Israel Update

July 27, 2011 

“Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns; the world also is firmly established, it shall not be moved. He shall judge the peoples righteously.’” Ps 96:10

YESHUA’S BAPTISMAL SITE IN JORDAN VALLEY REOPENS TO PILGRIMS: The Jordan Valley site where Christians believe Yeshua was baptized was reopened to the public last week, in a ceremony hosted by Minister Silvan Shalom. The site is one of the holiest in Christianity. As speeches were being made in the 40-degree Celsius weather, hundreds of guests viewed the Jordan River, where believers are still baptized. The re-opening of Qasr al-Yahud is indeed a celebration for Christians. Yeshua’s baptism by John the Baptist symbolizes the beginning of Yeshua's public ministry. (Ha’aretz)

ISRAEL TO BUILD SECOND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT NORTH OF EILAT: The cabinet this week approved the construction of a second international airport to be located just north of the southern city of Eilat. The planned airport in Timna will replace the city's old local airport. The construction is estimated to take three years. The government expects the airport to "promote the economic progress of the city." (Ha’aretz)

ANCIENT BELL FOUND IN JERUSALEM OLD CITY SEWER: A tiny golden bell was recently pulled after 2,000 years from an ancient sewer beneath the Old City of Jerusalem. Israeli archaeologists, have hailed it as a rare find. The orb half an inch in diameter has a small loop that appears to have been used to sew it as an ornament onto the clothes of a wealthy resident of the city two millennia ago. When Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority shook it, the faint metallic sound was something between a clink and a rattle. Shukron said it was the only such bell to be found in Jerusalem from the Second Temple period, and as such was a "very rare" find. The Second Temple stood from about 515 B.C. until A.D. 70. The biblical Book of Exodus mentions tiny golden bells sewn onto the hem of the robes of Temple priests, along with decorative pomegranates priestly garment. (AP)  “And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around.”  Exod 28:33

NEW HOPE FOR CANCER THERAPY: Researchers in Israel may have found a way to make cancer therapy better and yet also less expensive. One of the latest attempts to boost the body’s defenses against cancer is called adoptive cell transfer, in which patients receive a therapeutic injection of their own immune cells. This therapy has its limitations: Removing immune cells from a patient and growing them outside the body for future re-injection is expensive and not always technically feasible. Weizmann Institute scientists have now tested in mice a new form of adoptive cell transfer which overcomes these limitations while enhancing the tumor-fighting ability of the transferred cells. The new approach should be more readily applicable than existing adoptive cell transfer treatments, because it relies on a donor pool of immune T cells that can be prepared in advance, rather than on the patient’s own cells. (INN)

ALARMING POVERTY RATE UP IN ISRAEL: Today we are faced with alarming poverty statistics in Israel:  Some 46% of the people living under the official poverty line are working poor. These are hardworking individuals who do not earn enough to make ends meet and who have to make choices between food and medicine. "Globes" reported Tuesday July 12th, 2011 regarding the cost of living in Israel that the Israeli consumer pays almost two to three times as much as others around the world in monthly expenditures while salaries are considerably lower compared with the rest of the world. The cost of living in Israel has appeared in the headlines, but it is not just a matter of grocery store costs: in many sectors, from telecommunications to automobiles, Israel pays much higher prices compared with other countries. If you take into account the average salary of an Israeli compared with those who live across the ocean, the picture is bleak: the average salary in America is about $3800 a month, and in the large cities about $5000 a month. Data from the EU show the average salary in Britain is about $4500. In Israel the average monthly salary is only $2500. The difficulty in making ends meet is felt heavily in all aspects of the family budget. Fuel, an essential commodity costs twice as much as in the US. The price of gasoline in Israel, as recently reported in "Globes," is one of the highest in the world. (Globes)  We at Vision for Israel thank you, our faithful donors and volunteers on behalf of over 400,000 people, 148,000 needy children, hundreds of families of terrorist victims, and thousands of elderly in nursing homes and medical centers who have been helped by Vision for Israel. You have made it possible for Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse to reach so many people and now even to expand our operations beyond our borders. Thank you to each and every one of you, you are all amazing people. Though we cannot fill all the gaps in Israel’s aid to the poor, with your assistance we can continue to make a vital impact to help alleviate the suffering. Your donations are needed and welcomed at Make your online donations today. For residents in the UK and outside North America visit our website at

ISRAEL LOOKING INTO REVOKING OSLO ACCORDS IN RESPONSE TO PALESTINIAN UN BID: A team headed by National Security Adviser Ya'akov Amidror is looking into calling off the Oslo Accords in response to the Palestinian Authority's unilateral plan to gain UN recognition for an independent state.  The resolution will call on the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders as a full UN member. The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO were struck between 1993 and 1995, and are the legal framework for the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in matters including security, economy and infrastructure. Doing away with the accords would require reexamining key issues, primarily the status of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. (Ha’aretz) A return to pre-1967 borders would mean that Israel would be just nine miles wide in the middle of the country - nine miles from the Mediterranean Sea to the border with a Palestinian state! Jerusalem would again be divided and Israel would be forced to withdraw from the Old City, losing sacred ancient holy sites such as the Western Wall. Additionally, some 300,000 Israelis live in the 121 officially-recognized settlements in the West Bank, while 200,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem. These Jewish communities include houses, schools, government buildings, shopping centers and business. Outrageous Palestinian hopes and demands are that Israelis will be forced to walk away from these thriving towns and neighborhoods and turn them over to their enemies. Please pray fervently that the Palestinian Authority's plan to gain UN recognition for an independent state at Israel’s expense will be utterly rejected in the September UN vote.

ISRAEL SEEKS TO STRIP CONVICTED TERRORISTS’ FAMILIES OF STATE BENEFITS: The Ministerial Committee for Legislation this week approved a bill calling to strip convicted terrorists and their families of allowances paid by the state, such as pension and welfare. Under the proposed law, the government will revoke the allowances of those who had been convicted of terror acts against the State of Israel. The allowances include state benefits such as pension and welfare, but do not include any benefits that could harm children or minors. (Ha’aretz)  “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.”  Gen 12:3

ADULTS AND CHILDREN STILL DEALING WITH POST TRAUMA IN SDEROT: Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War recently presented the findings of new research regarding the situation in Sderot today, following ten years of continued rocket fire and the 2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. While fewer rockets seem to be falling, residents are still dealing with the psychological effects of the continuous attacks, as NATAL’s Executive Director Orly Gal explained.  Gal said one in three adults in Sderot suffers from symptoms of post trauma along with 71% of the children in Sderot. “Kids who were born into these attacks, which can come during the day or during the night, go to sleep with their shoes on”, said Gal. “They want to sleep in their parents’ bed. They go into the shower with bathing suits on so that if a siren goes off they can immediately run into the shelter. It’s unbelievable to hear these stories.” (INN)  Pray for the emotional healing of adults and children in Sderot who have lived through years of rocket fire from Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

DESPITE HAMAS: ISRAEL BOOSTS GAZA EXPORTS: Despite terrorist attacks on Israeli farming communities, and the ongoing captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Israel has continued a program to help Gaza farmers improve their crops this year. The program aims to help farmers keep their foothold in the European market, and is part of a series of steps aimed at improving Gaza's economy. IDF officials were involved in the most recent attempt to improve Gaza produce in a meeting between an expert on strawberry farming and local exporters. The expert went through the entire production process, with a focus on the proper use of fertilizer and pesticides. Care for the strawberries after the harvest was also stressed, because, as one official explained, “this is a particularly sensitive product with a fragile shelf life.” The expert's talk followed a year of less-than-successful Gaza exports. (INN)

ERDOGAN TRIES TO EXTORT ISRAEL, AGAIN: Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considering downgrading diplomatic relations with Israel.  Erdogan said he would downgrade the level of Turkey's diplomatic staff in Israel if Israel continues to refuse to apologize for the deaths of 9 Turkish nationals aboard the Mavi Marmara during the 2010 Gaza Flotilla. The nine Turks were killed by Israeli forces when they attempted to lynch members of Israel's naval commando, when they boarded the Mavi Marmara in accordance with international maritime law. Israel has said it will only express regret for the loss of life. (INN)

FRANCE TO BUY ISRAELI-MADE DRONES: The French Defense Ministry days ago decided to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel, 42 years after French President Charles de Gaulle placed an embargo on weapons sales to Israel. The approved sale of the Eitan, will be the first time the drone is sold to a foreign country. The Eitan is the largest and most sophisticated drone made in Israel. It is capable of carrying out reconnaissance and intelligence missions in an altitude of up to 40,000 feet, and can remain airborne 36 hours. Eitan's large size allows it to carry a variety of equipment such as radars, sensors and camera, and, theoretically, missiles. (Ha’aretz)

Blessings from Israel 

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff 


As international speakers and messengers of the Good News through music, Barry and Batya Segal are at the forefront of what God is doing in the present day nation of Israel. With strong ties in both the nations and Jerusalem, the Segals are weaving the deepest roots of our biblical heritage together with the fresh Spirit-filled worship of today to create their rich harmony of Scripture and song.

The Segals have a vast vision for God's purposes in the nations and to the people of Israel. In fact, their longing to help rebuild Israel both spiritually and physically inspired them to pioneer the non-profit charity organization, Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse. This arm of their ministry focuses on assisting the poor and needy, widows and orphans, and reaching out to the new Jewish immigrants coming into the land of Israel. Vision 's most challenging project to date is "The Joseph StorehouseŽ", humanitarian aid center, located in the hills of Jerusalem. The Joseph Storehouse functions as a channel of blessing to all of Israel, Jewish and Arab, through the gathering and distribution of emergency medical supplies, food, clothing, and other basic life necessities. USA office contact info: Vision for Israel, PO Box 7743, Charlotte NC 28241, 866-351-0075. The Segal's web site is


Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.    


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