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Reaching Out in Love to Widows and Orphans

Friday, September 23, 2022

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Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Hamas ‘Plotting to Repeat Gaza Takeover in Judea and Samaria’

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

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A Palestinian boy wearing a Hamas headband aims a toy gun during a rally after prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Thursday, 22 September 2022 | Following the latest Palestinian terrorist attack, in which a man from Qalqilya with a permit to work within the Green Line [pre-1967 borders] murdered an 84-year-old woman in Holon, concerns remain high regarding the growing violence stemming from the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

According to Col. (res.) Grisha Yakubovich, an expert on Israeli–Palestinian relations and a senior fellow at the MirYam Institute, the mounting attacks are part of a larger trend of the growing dominance of Hamas rhetoric in Judea and Samaria and an ongoing battle for Palestinian hearts and minds based on the message that violence achieves results and that negotiations and diplomacy do not.

“Hamas has been silent recently; we are not hearing them. On the Palestinian street, this silence is being interpreted as preparations by Hamas to attempt a repeat of their 2007 takeover of Gaza—this time in Judea and Samaria,” Yakubovich cautioned.

Addressing Tuesday’s terror attack, the former head of the civil department for the Defense Ministry’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit noted that only a small fraction of the approximately 140,000 Palestinians who can legally work in Israel have committed acts of terrorism.

“It is unfortunately impossible to offer 100% guarantees. But the overall screening process has been accurate. This is especially true when considering the very high motivation for terrorist actions among a section of Palestinians.”

In addressing the wider strategic situation, Yakubovich observed that Hamas had made a decision to expand its influence far beyond the borders of the Gazan enclave that it rules.

“Its objective is to become the primary leader of Palestinians, and it is skillfully navigating a path towards that goal,” he said. This includes ensuring that its narrative, which holds that only radical terrorism will promote the Palestinian interest when dealing with Israel, becomes the lead narrative among Palestinians.

“In 2001, Hamas realized that firing mortars from Gaza had a strategic effect. In 2005, when Israel left Gaza, it understood it could push its adversary into making unilateral decisions. Now, it is waving the ‘resistance’ flag as part of its political campaign,” said Yakubovich.

“The goal is to tell Palestinians that whatever the Palestinian Authority [PA] claimed it could get for them from diplomatic contacts with Israel or the Oslo process, Hamas will obtain using force,” he added.

Now, as tensions rise in the PA due to an intensifying succession battle (PA President Mahmoud Abbas is 86 years old, after all) and the PA is losing control of northern cities such as Jenin and Nablus, Hamas is preparing to exploit the situation for a power move, and possibly, according to Yakubovich, for a Palestinian civil war.

“It is against this concept that Hamas is promoting—of being the standard bearer for the ‘resistance’ flag—that we can view the rounds of violence that have occurred between terror factions in Gaza and Israel. This is a process of trial and error, in which the opportunistic Hamas strengthens itself after each round,” he said.

“They instill in the Palestinian population the belief that there is no hope for diplomacy or a peace process. Israel is the adversary, and the only way to achieve the national goal is by the use of force, according to Hamas’s messaging,” Yakubovich stated. “From this position, they use every incident to their advantage.”

The former IDF [Israel Defense Forces] officer, who spent years helping shape Israeli policies in the Palestinian arena, said that Hamas has consistently been the only party to skillfully exploit developments to its advantage. For example, it used the cancellation of Palestinian elections by Abbas to launch a rocket war against Israel from May 6 to May 21, 2021, in which it was able to crown itself as the authentic “defender of Jerusalem.”

And in August 2022, Israel’s three-day clash with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza was used by Hamas to portray itself as the only armed faction capable of taking on Israel, Yakubovich argued.

“Hamas even used the Israeli media to its advantage, because the media kept saying that Israel does not want Hamas to enter [the 2022 fighting]. What’s the takeaway? That only Hamas is capable against Israel—just the message that Hamas wants to broadcast,” he said.

In Gaza, Hamas has kept the truce in order to build up its “military” wing and enable civilian society to develop economically to a degree. “The extent of Hamas’s determination to maintain the ‘calm’ was visible to me when I toured the Gazan border and saw IDF tanks and other vehicles working near a Hamas post. Hamas did nothing,” said Yakubovich.

Hamas–Fatah War?

In the West Bank, in the meantime, Hamas is in the advanced stages of preparation to exploit what could be Palestinian civil strife.

In Nablus and Jenin, unaffiliated Palestinian gunmen roam the streets. Some Palestinians view them not as ideological jihadists but as “drug dealers who promote chaos to avoid the PA cracking down on their activity,” said Yakubovich.

For years, Israel enabled Arab Israelis to visit the northern West Bank/Samaria in order to boost the economic situation there, but that also created an opening for criminal elements on the Israeli side of the border to move into Samaria, he argued.

“On the one hand, Israel said, let’s promote soft power by boosting the economy there. On the other, criminal elements were not stopped,” he said.

In the southern territories, in contrast, in cities such as Hebron, “the influence of the clan and the family is much more important. That, together with a robust economic situation, is helping to create stability,” said Yakubovich. “The disparity between Judea [in the south] and Samaria [in the north] is critical to understand.”

Finally, he said, the PA’s own incitement over the years, “which has never stopped—in mosques and in schools—is now finding expression. Look at the Palestinians killed recently in clashes with the IDF. They are mostly aged between 20 and 30, recently leaving the Palestinian education system,” said Yakubovich.

“Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political party], recognizing that Abbas’s days are numbered, is preparing for the day after. It increased its street presence. Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades [also known as the Tanzim], is out in force, and illicit firearms flood the streets in Samaria,” he said. “The PA released a poster depicting all of its ‘martyrs’ who fought Israel. What more is needed to understand what is happening? The PA is saying, ‘Dear Palestinians, we too are resisting [muqawama—resistance].’ Meanwhile, Palestinians on the street are saying, what do we want from Abbas? He needs an Israeli permit to arrive at his own office.”

Now, according to Yakubovich, Abbas has realized that he has gone too far towards the violence narrative, but after he launched an arrest operation in Nablus to bring in Hamas members that resulted in deadly clashes, “he finds himself in serious difficulties.”

Moving forward, Yakubovich sketched out two main scenarios: Either Israel and the PA will be able to keep the flames of violence relatively low in the coming weeks and months, or the situation will spin out of control and Fatah’s armed groups will conduct a growing number of attacks. Hamas would then be expected to escalate its attacks too to ensure that it is seen as the lead Palestinian movement.

“Hamas is making preparations, and this is why they are currently silent,” said Yakubovich. “Their silence speaks volumes.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 21, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for God’s intervention in this increasingly dangerous situation. Cry out to Him that Hamas will fail in their ongoing attempts to convince the Palestinian people that violence is the only answer to the problems they are facing. Pray that Israel and the PA will indeed be able to maintain control, and beseech the Lord for a violence free holiday season. Also ask the Lord for increasing opportunities for Israel to demonstrate to the Palestinian people that they are, in fact, not the enemy but are truly seeking peace.

Scripture

Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.


- Isaiah 60:18

Truss Tells Lapid She Is Mulling an Embassy Move to Jerusalem

by Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews

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Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Liz Truss

Thursday, 22 September 2022 | British Prime Minister Liz Truss said she was mulling a move of her embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, British daily Telegraph reported late on Wednesday.

Truss “understands the importance and sensitivity of the issue,” her office said, adding she hoped the move would be possible.

The new prime minister had already said she was considering the move even before she was appointed to replace Boris Johnson, and was considered a unique demonstration of support for Israel. No other British leader had made similar statements.

Officials in Jerusalem believe the close relations with the UK will continue and grow under the leadership of Truss.

“She is very fond of the values that Israel stands for,” the officials said. “She has been positive towards us and we expect her government to be the same,” they said even before she was named Johnson’s replacement.

Lapid congratulated Truss on her appointment [at the time]. “He expressed his confidence that under her leadership, Israeli–UK relations will reach new heights,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

Truss and Lapid had met when both served as their countries’ foreign ministers and in a letter the British prime minister had sent to the lobby supporting Israel in her Conservative Party last November, she even described him as a close friend.

They co-wrote an editorial published in tandem in Ynet‘s sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth and in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, where they promised to work day and night to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state.

She also said Britain would vote with Israel in the UN Human Rights Council and has been true to her word.

Thus far, four embassies have relocated to Jerusalem while the rest remain in Tel Aviv.

Then US President Donald Trump ordered the move of the US embassy to the [Israeli] capital in 2017.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by Ynetnews on September 22, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Simon Dawson/No10 Downing Street/commons.wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank God for British Prime Minister Liz Truss and the strong stand she has taken in support of Israel. Pray that the relationship between Israel and the UK will indeed reach new heights under her leadership and cry out to Him for the success of her plans to relocate the British embassy to Jerusalem. Ask the Lord for His blessings to rest on PM Truss in fulfillment of His promises.

Scripture

“May they prosper who love you.”


- Psalm 122:6b

Israel, UAE Celebrate Two-year Anniversary of Abraham Accords in Jerusalem

by JNS

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Prime Minister Yair Lapid met with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Jerusalem.

Friday, 16 September 2022 | Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid met on Thursday with United Arab Emirates [UAE] Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is in the Jewish state to mark the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords.

The agreements, forged during the tenure of US President Donald Trump, normalized relations between Jerusalem and a number of Arab countries.

Lapid and Sheikh Abdullah had a private discussion before holding an expanded meeting that was expected to focus on enhancing bilateral ties, as well as on Iran’s nuclear program.

“This is a historic visit of a regional leader that will advance the regional architecture we have been building this past year in the Middle East. This is a visit of a strategic partner that will strengthen economic and security ties between our countries. This is a visit of a close and dear friend, with whom I can talk about everything,” Lapid said during a joint press conference with Sheikh Abdullah.

“My friend, together, we are changing the face of the Middle East. We are changing it from war to peace, from terrorism to economic cooperation, from a discourse of violence and extremism to a dialogue of tolerance and cultural curiosity,” the Israeli premier continued.

“You may know that the Hebrew word shalom has two meanings—both hello and peace. So, I greet you with shalom, and I wish us all shalom: A blessing of peace,” said Lapid.

Sheikh Abdullah was to attend a reception in the evening hosted by Abu Dhabi’s ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Al Khajah, which President Isaac Herzog was also expected to attend.

Earlier Thursday, Sheikh Abdullah toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum, where he laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance in honor of the six million Jews killed in the Nazi genocide.

“My presence here today reminds us of the lessons that history teaches us and the great responsibility we have to practice tolerance for the sake of building our communities and societies,” Sheikh Abdullah wrote in the museum’s guestbook.

“We must take brave steps to build a bridge of real peace for future generations,” he added.

Prior to that, Herzog held an official luncheon for the UAE foreign minister at the President’s Residence.

The two men also met privately, with Sheikh Abdullah presenting Herzog with a letter from UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“The world looks at the Abraham Accords with awe and respect, and says there’s a new Middle East in many ways, being created and moving forward,” said Herzog during the meeting, according to a statement from his office.

Sheikh Abdullah added: “This is historic, but I think in many ways this is a relationship which very few thought that in two years it would be as successful.”

He is also slated to meet with Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu during his current trip.

The UAE’s top diplomat visited Israel in March for the Negev Summit, along with the foreign ministers of Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain and the United States.

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: Haim Zach/GPO/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the Abraham Accords and the difference they have made in the Middle East. Thank Him for the progress that has been made in the friendship between Israel and the UAE, and pray that the advancements made in the last two years will be just the beginning of a growing movement of strong relationships and sincere progress toward peace.

Scripture

LORD, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us.


- Isaiah 26:12

Israeli UN Ambassador Walks out of Iran’s Israel-bashing UN Speech

by JNS

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Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan holds up photos of his Holocaust-surviving grandparents.

Thursday, 22 September 2022 | Gilad Erdan, Israel’s UN ambassador, walked out ahead of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s speech Wednesday, leaving a picture of his Holocaust-survivor grandparents at the Israeli seat.

“A murderer like Raisi who denies the Holocaust, (amongst many human rights violations) has no place on the world stage,” tweeted Erdan. “He asked for proof… here are my Auschwitz surviving grandmothers.”

In an interview aired on Sunday, Raisi called Israel a “false regime” and suggested that there were only “some signs” the Holocaust had occurred and that research into the validity of them should go forward.

Raisi told the UN General Assembly that Iran wants to reach a deal over its nuclear program, but it cannot trust the United States. “Our wish is only one thing: observance of commitments,” said Raisi.

Turning to Israel, Raisi said that “the occupier Zionist regime” is the most significant state sponsor of terrorism. Its agenda is to slaughter women and children in Gaza and the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 21, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God for Ambassador Erdan’s courageous actions. Cry out to the Lord for more and more nations to condemn Raisi’s appalling denial of the Holocaust, his disingenuous statements regarding Iran’s “wish for only one thing,” and for his shocking accusations against Israel. Pray that he will be censured by the UN and that the international community will no longer give him a platform to spread hateful propaganda.

Scripture

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.


- Isaiah 41:11

Police Bolster Presence around Jerusalem ahead of Tense High Holy Days

by Haim Goldich ~ Ynetnews

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Israeli police officers at the Temple Mount (illustrative)

Monday, 19 September 2022 | Thousands of Israel Police and Border Police officers will be stationed across Jerusalem throughout the upcoming High Holy Days to prevent terrorist activity during the tense holiday season.

Although law enforcement did not issue any warnings on imminent attacks, these precautions are taken out of an abundance of caution against the backdrop of a series of Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers throughout the adjacent West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to arrive in the capital during the holiday season, which will begin on Rosh Hashanah [Jewish New Year] on September 25 and run through the end of October.

Thousands of Jerusalem District policemen, Border Police officers and volunteers will be deployed throughout the city, with an emphasis on crowded places, holy sites and recreational areas. Several security and crowd control checkpoints will also be erected as part of police activity.

The police said they will also block traffic to some roads and streets leading to the capital’s Old City—a recurrent flashpoint of intercommunal violence.

The Police said they will also conduct a series of preemptive arrests of potential high-risk suspects by the beginning of the holiday season.

According to the police, arrests of potential hazards will be realized until the holidays, according to a situation assessment that will take place near this period.

Jerusalem District Police Commander Deputy Commissioner Doron Turjeman said that he and his officers intend to uphold the freedom of worship of all religions in the capital while maintaining the safety of the people, property and public order.

He added that the Jerusalem Police has foiled 47 terrorist attacks this year using a variety of means, from monitoring social media to beat policing. Jewish worshipers will also be allowed to ascend the Temple Mount as usual and according to the rules on the ground.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on September 18, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Police/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord that the plans that have been put in place by the Jerusalem District Police will be successful in maintaining order and protecting lives during the High Holidays. Cry out to Him for His protection for every officer who will be putting their lives on the line in order to safeguard people and property. Also pray that the tens of thousands of visitors that are expected to descend on Jerusalem will know nothing but safety during their stay.

Scripture

Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil.


- Psalm 121:4–7a

Report: Third Israeli Strike in Three Weeks Hit Iranian Targets in Syria

by JNS

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Damascus International Airport

Monday, 19 September 2022 | Five soldiers were killed and physical damage was sustained on Saturday in a series of Israel Air Force strikes on targets at Damascus Airport and southern Syria, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said on Saturday.

Around 12:45 a.m. on Saturday, “the Israeli enemy carried out a missile aggression from the direction of [the] north-eastern side of Tiberias lake [the Sea of Galilee], targeting Damascus International Airport and some points to the south of Damascus, as the Syrian air defense repelled the aggression missile[s] and downed most of them,” according to the report, which cited a Syrian military source.

It was the third reported Israeli strike wave in Syria in the past two weeks, in what represents an intensified stage in Israel’s campaign to roll back Iranian military entrenchment in the country.

Ynetnews cited regional diplomatic and intelligence sources on Saturday as saying that Iran has recently increased its efforts to smuggle weapons to proxies and partners in Syria and Lebanon, including Hezbollah.

“Tehran has adopted air transport as a more reliable means of ferrying military equipment to its forces and allied fighters in Syria, following disruptions to ground transfers,” said the report.

On August 31, Syrian state media said that the Israel Air Force fired missiles at the airport in Syria’s second-largest city, Aleppo. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group, said Iranian weapons storage facilities were destroyed and the airport had sustained considerable damage.

On September 12, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz unveiled a map showing the location of 10 Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center facilities (known by its French acronym, CERS), which he said Iran was using to produce precision-guided missiles on Syrian soil.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 18, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia commons/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel will continue to get solid, reliable intelligence regarding Iran’s activities, particularly the smuggling of weapons. Ask the Lord for His direction as Israeli leaders determine their steps toward hindering, and eventually eliminating, Iran’s influence in the area.

Scripture

The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.


- Psalm 11:5–6

Is Turkey’s Erdoğan Heading to Israel?

by Janet Aslin

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President Isaac Herzog with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his state visit to Turkey in March 2022,

Tuesday, 20 September 2022 | While addressing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced his plans to visit Israel.

Even though Erdoğan declined to give a specific date for the proposed visit, his public statement is one of the clearest signs so far that relations between Turkey and Israel are on the mend.

Erdoğan is in the United States for the UN General Assembly meetings that are taking place this week. He also plans to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Lapid, possibly today, in the first face-to-face meeting between leaders of the two countries since 2008.

How did we arrive at this point and what are the ramifications of the potential visit?

Turkey was the first Muslim-majority nation to recognize the State of Israel in March 1949. For nearly 60 years, the relations were very cordial and the two countries cooperated fully. Things began to fall apart during the three-week Gaza War, also known as Operation Cast Lead, in 2008–2009.

In 2010, relations were completely severed after the incident of the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship that attempted to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza coastline. During the ensuing 12 years, there were attempts to mend the broken relationship, and for the period between 2016–2018, diplomatic ties were resumed. This ended when Turkey withdrew its ambassador and expelled Israel’s over Hamas-led riots along the Gaza border.

In a series of events that began last November, the two countries have been taking increasingly firm steps toward normalization of relations. Oddly enough, they began with the detention of an Israeli couple who were arrested for espionage after they inadvertently took a picture of Erdoğan’s palace in Istanbul.

Behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts on the part of both Israel and Turkey led to the couple’s release about week after their detention. After successful conclusion of this incident, Erdoğan hinted that the time had come for the warming of relations.

The first official visit between the countries took place in early March when Israel’s President Isaac Herzog visited Ankara. In May, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu came to Israel—the first visit by a Turkish foreign minister in 15 years.

August saw the complete normalization of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel as well as Israel’s re-opening of its economic office in Turkey.

Why are these events significant and what does each country hope to gain?

In the complex world that is the Middle East, both Turkey and Israel benefit from the restoral of their relationship. Strategically located in this very volatile region, Turkey shares its southern border with Syria, Iran and Iraq. Facing increasing Russian pressure in the region, President Erdoğan may be looking to strengthen his own hand through an alliance with Israel, a definite military force to be reckoned with.

Turkey is also interested in the economic benefit from energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. Currently Israel and Greece, with whom Turkey has difficult relations, are leading these efforts. Cordial relations with Israel could be the key to unlock economic cooperation.

Israel, for its part, is seeking to expand the 2020 Abraham Accords and bring additional Arab and Muslim-majority nations into the fold. In another benefit, because Turkey has a direct relationship with Hamas, it could join Egypt in acting as an intermediary between Israel and the Gazan terror group when the need arises.

Throughout the last year, Turkey has made it clear that they are not abandoning the Palestinian cause even as they make ever-friendlier overtures to Israel. It is a “proceed with caution” relationship, but the signs are hopeful for increasing stability between Israel and Turkey.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 16, 2022)

Photo Credit: Haim Zach/Government Press Office/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that Turkish President Erdoğan will indeed make a visit to Israel, further strengthening the relationship between the two nations. Ask the Lord for His blessings on the benefits that each nation is poised to gain, and that Turkey will eventually realize that the advantages of a supportive relationship with Israel far outweigh those of support for the Palestinian cause. May Erdoğan recognize the faithfulness of the Lord.

Scripture

All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD, when they hear the words of Your mouth. Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.


- Psalm 138:4–5

Lufthansa Becomes First Airline to Adopt IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism

by JNS

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Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal on a video call with Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, who pledged to fight anti-Semitism within the company.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022 | German flag carrier Lufthansa announced last week that it will adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA] Working Definition of Anti-Semitism.

Lufthansa also announced a joint initiative with the American Jewish Committee [AJC], detailed in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties, in which AJC staff experts will train the airline’s employees on how to identify and respond to anti-Semitism.

The announcements were made at an event in Washington, D.C., attended by Deborah Lipstadt, the US special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism; Felix Klein, the federal government commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against anti-Semitism; German Ambassador Emily Haber; and Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog.

“We are grateful for Lufthansa’s strong commitment to address anti-Semitism and bias within the workplace,” said Holly Huffnagle, AJC’s US director of combating anti-Semitism. “As global anti-Semitism rises, the private sector increasingly has a role to play, and Lufthansa aims to be a corporate leader in the fight against anti-Jewish prejudice. We are honored to partner with them in this endeavor.”

Lufthansa said in late July that the airline would hire a senior manager to focus on preventing anti-Semitism after more than 100 Jewish passengers were banned from traveling on one of its flights from New York to Budapest on May 4.

The IHRA Working Definition of Anti-Semitism has been adopted by 24 European countries, including Germany.

“Fundamental to standing against anti-Semitism is understanding what it is and how it manifests, both in overt forms and through unconscious bias. The IHRA definition recognizes all of this—that is its distinct strength,” said Lufthansa Group Executive Board Member Christina Foerster.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 18, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chabad Berlin/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise God for these very positive, major steps made by Lufthansa in becoming a corporate leader in the fight against anti-Jewish prejudice. Pray that the training provided by the AJC will ensure that airline employees are equipped to recognize and deal with anti-Semitism among passengers or other airline employees and pray that Lufthansa will be an example to others in the corporate world.

Scripture

Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servants.”


- Psalm 35:27

Oldest Immigrant in Five Years Comes Home to Israel

by JNS

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Stella Rockoff holds her Jerusalem birth certificate from the British Mandate era at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Thursday, 22 September 2022 | A 101-year-old woman who made aliyah [immigrated to Israel] from New Jersey last week is the oldest immigrant to move to the Jewish state from the US in the last five years.

Stella Rockoff was born in Jerusalem in 1921, during the British Mandate of Palestine. Her family immigrated to Brooklyn, New York, when she was five, and she moved to Pennsylvania after she married Rabbi Herman Rockoff in 1940. She later lived again in New York with her husband and four children, where she worked as executive secretary of the Rabbinical Council of America.

She lived in Clifton, New Jersey, before moving back to Israel last week with a daughter and son-in-law as part of a group of nearly 60 olim [new immigrants] from North America. The group arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport on an El Al flight organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh in coordination with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF–USA.

“All my life I dreamed of returning to my native country,” said Rockoff. “This is a day of celebration for me. My family left at a time when ‘the Jewish State’ was just an idea, an idea that has since become the State of Israel, now a strong nation and a leader in innovation, and I am proud to finally call it home. I can’t wait to be reunited with my many grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and two more great-great-grandchildren in my old–new home.”

Elaine and Michael Reinheimer, Rockoff’s daughter and son-in-law who made aliyah with her, said, “The idea that she will be reunited with the family in Israel makes mom very happy. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren can’t wait for her to arrive. America has been very good to us, but now it’s time to go home.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 21, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Shai Getsoff/Nefesh B'Nefesh/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for this wonderful and encouraging story. Pray that Stella and her family will have a seamless transition into Israeli society and a quick adjustment to their new homeland. Ask the Lord to richly bless Stella in her remaining years as she is at last reunited with her family and the homeland she has longed for.

Scripture

Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.


- Isaiah 46:4

Israel’s Population Nears 10 Million

by Yaron Druckman ~ Ynetnews

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An Israeli flag

Wednesday, 21 September 2022 | Israel’s population reached 9,593,000, said a report published Tuesday, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Rosh HaShanah [Jewish New Year] and as the year 5782—according to the Jewish calendar—ends.

In its annual report, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) says that the country’s population is on course to reach 10 million by the end of 2024. It will be 15 million by late 2048 and 20 million by 2065.

The Israeli population grew by 187,000 (about 2%) over the past year. According to the CBS 7,069,000 residents of the state are Jews (about 74% of the population), 2,026,000 are Arabs (about 21%) and the rest are defined as other, i.e. Christians who are not Arabs, other religions and people without religious classification in the Interior Ministry.

Some 177,000 babies were born in Israel this year; 49,000 people made aliyah or immigrated; and 2,000 Israelis returned from living abroad, according to the CBS records.

Meanwhile, 53,000 Israelis passed away this year, some 4,400 of them due to COVID-19 complications. In addition, thousands left the country, some for a short period of time for education.

An Israeli male’s life expectancy is 80.5 years, while a female in Israel lives an average of 84.6 years, one of the world’s highest.

CBS data also shows that 45.3% of Jews in the country define themselves as secular; 19.2% consider themselves marginally observant, 13.9% are partially religious; 10.7% are religious; and 10% are ultra-Orthodox.

Figures show that 89.3% of Israelis are satisfied with their lives. Among Jews, that percentage has reached 91.5%, compared to 70.7% among Arabs. The report also found that 70.4% of Jews are satisfied with their economic situation, compared to 51.1% of Arabs.

The CBS said that 74% of Israelis live in cities, 15% in local councils, 10.4% in regional councils and the rest in communities without municipal status.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on September 20, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

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Prayer Focus
Thank God for His faithfulness to His people in returning them to their homeland in fulfillment of His ancient promises. Pray that the nations will realize that statistics such as life expectancy, infant mortality and life satisfaction are all indications of God’s blessing on the people He has said will be His special treasure forever.

Scripture

Therefore say, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. ’”


- Ezekiel 11:17