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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.

Yom Kippur: When a Nation Repents

by Ilse Posselt

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Prayers of repentance at Western Wall on Yom Kippur

Friday, 29 September 2017 | Today is no ordinary day in the State of Israel. The frantic hubbub on city streets as the people of the Promised Land prepare for the day of rest to come is somehow more subdued than usual. Today, the nation prepares for something held as more holy and more extraordinary than the weekly Shabbat [Sabbath]. Today, Israel prepares for the Shabbat of Shabbats…

Shops, markets and restaurants will shut its doors tight at around noonday. Busses and trains will drop their final load of passengers at their destination long before dusk. Traffic will die down to a trickle and then disappear altogether from the usually congested highways and streets. Radio and television stations will wish their listeners and viewers an “easy fast” before shutting down for the next 25 hours.

In the last of the noonday heat, a holy hush will fall over the Land of Promise, as sundown ushers in Yom Kippur—the holiest day of the year for the people of Israel.

The Jewish nation is not the only ones who view Yom Kippur as sacred. Leviticus 23:26-27 tells us that this biblical festival is also holy to God. “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls…”

Today, thousands of years after God gave Moses these instructions, the people of Israel are once again preparing for God’s appointed time as per His directives: by afflicting their souls. This entails, among others, abstaining from all fleshy pleasures, including food or drink, as well as fasting and praying for a 25 hour period.

The purpose of Yom Kippur is explained in Leviticus 23:28, “… for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.”

In biblical times, this was the only day per year on which the High Priest was to enter the Holy of Holies to call upon the name of God, offering a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins on behalf of the people of Israel. Yom Kippur is thus a special day of repentance.

Today, Yom Kippur carries the same significance. It is a day of self-assessment and repentance of the sins of the past year. Synagogues throughout Israel are usually filled to capacity and snatches of prayers can be heard drifting through the quiet streets all day.

Throughout the ages, Yom Kippur has acted as a unifying and regenerating factor for the Jewish people. Regardless of physical location, conviction or belief, the Day of Atonement would stir a spark in the heart of many a Jew.

The same holds true today. Despite the severity of the fast—with complete abstinence from any food or liquids for more than 24 hours—some 85% of Israel chooses to observe Yom Kippur. In fact, even those who consider themselves secular will make a special effort.

The awe and reverence that wraps itself around the country and its people on this day is spectacular to behold. Pam Edwards, a Bridges for Peace representative, shared her thoughts after her first experience in Jerusalem during Yom Kippur.

“Can you imagine?! What a fascinating concept… that people actually take an entire day off from working and buying to reflect on their lives, talk to God and seek forgiveness…”

While Yom Kippur is observed with the awe and reverence due a day so sacred to both the people and the God of Israel, there is also an element of joyous expectation that comes with this feast. In fact, some in Israel refer to it as the happiest day of the year. The reason is simple. On Yom Kippur, the Almighty grants atonement to His people.

As the city outside grows quiet and a holy hush descends over the nation in preparation for the Promised Land afflicting their souls according to the instructions their ancestors received from God Himself, Bridges for Peace joins our hearts with the Jewish people as a nation repents.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 29 September 2017)

Photo Credit: Mark Neyman/ GPO/ Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Let us all come before our God with purpose and introspection of our lives, our do’s and don’ts, our heart’s intent, our thoughts, our beliefs and thank Him for His kindness and mercy that will follow us for the rest of our lives.

Scripture

He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.


- Proverbs 28:13

Palestinian Terrorist Murders Three Israelis in Attack near Jerusalem

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Traffic route to Har Adar

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 | A terrorist shot and killed a border policeman and two civilian security guards and seriously wounded another Israeli near the settlement of Har Adar in the Jerusalem area on Tuesday morning. The terrorist was shot and killed by security forces.

Magen David Adom paramedics treated three fatally wounded members of the Israeli security forces in their twenties and thirties, but had to pronounce them dead at the scene.

The border policeman was identified as Staff Sergeant Solomon Gavriya, 20, from Be’er Yaakov. Gavriya joined the border police 18 months ago. He is survived by his parents and three siblings.

Head of the Be’er Yaakov Council Nissim Gozlan spoke about the deceased Gavriya. “He was injured in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Seam Zone just a year ago, but insisted on going back to the border police to defend the country only two months later,” he recounted.

Gavriya’s commander also spoke about the previous attack Gavriya was involved in. “He prevented a terrorist attack on the residents of Har Adar by pouncing on a terrorist, who then stabbed him. He insisted on returning to the service and his friends after recuperating,” he said.

One of the security guards killed in the attack was identified as Youssef Ottman of Abu Ghosh. The second guard killed was later identified as Or Arish, 25, of Har Adar.

Another 32-year-old man was seriously wounded and taken to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Karem. Doctors said his injuries were not life threatening.

The attack took place while a security force was opening the settlement’s peripheral traffic route.

Palestinian day laborers were nearing the checkpoint at the back entry to Har Adar in the early morning when one aroused the suspicions of border police and civil security forces while he was still on the Palestinian side.

Forces then initiated the suspect arrest protocol and ordered him to stop.

When the terrorist realized he’d been made, he opened his shirt, drew a gun and fired at the guards and policemen at short range.

He was then shot dead by the border policemen.

The terrorist, identified as Nimer Jamal, was a 37-year-old resident of Beit Surik with no record of security offenses, who held a work permit for the Seam Zone in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

An initial inquiry into the attack uncovered Jamal suffered from severe personal and family issues, including domestic violence.

He was embroiled in a marital spat with his wife after reportedly physically assaulting her. She fled to Jordan, leaving him with the couple’s four children.

Following the attack, IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and border police forces encircled the terrorist’s village of Beit Surik, only permitting to exit it for humanitarian reasons.

The weapon used in the attack was a regulation handgun reported stolen in 2003.

Security forces initially ruled out the presence of other terrorists at the scene, but have since made arrests in the terrorist’s home village and the surrounding area, picking up Palestinians suspected of being involved in the attack in some capacity.

Har Adar residents were asked to bring all Palestinian day laborers who have already entered the settlement to the local community center.

Residents say the laborers are incensed with the terrorist, saying, “What has he done to us, how will we work now?”

The head of the Har Adar council Chen Filipovich said that “Hundreds of laborers enter the community each and every morning. This is an abnormal, difficult incident, and we’ll be drawing the requisite conclusions from it. I want to send a calming message: ‘We’ll continue working to maintain the calm, good environment.'”

Chief of Police Roni Alsheikh and Jerusalem District Commander Maj.-Gen. Yoram Halevy, as well as IDF GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa and Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Eran Niv all arrived to the scene for briefings.

In addition, IDF forces from the Binyamin Territorial Brigade were roused to the area.

Hamas praises, Israeli officials condemn

Hamas welcomed the terrorist attack, saying, “The Jerusalem attack is a new chapter in the Al-Quds intifada. It underlines the fact any attempts to Judaize (the city) have failed on the ground. Jerusalem is Arab-Muslim. Its residents and youth will spare no effort to redeem it with their spirit and blood.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the attack at the beginning of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“This is a difficult morning with three Israelis murdered by a miscreant. On behalf of the government and the entire people of Israel, my condolences go out to the families of the deceased, and I also wish a speedy recovery to the settlement’s military security coordinator who was also injured. The attack and its ramifications are still under investigation. What we can say now, however, is that the terrorist’s home will be demolished, the IDF has already encircled his village and the work permits of his extended family will be revoked,” he said.

“This murderous attack is a result of methodical incitement by the Palestinian Authority and other entities, and I expect Mahmoud Abbas to denounce the attacking rather than attempt to justify it. Security forces will continue working against the incitement and terrorism as they do every day, and we will conclude the inquiry into the specifics of this attack,” he concluded.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan spoke to reporters at the scene. “We’re in an age of terrorism carried out by individuals, precipitated by incitement and ideological terrorism based on radical Islam and calls to ‘kill the infidels.’ When a terrorist has a valid work permit, you cannot be speaking about a national or territorial dispute. It only proves the conflict is religious, and not territorial,” Erdan claimed.

“The policy of providing Palestinians with permits should be examined, but no hasty decisions should be made. Judea and Samaria should be under closure during the holidays because many Jews visit holy places, and so points of friction should be minimized,” he added.

President Reuven Rivlin also condemned the attack, saying, “In such difficult moments, our hearts go out to the families of those murdered, and we pray for recovery of those injured. Such a brutal terror attack once again shows the daily frontline on which our security forces stand, charged today with the most important mission—the safeguarding and defense of the citizens of Israel. We will continue to confront terror, and will reach all its perpetrators and supporters.”

High alert ahead of High Holy Days

In the past few months, there has been a severe downturn in the number of attacks perpetrated by assailants from the West Bank or east Jerusalem.

The security establishment made preparations for a renewed wave of attacks during the High Holy Days, considered a sensitive time during which the wave of terrorism started two years ago.

IDF forces have therefore exerted increased pressures on local West Bank arms manufacturers, where dozens of turnery owners for self-production of weapons were arrested and their shops closed.

The price of weapons, mostly Carlo rifles—a local version of the Carl Gustav submachine gun—has soared from NIS 1,500 [US $426] for a single gun to many thousands.

As in most attacks, initial working assumption is the Har Adar terrorist worked alone, without belonging to the ranks of any organization that guided him. More likely, he took advantage of the close proximity of Palestinian villages west of Jerusalem to Israeli communities in the area, such as Har Adar. In some cases, only hundreds of meters separate Israeli and Palestinians homes on a nearby hill.

Throughout the “lone-wolf attacker” intifada, the security establishment made it a point to support the policy of providing Palestinians with work permits, out of the desire to differentiate between terrorists and their families and the general population that has no involvement in terrorism.

In a special Rosh HaShanah interview, Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot spoke about Palestinians entering Israel to work and study.

“Cooperation with the Palestinian Authority [PA] is partial, but still to the benefit of both sides. The PA is in charge of the life of over 2.5 million Palestinians in Judea and Samaria’s areas A and B. There’s dialogue,” Eizenkot said.

“We’ve met a new phenomenon for the first time—not organized terrorism with proper weapons, but inspired terrorism,” he added.

“We were able to restore security because we’re very experienced in dealing with terrorism. We operated in a determined and focused manner, while distinguishing the terrorist from the population and creating positive incentives for the majority of the Palestinian population. Every morning, over 900,000 young Palestinians go to study, while half a million work in Israel and Judea and Samaria. This is a positive dynamic and we have a distinct interest in preserving it: On the one hand to determinedly fight terrorism, while on the other to continue to allow better daily life for the population,” he concluded his stance on the matter.

About a year ago, Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman unveiled the “sticks and carrots” plan, as part of which “green” villages that produced no terrorists would receive a range of benefits and relief measures, whereas “red” villages that produced a large number of terrorists will suffer punitive measures including revoking work permits for their family members.

(Elisha Ben-Kimon, Yishai Porat, Elior Levy and Rotem Elizera contributed to this report.)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 26 September 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/ILTV ISRAEL DAILY

Prayer Focus
Cry out against the continuous terror attacks and pray for peace in the holy land! Beseech God to protect all security officers willing to risk their lives for the sake of their country. Lift up the families who lost their loved ones and ask God to comfort them and be near to all who are brokenhearted by this incident.

Scripture

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


- Isaiah 26:12

Tensions Soar, Coexistence Strained in Aftermath of Har Adar Attack

by Adi Rozenberg and Hassan Shaalan

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Three men murdered by Palestinian terrorist in Har Adar

Thursday, 28 September 2017 | After the terror attack Tuesday that claimed the lives of three security personnel near the Har Adar settlement’s back gate, residents have raised concerns over fragile coexistence between the Jews living there and the Arab laborers and neighbors.

“We’ve been living in harmony with the region’s residents and those living beyond the fence, especially Abu Ghosh. This is a difficult day. Everyone is choked up and feeling uneasy,” said Guy Shem Tov, a resident who has been living in Har Adar for the past 30 years.

Shem Tov employs a laborer from one of the neighboring villages once a week but admits that the deadly attack has heightened his fears. “You don’t want to think about anything like that happening, but it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” he said.

Dganit, who’s been living in the settlement not far from Jerusalem for 27 years, also said the attack cracked the ties of mutual trust that had prevailed in the otherwise peaceful community.

“We’ve been living with the different laborers and council employees and know all their names. Every day I see them on the street and chat with them. When something like this happens, it makes you think,” she said.

Dganit added that the feeling in Har Adar was that terrorist Nimer Jamal, from nearby Beit Surik, carried out the attack due to family, rather than ideological, reasons.

“We know the attack most likely stemmed from his own personal issues, which he decided to solve in that fashion and become some kind of ‘super martyr.’ Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority has also made sure it funds this sort of thing,” she added.

Nevertheless, Dganit insisted that the actions of one man could not ruin the relations between Arab neighbors and the Har Adar residents. “I don’t think I’ll start fearing the laborers working here or cast them all in a negative light. I think this was a one-time thing and part of this place’s essence is coexistence,” she concluded.

The feelings of unease run even deeper among those who actually knew the terrorist. Weatherwoman Sharon Wexler is one such person, having employed him as a cleaner in her own home. “He seemed like a really nice man,” she said.

“Up until this morning there was a really nice feeling of living side by side with our neighbors, a feeling of coexistence,” Wexler claimed.

Another Har Adar resident, Henya, said she also personally knew the terrorist who killed Youssef Ottman, Or Arish and Solomon Gavriya. “I remember a likeable man who walked around never forgetting to say hello to anyone. It hurts so much precisely because it was someone you know,” she said.

“Har Adar has existed for 30 years, with coexistence being its daily reality. Day in and day out hundreds of laborers walk through our gates, who build, work and provide other services for us. We provide their livelihoods,” said Har Adar council chief Chen Filipovich.

When asked whether that coexistence will persist after the attack, Filipovich said, “Routine is part of coexistence and we’ll do everything to get both back. We’ll handle anyone seeking to do us harm and embrace anyone who wishes to cooperate.”

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published in Ynetnews on 27 September 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: Twitter/CUFI

Prayer Focus
Bring the residents of Har Adar and the “man on the street” Israelis before our God and pray for peace of mind, but also thank God for their commitment to embrace those who wish to cooperate and deal with those who seek to do them harm. Pray for emotional healing and restoration of trust between the two communities.

Scripture

The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.


- Psalm 29:11

To Fight Terror, Palestinian Authority Must Define It

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Weapons used in terror attack (illustrative)

Thursday, 28 September 2017 | Faced with the loss of funds if the Taylor Force Act becomes law, Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas must clearly outlaw terrorism as an important first step to show that the PA is seriously working to fight terror, two experts wrote in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal.

Jonathan Schanzer and Grant Rumley, respectively the senior vice president and research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote that it would be correct for Congress to reject the PA’s excuses for continuing to pay stipends to families of terrorists and that United States lawmakers should continue to work towards the passage of the Taylor Force Act. Both authors say that to show how seriously the PA is taking Congress, Abbas and the PA should take the initiative to fight terror by making it illegal.

The PA has arrested terrorists and disrupted terror cells, but usually this is done under the authority of presidential decrees for “harming public security,” the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979, or Jordanian military codes.

The State Department, Schanzer and Rumley noted, determined that while the PA has outlawed acts of terror, it has no laws on the books “specifically tailored to counterterrorism.”

If the PA would introduce and pass legislation outlawing terrorism, Schanzer and Rumley argued, they “would carry greater weight and almost certainly garner more respect from the Palestinian people.” However, the Palestinian parliament is non-functioning due to infighting, so the chances of passing such legislation are low.

Despite taking actions against terrorists and even condemning terror attacks against Israel, “the PA continues to pay stipends to people convicted of such attacks.”

Part of the Taylor Force Act, which is on track to be passed before the end of the year, requires the Secretary of State to certify twice a year that the PA is “taking credible and verifiable steps to end acts of violence against Israeli citizens and United States citizens.”

Criminalizing terror would only be a first step.

“If Palestinian leaders continued to condemn American lawmakers for considering cuts to aid, and if the PA kept paying prisoners convicted of terrorism, then the exercise would mean little. Congress would have every right to withhold funds, and the Taylor Force Act could be merely the beginning,” Schanzer and Rumley wrote in their conclusion, “but if Mr. Abbas truly wants to take an alternative path, defining terrorism would be a start.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 13 September 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDFblog.com

Prayer Focus
Beseech God for the world to take hands and outlaw terrorism and the funding thereof! Request the humanly impossible from God which is for Abbas and the PA to criminalize terror, arrest terrorists and disrupt terror cells under their own laws! Pray that the Taylor Force Act which prohibits terror incentives will be passed in the USA and the success thereof will snowball into other nations.

Scripture

You have brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and with great terror; You have given them this land, of which You swore to their fathers to give them–a land flowing with milk and honey.


- Jeremiah 32: 21-22

US Envoy Returns to Israel to “Continue the Peace Track” 

by Ilse Posselt

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US Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt meets with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (illustrative)

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 | Last week, US President Donald Trump sat down for separate discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, while all three were gathered in New York for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. Days later, the White House announced that that Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, will arrive in the Promised Land on Monday for “follow-up meetings” with the two sides to “continue the peace track” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Greenblatt, an observant Jew, had planned a private visit to Israel with his family over the festival of Sukkot, which starts on 4 October. Yet according to a senior White House official, Greenblatt will now arrive a few days earlier and take the opportunity to meet with Netanyahu and Abbas.

While Trump talked with both the Israeli prime minister and the PA president, the White House official pointed out that the UN assembly was not the correct environment in which to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

“While President Trump had productive meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas at the United Nations,” the official said, “we always said that the UN would not focus on peace conversations and that those conversations would be happening on a separate track.”

The official did, however, make no bones about the focus of next week’s meetings, highlighting that they “are part of the administration’s quiet, steady discussion towards peace.”

Trump mentioned the prospects of brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians—something which he has in the past referred to as the “ultimate deal”—before his meetings with both Netanyahu and Abbas.

Prior to sitting down with the Israeli prime minister, the US president said, “Historically, people say it cannot happen. I say it can happen. I think Israel would like to see it and I think the Palestinians would like to see it, and I can tell you that the Trump administration would like to see it. So we are working very hard on it.”

Ahead of the Abbas meeting, Trump told reporters, “I think we have a very, very good chance, and I certainly will devote everything within my heart and within my soul to get that deal done. I think we have a pretty good shot—maybe the best shot ever—and that is what we are looking to do.”

The announcement of Greenblatt’s “follow-up meetings” with Netanyahu and Abbas come amid speculation in the Arabic media regarding a new plan for peace, The Tower reports.

Al-Arabi al-Jadeed, a London-based daily with close ties to Qatar, claimed on Sunday that this new plan entails an independent Palestinian state with gradual borders, which is said to include all the land in Judea and Samaria that the PA currently manages. According to The Tower, this plan also contains a special clause that deals with the return of so-called Palestinian refugees once a state is established.

Neither Israel nor the US has commented on the Al-Arabi al-Jadeed report. For their part, the Palestinians told Israel Hayom that they had no knowledge of the existence of such a plan. They also added that “the Palestinians will object to any peace plan that presents a temporary solution, rather than a solution that includes a permanent status agreement.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 27 September 2017)

Photo Credit: Twitter/Jason D. Greenblatt@jdgreenblatt45

Prayer Focus
Petition the Lord for wisdom for PM Netanyahu and ask Him to guide and direct the US delegation visiting Israel for follow-up meetings with Abbas and Netanyahu working towards the ultimate peace deal. Petition God for His will to be done and for receptive, obedient hearts and minds to execute His plan.

Scripture

A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.


- Proverbs 16:9

Israel Fears Hezbollah Will Receive Precision-guided Missiles Developed by Iran

by Yoav Zitun

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Iranian Raad anti-aircraft missile system

Thursday, 28 September 2017 | Under the nuclear agreement Tehran signed with world powers, which allows it to continue its missile program unabated, the Iranian military industry is developing one of its most covert projects: the RAAD anti-tank missile.

The Iranians have been able to reach a breakthrough in converting heavy “dumb” rockets—some old and containing hundreds of kilograms of explosives—into precision-guided missiles. These GPS-guided missiles will serve as an alternative to the inertial navigation rockets that lose their accuracy the further they fly.

The IDF’s [Israel Defense Forces] working assumption is that these missiles will make their way to Iran’s main proxy in the Middle East, Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah, which receives 75% of its budget from Tehran.

The development of the new RAAD missile is based on a fairly new approach to developing weapons: being able to manufacture advanced weapons independently from Russia.

An accurate missile, such as the ones being developed in Iran, is one that has a hit radius of no more than several dozens of meters from its designated target.

For the sake of comparison, with the rockets Hezbollah currently has in its arsenal, the terror group would have to fire a barrage of dozens of projectiles towards central Israel to increase the chances of hitting the Kirya IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. But only one accurate missile—assuming it is not intercepted—would be needed to achieve the same objective.

However, Western defense officials are not yet convinced Iran has completed development of the new precision-guided missiles.

Meanwhile, a recent airstrike on the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS), attributed to Israel by Arab media, reportedly laid waste to alleged Iranian infrastructure for the production of advanced arms for Hezbollah.

CERS manufactures missiles based on scientific knowhow from North Korea and Iran. The Syrian center also develops chemical weapons and other munitions for Hezbollah, such as S-60 missiles.

At present, Hezbollah’s precision-guided weapons arsenal is minor: A handful of accurate attack drones and “suicide drones.”

In addition to that, Hezbollah has hundreds of unmanned aircraft, some of them attack drones, without significant flight and precision capabilities, while others are used for the collection of intelligence and for psychological warfare.

It also has between 80,000-100,000 rockets in ranges of 10 to 500 kilometers [6 to 310 mi], but these rockets are not very accurate.

Nevertheless, the Israeli defense establishment views Hezbollah as the biggest threat to Israel at present.

Israeli defense officials believe Hezbollah has changed its approach with regards to future conflicts with Israel: Instead of a drawn-out war of attrition, like the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Lebanese terror group would prefer a short war, with a strong opening blow, heavy barrages of rockets, and much subterfuge.

This kind of attitude would require a different approach from the IDF, focusing on the maneuvering of small forces, such as companies and platoons, rather than the cumbersome maneuvering of divisions.

But while the Iranians are urging their Lebanese proxy to escalate the situation with Israel, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah doesn’t follow Tehran’s orders completely, in part because of the bad shape his organization is currently in.

At the same time, Iran is continuing its efforts to increase its influence in Syria. Tehran is arming pro-Iranian forces fighting alongside the Syrian army with a massive airlift of some 100 flights a month.

The Islamic republic also seeks to establish a division in Syria under Hezbollah’s command, gathering under one central command the tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters operating in the war-torn country. There are currently some 8,000 Hezbollah fighters, 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops and some 10,000 Shiite militiamen in Syria.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 27 September 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/ArmedForcesUpdate

Prayer Focus
Exalt the God of gods, the great I Am and protector of Israel that never slumbers nor sleeps and offer thanksgiving for His everlasting promises regarding the people and the land of Israel. Beseech God that the leadership of Israel will stand firm on their Rock and Deliverer in the midst of the enemy’s shouts and threats.

Scripture

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.


- Psalm 121:3-5

Report: Israel, Bahrain Set for Normalization of Ties as Soon as Next Year

by Ilse Posselt

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King of Bahrain Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 | Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience of Israeli diplomats at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem about an unprecedented “breakthrough” in the Jewish state’s ties with some of its moderate Sunni neighbors, hailing relations as “the best ever.”

Less than three weeks later, the prime minister’s statements are proving true. The Middle East Eye reported over the weekend that Israel and the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain have grown increasingly close and that Manama may soon be the first Gulf state to normalize diplomatic ties with Jerusalem. In fact, according to Bahraini and Western diplomatic sources, the official announcement may come as soon as next year.

“I do not think we will witness the opening of an Israeli embassy here,” a Western diplomat based in Bahrain told the Middle East Eye, “but probably we will have official visits from ministers of trade and economic affairs.”

Moreover, an informed diplomatic source with inside knowledge of the growing interaction between Jerusalem and Manama revealed to the Middle East Eye that high-level contact between the two countries in the form of exchange visits from business representatives and influential social and religious figures is taking place on a regular basis. The source added that this interaction will soon result in an official announcement as to the very first public business deals between Israel and Bahrain.

While Bahrain has traditionally offered Israel the cold shoulder to side with the Palestinians, a number of signs over the past months have pointed to a thaw in the frosty relations. The sway in the Gulf kingdom’s sentiments towards the Jewish state can be ascribed to the growing stronghold of Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah in the region, which moderate countries like Bahrain view as one of the biggest threats currently facing the Middle East.

According to a Bahraini official, it is Jerusalem and Manama’s shared concern over Iran that will continue to draw the two countries together. “Israel does not threaten our security or conspire on us,” the official told the Middle East Eye, “but Iran certainly does.”

Bahrain has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel. However, various incidents over the past years have shown that the tiny Gulf kingdom’s attitude towards the Jewish state differs from that of its neighbors.

Between 2008 and 2013, Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo, a Bahraini Jew, acted as Manama’s ambassador to the US, which was the first time in recorded history that a Jew served as the official representation of an Arab country. In 2009, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa advocated for increased dialogue between Israel and Arab countries in a Washington Post op-ed. Then, a year later, a Bahraini princess received life-saving surgery in an Israeli hospital. Since 2015, the king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, has celebrated Hanukkah in his palace with both Jews and Muslims in attendance. Then, last year in September, when Israel’s former president, Shimon Peres, passed away, Bahrain was the only Gulf country to publicly express its condolences for his passing. Two months later, a video clip was shared widely on social media showing a rabbi and Bahrainis in national dress dancing joyously to the song “Am Yisrael Chai” (The people of Israel live). The video clip was reportedly taken during the 2016 Hanukkah celebration in Manama. In May this year, Bahrain publicly welcomed three Israeli officials from the Jewish state’s football association to attend the 67th congress of the football world governing body, FIFA. The visit—a first for an official Israeli delegation to a Gulf state—was widely publicized under the Twitter hashtag #Bahrain_refuses_normalization.

Another indication of a promising future between Jerusalem and Manama came last week, when The Times of Israel reported on a prominent US rabbi’s experience while visiting the tiny Gulf kingdom. According to Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the Bahraini king invited him to the palace for a personal visit in February this year. According to Hier, the king shared that he not only frowns on the Arab state’s boycott of Israel, but also intends to put measures in place to allow his citizens to travel to and from the Jewish state freely.

While the visit took place more than seven months ago, Hier told The Times of Israel that he felt comfortable with sharing the information only now that he received a “clear sign” from the Bahraini king that it was okay to do so. The clear sign, Hier said, came in the form of the Bahraini prince, Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, attending an event at the Wiesenthal Center earlier this month and then paying a visit to the pro-Israel Museum of Tolerance. According to Hier, “The king made a clear statement: ‘It is illogical for the Arab world to boycott Israel. We must find a better way.’”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 26 September 2017)

Photo Credit: Public domain/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise God for Israel’s breakthrough into the Sunni states and ask Him to protect the relationship between Israel and Bahrain that is set to be announced early next year. Also pray protection over all the parties involved and declare that no weapon formed against them will be of harm, mentally or physically.

Scripture

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me, says the LORD.


- Isaiah 54:17

Shin Bet Busts ISIS Sympathizers Planning Temple Mount Shooting

by Yoav Zitun

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Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Friday, 29 September 2017 | Two Arab Israeli supporters of ISIS were arrested earlier this month for planning to carry out a terror attack at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, while another ISIS supporter was arrested for possession of illegal weapons, it was cleared for publication Thursday.

According to the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] investigation, Sa’id Gasub Mahmoud Jabarin, 26 from Umm al-Fahm and a 16-year-old co-conspirator planned to carry out a shooting attack at the compound similar to that which had been perpetrated on July 14 which claimed the lives of two Israeli border police officers.

A third suspect, Faris Salah Mahmoud Mahajna, 24, was also arrested for possession of illegal firearms, including a Carl Gustav gun which was confiscated during a raid at his home.

Indictments were served against Jabarin and his 16-year-old partner at the District Court in Haifa for establishing contact with enemies in a time of war, contact with foreign agents and weapons offences.

During the investigation it emerged that the would-be attackers shared and supported ideas and ideology expounded by ISIS.

Following their investigation, the Shin Bet arrested more individuals also from Umm al-Fahm who were suspected of being involved in the illegal arms trade. During their arrest illegal weapons were confiscated.

“The picture that we received during the investigation shows us that a comparatively short time after the murderous attack in July 2017 on Temple Mount, two Umm al-Fahm residents planned a similar attack at the Temple Mount compound,” said the Shin Bet in an official statement.

“The attack was prevented thanks to accurate intelligence information of the Shin Bet that enabled the arrests of members of a cell before they managed to execute the serious attack,” the statement added.

According to their indictments, the two made contact with members of ISIS and planned to head to Syria to join the fighting taking place.

The defendants frequently visited websites affiliated with the terror organization and watched videos it disseminated, including those documenting its military activities.

In addition, the indictment details how they plotted to launch an attack near the Al-Aqsa Mosque against non-Muslim civilians and security forces.

They discussed, the indictment goes on, the possibility of carrying out a combined attack using a knife and a gun but decided only to use handguns after Jabarin provided the minor with a firearm and offered to train him how to shoot.

During one visit by the minor to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he scouted the area for ideal spots to carry out the attack. He and Jabarin later decided that they would make their way to the compound on organized buses leaving Umm al-Fahm with the weapons strapped to their bodies.

They also agreed that they would carry out the attack in the morning in order to minimize the chances of accidentally harming Muslims.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 28 September 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the efficiency of the Shin–Bet in their daily task of going the extra mile to ensure safety in the streets of Israel. Continue to pray for their safety and to receive more accurate intelligent information to thwart and prevent terror attacks. Ask God to bless this unit and their families with prosperity, happiness and peace.

Scripture

The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.


- Psalm 121:8

Construction of Israeli Spacecraft to the Moon Begins

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Israeli spacecraft on the moon (illustrative)

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 | SpaceIL, the Israeli representative in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition, is making giant strides to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, after the base structure of the craft was received at IAI [Israel Aerospace Industries] facilities last week.

The skeleton of the spacecraft consists of two perforated “sandwich” boards, upper and lower plates and a cone ring structure.

These components, designed by an aerospace industry and manufactured in Spain by IberEspacio, complement the sub-system structure of the spacecraft to be launched to the moon during the coming year.

In recent days, the components of the spacecraft have begun being assembled.

Recently, the eight engines of the spacecraft were assembled and soon after the assembly of the components a comprehensive experiment will be carried out, in order to ensure that the integration is executed and progressing properly.

“We are pleased to be working with the professional team of IberEspacio, and now that we have the base structure, we can begin the assembly, integration and testing at the IAI spacecraft facility,” SpaceIL CEO Dr. Eran Friedman announced.

The launch is expected to take place next year.

SpaceIL is a non-profit organization established in 2011 with the aim of landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon.

In October 2015, SpaceIL marked a dramatic milestone in the project, becoming the first group to announce a launch contract.

The organization was founded by three young engineers: Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Weintraub, who responded to the global competition Google Lunar XPRIZE—a modern international race to land an unmanned spaceship on the moon.

SpaceIL has undertaken to promote scientific and technological education in Israel and is working to inspire the next generation in Israel and the world to study science, engineering, technology and mathematics.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 16 September 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/BINA LA

Prayer Focus
Give thanks for SpaceIL’s goal to influence the next generation to study mathematics, science, technology and engineering and literally take them to higher heights. Glorify God for the opportunity Israel has to make its mark globally and in outer space.

Scripture

For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.


- Deuteronomy 7:6

Israel Sends Rescue Teams to Mexico after Quake 

by Joshua Spurlock

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Israeli team locates and extracts trapped civilians and provides engineering assistance

Monday, 25 September 2017 | Groups of Israelis decided to spend their New Year’s holiday traveling to Mexico—but it wasn’t for a vacation. Search and rescue teams from the Israeli military and the iAID organization went to assist Mexico in recovering from last week’s devastating earthquake—and chose to help out during last week’s Rosh HaShanah holiday, also known as the Jewish New Year.

Israel received a request from Mexico to assist and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commissioned such help to leave for Mexico “as soon as possible,” according to a press release from his office last Wednesday. Later that same day, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) team—consisting of dozens of soldiers—departed, arriving on Rosh HaShanah on Thursday last week, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed. The Spokesperson’s Twitter feed posted that the IDF team then spent the next several days “helping survey buildings & rescue trapped civilians from the rubble.”

On Saturday, Netanyahu spoke by phone with the leader of the IDF delegation, Col. Dudi Mizrachi, and Israeli Ambassador to Mexico Yoni Peled. “You are shining Israel’s light in the world, a big light,” Netanyahu told them, according to a press release from his office. “It is important from a humanitarian standpoint and also to show the world the true Israel.”

Meanwhile, iAID, an international Israeli aid organization, sent a 15-person search and rescue team during the holiday as well and quickly received special access from the Mexican authorities to a sensitive site.

The Escuela Enrique Repsamen school, in which dozens of bodies have been found so far, has been closed off by the Mexican military. Despite that, iAID was “invited to take part in the highly sensitive and complex search and rescue efforts,” said a press release from the group.

Another iAID team has been working at a collapsed multi-story residential building searching for survivors. The press release said that together with the Mexican army and other groups, the iAID team is “leading the efforts to try and locate survivors at the site by implementing an innovative and effective coordination and communication model.”

The press release told one story in which an iAID team found a family searching through rubble by themselves trying to find the family’s father inside. The iAID team helped the family recover his body. Despite the tragedy, the iAID press release said that the family was “extremely thankful” to be able to properly bury the family’s father.

That’s not the only thanks received by Israel so far. A Twitter post from the IDF Spokesperson showed notes from Mexican children thanking the IDF team.

Among the comments, the Twitter post quoted the children as expressing their thanks and using the traditional “Shana tova” Jewish New Year blessing—which prays for a good year: “Thanks for coming to help! Shana tova! Here in Mexico, everyone thanks you.”

The IDF Blog reported that the delegation includes both search and rescue and engineering teams, who can assist in determining if buildings are safe or not. That expertise is why the Israelis are so regularly called to assist in such tragedies, even during their holidays. It’s something they are certainly willing to do.

The Blog quoted IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus as saying, “The IDF and the State of Israel will continue to assist in the aftermath of any disaster around the world that requires our experience and abilities.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 24 September 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/IDF@IDFSpokesperson

Prayer Focus
Rejoice and proclaim God’s promise that Israel will be a light to the nations. Lift up all the iAID volunteers and workers currently serving in disaster stricken areas and pray for sound minds, energy and God’s guidance seeking and sifting through the rubble.

Scripture

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.


- Psalm 23:3 NLT

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