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Friday, September 27, 2019

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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 intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Take Two: Rivlin Nominates Netanyahu to Form Israel’s Next Government

by Ilse Strauss

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu speaking during a press conference last night at President Rivlin’s residence

Thursday, 26 September 2019 | Eight days after Israel went to the polls for national elections, President Reuven Rivlin last night tasked prime minister and leader of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu with the responsibility of forming Israel’s next government—and ultimately serving as its prime minister.

The announcement came after talks failed to form a unity government and resolve the political deadlock between Netanyahu’s Likud party and its main rival, former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party.

Netanyahu now faces what Israeli media hail as “mission impossible” to scrape together the required 61-seat alliance between Likud and smaller political parties to form a majority government and head up the 120-seat Knesset (Parliament)—all within 28 days. This is the prime minister’s second attempt to form a coalition this year. The first attempt followed the April elections and failed to bear the 61-seat fruit, sending Israel back for a second set of national elections on September 17.

Should the October 24 deadline come and go without Netanyahu garnering the 61-seat support he needs, Rivlin could pass the responsibility to Gantz, for whom the mission will be even slightly more impossible.

But why is the task of forming government—something which Netanyahu has done successfully five times in the past—such a challenge this time? And why did Rivlin give the responsibility to Netanyahu instead of Gantz, whose Blue and White party walked away with the most votes—and most seats—in the national elections?

Mission Impossible Indeed…

In Israeli politics, winning the elections is but the first step to leading the government and claiming the title of prime minister. In the elections, political parties receive seats according the percentage of votes received. Heading up the 120-seat Knesset requires a minimum of 61 seats, which no individual party has ever achieved. Once the votes have been tallied and each party assigned its seats, the president nominates the person he believes most able to form a 61-seat coalition with largely like-minded smaller parties to lead the country and serve as prime minister. This is where the mission impossible comes in. Considering all the allies and possible scenarios, neither Likud nor Blue and White seem likely to form a 61-seat coalition.

Gantz’s Blue and White party won 33 seats, with Netanyahu’s Likud following hot on its heels with 32 seats. In third place was the Joint List, a union of mostly Arab Israeli parties, with 13 seats, followed by ultra-Orthodox party Shas with 9 and former Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman’s secular Yisrael Beytenu with 8 seats. Ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism and the nationalist alliance Yamina won 7 seats each. The center-left Labor-Gesher and the leftist Democratic Camp brought up the rear with 6 and 5 seats respectively.

During post-election consultations with Rivlin, 54 MKs (members of Knesset) endorsed Gantz, with Blue and White bringing 33 seats, the Arab Joint List 10 of their 13 seats, Labor-Gesher 6 and the Democratic Camp 5. A number of the Joint List MKs also made it clear that they would not actually form a government with Gantz, and backed him only to oust Netanyahu. This left the center-left bloc with 54 seats at best and 44 seats at worst. Either way, for Gantz, forming a coalition will truly be a mission impossible.

Fifty-five MKs picked Netanyahu as their choice for prime minister. With Likud’s 32 seats, the right-wing bloc comprises Shas (9), United Torah Judaism (7) and Yamina (7).

There are, of course, Yisrael Beytenu’s 8 decisive seats that can swing the situation in either direction, but Liberman made it clear from the outset that he would not endorse either candidate. His suggestion? A unity government comprising Blue and White, Likud and Yisrael Beytenu.

A unity government was Rivlin’s first choice too. “I…offered both candidates to form a joint, equal government,” the president said last night.

Netanyahu and Gantz—brokered by Rivlin—negotiated the proposal for two days. According to Haaretz, Netanyahu agreed to the power sharing deal. Gantz did not.

With the option of a unity government off the table, Rivlin had a choice to make. This one-seat majority tipped the scales in Netanyahu’s favor and prompted the president to nominate him to form Israel’s next government in the next 28 days.

“For me the only question is who has the best possibility to form a coalition,” the president explained his choice. “In this situation, 55 MKs supported Netanyahu and 54 supported Gantz. But 10 of those from the Joint List said they would not sit with Gantz, whereas the full bloc of 55 said they would support Netanyahu.”

Six Seats in Twenty-eight Days

Announcing his acceptance of the mandate, Netanyahu did not exude his usual confidence. In fact, his address revealed a note of trepidation. “I accept the task you gave me, with the knowledge that I don’t have a better chance at forming a government, but rather, let’s say my inability to do so is a little smaller than that of MK Gantz,” he explained.

Echoing both Rivlin and Liberman’s suggestion, Netanyahu said the only option was to form a unity government with Blue and White. The prime minister added that Israel faces grave threats—particularly the security threat posed by Iran—and thus requires a new government “now and fast” to “unite forces so that the people can be united and prepared.”

“With a joint leadership,” Netanyahu said, “we can create a government like that immediately.”

The man with the power to make that unity government happen did, however, remain adamant that it would not happen. As soon as Netanyahu finished his address, Gantz drafted a statement saying that Blue and White under his leadership will under no circumstances sit in a government with Netanyahu while the latter faces corruption charges.

Where does that leave Netanyahu? In short, with a nearly impossible mission. Where he might get the six crucial seats he needs to reach a majority of 61 is anyone’s guess. Experts say his best option is wooing Labor-Gesher with an offer so attractive that the leftist party has no choice but to bring its six seats to the right-wing bloc. Whether Labor-Gesher would be open to negotiate with Netanyahu after refusing to do so in the past remains to be seen.

Where to Now?

On October 24 Israel will know whether Netanyahu has managed to pull off mission impossible. If he does, the Jewish state will inaugurate its 22nd Knesset. If he doesn’t, Rivlin has another decision to make. The president could give Gantz or any other member of the Likud party 28 days to gather 61 seats. Alternatively, he can tell Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein that there is no suitable candidate, which gives the Knesset the power to choose any candidate with the backing of 61 MKs.

If all these fail, there will be no other option but a third election.

“The people do not want additional elections,” Rivlin said.

Mission impossible indeed…

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 26, 2019)

Photo Credit: Jai Tv/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
This is not a mission impossible for the God who is the Keeper of Israel and who puts leaders in place. Intercede for the outcome of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s efforts at coalition building and plead with the Lord for the blessing of a leader who is strong and courageous, filled with wisdom and integrity, as Israel faces grave threats on every side.

Scripture

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 121:5–7b

Trump Calls on Mideast Nations to Normalize Ties with Israel

by Ilse Strauss

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US President Donald Trump addressing the UN General Assembly (illustrative)

Wednesday, 25 September 2019 | US President Donald Trump yesterday appealed to countries in the Middle East to fully normalize diplomatic relations with Israel. The motivating factor behind the president’s call for strengthened alliances between the troubled region’s largely Muslim countries and its Jewish neighbor? The rogue Iranian regime’s persistent aggression, “monstrous anti-Semitism” and “fanatical quest” to become a nuclear power that threatens to send the already volatile region hurtling into an abyss of all-out war.

Taking to the podium during the opening segment of the 74th United Nations General Assembly, the American commander-in-chief said that the growing Iranian threat has resulted in “a growing recognition in the wider Middle East that the countries of the region share [a] common interest in battling extremism and unleashing economic opportunity. That is why it’s so important to have full normalized relations between Israel and its neighbors.”

President Trump’s address comes as tensions in the Middle East reached explosive new levels following an alleged Iranian attack on two Saudi Arabia oil facilities—the latest in a series of provocative actions taken by the ayatollah regime in Tehran.

According to President Trump, the Islamic Republic has “escalated its violent and unprovoked aggression” in the year since the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed a series of crippling economic sanctions that holds Tehran’s economy in a fierce chokehold.

President Trump vowed to continue the “maximum pressure campaign” until the mullahs (Muslims learned in Islamic theology and sacred law) decide to amend their behavior and abandon their aspirations of regional hegemony. He also petitioned nations around the world to join the US economic efforts to curb Iran’s “fanatical quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.”

“All nations have a duty to act,” President Trump pointed out. “No responsible government should subsidize Iran’s bloodlust. As long as Iran’s illicit behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted. They will be tightened.”

The US president also took Iran to task for its anti-Semitic hatred of Israel, slamming it as “unacceptable.”

“Last year, the country’s supreme leader said that Israel was a ‘malignant cancerous tumor that has to be removed and eradicated. It is possible and it will happen,’” President Trump said.

“America will never tolerate such anti-Semitic hate,” he vowed. “Fanatics have long used hatred of Israel to distract from their own failures…For 40 years, the world has listened to Iran’s rulers as they lash out at everyone else for the problems they alone have created.”

President Trump tempered his fiery rhetoric by assuring the audience that the US is open to pursue peace with Iran—provided that Tehran is willing to reign in its regional aggression and give up its nuclear ambitions.

“The US is ready to embrace friendship with all who genially seek peace and respect,” he said. “The US has never believed in permanent enemies. America knows that while anyone can make war, only the most courageous can choose peace.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 25, 2019)

Photo Credit: Official White House Photo/wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the strong position taken by the US President and for his remarks concerning Iran’s blatant anti-Semitic hatred of Israel. Pray that the nations of the Middle East and other Arab/Muslim nations around the world will heed his words and normalize relations with Israel.

Scripture

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”


- Daniel 2:20–21

Israeli Woman Hurt in Palestinian Terror Attack

by Eli Sinyor and Elisha Ben Kimon

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The scene of the attack near Modi’in in central Israel

Thursday, 26 September 2019 | A 22-year-old woman was lightly to moderately wounded Wednesday afternoon in a suspected terror attack near the central city of Modi’in.

The woman sustained stab wounds to her upper body in the attack on Route 443, close to Maccabim Junction.

The suspected attacker, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, was arrested by Border Police officers who were driving by at the time of the incident.

The teenager was apprehended while trying to escape.

Magen David Adom paramedics and other emergency personnel treated the woman at the scene of the incident.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yosef Horowitz, who was one of the first responders at the scene said: “Together with other EMS (emergency medical services) personnel, I treated a young woman who suffered a stab wound to her upper body.

“She was in light to moderate condition. We also treated another person who sustained light injuries in the incident.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on September 25, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: ynet/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray for healing and restoration for those injured in this latest attack. Pray also for the first responders who deal with these types of injuries—from mild to deadly—on a continuing basis. Plead with the Lord that He brings an end to such senseless hatred and violence.

Scripture

The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!


- Psalm 34:7–8

They Are Returning to Zion

by Janet Aslin

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Praying at the Kotel, Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

Millennia ago Isaiah prophesied “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion…” (Isa. 35:10). Today we use a specific term for this return—aliyah. It’s a Hebrew word whose root is from the verb meaning “to go up.” Conversely when Israeli citizens decide to move to another country for a while, they are referred to as yoredim. Can you guess the origin of that word? It comes from the verb “to go down” which is used to describe falling rain, getting off the bus or leaving the Land of Israel.

Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics recently released statistics for the first seven months of 2019 and the good news is: immigration (aliyah) is rising while emigration (those leaving) is falling. Although immigration numbers are small when compared to the early years of statehood when Israel’s Jewish population rose from 806,000 to over two million a mere nine years later, the numbers are steady and they are growing. The Central Bureau of Statistics also reported that emigration numbers, or those Israeli citizens who do not return from abroad for more than one year, are the lowest they have been in nearly a decade.

In May, Israel celebrated 71 years since the modern state was established. From her beginnings, Israel has welcomed Jews from around the world to return and help build the nation. She also stands as a refuge for those who suffer from anti-Semitism. For instance, since early 2000, due to a rise of violence against them, the Jews of France have made up a large proportion of those making aliyah. In 2018 alone, 29,600 French Jews chose to make Israel their home. Reports continue to come in of rising anti-Semitic activity around the globe.

Bridges for Peace stands ready to welcome new immigrants at our assistance centers in Jerusalem and Karmiel in the north. We provide help through a variety of programs but primarily we want to let the Jewish people know that they are not alone. Christians around the world contribute financially so we can supply food, welcome gifts of blankets, pots and pans for the kitchen and Tanakhs, (Gen.–Mal.), and other practical assistance.

Millions of Jews remain in the Diaspora (countries outside Israel). At Bridges for Peace, we believe that the Lord is bringing them home and will continue to bring them back in ever increasing numbers. Won’t you consider a donation to our New Immigrant program today? You can be a part of Bible prophecy being fulfilled and make a difference in the life of a Jewish family.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 25, 2019)

Photo Credit: Aleks Megen/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Jewish people around the world will continue to hear and heed God’s voice as He calls them home. Pray for the Israeli government as it continues to handle the constant influx of new citizens and for Bridges for Peace as we extend the welcoming hand of Christians to the new arrivals. Finally, pray for each new immigrant as they face the struggles involved in making Israel their home.

Scripture

“I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God.


- Amos 9:14–15

Evidence that Iran Violated the Nuclear Deal Since Day One?

by Majid Rafizadeh~Gatestone Institute

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Iranian nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 | The Iranian government is advancing its nuclear program at a faster pace. Recently, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) declared that Tehran took the third step in increasing its nuclear activities by activating advanced centrifuges: 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges.

The previous two steps that Tehran took included: increasing the enriched uranium stockpile beyond the 300kg. (661lb.) cap, which was set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and enriching uranium to levels beyond the limit of 3.67%.

As part of its rush to a nuclear breakout capability, the Islamic Republic of Iran is also expanding its research and development work beyond the limitations set by the JCPOA. Iranian nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told a televised news conference, “We have started lifting limitations on our Research and Development imposed by the deal…It will include development of more rapid and advanced centrifuges.”

The ruling mullahs (a Muslim learned in Islamic theology and sacred law) are claiming that Iran’s recent moves and violations of the nuclear deal are the fault of the US government, because the Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA, but the claim is a lie. New evidence shows that Iran’s theocratic establishment was most likely violating the nuclear agreement since the day the Obama administration and Tehran struck the deal in 2015.

To clarify: Do you remember when the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano immediately to inspect an “atomic warehouse” in Iran last year?

Netanyahu stated in his speech to the UN General Assembly that Iran had a “secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and material from Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program.” Tehran claimed that the warehouse, which is located in a village (Turquz Abad) in the suburbs of Tehran, was a place where carpets were cleaned.

At the same time, two non-partisan organizations based in Washington, DC—the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD)—released detailed reports about Iran’s undeclared clandestine nuclear facilities as well.

The IAEA first ignored the reports. This should not come as a surprise: the IAEA has a long history of misreporting the Islamic Republic’s compliance with the deal and declining to follow up on credible reports about Iran’s illicit nuclear activities. Iran’s clandestine nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak were revealed by the opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

In any event, after a significant amount of pressure was imposed on the IAEA, and after the IAEA’s chief passed away and Iran was reportedly able to move the suspected materials out of the secret nuclear facility, inspection of the site was recently implemented.

What was the outcome? Even though the Iranian leaders had cleaned up the facility, the IAEA’s inspectors were able to detect traces of radioactive uranium at the site. Israel’s warning and other reports had proved accurate.

Now, Tehran is declining to answer the IAEA’s questions about the secret facility. More importantly, one of the most basic requirements of the nuclear deal (while it lasted) was that Iran had to reveal its nuclear activities to the IAEA—a condition which it even overtly failed to comply with.

In other words, the detection of radioactive particles in Turquz Abad, Iran’s reluctance to answer simple questions about the secret facility and non-partisan evidence about Iran’s nuclear activities at the location, all point to the fact that Tehran was most likely violating the nuclear deal since it was reached.

Where, you may ask, are the strong advocates of the nuclear deal after the new evidence revealed that Iran has long been violating the nuclear deal and pursuing its nuclear ambitions? They are silent.

The international community would truly do itself a great service to recognize that the nuclear deal was nothing more than a pro-mullah agreement which provided Iran’s ruling clerics with billions of dollars to pursue their anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Iranian people and pro-terror activities, while simultaneously providing cover for Iran to pursue its nuclear ambitions.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu

Source: (Gatestone Institute originally published this article on September 23, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ruptly/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray that the nations of the world will finally recognize the truth in PM Netanyahu’s many warnings regarding Iran’s duplicity. Beseech the Lord that they will fully grasp Iran’s real intentions for a nuclear program and take whatever steps are necessary to halt their progress.

Scripture

A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness utters lies. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.


- Proverbs 14:5, 8

“Unprecedented” UN Report Confirms Shocking Levels of Rising Anti-Semitism

by Ilse Strauss

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The United Nations Headquarters in New York City

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 | The United Nations Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, released an interim report on Monday warning of rising levels of anti-Semitism worldwide.

The report, which the Israeli mission to the UN hailed as “unprecedented” coming from a world body known for its bias against the Jewish state, said anti-Semitism is prevalent on all sides of the political spectrum. To combat the scourge threatening to infect societies in which it is allowed to run rampant, the report calls on governments to initiate outreach and education programs.

In “Combating Antisemitism to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief,” Maldivian diplomat Shaheed pointed out that anti-Semitic violence, discrimination and expressions of hostility are escalating in many countries, resulting in “a climate of fear among a substantial number of Jews, impairing their right to manifest their religion” and a “serious obstacle to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion and belief.”

The report also warned of the uptick in magnitude and scale of anti-Semitic incidents, underpinned by the “prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes.”

Shaheed made it clear that if anti-Semitism is “left unchecked by governments,” the risk is “not only to Jews, but also to members of other minority communities” as it “threatens all societies in which it goes unchallenged.”

While the sources of anti-Semitism are diverse and far-reaching, the report identifies some main offenders, including the “growing use of anti-Semitic tropes by white supremacists including neo-Nazis and members of radical Islamist groups,” the increase in “‘left-wing’ antisemitism [that] employ anti-Semitic narratives or tropes in the course of expressing anger at policies or practices of the Government of Israel” and “the objectives, activities and effects of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement are fundamentally anti-Semitic.” Shaheed also pointed a finger at governments that “enact laws and policies that restrict Jewish practice, including limiting kosher slaughter methods or barring Jews from political participation in higher office.”

To nip anti-Semitism in the bud, the report calls on governments to “identify, document, and prohibit” any incidents of anti-Semitic hatred, education and awareness programs to prohibit the growth of baseless hatred and government outreach to Jewish communities.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 24, 2019)

Photo Credit: Julien Chatelain/flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Praise God for this groundbreaking report and for the recommendations it makes to the governing bodies of the world. Pray that its warning will be heeded and the nations will take every step possible to stop the ongoing persecution of the Jewish people. Pray that education and awareness programs will in fact be initiated and will be effective in changing hearts and attitudes toward the Jewish people.

Scripture

Have mercy on me, O LORD! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may tell of all Your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.


- Psalm 9:13–14

Did Israel Strike a Syrian Militia Base Near the Iraq Border?

by Daniel Salami

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The Syrian city Al-Bukhmal

Friday, September 20 | Airplanes, apparently unmanned, had attacked positions of Shiite militias in the Syrian city of Al-Bukhmal near the Iraq–Syria border on Wednesday afternoon, an Iraqi security official told Sky News late Wednesday.

The source said five people were killed in the attack and another nine were wounded.

The official added that militia forces have begun to take precautionary measures in light of the ongoing strikes, preventing large gatherings and deploying heavy weapons at security sites in the event of further attacks.

Al-Bukhmal border crossing is located near a key bridge on the Euphrates River. It is an important—perhaps the most important—section of the land corridor Iran is operating through Iraq to the Syria and Lebanese coasts.

Logistical supplies and missiles from Iran are believed to be delivered to Hezbollah through this route, as well as to the additional front against Israel that the Revolutionary Guard has established in Syria.

A source from Deir al-Zor military council said that the attack was carried out by an UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), which he believes belongs to the international coalition or to Israel, and that the attack targeted bases belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Lebanon’s Hezbollah (terror) organization and other Iraqi factions.

Beirut-based newspaper Al Akhbar said the sites belonged to Hezbollah.

The report comes a day after another attack at one of the sites in the area. A few hours later, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syrian opposition organization based in the United Kingdom, reported that at least 10 people were killed in the attack.

At noon, the pan-Arab Al Mayadeen network reported another assault in the area, with no casualties.

According to the Observatory, the base was used by Iranian and Iraqi militias backed by the Iranian regime and was attacked from the air by planes of unknown origin.

The target was reportedly a missile depot. The Al-Hadath TV channel quoted an Iraqi government source as saying that there were loud explosions at the site during the night.

Observatory director Rami Abdul Rahman said that, “Israel is behind the attack on Iraqi militias and Revolutionary Guard in the al-Bukhmal area.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said Wednesday that the investigation into recent attacks on Iraqi territory is ongoing. He said Iraq had not turned to the UN Security Council over the issue as there is no hard evidence that one particular agent is operating on its territory.

“We need solid evidence and cannot rely solely on media reports,” he said. As such, he added, Iraq is working to improve its air defense systems.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on September 19, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Hamed Jafarnejad/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that efforts to stop the flow of arms, equipment and military supplies from Iran to Hezbollah will be successful. Pray that the Lord will protect and guide Israeli leaders as they make decisions and take actions necessary to protect the citizens of Israel.

Scripture

Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and oppressors have sought after my life; they have not set God before them. Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life. He will repay my enemies for their evil.


- Psalm 54:1–5a

Historic Training Exercise Sees Israeli Jets Deployed in UK for the First Time

by Joshua Spurlock

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The Israeli Air Force (IAF) participating in a joint training session in the UK

Monday, 23 September 2019 | The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has long conducted joint training with other nations, but somehow had never before deployed jets in the United Kingdom. That changed in the last few weeks, as the IAF participated alongside other nations in the UK’s “Cobra Warrior” exercise with the Royal Air Force (RAF). An article posted to the IAF website highlighted the historic nature of the training, noted it involved dozens of training scenarios and quoted one participant saying it’s “like the Olympics.”

Maj. ‘A’, an Israeli technical officer, was quoted in the article as saying, “People who participate in the Olympics represent their country; here, we represent the Israeli Air Force.”

The Israelis were joined in the training by the US, Germany, Italy and Canada, in addition to the RAF. The RAF Twitter feed called it the “largest Royal Air Force exercise of the year,” with three weeks of “intensive training.” The RAF website said the exercise ended last week, with a report stating that the training “rehearsed a range of complex scenarios” from an enemy that is nearly on par with the participating advanced air forces.

“The RAF welcomes the participation of our Air Force colleagues from other nations and we welcome the opportunity to train alongside all of the participating nations’ forces on this challenging exercise,” Exercise Director and Group Captain Robert Barrett was quoted in the RAF report as saying.

The IAF article on the training pointed out that it offered Israeli forces multiple unique training opportunities. For one, the UK provides a different terrain and weather, which provides the Israeli pilots new challenges and prepares them for surprises.

In addition, the Waddington Air Force Base is not normally a home to fighter jets, which meant the Israelis also had to intensify their preparation for plane maintenance at the base, even needing to make sure they had a ladder for boarding the jets.

The training also gave the participants an opportunity to learn from the other nations’ air forces. “We see how the operational planning process is set up because we set up a little bit different. We see how people are executing in the air—what we can learn out of their drills and the way they are flying. Of course, everything together and speaking to other guys, it’s a huge lesson learned,” IAF Brigadier General Annon Ein Dar was quoted in the RAF report as saying.

Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev stopped by the air base where the training was being held, posting to Twitter that “this important cooperation will further strengthen our common security.”

Regev wasn’t the only Israeli official promoting the joint training on Twitter. A post on the exercise by the IDF Twitter page summarized the effort by saying, “Together, we are strong. Together, we soar.”

And for the first time ever, Israeli jets soared together in the UK.

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on September 22, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Wonkabar007/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for Israel’s participation in these exercises and for the training received. Also thank Him for the long-awaited recognition of Israel as an integral partner with other nations of the world. Pray that such relationships will strengthen and grow as God begins to reveal Himself to the nations through His relationship with His chosen people.

Scripture

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


- Ezekiel 36:23b

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