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A Light in the Midst of Trauma

Friday, October 8, 2021

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

IDF: Operational Plans against Iran’s Nuclear Program Continue to Evolve

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IDF Maj.–Gen. Tamir Heiman at an Israel Intelligence Heritage conference in Tel Aviv on June 5, 2019

Wednesday, 6 October 2021 | The operational plans against Iran’s nuclear program will “continue to evolve and improve. Whatever it may be, it is our duty to provide an effective and timely military response,” said Israel Defense Forces [IDF] Chief of Staff Lt.–Gen. Aviv Kochavi, on Tuesday.

He spoke at a ceremony marking the entry of a new military intelligence commander of the IDF Operations Directorate, Maj.–Gen. Aharon Haliva.

The IDF and the intelligence community “know quite a bit about what is happening in Iran and are working against Iranian regional entrenchment throughout the Middle East,” said Kochavi. “Operations to destroy threatening Iranian capabilities will continue in various arenas and at any time.”

Addressing the outgoing head of the directorate, Maj.–Gen. Tamir Heiman, Kochavi said that under his command, it “became a natural and integral part of the fighting forces and operational planning. You commanded [it] responsibly and with an in-depth approach while understanding the IDF’s needs. The directorate has also become more modern, more accurate and more attuned to operational needs.”

Heiman is completing his 34 years of service and retiring from the IDF.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 5, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Flash90/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Lift up the new military intelligence commander, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, as he begins his assignment in this critical area of the IDF. Pray that he will seek wisdom from God in order to interpret the information his group receives regarding the Iranian threat. Pray for unity within the government’s security cabinet to know if and when to act.


Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

- Proverbs 2:3–5

Herzog at Babi Yar: Leaders Must “Condemn Slightest Hint of Anti-Semitism”

by JNS

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Israeli President Isaac Herzog delivering a speech at the international ceremony marking 80 years since the Babi Yar massacre

Thursday, 7 October 2021 | Israel’s President Isaac Herzog addressed the international gathering on Wednesday marking 80 years since the Babi Yar massacre in Kyiv, Ukraine, on September 29–30, 1941.

Speaking alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and other leaders, Herzog took part in inaugurating the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC).

“The establishment of the center, which tells the story of the 2.5 million Jews of Eastern Europe, including 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews, who were murdered and buried in mass graves, is an important step and an important chapter in the shared history of Ukraine and Israel, of Ukraine and of the Jewish people,” he said.

Noting the long and complicated history of Judaism in Ukraine, Herzog said that the memorial’s establishment “corrects the historic injustice of many years of denial and forgetting, and represents a lesson learned and a study resource for future generations.”

The BYHMC is being established to commemorate the stories of the 2.5 million Jews of Eastern Europe, including 1.5 million from Ukraine alone, who were murdered and buried in mass graves near their homes by the Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators.

Last year, a number of memorials, including synagogue prayer space, were installed as part of the construction of a massive, innovative museum complex across the whole Babi Yar area. The establishment of the center is being overseen by public figures and leaders from around the world, headed by Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center.

“Let us make no mistake: even in the present, Holocaust denial is still alive and kicking. Anti-Semitism still exists. Just in the past day, we all heard of another ugly manifestation of anti-Semitism at the Auschwitz extermination camp in the form of anti-Semitic graffiti that disgraces the memory of the people killed at this terrible death camp. We, world leaders, must vigorously condemn the slightest hint of this phenomenon and fight it with all our might,” he said.

Stressed Herzog: “Commemoration and remembrance are vital for the whole of humanity, against evil, cruelty and apathy.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 6, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Give thanks that the government and people of Ukraine have taken the important step of establishing a Holocaust memorial center on the site of one of the largest mass murders of Jewish people in World War II. Pray that it would serve as a beacon of light in years to come—that the world would not forget the 2.5 million Jews of Eastern Europe whose blood still cries out from the ground.


And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.”

- Genesis 4:10

Israeli Test Identifies Recurring Cancer Years before Current Technologies

by Janet Aslin

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Blood test (illustrative)

Monday, 4 October 2021 | C2i Genomics has developed a blood test that allows doctors to monitor their patients for recurring or newly developing cancer cells in real-time. Although the test has not received FDA approval, it is currently being used in clinical research and drug development research in New York, Singapore, Denmark and Sweden.

According to the company’s website, “When a tumor is surgically removed today, tiny amounts of residual cancer cells may remain at a level that is undetectable with imaging [MRI or XRay] or current blood-based technologies.”

Without a way to know precisely what is happening in the body, doctors may over-treat the patient with toxic chemicals or radiation. On the other hand, under-treatment is also possible as the cancer may appear to be in remission when actually it is growing and metastasizing. The C2i blood test has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment by revealing accurate information regarding the status of a patient’s cancer cells months and even years in advance.

So, how does the test work? Our bodies are very complex in design, and each of us has a unique genome. Simply defined, a genome is “an organism’s complete set of genetic instructions. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build that organism and allow it to grow and develop” (www.yourgenome.org). The C2i blood test is based on the patient’s genome and, using artificial intelligence, compares thousands of data points, which are used to generate a unique pattern that provides real-time information the doctor can then use.

C2i Genomics, founded by Dr. Asraf Zviran and three others, is headquartered in New York with R&D facilities located in Israel. Dr. Zviran, who holds a PhD in molecular biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science, is a cancer survivor himself. In an interview with Israel21c, Dr. Zviran, who was serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the time he was diagnosed, said “he pictured cancer as an enemy to defeat—if he could find the right weapon and target.”

Boris Oklander, the company’s CTO, agreed with this mindset as he shared with Israel21c the origin of the company’s name. “C2i is a military term for ‘command, control and intelligence’—it expresses the vision of applying defense methodologies to oncology.”

There are several other genome-sequencing companies, but C2i has two significant advantages. First, the results of the blood work can be read by any of the 15,000 labs around the world, rather than a central point as used by their competition. And, they look at the whole genome rather than specific parts, giving a more complete understanding of any changes in the patient’s body with regard to cancer.

The ongoing work of C2i Genomics has the potential to significantly even the odds in the fight against recurring cancers. For more information, click here.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 4, 2021)

Photo Credit: jjprojects/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Offer praise to God for this example of blessing through the descendants of Abraham. Pray that the clinical research would be concluded in a timely manner and that this game-changing blood test would become available as a tool to help physicians treat cancer more effectively.


Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

- Genesis 28:14

Hezbollah Says its Operatives Downed IDF Drone

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Drone (illustrative)

Friday, 1 October 2021 | The Hezbollah terrorist organization said its operatives downed an Israel Defense Forces [IDF] drone on the Lebanese–Israeli border on Thursday.

According to a statement by the organizations, “fighters from the Islamic resistance succeeded in bringing down an IDF drone in Wadi Marimin by attacking it,” reported Israel’s Kan news.

The incident occurred in the western sector of the border. The IDF said it was investigating the circumstances of the incident.

On August 11, the IDF downed a drone likely operated by Hezbollah as it infiltrated Israeli airspace.

The IDF said a day after the incident that the drone “was monitored” by the military “throughout the incident.”

Hezbollah possesses a fleet of Iranian-made military drones that it received from smuggling efforts in recent years, according to multiple assessments.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 30, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Offer petitions to the Lord on behalf of Israel and the sensitive northern border with Lebanon and Syria. Pray specifically for Maj. General Amir Baram, head of the IDF Northern Command, as he leads the forces who defend northern Israel against Hezbollah’s rockets and drones. May they be like Israel’s warrior King David who called the Lord his shield.


The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.

- 2 Samuel 22:3

Israel, Hamas Prisoner Swap Reportedly Hits Dead End

by Elior Levy

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The Hamas flag

Thursday, 7 October 2021 | The talks between the Hamas leadership and Egyptian intelligence failed to yield a breakthrough in the prisoner and missing persons swap deal between the terrorist group and Israel, Dubai-based Al-Arabiya reported.

Al-Arabiya also reported that Jerusalem refused Hamas’s demand that Israel release a thousand security prisoners in exchange for the bodies of IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul—both killed in the 2014 Gaza war—and the release of two Israeli civilians, all held by Hamas.

Egyptian mediation between Israel and the Gaza ruling Hamas has taken place over the past few months and has successfully brought an end to 11 days of fighting between Hamas and Israel in May, and to a subsequent bout of hostility that included incendiary balloons sent from Gaza into Israeli territory, as well as violent protests by Palestinians rioters on the perimeter fence.

On Sunday, talks ramped up when Hamas sent a delegation to Cairo—led by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who arrived from Qatar, and the group’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar—to further discuss the now-defunct prisoner swap with Israel.

A source with knowledge of the talks estimated that the invitation of the Hamas leadership to Cairo was intended to pressure the terror group to compromise on the swap, after Israel had informed Egypt it would reject the Hamas demands.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett discussed Israel’s demand for the return of the soldiers and civilians in a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi last month.

Participants in the talks included Israel’s coordinator for prisoners and MIA’s along with National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata. Egypt’s head of intelligence, Abbas Kamel, who acts as mediator between the Israeli government and the Hamas terror group, was also present.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on October 6, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Orthuberra/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel’s leaders will continue to stand firm to reject the Hamas demand that one thousand security prisoners be released in return for the bodies of two IDF soldiers and the return of two Israeli civilians. Pray that hostilities on Israel’s southern border with Gaza will not resume because of this standstill.


Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.

- Psalm 35:24

US National Security Advisor: US Committed to Diplomacy on Iran

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President Joe Biden (right) walking with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan (left) outside the White House in January 2021

Wednesday, 6 October 2021 | US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan hosted his Israeli counterpart, Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata, at the White House on Tuesday morning.

It was the first in-person meeting of the US–Israeli Strategic Consultative Group (SCG), a forum for dialogue between the two advisors and interagency delegations representing defense, military, intelligence and diplomatic officials from both countries.

According to a readout of the meeting, the two sides exchanged views about the various challenges impacting Israel’s security and stability.

Sullivan made it clear that US President Joe Biden is committed to ensuring Israel’s security, promising that the United States will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

According to the readout, Sullivan confirmed that the administration still believes diplomacy is the best way to achieving that goal, though is ready to turn to other options if diplomacy fails.

While this was the first in-person meeting, the group has held virtual ones earlier this year. Hulata also previously met in person with Sullivan when he accompanied Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on a visit to Washington, DC, where he had multiple discussions with Biden.

According to a senior US administration official in a background briefing with reporters on Monday, the group has also been discussing the new threat from Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Both sides also agree that Iran has moved significantly closer to a nuclear weapon in recent years.

“Without getting into details of what we’ll be discussing with the Israelis this week, I would just emphasize that the nature of our discussions again remains very deep, very constructive, and we are very closely aligned on how we see the bigger picture,” said the official. “We don’t see eye-to-eye on every single issue, but there’s a great deal of alignment both in how we see the challenges presented, particularly by Iran, and how to ensure that we are effectively utilizing the full range of tools at our disposal.”

The official said the Biden administration is hopeful that the negotiations to bring the United States and Iran back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will resume shortly in Vienna; it is yet to be seen how Iran is prepared to engage regarding another nuclear deal.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 5, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Adam Schultz/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the national security advisors of both the United States and Israel, that they will not underestimate the craftiness of Iran as they discuss strategies to ensure Israel’s security. Pray that Israel would not trust in human strength or reasoning but instead turn and commit the situation to God.


“But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause—Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans.”

- Job 5:8–9, 12

UN Bars Israel’s Ambassador from Displaying Pro-Hitler Posts by UNRWA Teacher

by Ariel Kahana and JNS staff

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Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan in his first address to the Security Council on October 26, 2020

Wednesday, 6 October 2021 | Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the United Nations was barred on Monday from bringing a photo into the General Assembly highlighting the anti-Semitic views of a school teacher in the Gaza Strip.

Erdan had meant to show the picture during a discussion on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in an effort to highlight the problem of incitement in UNRWA-operated schools in Gaza. However, a security team was instructed by UNRWA staff to prevent him from entering the General Assembly hall with the photo, which showed an online post by the UNRWA-employed teacher in which he spread anti-Semitic views and quoted Hitler as a source of inspiration.

The Israeli ambassador addressed the incident in his speech, saying: “I am shocked, because I brought here with me a photo of a UNRWA teacher’s post glorifying the most horrific mass murderer in history, Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, shockingly, I was prevented from bringing in this photo in order to share this proof with the other distinguished ambassadors here.”

This, said Erdan, was “a very dangerous precedent…preventing my freedom of expression, preventing my freedom of speech, and hiding the truth from the UN.”

During his earlier address to the UNGA [UN General Assembly], UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini addressed allegations of incitement and anti-Semitism in the agency’s classrooms and in social media posts by its staff, and expressed his pride in UNRWA’s education system.

“I am deeply proud of our education system and its resources. UNRWA uses host country curricula in line with best practices in refugee education,” said Lazzarini.

“Let’s be clear,” he added, “UNRWA has a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech, incitement, discrimination, hostility or violence. I am, however, acutely aware that we are operating in a highly divided and emotionally charged environment where zero risk does not exist.”

The accusations being leveled against the agency’s education system, he said, were politically motivated, and were “increasing in frequency and in aggression.” Those behind the attacks, he said, “do not have the well-being of Palestinian refugee children at heart.”

Erdan rejected the suggestion that his criticism of UNRWA was political and not factual.

“Hamas has built terror tunnels under UNRWA schools and stored weapons [in them],” he noted. “Textbooks used in UNRWA schools have glorified terrorists, called Jews ‘Satan’s helpers’ and display maps that erase Israel,” he added.

“UNRWA is part of the problem, not the solution, and the time has come for the international community to hold it accountable,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after his speech, Erdan called the incident a “disgrace.”

“The UN isn’t just biased; it also shuts mouths. The UNRWA commissioner-general said here that he was proud of his teachers. I didn’t allow his lies to go without a response. I will continue fighting for our truth,” he said.

On Friday, the president of the UN Human Rights Council, Nazhat Shameem Khan, cut off a video presentation by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer highlighting anti-Semitic social media posts by UNRWA teachers. Khan claimed that quoting the posts constituted a “derogatory, insulting and inflammatory” attack on the teachers in question. She then turned the floor over to the UK-based Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), which has been accused of having links with Hamas.

Source: (This article was originally published by Israel Hayom and republished by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 5, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See the JNS version at this link.)

Photo Credit: Facebook/Gilad Erdan/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that complete truth will be heard on the floor of the United Nations with regard to the anti-Semitic actions of UNRWA teachers. Pray that the nations of the world will accept the fact that there is no “zero tolerance” policy as the UNRWA chairman testified.


Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

- Psalm 31:18

US Marine Corps Inks Contract with Israeli Defense Company

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The Israeli defense company Smart Shooter, which makes fire control systems, announced a new contract with the US Marine Corps.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021 | The Israeli defense company Smart Shooter, which develops fire-control systems designed to significantly increase the accuracy and lethality of small arms, announced on Monday that it signed a contract with the US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory for the purchase of several Smash 2000 systems for test and evaluation.

The agreement was signed with the Laboratory’s Rapid Capabilities Office, according to the statement.

Smash 2000 is designed to ensure that each round finds its target, in both day and night conditions, according to the company’s website. Its systems are external add-on solutions that can be integrated into any type of military rifle.

“Once the user identifies the target (independently or using the detection system guidance) and locks on it, Smash tracks its movements and synchronizes the shot release to assure a fast and precise hit on the target,” said the company.

The Israel Defense Forces [IDF] employed this technology in recent years to allow soldiers to shoot down drones and incendiary devices sent over the border by terrorist operatives in Gaza.

“The company has also signed a cooperative research and development agreement with US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division. Under this agreement, the US Navy will evaluate the use of Smash technology on ships and vessels for counter-UAS [Unmanned Aerial Systems] purposes,” said the statement.

“This collaboration aims to perform joint integration and evaluation of Smart Shooter’s technology with weapons and ammunition currently supporting the US Navy’s mission. With an increased hit probability for small unmanned aerial systems and increased engagement range, [the] technology has demonstrated the potential to increase the Navy’s ability to engage small unmanned aerial systems at the individual level, using existing weapons and ammunition in inventory,” it added.

CEO Michael Mor said the company plans to present its technology at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) exhibition in Washington on October 11–13.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 4, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Courtesy/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Nearly 3,000 years ago, during the reign of King Uzziah, skillful men were inventing defensive weaponry. Bless the Lord for His faithfulness to the Jewish people as this ability to protect their civilian population remains, and for allowing their innovative technologies to be an economic blessing as well.


Then Uzziah prepared for them, for the entire army, shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows, and slings to cast stones. And he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones.

- 2 Chronicles 26:14–15a

After 40 Years of Peace, First EgyptAir Commercial Flight Lands in Israel

by Janet Aslin

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EgyptAir’s Airbus A220-300 (illustrative)

Tuesday, 5 October 2021 | On Sunday, Israel welcomed EgyptAir’s first commercial flight to Ben-Gurion Airport with celebratory jets of water over the aircraft marking the historic occasion. EgyptAir will operate four flights to and from Ben Gurion on a weekly basis.

The arrival of Egypt’s national carrier is not the first flight between the two countries, but it does signal the end of the unmarked and inconspicuous service to Israel by Air Sinai, its subsidiary. Air Sinai, a paper airline, was established by Egypt in 1982 specifically to fulfill the terms of the 1979 peace agreement, which stipulated regular air service between Egypt and Israel.

After Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the peace treaty with Israel, his country faced violent reactions from other Arab countries in the region. Two years later, Sadat was assassinated. Amid this environment, Egypt did not want to openly acknowledge their flights to Israel and hence, the solution of unmarked planes that left Cairo shrouded in secrecy.

Sunday’s flight reflects a new era of open relations between the two nations. Last month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in the Sinai resort town of Sharm el Sheik. This was the first public meeting between the two governments’ heads of state in more than a decade. Upon his return, Bennett said he and President el-Sisi had “created an infrastructure for a deep connection to the way forward.” The initiation of EgyptAir flights is indeed a step forward.

The skies between Israel and the world have truly been opening up since the first direct flight between Ben-Gurion and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates took place in November. Since then, direct flights to two Moroccan cities began in July, and the Bahrain’s national carrier began biweekly flights to Israel on September 30.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 5, 2021)

Photo Credit: Mztourist/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Give thanks for Egypt’s new level of openness and cooperation in its relationship with Israel. Pray that additional steps will be taken in the next months to continue to move that relationship from the “cold peace” of the previous 40 years to one of solid friendship.


Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

- Psalm 133:1