Help us bless the people of Israel.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

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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. 

Terror Returns to Israel: Two Stabbing Attacks in One Day

by Kate Norman

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Jabel Mukaber, a neighborhood in Jerusalem where one of the stabbing attacks took place

Tuesday, 26 May 2020 | Tensions flared in Israel on Monday with two Palestinian attacks on security forces days after the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced it was cutting ties with the Jewish state.

A man armed with a box cutter and pepper spray charged an Israeli police officer screaming “Allahu Akhbar” (“Allah is great” in Arabic) in eastern Jerusalem on Monday afternoon.

Nearby officers responded quickly and shot the attacker in the stomach, the police said. The 30-year-old assailant was transferred to a hospital on the outskirts of Jerusalem and is reportedly in serious condition. Reports conflict whether an Israeli police officer was lightly wounded or completely unharmed in the attack.

Earlier Monday, two Palestinian men reportedly tried to stab a group of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers in Judea and Samaria near Shiloh, where the tabernacle once stood for over 300 years.

The men attacked the soldiers and were shot when the soldiers opened fire, the army said. Palestinians who reportedly witnessed the incident told the Times of Israel it happened during an argument between Arab farmers and their Jewish neighbors accompanied by the IDF.

“From what we understand, they were injured and took themselves to a hospital in Ramallah,” the Times of Israel quoted an army spokesperson.

Usually terrorists are immediately arrested and taken into custody or transferred to a hospital for medical treatment if they were injured while carrying out the attack. This time, the two Palestinian men reportedly took themselves to a hospital in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority (PA), for treatment. One of the men was shot in the leg and is undergoing surgery, a Palestinian resident of a nearby village told the Times of Israel, while the other man was shot in the stomach but does not require surgery.

Israel Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld attributed the attacks to the end of Ramadan (one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed) and told i24News that the police were teaming up with the IDF to beef up security in primarily Arab zones in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.

The attacks came just days after Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the PA was halting all agreements with Israel and the US, including security coordination. The decision was in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that applying Israeli sovereignty over land in Judea and Samaria as well as the Jordan Valley is a top priority for the newly sworn in government.

The spike in violence will likely continue, the head of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT)—an IDF unit that coordinates between Israel, the IDF and the PA—warned Israel’s top defense officials, Israel’s Army Radio reported. The Jewish state moving forward with annexation will likely spark a “wave of violence and terrorist attacks,” Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu-Rukun cautioned.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 26, 2020)

Photo Credit: Tamarah/wikipedia.org

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel’s defense and security forces will be well prepared and on alert for any increase in terror attacks as is being predicted. Ask the Lord for a mighty shield of protection to surround those who are tasked with protecting Israelis, but also beseech Him that this expected rise in violence will not happen.

Scripture

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


- Psalm 9:13–14

Netanyahu Warns of Second Wave of Coronavirus in Israel

by Moran Azulay

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PM Netanyahu warned that Israel must brace for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020 | Israel must brace for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which could be more deadly than the first wave that infected more than 16,000 Israelis and killed 279 people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned yesterday.

“We must prepare for a second wave of the coronavirus, which is expected to be much more lethal,” Netanyahu said during the first meeting of his Likud party’s Knesset [Parliament] faction since the government was sworn in last week.

Israel has seen a steady decline in the number of COVID-19 cases, with more than 14,000 of those who were infected having made a full recovery. As such, it has moved to reopen its economy, with certain restrictions such as wearing face masks when leaving the house.

Despite his warning of a second wave, Netanyahu on Monday praised “Israel’s great success” in dealing with the coronavirus.

“Our number of patients is marginal—a few at a time at the moment,” he said.

“This is a truly remarkable result.

“We are in good shape, but we need to understand that it might be temporary because the virus is still here.”

The prime minister said that his coalition deal with the Blue & White party was down to the need for a unity front in dealing with the problems facing the country. 

“Many did not believe we would be here as part of a unity government, but I believed it was necessary to join forces in order to face the great challenges facing the state,” said Netanyahu.

“I think we’re capable of meeting them because we’re a big faction and a broad government,” the prime minister, adding that the government’s first task would be to kickstart the economy.

“We must return the jobs that have been lost due to the coronavirus crisis. It’s a huge task,” he said.

“I’ve been talking to the self-employed, and I hear their pain. People have lost their livelihoods and do not know if they will have one in the future. We are committed to doing everything to help them.”

Netanyahu pledged that the government would use a budget of NIS 6 billion [US $1.7 billion] to incentivize employers to rehire the workers who were let go during the pandemic.

“We must however, be ready for the second option—another global wave of the coronavirus,” he said.

The prime minister also said that the government would press on with its plan to claim sovereignty over its West Bank [Judea and Samaria] settlements and Jordan Valley.

“This is an opportunity that cannot be passed up,” he said. “We have a July deadline and we do not intend to change it. We will work wisely and with joined forces.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Ynetnews on May 25, 2020. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto/pexels.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for His blessing of success in Israel’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Pray that the nation will have even greater success in restarting the economy and increasing the number of people who are working again. Pray for small business owners and others who are vulnerable to financial crises right now, and ask the Lord to protect the nation from another wave of COVID-19 infections.

Scripture

Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!


- Psalm 25:22

Rain, Unseasonal Cold Hit Israel after Extreme Heat

by Gilad Carmeli and Ahiya Raved

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Yesterday Jerusalem was hit by unseasonably cool temperatures and rain (illustrative).

Monday, 25 May 2020 | Following an extreme and unusually long heatwave last week, on Saturday Israel was hit by showers and unseasonably cold temperatures.

The Meteo-Tech meteorological company said local rainfall was expected throughout the day in the northern and central parts of Israel, accompanied by strong winds. The temperatures were unseasonably cold, but rain ceased by the afternoon hours.

Flood warnings were issued to communities in the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert.

Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority said that due to heavy rain and strong currents, several hiking trails and nature reserves around the country were closed to the general public.

In the northern city of Haifa, the temperatures dipped from 22°C [71.6°F] during the day yesterday to 19°C [66.2°F] at night. In Tel Aviv, the weather was similar with a range of 24°C [75.2°F] during the day and 21°C [69.8°F] at night. In Jerusalem, the weather was cooler with temperatures reaching 19°C [66.2°F] during the day and falling to 13°C [55.4°F] overnight.

In the southern city of Beersheva, temperatures ranged from 24°C [75.2°F] throughout the day to 18°C [64.4°F] at night. In Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat, the weather remained warm with 31°C [87.8°F] during the day and 21°C [69.8°F] at night.

Yesterday saw a mix of sun and clouds with a small dip in temperatures, also unusually low for the season.

Today temperatures will begin to slightly increase and the weather will be mild.

Wednesday will see a further rise in temperatures with colder and more humid air coming in towards the evening.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Ynetnews on May 24, 2020. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Sarah Yoder/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Thank God for a break in the extremely high temperatures that were wreaking havoc across the nation. Pray that the Lord will bless Israel with a return to normal weather patterns for this time of year.

Scripture

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.


- Genesis 8:22

Palestinian Authority Ends Security Operation with Israel

by Kate Norman

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Palestinian police in Bethlehem

Friday, 22 May 2020 | Angered by Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty over land in Judea and Samaria as well as the Jordan Valley, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has ended security cooperation with Israel, Israeli sources confirmed Thursday.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas made the announcement earlier this week, proclaiming that the Palestinian government in Ramallah is ending all agreements with Israel and the United States. It isn’t the first time he’s made such an announcement, however. In fact, Abu Mazen, as he is known among the Palestinians, vowed to sever cooperation with Israel in January after the release of President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

His promise was fruitless—prompting many to write off this week’s announcement as another “cry for help.” Nonetheless, Israeli and Palestinian sources have confirmed that this time Abu Mazen is following through.  

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh met with Palestinian security chiefs on Thursday to discuss the logistics of moving forward without cooperation and contact with Israeli security forces, according to Wafa Palestinian news agency.

“Israel’s annexation of any parts of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] constitutes an existential threat to the Palestinian national project and an end to the two-state solution,” Shtayyeh said, as quoted by Wafa.

“Israel has breached international law and violate all the agreements signed with us, whether the political, security, economic, and legal agreements,” the PA prime minister continued. “From now on, we will no longer abide by these agreements.”

Though the PA takes verbal shots at Israel on a regular basis and refuses to recognize the Jewish state as anything other than “the Zionist occupation,” a lot of coordination between the two entities goes on behind the scenes.

The halt of security coordination means gone are the days of the PA tipping Israel off on a planned terror attack or allowing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) into Palestinian-controlled villages to conduct arrest raids on terrorists. It also means the potential end of Israel tipping the PA off on planned attacks and assassinations from Hamas or other enemies of the PA. The halt in communication could lead to a rise in tensions and a spike in violence.

Fatah, a leading PA political party, provided a glimpse into the potential new normal when it posted a video on Thursday that appeared to depict Palestinian security forces preventing an IDF jeep from entering PA-controlled territory, screaming at the Israeli soldiers and gesturing wildly for them to go anywhere but forward.

The tensions started when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at the swearing in of the new Israeli government that one of its top priorities would be annexing land in Judea and Samaria in accordance with President Trump’s peace proposal.

The PA has cried out for the international community to join it in condemning the Jewish state for daring to implement authority in the biblical heartland—and many have answered the call. Multiple European and Arab nations as well as the European Union, the United Nations and even the Vatican have criticized Israel and are discouraging Jerusalem from moving forward with its plans to begin annexation as early as July.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 22, 2020)

Photo Credit: James Emery/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord to intervene on Israel’s behalf, keeping this situation from escalating into rising tensions and more violence. Pray that the PA will recognize that the benefits of cooperation with Israel far outweigh the alternative.

Scripture

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.


- Psalm 2:2–5

One in Seven Israelis Fear Losing Homes as Pandemic Takes Economic Toll

by Yaron Druckman

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Bridges for Peace volunteer packaging food for the community during the lockdown

Wednesday, 27 May 2020 | As a result of the coronavirus epidemic, 1 in 7 Israelis (14.1%) are afraid they will lose their home and almost half (46.5%) are worried they will not be able to pay their monthly expenses, the Central Bureau of Statistics [CBS] said yesterday.

The Situation Report of Civil Resilience during the Coronavirus Crisis, conducted by the CBS between May 11–14, shows that nearly 14.1% of Israelis (789,300 people) reported that they or at least one family member has reduced their food intake or the number of weekly meals due to financial fears.  

Some 66.9% of those who said they were eating less also said they do not have enough money to buy food.

The data also shows that 44.6% of Israelis, some 2.5 million people, reported that the coronavirus epidemic worsened their and their families’ financial situation.

Among people ages 65 and over, 20.6% reported the epidemic damaged their finances.

Some 16.1% of workers said they are worried they will lose their jobs. 

Of those questioned, 26.7% said they believe their financial situation will improve in the next 12 months, compared to 20.6% in a similar poll conducted in April.

Some 54.9% said they believe their financial situation would not change and 18.3% said they believed it would worsen—a decline from 27.3% in a survey conducted at the beginning of May.

The CBS also examined the public health aspect of coronavirus and the implications of the lockdown, with the data showing that 53% of Israelis are still afraid of contracting the virus.

Data also showed that the number of those afraid of catching the virus who are ages 65 and higher (54.4%) is similar to those who are younger (52.6%).

Women were found to be more worried about catching coronavirus (57.7%) than men (48%), despite the fact that data shows men are more susceptible to the disease than women.

Some 7.4% of people ages 21 and over, about 416,500 Israelis, reported that their personal health has deteriorated during the epidemic. Among those ages 65 and over, the number is higher at 9.7%.

About 48.6% reported their mental state is very good, 33.8% said it is good, 12.1% that it is not so good and 5.4% that it is not good at all.

Some 33.4% of the population, some 1.9 million people, reported that they felt stress and anxiety to a certain degree, with some 16.2% saying they felt a certain level of depression and 18.4% feeling loneliness.

The survey also focused on the emotional state of children during the epidemic, with 61.1% saying that it hadn’t changed and 25.7% saying that it has worsened to some degree. 

Editor’s Note: Since the beginning of March, more than 720,000 Israelis have lost their jobs. That translates to hundreds of thousands who have unexpectedly lost the means to pay rent, put food on the table or send their kids to school. Over the last two months, we have been inundated with calls for assistance from people who desperately require a helping hand. As the needs continue to mount, it is our heart to reach out with that helping hand and we are trusting the Lord to provide the funds to do so. Thank you for your donations that enable us to continue feeding, continue pouring out blessings and continue loving the people of Israel during these turbulent times.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on May 26, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will touch the hearts of Christians around the world as they recognize the economic impact that the lockdown has had on Israelis. Pray that they will give generously so that Bridges for Peace will be able to provide food to those who are hungry and other necessities for those who are crying out for our help.

Scripture

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


- Proverbs 19:17

Corona Conspiracies: 20% of Britons Surveyed Suspect Jews of Spreading COVID-19

by Ilse Strauss

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The survey was conducted by an Oxford University.

Monday, 25 May 2020 | Nearly 20% of Britons surveyed believe Jews engineered COVID-19 in an attempt to derail the economy and benefit financially, an Oxford University poll revealed.

The Oxford Coronavirus Explanations, Attitudes and Narratives Survey (OCEANS)—conducted by clinical psychologists associated with the university and published in the Psychological Medicine journal on Friday—aimed to gauge Britain’s attitude toward the official scientific and governmental coronavirus narrative.

According to the findings, a whopping 60% of respondents mistrust the official COVID-19 consensus and believe that the government to some extent leads the public astray regarding the origins, spread, gravity and management of the virus. A further 40% believe that powerful groups are behind the spread of the disease, and 20% feel the COVID-19 pandemic is an elaborate hoax.

One of the conspiracy theory options the survey offered as an alternative to the official narrative is that the Jews unleashed the novel disease. According to the conspiracy script, the malicious scheme is aimed at filling Jewish coffers while global economies come tumbling down and the lion’s share of the world’s population is in an isolated lockdown. The theory, however, offers no concrete details on how exactly the Jewish population alone stands to benefit financially while the rest of the world suffers loss.

Nearly one in five respondents or almost 20% said they agree with the statement “Jews have created the virus to collapse the economy for financial gain,” with 5.3% agreeing “a little,” 6.8% agreeing moderately, 4.6% agreeing “a lot” and 2.4% in complete agreement. 

Throughout the ages, the Jews served as convenient scapegoats whenever financial, health or other crises struck communities, countries and even worldwide. History is rife with pandemics, economic downturns and other misfortunes fanning libels, slurs and slumbering anti-Semitism into flame, leading to mass executions, persecution, expulsions and attempted genocide against the perceived culprits: the Jewish people.      

In the months since the first coronavirus cases appeared in Wuhan and then spread around the globe, conspiracy theories have sprouted and spread almost as fast, sparking fears that the Jews may once again stand accused, resulting in a renewed outpouring of anti-Semitism.

The Oxford University poll comes hot on the heels of a survey conducted between February and April by NGO Hope Not Hate, showing that 13% of Britons say Jews have “undue control of banks,” while 38% added they “couldn’t say for sure” or “didn’t know,” the Jerusalem Post reports.

In a press release accompanying the publication of the study’s findings, Hope Not Hate pointed out that “while conspiracy theories do not inherently have to be anti-Semitic, it is remarkable how often Jewish people are explicitly or implicitly identified as the conspirators.”

The press release concluded with a warning: “It is anti-Semitic ideas, more so than any other form of racism, that form the basis of modern conspiracy theories.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 25, 2020)

Photo Credit: Lukas/pexels.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that cooler heads will prevail and people will come to realize how ridiculous this accusation actually is. Pray that the Lord will protect the Jewish people from any surge in anti-Semitism that may occur as a result of this preposterous idea.

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

The First Day of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Trial

by Kate Norman

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Monday, 25 May 2020 | At the opening hearing in his corruption trial on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister to stand trial while serving in office.

Last week Netanyahu’s lawyers requested that the premier not be required to attend his opening hearing and were denied—leading to a busy, crowded opening day amid pro- and anti-Netanyahu rallies, the media crowding outside the courthouse, and Netanyahu surrounded by a flock of supporters and political allies.

Netanyahu, making the best of being forced to appear, gave a speech before the hearing in which he wrote off the charges as “an attempted political coup against the will of the people” and demanded that the entire trial be broadcast to the public. 

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” Netanyahu said, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

The premier and his team of lawyers will be defending Netanyahu against charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The trial promises to be lengthy and drawn out over at least the next year, with Netanyahu and the other defendants only required to make minimal appearances in court.

In Case 4000, Netanyahu is charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust for advancing the interests of the Bezeq telecom company in exchange for influence over coverage in Walla news. Both companies are controlled by Shaul Elovitch, who is also being indicted along with his wife, Iris.

According to the indictment, Netanyahu repeatedly shielded Bezeq from government intervention and fines, benefiting the giant for about NIS 1.8 billion (US $500 million). The prime minister was in exchange allegedly given frequent say over coverage in Elovitch’s Walla news.

In Case 2000, the prime minister is accused of fraud and breach of trust after being offered a deal—which was reportedly never implemented—by the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper to push legislation that would take down one of the paper’s competitors in exchange for positive coverage in the paper. Arnon Mozes, the publisher, is being charged with bribery.

Netanyahu is also being indicted for fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000 for accepting gifts from Arnon Milchan, an Israeli producer in Hollywood, and James Packer, an Australian billionaire and investor.

The indictment charged that the prime minister and his wife received financial gifts totaling NIS 701,146 (US $195,000) and accepted cigars, jewelry and champagne worth a total of NIS 477,972 (US $130,000) from Milchan.

In return, according to the indictment, Netanyahu helped Milchan get a visa to live in the US long term and avoid paying taxes in Israel.

When asked whether he would take a plea deal in any of the cases, Netanyahu told Channel 20: “no, no way.”

“Elements in the police and State Attorney’s Office banded together with left-wing journalists…to fabricate baseless cases against me,” Netanyahu said before the opening trial, as quoted by the Times of Israel. “The goal is to oust a strong right-wing prime minister and to banish the right-wing camp from leadership of the country for many years.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 25, 2020)

Photo Credit: kremlin.ru

Prayer Focus
Pray that the truth will quickly come to light, bringing these hearings to a swift end rather than inflicting a long and arduous trial on the nation of Israel. Pray that PM Netanyahu and his family will be strong and confident during this time, and ask the Lord to protect the fledgling unity government as this legal battle darkens its beginnings.

Scripture

Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; fighting all day he oppresses me. My enemies would hound me all day, for there are many who fight against me, O Most High. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. All day they twist my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil.


- Psalm 56:1–3, 5

Hezbollah Releases Video of Unit Tasked with “Conquering” Galilee

by Daniel Salami

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Hezbollah weaponry found during IDF operations (illustrative)

Tuesday, 26 May 2020 | Lebanese terror group Hezbollah on Monday released a training video made by its elite Radwan Unit, showing fighters running fire drills and practicing hand-to-hand combat, with several of the targets painted with a blue Star of David.

According to Hezbollah’s military plans, the Radwan Unit will be tasked with infiltrating into Israeli territory, mainly through tunnels under the border fence, and conduct guerrilla warfare along the northern Galilee.

The Radwan Unit is made up of the Iranian-backed group’s best fighters, and is in charge of executing the organization’s most secretive and sensitive missions.

It is believed the unit was founded by Hezbollah’s No. 2 Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in a 2008 car blast in Damascus that was attributed to Israel.

Videos of their training are shared by other groups and nations aligned with the terror organization, mainly Iran and its proxies.

The video comes less than a week after Iran marked Quds (Jerusalem) Day—a national holiday introduced by the regime after the 1979 revolution to express support for the Palestinians and to oppose Zionism and Israel—and on the 20th anniversary of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, the usual events for Quds Day were suspended, with most activities being held online.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said during a prerecorded speech last Friday that “Israel is afraid of Lebanon, it is deterred.”

“One of Israel’s main goals last year was stopping Hezbollah from increasing its strength in Lebanon, and it failed,” he added. “The resistance movement in Lebanon only increased.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on May 25, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the IDF will have strength, courage and supernatural alertness in the face of these threats. Beseech the Lord that not one of Hezbollah’s plans will be successful and no Israeli life will be lost in the defense of the nation against their attacks. Pray for the Lord’s protection on every front and ask that these tunnels be found and destroyed before they can be used.

Scripture

Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.


- Proverbs 3:25–26

Israel and US are Sending a Clear Warning to Iran

by Ron Ben-Yishai

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The Shahid Rajaee port facility on the Iranian coast that was recently targeted by a cyberattack

Monday, 25 May 2020 | The Washington Post report [last week] of an Israeli and American cyberattack against Iran seems reliable and accurate. The US sources who anonymously provided the newspaper with information about the attack attributed to Israel and the United States in Iran did not even ask journalists to hide potentially identifying information.

The officials also backed up the information with satellite photos they showed to reporters (some of the most experienced at the Washington Post), including a line of cargo trucks stretching for miles on roads leading to the stricken Shahid Rajaee Port in Bandar Abbas [Iran].

The same footage also showed numerous ships docked in the waters of the Strait of Hormuz [between Iran and the United Arab Emirates or between the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea], waiting to enter Iran’s most state-of-the-art port, which is considered to be of strategic importance.

According to the Washington Post, Israel and the US were prompted to carry out the attack following an Iranian cyberattack on Israeli water and sewage facilities at the height the coronavirus crisis, as revealed by Ynet.

It was a targeted attack on vital civilian infrastructure in Israel carried out by professional means that was professionally concealed.

Cyber warfare is waged on three levels: intelligence gathering, defense and attack. And one facet of this war is considered to be the most dangerous—an attack on vital civilian and military infrastructure.

Through computers, it is possible to attack electricity grids, water facilities, hospitals, chemical plants, transportation hubs and pipelines that transport gas and other fuels, thereby inflicting thousands more casualties and material damage than kinetic bomb damage, in other words “regular” strikes using precise and sophisticated weaponry, intense artillery shelling or a massive bomb attack.

As such, according to reports, Israel shows restraint when Iranian hackers try (by pretty amateurish means) to steal information from banks in the country, and the US doesn’t attack Russia when the Kremlin hackers try to sway American voters with so-called fake news on social media.

But the Iranian attack could have paralyzed Israel’s sewage systems, disrupting the water supply for farming and aggravating sanitation problems in some areas of the country at the height of the pandemic.

The potential damage to Israel by this attack could have been greater than the damage that some Iranian missiles have caused from Lebanon and Syria.

Therefore, according to the Washington Post, Israel decided to respond in line with the strategic policy adopted by Jerusalem since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

It responds severely and disproportionately to attacks by a group or sovereign state but stays below the threshold of a declaration of war. This is what happens in Gaza, this is what happens in Syria, and now this is also what happens with long-range or cyberattacks.

Essentially, there is no difference in Israel’s strategy of response, whatever the shape of the attack. This is the message that Israel and the US sought to convey to Iran by partially paralyzing the strategic port.

Israel has learned the hard way that steady deterrence is the best defense, as it prevents attacks before they occur, causing casualties or material damage.

American Assistance 

If Israel did indeed carry out the attack on Iran, it is fair to ask why, with its own impressive civilian and military cyber capabilities (namely, Unit 8200), it needed to cooperate with the Americans to do.

One reason is that those behind the attack on Israel’s water facilities hid their virtual fingerprints by using servers located in the US.

Once the attack was halted and neutralized, Israel needed the US government to help quickly and accurately identify those responsible, for this is a difficult challenge and more so in a short space of time.

Furthermore, the use of US servers is a blatant violation of American sovereignty, and Washington should also respond and set its own red line in the virtual sands of the Middle East. And perhaps should already have done so.

The Americans have a vast global cyber database as well as details of non-military assets, such as sea ports.

If Israeli cyber officials who actually carried out the attack were given access to this database, one could hypothesize that this would accelerate and even fine-tune the retaliatory attack, ensuring that the damage was severe but not too severe—and could serve as a show of power to the world in general and the Iranian leadership in Tehran in particular.

The Israeli­–US cyber war against Iran has been going on for almost 20 years but has gained momentum in the last 15 years.

And by apparently leaking the event to one of the world’s most highly regarded newspapers, the two countries have conveyed a clear message to the ayatollahs [honorary title bestowed on high-ranking Shiite Muslim clerics in Iran], marking a red line in the virtual sand.

Israel and the US will respond virtually and disproportionately to any cyberattack in which Iran or anyone acting on its behalf attempts to damage essential infrastructure.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on May 19, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Fars News Agency/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
As you pray for Israel’s borders, include requests for the Lord to protect Israel from every type of cyberattack from any and all of her enemies. As the Lord continues to bless Israel with advanced technology, pray that He will bless them with the means to protect themselves from any such cyber warfare while swiftly and successfully enacting their strategy of defense.

Scripture

Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.


- Psalm 25:19–20

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