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Editor’s note: Due to the holiday of Rosh HaShanah, our Bridges for Peace offices will be closed until Monday, September 25.
A Call to Prayer and Action
Dear Bridges for Peace worldwide staff, intercessors and friends:
This week I challenged our Israel team to a ten day fast starting Thursday, September 21 and finishing September 30. I would now like to ask you to join us in this prayer time. At the end of this memo, you will find a list of critically important prayer points for the challenging days in which we are living. Please become part of our global voice as we cry out to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
These ten days are a special time for the Jewish people. September 21 is Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets) and September 30 is Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). In between are the Ten Days of Awe. Imagine, these are days when God Almighty asked His people to meet with Him (see Lev. 23).
Rosh HaShanah (also called the Jewish New Year)
Rosh HaShanah is observed on the first and second day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew year. Why is it called the Jewish New Year?
In the Mishnah (first written recording of Jewish tradition) we read, “The first of Tishrei is the beginning of the year as regards [the calculation of] years, of the shmitah cycle (seventh year of allowing the earth to rest), the yovel (Jublilee) cycle, for planting [trees], and for produce” (Rosh HaShanah 1:1).
Arthur Waskow writes, “This is then the new year for learning how a human being can turn toward God. Perhaps it is the head of the year because the head is raised toward heaven, away from the earth—while Pesach (Passover) celebrates the more earthly liberation, the freedom of our bodies [from slavery in Egypt].”
The first of Tishrei is also the day that Ezra read the book of the Law of Moses to the people at the Water Gate. “Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, ‘Go and eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength’” (Neh. 8:9–11 NASB).
From Rosh HaShanah through Yom Kippur, the liturgy is expanded to include additional prayers. One of them, the Uv’chen (and therefore), has a beautiful threefold emphasis. As described by Arthur Waskow, “universally human, communally Jewish, and individually personal.” Thanks to Waskow we share the following translation:
“And therefore, Lord our God, cause all that You created to remember fully all that You have done; cause all Your creatures to revere Your doings and to tremble in Your presence; cause them all to act as one to do Your will wholeheartedly. For we know, Lord our God, that the strength of Your hand, the power of Your right arm and the awesomeness of Your Name rule over all creation.
“And therefore, Lord, give honor to Your people, praise to those who revere You, hope to those who seek You, confidence to those who await You, joy to Your land and gladness to Your city, triumph to the horn of David Your servant and light to the lamp of Messiah, child of Jesse—speedily and in our own day.
“And therefore, the righteous will see and be glad, the upright rejoice, and the faithfully loving celebrate in song while evil is silenced and all wickedness vanishes like smoke—for You will erase the tyranny of arrogance from the earth.”
Surely, as Christian believers in the God of Israel, we can join with the Jewish people in praying this prayer. Waskow explains, “It was written by Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri during the worst Roman repression of the Jewish people and of Torah [Gen.-Deut.]. The tyranny of arrogance whose removal from the earth they prophesy was indeed the Roman Empire. But in a broader sense, the prayer rejects the false unity that could be imposed upon the human race by any tyranny, and celebrates instead the unity of a free humankind in which every people and each person is ready to follow only God as King.”
Today, as in the ancient Roman Empire, we live in a time when tyranny is once again raising its ugly specter across the face of our world. Together the cry of our heart is lifted to our God in repentance (the theme of Rosh HaShanah and the Ten Days of Awe), forgiveness (the Day of Atonement) and hope for the coming of our Messiah (The Feast of Tabernacles).
The Ten Days of Awe
As Christians we believe that we can and should come to God in repentance any day of the year. The Jewish people also believe repentance is a year-long reality. However, they also believe that these ten days are very important and that each year on the Day of Atonement God is making decisions about whose name will be written in the Book of Life for the coming year.
Eliyahu Kitov writes, “Out of His great love for His people, God seeks to be merciful and would prefer that men would repent rather than perish so that He may grant him good in the end. He therefore awaits and anticipates the repentance of those who transgress. In His abundant mercy He granted us special days when He is closest to us so that our penitence might be immediately accepted.”
In Isaiah we read, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Isa. 55:6).
James wrote about approaching God in repentance, saying, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:8–10).
Special prayers, called slichot prayers, are prayed during the Days of Awe. A ceremony called Tashlich (Hebrew from the verb to throw) in which breadcrumbs are cast into a body of water symbolizes how God casts our sins into the deepest sea. “He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19).
“Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD” (Lev. 23:27).
This is the most holy day on the biblical calendar. In Israel a holy hush comes over the land. The vast majority of the Jewish population takes it very seriously. The synagogues are full, as even people who rarely attend will come on this day. Statistics show that about 85% of Israel’s population fasts on Yom Kippur which is astonishing when you consider about 50% of the population call themselves secular. Fasting on Yom Kippur is a total abstention from all food and liquids. The Bible says that souls should be afflicted—interestingly it seems that Yom Kippur in Israel is almost always a very hot day. In Israel’s semi-arid climate, everyone feels afflicted after 25 hours without anything to drink or eat. Children from the age of 12 (for girls) and 13 (for boys) are included in the fast. There is virtually no traffic on the streets; we don’t hear the sounds of radios or television. As with all Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur begins at sundown on one day and continues until sundown on the following day.
The word kippur ( כפור) means covering. From the same root we have the word “kippa,” the small round head covering worn by observant Jewish men. The Hebrew word for mercy seat is also derived from this root.
There are many beautiful elements to the Yom Kippur services. Some Jewish people sleep overnight in the synagogue or stand watch through the night so that the service doesn’t end for the entire day (and night). Some recite the prayer of Chassidic Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditschev, “Lord of the world, I stand before You and before my neighbors—pardoning, forgiving, struggling to be open to all who have hurt and angered me. Be this hurt of body or soul, of honor or property, whether they were forced to hurt me or did so willingly, whether by accident or intent, whether by word or deed—I forgive them because we are all human. May no one feel guilty on my account. I am ready to take upon myself the commandment, ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” I immediately think of Jesus/Yeshua, who, when asked the greatest commandment, told us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
On Yom Kippur Isaiah 58 is read: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard” (vv. 6–8).
Again I am reminded of the words of Jesus/Yeshua when He spoke of the judgment of the nations (Matt. 25). He said that He would judge according to how the least of His brethren were treated. How we relate to one another is intricately linked to our relationship to the Father.
Call to Prayer
So we invite you to join with the Bridges for Peace team in a fast. Please ask the Lord how you should fast. Some will do a Daniel Fast (eating only plant based foods), others will fast from entertainment, some will fast one meal a day, and some may fast from food for several days (some may even fast the entire ten days). Please consider prayerfully fasting with us and the Jewish people on Yom Kippur (September 30). Let’s consecrate these 10 Days of Awe to prayer.
How to Pray
Pray for Bridges for Peace
May God bless you out of Zion,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 18 September 2017)
Photo Credit: Halfpoint/shutterstock.com
The Jewish people always brought a gift to the Temple at these significant times of year. We ask you to send an extra offering to help us continue feeding, welcoming and caring for the Jewish people in Israel.
Iran to be at Center of Netanyahu-Trump Meeting in New York
by Itamar Eichner
Monday, 18 September 2017 | The Iranian threat will be at the top of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agenda in his meeting with US President Donald Trump in New York today.
American officials said the meeting, set for 1:00 p.m. local time (8:00 p.m. Israel time), will focus mainly on Iran and not on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu will present Israel’s position to Trump, according to which the US must work to cancel the nuclear deal with Iran or alternatively make significant changes to it.
Among the changes Israel demands are: harsher sanctions against Tehran; increased supervision on Iran’s nuclear program; extending the period of time in which the Islamic republic is barred from enriching weapons-grade uranium beyond the 10 years set in the agreement; demanding Iran to destroy the advanced centrifuges it currently has; demanding Tehran to stop its long-range missile program; and demanding the Islamic republic to commit to stopping its support of Hezbollah and Hamas, both funding and providing arms.
Netanyahu will also present these demands in his speech at the UN [United Nations] General Assembly meeting on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. local time (8:00 p.m. Israel time).
“Israel will not accept Iranian entrenchment on our northern border, which endangers not only us but also our Arab neighbors, and we are committed to acting against it. Today, Israel’s words are being taken seriously, and so they should be,” Netanyahu said during Friday night dinner with his close entourage in New York.
Netanyahu spent Saturday morning preparing for his speech at the UN. He is expected to continue making changes and corrections to the speech until the last minute, including while at the podium, as he has done in previous years.
The prime minister, who will speak on the opening day of the General Assembly meeting, wants to give a significant speech that would make waves and leave an impression.
He is expected to speak out against the Iran deal and stress how dangerous it is. He will also make plain his position on Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and note the Islamic republic has been quick to fill any void created following ISIS’s departure.
Netanyahu will also refer to the Palestinian issue, saying Israel is reaching out to the Palestinians and is ready and willing to negotiate without preconditions.
Trump will also speak on Monday and try to recruit the UN’s member states to US efforts against North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and the Iranian nuclear threat.
In addition to Trump, Netanyahu is expected to hold a series of meetings with other world leaders while in New York, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and Brazilian President Michel Temer.
Netanyahu is said to have rejected the invitation of Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to meet, due to Sweden’s longstanding support of the Palestinians, namely in UNESCO’s most recent decision on the status of Jerusalem.
A conference of the countries financially assisting the Palestinian Authority will also be held Monday in New York, with Israel represented by the Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
At the behest of Trump’s envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, Israel has acquiesced to prepare a number of financial relief moves for the Palestinians, including creating an industrial zone and desalination plant in Gaza, an industrial area in Area C of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and more.
Abbas not expected to meet Netanyahu
President Trump is expected to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting to discuss the peace process. The Americans are also exerting pressure on the Palestinian chief to soften the rhetoric of his upcoming speech.
Abbas is expected to speak Wednesday, Rosh HaShanah [Jewish New Year] eve, a day following Netanyahu’s own speech. While both are expected to meet President Trump, no joint Israeli-Palestinian meeting will take place, either with the American president or without him.
Abbas’s speech will likely outline the current status of the Palestinian people, and attack Israel for its actions in the West Bank and Gaza—as it does every year—highlighting the future aspirations Palestinians wish to realize.
The chief reason for the speech’s subdued tones is ongoing American efforts to jumpstart negotiations, also contributing to Trump’s meeting with the Palestinian president.
Parties within the Palestinian Authority’s leadership, however, were less than thrilled with the White House’s continued refusal to express American support for the two-state solution and failure to unequivocally announce support for the creation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.
Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published in Ynetnews on 17 September 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO
Bring PM Netanyahu, his meeting with Pres.Trump and his UN speech before the Lord for favor and great impact. Pray for understanding and action in the UN General Assembly as he urges the nations to act against the nuclear deal of Iran and their stronghold in Syria, endangering the existence of Israel and her Arab neighbors.
My lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.
IDF can Achieve “Clear, Substantial, Significant Victory” against Hezbollah
by Yossi Yehoshua
Monday, 18 September 2017 | The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] can achieve a “clear, substantial and significant victory in a short period of time” against Hezbollah should another war break between Israel and the Lebanese terror organization, the IDF’s top command believes.
A large-scale 10-day training exercise concluded last week in northern Israel, simulating an all-out war against Hezbollah. Tens of thousands of soldiers took part in the Northern Command’s largest exercise in 20 years, drilling defensive and offensive capabilities, gathering and using intelligence, and maneuvering forces on several different fronts at the same time. At the same time, the General Staff drilled a variety of scenarios on multiple fronts.
The IDF recognizes Hezbollah has improved its fighting capabilities since the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Over the last three years of its operations in the Syria civil war, Hezbollah has changed from a guerilla organization to a fighting army that uses artillery, relatively high-precision missiles, drones and more.
However, IDF officials claim Israel has opened an immeasurable gap in its capabilities compared to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah currently has a third of its number on Syrian soil. Since it entered the country in aid of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Shiite terror group has lost some 2,000 fighters.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is working to build arms factories to manufacture high-precision missiles of all ranges.
But IDF officials say that while such missiles would constitute a serious strategic threat that must be thwarted in advance, they do not pose an existential threat to Israel.
Hezbollah is also enjoying extensive support from Iran, receiving some $800 million a year from the Islamic republic. Tehran is also sending hundreds of millions of dollars to militia forces in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and $60-70 million a year to the Gaza Strip.
Photo Credit: IDFblog.com
Continue to lift up the IDF in all their units, from cyber protection to the plane technicians and thank God for their desire to serve Him in protecting their land and people. Pray for God to overshadow them, and to grant them discernment and perfection in everything they do. Ask God to go before, to shield and protect them in their daily mission of fighting terrorism.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him. The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
Hamas Invites Abbas to Resume Rule of Gaza, Vows to Hold First Palestinian Elections in Decade
by Ilse Posselt
Monday, 18 September 2017 | Following more than a decade of contention, malice and bloodshed between the two main role-players in the Palestinian political landscape that has left the Palestinian people divided, the stage seems to be set for an attempt at reconciliation.
Hamas, the terror group reigning over the people of Gaza with an iron grip of fear and indoctrination, announced yesterday that it is ready to bury the hatchet. It promised Fatah, the so-called secular Palestinian political party under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, that it was ready to dissolve the administrative committee that currently rules the coastal enclave, welcome Abbas’s government back to the strip to operate in its place and hold the first united Palestinian elections in over ten years.
The terror group’s appeasement overture comes days after Hamas and Egyptian officials met in Cairo to discuss a path to reconciliation between the hostile Palestinian factions. For his part, Abbas also dispatched a delegation to Cairo to represent Fatah’s interests during separate talks with the Egyptians. Both groups are reportedly still in the Egyptian capital.
The bitter enmity between the two rival Palestinian parties began in earnest after the last Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. Hamas scored a surprise victory against Fatah and the terror group’s elective, Ismail Haniyeh, became the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.
Tensions between Fatah and Hamas continued to simmer and finally erupted in a violent conflict known as the Battle of Gaza in June 2007. Over the course of five bloody days, Hamas combatants seized control of the coastal enclave, murdered various Fatah officials and drove the rest from the Strip. Fatah fled in a cloud of disgrace to its stronghold in parts of Judea and Samaria, where it continues to govern pockets of the Palestinian population, while Hamas remained in the Strip to rule over the Gazan people.
The ensuing decade did little to diffuse the discord. Various attempts to reconcile the two parties and form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the pockets of Judea and Samaria that the Palestinians govern proved unsuccessful.
Over the past five months, Abbas took to imposing crippling sanctions on Hamas in a bid to pressure the terror group to renounce control over the coastal enclave. These include slashing salaries paid to the Gazan government, denying Gazan patients access to Israeli hospitals, refusing to foot the bill for Israel’s electricity supply to the Strip and ceasing its shipments of diesel fuel to the coastal enclave to run its sole power station. Cash-strapped and power-starved, with an unemployment rate of 42% and half of its residents relying on humanitarian aid to survive, Gaza’s rulers found themselves in a stranglehold.
While reconciliation with Fatah appeared to be the most obvious option, Abbas repeatedly declared that dismantling the administrative committee would be the only way to end the sanctions. Now the terror group seems to have conceded, calling on Abbas to start exercising its power and fulfilling its tasks immediately.
While Hamas’s vows appear to point to prospective unity in Palestinian governance, The Times of Israel reports that the road to reconciliation has many obstacles. First, Sunday’s announcement made no mention as to whether Hamas would put its military forces under Abba’s control—“a key sticking point that has scuttled past reconciliation attempts.” Secondly, The Times of Israel continues, Fatah appears to be cautious regarding the terror group’s sincerity, with no immediate comment from Abbas’s government. Mahmoud Aloul, a senior Fatah official did, however, offer a rather guarded response. “If the news is correct,” he said, “then this is a good and positive sign.”
Reuters speculates though that Fatah’s concerns could be ascribed to more than the sincerity of Hamas’s commitment. Citing the outcome of various polls, Reuters reports that if parliamentary elections were to be held now, Hamas could once again be victorious—both in Gaza as well as in the Palestinian-governed parts of Judea and Samaria. “Abbas, 82, is now 12 years into what was to be a four-year term and is an unpopular leader according to opinion polls. He has no clear successor and there are no steps being taken toward a presidential election any time soon,” Reuters explains.
Israel is undoubtedly also keeping an eye on the developments. While Fatah is notorious for inciting its people to terror against Israel and continues to pay the salaries of terrorists guilty of violence against the Jewish state, it is considered the more temperate of the two parties. Hamas, on the other hand, is anything but moderate. Several governments, including the United States, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the European Union, have this Sunni Islamic fundamentalist party inscribed on its terrorist list. When it comes to Israel, Hamas’s view—and approach—is clear. In fact, the group’s charter highlights the destruction of the Jewish state as one of its objectives. Its methods of achieving this goal include suicide bombings, kidnappings, using civilians and children as human shields and firing missiles at Israeli towns and cities.
Tragically, it is the people of Gaza that pay dearly for Hamas’s violent ambitions. Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel’s Palestinian affairs correspondent, reported in June 2017 that Hamas has over the past decade “invested more than $1 billion in their military infrastructure.” The terror group, he continues, “could have easily directed their -resources to resolve Gaza’s problems. But what is the value of another few hours of electricity for the people of Gaza, compared to another few tunnels or rockets?”
Issacharoff’s observation echoes that of Palestinian affairs correspondent, Khaled Abu Toameh, who stated in February last year that the funds and efforts that Hamas pours into constructing terror tunnels and acquiring rockets while the people of Gaza suffer in the grips of poverty proves that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 18 September 2017)
Photo Credit: Public domain/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Praise God for being in control and pray for His will to be done. Beseech God for the leadership of Israel to focus on Him, to keep their hearts steadfast and acknowledge Him in all that they decide and do. Pray that if Abbas reconciles with Hamas in Gaza and there are possible elections on the horizon that it will not affect Israel in any way. Pray for peace in the holy land.
O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.
New Israeli “Mini-copter” Drone Able to Supply Kilos of Cargo to Battlefields
by Yoav Zitun
Tuesday, 12 September 2017 | Two large drones manufactured by Aeronautics Defense Systems (ADS) were unveiled Wednesday, said to be capable of carrying logistical and supply payloads in ground maneuvers over enemy territory.
The latest unveiling of the state-of-the-art drones ties into the Ministry of Defense’s Tuesday announcement regarding soon-to-become operational new devices for the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], which shone only a partial light on the world of drones currently picking up steam all over the world—especially due to its military applications.
Drones are now far removed from the models the IDF has already been using for near-range observation missions. They are now part of a wave which may soon equal the activities and contribution made by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadrons.
One of the drones unveiled Wednesday is considered a breakthrough in the field of UAVs—thought to still be in its infancy. An Aeronautics subsidiary, working in Beersheva with Ben Gurion University, is completing development on what appears to be an unmanned mini-copter.
This drone has a diameter of two meters [6.6 ft.] and weighs 120 kilos [265 lbs.] when fully loaded—75-90 kilos [165-198 lbs.] of which may be the cargo attached to it. “We’ll want to reach weights of 200 and 300 kilos [441 and 661 lbs.] in the future,” said a source in the company, which specializes in manufacturing UAVs and observation balloons for the IDF and other security apparatuses in the world. “The drone we developed can fly at exceedingly low altitudes in a manner that both masks it to the naked eye and is energy efficient.”
This innovative drone can carry a variety of cargo for special forces, such as a team of soldiers carrying out a covert observation while lying in ambush. The cargo may include observation devices, batteries, weapons, ammunition or food and water, nullifying the need for an APC [armored personnel carrier] or other vehicle on the ground, which runs the risk of hitting explosives, or for a manned plane to drop them.
One of the aerial vehicle’s most distinguishing features is its hybrid engine integrating electric propulsion from batteries with using petrol. This enables the drone to reach distances beyond 8 kilometers [5 mi.]. It may also be inputted with coordinates and then controlled from afar.
One of the drone’s drawbacks, however, compared to a garden variety UAV, is its short air time capabilities along with the noise it produces, which may expose it to the enemy. “It’s for this reason we’re working on propellers made of special materials producing less noise,” an ADS spokesman explained.
“We’ll also be able to fasten each of these logistical drones with a unique cargo for photography and intelligence gathering missions, making it much more versatile,” the spokesman continued. “This heavy drone does, in fact, possess elements from the world of UAVs such as avionics, flight control, unique payloads and communication devices. The drone has already participated in drills proving its capabilities.”
It’s doubtful whether these drones will phase out UAVs completely, but the security establishment is ecstatic with the fact the drone may lift off the ground from any point on the terrain vertically—similar to a helicopter—without requiring runways.
Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Rejoice as the Aeronautics Defense Systems (ADS) has once again developed a state of the art, unmanned mini-copter drone for the IDF that can carry cargo or relief to soldiers in distress. Thank God that many human lives will be spared and ask God to bless the genius minds behind this innovation, enhancing Israel's warfare techniques in the battle field.
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.
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