel reported, and proclaimed that Jerusalem is “indisputably the historic capital” of Israel. He also declared that moving the UK’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is “something [he would] like to do,” though noting that it would be challenging.

In an opinion piece for the Jewish News, Sunak, a practicing Hindu, wrote in June that his faith is important to him and that he loves to visit the temple in his home city of Southampton. He can do that and practice his religion, Sunak noted, without fear of abuse or harm, unlike Jewish people across the UK.

Sunak lamented the fact that security guards are necessary to ensure safety at synagogues and religious schools across the nation and noted the rising cases of anti-Semitism in the UK.

“This is not an issue to be equivocal about: everyone across Parliament and the country must take a robust position on eliminating anti-Semitism, and I am determined to ensure this scourge on our society is eradicated,” Sunak wrote.

“Anti-Semitism can take many forms,” he continued. “I will continue to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Bill, that will prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion.

“The Jewish community is right to call out those who seek to damage the only Jewish state in the world,” he added.

“As a country,” Sunak concluded, “we must work collaboratively to eliminate racism and discrimination wherever we see it.”

“I have a simple message to the Jewish community,” Sunak concluded, “a Conservative government led by me will listen to your concerns, and will always do its utmost to address them.”

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid wrote a tweet congratulating his new counterpart.

“Israel and the United Kingdom are close allies,” Lapid wrote. “We share not only mutual interests, but an unwavering commitment to democratic values.”

“I look forward to working together to shape a stronger, safer future for both our countries and peoples,” Lapid concluded.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 26, 2022)

Photo Credit: Office of U.S. Ambassador to U.K./commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for Rishi Sunak. Bring him before the Lord and pray for His wisdom and guidance to mark his tenure. Pray that he will remain true to his promises of tackling anti-Semitism in Britain, standing with Israel and moving the UK embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.

Scripture

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.


- Proverbs 18:24