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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.
We are sending a shortened prayer update this week, as the Bridges for Peace offices will be closed on Friday, May 4.
Israel Presents Proof: “Iran Brazenly Lied,” Pursues Clandestine Nuclear Weapons Program
by Ilse Strauss
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 | In what international media calls “a staggering operation,” “a tremendous feat” and a “stunning intelligence coup,” Israel managed to get their hands on the concrete evidence that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been right about all along: Iran has for years been working to develop nuclear weapons and has continued to aggressively pursue an atomic arsenal—in blatant contravention of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Standing in front of a room packed with journalists, Netanyahu announced last night that Iranian leaders “brazenly lied” to the signatories of the accord—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States—the UN nuclear watchdog and the rest of the world when they claimed that Tehran does not seek to develop nuclear weapons. “The nuclear deal is based on lies,” Netanyahu said. “It’s based on Iranian lies and Iranian deception.”
Moreover, the prime minister continued, Israel holds “conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons program that Iran has been hiding for years…in its secret atomic archive”: 100,000 files, on paper and CDs, containing “incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos and more.”
Netanyahu added that Israel has shared the material with the US, “and the United States can vouch for its authenticity.” A separate statement released by the prime minister’s office indicated that he had already discussed the discovery with the leaders of Russia, Germany and France. Britain and China, the remaining two members of the P5+1 countries that negotiated the nuclear accord with Iran, are next on the agenda.
The prime minister explained that the documents were lifted from a “highly secret location,” Iran’s “atomic archive” in southern Tehran in what he hailed as one of Israeli intelligence’s “greatest achievements.”
According to The New York Times, the Jewish state’s legendary intelligence agency, the Mossad, discovered the top-secret warehouse used for storing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons files. The Israeli spies infiltrated the compound a few weeks ago, gathered half a ton of incriminating documents from the vaults and brought the proof home to Israel that same night.
The documents focus on a secret Iranian nuclear program code named Project Amad that began in the early 1990s. The five principle goals of the project were “designing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear cores, building nuclear implosion systems, preparing nuclear tests” and integrating five nuclear warheads, each with a 10 kiloton TNT yield, for integration on a missile. The end result, Netanyahu clarified, will be “five Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles.”
Iran officially closed down Project Amad. However, behind the scenes, the project’s original staff continued working towards their evil objectives in full force. During the negotiations and signing of the nuclear according in 2015, Iran denied the existence of such a program.
However, the documents Israel discovered shed some troubling light on Tehran’s actual atomic activities. “You can draw four main conclusions,” Netanyahu held. “First, Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons program,” said the prime minister. “Second, even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons know-how for future use. Why would a terrorist regime hide and meticulously catalogue its secret nuclear files, if not to use them at a later date? Third, Iran lied again in 2015, when it didn’t come clean to the IAEA, as required by the nuclear deal.” Finally, he offered, “The nuclear deal is based on lies. It is based on Iranian lies and Iranian deception. 100,000 files right here prove that they lied.”
The bottom line? The Islamic Republic continues to lie, Netanyahu said. Last week, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denied publicly that Tehran has any past, current or future atomic ambitions. The prime minister even played a recording of Zarif declaring, “We didn’t have any program to develop nuclear weapons. Anyway, we consider nuclear weapons both irrational as well as immoral… We never wanted to produce a bomb.”
“Yes you did,” Netanyahu countered. “And the atomic archive proves it.”
The prime minister warned that the current nuclear deal paves the way for Iran to an atomic arsenal by providing the three necessary components required to produce such an arsenal: “unlimited enrichment in a few years,” for which plans are already in place, failing to “address Iran’s continued development of ballistic missiles” and finally, failing to “address Iran’s secret nuclear bomb program and its advanced work on weaponization.”
Netanyahu’s views on the 2015 nuclear accord have always been clear. At the time, he referred to it as a “stunning historic mistake.” The prime minister concluded last night’s address by reiterating this belief, calling the agreement a “terrible deal” that “should never have been concluded.” Yet all is not lost, Netanyahu held.
In less than 12 days, US President Donald Trump must make the decision to “fix or nix” the 2015 accord, an agreement which he in the past referred to as the worst deal in history. Netanyahu is confident that his US counterpart will “do the right thing. The right thing for the United States, the right thing for Israel and the right thing for the peace of the world.”
For his part, President Trump said during a news conference from the White House that Israel “has been proven right” and that the evidence presented by Netanyahu serves as “conclusive proof” that Iran is indeed working on a secret nuclear weapons project. Yet the president, who has threated to withdraw from the agreement that granted Tehran relief from economic sanctions in return for curbing its nuclear program, gave no indication of what his planned course of action is. “So we’ll see what happens, I’m not telling you what I’m doing but a lot of people think they know and before the 12th we’ll make a decision.”
With the May 12 deadline looming, all eyes are on the US. Israel has presented the proof. Now the ball is in President Trump’s court.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 01 May 2018)
Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Ashernet
Remind God of His love for Israel and His promise to protect the nation. Pray that PM Netanyahu and Israel’s other leaders will keep their eyes on God, trusting in the Rock of Ages. Intercede for wisdom and insight, as they face crucial decisions.
They gather together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood. But the LORD has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge.
Fires Started by Kites from Gaza Carrying Burning Fuel Scorch Southern Israel
Thursday, 03 May 2018 | A blaze started by kites carrying burning fuel have ignited fields in southern Israel, requiring ten teams of firefighters to fight them, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.
The fires were the largest since Palestinians participating in riots led by the terrorist group Hamas started adopting the tactic. The area affected by the fires were fields located near Kibbutz Be’eri close to Israel’s border with Gaza.
The fires burned for hours and consumed dozens of acres of grasslands and agricultural fields. As of late Wednesday, the firefighters were reported as only beginning to get the fires under control.
The Israeli security forces have yet to develop a strategy to fight this tactic, referred to by the Times as “arson-by-kite,” effectively. The threat to Israel from the fires belie claims of Hamas that the riots are non-violent.
The rioters have also attempted to tear down the fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip.
During the five weeks of the riots, over 40 of the rioters have been killed by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces]. A study by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in late April determined that 32 of the 40 rioters killed at that point were tied to terror groups.
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 02 May 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Screenshot/Judah Ari Gross/youtube.com
Intercede for the Israeli farmers who are losing their crops because of the Hamas “arson-by-kite” attacks. Pray for the firefighters who have to protect the land and people of Israel from this vicious type of terror. Ask God to grant them wisdom to develop methods to curb these blazes.
You drew near on the day I called on You, and said, Do not fear!
US Officials: Israel Preparing for War with Iran in Syria
by Yishai Porat
Wednesday, 02 May 2018 | Israeli Air Force F-15 planes on Sunday attacked a military facility housing the 47th Brigade of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps after Iran transferred arms to it, three US officials told NBC Wednesday.
According to the US officials, inter alia [among other things], surface-to-air missiles were transferred to a base in Syria.
Yesterday, The New York Times reported that 200 missiles had been destroyed in the missile strikes on the bases in the Hama and Aleppo countryside. According to the latest report, about 25 people were killed, most of them Iranians, and 35 others were injured.
“On the list of the potentials for most likely live hostility around the world, the battle between Israel and Iran in Syria is at the top of the list right now,” said one senior US official.
Government sources said that Israel appeared to be preparing for war with Iran.
They noted that even though Israel had not requested permission from the United States for further actions, “some cautionary notes were sent.” According to them, Israel has returned to a campaign of deliberate air strikes.
The same sources said that Israel is increasingly concerned about Iran’s influence in Syria. The sources said that while Russia is responsible for the pro-Assad aerial forces in Syria, Iran is responsible for the ground forces.
According to NBC, in the past two weeks, Iran has increased military shipments to Syria.
The supplies included ground-to-air missiles, which, according to two US officials, were meant to strengthen Iran’s forces in Syria in preparation for an attack in Israel.
Syrian rebels claimed some of the arms caches struck in the attack held chemical weapons.
According to Syrian state television, the missile attacks took place at 10:30 p.m. Al Akhbar reported the targets of the strike were Syrian army bases being used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The explosions were registered as a 2.6 magnitude earthquake by the European Mediterranean Seismological Center.
A day after the attack, the Iranian ISNA news agency reported that a senior official in the Islamic Republic was killed in an attack.
The Syrian Center for Human Rights confirmed that most of those killed in the two attacks were Iranian.
Photo Credit: Screenshot/ZiVSO/youtube.com
Bring the IDF before the Lord as those who protect Israel prepare for the possibility of war. Lift up every soldier, asking God for faith, protection, peace and wisdom. Pray that the Lord will raise up friends and comrades to strengthen and encourage one another.
For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.
IDF: Hundreds of Hamas-led Rioters Attempted to Tear Down Gaza Border Fence
Monday, 30 April 2018 | Hundreds of Palestinians participating in Hamas-led riots for the fifth straight week, motivated to reclaim “all of Palestine,” attempted to tear down the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], the Jerusalem Post reported last Friday.
According to the IDF, “In the last hour, over 10,000 Palestinians have participated in the riots and attempts have been made to harm security infrastructure, roll burning tires, hurl rocks and fly kites with flaming objects attached to them.”
While the IDF maintained that it observed the rules of engagement “to protect Israeli civilians,” Reuters reported that three Palestinians were killed today.
The Reuters report confirmed the IDF’s assessment noting that rioters “hurled stones and rolled burning tires toward the fence, and some attached cans of burning petrol to kites and flew them into Israeli territory.”
According to longtime Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh, the organizers of the riots seek to “achieve the right of return and return to all of Palestine.” This shows that the riots are not a reaction to any recent policy issue such as the American decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but a smokescreen for Hamas’ true intention: destruction of Israel and total rejection of Jewish presence in all of Israel.
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 27 April 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Screenshot/TRT World/youtube.com
Cry out to the Lord over the escalating situation on the Gaza border, where Hamas is seeking to destroy the Promised Land and her people. Intercede for every IDF soldier who carries the responsibility for Israel’s protection on his or her shoulders. Pray for mental and physical well-being in this continuous battle against Hamas.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
European Rabbis: Jews not Welcome in Iceland
by Kobi Nachshoni
Monday, 30 April 2018 | The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) has been initiating and participating in rallies and engaging in public relations activities in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik recently, as well as at the European Parliament in Brussels, coming out against a bill proposed by Iceland to impose a prison sentence on any person circumcising their son.
The events were held by the non-Jewish opponents of the legislation from Protestant and Catholic umbrella organizations in Europe and from the European Union.
CER further reported it has managed to mobilize senior US congressional and EU officials, as well as doctors and academics and heads of organizations of all faiths who called the proposal “anti-Semitic”—and sent representatives to the protest rallies.
With the firm backing of the media in Iceland, the rabbis expressed for the first time cautious optimism regarding thwarting the initiative they claimed violated religious freedom.
President of the conference Rabbi Pinhas Goldschmidt warned that “the Nazis enacted such a law in 1933 and we know how it ended,” adding he thought the bill, which passed its first legislative reading two months ago, was “ill advised.”
“This move is not only a violation of the basic human right to freedom of religion or belief, but a sign that people of Jewish or Muslim background are not welcome in Iceland,” he added.
Rabbi Goldschmidt explained that a proposal by rabbis and Jewish organizations to adopt a model approved by the Council of Europe, in Germany and the UK—according to which ethical and medical standards will be anchored in regulation in order to enable the circumcision to be performed—has garnered much support from the public and the media.
While his group was “definitely optimistic” at the public support, the campaign was not yet over.
Bill “questions our Jewish identity,” says Belgian chief rabbi
Belgian chief rabbi and member of the conference Rabbi Avraham Gigi explained at the Brussels conference the significance and historical and religious background of circumcision, saying it “occupied a central and critical place in culture, religion and Jewish identity.”
In his words, “Questioning the freedom of Jewish families to circumcise their children means undermining the most ingrained identity in their collective memory.” Therefore, “when a particular country forbids circumcision, it is publicly declaring that no Jewish community is desirable there.”
The conference of rabbis noted that the initiators of the law in Iceland came from Denmark, raising the fear that similar attempts will be made afterwards in other Scandinavian countries. “Opponents of circumcision in Denmark have already collected 30,000 signatures from citizens, out of the 50,000 necessary in order to initiate a legislative process there as well,” an attendee said.
At the end of the conference, a communiqué was issued by the people and organizations that took part, calling on the Icelandic government and members of the country’s parliament to immediately halt the proposal, which they claim violated the right of the child to belong to his family’s religious tradition.
Rabbi Goldschmidt added that the proposal put forward by the rabbis and the Jewish organizations to adopt the model approved by the European Council, Germany and Europe, under which ethical and medical standards would be enforced in regulations to allow the performance of circumcisions, was gaining popularity among the public and in the media.
CER Vice President Rabbi Moshe Levin, who attended the Reykjavik conference, met with a parliament member opposing the legislation and discussed the alternative outline with him. “We are definitely optimistic,” Goldschmidt said, but clarified that “the battle isn’t over yet.”
The Conference in Iceland was organized by The Protestant CEC and Catholic COMECE European umbrella groups and local religious leaders, who voiced their opposition to this bill and support for the Jewish and Muslim community.
Photo Credit: Screenshot/Zionist Report/youtube.com
Lift up the international Jewish community, as they face legislation that smacks of discrimination and anti-Semitism. Praise God for His covenant and ask Him to strengthen His people to stand firm in choosing to adhere to the seal of that covenant.
Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.
Paraguay’s President Announces Plans to Move Embassy to Jerusalem
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 | Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes announced on Friday his plan to move the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.
The President made the announcement at a special celebratory event in Asunción to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary. Cartes didn’t specify the exact date for the embassy’s relocation, but pledged it would happen by the end of the government’s term, when he leaves office in mid-August.
It is not unclear if Cartes consulted with President-elect Hugo Velázquez before announcing the move.
Paraguay had already indicated in March that it would relocate its embassy if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to visit the country. During the first visit of a sitting Israeli Prime Minister to Latin America in September, Netanyahu didn’t stop in Paraguay.
Cartes has been supportive of Israel since he was elected president of Paraguay in 2013. During that time, Paraguay has voted in support of Israel in the United Nations. When Cartes visited Israel in 2016, Netanyahu praised him for supporting Israel “in difficult circumstances.”
The announcement comes just weeks before the United States is set to open its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14. On Friday, Trump said that he may come to Israel for that event.
“I may go. I am very proud of it. Jerusalem has been a subject that has been promised for many, many years by presidents. They all made campaign promises but they never had the courage to carry it out. I carried it out.”
Guatemala is the only other country with concrete plans to move its embassy. A few other countries, however, have announced similar steps, including Czech Republic, Romania, and Honduras.
The Czech Republic on Wednesday announced it will appoint an honorary consul in Jerusalem, the first in a three-step [process] to relocate the embassy. The Czech Foreign Ministry rejected accusations of breaking with EU [European Union] policy over the move.
“This step in no way prejudges the final agreement concerning Jerusalem, the same way as it is not being prejudged by diplomatic representations of several European countries that are seated in East Jerusalem,” the statement said.
Earlier this month, the parliament of Honduras passed a nonbinding resolution calling for the country’s embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 30 April 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Casa Rosada (Argentina Presidency of the Nation)/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Pray for God’s favor over the logistics, planning and execution involved in the decision various countries have taken to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem. Pray that Christians around the world will recognize God’s love for Jerusalem and Israel and urge their leaders to support Israel
Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there…
Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian Ministers Meet to Promote Peace Project
by Itamar Eichner
Wednesday, 02 May 2018 | Economy Minister Eli Cohen met on Sunday with Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Kono, Jordan’s Minister for Regional Cooperation Imad Fakhuri and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki to promote the Peace Corridor project and the joint Agro-Industrial Park.
The meeting took place in anticipation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s arrival in the region Tuesday, following the end of the diplomatic crisis between Jordan and Israel and the return of an Israeli ambassador to Jordan two weeks ago.
This is the first ministerial meeting between the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian ministers since September 2016, and the first one including Israel and Jordan’s representatives since the crisis between the two countries came to an end.
The goal of the Agro-Industrial Park project in Jericho is to create an economic infrastructure for peace in the region.
The Agro-Industrial Park funded by Japan’s government symbolizes the heart of the project and exports the biggest Palestinian produce coming from local factories.
Economy Minister Eli Cohen said promoting the industrial park was an interest shared by both sides. “Our policy is to provide relief measures whenever possible and to make our best efforts to provide those who are not involved in terrorism with normal lives,” Cohen said.
Photo Credit: מיכאל אפריאט/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Give thanks to the Lord for the glimmer of cooperation between Israel, Jordan, the Palestinians and Japan on this project for economic growth and peace in the region. Lift up Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen for wisdom and favor as he spearheads this project. Praise God for the restored ties between Israel and Jordan.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.
Israeli Army Teaches Bedouin Soldiers Hebrew in One Month
Monday, 30 April 2018 | Over the past two years, a large course has been held at the “Michve Alon” training base to help Bedouin and Druze soldiers learn Hebrew. However, there are several soldiers who enlist before the course begins or still have difficulty learning the language after the course. Therefore, the Central Command decided to open a special Hebrew course for these soldiers, one that would help them integrate better into the army and Israeli society as a whole after their release.
This new course is one month long and by the end, Bedouin soldiers will be reading and writing in Hebrew. Although most of the Bedouin soldiers speak Hebrew, many of them have never been in school and can’t read or write. “Most of our Bedouins come from small villages in the south, sometimes from places that can’t even be found on the map,” explains Sergeant Major Anwar, one of the course commanders. “The capabilities they bring with them from the field contribute significantly to the war on terror and they are undoubtedly some of the best detectives. Even with their strong operational capabilities, however, they must bridge social gaps and learn the county’s language.”
“Learning Hebrew will help them significantly in their military service, but this is not the only goal of the course,” explains Sergeant Major Anwar. “Hebrew is something they encounter every day in the streets, on the telephone, in meetings, and is a necessary skill to find work in the country. That’s why we’re doing everything we can for these soldiers to help them learn the language well and be a significant part of society.”
The special four week course, which is being held at the Central Command headquarters, is designed to teach the fundamentals of the Hebrew language, from learning the alphabet to reading and writing.
“It’s important to understand that most of the Bedouin soldiers were never in a classroom setting,” explained Lieutenant Michal. “Therefore, the instructors teach Bedouin soldiers using unique methods of study. The soldiers know how to speak Hebrew and recognize the sounds, so we start by teaching them the letters according to the sound each letter makes. We can then teach them whole words by breaking them up into syllables”.
“We work with the soldiers in a focused and intensive way in order to give them all the tools they need,” continues Lt. Michal. “It’s not simple to teach Hebrew in one month. This is educational material that we ourselves learned for an entire year in elementary school.”
“The soldiers tell us that the course helps them and that they feel they have made significant progress,” said Sergeant Major Anwar, one of the course’s commanders. “In addition,” he added, “this course encourages the recruitment of more Bedouin soldiers to the IDF [Israel Defense Forces]. They join the IDF on their own initiative, but they find comfort and appreciate how much the IDF invests in them. Many of them share their experiences with families and friends which encourage more Bedouins to join the army.”
“One of the soldiers said that his dream is to start a business in Israel, so it’s important for him to learn the Hebrew language,” said Lieutenant Michal.
Sgt. Maj. Anwar concluded, “None of the soldiers believed that they would reach such a high Hebrew level in such a short amount of time. Many of them feel that the army is opening their eyes to a whole new world they never knew existed. Now they will be able to fully participate in society after their army service, integrate into the Israeli work force, and establish a home in Israel.”
Photo Credit: www.idf.il
Pray for the young Bedouin men who make the courageous choice to enroll in the IDF and serve their country. Thank God for the Israeli military that goes the extra mile to enhance these soldiers’ Hebrew language skills and foster their growth as citizens of Israel.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
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