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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.
Assad Winning, Iran Staying in Syria is “New Reality,” Says Former US Ambassador
Thursday, 31 August 2017 | The last United States ambassador to Syria said that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has won, that Iran is likely to stay in Syria, and that “this is the new reality that we have to accept, and there isn’t much we can do about it,” in an interview Monday.
In the interview, which was conducted by the Emirati newspaper The National, Robert Ford also said that the dynamic on the ground, “has made the situation worse for Israel.”
Without more assistance in the form of “money, weapons—including surface-to-air missiles” as well as military advisors from their backers, Ford explained, “it would be impossible [for the rebels] to defeat Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies.”
Ford also noted that even though Assad was violating ceasefires that Russia had arranged, Russia would take no action against Assad for doing so. He also said that he expected Assad to try and assert control over all of Syria and even to target the Kurds.
Regarding the threat to Israel from the new alignment, Ford said that Iran has thousands of fighters from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan under its command and that they “are not going home after this settles.” He added that these fighters “are battle-hardened and would reinforce Hezbollah in any new war against Israel.”
In addition, the placement of Russian anti-aircraft weaponry in Syria was limiting Israel’s freedom to maneuver in the air.
A year ago Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Falaki, who commanded many of the Afghan fighters said that Iran had formed a “Shia liberation army” with the goal of destroying Israel.
Jonathan Spyer, director of the Rubin Center, wrote in an analysis last week that Iran was emerging strengthened in its control of both Syria and Iraq. He observed further that the Sunni-led states, Israel, and the United States lacked the focus and unity to defeat “the cohesive and coherent Iran-led bloc.”
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 29 August 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Bashar al-Assad/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Intercede for PM Netanyahu, Pres. Rivlin and other leaders in Israel to trust and to be strengthened and encouraged by the Lord from within. Pray that He will instruct them with wisdom to deal with Iran’s growing presence in Syria. Ask God for His heavenly armies to protect the northern borders of Israel.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.
IDF Arrests Palestinian Singer for Inciting Terrorism
by Yoav Zitun
Friday, 01 September 2017 | Israeli security forces arrested on Tuesday a singer from the village of Bani Zeid in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] over a song praising Omar al-Abed, the terrorist who stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family in Halamish last month.
In addition to the singer, Muhammad al-Bargouti, other accomplices who produced the song as well as an online video for it were also arrested.
IDF [Israeli Defense Forces], Israel Police and Border Police forces also confiscated recording equipment from the studio the song was recorded in.
The lyrics of the song include lines that refer to the terrorist’s village, Kobar: “I heard the gunshots from the rifle in Kobar / Omar crossed the woods and carried out the attack.”
The song was played at a wedding a week ago and a video of it was uploaded to social media.
Since, Israeli security forces have arrested the songwriter, the producer, and the distributor of the song.
This arrest of singers and writers of Palestinian incitement songs is the first of its kind in the West Bank.
IDF and Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] forces have also once again shut down the Hebron radio station Al Hurriya for regular broadcast of content inciting terrorism.
In addition, IDF and Shin Bet forces carried out a raid overnight in the West Bank in search of weapons, uncovering nine homemade weapons in the village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa, a pistol in Hebron, and a homemade weapon in the town of Al-Ram.
Fifteen suspects were arrested overnight, 11 of them suspected of terror activity and violent rioting. The suspects were arrested in Ramallah, Nablus, Balata, Mirka, Ya’bad, Rammun, Deir Abu Mash’al, Asira ash-Shamaliya and Bani Na’im.
Clashes broke out during IDF operations in al-Am’ari, with some 200 Palestinians burning tires and throwing stones at IDF forces. The troops responded with crowd dispersal measures. Several Palestinians were reportedly injured and taken to the hospital for medical treatment.
Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Middle East Monitor
Offer petition to the Lord for the safety of the IDF soldiers who face dangerous situations in these special operations and still have to face protesters afterward. Ask God to guide them with clear minds and acts of boldness. Thank God that the singer who incites terror acts was arrested and for the message that any kind of terror act will not be tolerated in Israel.
I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
Trump “Optimistic” over Peace Prospects, Says US Delegation to Middle East
by Ilse Posselt
Monday, 28 August 2017 | US President Donald Trump’s commitment to fostering peace in the Middle East stands firm and he remains “hopeful and optimistic” to finding a solution that will see Israel and the Palestinians living together in harmony.
That was the message that a top US delegation communicated to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas, last week. The delegation, including Trump’s Senior Adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Special Envoy for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy, Dina Powell, arrived in Israel on Wednesday evening following stops in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, where they met with senior officials in a bid to gain regional backing for the prospective push for peace.
The delegation’s first meeting in the Promised Land was on Thursday morning with Netanyahu at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) headquarters in Tel Aviv. Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, and US Ambassador to the Jewish state, David Friedman, also joined the three-and-a-half-hour discussion.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu expressed his confidence in the possibility for peace in the region. “We have a lot of things to talk about,” the prime minister said. “How to advance peace, stability and security in our region—prosperity too—and I think all of them are within our reach.”
Netanyahu also hailed the strong ties between Israel and the US and thanked Trump and the members of the delegation for their continued efforts to secure peace. “I think this is a sign of the great alliance between us and the great goals that guide us.”
For his part, Kushner assured Netanyahu of Trump’s commitment to “achieving a solution here that will be able to bring prosperity and peace to all people in the region.”
Echoing Netanyahu, Kushner added that “the relationship between Israel and America is stronger than ever and we really thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for his leadership and his partnership. We really appreciate the commitment of the prime minister and his team to engaging very thoughtfully and respectfully in the way that the president has asked him to do.”
Following the meeting with Israel in Tel Aviv, the delegation headed to Ramallah, the seat of the PA, where they received a rather riotous welcome. Ahead of the delegation’s arrival, dozens of Palestinian demonstrators lined the streets to protest what they hailed as the US’s pro-Israel stance.
Speaking to reporters, Mahmoud al-Aloul, a senior official in Abbas’s Fatah movement, lamented that the foundation of the US’s talks with the PA president was based on “Israeli lies” as opposed to issues of critical importance to the Palestinians, such as an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital. Al-Aloul’s reference to “lies” pertains to the US’s stance that the PA’s continued commitment to paying salaries to terrorists and their families constitutes incitement against Israel and thus stands in the way of peace.
“I do not think the American envoys are coming carrying anything,” he speculated, “nothing at all.”
Al-Aloul is not the only Palestinian leader to express his misgivings. Ahead of the delegation’s arrival last week, Abbas himself scoffed at the American efforts, slamming Trump’s administration as being in “chaos.” Abbas critiqued not only current tensions in Washington, but also Trump’s approach to the push for peace in the Middle East and what he viewed as the US’s lack of commitment to the Palestinian demands.
Despite the Palestinians’ misgivings, Kushner told Abbas that Trump was committed to “peaceful relations between the countries in the whole region” and was “very optimistic and hopeful for a better future for all Palestinian people and Israeli people.”
Putting his public skepticism on the back-burner, Abbas chose to endorse the US’s optimism, stating that a peace deal with Israel was not off the table, the PA’s official news outlet Wafa reported. “We know that this issue is difficult and complex, but nothing is impossible in the face of good efforts,” Abbas said.
During official remarks following the meeting, Abbas reiterated his vote of confidence in the US’s peace push. “We affirm that this [US] delegation is working toward peace, and we are working with it to achieve soon what Trump called the ‘peace deal’.”
According to The Times of Israel, Kushner’s remarks were vague and failed to address the issue of a two-state solution.
With the meetings in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt concluded, the US delegation headed home in time for the weekend, leaving Israeli and international media to speculate as to the specific outcomes of the trip. While the statements coming from all parties were overwhelmingly positive and the messages relayed spoke of hope and optimism, “there was little to suggest any breakthrough or significant progress towards ending a decades-old conflict is imminent,” Reuters concluded.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 28 August 2017)
Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO
Continue to lift up the peace process between Israel and Abbas, praying for resolution and for God’s will to be done. Ask God to direct Prime Minister Netanyahu’s steps and to make them sure.
A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
The IDF’s Anti-Terror School
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | Underground warfare, tactical breaching, and robotics are just a few of the specializations that the Lotar Counter-Terror School teaches IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers. These instructors are responsible for training all IDF units in counter-terrorism. They are combat soldiers who train others and, if needed, take part in operational activities.
The school is divided into different sections according to specialization:
The main responsibilities of snipers are precisely hitting targets from distances and providing cover for squads. Combat soldiers who serve in special forces units come to the Lotar Counter Terror School for a ten-week-long sniper’s course with professional sniper instructors. Sniper instructors need outstanding precision, as well as the ability to maintain extreme focus under pressure.
Though underground warfare is still being perfected, IDF soldiers learn the latest techniques. Instructors must complete a seven-week-long teaching course in which they gain in-depth knowledge of underground warfare. These instructors train soldiers to think outside of the box, respond quickly, and anticipate the unexpected.
These instructors break through doors for the teams they accompany during operations. They identify the type of door in order to choose the appropriate tools to breach it as quietly and efficiently as possible. Recruits drafting to the breaching team don’t need prior training to join, but they do need to work independently, make decisions under pressure, and pass an eight-week-long course.
Climbing, Rappelling, and Rescuing (CRR)
The CRR is the only team in the Lotar Counter-Terror School which requires previous training. Soldiers are expected to come with climbing and rappelling experience. CRR is crucial in underground warfare and special operations.
Soldiers who enjoy playing video games often look to join the IDF Robotics Team. Robotics instructors come with a basic knowledge of technology and an ability to learn quickly. The Robotics team is split into two sections: operational and instructional. Soldiers in the warfare section join operations and assist squads with robots. The instructional team teaches combat soldiers how to use the robots.
All combat soldiers, from recruits to officers, need to fire quickly and precisely. Shooting instructors, who go through an eight-week-long course, are responsible for teaching these combat soldiers speed and accuracy. The shooting instructors are always in the field, teaching soldiers how to use their guns properly in all sorts of scenarios.
Counter Terror Unit (CTU)
The CTU specializes in teaching counter-terror tactics and high-altitude warfare. They train crisis intervention units of the IDF—units that deal with complex operations, such as hostage situations. The team’s soldiers also serve in the field when necessary. The CTU team includes the “monkeys,” an IDF team that specializes in high altitude warfare.
The “monkeys” are combat soldiers and instructors who work at high altitudes to neutralize threats and rescue hostages. This unit rappels from rooftops to enter through windows, which is how the unit got its nickname. The monkeys’ highly-specialized training lasts 17 months.
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces
Proclaim God’s goodness, mercy and favor over these special units of the IDF, who serve their nation with all their heart and ask God to protect them. Thank God that He is acquainted with their ways and that He is their confidence and hope in trouble.
You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.
US Condemns UN Peacekeeper over Spread of Illegal Weapons to Hezbollah
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 | On Friday, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley condemned the UN peacekeeping commander in Lebanon for turning a blind eye to the “massive flow of illegal weapons” to Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon and called for the force to do more to stop these activities, Haaretz reported Sunday.
The US has increased pressure on the UN ahead of the peacekeeping mission’s renewal, scheduled for next week, to stop the spread of illegal arms to Hezbollah, a terrorist organization which Israel has long complained is operating with impunity.
However, the UN peacekeeping commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Beary, has rejected US and Israeli criticism. He told The Associated Press this week that his force has no evidence for illegal activity in the region, and that “if there was a large cache of weapons, we would know about it.”
But according to Haley, there is no shortage of evidence, including Hezbollah’s own boasts about its illegal weapons stockpile. Beary, to her, displayed “an embarrassing lack of understanding of what’s going on.” She added: “He seems to be the only person in south Lebanon who is blind to what Hezbollah is doing,” adding that his view of the situation “shows that we need to have changes” in the operation.
Haley previously stated that the US wants to see “significant improvements” to the peacekeeping force, although the mandate of the operation would remain intact. “It’s time the Security Council puts teeth in the UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] operation,” she said. “We don’t need to be giving terrorists a pass.”
Israel’s deputy chief of staff, IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, also disputed the effectiveness of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Lebanon while touring the border with the force’s commander and Haley in June.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Israel on Sunday to discuss with officials Iran’s weapons smuggling to Hezbollah. Other items on the agenda include Iran’s presence in Syria, Israel’s fight against Hamas, and its policies in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].
UNIFIL was established in 1978 to supervise the border between Israel and Lebanon. Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, UNIFIL has also been charged with maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah. The terms of UN Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the war, called for UNIFIL “to ensure that no armed groups such as Hezbollah would move into” southern Lebanon.
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 28 August 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces
Lift up the UN peace-keeping forces, praying that they will grasp the truth regarding Hezbollah’s increased terrorism and weapon smuggling. Pray that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Israel and seeing “facts on the ground” will have a significant impact on his future leadership of the United Nations.
Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
Hamas Prepares for Next War against Israel with Help from Iran
by Ilse Posselt
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | Experts agree that one of the key ingredients in a relationship that stands the test of time is common interests. Shared goals and a joint vision, they say, serve as the cement that unites two parties. This principle certainly holds true when it comes to Iran and Hamas. In the case of the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and the terror group ruling the Gaza Strip, the mutual driving force that ties these two together—regardless of niggling disagreements on other issues—is the destruction of Israel.
After six years of strife following a fall out over opposing views on the Syrian Civil War, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, announced during a press conference on Monday that the two parties have patched up ties. Moreover, Tehran is coming to Hamas’s aid as the terror group prepares for the next war with Israel.
“Relations with Iran are excellent and Iran is the largest supporter of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades [Hamas’s armed wing] with money and arms,” Sinwar boasted to reporters during his first press conference since he was voted head of Hamas in Gaza in February.
With the help of Iran, whom Sinwar hailed as the terror group’s “largest backer financially and militarily,” Hamas is “developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine… Every day we build missiles and continue military training.”
Iran and Hamas have traditionally been close allies, with the latter depending on the former for financial support. Yet the relationship became strained at the start of the Syrian war in 2011, as the two found themselves on opposing ends of the conflict. Hamas refused to side with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s main ally in the troubled Middle East. The snub prompted Tehran to close the coffers to Hamas, depriving the Gazan terror group of one of its chief sources of financial backing.
Yet signs of a thaw in the frosty relations have been evident over the past few months. During Hamas’s recent internal elections, a number of pro-Iran leaders—including Sinwar—stepped into top positions of power, realigning the trajectory of the terror group’s alliances. Last month saw a number of meetings between senior representatives from Hamas and Iranian officials take place in the Lebanese capital. Then, at the beginning of August, top Hamas officials were invited to Tehran to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani. While in the Islamic Republic, the delegation met with Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. A joint statement released after the get-together declared that Iran and Hamas agreed to leave their differences aside to focus their combined efforts on a common opponent: Israel. “We concluded that it is time to turn a new leaf in order to address our shared enemy,” the statement said.
Sinwar’s press conference in Gaza on Monday confirmed the restoration of ties. “The relationship today is developing and returning to what it was in the old days. This will be reflected in the resistance [against Israel] and in [Hamas’s] agenda to achieve the liberation.”
Sinwar was quick to add that a military altercation was not on Hamas’s immediate agenda. “We do not want a war and we are undertaking all efforts to push it to the side so that our people can catch their breath. But, at the same time,” he offered, “we are not afraid and are ready for one… We are accumulating our forces for liberation and return.”
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 30 August 2017)
Photo Credit: Twitter/Hassan Rouhani
Pray that God will thwart every attempt of Hamas and Iran against Israel. Remember the Israelis who live in the southern communities and who have suffered so much in the past. Pray that they will be encouraged to stand firm in the land of their inheritance, experiencing the truth that God is indeed their refuge.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Report: Israeli Envoy to Egypt Visits Cairo for First Time in Months
by Roi Kais
Monday, 28 August 2017 | Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin paid a visit to Cairo Wednesday, along with eight other members of the Israeli delegation, for the first time since the end of 2016 when he was forced to leave the country amid security warnings, according to Egyptian media reports.
The reports claim that Govrin’s rapid visit lasted just one day, after which he returned to Israel.
A February report in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, claimed that Govrin was returned to Israel at the end of 2016 and has not visited the Egyptian capital since. He did however continue to perform his duties from Jerusalem.
The report made no mention of specific security threats that abruptly prompted Govrin’s surprise departure, but the concerns are said to have emanated from the numerous terror attacks that had struck Egypt during the same period.
In September 2011, a mob stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo, forcing six Israeli security guards to barricade themselves in.
The episode, which put Israeli-Egyptian relations in jeopardy, was brought to a conclusion after former US President Barack Obama made contact with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, leading to an order to send in special Egyptian troops to evacuate the ensnared Israelis.
In recent years, Israel’s diplomatic staff in Egypt has operated from a small building inside the ambassador’s residence in the southern neighborhood of Maadi, under the protection of a heavy security detail.
Ambassador Govrin was appointed to his post in Egypt in the summer of 2016 and in September the same year presented his credentials to al-Sisi.
The same month, Govrin paid a rare visit to Alexandria in northern Egypt, together with embassy staff where they met with the head of the local Jewish community. It was the first visit by any Israeli representative to Alexandria.
Photo Credit: Twitter/Egypt Built
Cry out to God for the safety of all the Israeli ambassadors and their staff in hostile nations. Thank God that the small Israeli staff which remains in Egypt can still perform their duties under heavy security. Ask God to protect them and their families in their normal everyday life.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Israel Brings Aid to Flooded Texas
by Ilse Posselt
Thursday, 31 August 2017 | Ravaged communities. A flood of biblical proportions. A whole city covered under water. These are but some of the phrases used to describe the destruction that Hurricane Harvey left in its wake after the tropical storm battered southeast Texas for days on end, leaving 33 people dead and some 30,000 homeless.
Experts say that Harvey now holds the record for rainfall from a single storm anywhere in the US, dumping a staggering 52 inches [1.3 meters] of rain in parts of the state. It is the most powerful hurricane to hit America in 13 years and the fiercest to pummel Texas since 1961. As the downpour is starting to let up and Texans are coming to grips with the destruction the floods have wrought, the international community is coming alongside the storm-battered US with aid.
Some of the first international relief teams came from tiny Israel. On Tuesday, seven members of IsraAID—a humanitarian aid organization from the Jewish state that responds to emergency crises and facilitates international development around the world—flew over 11,000 km (7,000 mi) from Tel Aviv to Houston to offer crucial aid and support to those whose lives were washed away in the flood waters. The delegation includes disaster management experts, mental health experts and engineers.
According to Yotam Polizer, Co-Chief Executive Officer of IsraAID, the organization’s approach to disasters such as these is two-pronged, focusing on psychosocial trauma support and physical assistance to help remove debris and clean homes as the storm dies down and the flood waters recede.
“In crises with large-scale destruction, national and international aid efforts typically focus on practical, physical support, with limited resources allocated to the mental and emotional rehabilitation of affected populations,” Israel21c quoted Polizer as saying.
“For the most vulnerable groups, notably children and the elderly, time is of critical importance; the longer these groups are forced to remain in shelters, the higher the chance of long-term mental health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a disorder that can have a debilitating and long-term impact.”
That is why IsraAID will set up child-friendly spaces within shelters where traumatized children can receive psychological and emotional support.
With the psychosocial arm in place, IsraAID workers will also come alongside communities in the painful clean-up process, as residents sift through the remains of their former lives for any belongings that might have survived the destruction.
“This cleaning stage is crucial to avoid major health and hygiene issues from contaminated water and open sewage,” Polizer said according to Israel21c. “From a psychological perspective, home-owners are often so overwhelmed by the devastation and the loss of their belongings that they cannot consider the thought of filtering through their possessions to try and save anything. Part of IsraAID’s work is to separate what can be preserved.”
IsraAID has a proud history of lending a hand on American soil, Israel21c reports. The list of disaster-stricken areas where the organization has rendered aid in the past include Wimberley, Texas, Louisiana, the Carolinas, Denver, Detroit, Oklahoma, New York, New Orleans and Washington.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 31 August 2017)
Photo Credit: The National Guard/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Bring the Israeli volunteers before God and pray for inspiration to encourage the people of Texas who have lost almost everything. Also pray for endurance and physical strength as they themselves deal with the devastation. Thank God for the opportunity Israel has to be a shining light to the world.
Indeed He says, It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.
First German City Bans Funding of “Anti-Semitic” Anti-Israel Boycott Campaign
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | Frankfurt has become the first German city to ban the “anti-Semitic” Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign by passing a historic bill on Friday prohibiting municipal funding and rooms for BDS activities targeting Israel, Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post.
Uwe Becker, the deputy mayor of Frankfurt and initiator behind the anti-BDS campaign, told the paper, “The BDS-movement does not only strongly resemble the ‘Don’t buy from Jews’ argumentation of former times of the National Socialists, but the movement is built on the same toxic ground and it is poisoning the social climate in the same dangerous way.”
The deputy mayor had announced earlier this month that Frankfurt was seeking to ban BDS activities because of the movement’s “anti-Semitic” nature, adding that “not everybody who supports BDS is an anti-Semite him- or herself, but those who support BDS help to spread anti-Semitism, because BDS is an anti-Semitic movement.”
He also said that the central motivation behind the BDS campaign was “the delegitimization of the State of Israel, for which reason they proclaim boycott and spread defamation.” Their activities, he said, “are not a contribution to a democratic discussion, but they try to intimidate companies, artists, politicians etc.”
“BDS strongly attacks the fundamental basis of the legitimization of the Jewish state and takes the detour via anti-Zionism to spread anti-Semitism,” Becker stated. He added, “That’s why we decided to ban any municipal funding or the renting of rooms for any activities of groups or individuals, who support the anti-Semitic BDS movement. We also instructed our city-owned companies and called upon private landlords to act in the same way.”
The city government supported the bill on Friday, and the next step is for Frankfurt’s parliament to vote on the new legislation in a few weeks. But according to Becker, the bill “has already gained the necessary support” and is expected to pass. It makes Frankfurt the first German city to codify anti-BDS legislation, with Bavaria’s capital Munich likely to follow suit, which is set to pass a similar anti-BDS measure after the summer break.
Becker concluded that “Frankfurt is a city with strong Jewish traditions; Jewish life is part of the identity of our city, part of the history of the development as an economical powerhouse, as a city of culture and education—and we are proud of that,” adding that “we have a strong and vivid partnership with Israel, that has grown over the past 37 years with a strong friendship, that we have with our sister-city Tel Aviv.”
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 25 August 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Thomas Wolf/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Give thanks to God for this positive movement in Germany to ban municipal funding and provision of rooms for BDS activities that harm Israel. Thank Him for their desire to combat anti-Semitism and protect the Jewish people who live in Frankfurt. Pray that the parliament vote will favor the initiative and pass the bill.
Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!
Successful Israeli Tourism Video Set to Win Big
by Itamar Eichner
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 | Though not the Oscars or the Cannes Film Festival, tourism ministries from around the world are nevertheless already nervously awaiting the UN General Assembly in September, when the big winner of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Video Competition will be revealed.
After years when the Israeli Tourism Ministry’s campaign videos focused on landscapes, nature and food, this year it was decided to change direction in favor of an innovative campaign video called Two Cities. One Break, in which model Shir Elmaliach is featured holding out her hand and leading the viewers among the best attractions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The campaign, which has already won several awards in Europe, has been published in nine different languages on various media from billboards, social networks, newspapers and television channels, and even on trains, public transport stations and more. The video also appeared on EuroSport during the prestigious cycling competition Tour de France.
The video is competing against other campaign videos from 61 different countries, and is judged both by professional judges in the field and via open vote for the world to weigh in.
The Israeli Tourism Ministry is making every effort to promote the video.
“The (Two Cities. One Break—ed) campaign is part of the marketing revolution that I promoted and which has proved itself in a tremendous tourist boom to Israel, which this year is breaking the record for the number of tourists coming to it,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said on Wednesday. “I hope that the UN will also understand that Israel is a favorite tourist destination for tourists from all over the world.”
As Levin stated, following the campaign, in 2017 there was a record number of tourists to Israel, with a 26% increase in the number of tourists who arrived in Israel during the first six months, compared to the same period last year.
The United Nations believes that the Israeli video has a good chance of winning or at least coming close because of the uniqueness of the short and rhythmic video in comparison to the other countries’ videos, which chose to present mostly landscapes and interviews with tourists. Colombia, for example, who won first place in the previous year, decided to present an exceptionally long video, seven minutes in length, addressed mainly to the business community.
The Tourism Ministry’s campaign invites tourists to take a “city break” in, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, by offering them special vacation packages with attractive discounts if they book the vacation using the campaign website.
Since the launch of the campaign in Europe, the video has received hundreds of millions of views, with more than 18.6 million people visiting the campaign site interested in vacationing in Israel.
The Ministry of Tourism said the video has made a significant contribution to the record tourist number in Israel this year, and model Shir Elmaliach herself was very excited about the participation of the video in the competition.
“I call on each of you to vote,” she said on Wednesday. “Show the whole world who we are—the State of Israel.”
Photo Credit: Screenshot/goisraelofficial/YouTube
Ask God that every person who views the two cities video will be attracted to Israel in some way and that it eventually will have a positive and lasting effect on their hearts causing them to become enthusiastic Israel supporters in many ways.
One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.
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