Every week, we post from 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 19,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Fill out the form on the side if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.
Jews and Christians alike are very alarmed over the dire situation in the Ukraine and we are receiving hundreds of requests for assistance for those who would flee the anti-Semitic violence and make aliyah (immigrate to Israel). Please click the link to make a donation that will enable us to help the Jewish people in their time of drastic need. http://www.bridgesforpeace.com//bless-israel/program/project-rescue
- Cries from the Ukraine
- Iran Smiles, but Arms Terrorists
- Tensions on the Israel-Syrian Border Escalate
- Egypt Bans Hamas Terror Group
- Words of PM Netanyahu at AIPAC
- Syria to Miss another Deadline
- IDF Undercover Unit Nabs Wanted Hamas Commander in West Bank
- Israel Warns Iran Nuclear Deal Could Create ‘Many Nuclear Powers’
- Abbas Threatens to Quit Talks, Turn to ‘International Organizations’
- Israelis and Canadians Cooperate on Autism
Cries from the Ukraine
What began back in November of 2013 as a peaceful protest against the Ukraine government has now morphed into the unbelievable. The Ukraine now teeters on the edge of uncertainty in the world stage making it difficult to see its future.
Russia has seized the Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and Russia's government has authorized possible further military incursion into the Ukraine. The Ukraine's military is on highest alert. Reports allege that Russia has blocked cell phone and internet use in Crimea. Agreements are being cancelled between the countries and finger-pointing is occurring on all sides.
Throughout the instability in the Ukraine, there are factions that are pointing to the Jewish community as the instigator and perpetrator of the unrest. Jewish meetings and ceremonies are being cancelled because of possible danger.
Due to the growing anti-Semitism, Bridges for Peace is increasing efforts to work with people on the ground in the Ukraine in aiding those that want to immigrate to Israel.
BFP would like to share the following prayer request from the Ukraine:
Please pray for our team and fisherman in Ukraine especially in the Crimea area, as it seems Russia is making a move to take it over. Pray that the Jewish people will understand their need to go asap [as soon as possible], that we will receive the extra funds we need to meet the great demand that is starting as we are beginning to get calls from many wanting to go now, that our leaders will be safe as they travel to Crimea area, that the pastors who are helping us will be protected. In HIS name
One year ago I heard “Soon The Hunters Will Come” The Aliyah [immigration of Jewish people to Israel] is moving into a new season; I believe we will see a new intensity in the work of Aliyah. HE is calling us into new areas that will stretch our resolve and funding. I am sure HE will supply our needs. But we need prayer.”
May the LORD bless you and keep you,
- (By Leslie McLinden, BFP Staff Writer, March 5, 2014)
- Photo Credit
- www.wikipedia.org/ Sven Teschke
- Photo License
Pray for all the Jewish communities in the Ukraine and Crimea. Pray for wisdom, resources and direction for Mel’s team and the fishermen. Pray that the Jewish people will follow God’s direction in all that they do.
- Jeremiah 16:14-16
Therefore behold, the days are coming,says the Lord,
that it shall no more be said, The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, but, The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them. For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishermen,says the Lord,
and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
Iran Smiles, but Arms Terrorists
Although PM Benjamin Netanyahu was thousands of miles away when elite IDF forces overtook an Iranian vessel carrying arms to the Gaza Strip, it had already appeared in his speech at AIPAC Tuesday [Mar 4].
"(Iran) wheels out its smiling president and its smooth-talking foreign minister. But if you listen to their words, their soothing words, they don’t square with Iran’s aggressive actions. Because … Iran sends abroad rockets, terrorists and missiles to murder, maim and menace the innocent," Netanyahu told a jam-packed hall at annual policy conference of the pro-Israel lobby hours before news broke of the raid.
It was announced on Wednesday afternoon that Israel seized Iranian ship Klos C, which was carrying advanced weapons destined for Gaza. Elite troops boarded the ship in open waters, some 1,500 km south of Israel, and found the cargo of advanced rockets capable of reaching distances of up to 200 km [124 mi].
The IDF was closely monitoring the ships' movements since it left Tehran some ten days ago. After the forces successfully completed the raid, Netanyahu called it "a perfect operation, capturing an undercover Iranian arms ship," but also warned of Iran's new conciliatory rhetoric and diplomacy.
Connecting the incident with his repeatedly stated objections to Iran's nuclear program, Netanyahu claimed the event proved that Iran cannot be allowed to continue uranium enrichment. Such a scenario, Netanyahu claimed, would leave Iran as a threshold nuclear state. "This is true Iran," Netanyahu said. "This state cannot possess nuclear weapons. We will continue to (do) whatever is necessary in order to defend Israel's citizens."
Israel is planning on using the incident to highlight Iran's terror funding activates and its web of terrorist proxies, in the hopes of influencing nuclear talks currently underway between Iran and world powers.
- (By Attila Somfavli, Ynetnews, March 5, 2014)
- Photo Credit
- Israel Defense Forces
Thank the Lord that Israel was able to track the arms’ shipment as it moved toward Gaza. Pray that world leaders will be observant of actions and will not see “smiling faces” as truth. Pray that God will direct the leaders of Israel in their decisions on how to protect the State.
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.- Psalm 2:10-11
Tensions on the Israel-Syrian Border Escalate
The alert level for the Israel Defense Forces went to its highest level Wednesday evening, March 5, after an incident on the new border fence between Syria and Israel.
On Wednesday morning, troops spotted a Hizbollah terrorist cell attempting to place explosives on the fence line. Israeli troops used gunfire and shell tanks to stop the terrorists. Syria has identified that there were hits.
As Syria’s civil war has progressed, there have been several incidents of mortar rounds and artillery overshooting their targets that landed in Israeli territory. Israel has responded to some of the “accidental” shelling with retaliatory fire, but the planting of explosives on the fence line was seen as a “substantially different threat”. Ynetnews reports that according to Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, Israeli military spokesman, this required a “more forceful response.”
- (By Leslie McLinden, BFP Staff Writer, March 6, 2014)
- Photo Credit
Thank God that the IDF was able to prevent the installation of explosives on the border. Pray that the Lord keeps the troops on the northern border alert and continues to bring to light the actions of the enemy. Pray for the safety of Israel’s troops on the border and for the farmers in the north.
O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted.- Psalm 140:7-8
Egypt Bans Hamas Terror Group
From great promise to persona non grata. That’s how dramatic the blow to Hamas’ relationship with Egypt has been. The previous Egyptian government, led by a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, had been making limited overtures to Hamas—with more expected due to the ideological links between Hamas and the Brotherhood.
But now that the Brotherhood has been labeled a terrorist organization by Egyptian authorities following the popular coup last summer, Ahram Online reports that Hamas has now been served with a temporary ban on activities in Egypt. While not good for Hamas, it’s good news for Israel and those who hope for peace.
Hamas has a well-earned reputation of being a terrorist organization—launching rocket attacks and suicide bombings at Israel for most of the last two decades. Egypt has accused Hamas of turning their terrorism towards them by helping terrorists in the Sinai region attack Egyptian security forces.
Ahram Online said Hamas denied the actions, but their past doesn’t exactly imply innocence.
The Egyptian ban on Hamas will last at least until the espionage trial for former President and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi concludes. Among other things, Morsi is accused of espionage with Hamas officials.
Egypt controls the southern border of Gaza, which is led by Hamas, making them a key country for Hamas smuggling of weapons and terrorists.
In other words, with Egypt turning on Hamas, we could see a reduction in terrorism stemming from Gaza. That could force Hamas to give up their violence against Israel or at least limit their capabilities.
When Hamas is treated as a pariah, peace can grow.
- (Excerpt from article by Joshua Spurlock, The Mideast Update, March 4, 2014)
- Photo Credit
- Israel Defense Forces
Thank the Lord for the crackdown on the terrorist organization, Hamas. Pray that this will be a step closer to peace in Israel and will lead to peace with Egypt and Gaza.
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men.- Psalm 59:1-2
Words of PM Netanyahu at AIPAC
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah spoke at the 2014 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC. Here are some highlights of his speech [Mar 4]:
"...My friends, I've come here to draw a clear line.
“You know that I like to draw lines, especially red ones. But the line I want to draw today is the line between life and death, between right and wrong, between the blessings of a brilliant future and the curses of a dark past.
“I stood very close to that dividing line two weeks ago. I visited an Israeli army field hospital in the Golan Heights. Now, that field hospital wasn't set up for Israelis. It was set up for Syrians. Israelis treated nearly a thousand wounded Syrian—men, women and a lot of children. They come to our border fence bleeding and desperate. Often they're near death.
"...I heard from them and from other patients there what all the Syrians who've come to be treated in Israel are saying. They all tell the same story. They say, all these years, Assad lied to us. He told us that Iran was our friend and Israel was our enemy. But Iran is killing us, and Israel, Israel is saving us."
"You know why Iran insists on doing all these things that the other peaceful countries don't do? It's because Iran doesn't want a peaceful nuclear program, Iran wants a military nuclear program.
“I said it here once, I'll say it here again: If it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, then what is it?
“Well, it ain't a chicken and it's certainly not a dove. It's still a nuclear duck..."
-On Israel—Palestinian conflict-
"Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people where the civil rights of all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, are guaranteed. The land of Israel is the place where the identity of the Jewish people was forged.
“It was in Hebron that Abraham blocked the cave of the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs. It was in Bethel that Jacob dreamed his dreams. It was in Jerusalem that David ruled his kingdom. We never forget that, but it's time the Palestinians stopped denying history.
“Just as Israel is prepared to recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinians must be prepared to recognize a Jewish state. President Abbas, recognize the Jewish state, and in doing so, you would be telling your people, the Palestinians, that while we might have a territorial dispute, the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own is beyond dispute."
- (Excerpts compiled by Leslie McLinden, BFP staff writer, March 5, 2014)
- Photo Credit
- Ashernet/ Government Press Office
Thank God for the leaders of Israel. Pray that the Lord’s voice will be heard with clarity as they daily stand and lead Israel.
When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.- Deuteronomy 20:1
Syria to Miss another Deadline
March 15 is the day that Syria is supposed to have completely destroyed the 12 production facilities they had declared to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Officials are saying that, at the moment, Syria has yet to start the destruction of the chemical facilities.
The December 31 deadline of removing the most dangerous chemicals from Syria has been missed. The February 5th deadline to ship all chemicals abroad for destruction has been missed. March 30 is the deadline to neutralize all the chemicals overseas, but only a quarter or so of what has been identified as priority one chemicals have been turned over.
Requests from Syria to convert some of the facilities for peaceful use has been denied because of the fear that they could easily be converted back into military facilities. Other solutions that did not equal the complete destruction of the facilities have also been denied.
June 30 is the final deadline when all of the chemical stockpiles and facilities are to be destroyed. The aim is to remove 1,300 metric tons of chemicals.
This was an agreement between Syria and the US and Russia that resulted from an August 21, 2013 chemical weapons attack near Damascus that killed hundreds of citizens, including women and children. It developed as a way to prevent military intervention from the US.
As Syria drags its feet and throws out options and suggestions that are not part of the agreement, according to Algazeera, “the international community is footing the bill for the complex operation involving ships from the United States, Norway and Denmark, Chinese and Russian security, an Italian port and commercial destruction facilities in Britain and Germany.”
- (By Leslie McLinden, BFP Staff Writer, March 7, 2014)
Pray for a resolution to complete the destruction of the chemical weapons in Syria and that they will no longer be a threat. Pray that Syria is not able or allowed to use the chemical weapons on Israel or the Syrian people.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;- Proverbs 2:6-7
IDF Undercover Unit Nabs Wanted Hamas Commander in West Bank
An IDF unit working undercover in Hebron arrested Ayoub al-Qawasmi on Tuesday evening [Mar 4], one of the commanders of Hamas' military branch in the West Bank and one of Israel's most wanted suspects.
Qawasmi, 50, is suspected of being involved in terrorist attacks against Israelis during the Second Intifada and has recently sought to renew Hamas' terror infrastructure in the West Bank.
Qawasmi was imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority in January 2010 and was released only two weeks ago. Since then, Israeli security forces have launched a manhunt to find him.
Just as he did during the Second Intifada, Qawasmi was behaving recently like someone who knows he is being hunted, and frequently changed identities and apartments. He was arrested following intelligence received by the Shin Bet [Israel’s internal security service].
Palestinian sources said soldiers from Duvdevan's undercover unit arrived at a store that belongs to Qawasmi's family in a car with a Palestinian license plate to arrest him. No one was hurt during the raid, and Qawasmi was taken for questioning.
The IDF confiscated security cameras that were around the store as well as a computer from inside the store. A Palestinian security source told Ynet that Qawasmi has been wanted by the IDF since 1998.
- (By Elior Levy, Yoav Zitun; Ynetnews, March 4, 2014)
Thank the Lord that the Defense Forces continue to be vigilant in tracking down terrorists in Israel. Pray for the safety of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria and throughout Israel.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.- Psalm 121:1-4
Israel Warns Iran Nuclear Deal Could Create ‘Many Nuclear Powers’
With the major world powers intent on crafting a nuclear deal with Iran that would purportedly give everyone something—Iran gets a civilian nuclear program while the world gets safeguards against them building the bomb—Israel is warning that the deal could unleash the spread of nuclear weapons around the world.
Israel’s primary concern—and Iran’s primary demand in the nuclear talks—centers around Iran’s ability to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel. The West seems content to consider the peaceful states with such enrichment capacity as the model for Iran, but Israel is warning that North Korea and their slow-but-steady nuclear weapons program is more likely. And with rebellious Iran getting such a privilege of developing nuclear fuel, what would stop many more nations from demanding the same?
That’s the argument from Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz. In an op-ed for The Washington Post published on Saturday [March 1], Steinitz warned that even a reduced enrichment program would enable Iran to be just a year away from the fuel needed for a nuclear weapon at any time. If Iran is allowed to keep their current stockpile of nuclear fuel, that timeframe drops to six months. And that’s with a significant reduction by Iran of their enrichment capacity.
Quite simply, Steinitz argues that any enrichment ability gives Iran the potential to “break out” and build the bomb in the future. Moreover, he warns that if the West allows enrichment by Iran—despite Iran’s repeated violations of United Nations resolutions regarding their nuclear program—they will be unable to tell anyone else they can’t also have such a program.
“Inevitably, multiple countries, including some rogue states, would insist on their own enrichment facilities,” wrote Steinitz. Warning that could lead to the creation of numerous other states on the brink of nuclear weapons, Steinitz points out that eventually governmental or military conflicts would later lead to some nations crossing the nuclear threshold.
Forget dealing with a nuclear Iran, how about handling a dozen new nuclear-armed nations around the world?
Steinitz acknowledges that some nations have been able to have enrichment without going for the bomb, but he warned that Iran—which sponsors global terrorism and stirs up regional conflict—isn’t likely to keep their nuclear program peaceful.
So while the world powers may think that nuclear fuel production is harmless in and of itself, the consequences could prove to be devastating. After all, Pandora didn’t think opening her box would be such a big deal either.
- (By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, March 2, 2014)
Pray that God supplies Israel and world leaders with the means to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Pray that they become clear on where to draw the line and what to do if it is crossed.
Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.- Psalm 61:1-3
Abbas Threatens to Quit Talks, Turn to ‘International Organizations’
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On at the Muqata in Ramallah on Monday [Mar 3] to discuss developments in the peace process. Abbas warned the Israeli faction leader that he will not extend negotiations if the framework agreement doesn’t deal with the core issues: "I will put the keys on the table and turn to international organizations."
The PA leader stressed that the Palestinians will only agree to an extension of the peace talks "if Netanyahu declares a construction freeze in the settlements and a further release of prisoners after the next round," referring to the third and final wave of prisoners set to be released by Israel – the good-will gesture which brought the Palestinians back to the negotiations table.
At the meeting in Ramallah, Abbas told Gal-On that the key markers moving forward are the third round of prisoners' release and the agreed-upon end of the nine-month period of negotiations: April 29.
Abbas reiterated the Palestinian demand on several core issues, telling the Meretz leader that the Palestinians should have East Jerusalem, and that the two capital cities should be managed through the mediation of an institution that will coordinate between the two sides.
According to Gal-On, Abbas said that the claim that he intends to give the right of return to five million Palestinians is a joke: "I do not want to destroy Israel, and no refugee will return to Israel without the agreement of the Israelis." Nevertheless, Abbas does believe in a limited right of return: "I do expect Israel to present an annual quota for refugees that it will absorb.
On the controversial matter of land swaps, Abbas declared: "What the Israelis are offering is not a proportional swap of 1 to 1, but swaps that are dependent on demographic developments."
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report.
- (By Elior Levy, Ynetnews, March 3, 2014)
Pray to God that Israel will be the nation that God wants it to be. Pray that any plans that do not fit into the Lord’s plan will be struck down.
Also the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.- Isaiah 60:14
Israelis and Canadians Cooperate on Autism
First Canada-Israel Symposium on Autism Spectrum Disorder [March 1-4].
It’s not often that presenters at a scientific conference quote poetry. But Connie Putterman, one of the organizers of the conference and chair of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University did just that, reading a poem her son, who has autism, wrote when he was 13. Called “The Chanuka candle that could not burn,” it shows the feeling of difference that many autistic children have.
“I am a beautiful Chanuka candle but I could not burn, I could not burn,” the poem begins. “I just couldn’t get that spark right. I was trouble, every Chanuka night….but they didn’t give up hope, so they tried, night after night, match after match, fire after fire, until I burnt.”
The poem also showed one of the themes of the symposium—the importance of early intervention.
“The diagnosis should happen as quickly as possible because we do know that early intervention has a great impact both on the children themselves and also on the families,” Professor Cory Shulman of Hebrew University in the early childhood graduate program, told The Media Line. “As a result of that, we hope that we can get to children as young as two years old. Here in Israel we’re really doing that much better than in other places.”
At the same time she said it is not always easy to make a diagnosis of autism.
“Autism is a difficult one. There’s overlap with a lot of other disabilities and it is not easy to make a definitive diagnosis. The second part of the research I’m presenting here is taking a group of children from 15–30 months, when they first came in for a diagnosis and following them until first grade to see what their developmental trajectories are, what can predict a better outcome and what kinds of services they’ve been able to access,” she said.
In most Western countries, the percentage of children diagnosed with autism is about one percent. The spectrum runs from those with severe autism, to those with Aspergers, who are often highly intelligent but have trouble deciphering social cues.
The participants were riveted by Lihi Lapid, an Israeli novelist and wife of Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who has written an autobiographical novel on her experience as a mother of an autistic daughter, who at age 17, still does not speak. “Part of being a mother for an autistic kid is feeling guilty all the time for what you didn’t do,” Lapid told the crowd after detailing all of the kinds of therapies including horseback riding therapy that her daughter received.
Being a parent of a child with autism can be all–consuming. “I don’t know who I am without her,” Lapid said. “I don’t know what kind of person I am. I definitely don’t know which kind of adult I am. She made me the person I am.”
While services in Israel are given on the national level, Canada functions more province by province.
“We share a lot of interests and sensibility,” Lonny Zweigenbaum, professor of pediatrics, University of Alberta told The Media Line. “There’s a real focus on individuals with autism and trying to improve diagnosis and treatment. That’s very much the focus of this conference. We are sharing our success and trying to understand the differences in the service system and how we bring it into practice.”
Isael’s newly appointed chief scientist Nurit Yirmiya of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space is also a professor of psychology at Hebrew University. She has been working in the field of autism for the past 30 years. “I hope that we will be able to bring this level of cooperation into a government to government agreement and that autism will be part of the agreement with Canada,” she said to applause.
Her research deals with questions of “resolution”, of how parents learn to cope with a diagnosis of autism. Her research found that even years after diagnosis, between one-third and half of all mothers still had unresolved issues surrounding the diagnosis.
- (by Linda Gradstein, The Medial Line, March 4, 2014)
- Photo Credit
- The Media Line