Israel Update

September 7, 2011 

“Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance.” Psalm 89:15

UN REPORT SAYS GAZA BLOCKADE WAS LEGAL: A long-awaited UN report on a May 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound ship that killed nine Turks says Israel's blockade of Gaza was legal. The report by a panel of investigators also confirms Israeli commandos faced "organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers." But it said the amount of force used by the Israelis on board the Mavi Marmara was "excessive." The report said Israel's blockade of Hamas-run Gaza "was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law." (Reuters)

TURKEY EXPELS ISRAELI ENVOY, SUSPENDS MILITARY TIES OVER FLOTILLA RAID: Turkey has expelled the Israeli ambassador and is cutting military ties with Israel over the country's refusal to apologize for last year's raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. FM Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday Turkey is downgrading diplomatic ties to the level of second secretary and that the ambassador will leave Turkey by Wednesday. He also said Turkey was suspending all military agreements signed between the former allies. State officials say Israel regrets loss of life but will not apologize for its soldiers' acts of self-defense and hopes to overcome disagreements. (AP) Continue to pray that vital good relations with Israel’s former closest ally in the Middle East will be restored. Pray against radical Islamic elements that increasingly sway Turkey’s secular government towards religious extremism and hatred of Israel.  

VILNA’I WARNS MISSILE THREATS ARE NOT ABOUT TO END: Rocket attacks on southern Israel launched by Gaza-based terrorists aren't going to end anytime in the near future, warned Home Front Command chief Matan Vilna'i. Speaking at a ceremony to install 50 mobile protective bomb shelters near schools in Ofakim, Vilna'i was quoted as saying, “The missile threat is not about to end in the next two years so in addition to activity against terrorists, the Treasury should finance these protective chambers in the south.” Although Ofakim is receiving protection for children as they begin the school year, the same cannot be said for elementary schools in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council district. Although the two largest schools in the region are now fortified against missile strikes, many other schools and day care centers are not. (INN) Intercede for protection for all Israeli residents of southern communities against rocket attacks.  Pray especially for children in schools and preschool buildings who have just returned to learning activities after the summer break.  A number of these facilities have been hit by Gaza projectiles during times when they were empty.

HOMELESS FAMILIES TAKE OVER DESERTED BUILDING IN JERUSALEM: Two-month-long, massive demonstrations against the increasingly high cost of living, which includes purchase or rental of housing units, continue in Israel. Some 30 activists, including homeless families with children broke into a deserted building in Jerusalem's Kiryat HaYovel neighborhood last week. The families said they were sleeping in the building because they could not afford to rent an apartment due to the high housing prices. (Ynet)

POVERTY IS CRUEL: Many of us, even in the West where abundance is evident in widespread ways, have known the mental and emotional anxiety of what we perceive to be lean financial times, either upon us or ahead of us.  Few of us really experience the reality of being without the basic necessities of food, clothing or a roof over our heads worse yet seeing our spouses, children and loved-ones deprived of basic needs. Poverty in Israel truly means little or no food, wearing clothing that is humiliating, being packed together in small living quarters, and sometimes the tragedy of homelessness.  Few things can make human beings feel more lost and hopeless than being made to endure shame. As more than a quarter of a million protesters in Israel took to the streets in July, August and continue to do so in September, in what has come to be known as the "Israeli Summer," much of the world has learned of the high cost of living that has proved so crushing to Israel's poor and middle class. It includes mounting health care expenses, failing educational system, and other injustices. Tent Cities have risen up where young and old alike camp out in thousands as a symbol of what they see as a disenfranchised future. None of the chants and slogans we have heard came as a surprise. Every week Vision for Israel's vans personally visit families, single mothers and others desperately in need. We bring them food, clothing, household items - all the necessities to make it through the hardship they are experiencing - and we stay to hear their stories.  With your help, Vision for Israel has been assisting for many years those who have fallen through the cracks of Israeli society. Now, as the entire nation is focused on social justice, we are calling on all who have so faithfully blessed Israel to help us do even more. We are already there in the streets, classrooms, hospital rooms, and transitional facilities -- wherever Israelis are in need, Vision for Israel is there with your love. Israel is looking for solutions to their deepest fears, let's do all we can now to communicate to them that they are not alone.  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“Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name.”  Ps 74:21

TOP SYRIAN OFFICIAL QUITS TO PROTEST CRACKDOWN: Syrian forces raided houses in Hama on Thursday hours after the city's attorney general declared on YouTube he had resigned in protest against the suppression of street protests. Five months of opposition have failed to unseat President Bashar al-Assad, who retains the loyalty of the core of his armed forces. But demonstrators have been encouraged by the fall of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and rising international pressure on Syria, including a planned EU embargo on the oil industry, which would disrupt a vital source of income. Residents of Hama said security police raided houses overnight in the al-Sabouniya and al-Marabet districts, after troops backed by tanks arrested dozens in two other neighborhoods of the city the night before. Security forces killed at least six protesters when they fired at demonstrations that swelled across Syria on the first Friday after the month-long Ramadan fasting period. Numbers of protesters killed continued to mount over the weekend. (Reuters/Ynet)

EGYPTIAN SECURITY FAILURES IN SINAI RETURN TO HAUNT HOTELIERS: Egypt's failure to clamp down on terrorism in Sinai, an ongoing failure that led to last month's terror attacks in the Eilat area, has badly hurt Egyptian hoteliers and tourist site operators in Sinai. Hotels in Sinai are largely empty because of cancellations by Israeli Arabs, who normally flock to Sinai for family vacations. Sinai hotel operators said they had also seen cancellations by tourists from Jordan and other Arab countries after the terror attacks in which eight Israelis were killed. (INN)

ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTS DISRUPT ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC CONCERT IN LONDON: Protesters disrupted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's BBC concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on Thursday. BBC Radio 3 interrupted its live broadcast twice "as a result of sustained audience disturbance." Music reviewer Igor Toronyi-Lalic said: "The whole hall was groaning and trying to slow clap them out. It had the atmosphere of a riot."  (BBC News)

ISRAEL’S NEW BEST FRIEND IN AFRICA: South Sudan has only existed as a country for a little over two months. But the fledgling nation has clearly marked itself as a friend of the Jewish state. During a visit to South Sudan by Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said he was recently approached by Hamas and told he must sever all ties to Israel because Sudan is an Arab state. After reminding the Hamas leaders that South Sudan, unlike its northern neighbor, is not an Arab state, Kiir pointed out there are Israeli embassies in Arab countries like Egypt and Jordan. Rather than cut ties with Israel, Kiir said his country intends to strengthen its relations with the Jewish state. (Israel Today/Ryan Jones)

CONSTRUCTION IN JUDEA AND SAMARIA UP A WHOPPING 660%:  With the end of the building freeze, construction has started up in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) communities. The Central Bureau of Statistics reports building jumped 660% in Judea and Samaria during the first half of 2011, as compared to a year before. While the statistics are breathtaking, the actual numbers on the ground are less impressive: Construction started on 546 new homes in Yesha communities during that period. Still, it was a sharp improvement over the number of housing starts in the first half of 2010, when only 72 housing starts were announced. Officials of the Yesha Council said they were pleased with the increase, but that clearly many more new homes were needed. (Arutz-7)

Blessings from Israel 

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff 

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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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