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A Light in the Midst of Trauma

Wednesday, April 5, 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.

Please note that the Bridges for Peace offices will be closed over the Passover holiday. We will resume normal operations, including news, on Thursday, April 13.

Passover: Celebrating the Miracle of Israel’s Exodus

by Kate Norman

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A table set for the Passover seder meal

Wednesday, 5 April 2023 | Sundown this evening ushers in the celebration of Pesach (Passover) in Israel and Jewish homes around the world, as families and friends will gather for the Passover seder (ritual meal) and celebrate their ancestors’ miraculous deliverance out of slavery in Egypt.

The holiday is celebrated every year on the 15th day of the biblical month of Nisan and runs until the 22nd day of the month, which this year falls from sundown on April 5 to April 13. It is one of the first of the biblical feasts prescribed by God in Leviticus 23.

The first Passover took place in the land of Egypt, just before the Children of Israel began their Exodus out of bondage. God gave Moses and Aaron specific instructions for how to keep the feast, which they passed on to all the Israelites, as described in Exodus 12.

Each Hebrew household was instructed to take a lamb without blemish and keep it in their house until the night of Passover, when the lambs were killed and their blood painted on the doorpost of the home.

The blood of the lamb protected the Israelites from the tenth and final plague against Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the death of the firstborn. As the angel of the Lord passed through the land of Egypt to smite the firstborn, He passed over the Hebrew homes with blood painted on the doorpost, leaving them unharmed.

God commanded the Israelites to eat unleavened bread that night, as they would be leaving in a hurry and had no time to wait for bread to rise. And when He gave instructions to the Israelites to celebrate the feast for generations to come, He instructed that they eat no leavened bread for seven days and remove all leaven from their homes in remembrance.

Thousands of years later, the descendants of the Children of Israel continue to keep this feast. Just as Exodus 12:26 says, the Israelite children will ask throughout the generations the meaning of the Passover feast, which their parents are to answer: “It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households” (Exod. 12:27a).

The first Passover in Egypt was a rushed one, as the Israelites were commanded to eat the meal in haste, wearing their belts and shoes and holding their staffs (Exod. 12:11), ready to flee out of Egypt at a moment’s notice.

Not so today. The modern Passover seder lasts hours, as the Jewish people relish the time, reading through the story of their ancestors’ miraculous deliverance from Exodus and indulging in rituals of the celebration. These rituals are designed to get everyone involved, such as the children at the table who kick off the telling of the story by asking, “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

The family then goes through the Haggadah, the Passover guide in which they read through the Exodus story together and eat the traditional food of the Passover seder.

The seder is filled with rich symbolism and includes several elements. The karpas or vegetable, usually parsley, symbolizes the hyssop plant that the Israelites dipped into the lamb’s blood and painted on the doorpost. The maror, or bitter herbs, usually horseradish, symbolizes the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. The charoset, a sweet mixture of apples, nuts, spices and wine or grape juice, symbolizes the mortar that the Israelites used to make mortar for bricks while they were slaves. The lamb shank bone symbolizes the sacrifice, and the beitzah, a hardboiled egg, represents the daily Temple sacrifice as well as the cycle of life.

Each family has their own traditions and spins on the Haggadah. Jewish people from different corners of the Diaspora (Jewish population outside Israel) have different recipes and ways of conducting the seder. But on this night, in Israel and around the world, they join together to remember their ancient Exodus and marvel on God’s wondrous miracles.

From Bridges for Peace, chag Pesach sameach (Happy Passover)!

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 5, 2023)

Photo Credit: Amelia Bouwer/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
As Israel gathers tonight to celebrate the deliverance from slavery under Pharaoh, pray that God will remind the ancestors of those who witnessed His tremendous miracles thousands of years ago in Egypt to look to Him and Him alone for deliverance, safety and security. Pray for a safe and meaningful feast, and a blessed time of unity and fellowship among families, friends, communities and the nation as a whole.


“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

- Exodus 20:2

Three Israeli Soldiers Injured in Judea Terror Attack

by JNS

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Israeli forces conduct counterterror operations in Jenin and the surrounding villages (illustrative).

Monday, 3 April 2023 | Three Israeli soldiers were wounded on Saturday night in a car-ramming attack near the village of Beit Ummar, located northwest of Hebron in Judea.

Magen David Adom emergency medical personnel treated the victims, all men in their 20s, before evacuating them to the hospital.

One of the soldiers was in serious condition, another was moderately and a third lightly injured, the Israeli military said in a statement.

The terrorist was “neutralized” by a fourth soldier, the statement added.

“Once again our enemies raised their heads and tried to murder Jews, just because they are Jews, and reminded us of the palpable threats against us,” said Yesha Council head and Gush Etzion Regional Council Chairman Shlomo Ne’eman.

“It’s unfathomable how a religious holiday [Ramadan, one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed] turns into a holiday of terrorist attacks. We will continue to build and develop throughout Judea and Samaria and travel on Israel’s roads without fear. We wish those injured a speedy recovery and will pray for them,” he added.

Israeli forces remain on high alert during the month-long Ramadan holiday and following a series of terrorist attacks.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 1, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will bless these three young men with complete healing and restoration. Also cry out for an end to this ongoing violence. Pray that any plans for murdering Israelis and creating chaos will be thwarted at every turn. Beseech the Lord for a peaceful Ramadan.


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

- Psalm 25:22

Israeli Foreign Minister Hosts Muslim Diplomats for Ramadan Break Fast

by JNS

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Muslim diplomats attend an Iftar meal at the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem

Tuesday, 4 April 2023 | Israel seeks to broaden peace in the region, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told Muslim diplomats he hosted at his ministry in Jerusalem for the traditional Iftar break fast meal on Sunday evening.

“I see great importance in strengthening the relationship between Israel and the countries of the region and maintaining freedom of worship in Israel for members of all religions,” Cohen added in a tweet.

He noted that Israel is working to expand the 2020 Abraham Accords that saw four Arab countries forge peaceful relations with the Jewish state under the administration of then-President Donald Trump.

“The Abraham Accords…have shown that it is possible to act together for the benefit and prosperity of our nations,” wrote Cohen.

The dignitaries who attended the evening meal were the ambassadors of Turkey and Egypt and the head of Morocco’s liaison office in Israel.

Also in attendance were representatives of the embassies of Albania, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Tanzania, Azerbaijan and Chad, with the latter two participating for the first time in the Iftar meal at the Foreign Ministry.

The ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain did not attend the event, sending lower-level diplomats in their stead.

The signing of the Abraham Accords was Israel’s “greatest achievement in recent years,” Cohen said at the event.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 3, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the respect and goodwill Israel shows to members of all faiths and for the country’s commitment to religious freedom. Pray that these relationships will continue to strengthen, and ask for the Lord’s guidance as Israel works to expand its network of allies in the Arab world.


The LORD is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

- Psalm 145:17–19

Blue Square Emoji Symbolizes Fight against Anti-Semitism

by JNS

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The blue square is the symbol of the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign.

Friday, 31 March 2023 | A brand-new [US] $25 million initiative to battle anti-Semitism called #StandUpToJewishHate launched this week, using a blue square as its main feature.

Created by the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism—founded by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 2019—the blue square emoji is being introduced as a symbol of solidarity with the Jewish people as part of the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign.

The campaign “is designed to raise awareness for the fight against anti-Semitism, specifically among non-Jewish audiences, and to help all Americans understand that there is a role for each of us to play in combating a problem that is unfortunately all too prevalent in communities across the country today,” said Kraft.

The blue square is appearing on television shows, digital billboards and social media sites. It is sized at 2.4% of the screen or other surfaces to symbolize Jews making up 2.4% of the population yet being victims of 55% of religiously motivated hate crimes.

The campaign is encouraging people to download the blue square and share it widely.

Said Kraft: “We must stand up and take action against the rise of all hate, and I hope everyone will post and share the blue square to show their support in this fight.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on March 30, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise God for this ingenious idea. Pray that it will catch on quickly and be seen everywhere, encouraging people to stand up and take action against the rise of all hate. Pray that it will prove to be a valuable tool in the fight against rising global anti-Semitism.


Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever.

- Psalm 28:9

Drone that Crossed Israeli Border from Syria Was Iranian, IDF Says

by Kate Norman

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The Shahed 129, an Iranian drone, on display during the Eqtedar 40 defense exhibition in Tehran (illustrative)

Tuesday, 4 April 2023 | The drone that crossed into Israeli territory on Sunday from Syria was Iranian, the Israeli military confirmed yesterday.

The drone entered Israeli airspace on Sunday and was shot down by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) using “electronic warfare” before the military collected the debris for analysis.

The military confirmed yesterday that it had been tracking the drone before it crossed into Israeli territory and assured that the device never posed a threat.

The timing of the cross-border drone is no coincidence. On March 13, a Hezbollah terrorist crossed the border into Israel and planted a bomb on a northern highway near Megiddo, which exploded and wounded an Arab Israeli civilian. The terrorist, who was wearing an explosive belt, was shot and killed by Israeli security forces, who determined that his death stopped him from carrying out more attacks.

Hezbollah, though based in Lebanon, is backed by Iran, in the Islamic regime’s attempt to extend its reach from Tehran all throughout the Middle East. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have vowed to prevent Iran from entrenching itself in the region, particularly within countries bordering Israel.

Iran has also extended its reach into Syria, backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and using the war-torn country as a shipping route to send advanced weapons to Hezbollah and other Iran-backed terrorist groups in the region.

In an effort to block the shipping route and thwart Iran’s entrenchment, Israel often conducts air strikes in Syria, targeting military and terror sites as well as weapons shipments. Jerusalem does maintain a policy of not commenting on its involvement in the cross-border strikes, however.

This week, Israel jets allegedly conducted four separate strikes in Syria, targeting military and Iranian sites, the Times of Israel reported. Two members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were killed in this week’s strikes.

The IRGC is Iran’s elite paramilitary group that is largely responsible for exporting the regime’s terrorism outside of its borders.

The most recent strike in Syria took place in the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel’s Army Radio reported, hitting targets around the Syrian capital of Damascus.

The Jewish state has stayed true to its policy of not commenting on this week’s attacks. Prime Minister Netanyahu, however, strongly hinted at the strikes during his weekly address to the Cabinet on Sunday.

“We are exacting a high price from the regimes that support terrorism, beyond Israel’s borders,” Netanyahu said in his address, which was published by his office. “I suggest that our enemies not err. Israel’s internal debate will not detract one iota from our determination, strength and ability to act against our enemies on all fronts, wherever and whenever necessary.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant issued a separate warning on Sunday against Iran and Hezbollah’s attempts to attack Israel.

“We will not allow the Iranians and Hezbollah to harm us,” the defense minister warned, as quoted by the Times of Israel. “We have not allowed it in the past; we won’t allow it now, or anytime in the future.”

After reiterating the charge that Iran is attempting to entrench itself around Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon, Gallant added: “When necessary, we will push them out of Syria to where they belong. And that is Iran.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 4, 2023)

Photo Credit: Mehdi Bakhtiari/Fars Media Corporation/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank God that Israel was able to shoot down the Iranian-made drone as it entered Israeli air space. Pray that all of Israel’s strategies to end Iran’s influence in Syria and Lebanon will be successful. Pray that the warnings from Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant will deter those who would attack Israel during a time of “internal debate.”


Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me.

- Psalm 25:19–20a

Bank of Israel Raises Benchmark Interest Rate

by JNS

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Tuesday, 4 April 2023 | The Bank of Israel [BOI] on Monday hiked its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points (0.25 percentage points) to 4.5%, the highest level since 2008, in a bid to curb inflation.

“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. Therefore, the Monetary Committee decided to increase the interest rate,” said the central bank in a statement.

“The interest rate path will be determined in accordance with activity data and the development of inflation, in order to continue supporting the attainment of the policy goals,” it added.

Inflation in Israel stands at 5.2% over the past 12 months and remains high in a wide range of CPI components. There has been some moderation in annual inflation, but the moderation is slower than previous assessments, said the BOI.

The bank forecast GDP growth of 2.5% in 2023 and 3.5% in 2024. The unemployment rate among the prime working ages (25–64) is expected to average 4.1% in 2023 and 4% in 2024. The average inflation rate in the fourth quarter of 2023 is expected to be 3.9%, and it is expected to decline to 2.3% by the end of 2024.

In addition, the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to be about 59% in 2023 and 58% in 2024.

However, the central bank cautioned that the forecasts could be upended by economic shocks caused by opponents of the government’s judicial reform program.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 3, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord that this action will be successful in curbing inflation and pray that Israel’s economy will go from strength to strength.


Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.

- Psalm 33:20–21

As interest rates continue to skyrocket, so does the cost of food, rent and other basic necessities. And 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 long since 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.