Israel-Syria Border Tensions ‘More Explosive’

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The two-year civil war in Syria has often threatened to spill across the borders into other nations. This week that threat moved even closer to reality as Syrian troops (intelligence reports indicate these were government troops rather than rebels) fired on an IDF patrol jeep near the Golan border. Syria claims to have attacked the jeep inside their territory, but Israel insists the jeep was on Israeli land. Israel responded to the attack with a missile that destroyed the stronghold from which the shots were fired.

In a bluntly worded statement, Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz said, “Israel cannot allow the Golan Heights area to become a comfortable space for Assad to operate from. If he causes [the situation on] the Golan Heights to deteriorate, he will have to bear the consequences.” One reporter described the situation as “more explosive” than anything seen in recent years. (more…)

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Working Poor in Israel Struggling to Get By

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A new economic report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveals how difficult life has become for the working poor of Israel. Unemployment is a widespread problem that has left many in poverty, but even many of those who do have jobs are struggling to get by. According to the study, one quarter of those who are working are “low income”—trying to provide their needs on the equivalent of about $300 per week. As a result, poverty and hunger continue to grow among the People of Israel.

The economic hardship in the Jewish State is partly the result of the government’s intense focus on defending against current and future attacks, and partly the impact of worldwide economic boycotts being promoted by Palestinian groups and their supporters. Though the economy of Israel is in better shape than that of many of its neighbors, there is still a serious problem with providing the social and humanitarian needs of the people.

Our goal is to step into this gap and help meet these needs so that we can minister the Gospel of Yeshua to the Jewish People. Jewish Voice has partnered with more than two dozen ministries on the ground in Israel that are working on the front lines to provide urgently needed help to the poor, sick, and forgotten.

Truly this is what Yeshua did as He walked through Israel—reaching out to help those in need and proclaiming the Good News. Your prayers and financial support make it possible for us to continue His work in our day.

I am asking you today to pray especially for the safety of the People of Israel. There are many threats in the news and others which are not getting attention, but are nonetheless very real. This is an extremely dangerous time for the Jewish People and they need our prayers. Thank you for being part of the work of Jewish Voice as we reach out to the Jewish People in the name of Yeshua. God bless you.

Jewish Voice Ministries International

U.S. Pressuring Israel to Release Palestinian Terrorists From Prison in ‘Goodwill Gesture’

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Members of the Israeli Knesset are reacting with dismay to the pressure from the United States to release a number of Palestinian terrorists convicted of attacking and in some cases killing Jewish People as a “goodwill gesture” to promote the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. Secretary of State John Kerry followed the recent visit by President Obama to Israel with a round of diplomacy aimed at restarting the stalled peace process.

Among those the United States listed for release are the terrorists who killed Rachel Weiss and her three children, Ephraim, Netanel, and Raphael, in 1993 by burning them to death, as well as soldier David Delarosa, who tried to save them. Knesset Member Orit Struk said, “The demand is shocking . . . not just because of the danger that these terrorists will return to terrorist activity once they are released, but the release of terrorists is an energizing shot of encouragement to terror and terrorists.” (more…)

Honor for a Murderous Terrorist

According to a report in the Times of Israel, the French city of St. Denis yesterday hosted a ceremony to honor a number of Palestinian terrorists. The event was organized by the National Collective for Just and Viable Peace between Palestinians and Israelis, a group known by its French acronym, CNPJDPI.

Among those being honored was Allam Kaabi, of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).  Kaabi was instrumental in planning and carrying out the 2001 assassination of Israel’s tourism minister, Rehavam Ze’evi. Kaabi was released as part of the prisoner exchange that freed captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Kaabi and the other speakers were described as “recently released prisoners” in the promotional material for the event. (more…)

President Obama Goes to Israel Next Week

703346_10151355490224532_1208902426_oNext week President Obama makes his first trip to Israel since he was elected president. He will meet with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders on this trip, as well as visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, the Shrine of the Book (home of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and speak to college students in Jerusalem. This is a crucial trip as relations between the U.S. and Israel have been strained in recent years.

President Obama is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israeli President Shimon Peres, and may also meet with opposition leaders in Israel’s Knesset. Mr. Obama will also hold talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Though some early rumors had suggested that the president would unveil a wide-ranging peace initiative, White House aides have been lowering expectations regarding any major announcements being made on this visit. (more…)

Political Turmoil Continues as No New Israeli Government Formed

Photo by Andy Frank

Photo by Andy Frank from the 2012 Jewish Voice Israel Tour.

January’s elections in Israel produced a sharply divided government. With eleven different political parties having seats in the new 120-member Knesset, reaching a majority coalition is proving to be extremely difficult. The deadline for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who received the most votes for Prime Minister even though his party saw a steep decline in representation in the Knesset, to form a new government is next week—March 15. So far he has been unable to put together a program that will attract enough members to reach a majority.

If the government cannot be formed by a week from tomorrow, Netanyahu can petition President Shimon Peres for additional time. Peres also would have the option of giving one of the other party leaders—most likely Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party got the second highest vote total in the new Knesset—a chance. Lapid is some distance to the left of Netanyahu on economic and security issues, and it is unclear what type of coalition he would lead and how that government would function. (more…)

President Obama Sets First Visit to Israel

703374_10151354792369532_756212979_oAs Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to struggle to try to form a new governing coalition after Israel’s elections last month left the Knesset sharply divided, Mr. Obama has announced his first visit to the Jewish state as U.S. President. The March visit is expected to continue a second term push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The President is expected to also meet with Palestinian leaders, and continue his call for Jerusalem to be divided with the Palestinian portion to serve as the capital of the new state he wants to see established for them.

Mr. Netanyahu has until March 15 to form a new government, but so far little progress has been made toward establishing a governing majority. Different groups have stated conflicting demands, and it is going to be very difficult for the current prime minister or any other political figure to build a lasting government given the election results.

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