Archives For Middle East Updates

ISIS in Israel—Not for Long

Seven ISIS fighters infiltrated Israel last week from southern Syria. Israel has a sophisticated fence system, whereby they know when someone approaches the border. The terrorists made it 650 feet before the Israeli Airforce took them out.

The IDF found a Kalashnikov rifle and several explosive belts. The belts would have been used in suicide bombings. It was a bold but stupid move for ISIS, as there was little chance that they could sneak through the border undetected.

The questions we should be asking are: Why were they sent? Was it a test? Does ISIS have other plans?

ISIS also sought to infiltrate Jordan. However, Jordanian forces attacked them, killing several members of the radical Islamist group.

Eli Wiesel’s house, Defaced

Last week, the childhood home of one of most prolific voices from the Holocaust, Eli Wiesel, was vandalized with pink paint. The culprits wrote: “Pedophile. Jewish Nazi who is in hell with Hitler.”

Wiesel’s book, Night, recounts the horrors he and others suffered in the Holocaust. His childhood home in Romania is, not only a museum, but also a historical monument.

“This grotesque act represents an attack not only on the memory of Elie Wiesel but on all the victims of the Holocaust,” said a statement by Romania’s National Institute for Holocaust studies, which is named after the writer. —Breaking Israel News

Jewish State Law

There is a huge controversy in Israel, at the moment, over the new Jewish State Law. In short, it declares:

  • Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people.
  • Hebrew is the national language, while Arabic has special status.
  • Hatikva (The Hope) is our national Anthem.
  • The flag of Israel is two blue stripes near the edges and a blue Star of David in the center.
  • Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
  • Jews from all over the world are welcomed to come home to Israel.
  • Encouragement of settling the land.

That is basically it. There is nothing all that controversial about it—so why all the hoopla? Why did it barely pass (65-52)?

In our Declaration of Independence, we guarantee equal rights to all citizens—Jewish, Arab, Christian, etc. Had Netanyahu included a statement that affirms equality, it would have received more than 100 votes. So why not include something that we all agree on? Netanyahu would say, equality is already affirmed in other laws—and that is correct. However, his opponents claim that he did not include it because he wanted the vote to be close, giving him the opportunity, before the next elections, to point at the opposition and say, “They are not patriots—we are.”

Sadly, even here in Israel, politics is a very dirty sport.

50,000 Israelis came out to Tel Aviv, in support of our 300,000-strong Druze community, over the weekend to protest the law.

Rally in Tel Aviv against new Nation State Law

Fresh Sanctions Could Tumble Iran

Today, new sanctions take effect on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The goal is to put massive economic pressure on Iran. Already, there are protests in the country—and they are not blaming the US, but their own leaders for their economic woes.

Jerusalem has praised President Trump for leaving the Iran Nuke Deal and returning to sanctions, while Europe seeks to keep the deal alive. However, Europe is shortsighted by only seeing the economic value in doing business with Tehran. They fail to see (or refuse to see) how damaging it is to Middle East stability—as Iran props up Syrian Dictator Assad, funds Hezbollah and Hamas, and stands with the rebels in Yemen against the Yemeni government.

Trump commented on the failed Iran Nuke Deal:

“The JCPOA (Iran Nuke Deal), a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos.

“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond.”

The people of Iran want to know why their government is sending all their money to terrorists, while the country is falling apart.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for angels to be with the IDF to combat ISIS.
  • Pray for the Iranian people to have courage to take back their country.
  • Pray for unity in Israel over the new Jewish State law.
  • Pray that God will give us politicians who love the land and the people, more than power.
  • Pray against anti-Semitism in Europe.
  • Pray for a great move of God in Israel that would open the eyes of the Jewish people.

 

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Scroll down for video of rescue

Israeli Soldier Shot by Hamas Sniper

For months now, we have been told the Hamas border protests are peaceful. Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, Israel gets blamed for defending itself. On Friday, Aviv Levi was shot by a peaceful Hamas sniper. The bullet penetrated his bulletproof vest and he succumbed to his wounds.

Aviv Levi was 21-years-old and lived not far from me in Petah Tikva. Prime Minister Netanyahu released a statement:

He fought in Gaza “with determination and bravery, and to our great sorrow, sometimes this struggle bears a very great price. I am sending condolences from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of myself and on behalf of all Israeli citizens, to his family.” —Times of Israel

I have written a longer piece on how Israel responds to the death of her soldiers.

Egypt Warns Hamas not to Respond

In the wake of the first death of an Israeli soldier since the March 30 protests began, Israel bombarded Hamas targets in Gaza. Egypt warned Hamas that if they responded, Israel was ready to “go to war in two hours.”

Four Palestinians were killed in the strikes and more wounded.

Israel can deal with a lot. We are very patient. Already Palestinians have burned 8,000 acres with their fire kites and balloons, caused raging blazes in Israel’s southern farms and nature reserves, which killed wildlife. But when a soldier is killed, the patience runs out.

As of this morning, there is a very fragile ceasefire in place.

In a Secret Mission, Israel goes into Syria to Save Lives

On Saturday evening, at the urging of the United States and European countries, Israel evacuated some 800 civil defense volunteers—known as White Helmets for the color of their helmets—and their families. The White Helmets are labeled as terrorists by the Syrian government. The 3,000-member group has saved more than 100,000 lives since they began. They are true Syrian heroes. President Trump petitioned Prime Minister Netanyahu to help evacuate them, as the Syrian forces would surely kill them.

(It is a stunning thing to see in this video Israeli soldiers giving our water to Syrian children)

The Russian-backed Syrian troops have been moving closer and closer to Syria’s southern towns. There was fear that the White Helmet rescue workers would be singled out by the Syrian army.

The secret operation began around 9:00 p.m. Saturday, reaching its peak after midnight. The evacuees arrived at the border with Israel, and the IDF opened the gates and let them through. Medical treatment was provided to those in need, and the evacuees were provided with food and water. —Times of Israel

Israel then transferred them to Jordan. Jordan refused to take in refugees, as it will overwhelm their economy. However, assurances from Germany, Canada and the U.K., that they will receive them, caused Jordan to acquiesce.

Israeli Forces entered into Syria and arrived at Quneitra, just a few kilometers from the border on the Syrian Golan Heights. A convoy of buses waited for them at the border to take them to Jordan. Those in need received medical treatment.

An individual involved in the rescue told Hadashot news the effort was “one of the most moving operations. There were lots of children.” —ibid

On the way, a woman went into labor, needing an emergency C-section.

“Her son, Nairouz, came into the world in an open field under the darkness of night just short of the frontier with Israel’s Golan Heights.” —ibid

Sadly, some of the White Helmets declined evacuation through Israel, out of fear of not knowing what would happen to them, but the group’s leadership unanimously voted to go forward with the plan.

This is part of Israel’s Good Neighbor Operation, which we have reported on in the past.

A Record 1,400 Jews Visited the Temple Mount on Sunday

It may come as a surprise to you, but Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount—only Muslims are allowed. On Sunday, which marked Tisha Be’av, the Ninth of Av (the anniversary of the destruction of the first and second temples), 1,400 Jews made their way to the Hamas- occupied Temple Mount.

Jordan condemned the visit to Haram al-Sharif, called the Noble Sanctuary by the Muslim world. Yousef Mahmoud, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, complained that the peaceful Jewish visit was “a black day in the history of the city of Jerusalem, and in the history of Palestine and the history of the Arabs and Muslims.” He went on to call it “a flagrant challenge to the Arab and Islamic nations and a violation of international laws.”

Yawn. You have to understand that overreaction is the norm in the Middle East. This is a region of drama queens, with each politician trying to outdo the others with their reactions.

Yeshua Glick, who has long advocated for the rights of Jews to visit and pray on the Temple Mount, and who has good relations with many Muslims, was shot by a Islamic terrorist four times. He survived, and now serves in Knesset (Parliament). “Until a few years ago, the Temple Mount was closed on Tisha Be’av for non-Muslims,” said Glick.

Trump Threatens Iran in ALL CAPS

In the online world, ALL CAPS is like screaming. In response to Iranian threats against the US, President Trump unleashed one of his sternest and what will be one of his most memorable tweets. As I have said, rhetoric is a huge part of the Middle East political climate. We all remember Saddam Hussein promising the mother of all wars, before he was soundly defeated in the First Gulf War.

Normally, U.S. Presidents don’t respond to these threats, as they are mostly for public consumption and have no teeth. But not this president:

Israel Shoots Down Syrian Jet

Yesterday a Syrian Jet came two full kilometers inside Israeli airspace before it was shot down. Israeli forces confirmed that it was not Russian before shooting it down. The plane then crashed in southern Syria.

“Two Patriot missiles were fired at a Syrian Sukhoi-model fighter jet,” the IDF confirmed. Syrain sources said the plane was on a mission to attack ISIS targets in southern Syria.

Israel has said that will not tolerate a Syrian military build-up in the south on the Israeli borders and would not tolerate Syrian jets in Israeli airspace.

Prayer points:

  • Continue to pray for the innocent Syrians caught in the middle of a civil war.
  • Pray for Israeli soldiers to be covered and surrounded by angels.
  • Pray that the good news of Yeshua will prosper in both Israel and the surrounding Arab nations.
  • Pray for the family of Aviv Levi.
  • Pray that God’s will would be done on the Temple Mount.
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Three interesting things have happened or are happening, in regards to Iran.

1. Pro-Israel Iranians

Israeli media recently reported on a story of pro-Israel Iranians who were in Russia for the World Cup. An Israeli reporter was interviewing fans of both the Moroccan and Iranian teams before Iran’s win over the North African state. To his shock, one Iranian fan said:
“What you saw in there—those are the people of Iran. Not what you see on T.V. We love you and I know you love us.”
Another fan said, in broken English, that he is hoping for peace between all nations, saying it doesn’t matter where you are from. A third fan expressed his love for Israel saying, “my best friends are Israeli.” You can watch the clip here. The commentator is speaking Hebrew, but the interviews are in English.

2. Bibi’s video

Imagine the Ayatollahs of Iran congratulating Israel on a sport victory. Normally, it is Iranian Judo participants who (because of pressure) won’t even participate in a match against an Israeli. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu took to YouTube to congratulate the Iranian people on their performance in the World Cup, noting the difference between the radical leadership of the country and the citizens of Iran.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQdX1kpcArI

3. New protests

Iranians are protesting in the streets against their government. We must hold them up in prayer. They are tired of their government wasting billions of their dollars on regional proxy wars in Yemen and Syria, all for the sake of Islam.
Iranians have been dealing with out of control inflation and unemployment that has gone through the roof, leaving over 30 percent of their millennial population out of work. They have given millions to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, to the Yemini rebels and to Hezbollah, who is taking more and more control over Lebanon.
More shocking are the chants of “Death to Palestine,” “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon,” and “Leave Syria and think of us.” Other shocking chants include, “We don’t want the ayatollahs” and “Death to the dictator.” These Iranians are risking their lives for freedom.
Of course, all this strain is part of President Trump’s strategy of putting extreme pressure on the Islamic regime through crippling sanctions. Iranian currency has lost 50% of its worth in the last six months. But the people are not mad at Trump; they are mad at their irresponsible government. It was reported that Iran has killed four protesters.

Humanitarian catastrophe on the Syrian Border

Syrians run to Israeli Border

As the Russian-backed Assad forces in Syria roll from town to town, Syrians are fleeing to the border with Israel. How ironic that a nation of people that has been told all their lives that Israeli is filled with savage Jewish imperialists, now see Israel as their only refuge from the crazed dictator. They have set up a tent city in the Golan Heights in the demilitarized zone between the countries, hoping the Syrian forces will respect the UN cease fire zone. The number, which is growing each day, is up to 270,000. The number has doubled in a just a few days!

The Syrian rebel forces have built a good relationship with the Israeli Defense forces over the years and hope that if push comes to shove, Israel will protect them.

Israel Takes in Six Injured

The IDF rescued six injured Syrians. These are orphaned children—orphaned because their parents and siblings have been killed by the Assad’s forces.
“In a unique and complex medical operation by the Bashan Division, six moderately to severely injured Syrian were received and treated last Friday night, including four children. According to reports from the Syrian side, the families of the children were killed in bombings during the fighting in Syria, and the children were rushed to Israel to receive treatment.” —Israeli Defense Forces

Humanitarian Aid

The IDF just sent food and supplies into Syria to help these refugees.
“The operation lasted ‘several hours,’ the army said, in which some 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three pallets of medical supplies, and 30 tons of clothes and shoes were delivered to the refugees.” —TimesofIsrael

Let’s be in prayer…

  • That Israel fulfill her destiny to be a blessing to the nations.
  • That God would send angels to protect the Syrians on the Israeli border.
  • That the IDF would have wisdom in how they respond to Iranian/Syrian aggression.
  • That the Iranian revolution would lead to freedom and revival in the Islamic stronghold.
  • For the safety of the Israeli Jewish and Druze communities on the Golan Heights.

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