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Friday, September 6, 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.

Tensions in the North Skyrocket: Hezbollah Attacks, Israel Retaliates

by Ilse Strauss

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Damage from the missile that Hezbollah fired on northern Israel

Monday, 2 September 2019 | The announcement came late yesterday afternoon.  Shortly after 4:00 p.m., Iran’s Lebanon-based terror proxy Hezbollah made good on its vows of revenge against the Jewish state, firing three sophisticated Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles at an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base and a nearby military jeep in northern Israel.  There were a number of confirmed hits.

The terror group was quick to celebrate the attack, describing it as payback for an Israeli preemptive strike in Syria overnight on August 24 that thwarted a Tehran-initiated plan to bomb northern Israel with armed drones.  The Israeli strike killed two Hezbollah terrorists.  “At 16:15,” the terror group bragged, it “destroyed an Israeli military vehicle near the border, killing and wounding those inside.”

The boast proved premature.  While Hezbollah commended itself on its successful attempt to murder and maim, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the terror group had failed.  “We have no casualties,” he clarified, “not even a scratch.”

Retaliation from Israel was swift and severe.  Having taken Hezbollah’s threats of revenge seriously, the IDF was on high alert and answered the terror group’s attack almost immediately.  According to the army, artillery cannons and an attack helicopter fired nearly 100 shells at Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, including the cell responsible for the attack.

As tensions threatened to escalate and turn Israel’s northern border into a war zone yet again, Jerusalem ordered residents within 2.4 miles (4 km) of the Lebanon border to stay inside and open their bomb shelters.  The military also advised against travelling on open roads in the area and prohibited any activity, including agriculture, near the border, the Times of Israel reported.

For a few anxious hours, the nightmare of a third Lebanon war seemed more like a reality than a bad dream.

However, by nightfall a tense calm had returned to the Israeli–Lebanon border.  While plumes of smoke and the arid smell of battle still hung in the air, the ominous scream of shells and missiles had ceased.  IDF spokesman, Lt.  Col.  Jonathan Conricus said that the army considered the “tactical event on the ground” to be over.  Civilians were told that it was once again safe to leave their homes.

Following a quiet evening, the situation on Israel’s northern border remains tense but calm.  According to Lebanon’s National News Agency, Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri has reached out to the international community, particularly the United States and France, to quell the threatening storm.  United Nations (UN) peacekeepers have purportedly been in contact with both sides to help defuse the tensions.  This morning the head of the UN’s Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the peacekeeping force stationed in southern Lebanon following the Second Lebanon War, confirmed that a “general calm” has been restored following a “serious incident” that violated the resolution that brought an end to the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

While numerous international role players are making an effort to restore calm to the volatile region, Hezbollah’s masters in Tehran seem to be the lone voice singing the praises of their terror proxy.  According to the Times of Israel, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, boasted that yesterday’s attack stands as proof of the Islamic Republic and its terror proxy’s bravery to take on Israel and the United States.

Israeli leaders remain adamant that the responsibility for peace rests with the Jewish state’s enemies.  Peace will be met with peace.  Violence, on the other hand, will be met with force.  “All those who seek to harm us should know that we are ready and willing to defend Israel’s citizens wherever they are, without hesitation,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement.  “We also say to them that we are prepared and do not want to show just how well-prepared we are.  You should know that the border can only be quiet if it is on both of its sides.”

For his part, Netanyahu said, “We are consulting about the next steps.  I have ordered that we be prepared for any scenario.”

Hezbollah’s threats of revenge began after the largely covert war between Jerusalem and Tehran took yet another step from the shadows when Israel conducted the August 24 preemptive strike in Syria to thwart the Iranian terror attack on northern Israel and killed two Hezbollah terrorists involved in that plan.  Tehran’s plan of attack, which entailed launching explosive-laden killer drones into Israel’s Golan Heights, was reportedly payback for Israel stepping up its efforts to prevent the mullahs from setting up a Shiite military hegemony spanning from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon, and increasing its scope of strikes on Iranian-linked targets from Syria to Iraq over the past month.

A day later, two drones crashed into the southern suburbs of Beirut, an area dominated by Iran’s Lebanese terror proxy, Hezbollah, followed by a strike on a base belonging to a Palestinian terrorist group in Lebanon near the Syrian border.  While nobody has claimed responsibility for the strikes in Lebanon, Israel’s enemies hold the Jewish state responsible.

Head of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, threatened to settle the score with Israel.  “I tell the Israeli army,” he raged, “wait for our response.” Following a week of vowing bloody revenge, the man leading the terror group upped the ante on Saturday night, vowing that the attack would come in 72 hours.  Nasrallah remained true to his word.

Hezbollah’s promised revenge strike has now come and gone, leaving the Jewish state largely unscathed.  Yet Israel is not letting its guard down just yet.  While the immediate danger might be over, the looming threat of Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border remains.  Israelis can also not help but wonder: does yesterday’s attack comprise the full extent of the terror group’s retaliation or does Hezbollah have more up its sleeve? For this reason, the IDF remains vigilant and “will continue to keep a high-threat level—both defensive and offensive—for a wide variety of scenarios.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 2, 2019)

Photo Credit: Silvio Pinco/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Seek God’s protection on the northern border of Israel and for an end to the tensions that exist there. Cry out to Him that any missiles fired toward Israel would fall to the ground useless or be turned back on those that would destroy God’s land and people.

Scripture

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 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.


- Psalm 121:1–4

Israel Exposes Hezbollah Plans for a Precision-guided Missile Plant in Lebanon

by Ilse Strauss

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The IDF reveals a Hezbollah facility used to manufacture precision-guided missiles inside Lebanon. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2019 | In the latest episode of the Israel–Hezbollah tensions threatening to turn the Jewish state’s northern border into a war zone, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) yesterday revealed that the Iranian terror proxy has been hard at work setting up a factory to produce precision-guided missiles in southern Lebanon.

The army said in a statement accompanied by satellite images that the Lebanon-based terror group—aided by its taskmasters in Tehran—constructed the missile manufacturing facility several years ago. The IDF recently identified activities aimed at upgrading the factory, with Hezbollah—once again aided by its taskmasters in Tehran—bringing in specialized equipment to establish a dedicated assembly line to produce and convert precision-guided weapons.

The IDF did not speculate about Hezbollah’s intended use for the state-of-the-art missiles manufactured in the upgraded facility. It didn’t have to. The Iranian terror proxy has, after all, made it clear that the annihilation of Israel takes a top spot on it’s to do list.

Yesterday’s announcement comes two weeks after Israeli drones allegedly struck a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut to dismantle key elements of the project, the Times of Israel reports.

It also comes at the tail-end of the fiercest exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah since the 2006 Second Lebanon War. On Sunday, the terror group fired three anti-tank missiles on Israel—supposed as payback for an Israeli preemptive strike in Syria that foiled an Iranian-initiated terror plot and killed two Hezbollah terrorists—and Israel answered with 100 shells targeting Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon.

Moreover, the satellite image proof comes three days after the man at the helm of the Iranian terror proxy publically denounced any accusations that Hezbollah produces precision missiles as a ploy hatched by the Jewish state.

“We do not have precision missile factories,” Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah told his followers during a televised address on Saturday evening. “This is a lie and a pretext that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is adopting to carry out aggression.”

Hezbollah is considered the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor and boasts an arsenal of some 150,000 artillery rockets as well as ballistic, anti-air, anti-tank and anti-ship missiles. The majority of these weapons can, however, not be guided to specific targets—a situation that both Hezbollah and Iran have been working hard to remedy.

The Syrian Civil War proved the perfect cover for the Islamic Republic to smuggle advanced weapons through the war-torn country into Hezbollah’s waiting hands. However, Israeli airstrikes proved effective in foiling these efforts and closing the supply line. As a result, Iran and its terror proxy embarked on an initiative to produce the precision-guided weapons domestically in Lebanon, the Times of Israel reports.

The facility that the IDF exposed yesterday “is of superior importance to the Hezbollah precision missile project,” the army said.

The factory comprises a number of sections dedicated to motor production, quality assurance, manufacturing of explosives for warheads and logistics, the Times of Israel reports. The facility features the makings of “a dedicated assembly line for precision weapons” and boasts a number of Iranian machines “designed to manufacture the motors and the warheads of missiles with an accuracy of less than 10 meters [32 ft.].”

The IDF also highlighted the crucial role Iran plays, providing its terror progeny with the special machinery, the necessary training, guidance and support to produce the means to launch barrages of precision missiles on Israel in a future conflict.

The army warned Hezbollah—and its puppet masters in Tehran—that Israel will act to stymie any upgrades to the terror group’s arsenal.

Commenting on the IDF’s disclosure, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out that the “precision missiles are aimed directly at Kiryat Ata [an Israeli city near the Lebanon border].”

Netanyahu also echoed the army’s warning, vowing that Israel’s enemies—including Hezbollah—will not possess precision-guided missiles on his watch.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 4, 2019)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will guide Israel in whatever steps need to be taken to insure that the plans for upgrading this guided missile factory never come to fruition. Beseech Him for a swift and permanent end to Hezbollah and the threat they pose to all Israel.

Scripture

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men.


- Psalm 59:1–2

Iran Threatens to Take “Most Important Step” Away from Nuclear Deal

by Ilse Strauss

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Thursday, 5 September 2019 | Iran threatened yesterday that it was three days away from taking a significant leap forward in accelerating its nuclear activities—unless Europe throws a financial lifeline to rescue the Islamic Republic from its economic woes.

Speaking ahead of the weekend deadline for the nations of Europe to offer alternative avenues for Iranian oil sales after tightening US sanctions closed the door to traditional markets, President Hassan Rouhani warned that Tehran was on the verge of taking the third and “most important step” away from the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Iran’s third step is of an extraordinarily significant nature,” Rouhani said.

“From Friday, we will witness research and development on different kinds of centrifuges and new centrifuges and also whatever is needed for enriching uranium in an accelerated way,” Rouhani said during an address aired on state television. “All limitations on our research and development will be lifted on Friday.”

The Iranian president was quick to add that Tehran’s efforts to speed up the enrichment of uranium will be “peaceful” and “reversible.”

Iran has long since been adamant that its sole purpose for enriching uranium is to fuel nuclear power plants. Israel has never been convinced and even raided a secret bunker in Tehran to obtain the proof that the Islamic Republic has been dishonest regarding its nuclear program and the progress it has made.

US President Donald Trump concurred with Israel, labeled the 2015 nuclear accord a “bad deal” and withdrew from it last year. Since then, the US has been imposing crippling sanctions in an attempt to stymie Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Following the US withdrawal, the Islamic Republic has taken two steps in violation of the deal, despite declarations that it wishes to salvage the agreement. Now Tehran threatens to take the third and “most important step.”

The powers-that-be in Europe are, however, working hard to stay the mullahs’ hand. France is reportedly ready to come to Iran’s aid with a credit line of US $15 billion until the end of this year, provided that Tehran pledges to toe the nuclear accord line.

Acknowledging the French helping hand rather guardedly, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said yesterday, “Our return to the full implementation of the nuclear accord is subject to the receipt of US $15 billion over a four-month period, otherwise the process of reducing Iran’s commitments will continue. Either Europe has to buy oil from Iran or provide Iran with the equivalent of selling oil as a credit line guaranteed by Iran’s oil revenues, which in some sense means a pre-sale of oil.”

Araqchi is, however, doubtful that Iran and France can clinch such a deal before Tehran takes its third step away from the nuclear accord on Friday.

Rouhani seems equally unoptimistic. “I see that it’s unlikely a conclusion will be reached with Europe today or tomorrow,” he said.

“They know what we want, and we know what they want.”

The Iranian president did, however, add that Tehran might be willing to negotiate its deadline. “Europe will have another two months to fulfill its commitments,” Rouhani said.

For its part, the US yesterday continued to step up its economic restrictions against Iran, blacklisting a network of firms, ships and individuals with suspected ties to Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

President Trump also reiterated that the US will not ease sanctions. “That’s not happening,” he pointed out. “That won’t be happening.”

With Friday one day away, all eyes are on Tehran to see if the mullahs will take that dreaded third step.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 5, 2019)

Photo Credit: Hossein Heydarpour/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel and the nations of the world will not succumb to Iran’s threats and manipulation but will make decisions based on God’s will and wisdom. Entreat the Lord that international sanctions, or whatever steps are necessary, will be put in place to bring Iran’s nuclear ambitions to an end.

Scripture

For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us.


- Psalm 44:6–7

South Pacific Nation Becomes Next Country to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

by Itamar Eichner

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The flag of Nauru

Monday, 2 September 2019 | The tiny Pacific island of Nauru has become the latest country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, following in the footsteps of a number of countries, with the US at their head.

The declaration came after diplomatic negotiations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz and the Nauruan embassy in Israel, with the help of the honorary consul of Nauru in Israel, David Ben Basat.

The government is soon to approve plans to help relocate several embassies and foreign government agencies to Jerusalem, Nauru’s mission included.

Nauru is a small island country with just 10,000 citizens some 4,500 km. (2,796 mi.) from Australia, but has a seat at the United Nations (UN) and a right to vote at the forum just like China and the US.

The tiny island is one of Israel’s most dedicated allies and regularly supports Israel at UN votes despite pressure from Arab countries.

Nauru’s UN ambassador, Marlene Inemwin Moses recently attended a dinner in Israel thrown in her honor by Ben Basat.  Foreign Minister Katz, who was also present, asked the ambassador what could be done to help with Nauru’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Inemwin said she’d consult with then-president Waqa.

After a few days, Moses said that Waqa had instructed her to publish a letter stating Nauru officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Waqa visited Israel two years ago, and stated that Israel is always in his heart.  He also claimed that Nauru has only a handful of embassies around the world, but its foreign ministry would not rule out an embassy in Israel as well.

After the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, both Australia and the Czech Republic followed suit, while Guatemala moved its existing embassy to the capital.

Katz has vowed to continue to “strengthen Jerusalem’s international status,” saying Israel intends to take action to encourage more countries to recognize Jerusalem as the capital and move their embassies there.

Honduras is also to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem on Sunday, which is supposed to turn into an embassy at a later date.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on August 29, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Chickenonline/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the growing number of nations that are recognizing Jerusalem as the legitimate and eternal capital of the State of Israel. Beseech Him to pour out his blessing on Nauru and any other nation that joins itself with the Jewish state by acknowledging the glory of Jerusalem.

Scripture

For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”


- Psalm 132:13–14

Netanyahu: “We Will Remain in Hebron Forever”

by Elisha Ben Kimon, Itamar Eichner

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PM Netanyahu speaking at a memorial service in Hebron on Wednesday

Thursday, 5 September 2019 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday during a memorial service to the 1929 Arab riots in Hebron that “we are not strangers in Hebron and will remain in the city forever.”

“We are not here to disinherit anyone, but no one will disinherit us (from here),” he said.

“We have come here to unite in memory, to express victory over bloodthirsty rioters who committed this horrific massacre 90 years ago,” the prime minister said.

“They were sure that they uprooted us for good, but they made a huge mistake,” he added.

Earlier in the ceremony, Knesset (Parliament) speaker Yuli Edelstein said that “it is time to impose sovereignty” on the city.

“We did not return in all out might to this place, a place where out legacy lies and where Jews have dreamed about for generations,” he said. “It is time that the Jewish settlement in Hebron grows by the thousands.”

Culture Minister Miri Regev also called on Netanyahu to annex the city of Hebron, saying that “it’s time that we uphold the pledge we have with our patriarchs and be sovereigns over the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Hebron, Tel Aviv and Hebron are no different.”

“We have no right to settle in Tel Aviv, Dimona or Kiryat Shmona if we don’t understand the meaning of Hebron,” she added.

President Reuven Rivlin attended a different memorial service in the city earlier Wednesday and said that “Hebron is not a barrier for peace.”

“It is all up to us and our will. Hope is where we stand, Jews have returned to the home of their fathers,” he said.

“Israel must work to improve the quality of life in the area for all its inhabitants,” the president added, referring to both the Arab and Jewish population of the city.

Source: (Excerpt of article originally published by Ynetnews on September 4, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: News Update Live/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray for the Jewish citizens of Hebron who live with constant stress and potential danger. Beseech the Lord for His direction and protection as Israel moves to reclaim all the Land that He has promised them.

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

Palestinians Agree to Take Money from Israel, Lie to Save Face

by Adv. Maurice Hirsch

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Tuesday, 3 September 2019 | Months after intentionally plunging the Palestinian economy into financial crisis, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has finally agreed to accept two billion shekels (US $564.4 million) from Israel. In order to justify the move to its domestic audience, the PA had to invent an alternative reality, assuming that its population and potentially even the international community would never know the truth.

When Israel implemented its Anti-“Pay for Slay” Law in February 2019 and started deducting from the tax revenues Israel collects and transfers to the PA, 41 million shekels/month (US $11.6 million) amounting to 502 million shekels/year (US $141.7 million), which is the amount the PA admitted it had spent in 2018 to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners and released terrorists, the PA responded by refusing to accept all the remaining tax revenues. Since making that decision, hundreds of millions of shekels that Israel has collected and was willing to transfer to the PA have been sitting in Israel’s coffers, just waiting for the PA to accept them.

At the time, the PA claimed that accepting the deducted funds would be equivalent to accepting that the arrested Palestinians are terrorists and that the move would have “ominous political consequences, and it will have legal implications for us as an authority, and on the banking sector, and on the beneficiaries and such.”

Now the PA has suddenly agreed to accept two billion shekels (US $564.4 million) from Israel. While making the announcement, PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh, already sowed the seeds of the PA’s alternative reality, claiming that the funds were received “after exhausting negotiations” and that the PA would be importing petroleum “without the “Blu” tax retroactively for the past seven months.”

In an interview with AFP, Al-Sheikh added the two billion shekel figure. This alternative narrative suffers from three major inaccuracies.

Firstly, no “exhausting negotiations” were needed. Israel has been willing for months to transfer the taxes it had collected, but the PA was unwilling to accept the deducted amounts. The only “exhausting negotiations” required were internal PA negotiations on how to spin the decision to accept the funds without being openly seen as abandoning the PA posturing.

Secondly, Israeli law requires that “Blu” tax be collected on all gas and fuel sold within Israel. A separate provision of the law permits the Israeli Authorities to transfer to the PA any “Blu” collected on gas and fuel destined for the areas under PA control. Since the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) has not functioned for several months (as a result of elections and return elections) it is impossible that any changes in these laws that would allow the PA to import “petroleum without ‘Blu’ tax retroactively for the past seven months” could have been passed.

Thirdly, statistics published by the PA Ministry of Finance (and independently verified by Palestinian Media Watch) show that in the first half of 2019, the income from “Blu” taxes was 1.27 billion shekels (US $358.4 million)—reflecting a monthly average of approximately 211 million shekels (US $59.5 million). Which means, that by accepting two billion shekels (which is hundreds of millions more than the “Blu” taxes revenue), the PA has de facto given in to Israel’s demand to accept the tax money minus the terror money deduction. To save face, the PA is lying to its own people and to the international community claiming it is only agreeing to receive the “Blu” tax money.

While this is perfectly clear to those familiar with the both PA finances and Israel’s legislative process, it is not entirely unlikely that many of the Palestinian population and the international community accepted Al-Sheikh’s explanations, assuming that he was telling the truth.

Israel’s Anti-“Pay for Slay” law was passed in July 2018. The law instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of “martyrs” in one year from the tax money Israel collects and transfers to the PA in the following year. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA. The law was first implemented in February 2019, shortly after the murder of Ori Ansbacher, when Israel’s Security Cabinet decided to withhold 502,697,000 shekels (approximately US $138 million) from the PA to be deducted in 12 monthly parts.

In response to the decision, the PA announced that if Israel implemented the law and deducted the funds, the PA would refuse to accept any of the funds.

Ostensibly as a result of the decision to refuse the tax income after the deduction, the PA decided to cut the salaries of all its public employees, and for months has been paying them only 50% of their salaries. During this period, the terrorist prisoners continued to receive their full salaries. It also decided to stop the referrals of Palestinians to Israeli hospitals to receive medical treatment claiming, falsely, that Israel was charging the PA US $100 million/year.

Every month Israel collects hundreds of millions of shekels and transfers them to the PA. These funds constitute 50% of the entire PA budget.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Palestinian Media Watch on August 28, 2019. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: DaphneAM/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the outrageous “pay for slay” program of the Palestinian Authority (PA) would come to an immediate end. Pray the PA’s lies would be exposed and all would come to understand that the Palestinian people are being abused, lied to and manipulated by a criminal regime that cares more about an evil ideology than the well-being of the citizens it should be providing for.

Scripture

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.


- Psalm 5:9–10

Young Immigrants from Enemy States Begin their Schooling in Israel

by Itamar Eichner

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President Reuven Rivlin (R) and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion (L) welcome children on their first day of school (illustrative).

Wednesday, 4 September, 2019 | More than 2,000 children and teens from 37 countries who made aliyah (immigration to Israel) this summer with assistance from the Jewish Agency for Israel entered the Israeli school system for the first time on September 1, at the start of the new academic year.

Among them are 31 Jewish children who made their way to Israel with their families in complete secrecy, in covert Jewish Agency operations, from countries with hostile relations with Israel.

According to the Jewish Agency, around 1,450 of the young new immigrants who will start their first school year in Israel are children and teens aged 6 to 17 who will join elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.

More than 550 are children aged 3 and over who will go into preschools and kindergartens all over the country.

The countries with the greatest number of new immigrant children are Russia (around 880), the United States (around 400), France (around 270) and Ukraine (around 150).

The new pupils also come from less common countries such as Armenia, China, Thailand, Cyprus, India and Panama—as well as the countries that must remain confidential.

With the new school year approaching, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog met in Jerusalem with some of the children and families who came to Israel in secrecy on covert Jewish Agency operations, from countries with hostile relations with Israel.

Herzog provided them with school supplies and advice about making new friends and being successful in their studies.

“You all came in the last few months from countries that are very complex, and we are very happy that you are in Israel,” Herzog said.

“We all want to wish you a most successful school year. May you feel safe here, in your country, in the holy land, in the State of Israel. You are continuing a legacy of generations and we are very proud of you.”

A 14-year-old girl who made aliyah to Israel last month from Venezuela—which in the past year has experienced political upheaval that threatens the Jewish community there—spoke about her arrival in Israel.

“It’s not good now in Venezuela but it’s a beautiful country. I love Israel and people have everything they need here,’ she said.

The teen will be starting school in Ashdod, and said that going to a new school is “difficult, but feels good to be doing so in Israel. I have a lot of friends in the Beit Canada Absorption Center. I have friends from Venezuela, Brazil and lots of countries. It’s good to be here.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on August 28, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link )

Photo Credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Pray for these immigrant children and all of Israel’s new citizens. Ask the Lord to strengthen their resolve to overcome the difficulties of establishing lives in a new and foreign country and press on to become proud and prosperous members of Israeli society. Raise your voice in praise to the Lord for His faithfulness to fulfill His ancient promises and beseech Him that the Jewish people will continue to hear and respond to His call to come home.

Scripture

“At that time I will bring you back, even at the time I gather you; for I will give you fame and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I return your captives before your eyes,” says the LORD.


- Zephaniah 3:20

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