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A Light in the Midst of Trauma

Thursday, May 25, 2023

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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.

Shavuot: Israel Commemorates the Giving of the Torah

by Ilse Strauss

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The seven species of the Land of Israel

Thursday, 25 May 2023 | The rhythm of life in the Land of Promise is governed by a cycle of annual holidays—days set aside in the 12-month Israeli calendar to celebrate what Leviticus 23:2 calls, “the feasts of the Lord.” Sunset tonight ushers in the festival of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), the fourth of the seven God-ordained festivals.

Shavuot, which simply means “weeks” in Hebrew, is a one-day festival that falls seven weeks or 50 days after Pesach (Passover). During the time of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, Shavuot was the second of the Pilgrimage Festivals, the three feast days—together with Passover and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)—on which God required all Israelite males to go up to Israel’s capital to appear before the Lord in the Temple.

Shavuot has a deep spiritual and agricultural significance. Agriculturally, it falls between the grain and barley harvests and celebrates the ripened produce of the Land brought to the Temple as a first fruit offering. Spiritually, the Feast of Weeks commemorates the day God gave His instructions—the Torah (Gen.–Deut.)—to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai some 3,300 years ago.

We find the account in Exodus 19. A fledgling nation of former slaves was en route from Egypt to the Land God had promised to the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Their exodus started on Passover, when God delivered them from the Angel of Death—and the cruel oppression of Pharaoh—through the blood of Passover Lamb. Seven weeks had passed since the nation soon to be known as Israel had left a plague-ravaged Egypt behind. And then, coming up to the fiftieth day, Moses received an instruction from God: “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people” (Exod. 19:10–11).

The rest of the story is well known. Israel headed God’s command, prepared themselves according to His instructions and gathered at Mount Sinai. Moses headed up the mountain as the nation’s representative and received the Torah from God.

Today, more than 3,300 years later, the offspring of those who stood assembled at the base of Mount Sinai on the morning of the first Shavuot continue to commemorate God sharing his instructions with the Israelites. And every year, the Jewish people use this day to rededicate themselves to the gift from the hand of God.

Shavuot begins on sundown on the 5th day of the biblical month Sivan and lasts until nightfall on the 6th of Sivan. Preparations for the feast include a practice called “Counting the Omer,” marking the days from Passover to the Feast of Weeks as per Leviticus 23:15–16, “And you shall count for yourselves from…the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath…”

 The number of days from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavuot is exactly 49 days or seven weeks, which is the reason behind the name of the feast. The practice of counting the days from one feast to the next has a very specific purpose: it underscores the crucial connection between Passover and Shavuot. While Passover freed the Jewish people from the hand of Pharaoh and physical slavery, it was the giving of the Torah on Shavuot that led Israel forth into spiritual freedom.

On Shavuot, Israel celebrates the generosity of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not only in receiving the Torah, but also the blessing of the Land of Israel, a land of milk and honey in which the seven species—wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates—grow in abundance. As such, the fruits of the land feature as a firm favorite on the menu of many Shavuot meals. It is also a considered customary to feast on foods rich in dairy, like cheesecake, pastries and quiche.

Sundown tonight marks the start of another Feast of Weeks tradition. Jewish tradition says the first Shavuot morning was marred by the Israelites oversleeping and that Moses had to wake them for their appointment at Mount Sinai. As such, many Jewish men today will spend the night of Shavuot wide awake and studying the Torah all night with friends and family.

 From Jerusalem, Bridges for Peace wishes all those who celebrate chag Shavuot sameach (happy Shavuot).   

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 25, 2023)

Photo Credit: Chesdovi/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for establishing the people of Israel in the Land of their promise where they are able to celebrate the Feasts of the Lord according to His command, without fear of persecution. Pray for a peaceful, meaningful Shavuot and for the people of Israel to continue turning their hearts to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob during this feast.


You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

- Leviticus 18:4–5

Defense Chief: Israel Preparing for the “Main Goal”

by Kate Norman

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IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi with IDF soldiers during a military exercise

Wednesday, 24 May 2023 | Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned yesterday that the recent fighting with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza is a blip on the radar compared to what Israel is preparing for, hinting toward Iran.

During a tour of the Hatzor air base in central Israel and the Gaza border Tuesday, Gallant praised the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF’s) performance during Operation Shield and Arrow earlier this month.

“But the main goal, for which we are preparing, is more complex, more difficult, and more significant,” the defense minister said, as quoted by the Times of Israel. “You need to be prepared at any moment.”

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi issued his own warnings yesterday while addressing a Herzliya conference hosted by Reichman University’s Institute for Policy and Strategy.

“Iran has progressed in recent years with enriching uranium more than ever before,” Halevi told the conference, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post. “We are looking closely at the various arenas that are part of the path to nuclear capabilities. There are negative potential trends on the horizon that could lead to [us] acting. We have the capabilities.”

The IDF chief added that Israel has “the capability to strike Iran. We are not aloof to what Iran is trying to do around us. Iran also cannot be aloof to what we can do against it.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed Iran yesterday during a tour of an IDF intelligence base. Netanyahu was briefed on “the efforts being made in various fields regarding the Iranian threat,” according to a statement by his office, as well as counterterrorism efforts in Judea and Samaria and military intelligence efforts during Operation Shield and Arrow earlier this month.

Netanyahu stated that he left the base “very encouraged. Israel has opened a gap against all of our enemies, and it has done so with a combination of human intelligence and artificial intelligence.

“What I saw here is that the future is already here today,” the prime minister continued. “So let all of our enemies know: We are far ahead of you.”

The bevy of warnings from Israel’s top brass yesterday came a day after the Associated Press reported Iranian construction of an underground facility at its Natanz nuclear site based on satellite images the news outlet had analyzed.

The underground site is estimated to be deep enough to put it out of reach of the American “bunker buster” bomb, the GBU-57, which the US military said can burrow some 200 feet (60 m.) underground before exploding.

The new site being built at Natanz, however, is estimated to be between 260 feet (80 m.) and 328 feet (100 m.) underground.

Washington has discussed using two of the bunker busters in quick succession, the AP reported, though it is unclear whether that would be enough to destroy a site that deep.

Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi addressed the underground site at the conference yesterday.

“Of course, it limits the ability to attack, but there is no place that can’t be reached,” Hanegbi told the conference.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 24, 2023)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for the high-level Israeli leaders and experts responsible for weighing the options and devising the best means to keep Israel and her people safe in the face of multiple threats. Ask the Lord for divine wisdom and insight. Above all, pray that Israel and her leaders will look to God as opposed to man, a strong military or arms for their protection.


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. In God we boast all day long, and praise Your name forever.

- Psalm 44:6–8

The Ebb and Flow of Aliyah

by Janet Aslin

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New immigrants arriving in Israel

Monday, 22 May 2023 | There are at least 50 Scripture verses that speak of aliyah—the return of the Jewish people to Israel. These familiar words of the prophet Isaiah are just one example, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads” (Isa 35:10a, emphasis added). The biblical prophecies may lack specifics such as dates and statistics listed by country or age of immigrant. However, they are based on the solid rock of God’s intention to regather His dispersed people. So, let’s look at some of the ebbs and flows in the return of the “ransomed of the Lord.”

Some years are record-breaking when it comes to aliyah figures while others seem to be almost stagnant. Last year saw 76,261 olim (immigrants) arrive in Israel—nearly triple 2021’s figure. In contrast, the first four years of the modern State of Israel’s existence saw its population double from roughly 600,000 to 1.2 million Jewish inhabitants! This was primarily the result of Jewish refugees from neighboring Arab countries flooding in to the newly established nation.

Another time period that saw phenomenal growth was between 1985 and 1990 when Israel’s Jewish population jumped from 3,517,200 to 4,522,300, an increase of over one million in just 10 years. However, in the 75 years since statehood, aliyah figures have typically ranged between 15,000 and 30,000 new immigrants each year.

 Current Aliyah Figures

What does 2023 look like so far? Earlier this month, the Jewish Agency for Israel released a quarterly report which showed a total of 18,610 new olim. This reflects a 24% increase over the number of immigrants in the same quarter of 2022. However, there are some differences within that total.

Immigration from Western countries like the United States, France and the United Kingdom fell sharply while the Russian figures tripled, accounting for 75% of the total. France showed the largest drop with only 178 immigrants, down by two-thirds when compared to 2022. The United Kingdom wasn’t far behind with 50% fewer making a favorable decision for aliyah. Three hundred and ninety-one olim arrived from the United States, which was approximately one-third less than the previous year.

Both the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that facilitates immigration from North America, caution against reading too much into these figures. An article by the Times of Israel referred to this statement by the Jewish Agency, “The aliyah process is not immediate by its nature and therefore current trends are reflected only after some time.”

For its part, Nefesh B’Nefesh stressed, “Aliyah continues throughout the months of the year, both from abroad and from those who have already arrived in Israel before, and therefore when trying to trace trends and changes, it is better to refer to the data for the entire year.”

 How Much Longer?

Last September, the Jewish Agency released worldwide Jewish population statistics. The Jewish global population was approximately 15.3 million, of whom 7,080,000 called Israel home. That figure equates to 46.2% of the total Jewish population, which means we will still be reading about and praying about aliyah until the Lord completes the work He has begun.

There are few things we can be certain of in these tumultuous days, but the solid rock of God’s Word is one of them. And through the words of Isaiah, the Lord declared, “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isa. 43.6).

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 22, 2023)

Photo Credit: bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Sing praises to the Lord for all the new olim who came home from the four corners of the world in fulfilment of His promise. Cover those in prayer who are contemplating the decision to leave everything familiar behind and make aliyah to Israel. Ask God to bless them with the wisdom and fortitude to walk in His ways and fulfil the calling He has on their lives.


So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

- Isaiah 51:11

Netanyahu: Israel in Jerusalem Thousands of Years Ago, Will Be Thousands of Years from Now

by Joshua Spurlock

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Scenes from Jerusalem

Monday, 22 May 2023 | Israel has an older connection to Jerusalem than France has to Paris, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, as he rejected claims from the Palestinians that Israel has no historic link to the Temple Mount in the holy city. Netanyahu’s comments come as Israel last week marked the annual Jerusalem Day celebration of the reunification of the city by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.

“The deep ties between the Jewish people and Jerusalem is one that has no parallel among the nations,” said Netanyahu. “Jerusalem was our capital around 1,100 years before London became the capital of England, approximately 1,800 years before Paris became the capital of France and around 2,800 years before Washington DC became the capital of the US.

“For over 100 generations, Jews expressed their special yearning for Jerusalem in prayers that are repeated three times a day and under the wedding canopy…In contrast to what [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] said several days ago, we were here thousands of years ago and will still be here thousands of years from now.”

Abbas’s comments regarding Jerusalem came last week as he addressed the United Nations.

The Israeli leader highlighted Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel. Netanyahu’s statement comes in contrast with Abbas, who claimed Palestinian ownership of the older, eastern side of the city, which contains the Temple Mount where the two biblical temples once stood. But Netanyahu wasn’t just countering Abbas’s allegations. He was sending the Palestinian leader a message both with his words as well as where they were said: in the historic first century tunnels beneath the Western Wall.

“To get his attention, today we are holding a special Cabinet meeting in honor of Jerusalem Day at the foot of the Temple Mount upon which King Solomon built the First Temple of the Jewish people, and which is—again to get [Abbas’s] attention—the heart of the historical State of Israel, the City of David, and has been here for 3,000 years.”

Netanyahu went on to highlight steps taken by governments he has led over the years to reinforce the unity of Israel’s capital city. These include building up new neighborhoods such as Har Homa, efforts culminating in the United State’s official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and steps taken on Sunday to budget funds for development of Israel’s Old City. He also pointed to the future, where Israel plans a cable car to improve access to the Western Wall that will be “a unique and special experience for both Israelis and overseas tourists.” On a grander scale, he also said that additional national embassies will move to Jerusalem and “it will not take a very long time.”

On the same day as his comments, a separate Israeli press release announced an increase of approximately NIS 60 million (US $16.44 million) for the Western Wall’s “Five-Year Plan” for upgrading infrastructure and enhancing visits to the site. The press release said the funding is a “response to the increased pace of development work and construction being carried out at the site, as well as the discovery of archaeological finds, increased visits by students and soldiers and the implementation of additional educational activities.”

In the Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu listed a range of projects to improve Jerusalem, including extending the light rail and building out the quarter at the entrance to the city that will “give a major push to commerce, employment, housing, culture and recreation.”

Efforts to strengthen the city are important, Netanyahu added, because the 1967 war didn’t conclude the battle for Jerusalem. “Fifty-six years ago, in the Six Day War, we unified Jerusalem. But I must say that the fight for its unity has not ended. Time and again, my friends and I have been forced to repel international pressure on the part of those who would divide Jerusalem again,” he warned.

As a Jerusalemite since he was two days old, Netanyahu not only has memories of the city’s history, but also perspective on where it is going. “I remember Jerusalem and it is changing daily,” he said. “It has wonderful things that do not change but there are also great and powerful changes that are bursting with momentum, imagination and hope.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Mideast Update on May 21, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Chesdovi/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for the miraculous reunification of the city He has chosen as His dwelling place (Ps. 132:13) under the governance of the descendants of the biblical kings and prophets. At the same time, bring the ongoing “battle for Jerusalem” and the international pressure on Israel to divide what God has united before Him, asking Him to establish His truth and justice.


For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns… I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

- Isaiah 62:1, 6–7

Hezbollah Offers Journalists a Peak at Simulating the Destruction of Israel

by Ilse Strauss

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Hezbollah fighters (illustrative)

Monday, 22 May 2023 | Hezbollah, Iran’s terror proxy perched on Israel’s backyard in Lebanon, showed off its military prowess over the weekend in a large-scale military drill simulating the annihilation of Israel—with the international media as audience.

Yesterday, dozens of foreign correspondents stood on the sidelines of the Shiite terrorist group’s training sites roughly 12 miles (20 km.) north of the Israeli border in southern Lebanon, as hundreds of masked fighters mimicked cross-border raids into the Jewish state.

Hezbollah used the day as a macabre show-and-tell, flaunting its new arsenal of tanks, cannons and rocket launchers inherited from the Syrian Civil War. Journalists were treated to the spectacle of troops jumping through flaming hoops, firing live ammunition from the back of speeding motorcycles and handling an attack drone. In another simulation, fighters blew up Israeli flags placed at a strategic distance and detonated a wall replicating the one built between Israel and Lebanon. Then there were snipers shooting at targets symbolically adorned with the Star of David and as the grand finale, a mock attack on a target “inside” Israel, featuring various strikes on vehicles across a fake border, followed by terrorists streaming across the “frontier” to snatch the body of an Israeli from one of the cars and whisking it back to Lebanon.

Addressing the crowd on Sunday, senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine said that the exercise was aimed at “confirming our complete readiness to confront” Israel.

The last time such a confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah took place was the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Yet save for exchanging a few back-and-forth strikes, both sides have tried to avoid another round in the 18 years since.

The lack of all-out confrontation should not be interpreted as an indication of Hezbollah’s future intentions for Israel though. In fact, the Shiite terror group has spent the past nearly two decades honing its skills on the bloody battlefields of the Syrian Civil War, gearing up for the day it can set its sights on Israel. Moreover, Hezbollah’s patron, Iran, also capitalized on the chaos of war to smuggle state-of-the-art weapons from Tehran via Syria to Hezbollah’s waiting arms, prompting regular strikes from Israel in Syria to prevent Iranian weapons from reaching Hezbollah’s arsenals.

In his address on Sunday, Safieddine alluded that some of the Iranian care packages slipped through the Israeli crosshairs, hinting at the group’s possession of precision-guided missiles, which were not on display but which Israel would allegedly see “later.”

The terror group conducts drills like these as a means of waging psychological warfare against Israel. The bombs, drones, tanks, burley fighters burnishing their guns and thinly veiled threats are all prompts on a stage arranged just so to show off Iran and its proxy’s military prowess to instill fear and trepidation into the hearts of Israelis. Israel, for its part, regards these drills as a valuable source of information, a sneak peek into its enemy’s strategic thinking and munition stash.

It doesn’t mean that Jerusalem takes the threat on its northern border lightly. On the contrary. History has taught the Jewish people that boasts of annihilation are rarely just talk. And so, as always, we continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6).

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 22, 2023)

Photo Credit: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS.)/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that the international media and their readers will see this show of force for what it is: an overt bullying technique aimed at intimidating Israel. At the same time, pray that the threats leveled by Hezbollah will be taken seriously and that the international community will rally around Israel in the face of such blatant threats. Also pray that God will use this show-and-tell to give Israel’s security forces valuable insight into the inner workings of this terror group.


And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand.

- Joshua 21:44b

From Gaza to Kyiv: Iran’s Weapon Supply and War Crimes

by Colonel Richard Kemp ~ Ynetnews

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The aftermath of a drone attack on Kyiv, Ukraine

Wednesday, 24 May 2023 | A few days ago I was in Kyiv the night it was hit by the most intensive missile attack since the war began over a year ago. The city of three million people, the seventh most populous in Europe, was targeted by Russian hypersonic, ballistic and cruise missiles as well as explosive drones.

Those drones were supplied to Russian forces by the Iranian regime, which also supplied and funded the manufacture of 1,468 missiles fired at Israel from Gaza the previous week. Only Israel’s and Ukraine’s sophisticated air defense systems prevented mass civilian casualties in both bombardments.

A woman in Kyiv explained to me the bitter irony of her friend’s family who had fled Iranian drones in the city for the safety of Israel, where they then found themselves under attack from Iranian missiles.

In both Israel and Ukraine, many civilians have been killed or suffered life-changing injuries, severe psychological trauma, property destruction, deprivation of essential services and economic harm—directly as a result of Iranian-sponsored weapons of war.

The regime has supplied large numbers of Fajr-3, Fajr-5, M302 and other missiles to terrorists in Gaza to attack Israeli civilians as well as technology and funds to produce rockets locally. They have openly admitted doing so.

Iran has also supplied drones and drone technology to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. In July 2022, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] shot down three Iranian drones launched from Lebanon by Hezbollah towards the Karish gas field, and the following month, Islamic Jihad failed in an attempt to attack the Tamar gas rig with a drone fired from Gaza.

Tehran has denied supplying Russian forces with drones since the invasion in February 2022 but Western analysis of downed fragments proves this to be a lie, despite crude Russian efforts to conceal their origin.

The US, UK and EU have sanctioned firms and individuals involved in procuring equipment for Iran’s drone program and supplying drones to Russia. The US also sanctions Iranian government entities that support Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

In Ukraine, hundreds of lethal Shahed-131, Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 Iranian drones have hit residential buildings, schools, hospitals, playgrounds, sewage treatment plants and power stations. Many civilians have been killed and seriously injured. Earlier this month alone, in a single wave of overnight drone strikes in the Kherson region, 21 civilians were killed and 48 wounded.

It is illegal under international law to deliberately target civilians and civilian facilities and therefore, in both Israel and Ukraine, these attacks are war crimes. The perpetrators against Israelis are Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups. Against Ukrainians, it is the Russian Federation. But in both cases, Iran shares culpability, aiding and abetting war crimes by funding and supplying weapons that are used against civilians.

In both conflicts, however, Iran’s culpability goes beyond supply. Tehran attempts to maximize the death tolls of terrorist groups attacking Israeli civilians, including by setting up a war room in Beirut to coordinate their murderous activities.

And according to the White House, Iran has deployed trainers and technical support teams onto the ground in occupied Crimea to assist Russian forces in firing drones into Ukraine.

A recent analysis also shows that Iran modified the warheads on its drones using layers of small metal fragments to maximize damage against infrastructure targets, such as power plants, that have been a major focus of attacks. Furthermore, Moscow and Tehran plan to establish a drone factory inside Russia to enable a larger and more rapid supply. That may already be in operation.

International war crimes prosecutions against Hamas and Islamic Jihad would be complicated because they are non-state actors and the Palestinian Authority, although treated by some as a quasi-state entity, is not in fact a state and does not have the capability to put a stop to their actions. Terrorist acts, some of which amount to war crimes, are prosecuted under Israel’s criminal code.

For Ukraine, it is more straightforward and Andriy Kostin, the country’s Prosecutor General, says more than 65,000 alleged Russian war crimes have already been documented with some trials ongoing and others already completed.

A Nuremberg-style tribunal to prosecute Russia’s crimes of aggression and war crimes is backed by many Western nations, and international investigations, including by the International Criminal Court, are underway.

Too little attention, however, has so far been given to Iranian complicity. It is essential that the Iranian regime and its weapons supply apparatus are held accountable and included in these processes, as German industrialists who assisted the Nazi murder machine were at Nuremberg.

That will all take years to reach fruition but meanwhile, punitive action against Iran can begin pretty much straight away. Large-scale, concerted civil litigation should be initiated against the Iranian government, its proxies and the companies that facilitate its supply of weapons to both Russian forces and terrorists in Gaza and elsewhere.

This would enable funds and assets—perhaps running to billions of dollars—to be confiscated by the courts and used to compensate the victims of illegal attacks.

Many such actions have already been taken on behalf of victims of terrorism and war crimes by law firms such as MM-Law in Chicago and McCue Jury and Partners in London, including against the Iranian government, its terrorist instruments, central bank and commercial banks facilitating terrorist activity.

An estimated [US] $100 billion of Iranian funds remain frozen in banks around the world. These funds should be targeted to compensate Iran’s victims in Ukraine, Israel and other countries where the ayatollahs [Shiite religious leaders in Iran] spread terror through supplying weapons and organizing and funding proxies to inflict violence on the local populations.

Further targets of legal action are Iranian banks and other corporate bodies that are involved as intermediaries enabling the provision of drone and weapons parts from third countries.

The primary purpose of such legal action would of course be to compensate civilians and their families who suffered as a result of war crimes. But seizing substantial Iranian funds would also further discredit the regime and deprive it of resources to continue its malign actions. It would also inflict severe damage on banks and other institutions that Iran depends on to launder funds and evade sanctions.

In addition to inhibiting and maybe deterring Iran, it would also send a warning to other countries considering supporting terrorism and Russia’s illegal war, such as China, which is known to supply drones and other weapon-related materials to Russia and missile technology to Iran, and South Africa, which has been accused of supplying weapons to Moscow.

Despite imposing sanctions on Iran for its military support to Russia, Western governments have not yet taken a hard enough line. Europeans and Americans remain intent on appeasement of the ayatollahs in order to coax them back into the deeply flawed Obama nuclear deal, the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action].

If they were serious about curbing Iranian aggression, P5+1 [United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany] members would already have triggered a snapback of UN sanctions under Security Council Resolution 2231, endorsing the JCPOA, which Teheran is violating by exporting drones of greater than 300 kilometers [186 mi.] range to Russia.

Rather than cravenly seeking to mollify Iran, Western governments should use all the tools at their disposal to crack down on its export of terror, including encouraging and supporting civil litigation to seize funds.

Continued failure to vigorously deter and disrupt Iran will encourage it to carry on arming Gaza terrorists and other proxies, to increase the supply of lethal drones to Russia, and also in due course to equip Moscow with powerful long-range ballistic missiles that, combined, will multiply death and destruction against civilian populations in Israel and Ukraine alike.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on May 23, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kyivcity.gov.ua/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord to crush and dismantle both the established and budding partnerships of death and destruction that Iran enters into with nations and terror groups to further the ayatollahs’ mandate of annihilation. Ask Him to expose the rulers of Tehran once and for all for their evil intentions and to unite the nations of the world to stand against this menace.


Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.

- Psalm 71:4–5

CNN Reporter Apologizes for Calling Terror Attack a “Shootout”

by Ilse Strauss

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CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour has issued an apology.

Tuesday, 23 May 2023 | Lucy Dee and her two daughters, Maia (20) and Rina (15), were on their way to a family vacation when it happened. Palestinian terrorists armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles opened fire on the car in which they were traveling, driving it off the road. The terrorists then approached the vehicle to finish their bloody work at closer range, firing more than two dozen bullets in total. Maia and Rina died together on the roadside. Lucy clung to life for another three days before succumbing to her injuries.

There are a number of terms one could choose to describe the sequence of events that reduced a family of six to a grieving widower and three children. Heinous murder. Horrific terror attack. Cruel slaughter. The list goes on.

Christiane Amanpour chose none of the above. When discussing Lucy, Maia and Rina’s deaths on air on April 10, the CNN chief international anchor said, “The mother and two Israel-British sisters—they were killed in a shootout.”

Merriam-Webster defines a shootout as “a battle fought with handguns or rifles,” while the Cambridge Dictionary describe it as “a fight in which two people or two groups of people shoot at each other with guns.” Regardless of which source you look at, the term Amanpour picked to describe the murder of a mother and her two daughters implies two parties, both armed, battling it out.

Amanpour’s comment came live and on air in an interview with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and went largely unnoticed for more than a month. On May 11, media watchdog group HonestReporting saw the interview, retweeted the clip and added: “According to @CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, three members of the Dee family ‘were killed in a shootout.’ A shootout is two sides firing at each other. A mother & her two daughters were shot at close range by Palestinian terrorists. @amanpour, you owe a grieving family an apology.”

A firestorm of condemnation followed. Israel’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that it was working on a complaint, which the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta would formally submit to CNN.

Five days passed with no word from either Amanpour or CNN. HonestReporting called them out again on May 16, adding that Rabbi Leo Dee, Lucy’s widower and Maia and Rina’s father, demanded an immediate apology. “This is the perfect example of ‘terror journalism,’ where you have moral equivalence between the terrorist and victim,” he said.

Over the weekend, Rabbi Dee announced that he was considering a US $1.3 billion lawsuit against CNN over Amanpour’s comment, the Jewish Journal reported. He added that he received a personal apology from Amanpour but that he did not accept it, reiterating his call for a public apology.

“They said they [wife and daughters] were killed, and not brutally murdered by an evil Palestinian terrorist funded by Iran,” Rabbi Dee told i24NEWS. “It’s the typical ‘CNNism’ where they are trying to do a comparison between the victim and the terrorist…Christiane wrote me a very brief email apologizing for any misunderstanding caused by her calling it a ‘shootout’…When you make a statement on prime time TV and then apologize in an email to a single person, it has a fraction of the impact.”

Amanpour’s public apology came less than 24 hours later. Twenty-two minutes and 50 seconds into her May 22 show, Amanpour, the anchor said: “And just a note. On April 10th, I referred to the murders of a British–Israeli family, Lucy Dee and Maia and Rina Dee, the wife and daughters of Rabbi Leo Dee. During that live interview, I misspoke and said that they were killed in a ‘shootout’ instead of a ‘shooting.’ I have written to Rabbi Dee to apologize and make sure that he knows that we apologize for any further pain that may have caused him.”

Amanpour offered her viewers no apology and failed to explain why it took her 12 days to correct, the Jewish News Syndicate points out.

There are a number of terms one could choose to describe the stance that the lion’s share of international media outlets take when it comes to Israel. Biased. Slanted. Framed. One-sided. The list goes on. But sadly, surprising isn’t one of them.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 23, 2023)

Photo Credit: IAEA Imagebank/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord to shine His light of truth on this blatant, unabashed bias against Israeli terror victims. Pray that the guilty parties will be held accountable and that this will stand as a watershed moment in Israeli news coverage that will exhort outlets to report accurately and without a preconceived anti-Israel slant.


Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.

- Proverbs 12:22

Bank of Israel Ups Interest Rate for 10th Time

by JNS

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Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron

Tuesday, 23 May 2023 | The Bank of Israel on Monday raised its benchmark interest rate for the 10th consecutive meeting amid rising inflation and low unemployment.

The central bank’s Governor Amir Yaron announced the benchmark rate increase of 25 basis points (0.25 percentage points) to 4.75%, its highest level since late 2006.

“Economic activity in Israel is at a high level, and is accompanied by a tight labor market, although there is some moderation in a number of indicators. Inflation is broad and remains high,” the bank said in a statement.

“The tighter monetary policy and moderation of activity abroad are expected to lead to a slowing in the pace of inflation alongside some slowdown of economic activity in Israel,” the statement continued.

Israel’s annual inflation rate stood at 5% in April, a slight decrease from the 14-year high of 5.4% seen in January but above the market forecast of 4.7%. The government’s annual target range is 1–3%. The bank expects inflation of 3.9% this year and 2.3% next year.

The Jewish state’s economy grew faster than expected at a 2.5% annualized rate in the first quarter compared to the previous three months, which is also reflected in the tight labor market.

The unemployment rate in Israel continued to slide in April to 3.1%, compared to 3.3% in March (a seasonally adjusted drop from 3.8% in March to 3.6% in April), according to data last week from the Central Bureau of Statistics [CBS].

CBS labor data published on Monday showed that high-tech sector employment increased in April compared to the previous month (from 453,000 to 454,000).

Editor’s Note: As interest rates rise yet again, the ripple effect is felt across Israeli society. For some, this means tightening their belts and going without certain things. For others, it is catastrophic. As more and more Israelis struggle to make ends meet and feed their families, they are turning to Bridges for Peace, a trusted Christian partner that has for more than 50 years come alongside the people of Israel in their time of need. We want to answer every cry for help, but the increasing need and rising prices present a challenge. We are asking for the support of Christians from around the world who love God and love Israel so that we can show Christian love in a practical way. Your donation to our Food Project will enable us to say “yes” to more hungry Israelis.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 23, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Bank of Israel spokesperson/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for Israel’s economy to stabilize and for interest rates and prices to drop. Bring the needy, destitute and hopeless in Israel before the Lord. Ask Him to provide generously for the work of Bridges for Peace, so that we, in turn, can provide generously for the people of Israel who need our help so desperately.


He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.

- Proverbs 19:17

Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Talk Normalization

by JNS

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Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman

Wednesday, 24 May 2023 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken by phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss normalization between the two countries, officials said Monday.

The talks come amid an intensive diplomatic push to normalize ties by the end of the year.

The phone diplomacy, which was first reported by Israel’s Channel 12, was carried out with the coordination of Bahraini interlocutors, even though Israel prefers US mediation efforts.

According to the television report, the Saudis presented a list of demands of Israel in return for normalization, including handing certain powers in Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority security services at the expense of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], and giving the Palestinians security control over the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Israeli government is highly unlikely to approve these far-reaching steps. Prince Mohammed, commonly known as MBS, turned down a proposal by Netanyahu to meet in person, the officials said.

Israeli officials said that complex negotiations will continue over the next weeks, after which it will become clear whether a deal is attainable.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has also been in phone contact with the Saudi leader. The normalization talks come as an agreement to allow direct flights between Israel and Saudi Arabia for Muslims undertaking the pilgrimage to Mecca is expected to be announced next month.

Israel has issued a formal request for the flights and is awaiting the Saudi response, Cohen said earlier in May.

Israel’s top diplomat said this weekend that normalization with Saudi Arabia could happen within six months.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 23, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Prayer Focus
Continue to bring the potential of official ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the most powerful country in the Arab world. Pray that Saudi leaders will not be swayed by propaganda or misplaced loyalty but will instead see the benefits and blessings to be derived from friendship with Israel.


Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion…Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.

- Ecclesiastes 4:9–10a, 12a