Displaying items by tag: israel
After twelve days of closure, the border crossing from the Gaza Strip into Israel was reopened at dawn on 28 September, causing thousands of Gazans to sleep overnight as they awaited the chance to resume the work for which they are authorised. It was the news which Amjad Hassan, a builder who is the sole breadwinner for 13 relatives had been praying for. ‘We work on a daily wage; if we don't work, we don't feed our families’, he explained. The border closure followed renewed demonstrations as young Palestinians have confronted Israeli soldiers, with the approval or even encouragement of Hamas, which controls the enclave. Protesters have burnt tyres, thrown stones and explosive devices, and released incendiary balloons and kites into southern Israel, There is a perception that Hamas is trying to distract attention from its own economic woes and also to gain leverage in indirect talks with Israel, being led by Egypt, Qatar, and the UN.
Tens of thousands of Israelis continue with weekly protests over the justice system and as many as one in three are considering leaving Israel. A leading radiologist, Professor Hoffmann, is in the process of moving to a UK hospital and is trying to persuade other members of his family, who all have European passports, to consider leaving too. He is going to London for a sabbatical, to see if he can live outside Israel, where the situation is worsening daily. Protesters believe that government changes endanger democracy, while Israel's coalition argues that it fixes a judicial system where elected politicians are too easily overruled. Demonstrators hope to overturn new laws, but many admit that emigrating is something they, or those close to them, have considered. One demonstrator said, ‘It would be heart-breaking but I will not raise my children in a country which is not democratic. If I’m not sure that my daughter's rights as a young woman are guaranteed, we will not stay here.’
During a visit to Israel’s border with Lebanon, the defence minister Yoav Gallant warned Hezbollah not to test the Jewish state, referring to ongoing provocations by the Iran backed terrorists violating legally-binding UN resolutions. Gallant toured the region with other senior officers and was updated on defensive efforts made along the border and the construction of a barrier. In a Hebrew-language video statement, he warned Hezbollah secretary-general Nasrallah not to ‘make a mistake’, saying, ‘If an escalation or conflict develops here, we will return Lebanon to the Stone Age. We will not hesitate to use all our power and erode every inch of Hezbollah and Lebanon if we have to. We don’t want war, but we are ready to protect our citizens, our soldiers, and our sovereignty.’ The UN resolution forbids Hezbollah from operating anywhere near the border between Lebanon and Israel. Alarmingly, Hezbollah’s armed patrols stationed along Israel’s northern frontier are provocations.
President Herzog acknowledged that ‘ultra-nationalist Jews attacking Christians is on the rise’. Attacks of stones, eggs and rotten fruit are regularly thrown into Jerusalem’s New Polish House. Aggressors broke into the sisters’ private property at nighttime, smashing pots and damaging the front door. Also, several dozen Breslov Hasidic extremists have entered a Catholic church eight times in the early hours, praying and alleging, incorrectly, Elisha’s tomb is there so they can claim Jewish rights over the church property. Police removed them. In a video, Dormition Abbey’s abbot was escorting the German federal minister of Education by the Western Wall when he was asked by an Israeli official to hide the cross he was wearing; saying the cross is ‘really big and inappropriate for this place. It's a Jewish place, you must respect that.’ Pray for God to encourage Christian communities and for church leaders to respond wisely and appropriately to opposition.
Since January weekly protests have filled the streets opposing the government's ‘reasonableness bill’ which removes the Supreme Court's power to cancel government decisions that it views as unfair. On 24 July thousands filled Jerusalem and Tel Aviv streets when Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul bill was passed; the next day doctors struck and protested. Hundreds from both sides of the political divide had prayed at Jerusalem’s Western Wall ahead of the vote. Intercessions were led by Zionist rabbis supporting Netanyahu and opposition politicians including Benny Gantz who said, ‘There is a rift in the nation that must be treated. Netanyahu must stop the legislation.’ Without far-right ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet his government would collapse. Those ministers insist that the reforms go forward, not watered down. On 27 July activists marched again after the end of Tisha B’Av fast day. ‘You don’t negotiate with dictatorial governments. You fight them’, said one protest group.
The Hezbollah terror group has recently raised the frequency of provocations on Israel's northern border. On 12 July angry rioters went to the security fence on Israel's northern border with Lebanon to light fires and hurl rocks. Israel’s soldiers (IDF) were forced to fire warning shots to disperse them. Also, recent missile fire near Ghajar only barely missed a military vehicle. A different result would have utterly changed the situation in northern Israel. Hezbollah has illegally erected several tents within the Mount Dov area and has coerced Lebanon’s government into asserting additional claims on Israel, demanding they remove a fence securing the village of Ghajar. ‘No one knows when it will happen, but war is just a matter of time. We are on high alert. There are provocations on the border fence’, said the IDF commander.
The roots of violence, despair and hatred between Palestinians and Israelis goes deep, generated by possession of the land. The latest Israeli attack on the West Bank targeted the ‘unified command centre for the Jenin Brigade’ which has been at the heart of twelve months of escalating violence (over fifty recent attacks have come from there). Bulldozers drove through the Palestinian refugee camp which was also attacked by aircraft, reviving a tactic it halted two decades ago. Eight Palestinians were killed and one Israeli. For over a year, army raids have been linked to a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians against Israelis and rampages by Jewish settlers against Palestinian villages. Israel said it was striking terrorist infrastructure targets and armed gunmen in the Jenin camp and shared documents showing Jenin as a ‘stronghold of terrorist activity’ where half the people belong to militant groups. However, the scale of the attack on Jenin has drawn strong criticism from many sourcres.
Arab reports indicate a Palestinian terror group based in Syria with ties to Iran and Hezbollah is actively preparing for a new series of attacks inside Israel. Speaking from Syria, Fadi Malach, commander of the Galilean Wolves, said, ‘We are in the midst of preparations for a series of additional operations inside Israel, despite Israel’s warning to Hezbollah, who might go on another adventure.’ Malach also said that his group was responsible for a roadside bombing at the Megiddo Junction in northern Israel on 13 March, which injured an Israeli motorist. The man who planted the bomb was subsequently killed by Israeli soldiers while driving back towards the Lebanese border. Explosives and a weapon were found in the vehicle, and the terrorist wore a suicide bomb belt. Malach said Galilean Wolves have been active since 2004, in an effort to liberate Galilee in the first stage, and they are not co-opted by Iran.
With the budget passed, the coalition has much to focus on apart from judicial reform. Pray for God’s priorities to be the government’s priorities, and ask God to show the various ministers how to work in unity as they deal with issues. Ask God to place the coalition's reins firmly in prime minister Netanyahu’s hands, and use his partners to keep him turning Israel onto a more biblical path, while removing any ungodly advisers from him. Ask God to anoint finance minister Smotrich to win the war against Israel's high cost of living and show every ministry how to reduce wasteful spending and increase the effectiveness of their budgets. May national security minister Ben-Gvir use the budget dedicated to reinforce and encourage Israel's police force to do just that - while also removing all unrighteousness from its ranks. And finally, ask God to help the housing industry to make affordable housing readily available. See
Bassam Tawil, a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East writes, ‘If anyone has been desecrating al-Aqsa Mosque, it is Muslims who have been rioting and using rocks and fireworks to attack police officers and Jewish visitors. Muslim rioters, not peaceful Jewish visitors, are the real threat to the sanctity of the mosque. Israeli authorities have clarified that the route of the “flag parade” absolutely does not include entry into any mosque. Such assurances have not stopped Palestinians and other Muslims from spreading fake news and libels against Jews. Iran's terror proxies Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have also used the celebrations in Jerusalem to spread the libel that Jews are planning to “desecrate” al-Aqsa Mosque. As far as Hamas and other Palestinians are concerned, the very presence of Jews at their holy site and in Israel is a “provocation”. Terror groups are repeating the lie that the mosque is in danger.’