Updated: May 7
1. ISRAEL TERROR ATTACKS UPDATES:
Three Israeli civilians were injured in Sunday’s (May 2) attack at Tapuach Junction, near the city of Ariel in Samaria. Israeli soldiers on the scene returned fire, striking the vehicle, but not the gunman. Yehuda Guetta, 19, one of the victims in the Tapuach Junction terror attack died from his wounds on Wednesday (May 5). Guetta had been shot in the head by the terrorist, and doctors have been fighting for his life. One victim is still in serious condition. The third victim was released and was lightly injured. Israeli security forces apprehended a number of Palestinian suspects early on Tuesday. The vehicle used in the shooting was also confiscated. The IDF captured the Arab terrorist/shooter alive in a building in Kfar Silwad on Wednesday (May 5) night. The terrorist was identified as Muntassir Shalabi, who also holds USA citizenship. The terrorist will be well compensated by the Palestinian Authority’s “Pay to Slay” program. Though it is unclear if he needs the money. Shalabi was an established businessman who became radicalized during his time in the USA and identifies with Hamas.
A female terrorist was shot on Sunday (May 2) morning near the Gush Etzion junction. The attack happened around 8:20 am when the woman approached a bus stop at the junction and pulled out a knife. Alert security forces shot her in the leg. The terrorist was taken to hodpital and is listed in moderate condition. No one was injured in the attack.
Jerusalem’s police arrested three Arabs in the city on Tuesday (May 4) night during riots in the Shimon Hatzadik neighbourhood, also known as Sheikh Jarrah. The police stated that its forces operated in Sheikh Jarrah following a riot by dozens of protesters who violated the order while throwing rocks and bottles at police forces. Police forces dispersed the rioters using crowd control means, including horses. The police arrested three suspects for assault. The rioters were protesting pending court-issued eviction orders for several Arab families who are living illegally in Jewish-owned property. The Jerusalem District Court recently rejected several appeals and ruled that the eight Palestinian families who have lived there illegally for decades should be evacuated. The court initially offered them to pay rent to the Jewish owners on which the Jordanians built the homes, but they refused to do so and were therefore ordered to be evicted.
Three Palestinians who opened fire at Border Police soldiers near a military base in northern Judea-Samaria on Friday (May 7) initially planned to commit a “major attack” against civilians in central Israel. The three attackers, all in their early 20s, were traveling on a bus with illegal Palestinian labourers en route to central Israel, and initially had plans to commit the shooting there. Forces had halted the bus near the border crossing between Israel and Judea-Samaria as part of routine security efforts to stop illegal labourers from entering Israel. Shortly after, the three Palestinians got off the bus and opened fire at the soldiers.
Israeli Border Police killed two terrorists and seriously wounded a third terrorist who launched an organized armed attack on the police station, near Jenin in the northern Shomron on Friday (May 7) morning. The terrorists were armed with ‘Carlo’ automatic weapons approached the gate to the “Saalam” station and opened fire. Responding quickly, the Border Policemen returned fire hitting all three terrorists, killing two of them immediately. No security forces were injured in the attack.
The Temple Mount will be closed to Jewish visitors starting Tuesday (May 4). There was no explanation for the closure, which police said would end on Jerusalem Day – celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem — which begins on the evening of Sunday (May 9) and continues until nightfall on Monday, May 10. (Note: The Ramadan month-long period of daily fasting – which is intended to remind Muslims of the suffering of those less fortunate and bring believers closer to Allah (God) – ends with the start of the three-day Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast) on Wednesday (May 12). Jews will be streaming up to the Temple Mount to mark Jerusalem Day at least 48 hours before the end of Ramadan. The Temple Mount Heritage Foundation will mark the day with organized ascents led by instructors.)
Ben Gvir Relocates Parliamentary Office to Jerusalem’s Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) Neighbourhood
Knesset Member Itamar Ben Gvir announced Thursday (May 6) that he would move his parliamentary bureau to the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Shimon HaTzadik, also known as the ‘Sheikh Jarrah’ neighbourhood. Ben Gvir, chairman of the Otzma Yehudit party and a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said he made the decision to base his Knesset bureau in the neighbourhood – a hotbed of anti-Israel activity and the home of more than a few terrorists – because police show “helplessness” in dealing with the harassment of Jewish residents.
Ben Gvir said, “I will come to the neighbourhood to ensure that the police start dealing with the rioters. The blood of the residents of the Shimon HaTzadik neighbourhood is not worthless. In recent days Arab rioters from Sheikh Jarrah have been harassing the Jewish residents of the Shimon HaTzadik. Last night, (Wednesday) a number of residents were injured by stone-throwing. This past Saturday night (May 1) Molotov cocktails were hurled by the Arab rioters at the home of Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Aryeh King.” He arrived in the neighbourhood early Thursday evening to make sure that the police start dealing with the rioters.
After the conclusion of the daily Ramadan fast on Thursday, dozens of Arabs gathered in front of the new tent bureau inaugurated by Ben Gvir. The rioters yelled epithets at him and hurled stones, plastic chairs and other furniture at him, his new office and at the activists who were there with him as well. The police stood on the sidelines and did not intervene.The rioters yelled, “Occupiers, thieves. We will not move from here!” and blasted some Arabic music along with the shouting. Jewish activists played music in Hebrew in response.
On Friday, lengthy talks took place between the Prime Minister’s Office and Ben Gvir, concerning the pitched tent he declared his official office. During the talks, a message was conveyed from the Prime Minister that he was asking Ben Gvir to vacate the tent office, in light of situation assessments that the establishment of the office may lead to riots. The reason for this assessment was that the office in question had already provoked demonstrations on Thursday night.
Ben Gvir set as a condition for leaving his office that a permanent police presence is established in the attacked compound and the entire neighborhood until the end of Ramadan. According to Ben Gvir, the policemen who stayed the night remained only because of his presence, and it is inconceivable that the police abandon the Jewish residents there every night, and that once he, Ben Gvir, leaves, the police would also leave, exposing local Jews to continued attacks, stone-throwing, and property damage.
Ben Gvir described to the Prime Minister’s representatives the situation in the neighbourhood, the attacks by Arab rioters on women and children throughout the past week, and the helplessness of the police. The Prime Minister’s people refused the condition of a permanent police presence and agreed only to boost police patrols. In response, Ben Gvir announced that he would remain in the office for Shabbat.
An agreement was finally reached with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Minister of Internal Security that the entire Shimon HaTzadik neighbourhood and around the tent-office there will be a regular police presence until the end of Ramadan, and a reassessment would be made after Ramadan.
Ben Gvir responded: “After a whole week of attacks on Jews and police incompetence, we forced the police to come and secure me. I welcome the outcome and am happy that the police will finally secure the residents of the Shimon Hatzadik neighbourhood.”
Note: ‘Sheikh Jarrah’, a.k.a. ‘Shimon Hatzadik’, is a neighbourhood in eastern Jerusalem, a little over a mile north of the Old City, on the road to Mount Scopus. In 1948, the British government ordered the Jews of the neighbourhood to leave, and an attempt to take over the area by the Haganah was repelled by the British-led Jordanian Legion. In 1956, the Jordanians moved to the neighbourhood Arab families who had fled from towns inside Israel and gave them 33-year leases. In a process that began in 1982, the Jewish owners of 17 homes in the area fought in court to get them back. In 2009, the High Court of Justice ordered the removal of 60 Arab squatters from Jewish-owned property, and Jewish families moved in. Since then, there have been Arab protests in the neighbourhood every week, especially on Fridays, led by a leftist NGO calling itself the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement.
Lord, You did not bring You people back to their land to see them slaughtered. We ask You to protect Your people from all acts of terrorism and violence at this time (Jer. 31:10; 32:41-42). As the current government with PM Netanyahu is still in charge, let them not be distracted or divided by politics or court cases when it comes to Israel's security (Rom. 13:1-4; Jam. 1:8). As the IDF increased its presence in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley in preparation for these days, please grant divine wisdom in the deployment of troops, the clarity of commands, and the discretion and appropriateness in response to all provocations (Deut. 33:26-29). Give the IDF all the intelligence needed and Your strategy as to what to do with it (Josh. 5:13-6:5). Uncover any planned terrorist attacks and foil them (Psa. 124:7-8). Lord, arise and dampen the fires which the spirit of Islam starts over Ramadan (Psa. 68:1, 30b). Keep all IDF soldiers and Israeli civilian’s alert. (Gal. 6:9). During Ramadan, continue to save multitudes of Palestinians – even some in the midst of carrying out a terror attack (Acts 9:1-6). Show them how You are restoring Israel and then let them submit to You (Psa. 67:1-7).
“You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.” (Leviticus 26:7-8)
2. YOM YERUSHALALAYIM/JERUSALEM DAY 2021
Yom Yerushalayim, also known as Jerusalem Day, commemorates Jerusalem's reunification in 1967. This day begins on 28th day of the month of Iyyar in the Hebrew calendar. Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) is marked with a range of events in many Jewish communities. This year if begins on Sunday (May 9) evening and continues all day Monday (May 10). The events include: recitations of the Hallel prayer for praise and thanksgiving in synagogues; street parades, parties, singing and dancing; special meals; and lectures on the history and future of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, a public reception by the mayor of Jerusalem, state ceremonies and memorial services for those who died in the Six-Day War are also held. In Israel, some people mark the occasion by traveling or even hiking to Jerusalem.
Yom Yerushalayim is a national and Hebrew holiday in Israel. Schools are closed, but it is a working day in many businesses. It is not a public holiday in countries such as United States, the UK, Canada, or Australia. However, many Jewish organizations in these countries may be closed or offer a limited service so special events can be held.
After Israel declared its independence in 1948, it was attacked by the neighbouring Arab countries, resulting in the Arab-Israeli War. At the end of this war, the city of Jerusalem was divided. Israeli forces controlled most of the city and East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was controlled by Jordanian forces. The Old City was important for strategic and religious reasons, as many sites of religious importance are in this part of the city. These include: the Dome of the Rock and al-Asqa Mosque (Muslims); the Temple Mount and the Western Wall or Kotel (Jewish); and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Christian).
On June 7, 1967 Israeli forces captured the old city of Jerusalem. This resulted in the reunification of Jerusalem as part of Israel. According to the Hebrew calendar, it was the 28th day of the month of Iyar in the year 5727 and the anniversary of this date is known as Yom Yerushalayim or Jerusalem Day. (Note: In San Remo, Italy, on April 25, 1920, a resolution on the emergence of a national home for the Jewish People in Palestine was approved by the prime ministers of Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, states were born through great international conferences. The San Remo Resolution was a formal international treaty that was legally binding. Israel is the only state whose legal foundation was rooted in acts of the League of Nations and the United Nations. Jerusalem is legally owned by Israel.)
In the runup to Jerusalem Day, which this year falls on May 9, the city continues to be Israel’s largest, with a population nearing 1 million souls, according to a study by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research. At the end of 2020, the capital’s population comprised 952,000 residents, with an average age of 24, compared to the national average of 30. The figure in Tel Aviv was 36, while in Haifa it was 38. The city’s Jewish population in the capital was statistically older than its Arab one in 2019, with the average Jewish resident being 26 years old compared to 22 for Arab residents. The Jewish majority in Jerusalem continues to shrink with just slightly over 60% of Jerusalemites being Jewish. At the end of 2020, just 60.4% of residents of Jerusalem were Jewish; 38% were Arabs. The vast majority (96%) of Jerusalem’s Arab population in 2019 was Muslim, with just 12,900 Christian Arabs.
The number of vaccinated individuals stood at 355,300, or 570.3 per 1,000 residents, lower than the national average of 729.
As Monday (May 10) is Jerusalem Day, please protect and defend Your city (Psa. 48:1-2; Isa. 37:35). We pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) We pray for the day when the Prince of Peace (Yeshua) will come and take up His residence in Jerusalem. When Israelis raise and wave the Jerusalem flag, may they know that they are waving the ‘Lion of Judah’ inscribed on that flag!
“Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein, for I, says YHWH, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and the glory in her midst.” (Zechariah 2:4b-5)
3. ISRAEL ELECTION UPDATES:
President Rivlin announced that he had tasked Yesh Atid political party leader Yair Lapid with forming Israel’s next government, after PM Netanyahu acknowledged that he had failed to build a coalition. Lapid, like Netanyahu before him, has 28 days to try and form a government. In a televised statement from his official residence, Rivlin said that his “main consideration” in choosing Lapid was that he had the best chance of forming a government that can win the support of a majority of at least 61 parliamentarians in Israel’s 120-member legislature; though this, the president acknowledged, would be difficult. In addition to his own party, Lapid received the backing of Blue and White, Labor, Meretz, Yisrael Beytenu and, unlike in the previous round of recommendations, the right-wing New Hope and predominantly Arab Joint List put their weight behind Yesh Atid. (Note: Lapid and Yamina leader Naftali Bennett have in recent weeks been negotiating the terms of a potential coalition, and are reportedly closing in on agreements in many areas, with the Yesh Atid chief saying that he would allow Bennett to serve first as prime minister in a rotation deal.)
Father, first we want to thank You for hearing and answering our prayers as we wait expectantly for a government through which You will be glorified (Psa. 115:1-3; Jer. 14:7; Matt. 6:9-10). We know You are watching over our requests to answer them in Your way and timing and we trust in You regardless of what we see or hear (Prov. 3:5; Hab. 2:4b; 2 Cor. 5:7). We do see You cleaning out the political dross and ask You to continue that process (Isa. 1:25-26). Overrule all negotiations so that a government of Your choice is established (Prov. 19:21; 21:1). Guard Israel from having a humanistic government that will ignore Your Word (1 Sam. 15:23, 26). Do not allow the creation of any government that depends on anti-Zionist parties to survive (Prov. 16:5). Lord, provide Israel with those shepherds after Your own heart which You promised (Jer. 3:15). Give Israel a government that has a burden for Aliyah and the absorption of all the new immigrants. Give Israel a government that honours this verse from Shabbat's Torah portion: “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine, and you are strangers and sojourners with Me.” (Leviticus 25:23)
“The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds like the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.’” (2 Samuel 23: 2-4)
4. ISRAEL-USA WHITE HOUSE ADMINISTRATION CHANGE UPDATES:
USA President Biden and Mossad Chief Cohen met on April 30 for an hour at the White House. Cohen's English is flawless and he projects personal charm and charisma. Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said Biden greeted Cohen with an outpouring of Zionist sentiment. The two go way back to the time Biden served as vice president and Cohen as Israel's national security adviser. Cohen presented Biden with Israel's perception of the Iran threat and provided him with a summary of Israeli intelligence on Iran. Cohen enumerated the 2015 agreement's disregard for Iran's medium- and long-range ballistic missile program, Iran's sponsorship of terrorism, and its destabilization of regional security. Cohen said the original deal is based on false assumptions that Israel has exposed, especially in the nuclear archives Israel spirited out of Iran in 2018. Cohen suggested that the president delve into the suspicious sites (such as the warehouse in the Tehran district of Turquzabad) that have yet to be explored. Cohen also flagged the scientists operating under Iran's Defense Ministry to develop military nuclear capabilities. It was said that the president listened attentively and complimented the Mossad on its achievements.
Jewish leaders on Wednesday (May 5) praised the Biden administration for announcing that the USA will not participate in upcoming events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. The event is scheduled to be held on September 22 and be called ‘Durban IV’. The move by the USA continues its policy of boycotting the event, which began after Israel and America dropped out of the original World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001, which created the Durban Declaration singling out Israel as racist. It did not participate in Durban II in 2009 or Durban III in 2011, along with a growing list of nations also boycotting the conferences for its virulent anti-Semitism.
Sarah Margon has been nominated for the post of assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour. She has been a "conflict policy adviser" for Oxfam, a bitter critic of Israel, a major funder of Palestinian groups and a promoter of boycotts of Israeli settlements. She was also a foreign-policy adviser for the Open Society Foundations. As NGO Monitor has documented, Open Society's funding fuels the conflict in myriad ways and does its best to undermine and attack Israel. But far worse is the fact that Margon has served for several years as head of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch. Of all the non-governmental organizations that have devoted themselves to the cause of demonizing Israel, Human Rights Watch is arguably the worst and the most vicious. Just last week, it issued yet another report falsely branding Israel as an "apartheid state." The upshot of her advocacy is to treat American forces fighting Islamists as villains and to attack friends of America and Israel. A pro-Israel administration simply doesn't put someone with Margon's beliefs in a position to wreck the alliance and give aid and comfort to the Jewish state's enemies.
Lord, in the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the USA, show Israel what is going on behind the scenes and then guide it to know how to prepare and when needed, how to respond (Job 12:22). Lord God Almighty, we ask You to rule over these negotiations (Psa. 33:10-11). Break all traps set for Israel in any agreements between Iran and the nations (Psa. 124:7-8). Let a godly caution descend on Israel's government in its attitude and relations with President Biden and all of his administration (Psa. 118:8-9). Give Israel wisdom to know with whom to share the intelligence data they gather, and to recognize that the current American administration and its State Department is not pro-Zionist (Heb. 5:14). We ask You to show Israel how to correctly analyze all the intelligence it gathers (Jer. 51:15). Even in the midst of Israel's political chaos, grant that the political leadership be in unity with the military leadership on when and how to act to protect Your nation (2 Kings 6:12).
“He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him.” (Psalm 91:15)
5. ISRAEL CORONAVIRUS UPDATES:
Israel will open its borders to vaccinated or recovered tourists coming in groups from 14 countries starting on May 23, including the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Iceland, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Tourists will be required to take a PCR test before boarding, as well as a PCR test and a serological test upon arrival. In addition, on Monday Israel banned travel to seven high-risk countries including India, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey.
The Health Ministry announced Wednesday (May 5) that it will be extending the validity of the Green Pass for those vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have recovered from coronavirus, through 2021. The pass grants holders access to certain events and venues. A ministry statement attributed Health Minister Yuli Edelstein’s decision to the continued decline in morbidity “and the fact it appears the vaccine will protect us until at least the end of the year.”
Israel is preparing to welcome vaccinated international tourists as early as May 23 in an effort to rehabilitate the Holy Land’s pandemic battered tourism industry. However, a legal dispute over COVID-19 testing at Israel’s international Ben-Gurion airport is threatening to postpone the scheduled reopening of Israel to international tourists even further. The company ‘Omega’, which won Israel Airport Authority’s tender for COVID and serology tests at Ben-Gurion airport, has been disqualified and Israeli authorities are currently looking for a replacement. Omega will end its operations at the airport on May 22 and Israel’s Ministry of Health is currently comparing costs for alternative operators. A serious hurdle is the pricing issue. The prices of Omega were on average one-third of the competing tender bids. Omega currently charges $13.80) for a regular virus test result within 14 hours. By comparison, Pangea, the company that came in second in the tender competition, reportedly charges a whopping $45. If chosen, it would mean that Israeli and foreign passengers would have to pay triple the current testing cost.
Note: The first international tourists were scheduled to arrive on May 23. Due to the pandemic, Israel has been almost completely closed to international tourists for over a year. According to the Israeli Tourism Ministry’s pilot stage, Israel will initially welcome some 30 tour groups, with approximately 600 vaccinated tourists. However, it remains unclear how the current legal testing dispute at the airport will affect the reopening of the Jewish state to foreign visitors. Ben-Gurion currently receives some 5,000 incoming passengers every day. This moderate number is expected to reach 10,000 in June and 15,000 in July. The COVID testing dispute at the airport is not the only hurdle threatening Israel’s ailing tourism industry. Due to new virus variants from India and elsewhere, Israel’s Health Ministry recently recommended postponing the reopening of Israel to foreign tourists until at least the end of June.
For the first time since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Israel over a year ago, the IDF has no soldiers diagnosed with the virus, the military stated Sunday (May 2). In recent months, the IDF launched an extensive vaccination campaign to maintain the health of the servicemen and the operational competence and functional continuity, in which over 80% of the IDF servicemen have been vaccinated. The IDF announced in March that it was the first army in the world to reach herd immunity.
Father, continue to guide and modify all regulations concerning Covid-19 in Israel (Prov. 19:21; 20:24). Please protect all personal data of Israelis from being shared with any Pharmaceutical companies. Show Israel's government how to fully reopen the economy and the schools (Psa. 23:3b; 32:8-9). Be the One who hand-picks the next Israeli Health Minister (Psa. 75:5-7) Show the Body of Messiah how to relate to each other in love and to be an example to the rest of the nation in this very confusing – and at times overwhelming – situation. (1 Cor. 13:4-8). Help the Body of Messiah to view this situation from the position of being seated in heavenly places and to see that regardless of the what, how, and why of this pandemic – our God still reigns (Isa. 52:7)!
“Surely the LORD shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. (Psalm 91:3-6)
6. ISRAEL/ARAB NORMALIZATION UPDATES:
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi hosted Muslim ambassadors for a traditional ‘Eid al-Fitr’ event, also known as the “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” marked by Muslims worldwide after the month-long Ramadan holiday. The event was attended by, among others, the ambassadors of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Albania, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tanzania and Kosovo, as well as by notable religious and public figures. Notably, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani joined the special occasion via Zoom. Both Abu Dhabi and Manama are signatories of the Abraham Accords, a peace deal brokered by former US president Donald Trump that normalized relations between those capitals and Jerusalem. (Note: Ramadan ends on May 12th. This was pre-end-of-Ramadan event.)
USA Secretary of State Blinken told Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in a phone call last Friday (Apr 30) that the Biden administration would not reverse President Trump's recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over the Western Sahara. USA recognition of the Western Sahara as part of Morocco last December was part of a broader deal that included the renewal of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel. Senior White House and State Department officials have held multiple discussions on this issue over the last few weeks.
Give Israel great wisdom in its relations with all nations who desire normalization, especially Saudi Arabia and Russia (Psa. 23:5). Lord, as many nations are now reaching out to Israel, encourage Israel's leaders to enter these diplomatic agreements with their eyes wide open (Psa. 118:8-9). Protect Israel from all the insidious snares of the enemy (Psa. 91:3a; 124:6-8). We thank You for every person in these Muslim and Buddhist nations [Bhutan] who want to have a closer relationship with Israel and the Jewish people (Zech. 8:23). Reveal Yeshua to them and bring multitudes into Your Son's Kingdom (Luke 2:32; Col. 1:13). Lord, shield Your Body in the Middle East from the spirit of Islam and humanism (Psa. 121:3). Purify them of all anti-Zionist mindsets, and any replacement theory teachings (Mal. 3:3; Eph. 5:27).
Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; I will bring them back and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.’” (Zechariah 8:7)
7. GOLAN HEIGHTS/SYRIA/LEBANON/IRAQ/TURKEY UPDATES:
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out a series of strikes in Syria Tuesday (May 4) night in the coastal area of Latakia. The attack killed a civilian and wounded six others, and caused material damage, including to the electric grid in some areas and to a plastic manufacturing facility. Iran routinely attempts to arm the Lebanon-based Hezbollah with advanced weapons. Israel has exposed and thwarted multiple attempts by Iran to transfer game-changing weapons to Hezbollah, including by air shipments from Iran, through Damascus Airport. Israel has significantly stepped up its strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria in recent months. (Note: In general, Iran and Hezbollah’s military build-up in Syria remains a red line for Israel. The IAF has carried out thousands of attacks to thwart the Iranian entrenchment in the war-torn country. Israeli leaders have repeatedly declared that they will not tolerate an Iranian threat on its northern border with Syria and will take all necessary measures to ensure that such a menace does not emerge.)
The IDF reportedly bombed targets in Syria after midnight on Thursday (May 6) in what was the second such strike in less than 24 hours. Israeli helicopters bombed the Quneitra border town in the Syrian Golan Heights, claiming that no injuries or damages were incurred. The IDF declined to comment on the reported strikes, in accordance with its policy to neither confirm nor deny its operations in Syria, save for those in retaliation for an attack from the country.
The Iraqi army said two rockets were fired Tuesday (May 4) at a base hosting Americans, in the third such attack in three days and as a USA government delegation is visiting the country. The two rockets fell on an unoccupied segment of the Ain al-Asad airbase without causing damage or casualties. The latest rocket attack follows one against an airbase at Baghdad airport housing US-led coalition troops on Sunday (May 2) night, and another against Balad airbase, which hosts USA contractors, north of the capital on Monday (May 3) night.
We bless You, Father, for raising up IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and for his newly formed IDF ‘Iran Command Division’ for just a time like this (Prov. 21:31). Anoint them to hear from You how to defend Israel against Iran and her proxies, especially in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza (Prov. 21:30). Recognizing that Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria is the most immediate threat to Israel, we ask You to add incense to all of our previous prayers in past years against this terrorist group (Rev. 8:3-5). Place Your ‘hook in their jaw’ and draw them into Your trap (Ezek. 38:4). Remove the sceptre of authority from Hezbollah's leaders and then bring division, chaos and confusion into the whole organization (Psa. 129:5; Isa. 14:5; Jer. 17:18; Zech. 14:13). Break the link between Hezbollah and Iran, destroying Hezbollah's money supply (Jer. 51:36). Guard all the IDF soldiers who are guarding Israel against its' enemies (Psa. 121:3-4). Reinforce the IDF with a host of angels to help watch over Israel (Psa. 35:4-8).
“But I will remove far from you the northern army, and will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, with his face toward the eastern sea and his back toward the western sea; his stench will come up and his foul odor will rise because he has done monstrous things.” Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice for the Lord has done marvelous things! (Joel 2:20-21)
8. PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY UPDATES:
Hamas is trying its hardest to leverage recent developments in order to set fire to Judea-Samaria and encourage a new wave of terror attacks and unrest. This, the group hopes, will result in pressure not only against Israel but its rival, the Palestinian Authority, which in recent days has denied Hamas the opportunity to take over Judea-Samaria through elections by calling them off. The PA conveniently blamed Israel for the cancellation, citing an inability to hold the vote in eastern Jerusalem. The coming days are filled with holidays that can help pour fuel on the flames—the same flames that the IDF is working to extinguish. The continuation of Ramadan, with its closed stores and evening schedules, Jerusalem Day and the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, both of which occur next week, mean that many sensitive days are around the corner. Hamas would like to use these days to trigger an explosion of violence; Israel’s objective is to prevent that from happening. Hamas’s efforts are not limited to incitement. It and fellow terror groups work around the clock to orchestrate cells and send them on attacks, though these almost always run into Israel’s wall of preventive action. (Note: In 2020, the Shin Bet foiled 430 terror attacks, including 283 shootings, 70 stabbings, 10 vehicle-rammings, 62 bombings and five kidnapping plots.)
Former CIA director John Brennan, writing in the New York Times on April 27, blamed the Israeli government for the sorry status of the two-state solution. Yet Brennan failed to mention that PA President Abbas chose to sit out USA-sponsored peace talks in 2020, when the Trump administration promised an eventual Palestinian state as well as $50 billion in immediate international investment. The "moderate" Abbas has similarly rejected every offer made by Israel or any third party for the past 15 years. Most Palestinians simply want to lead dignified lives, enriching and enjoying their families and communities. The fact that many can't, however, is not the fault of Israel or USA. With the Abraham Accords, a coalition of prominent Arab states has publicly and unreservedly given up on the rejectionism that still drives the sclerotic ruling cadre in Ramallah, and embraced Israel's dynamic economy, society, and military as models and partners.
The Palestinian Authority has asked the UN to investigate Israel on charges of ‘apartheid’. This accusation is gaining strength worldwide and is being used as lawfare against Israel, with the purpose being that if the Jewish State is founded on apartheid principles, then it is racist and does not deserve to exist.
We condemn this lying accusation concerning Israel being ‘apartheid’. We declare, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn…” (Isaiah 54:17a) This accusation is a curse by the PA against Your nation. Deal with them as per Genesis 12:3a. Let them fall into their own net that they have tried to set for Your nation (Psa. 57:6). As the NGO, ‘Human Rights Watch’, just came out with a report falsely accusing Israel of being an apartheid state, please deal with that organization as per Numbers 24:9b. Thank You for Israel's UN and US Ambassador Gilad Erdan who speaks against this and against all other lies that are vomited out in that modern global tower of Babel (Psa. 80:17; Acts 26:25). Raise up more voices within Israel's government to stand strongly with him (Acts 2:14a). Lord, may it be shouted from the rooftops that Israel is the only nation in all of history that has taken black people out of Africa [Ethiopian Jews] to set them free – from dictators, famine, war, poverty and slavery– and to help them to become an integral part of Israel's society (Gen. 12:2; 18:8).
“YHWH, plead my cause…fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler; stand up for my help…Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of YHWH chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of YHWH persecute them. For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit which they have dug for my soul. Let…his net that he hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall. (Psalm 35:1-8)
9. GAZA UPDATES:
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is calling for more terror attacks and threatening “missile barrages” ahead of Jerusalem Day, which falls this year on Sunday evening and Monday. The PIJ spokesperson said Thursday (May 6) that in the next few days, Israel would be attacked with “missile barrages.” In a statement to media, the terror group said, “Jerusalem Day is the day for standing up to Zionist-American terrorism. This year we mark this day in the shadow of the ‘Ramadan Intifada’ and the voices of jihad on the steps of the Damascus Gate, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. Hamas chief of staff Muhammad Def likewise has issued threats over the violence in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. Both the PIJ and Hamas are backed by Iran, where a colorful banner featuring photos of leaders from the so-called “Resistance,” including those from Hezbollah, Ansar Allah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and others was unveiled in Tehran’s Valiasr Square for Iran’s upcoming “Quds Day.”
Abba, if Hamas moves to increase chaos in Judea-Samaria, use that situation to pressure Israel to extend sovereignty over all of Your land – from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea (Deut. 34:1-4). Lord, thank You for the sharp decrease in deaths from terror attacks over the past year (Jer. 31:10). Please keep the IDF and other security forces on high alert during this time when Ramadan ends and Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day (Rom. 13:3-4). Uncover any terrorists plans before they bear their demonic fruit (Job 12:22). Lord, protect all Israel's transportation hubs, bus stops and vehicles (Deut. 28:6). Please prevent any successful kidnapping attempts (Ex. 21:16; 1 Tim. 1:9-10). Shield Israel from rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza (Psa. 5:12; 91:5).
“Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and confounded; they shall be as nothing. And those who fight with you shall perish. You shall seek them, and shall not find them; men warring against you shall be as nothing, and as ceasing.” (Isaiah 41:11-12)
10. THE LIGHT SHINES INTO THE DARKNESS
(This weekly commentary documents incidents where God shines his light into the darkness and exposes pending attacks, injustices and terror incidents. It also documents situations where the goodness of God breaks through into evil circumstances)
A Canadian federal appeals court reversed a lower court’s decision that barred “Product of Israel” labels for wines produced in Judea-Samaria. In July of 2020, the Federal Court of Canada had ruled that it was “false, misleading or deceptive” for wines produced by Israeli vintners east of the Green Line to be labeled “Product of Israel.” Parts of the decision had also lent support to boycotts of Jewish communities, suggesting that the “Product of Israel” obstructed consumers’ right to boycott these communities. However, the Federal Court of Appeal reversed this decision, ruling that the lower court judge had gone too far in its decision and that the federal agency, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), that initially reviewed the labels should be allowed to try again, with all options remaining open.
A mechanism that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palatine (PFLP) terror organization developed to finance its terrorist activities in Judea-Samaria through the use of funding provided by aid agencies and NGOs operating in Europe was recently exposed. The embezzled humanitarian funds were diverted to institutions and organizations in Judea and Samaria that belong to the PFLP and operate under humanitarian cover, through an organization called the “Health Committees.” The Shin Bet investigation of those involved in the scam revealed that these organizations deceived several European countries to receive large sums amounting to millions of euros. The investigation further revealed that a significant portion of the funding was used to fund PFLP terrorist activities.
The PFLP deceived the European aid organizations by reporting fictitious projects, submitting false documents, falsifying and inflating invoices, falsifying documents and stamps of banks, and reporting inflated salaries.
A large amount of the funding received was transferred to families of PFLP terrorists killed or imprisoned by Israeli forces, salaries for terrorists, recruitment of new activists to the organization, promotion of terrorist activity, promotion of the PFLP’s activities in Jerusalem, and promotion and dissemination of the organization’s messages and ideology.
During their interrogation by the Shin Bet, the suspects disclosed a large amount of material indicating the extent of the fraud carried out by the PFLP.
Banks operating in the Palestinian Authority (PA) have closed 35,000 bank accounts of imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists, and families of dead terrorists, a result of action taken by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW). The PMW had notified the banks that if they continued to operate these accounts and process payments from the PA to terrorists, it would be a violation of Israeli law, exposing them to civil and criminal liability. In response to PMW’s warning, the banks closed the accounts of the terrorists. However, the PA did not heed PMW’s warning, and in April, for the first time since the Israeli law came into effect, the PA paid the illegal salaries to imprisoned and released terrorists, and allowances of the families of the dead terrorists through the PA’s postal service. Considered a national value, the PA has been exploring various ways to circumvent the Israeli anti-terror legislation and continue paying the terror stipends without the assistance of the commercial banks. The PA initially decided to create a new designated bank and even announced the name of the CEO-elect, but that option was abandoned. (Note: The Israeli Anti-Terror legislation states that a person who carries out any “transaction with property,” including cash payments given as a reward for carrying out a terror crime, is committing an offense. The term “transaction with property,” is defined in the legislation as including any banking transaction. Accordingly, all the PA officials who were involved in the decision to pay the terror salaries and the staff of the PA postal service who facilitated the payment of the salaries all committed serious offenses punishable with up to 10 years in prison. The monies paid to the terrorists are also subject to seizure. The PA’s policy has been widely condemned, with Canada, the US, Australia, and Holland halting direct aid to the PA until the policy is abolished, but the PA has vowed to proceed with the policy it claims is a form of welfare.)
The state of Israel has enacted an effective enforcement order against the PA Arabs’ takeover of Judea and Samaria, but the Civil Administration has refrained from using it, ignoring the approval of the High Court of Justice. ‘Regavim’ and the ‘Samaria Regional Council’ are now petitioning to activate the order against an invasion of an archaeological site in Samaria. The joint petition stresses that “this case illustrates the PA’s systematic, well-financed and carefully-planned takeover of Area C, which seeks to shift the focal point of Palestinian development from Area B to Area C. The Palestinian Authority is establishing facts on the ground in order to tie Israel’s hands – both in terms of current security considerations and in terms of political leverage in strategic points in Area C. These one-sided facts on the ground will impact the opening positions for future negotiations, and the State of Israel must address them right now.”
Over the past several months Regavim has documented a persistent stream of incursion and annexation, as residents of Burkin, a village located in the area under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction, have taken over a significant parcel of land in the Ariel Commercial Zone – located in Area C, under full Israeli jurisdiction.
The area being taken over is located on the outskirts of an antiquities site called Khirbet Kurkosh, where a magnificent burial mausoleum from the Hellenistic period was found. / Regavim
The area that is being quietly annexed is adjacent to an archaeological site known as Khirbet Khurkosh, where a magnificent Hellenistic Era mausoleum was discovered, along with other remains dating from the Iron Age through the Middle Ages.
This gradual annexation began with road work, which was soon followed by land clearing and preparation for agricultural work. Mature olive trees were quickly planted, in an attempt to make the newly-cleared area look “old” – and now, a large structure, already connected to electricity infrastructure despite its considerable distance from the village, is nearing completion. This entire project is unfolding on “survey land,” Israeli state land for which full registration has not been completed.
Joseph Zalman Kleinman, who survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and later testified at the trial of Nazi commander Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, has died. The Holocaust survivor was 91. Kleinman was one of fewer than 180,000 remaining Holocaust survivors in Israel. Kleinman was born in what is now Slovakia in January 1930 and was deported from Budapest by Nazi Germany to Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland at the age of 14. His father, mother, and sister were killed at Auschwitz, one of the most notorious Nazi death camps in occupied Poland. Eichmann, one of Nazi Germany’s main organizers of the Holocaust, was captured by Israeli Mossad agents outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1960. He was put on trial in Jerusalem in 1961 and found guilty of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and war crimes. Eichmann was executed the following year. Kleinman was one of 110 witnesses at the 1961 trial of Eichmann, and at 31, was the youngest. His testimony, delivered just after another witness fainted, was about the fate of Jewish youths at Auschwitz. (Note: Kleinman recently received his coronavirus vaccine shots.)
Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Director Steven Weil this week spoke about the organization’s latest efforts to connect American Jewry to Israel. “The average Jew in the United States is not so enthusiastic about the IDF or Israel. The situation is quite pessimistic. That is until they visit Israel,” Weil said. Rabbi Steven Weil recently became the head of FIDF after an 11-year tenure at the Orthodox Union. Friends of Israel Defense Forces, a USA non-profit with 24 branches, was founded in 1981 by American Holocaust survivors who wanted to support Israel by providing assistance to the country’s soldiers. In 2020 alone, the organization helped more than 100,000 discharged military men and women. Weil said that Friends of Israel Defense Forces also tries to reach out to the public by using videos and social media platforms. “We try to show them that the IDF is much more than ‘just an army.’ It is a national service in its broadest sense. It is the great uniter of the people of Israel and Judaism. It is the springboard of creating values, of establishing a start-up nation.”
A new documentary, "Truus' Children," tells the story of Dutch-born Truus Wijsmuller, who helped rescue more than 10,000 Jewish children from the Nazis during the Second World War. Twenty-three of the children she rescued help tell her story. "Truus never slept. She kept travelling everywhere to pick children up from Germany, Poland and the rest of Europe and to bring them back to the Netherlands, before transporting them to England or Palestine," said film-maker Pamela Sturhoofd.
Violence in Jerusalem for Political Gain in Ramallah (by Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch in JNS-Israel Hayom. Itamar Marcus is founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, where Lt.-Col. (res.) Adv. Maurice Hirsch is head of legal strategies.)
There is nothing that boosts Palestinian leaders' popularity like their leading terror campaigns against Israel. This is why suddenly, after months of relative quiet, Jerusalem Arabs and Palestinians throughout Judea-Samaria started attacking Israeli citizens and soldiers.
Official PA TV suddenly raised its incitement to violence to levels not seen in more than a year, starting on "The Tune of the Homeland," a quiz show broadcasting highly violent, pro-terror songs during the 4:00-5:00 p.m. time slot for children's programming. From March 13 to March 17, the song "My Machine Gun is in My Hand" was broadcast at least 10 times: "I want to continue marching; my machine gun and my bullets are the path to salvation."
As Ramadan approached, from April 2 to April 10 the show broadcast, on at least 20 occasions, a clip in which Palestinians declared, "I fired my shots, I threw my bomb, I detonated, detonated, detonated my [explosive suicide] belts." Primed by this PA incitement, soon after Ramadan started, Palestinian youth and Jerusalem Arabs started indiscriminately attacking Jews.
The official Fatah Facebook page declared on April 24: "Millions of Martyrs are marching to Jerusalem; with spirit, with blood, we will redeem you Al-Aqsa Mosque....A blessing for the Molotov cocktail."
Lord, let Your light shine into the darkest areas of the earth. Expose all plots to harm Your people…both Jews and Christians. Thank You that there is increasing coordination between the agencies who are in charge of security and protection. We bless the security forces and police forces around the world…they have an impossible job to protect all the people all the time. Give them much wisdom and great alertness, we pray!
"YHWH discovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light." (Job 12:22)
11. ANTI-SEMITISM UPDATES:
B'nai Brith Canada and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) commend Canada for publicly declaring its refusal to participate in the upcoming Durban IV conference. Prominent Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather confirmed the news on his Twitter account. The conference will be commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 2001 UN World Conference on Racism that turned into an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate-fest. The announcement comes one day after the two organizations called on the Canadian government to disavow the Durban IV conference and publicly affirm its refusal to participate.
An Ontario MP and an Alberta MLA will not be participating in the 2021 iteration of the notorious al-Quds Day hate-fest, following successful advocacy by B’nai Brith Canada. Marwan Tabbara, Independent Member of Parliament for Kitchener South-Hespeler, and Rod Loyola, NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly for Edmonton-Ellerslie, had been listed among the speakers for the online Canadian al-Quds Day event, to take place on May 8. Shortly after B’nai Brith reached out to Loyola and Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, Loyola relayed his withdrawal from the event. Following a direct conversation with B’nai Brith, Tabbara backed out as well. B’nai Brith explained that al-Quds Day calls for the elimination of Israel, rather than a two-state solution, and has been a continuous source of anti-Semitism since it arrived in Canada.
Note: At last year’s online al-Quds Day event, a speaker described all Israelis as “thieves and murderers.” In 2018, a featured speaker said he was praying for the “eradication” of Israelis. In 2013 and 2016, speakers called for Israelis to be shot, and in 2014, a Muslim cleric called for “Yahoodi” (Arabic for “Jewish”) to be “dismantled”. The 2018 speaker, Shafiq Hudda, was also set to headline the 2021 event. The May 8 event is being promoted on social media by the so-called “Canadian Defenders for Human Rights,” or CD4HR. Firas al-Najim, the group’s manager, filmed himself harassing Jewish seniors in a Toronto park in 2019 and led a failed campaign to boycott various Jewish-owned businesses in the Greater Toronto Area.
European Jewry is raising the alarm over a report by German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer that shows the number of crimes committed by far-right extremists in Germany rose last year to its highest level since World War II. German police recorded 23,604 crimes of a far-right nature last year in Germany, a jump of over five percent on the previous year, and the highest figure since records began in 2001. The European Jewish Congress (EJC) has expressed alarm at the latest figures released which show that the number of crimes committed by far-right extremists in Germany rose last year to its highest level since WWII.
Recorded anti-Semitic incidents in Bavaria (the largest state in Germany) were up 30 percent in 2020 versus the previous year. The report by the Association of Research on Anti-Semitism (RIAS) tracked Bavarian anti-Semitic incidents. It found 239 incidents in 2020, an increase of 55 over 2019. Nearly one out of every two incidents was related to the pandemic, including anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic protests. The report details that this was a change from 2019 when most of the anti-Semitic incidents were related to right-wing or right-wing populist extremists. Approximately 100 of the recorded incidents took place in Munich, which is the largest city in Bavaria and has one of the largest Jewish communities in Germany.
Germany dismissed on Monday (May3) a recent Human Rights Watch report that Israel's actions with the Palestinians constitute apartheid. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday: "We don't think that is a correct assessment."
On Wednesday, Ukrainian nationalists held a march in Kiev to commemorate the anniversary of the foundation of the SS Galicia Division during the Second World War. The division, numbering 80,000 volunteers from the Ukrainian region of Galicia, committed numerous atrocities in the territory of the Soviet Union and Poland. Last Thursday (Apr 29), the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concerns about the event, "The SS Waffen units were involved in some of the worst crimes that took place during the Holocaust. We condemn the continued glorification of Nazi collaborators and expect the Ukrainian government to unequivocally condemn all such phenomena and prevent them from being repeated."
A Dangerous Attempt to Threaten USA Military Aid to Israel (by Eric H. Yoffie in Ha'aretz. The writer is a former president of the Union for Reform Judaism.)
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) has proposed "The Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act." This is a terrible bill. Rep. McCollum, a veteran BDS supporter, is perhaps the leading anti-Israel voice in the House.
Furthermore, the bill is 19 pages of pure demonization, presenting Israel as an unrelenting torturer of Palestinian children. It omits any reference to a two-state solution as a possible means to resolve the conflict. It calls on Israel to change its policies but asks nothing of the Palestinians. It suggests that Israel has misused American aid, without any evidence that such misuse has occurred.
And its real purpose is to prepare the way for reducing U.S. military aid to Israel, calling for various certifications and reports by the State Department that are clearly intended to serve as the basis for cutting aid. In response, AIPAC organized a letter opposing conditions on military aid to Israel and backing a two-state solution. The letter was signed by 331 House members, Republicans and Democrats, who were not prepared to jeopardize the military aid that is self-evidently necessary for Israel to defend itself against Iranian threats, Hezbollah rockets, and turmoil and terror in Syria and Iraq.
12. IRAN UPDATES:
Iran made multiple attempts in 2020 to obtain technology for its weapons of mass destruction program and has not stopped its drive to develop atomic weapons, intelligence agencies from the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany recently reported. The Swedish Security Service revealed in its intelligence report for 2020 that "Iran also conducts industrial espionage, which is mainly targeted against Swedish hi-tech industry and Swedish products, which can be used in nuclear weapons programs."
Sources from the Israel Ministry of Defense, as well as Russian media, say Russian submarines armed with cruise missiles are escorting Iranian tankers crossing Mediterranean waters. According to Israel, 90% of the tankers carry oil and 10% carry weapons.
A chemical factory near the Iranian city of Qom went up in smoke on Sunday (May 2). At least two firefighters were among the injured in the massive blaze. The blaze’s cause was not immediately reported. Twenty firetrucks along with 150 firefighters were deployed to the site. The firemen were able to prevent the fire from reaching alcohol tanks. However, there have been several explosions as well as two firetrucks that caught fire. Videos circulating on social media show heavy black smoke emitting from the Movaledan chemical factory which is in the area of Qom. Aside from being one of the Islamic Republic’s prominent religious cities, Qom is also located about 40 kilometers south of Iran’s nuclear facility.
The Iranian national judo team was suspended from international competition by the Iran Judo Federation until September 2023 for forfeiting matches against Israeli opponents, extending the suspension that began in 2019.
The Sealing of Iran's Plutonium Reactor Was a Photoshopped Ruse - Lenny Ben-David (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The New York Times editorial board repeated on April 23 that, "under the Iran nuclear deal struck in 2015, Iran took steps to assure the world that it would not develop weapons, including pouring cement into the core of a heavy-water reactor" at Arak. Yet in January 2019, Iran's Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi told Iranian Mojahedin TV that the core was not filled with cement. He explained with amusement that a photoshopped picture had been presented to the West.
A $90 Billion U.S. Bailout to Tehran Could Undo Years of Progress (by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham and Morgan D. Ortagus)
Rushing back into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal would lead to chaos and instability in the Middle East. President Biden has inherited a relatively peaceful Middle East marked by historic peace agreements between several Arab countries and Israel after decades. Yet returning the USA to a JCPOA 2.0 could reverse positive momentum by destabilizing the peaceful balance of power Biden inherited.
Before the USA reimposed sanctions in 2018, Iran's central bank controlled more than $120 billion in foreign exchange reserves. After only two years of the maximum pressure campaign, Iran's reserves were down to $4 billion, while depriving the regime of $70 billion in oil revenues. The regime was forced to cut payments to its regional terror proxies.
The moment Biden ends sanctions, the regime could receive a payday of $90 billion. Meanwhile, reinvigorated oil export would add $50 billion per year to the regime's coffers. Those billions would go a long way for the leading state sponsor of terrorism.
Thank You for IDF Chief of Staff, Avi Kochavi, who, as a direct answer to our prayers, prepares the IDF to fight the next war, and not the last one (Isa. 26:6, 11-12). Thank You that according to Micah 4:11-13, although nations plan to destroy Israel – You are still in control and are setting a trap for them. So, prepare Israel to arise and thresh and use the outcome, as we read in verse 13, totally for Your glory! Lord God, continue to shake up Iran – physically, socially, and politically (Job 9:1-8). Shake up Iran spiritually as well during Ramadan, by saving multitudes of Iranians, (Rev. 7:9-10). Dry up all Iranian resources that it uses for anything other than caring for its people (Jam. 5:1-6). Cut all ties between Iran and Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and all its other proxies (Psa. 55:9). Teach the Iranian Church how to pray for their nation and government (Luke 11:1; 1 Tim. 2:1-4).
“Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered: let them also that hate Him flee before Him…Rebuke the company of spearmen…scatter the people that delight in war.” (Psalm 68:1,30)
13. REFLECTIONS: LAG B’OMER TRAGEDY ON MOUNT MERON
The disaster on Mt. Meron last week when 45 ultra-Orthodox [Haredi] Jews were killed in a stampede was the worst civilian tragedy in modern Israel's history. As expected, many are now trying to find a scapegoat on whom all guilt can be laid, and there are many choices – from PM Netanyahu, to Israel's Public Security minister Ohana, to its politicians, or its Chief of Police, or the police in general. Yet there is one group that must take a huge portion of responsibility – the Haredi community. Most live insular lives, obeying only their rabbis and rejecting most government rules. And if the police interfere in their lifestyle in any way, severe resistance results, including violence. Most Haredi men do not serve in the IDF and until recently most did not work, living off public aid from the rest of Israeli society. Some of their sects are even extremely anti-Israel.
Lord, based on Romans 8:28, we ask for You to bring good out of this terrible tragedy. Use this disaster to shake up the whole Haredi community to seek You for answers (Isa. 55:6). Work especially in the hearts of the Haredi leaders, turning them to Yourself (Psa. 80:3, 7). Show the Haredi how often their traditions have negated the clear Word of God (Mark 7:8-9). Enable them to humble themselves and take responsibility where needed and then to ask You what changes in their worldview, teaching and lifestyle need to be made (Psa. 69:32). Raise up righteous Haredi rabbis who do see the problems and want to fix them (Psa. 23:3-4). Thank You for the groups of "modern Haredi" who are taking responsibility today (Acts 4:19)…let their voices and their influence be increased (Prov. 10:21a, 24b; 14:9). Comfort all who have lost loved ones and/or are traumatized by this disaster (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Heal all survivors – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually – in Your Son (Acts 4:7-12). Lord Yeshua, capture the hearts of young Haredi who are following leaders that are not training them up as they should and turn them to You (Prov. 22:6). Remove the anti-Zionistic spirit from any Haredi group in Israel, and let them recognize Your hand in the restoration of Your nation (Psa. 102:13-16). Give wisdom to Messianic Haredi believers to know what to say and not to say (Psa. 81:10; 141:3).
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,…” (Isaiah 40: 1-2a)
14. ISRAEL GOOD NEWS ITEMS:
Israel will send medical aid to India this week on a series of flights in light of the severe coronavirus crisis in the country, including thousands of group and individual oxygen generators, respirators, medications, and additional medical equipment.
Israel's Baruch Padeh Medical Center (Poriya) in Tiberias has sent a delegation of doctors to Botswana to assist the country in its fight against Covid-19.
Israeli medical device company ‘IceCure’ has developed a new technology called ‘ProSense’, which it says has proven extremely effective in treating women with breast cancer, the company said in a press release on Thursday (May 6). ‘ProSense’ was created to find a non-surgical and less invasive alternative that can destroy tumors using cryotherapy technology. It utilizes a probe that is inserted into the tumor and freezes it by lowering its temperature, leaving the healthy tissue around it while alternating between freezing and thawing the specific area of the tumor. The technology has been referred to as a "breakthrough device" by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which officially recognized the innovation last month as having the capabilities to save lives
Intel Corp said on Sunday it will invest another $600 million in Israel to expand its research and development, and confirmed it was spending $10 billion on a new chip plant. Intel is investing $400 million to turn its ‘Mobileye’ unit headquartered in Jerusalem into an R&D campus for self-driving car technologies. Another $200 million will be invested in building a "mega chip design" facility in Haifa next to its current development center. Intel Israel's exports grew to a record $8 billion in 2020 - 14% of Israel's total high-tech exports and 2% of its GDP.
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, led by Aharon J. Agranat, a professor of applied physics, have developed a sensor that can rapidly locate buried explosives from a safe distance with the help of genetically engineered, bioluminescent E. coli bacteria. The sensor was described in Biosensors and Bioelectronics on April 15. The bacteria were engineered to detect trace amounts of dinitrotoluene, a derivative of trinitrotoluene, which is found in 80% of buried mines.
USA agricultural services company Valmont Industries announced Wednesday (May 5) it will acquire Israeli-based ag-tech AI company Prospera Technologies for $300 million. Prospera develops intelligent solutions to help farmers grow crops more efficiently, finding new ways to achieve higher crop yields using less land, water, chemicals, fertilizers, fuel and time.
The ‘INH Oz’, the second of four Saar 6-class corvettes being built for the Israeli Navy, was handed over in Kiel, Germany, on Tuesday (May 4). The corvettes are part of a $500 million deal, with the German government paying 1/3 of the sum, as it is also doing with submarines being built for the Israeli Navy.
A unique bronze ‘lucky charm’ lamp dating back to the end of the Second Temple period was unearthed in Jerusalem in a Roman structure built on the site known as Pilgrimage Road on Wednesday (May 5). The artifact, shaped as a half-face with grotesque features, represents a unique finding in the city and possibly in the whole land of Israel. It was uncovered during excavations in the Jerusalem Walls-City of David National Park. Pilgrimage Road is the path which, according to experts, ancient Jews walked to ascent the Temple Mount as they were performing the commandment of going up to the holy sanctuary three times a year – in the festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.
Thank You, that You continue to bless Israel. Thank You that You have chosen to bless the world through the Jewish people. May the world see these inventions and discoveries as a fulfillment of Your promise to Abraham!
“The LORD had said unto Abram, ‘Get out of your country, from your kindred, and your father's house, unto a land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great. And you shall be a blessing…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’” (Genesis 12:1-3)