Displaying items by tag: Middle East
The European Evangelical Alliance prayer network has a prayer request from Nazareth Hospital , which began 160 years ago as a Christian medical mission. It has grown from a five-bed clinic to the town’s main trauma and acute care hospital, employing 800 staff from all faiths in the region. Their Christian witness, mission and faith is important; their reach is felt across staff and the annual 250,000 patients. Talks with Israel’s government to find a solution to the funding crisis have been unsuccessful, and many hospital departments have had to close. Despite all their efforts they believe the Lord wants this ministry to continue. They say, ‘Please join us in urgent prayer for the hospital, that a solution will be found for our finances, that we will be able to pay our staff what they are owed, that the hospital will reopen, and that our Christian witness will continue for the next 160 years in Nazareth, or until the Lord returns.’
On 1 November Israelis will vote again. Defections, inability to pass legislation, and disagreements with an Arab-Israeli coalition have caused another government to collapse. Pray for a government that will heal the divisions of the pro-Netanyahu vs anti-Netanyahu camps. 1 November is All Saints Day. Pray for only righteous people to be voted into office. Pray for God to work in the hearts of Israelis now, so that they vote in line with His will. Pray for the upcoming high holiday season to show Israelis that they already have a King. Lord, speak to Israel's politicians to do all they can to heal relationships and to humble themselves before each other in respect and love. Lord, please clear out the dross from Israel's political scene and raise up people whom You see as righteous to lead Israel at this time. Expose unrighteousness and prevent political alliances that are not of You. See also
Zaina is just one of the thousands of Christians who suffer for their faith. After she was married her brother-in-law attempted to rape her. She fled to her parents, but they sided with him, enraged at the shame she had brought on the family. She fled to her aunt, but her father found her and beat her unconscious - leaving only when he thought she was dead. Her aunt asked her to leave. During this desperate time Zaina heard about the love and mercy of Jesus and received him as her Saviour. Her family continued to threaten her. She relocated several times, and finally her husband divorced her. She found a church and a job, but when her boss discovered she was a Christian convert he fired her, fearing retribution from the predominantly Muslim community. Her brother ultimately convinced her to come home, but he deceived her and once there he tried to kill her. She has relocated again and is now dealing with several health issues.
Israel and Turkey have announced the return of full diplomatic ties between the two nations, including the reinstatement of ambassadors and consulate generals. This constitutes an important asset for regional stability and very important economic news for Israelis. Their relationship had deteriorated over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Erdogan has been a harsh critic of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. Turkey has also hosted several Hamas leaders, which further strained relations between the two nations. Many believe Erdogan’s wish to renew these relations is a result of Turkey's economy floundering and his popularity dipping as a result.
In the midst of persecution God is providing spiritual and financial support to Christians: spiritual investment is eternal, while the financial support is temporal. Help the Persecuted (HTP) addresses real needs with Gospel-centred, sustainable methods like an agricultural project in Lebanon that goes beyond providing physical needs. The community created around this farm is hearing the Gospel being shared along with food distribution. One member tells of being strangled by her radical Al-Qaeda husband and in that moment she saw Jesus. He reached out his hand and said, ‘I love you.’ She didn’t know who he was, but shortly afterwards learned about the person she saw in her vision. She gave her life to Jesus and fled alone to Lebanon. She knows he will never leave or forsake her. We can praise God for the work of HTP and need to continue praying for their protection and finances.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is backed by Iran, and its headquarters are in Syria. From 5 to 7 August it fired 600 rockets and mortars into Israel. Israel retaliated with jets, drones, helicopters, tanks, artillery and elite commando units against PIJ military bases, weapon production sites, rocket launching sites, and observation posts. Two PIJ cells were hit, killing twelve operatives and several civilians. Israeli military called this operation Breaking Dawn and said it could last a week. At 11.30 am on 7 August a truce was called. Israel had inflicted significant losses on PIJ in those three days, including killing two senior commanders. By the 11th a further eight individuals with ties to terrorism were arrested in Gaza. PIJ was still insisting on the release of prisoners from Israeli jails, warning that their continued custody was grounds for violence to breakout again.
A refugee agency in Lebanon noted discrimination and violence against Syrian refugees rose sharply recently, with more confrontations at bakeries where refugees often have to wait for bread behind Lebanese citizens. Rawan Haddad, of Tent Schools International, said that the refugees’ situation is sometimes better than most Lebanese. Nations provide basic support and limited facilities for refugees, but Lebanese below the poverty line have no support. There are shortages of bread, flour, and medicine. People don’t make enough to buy what they need, and the government won’t help. With these concerns in mind, Lebanese officials have now announced they plan to repatriate refugees back to Syria, but the problem is that European countries will not agree to that course of action.
The International Legal Forum has brought accusations of torture against the Palestinian Authority (PA) before the International Criminal Court, the first request of its kind, ahead of a UN report. They called for it to investigate President Mahmoud Abbas (in his 18th year in office after cancelling numerous scheduled elections) and the PA for ‘rampant, wide-spread and systematic torture’ against Palestinian and Israeli nationals. The forum’s CEO said, ‘The Palestinian Authority is yet to be held accountable under the law for committing such grave crimes as torture.’ Examples include Palestinian human rights activist Nizar Banat, who criticised the PA and died after being beaten in the custody of the security services in 2021. A trial against the officers responsible for his death has not yet concluded. Banat’s family call the trial a ‘farce’. The PA also took two mentally-ill Israelis hostage after they inadvertently crossed into Gaza, and refused to allow the International Red Cross access to them.
Joe Biden will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia from 13 to 16 July. The 16th is a Jewish fast day in remembrance of Jerusalem's walls being breached. On that day the president will visit Saudi Arabia where Washington has been brokering talks to transfer a pair of Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, in a deal that would see Riyadh take small steps toward formal diplomatic ties with Jerusalem. It is also believed that Biden’s visit to the Gulf kingdom is to seek an increase in its oil production and coordinate with regional partners on Iran. The president’s schedule of two days in Jerusalem and Bethlehem indicates Washington also aims to solidify the two-pronged ties with Jerusalem while assuring the Palestinians that his administration is still proactively committed to the two-state solution.
Once again there is political tumult in Israel, where the fifth election cycle in three years is about to begin. Crippled by dysfunction and tribalism, Israel has joined the ranks of Italy and Greece, where general elections occur with infuriating frequency. In June 2021 there was a big change when the new government sworn in was not headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, who had held the position for twelve years. A politically diverse coalition was cobbled together by Yair Lapid, leading the centrist Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party. The coalition government, headed by rightwing prime minister Naftali Bennett, was a grouping of eight political parties, including an Arab Islamist party. It began crumbling in recent months after two right-wing lawmakers defected, which meant that the coalition lost its majority. In recent weeks left-wing and Arab coalition members were not backing key legislation. The next coalition will form after October’s polls.