Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, October 9, 2020

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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.

Health Expert: Infection Rate Should Be Lower with Lockdown

by Alexandra Lukash

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A police checkpoint in Jerusalem

Thursday, 8 October 2020 | Three weeks into a nationwide lockdown, Israel should have already seen a much lower morbidity rate, said a senior health official Wednesday.

“A week into the lockdown, we should have seen a lower morbidity rate, but we still have not seen a dramatic change. This means only one thing—people are still gathering en masse,” said former head of the Israeli Medical Association, Prof.  Leonid Eidelman.

While there has been a downturn in the number of daily new cases, the positivity rate of tests in Israel remains high at 10.5%.

The Health Ministry said Wednesday that 4,674 new cases had been confirmed since midnight. The national death toll currently stands at 1,803.

Eidelman says there are still too many people violating restrictions and called on public figures to provide a better example.

Israel entered its second lockdown of the pandemic on Sept. 18, hours before the start of the Jewish New Year, due to soaring infection rates that the government had struggled to bring under control.

The lockdown closed all nonessential business, confined people to a small distance from their homes and—due to emergency legislation hastily pushed through Parliament—restricted public protests and indoor prayer congregations. 

“I saw people in synagogues on Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement] in numbers higher than the lockdown restrictions permitted,” Eidelman said. “People just continue to ignore mitigation regulations.” 

Health Ministry Director–General Hezi Levi told Ynetnews on Wednesday that he is cautiously optimistic that there is in fact a downward trend in new cases.

“Still, we must maintain vigilance,” he said.

Eidelman said there would be a clearer indication two weeks after the month-long High Holidays [come to] a close this weekend.

“There are hot spots that must be dealt with and unless they show a drop in morbidity, we will not be able to lift the lockdown,” Eidelman said.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on October 7, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Michio Nagata/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will move mightily on behalf of His nation, bringing an end to the spread of the virus. Also pray, however, that the people of Israel will comply with government restrictions to the best of their ability, honoring God by honoring the authorities that He has put in place.

Scripture

And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.


- Daniel 2:21

Israel, UAE Foreign Ministers Attend “Historic” Summit in Berlin

by Kate Norman

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The Holocaust Memorial in central Berlin

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 | The foreign ministers from Israel and the United Arab Emirates had their first face-to-face meeting since the two countries signed the historic peace accords in Washington last month.

Meeting in Berlin, Israeli Prime Minister Gabi Ashkenazi met his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in the German capital for talks to further increase cooperation between the new peace partners. Their meeting, according to their host, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, “shows that peaceful coexistence in the Middle East is possible.”

Their visit included a significant trip to Berlin’s Holocaust memorial—which was notably Al Nahyan’s idea, according to Israeli Walla news.

The Arab and Jewish diplomats signed the Holocaust memorial guestbook side by side, Ashkenazi’s entry in Hebrew alongside Al Nahyan’s in Arabic—the Emirati minister adding the words “Never Again” in English at the bottom.

“A whole group of humanity fell victim to those calling for extremism and hatred,” the UAE foreign minister wrote, pointing out that their joint visit to the site “underscored the importance of human values such as coexistence, tolerance and accepting the other…These are the values upon which my country was founded.”

Ashkenazi wrote that their meeting “symbolizes the beginning of a new era. An era of peace between peoples. Our joint signature in the book of remembrance is like a shared cry and oath: to remember and not to forget, to be strong and to promise ‘never again.’”

While touring the Holocaust memorial site, the Emirati foreign minister learned that his Israeli counterpart’s parents were Holocaust survivors, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and was “surprised to hear this and asked to hear more.”

“Minister Ashkenazi told him of his roots and his father who survived a labor camp in Bulgaria in 1944 and about his immigration to Israel,” the Foreign Ministry reported.

It’s the beginning of what has been called “the dawn of a new era in the Middle East,” where an Israeli diplomat joins with his Arab and German counterparts to visit a memorial to the murder of over six million Jews—ending with statements from the Arab and Israeli ministers referring to each other as “my friend.”

Last month, the UAE and Bahrain became the third and fourth Arab states to sign official peace agreements with the Jewish state, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Hours after the historic meeting in Berlin on Tuesday, an Egyptian TV station broadcasted a speech by Ashkenazi. The foreign minister’s spokesperson put the significance into context, pointing out that an Egyptian channel broadcast an Israeli diplomat discussing peace in the region on the anniversary of the beginning of the 1973 Yom Kippur War—fought when Egypt led a coalition of Arab states in a surprise attack on Israel.

The broadcast, in context of its historical and political significance, was “most extraordinary,” the spokesperson said. Indeed, several of Tuesday’s events were most extraordinary, marking a shift in attitude and dynamics in the Middle East and around the world.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 7, 2020)

Photo Credit: reginasphotos/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the dawning of the “new era in the Middle East.” Thank Him for the miraculous change in attitude toward Israel as a Jewish state that is occurring among Arab leaders. Pray that the Lord will protect and nurture these growing relationships, and beseech Him that Israel will indeed be a light to these Arab nations and to the world.

Scripture

“And the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.


- Ezekiel 36:23b

Israel, Lebanon Reach “Historic Agreement” to Restart Border Dispute Talks

by Joshua Spurlock

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Israeli Navy forces in the Mediterranean Sea (illustrative)

Monday, 5 October 2020 | Israel and Lebanon are set to start negotiations to resolve their maritime border dispute in the Mediterranean Sea soon, after reaching what the United States called a “historic agreement” on a framework for the talks. The water border is critical for determining drilling rights for natural gas in the shared sea, and the talks could determine much more than that.

“The agreement between the two parties on a common framework for maritime discussions will allow both countries to begin discussions, which have the potential to yield greater stability, security, and prosperity for Lebanese and Israeli citizens alike,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a State Department press release on Friday. The decision to hold the talks was brokered by the US and followed almost three years of American diplomacy. The US will mediate the negotiations.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi thanked the US for their role in a series of posts on Twitter, calling the start of talks an “important step.” Tweeted Ashkenazi, “I believe that success in the talks will significantly contribute to the stability of the region and promote prosperity for the citizens of both Israel and Lebanon.”

The talks are the third diplomatic breakthrough in less than two months between Israel and Arab nations technically at war with them—all mediated by the United States. Previously, Israel reached peace accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

While just starting talks on a border dispute with Lebanon is a far cry from those peace deals, it’s noteworthy that Israel will be able to even negotiate a border with a country whose government is heavily influenced by the Hezbollah terrorist group. In the US statement, Pompeo said the announcement is a “vital step forward that serves the interests of Lebanon and Israel, of the region, and of the United States.”

Those interests would presumably include determining rights to natural gas resources in the Mediterranean Sea. The area separating the naval territory claimed by Israel and Lebanon has potential natural gas drilling sites on both sides of the border. The MEES energy media agency reported in June that Israel had put out bids on a gas field block that lies along the disputed border, with a map showing the Israeli field is in the same area where a Lebanese gas field block is located on the other side of the border dispute.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, in a Hebrew post to Twitter translated by Google, said of the border talks with Lebanon: “We look forward to the opening of negotiations soon. The goal is to bring an end to the dispute over the demarcation of economic waters between Israel and Lebanon.”

The BBC report on the agreement to negotiate cited Steinitz as also saying the talks with Lebanon would begin after Israel’s Feast of Tabernacles holiday that runs through October 10.

Pompeo, in the US State Department press release on the talks, said they would be held in Naqoura, Lebanon under the flag of the United Nations. And making the negotiations even more impactful, the maritime border won’t be the only topic on the table.

Pompeo said the US also “looks forward to separate expert-level talks to define unresolved issues” related to the Blue Line that marks the cease-fire line between Israel and Lebanon. Pompeo said those additional discussions “offer the promise of another positive step for regional stability.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on October 4, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Israeli Defence Forces Spokesperson's Unit/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for this incredible opportunity for Israel to begin discussions with Lebanon. Pray that these negotiations will be successful in dealing with maritime borders but that it will also open the door for further dialogue between the two countries, leading to a peaceful resolution to all border disputes.

Scripture

Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man.


- Psalm 31:19–20a

Bridges for Peace Honored as One of Israel’s Top Christian Allies

by Ilse Strauss

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Bridges for Peace CEO and International President Rebecca J. Brimmer

Monday, 5 October 2020 | In honor of the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) published its first annual list of the Jewish state’s 50 foremost Christian allies, honoring Bridges for Peace CEO and International President Rebecca J. Brimmer with one of the top spots on the prestigious list.

According to the IAF, an umbrella organization that coordinates 44 Israel Allies Caucuses in countries around the world to mobilize support for Israel based on shared Judeo–Christian values, the Christian leaders on the list were selected based on their deep love, staunch support and invaluable contribution—flowing from a foundation of faith—to the State of Israel.

The 50 pastors, organization leaders and former politicians, IAF says, comprise “the leading defenders and advocates for Israel worldwide…”

Hailing the list as a nod to Christian advocates’ crucial contribution, president of the IAF and compiler of the list, Josh Reinstein, said: “Recognizing the heroic work of our Christian supporters is an important display of our gratitude towards them. It is only due to the Christian political support for Israel, that Israel is welcoming embassies to Jerusalem and is now in the position to negotiate new peace deals on the basis of peace through strength.

“Faith-based diplomacy has empowered Israel and its leadership to reach new heights, and it would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of these 50 unique individuals.”

Brimmer took the 13th spot on the list. “It is a great honor to be selected as one of 50 of Israel’s top Christian Allies,” she said. “This honor is not just about me, it is about the Bridges for Peace team and our worldwide network of Christians supporters who love Israel and show it through their prayers, financial support and advocacy for Israel. We love Israel because we love the God of Israel.”

The list was released to coincide with Sukkot because of the special connection Christians have with the feast. The close association stems from Zechariah 14:16, which prophesies a day when the Gentile nations will gather in Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot. “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”  

In recognition of this verse, the streets of Jerusalem are usually packed to capacity over Sukkot with worshipers from a wide array of tribes, tongues, countries and nationalities flocking to the Israeli capital to bring praises to the Lord.

However, with international tourism grinding to a halt and the borders slamming shut in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, this is one of the first years in decades that the streets of Jerusalem are empty of international worshipers. 

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 5, 2020)

Photo Credit: bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this list of Christian leaders who are dedicated to supporting Israel and teaching others to do the same. Pray for Bridges for Peace President and CEO Rebecca J. Brimmer and her leadership team as they strive to be the hands, feet and voice of Christians around the world who love Israel. Pray also for BFP leaders in the nations whose roles are critical to the success of the BFP vision, and ask the Lord to pour out His blessing on every donor and person of prayer who gives of their time and resources to further the mission that God has given BFP. Finally, thank the Lord for the privilege of being a part of BFP and the prophetic fulfillment unfolding before us.

Scripture

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!


- Psalm 133:1

Netanyahu, Putin Discuss Iran, Syria

by Kate Norman

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Prime Minister Netanyahu (right) with President Putin (illustrative)

Thursday, 8 October 2020 | Amid changing Middle Eastern and global dynamics, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone to discuss “regional security issues,” according to Netanyahu’s office.

The leaders discussed “the Iranian aggression and the situation in Syria,” the prime minister’s office announced.

Last week, Russia’s ambassador to Iran announced that Moscow would sell Iran an advanced air defense system after an arms embargo against the Islamic Republic is scheduled to expire on October 18. Both US and Israeli diplomats have been vehemently battling the expiration of the embargo, warning that it would allow Tehran to purchase advanced weapons from the likes of China and Russia and threaten security in the region.

The Kremlin also has a significant military presence in Syria, as Russia has thrown its weight behind the state regime.

The dynamics are complicated, however, in Syria, whose war-torn chaos has provided a playground for Iran to swoop in and build up its military and proxy presence at Israel’s back door. Russia in the past has given Israel the green light to pass through Moscow-controlled airspace in Syria to conduct hundreds of air strikes on Iranian and proxy targets, especially weapons shipments from Iran bound for Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon.

No other details were given as to where the high-level phone call landed on two such weighty topics where both Russia and Moscow have involved and opposing interests.

Netanyahu and Putin also discussed increasing cooperation in the fight against COVID-19.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also wished President Putin a happy birthday, as the premier celebrated his 68th birthday yesterday.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 8, 2020)

Photo Credit: kremlin.ru/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the relationship of tolerance and cooperation between Israel and the Russian presence in Syria will be maintained. Beseech the Lord that the arms embargo against Iran will not in fact expire on October 18 but will remain in place and be honored by the nations of the world, including Russia.

Scripture

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.


- Psalm 3:1–3

Erdoğan’s Plan to Take Over the Palestinian Authority

by Khaled Abu Toameh~Gatestone Institute

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Thursday, 8 October 2020 | On September 21, Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and requested that Turkey send Turkish observers to monitor Palestinian elections, if and when they are held.

The phone call came as Turkey hosted a meeting between Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction and the Iran-backed Hamas movement. At the meeting, Fatah and Hamas reportedly agreed to hold long overdue elections for the PA presidency and parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Abbas’s request surprised many Palestinians and Arabs, especially in the wake of charges that Erdoğan had forged the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey.

This was not the first time that Erdoğan has been accused of election fraud. In 2014, Turkey’s opposition accused Erdoğan’s party of rigging the country’s local elections.

What we are witnessing is an Arab autocrat (Abbas) seeking the help of a Muslim autocrat (Erdoğan) in holding “free and fair” elections. Abbas, it seems, is confident that Erdoğan’s observers would rubber-stamp the results of any Palestinian election to ensure that the PA president emerges victorious.

The 85-year-old Abbas, currently in the 15th year of his 4-year term in office, appears to be an admirer of Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule. While Erdoğan is seeking to resurrect the Ottoman Empire and assume the role of sultan (ruler of a Muslim realm), Abbas is searching for ways to hold onto power until his last day.

Erdoğan apparently wants to expand his influence in the Middle East by meddling in the affairs of the Palestinians after already involving himself in conflicts in Libya and Syria. Now he has a chance to use the Palestinian elections to try to bring his Hamas friends to power after getting rid of Abbas.

Abbas, who has no intention of competing with Erdoğan for the title of sultan, wants to maintain his status as president-for-life of the Palestinians. Abbas is hoping that Erdoğan will assist him in achieving his goal.

In January 2005, Abbas was elected president of the PA. The next presidential election was supposed to take place in January 2009, but a dispute that erupted between Fatah and Hamas has so far prevented the Palestinians from holding presidential and parliamentary elections. The last Palestinian parliamentary election was held in January 2006, when Hamas won most of the Palestine Legislative Council seats.

A year later, Hamas staged a violent coup in the Gaza Strip, overthrowing Abbas’s PA and seizing full control of the coastal enclave, home to nearly two million Palestinians. Since then, the Palestinians have been left without a parliament due to the split between the PA-controlled West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Several attempts by Egypt and other Arab countries to resolve the Fatah–Hamas rift over the past 12 years have failed, leaving the Palestinians with 2 separate mini-states: one in the West Bank, the other in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas, in the past 11 years, has more than once expressed his desire to end the conflict with Hamas and pave the way for holding the long overdue elections. Such statements have often been ridiculed by his critics.

“Palestinian elections are merely a lie we’ve been hearing for years and never see happening on the ground,” noted several social media users on Twitter. One posted a video that included various statements by Abbas in which he talks about holding new elections.

In 2009, Abbas announced: “I have issued a decree for holding presidential and parliamentary elections on January 24, 2010.”

In 2016, Abbas stated: “We are continuing our sincere efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation [with Hamas] by forming a national unity government…and holding presidential and parliamentary elections.”

In 2017, Abbas at the United Nations [UN] General Assembly called on Hamas to allow the PA to assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip and hold general elections.

Last year, in another speech at the UN General Assembly, Abbas again announced his intention to hold presidential and parliamentary elections.

In September 2020, during a videoconference meeting of leaders of Palestinian factions, Abbas said: “Despite all the obstacles you are aware of, we are preparing to hold the parliamentary election, and then the presidential election, with the participation of all the Palestinian factions.”

Abbas has long managed to avoid fulfilling his election promise, once by blaming Hamas and another time by blaming Israel. As far as Abbas is concerned, everyone is to blame for the absence of free and fair elections, except himself.

Now Palestinians and some Arabs are saying that they no longer believe Abbas.

“We have become used to the talk about elections,” remarked Hesham Abo Al-Hosom, a Palestinian political activist from the Gaza Strip. “The elections Abbas is talking about are a play steeped in lies and delusions.”

Palestinian social media user Rawan Armana commented: “We are fed up with speeches, lies and deceit. We have lost confidence [in our leaders].”

Khairallah Khairallah, a Lebanese journalist and political commentator, called on the Palestinian factions to explain what they mean when they talk about achieving national unity and holding new elections. “There is a need to stop selling illusions,” he added.

Erdoğan’s renewed interest in the Palestinian issue might be seen in the context of his embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates, including Hamas. If Erdoğan is going to send Turkish observers to monitor the Palestinian elections, it is because he would like to help his friends in Hamas win the vote.

A report by the Century Foundation on the Turkish government’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood estimated that 20,000 Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members live on Turkish soil. Recently, another report revealed that Turkey has given passports to a dozen members of Hamas in Istanbul.

Erdoğan evidently cares about Hamas more than Abbas does. The Turkish leader would certainly like to see Palestinians hold new elections—and he is prepared to provide all the help needed. By inviting Turkey to monitor the elections, Abbas is playing into the hands of Erdoğan and Hamas. Abbas is advancing Turkey’s mission of replacing his regime with a Muslim Brotherhood-led government.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Gatestone Institute on October 2, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: geralt/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that free and legitimate elections will be held, allowing the Palestinian people to be heard through their votes. Ask the Lord to prevent Turkey—and any other outside forces—from interfering with elections in order to promote their own goals. Also pray that no Muslim Brotherhood-led government will remain in or come to power.

Scripture

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


- Psalm 129:5–6

Rocket Fire on Southern Israel Resumes

by Kate Norman

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An Israeli family taking cover amid rocket fire (illustrative).

Tuesday, 6 October 2020 | Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket over the border into Israel Monday night, the Israeli military reported, prompting a retaliatory strike hours later.

The projectile was fired toward the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the enclave, the main border crossing where humanitarian aid and goods enter the Strip. The Gazan rocket likely landed in an open field, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), causing no casualties or damage.

Nonetheless, Israel takes any attempts to harm its civilians seriously.

“In response to the rocket that was fired from Gaza into Israel earlier this evening, our aircraft just struck a Hamas target in Gaza,” the military announced on Twitter. “We will protect Israeli civilians from terror.”

No casualties were reported in the Israeli air strikes.

Last night’s rocket broke a nearly month-long silence in the region. The last Gazan rocket attack took place on September 15—while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was at the White House signing the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

After terrorists in the enclave finished expressing their feelings on the peace agreement with rockets, the Hamas terror group in control of the Strip and Israel officially reached a cease-fire, mediated by the Gulf state of Qatar.

Up until last night, the cease-fire restored quiet to the on-again-off-again volatile region.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 6, 2020)

Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the cease-fire will hold, giving the citizens of southern Israel some respite from the constant rocket attacks that are business-as-usual in the region. Pray that Qatar will continue to use its influence, forcing Hamas-led Gaza to end its reign of terror.

Scripture

Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men, who have purposed to make my steps stumble. I said to the LORD: “You are my God; hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD. O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted.”


- Psalm 140:4, 6–8

Report: Israel Helps the World Fight Forest Fires

by Ilse Strauss

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A fire raging near the Israel–Gaza border in August

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 | In September, a team of Israeli firefighters touched down in San Francisco to join their more than 16,000 American colleagues fighting the devastating wave of wildfires raging across California burning up millions of acres of land.

Lending the US a helping hand is but one example in a long list of Israeli efforts to come alongside countries around the globe with expert advice on fire prevention, detection, firefighting and rehab strategies, Israel21c reports.

The assistance is certainly needed.

Hotter, drier temperatures combined with improper use of land and a gross human disregard for nature have created the perfect storm for an uptick in the number of wildfires burning with greater frequency and ferocity across the globe, according to Israeli21c. The devastating fires in California, Australia’s largest-ever bushfire and thousands of blazes tearing through Argentina and Cyprus are but some examples from the past year alone.

As with nearly all Israeli expertise, the Jewish state firefighting know-how was hard-gained through bitter national trials.

Israel regularly battles a spate of wildfires during the hot, dry summer months. On top of that, the tiny Jewish state is also the target of terror arson, with daily incendiary balloon attacks launched from the Gaza strip. Over the past two years, thousands of acres of agricultural land, parks and forests have been burned up.

The precarious situation has forced Jerusalem to think outside the box to find creative answers to the diabolical problem. And as usual, Israel is eager to share its expertise, literally forged in the fire, with others.

The list of Israeli firefighting inventions utilized around the world is a long one. Perhaps the simplest and most cost effective entails roping in farm animals.

Israeli studies have shown that grazing herds of cows, sheep, camels and particularly goats offer a highly effective fire prevention strategy as the foraging flocks create ecologically friendly firebreaks in wooded areas.

The logic is simple: the grazing herds feed on the excess plant growth like grass, bushes and low branches in densely vegetated areas like forests. The thinner vegetation means that a fire that sparks at ground level is unlikely to spread upwards where the flames can easily spread from treetop to treetop—often turning a small blaze into a raging inferno.

Since the start of the year, tens of thousands of sheep have been brought to pasture in southern Israel’s woods—the prime target area for Gaza’s terror arson attacks—with great success.

California has taken note of the triumph and now looks to Israel for help to re-introduce the practice, Israel21c reports. 

According to Dr. Liron Amador, a researcher at the Open Landscape Institute (OLI) at the Tel Aviv University, employing grazing as a fire prevention strategy may soon be employed in other areas in Israel.

“A change is happening,” Israel21c quoted Amador as saying. “In many places, communities come to realize that grazing is a more lucrative and environmentally benign option than mechanically cutting down the vegetation and dumping it in waste sites.

“Instead, you can take out a herd of goats that does all the work.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 7, 2020)

Photo Credit: Eshkol Regional Council

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that the nations are again seeking Israel’s help and expertise, this time in the areas of fire-fighting and fire prevention. Pray that the assistance they bring will indeed help other countries use their resources more wisely to prevent fires in the future. Also beseech the Lord for an end to existing fires that are still ravaging parts of the world.

Scripture

“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”


- Genesis 12:3

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