Inside Israel News Report March 2017
Israeli Southern Reservists Called Up For Dril
Archive photo: Surprise exercise on southern border (Photo: Barel Efraim)
Since February, there have been five rockets that have fallen in Israel, sent from Gaza. Code Red sirens have been sounded and all the rockets have fallen in unpopulated areas. Despite this, Israel has called up its Southern Command reservists for a surprise drill. The reservists will practice operational procedures in preparation for more aggressive activity from Gaza. Under terms and conditions from the end of Operation Protective Edge, the war with Hamas in 2014, there are to be no rockets fired at Israel. The Israeli Air Force has gone in and retaliated after these five rockets were fired from Gaza.
Please pray for Israel’s soldiers, serving on many volatile fronts.
The Sea of Galilee Low Water Levels
Kinneret (Sea of Galilee)Mendy Hechtman/ Flash90
This is the first time in the past decade that at the end of winter, the Sea of Galilee has measured below both red lines. The red lines help indicate drought conditions and urgent drought conditions. Usually the water levels are above the lower red line after a wet winter and snow run off from Mt Hermon. This is the fourth year in a row that the Water Authority has ordered an almost complete stop of drawing water from the Sea of Galilee. Some water stations have experienced a decrease in water such has not been seen since the 1920s. The drought will worsen during the summer months when Israel does not usually get rain from March/April until October/November.
Please pray for one final rain before the dry summer months and a great snow water run-off from Mt Hermon into the Sea of Galilee.
Israel Soared at the World Baseball Classic
At the World Baseball Classic, Israel (ranked 41st in the world), surprised everyone by winning its first three games against South Korea (ranked third in the world), Taiwan (ranked fourth) and Netherlands (ranked ninth) and advanced to the second round before being defeated. The team was made up of mainly major and minor league Jewish American players. It was the final country to qualify for the tournament, but it was an unexpectedly successful run for its first appearance at the World Baseball Classic. When the national anthem played, the Israeli team took off their caps and underneath, everyone was wearing a kippah or yalmulke. Baseball is not a popular sport in Israel and is mainly played by North American Israelis.
China and Israel Discuss Partnerships
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang holds a welcome ceremony for visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, March 20, 2017. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
Prime Minister Netanyahu recently paid an official visit to China, at Premier Li’s invitation, to talk about their countries’ relations. He wanted to increase China’s cooperation with Israel in the areas of basic science, modern agriculture, clean energy and biomedicine. Israel appreciates China’s constructive role in the Middle East Peace Process. Israel is looking forward to accelerated negotiations for bi-lateral free trade agreements.
Please pray for healthy trade deals and innovation between these two countries.
Joined Forces to Combat PTSD
An IDF soldier (photo credit:IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)
Israel and the United States have joined forces to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in their militaries. While the USA has a vast unit for helping those through the disorder, Israel does not have a specific unit to deal with its veterans but provides services to those who need mental health treatments and to injured soldiers and their families. Israel developed a computerized psychological training technique which seemed to reduce the risk to combat soldiers with PTSD by 70%. The technique trains participants to better pay attention to potential threats in their surroundings and to better prepare the soldiers for battle. It’s been found that soldiers who do not correctly process their surroundings and threats are more likely to develop PTSD.
Please pray for soldiers who are struggling with mental issues after facing harsh battlefield conditions.
Passover in Israel
Please pray for Chosen People Ministries’ Israeli workers as they prepare for the busy Passover season. In Israel, Passover is a much loved and anticipated holiday full of cleaning, cooking, friendly invitations and sitting down to eat the Seder together. The whole week is set apart and reserved to give thanks to God for all His faithfulness. It’s a wonderful time to share about Jesus the Messiah and his perfect sacrifice for us. Please pray that many open conversations around the dinner table, in the street, in the grocery stores happen through our faithful workers in Israel.
Letters To God
Two times every year, the Israeli post delivers special letters to Jerusalem's Western Wall. The Western Wall is the outer support wall from the original Temple, a holy site for Jews as well as Christians. It is also the site where the Dome of the Rock stands – a holy site for Muslims. These letters arrive from all over the world addressed to "God," "Our Heavenly Father," and "the Holy One." Rabbis stuff them into the cracks in between the stones of the wall. During the Jewish High Holiday season, these letters are respectfully treated, as they contain prayers and concerns from people.
Please pray for those who sent these letters that they would find their answers and comfort in the One who has saved and delivered us from sin – Jesus the Messiah!
Remembering Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres, Israel's ninth president, passed away at the age of 93. He was the last of the founding fathers of Israel, having served in the government since the 1950s, even being mentored as David Ben Gurion's political protégé. He was born in Poland and immigrated to Israel when he was 11, in 1934. Before studying at New York University and Harvard in the 1950s, he was a part of the Haganah in 1947, as leader of defense acquisitions in Israel's newly developing army. During his political career, he served in almost every major post of Israel's leadership including Defense Minister, ForeignMinisterand Education Minister. In 1994, he received the Nobel peace prize along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for their diplomatic achievements in the Oslo Peace Accords. After Rabin's assassination in 1995, Shimon Peres became the acting Prime Minister for two years. From then on, he continued to be elected to different Knesset portfolios until 2007, when he became Israel's ninth president – an office he held until 2014. He was married for 75 years and he and his late wife have three children.
Please pray for Shimon Peres' family as they mourn his loss.
Palestinian President Abbas Attended Peres' Funeral
After months of not talking and a stalled peace process, the Palestinians extended an olive branch when President Mahmoud Abbas attended Shimon Peres' funeral along with some of his deputies. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas had a few words and shook hands. President Abbas commended Shimon Peres and described him as a partner in peace along withYassar Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin. He also recognized Shimon Peres' efforts to forge a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians since the signing of the Oslo Accords until the final moments of his life.
Please pray for more opportunities for discussion and ideas for the peace process.
The World's Oldest Bar Mitzvah
The world's oldest man, Yisrael Kristal, has just had his Bar Mitzvah at the age of 113. He missed his opportunity to be Bar Mitzvah at the correct age of 13 because of World War I. He survived the Holocaust where he lost his first wife and two children, and then immigrated to Israel in 1950 with his second wife and now has numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This special ceremony is normally to mark the coming of age of a young man at 13, but for Yisrael Kristal, it demonstrated his love for God's word, which he has had all his life.
Please pray for many, like Yisrael Kristal, who lost so much during the Holocaust, that they would see God's love and salvation in Jesus – the best gift of all.
The High Holidays
During the Jewish High Holidays, Israel takes on a different feel—more signs of kindness, joy, and hospitality and yet for many people, they are wondering if God will be pleased with them and forgive their sins. Please pray with us during this season that many would hear about, read, speak and feel the gift of salvation that can be had by all. Jesus is the true forgiver of sins by His sacrifice and atonement for all. His blood covers our sins. We are working and praying hard for our ministries to reflect this message!
Inside Israel News Report September 2016
A Historic Deal Signed Between Israel And The United States
A new historic military aid package was signed between Israel and the United States in the amount of $38 billion dollars, lasting 10 years. This military deal is the largest ever given from the United States to another country. It was said that as long as Israel has existed, the United States has been Israel’s greatest friend and partner. The deal is significantly higher than past deals and will allow Israel to continue to defend itself and be a strategic Middle Eastern alley for the United States. This deal will allow Israel to continue its superior missile defense system as well as security research and development.
Please pray for this important strategic alliance between Israel and the United States.
Israeli School Year Started
Over 2.2 million children started school September 1st all over Israel. Over 159,000 children started first grade, whereas 123,000 just graduated. The new school year will see improved English education as well as math, science and a smaller classroom size. There was a time when there were 40 children in a classroom, but now regulations require just 32.
Please pray for the safety and wellbeing of Israel’s school children as they learn and grow to be the next leaders in industry, science and technology.
A Water Deal for Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority
A deal has just been signed for an ambitious water-sharing project that has been in the works for 10 years between Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. A canal will be built between the Red Sea near the Israeli city of Eilat and the Jordanian town of Aqaba. Water from the Red Sea will go to a desalination plant in Jordan and then 30 million cubic meters of water will be transferred to Israel and to the Palestinian Authority. The saline by-product will be brought by canal to the Dead Sea, where water levels are sinking rapidly. This extra salty water will help keep the Dead Sea from reaching crucial lower levels. At the current pace, the Dead Sea could dry out by 2050.
Please pray for friendly deals like this to keep emerging between these Middle Eastern neighbors.
Israel Air Force Pilots Train Under “Red Flag”
Israeli Air Force pilots participated in the United States-led “Red Flag” advanced combat training exercise in Nevada with a couple of other countries. Israel has been involved in this important military partnership and training for a number of years. It simulates combat missions with coalition forces by intercepting other aircraft, attacking targets, rescuing pilots, intelligence gathering, cyber attacks, all the while under the threat of ground to air missiles. Since Israel’s air space is very small, this sort of vast exercise is valuable for Israeli pilots.
Please pray for Israel’s pilots, navy, intelligence, combat and army forces.
Gaza Barrier to Protect Israeli Citizens
The Israeli Defense Forces have begun to work on an above ground barrier to circle Gaza, but more importantly, the barrier will go underground as well. This underground barrier will prevent Hamas-led attack tunnels from burrowing from inside Gaza to civilian towns in Israel. These tunnels have been planned to cause death and destruction for Israelis. The project will cost two billion shekels.
Please pray for the safety of the citizens of the Israeli towns close to Gaza.
Gearing Up for the High Holidays
Please keep Chose People Ministries in Israel in your prayers as we gear up for a very busy season of the Jewish High Holidays. We will host many holiday dinners and events as well as kids camps, special food packages for the needy and exciting renovations happening in the recently rented Tel Aviv Messianic Center. Israel will practically close down for all of October and we wait in anticipation for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. The whole country takes on a special atmosphere while pomegranates, round challah bread and apples and honey are offered to everyone!
Where Was The Temple Located
Searching for the Sacred Site
by Dr. Randall Price
Almost on a daily basis the Israeli news reports incidents of violence on the Temple Mount. Islamic groups such as the "Women in Black" monitor the site to confront Jewish visitors with shouts of "Allah is the greatest!". This tension has grown from the "Temple denial" doctrine that says a Jewish Temple never existed in Jerusalem and that the Jews have no right to the Temple Mount. This point of view that is expounded almost universally throughout the Arab world is of recent origin: it was developed within the political echelon of the Palestinian Authority in connection with the first Intifada in 1987. Although, it had its roots in the Islamic reaction to Israel's return to control over the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six Day War.
Adding to the problem is an ignorance of facts among both Jews and non-Jews who accept that a Jewish Temple once existed, but believe that the Jews abandoned the site after its destruction and forgot the original location. For this reason, they think the Jewish people developed other worship centres on the Mount of Olives or at the Western Wall.
To the contrary, the Jewish people have maintained an unbroken, 2,000-year-long connection with the Temple Mount. F.M. Loewenberg, Professor Emeritus at Bar-Ilan University, has stated, "The facts do not support either of these claims. The destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 C.E. did not spell the end of Jewish activities on the Temple Mount. For many centuries, Jews continued their attachment to the site by maintaining a physical presence on the mountain. And when they were prevented from doing so, they prayed three times a day for the speedy renewal of the sacrificial service in a restored temple." In his Middle East Quarterly journal article, "Did Jews Abandon the Temple Mount," he traces the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount through time, revealing that not only was a Jewish presence maintained at the site, but from time to time, as foreign rulers permitted access, the Jewish communities in Israel, joined by others from the Diaspora, attempted to rebuild the Temple on its site or to establish regular services there.
In doing so, they understood the location of the Temple was a site providentially preserved by Roman and Muslim rulers in Jerusalem. Both the Roman and Muslim rulers built structures on the site with the intention of superseding the Jewish Temple. Roman Christian rulers during the Byzantine period identified the site and covered it with refuse in order to demonstrate their belief in the divine rejection of the Jews. While most of the ancient city of Jerusalem is today covered by modern buildings, the open 35-acre platform on Mount Moriah remains, surrounded by its original Herodian walls.
These facts completely dispel popular theories that the Temple was located anywhere but on the modern Temple Mount. However, while the location of the Temple Mount is indisputable, the exact location of the Temple on the Temple Mount has long been debated. Three main locations have been put forth by archaeologists and scholars: the northern view, the southern view, and the central view. All of these locations are near to one another on the present Temple Mount, but they differ based on where these experts place the Holy of Holies, the sacred room at the rear of the Temple that housed the Ark of the Covenant. The northern view places this site at a small Muslim cupola known as the "Dome of the Tablets" situated 330 feet from the Dome of the Rock. Here, the leading proponent of this view, the late Dr. Asher Kaufmann, argued the Temple stood at an angle facing the Eastern Gate (presumably the modern Golden Gate). He believed that this placement was directly opposite the site on the Mount of Olives where the Red Heifer ceremony had taken place. Opponents of this view contend that a placement of the Temple in this area is impossible because during the time of the First Temple and the first phase of the Second Temple the Betzaida Valley cut through this area. According to the historian Strabo, this valley was later filled in by Pompey during his conquest of Jerusalem in 63 B.C. Building in this location would have required structural supports to prevent the Temple from falling into the deep ravine. However, no historical sources mention any such supports.
The southern view places the Holy of Holies at the site of the present Al-Kas fountain where Muslims ritually wash before entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers. This site was championed by Tel Aviv architect Tuvia Sagiv who argued that the Islamic Dome of the Rock and earlier structures revealed by an infrared survey were in fact remains of a pagan high place. This included the Western Wall (Kotel) which he said was related to the pagan structures above.
However, archaeological work at the Western Wall has now shown that it was not built by Herod the Great, but by his successors, and therefore could not have existed in a previous pagan period. In addition, construction work by the Islamic Waqf in 2006 near the Dome of the Rock revealed the remains of a wall with 8th century B.C. pottery (some pieces related to the oil industry). From this it has been deduced that this wall may have been part of the House of Oil located in the Women's Court in the First Temple. If this is so, it argues for the building of the Temple in the central rather than the southern location.
The majority of Israeli and foreign archaeologists agree that the central location (the site of the Dome of the Rock) is the best location for the ancient Temples. Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, who served as an archaeological architect during the excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount from 1968-1977, defended this location in his doctoral dissertation for Manchester University as well as in his book The Quest(Carta, Jerusalem). Support for this view also comes from the large number of cisterns situated beneath this area and from the archaeological work conducted at the southwestern and southern walls of the Temple Mount.
In the final analysis, the evidence from both history and archaeology is conclusive for the Jewish Temples having existed on the Temple Mount. For this reason, the Temple Mount will remain contested and violence will continue to escalate until God's prophetic plan for this place comes to its future fulfillment.
Inside Israel News Report August 2016
Israel at the Olympics
Israel sent 47 athletes to the Olympics in Rio. They will compete in sports like judo, wrestling, taekwondo, triple jump, swimming and rhythmic gymnastics. Israel did not win a medal at the London Olympics but hopes to bring home some medals from Rio. Two days before the start of the Olympics, the International Olympics Committee officially honored the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympics in 1972. UPDATE: Israel has won a bronze medal in judo.
Please pray for safety for all attending the Rio Olympics amidst worldwide terror threats.
Israel’s Air Force One
Prime Minister Netanyahu will be getting his own Air Force One, instead of flying chartered El Al airplanes. This presidential plane will be outfitted with secure communications systems and defense features at a cost of 270 million shekels ($70 million dollars). Previously, Israeli heads of state flew Israel’s national carrier, El Al, but the planes are now outdated and have a high fuel consumption.
Please pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu, as he travels around, establishing Israel’s business, politics, military, and friendship around the world.
Hamas Steals Charity Money
According to Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service organization, Hamas has been siphoning close to seven million dollars from charity donations given by World Vision over the past ten years. The Gaza director of World Vision, who has admitted to being a Hamas fighter, has funneled 60% of its budget to Hamas militants. The money was intended to build hospitals, schools, help in agriculture and fishing and to help those children and young families with psychological problems as well as rebuilding their homes and lives.
Please pray for due process to take place in the trial regarding the taking of this charity money and using it for war.
Prime Minister Netanyahu Makes Condolence Call
Recently, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ brother died while being treated for cancer in an Israeli hospital. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called Abbas to share his condolences, and no matters of politics were discussed. The two men have not spoken for some time, as the Middle East peace process is stalled at the moment.
Please pray for trust and conversations to be re-established between these two important men.
Express Train to the Galilee
A much-needed train from Tiberius to Tel Aviv is slated to take seven years to build, adding tunnels and bridges across the Jezreel and Sharon Valleys. This express train will take an hour to connect the Galilee with the high tech and business opportunities of Tel Aviv and make the Galilee a more attractive place to live. Currently, Israel is doing extensive transportation projects to widen the highway to Jerusalem, build a light rail system in Tel Aviv and neighboring cities, and upgrade its trains and tracks.
Please pray for safety for the workers and patience for the civilians as road works cause lots of traffic.
Renovations Underway at Chosen People Ministries New Center in Tel Aviv
Recently, ministry space was rented in the greater Tel Aviv area after a long search and contract negotiations (most landlords refuse to rent to believers in Israel). Through this space, we hope to have special community helps programs for families, children and young adults, as well as Bible studies, music and café nights and special seeker-sensitive discussions for those who have ordered Isaiah 53 Explained in Hebrew. Please pray for the quick outfitting of our space and establishing these classes.