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.; A compilation of news reports from the past week for the information of those committed to .praying.for Israel

Davids’ Comment: From Mourning to Dancing in a Few Hours – Rak b’ Yisrael (Only in Israel)
Psalm 30:11  You turned my mourning into dancing, you peeled off my sackcloth and filled me with joy

If you have been blessed to have visited Israel you will likely have witnessed first hand that it is a nation of extremes and the Israeli people are also extreme in many ways. The events of the past week are visable proof of that being true. Allow me to show you ….  Last Tuesday was Yom ha Zicharon (Memorial Day) for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror attacks. The modern state of Israel has lost almost 30,000 of its soldiers in the succession of wars since its miraculous rebirth on May 14th 1948. Also included in that number are about 2000 men, women and children who have been murdered in terror attacks against civilian targets.
Israelis have the nickname ‘Sabra’ which is the name of a local fruit which has a prickly exterior, but a soft heart, the perfect description of the average Israeli. To those who don’t know Israelis personally, we can appear to still be a stiff-necked, arrogant and hard hearted people. However even the most ‘prickly’, hard Israeli hearts are softened on 2 days of the year. Last week Israel commemorated Yom ha Shoar (Holocaust Memorial Day), and as the nation stopped to remember the 6.5 million Jewish men, women and children who were reduced to smoke and ash in the Nazi concentration camps, many of those usually hard hearts were softened, many to the point of tears. There are 192,000 Holocaust survivors still alive in Israel and a large number of other Israelis are 1st or 2nd generation descendants of survivors. The horrors that the Jewish people endured in the darkest act of human history, are a very real, and very sensitive part of their memory banks.

The other day when Israeli hearts are melted is Yom ha Zicharon. With almost 30,000 victims of war or terror in a population of 6.8 million Jews, again a large percentage of families have been affected personally, or are close to a family that has suffered a tragic loss, so Yom Ha Zicharon is a very special, and very sensitive day for almost the entire country. Most restaurants are closed and radio and television channels broadcast appropriate music and programs. It is customary that families and friends visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are laid to rest, however this year on both of these very special days, the cemeteries were closed to prevent further spreading of the coronavirus. Many of the bereaved families were understandably upset and angry that they could not commemorate Yom Zicharon as usual, by visiting the graves of their loved ones.

On Monday evening, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin opened the official Yom Zicharon ceremony in Jerusalem. Referring to the impact of the coronavirus on this year?s observance of Yom ha Zicharon, he said ?This year, we cannot cry together, this year we cannot look each other in the eye. We will remember and be reminded, and we will feel fully, even this year, of the inconceivable price we must pay.? As Josie stood for the 2 minute remembrance siren, and then watched the ceremony at the Western Wall, and the testimonies that followed of the families who have lost their young soldiers and terror victims, she was emotionally broken and her eyes became a river of tears, as she identified with the deep pain of their loss. She was deeply impacted in a way that she has not experienced on this day in the 28 years that we have lived in Israel. At the same time she was reminded of how the LORD spared our sons Stefan and Jordan during the time they were combat soldiers during the wars and dangerous missions that they were involved in.   

The ceremony was held as always in front of the iconic Western Wall on the Temple Mount. Normally tens of thousands attend the event, but this year,  because of the virus lockdown, there was only President Rivlin, a few other government officials, and a small number of soldiers in attendance. The event ended as usual with the singing of the Israeli national anthem – Hatikvah (the Hope). The official in charge of the ceremony invited everyone around the nation watching at home to go to their balconies and sing Hatikvah in unison as it was being broadcast. Click here to see the amazing response. If you want to see the full ceremony with English translation Click here.

As the sun set on Yom Zicharon, as it does every year at this time, the mourning turned into dancing as most Israelis began to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independance Day). This year is Israel’s 72 anniversary following her miraculous resurrection on May14th 1948. The grief and solemness of the previous 24 hours turned to joyful eating, singing and dancing as we celebrated Israel’s birthday. I as wrote in the title of this comment, I am sure this radical emotional shift only happens in Israel – Rak b’Yisrael. This was also a unique experience this year as we did our best to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut confined to our balconies, but eat, sing and dance we did.

I have shared this with you this week as we believe that every Christian is called to pray for Israel and the Jewish people, and that the key to prayer that changes things is identification with the feelings of the people you are praying for. The Jewish people have endured hatred, persecution and attempted genocide because they are the key to return of the Messiah and the re-establishment of the Kingdom of YHVH on the Earth. That is why the enemy of the Kingdom is still trying to destroy Israel and the Jewish people today. We know that many of you already pray for Israel, but it is always good to be reminded and re-energised. Here is another powerful video that will inspire you to pray for the IDF soldiers. Click here for a powerful testimony by an IDF officer.

The LORD bless you as you bless Israel by standing in defense of her right to exist on all of the land given to the Jewish people by the GOD of Israel.  Please pray that all Israel will turn back to their GOD.  Do not be silent, but share this with your fellow Christians, share it with your pastors, and with anyone you have a chance to speak to. Lets also pray for a breakthrough to the Muslims, and please remember to pray Divine protection for all of the soldiers in the IDF.

Shabbat Shalom  …..  David & Josie

This Week’s News Items
1. IDF Forces Bust Multi Terror Attack Plans    United With Israel News   April 24th
Israel?s combined security forces recently captured a Hamas cell that planned terror attacks on sites in Jerusalem, including Teddy Stadium, as well as strikes on IDF forces in the Ramallah area. In March, Israel?s Security Agency arrested three cell members, including Ahmed Sajadia, 27, a resident of Qalandiya just north of Jerusalem. Sajadia lost his hand during a ?work accident? while preparing an explosive charge years ago. The three met during their studies at Bir Zeit University, where the most active Hamas student body in Judea and Samaria operates. Hamas has for years used a student organization at the university to promote the ?resistance? against Israel. The investigation revealed that the three were recently planning bomb attacks at Teddy Stadium in the Malha neighborhood of Jerusalem, as well as against Israeli civilian and military targets in the vicinity of the city of Ramallah. They were also involved in several attempts to carry out bombing attacks against IDF forces in recent years. Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the squad attempted to carry out a bomb attack on IDF soldiers that entered Ramallah for operational activity on March 20.
Pray that all such plans are uncovered and prevented as these ones were

2. Powerful New Israeli Disinfectant Kills Viruses   United With Israel News   April 24th
Researchers from Bar-Ilan University have developed new methodologies to produce powerful, environmentally friendly disinfectants, based on tap water, that can eliminate bacteria and kill viruses, including microbes from the coronavirus family. The disinfectants are effective and safe to use and do not contaminate groundwater. The technology works through an array of nanometer-shaped electrodes with unique surface properties. The meeting between water and electrodes creates a cleaning material in a unique aquatic environment. The combination of these compounds gives rise to an effective antibacterial capability for microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and spores), while at the same time is safe for macro-organisms (larger bodies such as skin cells). The platform on which the technology is based enables the preparation of a variety of solutions for clean spaces from bacteria, such as spray-aerosols for disinfecting surfaces, appliances, beds, closets, and bathrooms, containers for immersion, disinfectant wipes, hand washing, shoe washing, buckets for washing and disinfecting floors, air-conditioning systems, washing machines, and dry fog air-purifiers. Pray that this new product is effective in killing all viruses as claimed.

3. Labour Party Signs Coalition Agreement    Arutz 7 News    April 24th
The Blue and White party on Friday morning signed a coalition agreement with Labor, bringing the smaller party into the unity government with the Likud party. According to the agreement, Labor’s MK Amir Peretz will serve as Economy and Industry Ministry, as well as a cabinet member. MK Itzik Shmuli will serve as Welfare and Social Services Minister. Blue and White Chairman MK Benny Gantz said, “I congratulate Labor Chairman MK Amir Peretz, who is an experienced parliamentary and ministerial leader and represents a very important and significant social issue, and MK Itzik Shmuli, from one of the most diligent and social MKs, on joining the Blue and White bloc in the upcoming government.” Peretz said: “We are joining a unity government of equality, with a rotation for the seat of Prime Minister in another year and a half. In the government, we will take the lead on social policies, which will rebuild the welfare state and handle the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis.” Explaining his party’s decision, Shmuli said: “Facing a million unemployed, collapsing entrepreneurs, and young pensioners who are begging for help, we will not stand indifferent – we must be their voice and their shield within the government. The government which we agreed to join is a national and equal emergency government. We will be part of the Blue and White bloc, and we intend to advance a true social policy.” Pray that this long awaited unity government will hold together for as long as necessary

4. Israel Attacked Iranian Targets in Syria    Arutz 7 News   April 27th
Seven people were killed in Israeli airstrikes Monday morning on the outskirts of Damascus. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization which monitors military activities in Syria, four pro-Iranian militia members and three civilians were killed in the Israeli airstrikes. Syria claimed that three people were killed by Israeli missiles fired at southern and southwest Damascus, from the vicinity of Al-Kiswa to Sahnaya, in a predawn operation Monday morning.Syria?s state media outlet, SANA, confirmed that three civilians were killed and four more wounded by shrapnel from Israeli missiles fired during a predawn airstrike Monday. No mention was made of the four combatants who the SOHR report claimed were also killed. “Three civilians were martyred and four others wounded, including a child, because shrapnel from Israeli missiles fell on houses,” SANA claimed. But the SOHR disputed the Syrian government’s claim the civilians were harmed by shrapnel from Israeli missiles, saying it was unclear if the shrapnel had come from the missiles launched by Israeli warplanes or from Syria’s air defense network. “It is still unknown whether the shrapnel was caused by the Israeli missiles or by the Syrian regime’s air defense missiles.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported Monday morning that the Israeli strikes targeted an Iranian stronghold in the Damascus area used to house Iranian forces stationed in Syria, along with pro-Iranian militias

5. US Gives its Blessing to Israeli Annexation    World Israel News   April 29th 
The U.S. State Department gave its blessing to Israel on Monday if the Jewish State decides to proceed with its plans to annex parts of Judea and Samaria. ?As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to recognize Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the Judea and Samaria that the vision foresees as being part of the State of Israel,? a spokesperson for the State Department said. However, the spokesperson did say that recognition would only be granted if Israel keeps its part of the deal, by holding talks with the Palestinians in accordance with measures set out by the deal of the century. ?The annexation would be in the context of an offer to the Palestinians to achieve statehood based upon specific terms, conditions, territorial dimensions, and generous economic support,? the spokesperson said. ?Three months ago, the Trump peace plan recognized Israel?s rights in all Judea and Samaria and President Trump pledged to recognize Israel?s sovereignty over the Jewish communities there and in the Jordan Valley,? PM Netanyahu said at the time. ?A couple of months from now, I?m confident that that pledge will be honored, that we will be able to celebrate another historic moment in the history of Zionism,? he said. Israel gained control of Judea and Samaria in the 1967 Six-Day War, a conflict in which four Arab nations attacked the Jewish state. Hhundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews live in Judea and Samaria, in addition to another 200,000 Israelis who live in eastern portions of Jerusalem. Pray that Israel will continue to receive back all of the land that GOD promised to Abraham in Genesis 15:18

6. Israel’s Attorney-General Gives Green Light for PM Netanyahu to Form New Government  i24 News   April 30th
Israel’s Attorney General said on rsday that there was no legal impediment blocking incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a government, despite being charged with multiple criminal indictments. In an opinion submitted to Israel’s Supreme Court, the AG found no legal basis to stop PM Netanyahu from forming the country’s next government. The opinion comes just as the Supreme Court is set to weigh the issue Sunday, with an expanded 11-panel bench led by Chief Justice Esther Hayut making the final decision. The High Court is also expected to weigh in on the constitutional legality of a coalition agreement between the Benny Gantz-led Blue and White party and PM Netanyahu’s Likud party. Currently, there is no law requiring an Israeli Prime Minister under indictment to resign their post before going to trial and exhausting possible appeals. Netanyahu’s trial is slated for the end of May – being delayed approximately two months following the country’s battle with the COVID-19 pandemic. Pray that the new government is formed early next week.

7. Israel’s Population Reaches 6.8 Million on 72 Birthday  Arutz 7 News   April 26th
On the eve of Israel’s 72nd Independence Day, the Israeli population numbers 9,190,000, The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has announced. Of the State of Israel’s population, 6.806 million, or 74%, are Jews, 1.93 million, 21%, are Arabs, and 454,000 are defined as “other” (5% of the population).Since the previous Independence Day, the country’s population has increased by 171,000, or by 1.9%, which includes about 180,000 newborn babies during the year, and 32,000 new immigrants. 44,000 people died over the last year. At the establishment of the state, the population of Israel numbered 806,000. Since then 3.3 million immigrants have arrived, approximately 44% of them since 1990.  The CBS estimates that by 2030, Israel’s population will number 11 million people and that on the 100th Independence Day, in 2048, 15.2 million people will live in Israel. About 78% of the Jews in the country are Sabras (born in Israel). Nearly 950,000 children aged 0-4 live in Israel. About 50,000 people aged 90 and over live in Israel. The Israeli population is young compared to developed countries: 28% of Israeli residents are children up to the age of 14, while the average in OECD countries is 18%. The proportion of people aged 65 and over in the population is 12% compared to the average of 17% in other OECD countries.

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