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Israel on Record Terror Alert ahead of High Holy Days
by Liran Levy ~ Ynetnews
Wednesday, 14 September 2022 | Senior Israeli officials on Tuesday convened a special discussion on a record number of Palestinian terror alerts in Israel ahead of the Jewish High Holy Days [Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)].
Defense officials presented Prime Minister Yair Lapid with some 70 concrete warnings about imminent attacks during the holiday season.
“This is a symbolic period during which terrorist organizations are naturally looking to carry out showcase attacks,” a senior police official told Ynet on condition of anonymity.
A senior defense official added that security forces will continue making preemptive arrests of terror suspects throughout the holiday season as opposed to previous years in which Israel tried to keep tensions on the ground in check.
Officials explained that due to the volatile nature of this time of year, Israel cannot afford itself the privilege of growing complacent vis-à-vis counterterrorist activities.
The police are planning a record deployment of about 20,000 police officers who will be stationed all over the country, with a focus on Jerusalem and the West Bank [Judea and Samaria]. The alert level during the holidays is expected to rise to the penultimate threat level.
Nine terrorist attacks were recorded throughout the West Bank in recent weeks, with several more close calls being thwarted by Israeli forces. This spike in terrorist activity has spurred fears of a new Intifada, or a major Palestinian uprising.
Last Friday, a 19-year-old IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldier was moderately wounded in a terror attack close to the West Bank community Kiryat Arba. This is on top of last Sunday’s shooting attack on a bus carrying soldiers in the Jordan Valley. Two people were severely wounded and several more sustained moderate or mild injuries.
Later that day, four soldiers were wounded in another shooting close to their guard post in the West Bank.
Dozens of suspects have been arrested in recent weeks as the IDF continued its crackdown on Palestinian terrorist activity across the West Bank.
According to security officials, more than 240 significant terror attacks have been thwarted since the beginning of the year, including shootings, suicide bombings, bomb attacks and kidnappings.
Photo Credit: Israel Police/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Cry out to the Lord for a blanket of His protection to fall over the nation of Israel and Jewish communities around the world during this holiday season. Ask Him for safety for families, children, schools, businesses and synagogues as the country celebrates the fall feasts. Also pray that the entire population will be drawn into deeper and more meaningful relationships with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as they meet with Him during these moadim (feasts).
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
Europe: Iran Fails to Finalize Deal, Escalating Nuclear Program ‘Way Beyond’ Civilian Use
by Joshua Spurlock ~ The Mideast Update
Monday, 12 September 2022 | The Iran nuclear negotiations look to be over—for now. Europe has joined the United States in saying that a revived Iran nuclear deal with world powers “will not be signed in the near future” according to Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, after Europe on Saturday slammed Iran’s response to the latest offer. The United Kingdom, Germany and France—known as the “E3”—issued a joint statement saying Iran’s latest nuclear deal offer “took us to the limit of our flexibility.”
“Unfortunately, Iran has chosen not to seize this critical diplomatic opportunity,” said the E3 statement published by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. “Instead, Iran continues to escalate its nuclear program way beyond any plausible civilian justification.”
The strong words come after more than 18 months of talks aiming to resuscitate the nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Americans withdrew from the deal in 2018 over concerns with its adequacy, and Iran has responded by not only ending some of the agreed-upon restrictions on their nuclear program, but by expanding their nuclear activities even farther than they had been before the JCPOA was signed. The sides seemed to be on the cusp of renewing the deal in recent weeks, but the latest Iranian demands have effectively collapsed the talks.
In response, the E3 said on Saturday, “Given Iran’s failure to conclude the deal on the table, we will consult, alongside international partners, on how best to address Iran’s continued nuclear escalation and lack of cooperation” with the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Europe’s disappointment comes after the Times of Israel’s Hebrew publication, Zman Yisrael, reported last week the US told Israel that for the foreseeable future, there will not be a renewed deal with Iran. Publicly, the US was less definitive but still negative, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken telling reporters on Friday the latest Iranian counteroffer “takes us backwards.” In comments published by the State Department, Blinken said, “We are not about to agree to a deal that doesn’t meet our bottom line requirements and/or that tries to continuously introduce extraneous demands that are not relevant to the JCPOA itself. If we conclude a deal, it’s only because it will advance our national security.”
After these public and private comments from the US and Europe, Lapid on Sunday claimed initial success after intensive diplomacy by Israel to prevent what the Israeli leader has called a “dangerous” deal with Iran.
“Following the Americans, yesterday the E3 countries announced that a nuclear agreement with Iran will not be signed in the near future, that the IAEA’s open files regarding Iran are not about to be closed,” said Lapid in comments published by Israel.
“I thank France, the United Kingdom, and Germany for their strong position on this matter. In recent months, we held a discreet and intensive dialogue with them, and presented them with up-to-date intelligence information about Iranian activity at nuclear sites.”
Iran’s nuclear activity played a role in stiffening Europe’s resolve in the talks. In the E3 statement, they noted that IAEA Board of Governors in June called upon Iran to answer the IAEA’s questions on the nuclear program, but three months later, Iran “has taken no steps at all,” which the IAEA Director General’s latest report confirmed.
“Our position remains clear and steadfast. Iran must fully and without delay cooperate in good faith with the IAEA,” said the E3 statement. “It is up to Iran to provide technically credible answers to the IAEA’s questions on the whereabouts of all nuclear material on its territory.”
A key roadblock in the nuclear negotiations is Iran’s demand to conclude IAEA investigative efforts as part of a new deal. The European powers made it clear they would not compromise on Iran’s commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and with the IAEA, echoing comments from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre the week before.
Said the E3 statement, “This latest demand raises serious doubts as to Iran’s intentions and commitment to a successful outcome on the JCPOA. Iran’s position contradicts its legally binding obligations and jeopardizes prospects of restoring the JCPOA.”
Despite the stern words from Europe and the US, the Iran nuclear discussions aren’t necessarily over yet—and neither is Israel’s efforts to address the Iran threat. Lapid, in his comments on Sunday, said a goal of his visit to Germany this week is “coordinating positions on the nuclear issue.”
Said Lapid, “Israel is conducting a successful diplomatic campaign to stop the nuclear agreement and prevent the lifting of sanctions on Iran. It is not over yet. There is still a long way to go, but there are encouraging signs.”
Source: (This article was originally published by The Mideast Update on September 11, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)
Photo Credit: Thijs ter Haar/flickr.com
Photo License: Flickr
Thank the Lord that the nations of the world are finally recognizing that Iran has been deceitful and duplicitous in its so-called negotiations regarding the JCPOA and cannot be trusted. Pray that Israel will have God’s wisdom in determining future actions to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat and eradicate the infrastructure that allows Iran to provide support to terror organizations around the world.
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.
Three Children from Chad Come to Israel for Life-saving Treatment
by Janet Aslin
Wednesday, 14 September 2022 | Three children have received the gift of life, the gift of healing in Israel—a nation known around the globe for its willingness to offer assistance to those in need. Two boys and a girl from the African nation of Chad traveled to Israel last month for life-saving surgeries provided to them free of charge by Save a Child’s Heart.
In the beginning of 2022, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs inaugurated a new project in honor of the 25th anniversary of Save a Child’s Heart (SACH). Until then, SACH had saved lives of children in 14 African nations. This new initiative would add 11 more to the list, among them the nation of Chad.
Last month, a special Israeli delegation—the first to officially visit Chad since diplomatic relations were restored after 50 years—returned to Israel and brought the three children who desperately needed heart surgeries.
Fourteen-year-old Abdraman had been waiting seven years for the opportunity to live a normal, healthy life. As a young boy, he was diagnosed with mitral regurgitation that caused severe and frequent headaches. The surgery he received in Israel will allow him to live pain-free.
When she was just three years old, nine-year-old Bienvenu was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect. Due to that condition, she experienced chest pain and breathlessness, which meant she couldn’t run and play with other children. After the surgery, she will be able to join her fourth grade classmates in gym, when before she sat on the sidelines.
And finally, Akbar, another nine-year-old, was diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis at two years of age. His mother had been seeking help for seven years before Israel and SACH entered the scene. Akbar, who hasn’t been able to attend school due to his illness, will now be able to join his siblings and live a normal and healthy life.
These stories are familiar ones—sometimes called tikkun haolam (repairing the world)—to those who follow Jewish thought. Tikkun haolam is the reason Israel and SACH are working to save the lives of young children. It is reflected in the attitude of Dr. Amram Cohen, founder of SACH, “If we can, then we should.”
This is what motivated Dr. Cohen to say “Yes.” In 1995, he learned of two Ethiopian children who were desperately in need of cardiac treatment. Dr. Cohen organized the flights, performed the surgeries and took the children to his own home during their recovery period. This act began the organization we now know as SACH.
From its humble beginnings with one doctor who said “Yes,” and with the help of the Israeli government, SACH has saved 6,000 lives—mainly children from third world countries. And now the three children from Chad have brought the number of those countries from 63 to 64.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 14, 2022)
Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Praise the Lord for Israel’s dedication to tikkun haolam and for the thousands of children whose lives have literally been saved by SACH. Pray for Abdraman, Bienvenu and Akbar as they recover from their surgeries and embark on their new lives, thanks to the compassion and commitment of Dr. Amram Cohen. Pray that Israel’s reputation as “a nation known around the globe for its willingness to offer assistance to those in need” will continue to spread, and with it a recognition of the God that is at the heart and the helm of Israel’s life-saving activities.
“Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord GOD.
Gantz: Iran Setting up New Missile Factories in Syria
by Ilse Strauss
Tuesday, 13 September 2022 | Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz yesterday presented more proof of the mullahs in Tehran’s attempts to turn Israel’s backyard into an Iranian outpost by burrowing its military firmly into war-torn Syria.
Speaking at a conference in New York, Gantz revealed a map marked with 10 red dots across Syria. Each of these dots, he said, represents a military facility used to produce advanced weapons for Iran and its terror proxies in the region.
“Iran is building terror industries in Syria for its needs,” Gantz explained. “Recently it started building advanced industries in Yemen and Lebanon as well. This trend must be stopped.”
As an example, Gantz pointed to the Scientific Studies and Research Center or the Centre D’Etudes et de Recherchés Scientifiques, commonly known as CERS, located near the northwestern Syrian city of Masyaf. “Iran transformed CERS into production facilities for mid and long-range, precise missiles and weapons, provided to Hezbollah and Iranian proxies. In other words, it became yet another Iranian front—a factory for advanced, strategic weapons,” Gantz said.
“The sites that I reveal to you on the map, and in particular the underground site in Masyaf where precision missiles are manufactured, constitute a significant potential threat to the region and to Israel,” he added.
According to Gantz, the Iranian initiative to assemble a “terror industry” in Syria for its personal use was born under the former head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, who the US killed in a targeted airstrike in Bagdad in January 2020.
Gantz said that the two years since Suleimani’s assassination has seen a “sharp increase in Iran’s violent activity” in the region, with Tehran funneling some US $1 billion to its terror proxies in the region. Lifting Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic, he expounded, would translate to an additional US $100 billion at Iran’s disposal, much of which will end up in its terror proxies’ coffers.
He called on the international community to answer Iran’s terror activities with a “credible and tangible military option”—and issued a stern warning to Syria to put a swift end to Iran using its facilities to produce precision-guided missiles.
Gantz spoke against the backdrop of a reported increase in the number of airstrikes in Syria attributed to Israel.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Israeli warplanes have attacked Iran-linked targets in the war-torn country 24 times in 2022 so far.
For its part, Israel sticks to a no-comment policy, choosing to remain mum on allegations of operations on foreign soil—or in foreign airspace. That being said, Israeli powers-that-be have admitted over the years that the Jewish state has conducted hundreds of strikes in Syria to prevent Iran from gaining a foothold in the area and to prevent Iranian arms shipments from reaching Tehran’s terror puppets, particularly Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
Over the past two weeks, Israel has been accused of conducting two series of strikes, disrupting operations at two major airports in Syria, reportedly to thwart attempts to funnel Iranian weapons to Hezbollah. Iranian cargo airlines are allegedly being used as a vehicle to smuggle relatively large munitions to Syria. These weapons are then stored in large warehouses before making their way by truck to Lebanon.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 13, 2022)
Photo Credit: United Nations/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Pray that the international community will respond to Defense Minister Gantz’s call to answer Iran’s terror activities with a "credible and tangible military option"— a threat that Israel’s enemies cannot ignore. Also cry out to the Lord that Syria will heed his stern warning to put a swift end to Iran using its facilities to produce precision-guided missiles. Pray for the success of any air strikes or other operations in Syria that Israel deems necessary to prevent Iran from gaining a further foothold in the area.
As the fire burns the woods, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and frighten them with Your storm.
Report: Israel Thwarted over 300 ‘Significant’ Terror Attacks this Year
by Ilse Strauss
Monday, 12 September 2022 | Over the past eight months, Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, has prevented widespread bloodshed by thwarting more than 300 “significant” terror attacks, translating to nearly 40 major assaults foiled per month or one stopped every week.
Speaking at a conference at Herzliya’s Reichman University yesterday, Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar said, “We foiled 312 significant terrorist attacks, stabbings, shootings, suicide attacks, and have made 2,110 arrests” since the beginning of the year.
According to Bar, the achievement can be ascribed to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ramping up its operations in Judea and Samaria under the Shin Bet’s direction.
The IDF launched Operation Break the Wave in late March 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 in Judea and Samaria to apprehend would-be terrorists before they can strike. Over the course of the five-month operation, more than 1,500 prospective terrorists have been arrested, the IDF said.
While the operation has brought an end to the deadly wave of terror and returned a sense of security to Israel’s streets, tensions in Judea and Samaria—or the so-called West Bank—have been simmering.
The past few weeks have seen multiple terror attacks, including Palestinian gunmen firing at a number of military posts across Judea and Samaria, a stabbing attack near Hebron on Friday and multiple stone-throwing attacks on civilian cars across the area.
Bar also cited an immense uptick in the number of shooting attacks against soldiers and civilians in Judea and Samaria, with 130 attacks this year so far, compared to just 98 last year and 19 in 2020, the Times of Israel reports.
Following a shooting attack on a passenger bus traveling in the Jordan Valley last week, a senior IDF officer said, “We are in a very complex period that has not yet ended. Every month we arrest terrorists who could carry out attacks like these. This is a fact. We manage to thwart some attacks, but sometimes some slip through.”
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 12, 2022)
Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Thank God for the success of Operation Break the Wave that has brought an end to the deadly wave of terror Israel has experienced and has returned a sense of security to Israel’s streets. Cry out to Him for similar success in Judea and Samaria, and beseech Him for a shield of protection to surround every member of the IDF who is involved in these critical and extremely dangerous operations.
Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.
Senior Hamas Delegation in Moscow for Talks with Russian Foreign Minister
Monday, 12 September 2022 | Hamas political bureau chairman Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Moscow on Saturday together with a senior delegation from the terror organization for talks with Russian officials.
The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen television channel, based in Beirut, cited a Hamas spokesperson as saying, Haniyeh “has arrived in Moscow on a visit during which he wants to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and a number of Russian leaders and officials.”
The Hamas delegation includes Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, and who is responsible for orchestrating terrorism in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], as well as senior Hamas politburo members Moussa Abu Marzouk and Maher Salah.
“The Russian Foreign Ministry has requested that this visit last a few days. The purpose is to discuss the future of bilateral relations in order to aid the Palestinian cause,” the Hamas spokesperson added.
In May, Abu Marzouk, who is head of Hamas’s “International Relations Office,” visited Russia to discuss a number of issues.
Russia has in the past accused the West of being preoccupied with the situation in the Ukraine while ignoring Israeli actions in Gaza, using the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to distract from its war in Europe.
On September 5, the United Nations denounced as a violation of international law Hamas’s execution last week of five Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
“We condemn the execution of five prisoners in Gaza and urge the de facto authorities in Gaza to establish a moratorium on all executions,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN’s human-rights commissioner, in a statement.
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 11, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90/jns.org
Cry out to the Lord for a swift end to this unholy alliance between Russia and Hamas. Pray that Russia will not be successful in using Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians to divert the attention of the nations from the war in Ukraine. Pray also for a restoration of the tenuous relationship between Israel and Russia that will guarantee the ability of Russian Jews to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel) and will ensure Russia’s continued policy of turning a blind eye to Israel’s strikes in Syria.
The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies.
Germany Passes Over US, Looks to Israel for Defense Technology
by Janet Aslin
Tuesday, 13 September 2022 | Although the agreement has not yet been formalized, all signs point to a decision by the German government to purchase the Arrow-3 missile defense system from Israel rather than similar technology from the American firm, Lockheed Martin.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid flew to Germany on Sunday evening for high-level meetings with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as well as President Frank-Walter Steinmeir. During a press conference, Lapid said, “This visit aims to conclude the final details of a strategic partnership agreement between Israel and Germany. It follows the strategic dialogue between our teams in Jerusalem.”
Lapid continued, “This partnership has economic and security benefits. It is a practical expression of Germany’s commitment to Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state, a commitment you [Chancellor Scholz] reaffirmed when you took office.”
In a nod to the impending agreement for Germany’s purchase of defense technology, Lapid stated, “Israel, for its part, will play a role in building Germany’s new defense force, mainly in the field of air defense.”
Forced by threats of annihilation during most of its 74-year history, Israel has become a global leader in defense technology. From the little “Davidka”—a homemade Israeli mortar used during the War of Independence—to the Iron Beam—a cutting-edge laser-air-defense system currently under development—Israeli technology has grown ever more sophisticated over the years.
The particular air defense system Germany is looking to purchase is the Arrow-3, designed and manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). This long-range missile defense interceptor travels above the earth’s atmosphere where their warheads track and destroy hostile missiles. According to IAI’s website, “The innovative Arrow-3 interceptor is designed to intercept and destroy the newest, longer-range threats, especially those carrying weapons of mass destruction.”
In their joint remarks on Monday, Prime Minister Lapid observed that a military partnership between the two countries could be called “historical irony.” He then went on to say, “I consider it to be proof that we have drawn the necessary conclusions from the past: Talk does not stop evil. Liberal democracies must be willing and able to defend themselves.”
Finally, Lapid observed, “Sometimes, freedom must be defended with force.” The strategic partnership that is developing between Germany and Israel will strengthen each country to do just that.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 13, 2022)
Photo Credit: United States Missile Defense Agency/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Pray for this partnership between Israel and Germany and the benefits it brings to both countries. Pray also for Israel as the nation continues to rise as a global leader in defense technology, fulfilling ancient prophecies. Pray that Israel’s leaders will remember that it is the God of their forefathers whose blessing makes such success a reality.
But Israel shall be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever.
Herzog Hosts Event Attended by Top Military Officials from 18 Nations
Thursday, 15 September 2022 | Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday night hosted a reception at his official residence in Jerusalem for military leaders from 18 nations.
The attendees are in Israel to participate in an Israel Defense Forces [IDF] conference on military innovation, according to a statement from Herzog’s office.
They include General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Michael Kurilla, commander of United States Central Command; the chiefs-of-staff of the militaries of Morocco, Greece, Cyprus, Poland and Czechia; and high-ranking generals from NATO, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and other nations.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and IDF General Staff officers also attended the Wednesday night reception.
“There is a famous saying: ‘He who seeks peace must prepare for war,’” Herzog told the invitees. “In order to prepare for war, and therefore in order to seek peace and achieve it, we need the best armies possible. We really pray and hope there will be peace, and that is why we are so happy that we have neighbors from our region and Arab countries here.”
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 15, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/jns.org
Praise the Lord for the relationships that Israel is building with these 18 nations. Pray that their emphasis on military superiority will indeed be a means to satisfy their combined desire for peace.
The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.
Israel Offers to Help Albania Fight Iran in Cyberspace
Thursday, 15 September 2022 | Days after Albania broke diplomatic ties with Iran over its alleged involvement in cyberattacks, Israel offered Albania aid in cyber defense.
On the sidelines of the Feminist Foreign Policy Development Conference in Berlin, Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll met with Albanian Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka and offered “to share our knowledge and experience in cyber defense.” He also “expressed Israel’s appreciation” for Tirana’s decision to expel the Iranian diplomats, he said in a tweet on Monday.
“We will continue to tighten cooperation between Israel and Albania,” said Roll.
The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced on Friday that it had imposed sanctions against Tehran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and Minister of Intelligence Esmail Khatib following an Iranian cyberattack on Albania.
The attack in July disrupted state computer systems in Albania, forcing it to suspend online services and leaking supposed government documents and residents’ personal information.
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Agency on September 14, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Central Intelligence Agency/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Praise the Lord for the strong stand that Albania took in breaking diplomatic ties with Iran and expelling Iranian diplomats from their country in response to Iran’s involvement in cyberattacks in July. Pray that Israel will be successful in assisting Albania in the area of cyber defense, and ask the Lord to strengthen the relationship between these two nations.
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.”
Tzofim: Israel’s Future Leaders
by Janet Aslin
Friday, 9 September 2022 | Every Friday, in the early afternoon, a quiet hush descends upon the Land of Israel as preparations begin for Shabbat (Sabbath). However, in many neighborhoods across the country, one can find groups of exuberantly noisy children wearing khaki shirts with colorful neckties happily participating in activities led by teens only slightly older than they are. They are members of Tzofim, or the Hebrew Scouts.
I live in an apartment building across the street from Kikar Denya (Denmark Square) in Jerusalem’s Beit HaKerem neighborhood. In past years, it has provided a good vantage point to observe the weekly Tzofim gatherings. Open to children from the ages of 9–18, the Hebrew Scouts movement has a wonderfully rich history that is deeply interwoven into the fabric of the modern Zionist movement.
One of the foundational principles of the Tzofim movement is love of the Land and its people. Young Israeli boys and girls learn through experiences in nature, working together as a team as they meet challenges and learn the skills needed to become productive citizens. Volunteering and community service are also stressed, and leadership skills are developed as the older teens teach the younger scouts.
Open to both boys and girls since its founding in 1919, Tzofim was the first Zionist youth movement and played an important role in the establishment of the modern State of Israel. During the 1940s, its best scouting graduates were sent to join the Palmach, the elite fighting force of the Jewish underground during the British Mandate Period.
Tzofim graduates also helped the early Jewish community absorb the new olim (immigrants) who managed to make it through the British blockade prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. And as pioneers, these graduates built communities and strengthened the peripheries of the fledgling State of Israel.
Today, Tzofim is alive and well with more than 90,000 members. It remains staunchly Zionistic in its outlook, striving to instill in its young members a strong Jewish–Israeli identity, the importance of helping others and community involvement along with a love of nature and a desire to protect the environment.
There is an emphasis on including certain groups of children, like new immigrants or youth who are at risk, making them part of the larger family and showing them they have a place in society. Another division of Tzofim works to strengthen the bond between Israel and Hebrew-speaking children who live in the Diaspora (outside Israel) by sending young teachers from the Land to lead programs that mirror the ones here.
When looking at a list of Tzofim graduates, it is evident that the program has succeeded admirably in producing leaders. Maj.–Gen. Herzi Halevi, who will become the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff in January as well as the current IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi are both former scouts. From the political field, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as current Minister of Transportation, Merav Michaeli were part of Tzofim in their youth. The extensive list also includes members of academia, the media and the arts.
Youth are the future of any country. As it has from its beginnings over 100 years ago, the Israeli scouting movement continues to invest in the future by teaching its children. And from the sound of the exuberantly noisy children in Kikar Denya on Friday afternoons, they are doing a good job of accomplishing that goal.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 9, 2022)
Photo Credit: תמר מוצפי/en.wikipedia.org
Photo License: Wikipedia
Praise the Lord for Israel’s commitment to educating its children in their history in order to prepare them to participate in the building of their future. Thank Him for tzofim and its ongoing investment in the nation’s future through its programs that teach young people Israel’s values of love for God and country, commitment to their community and service to others as well as the value of the role that each one plays in the future of the country.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
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