Israel Update

October 12, 2011 

“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zechariah 14:16

SUCCOT 2011 BEGINS: The Middle Eastern heat cools into balmy autumn days with the hope for abundant rains to soon begin. Market places across Israel are fragrant with harvest fruits. They display tables of the Four Species to be used in Succot celebrations and are buzzing with last minute activity as Israelis prepare for the most joyous holiday on the Jewish calendar. Succot begins this year at sundown on Wed, October 12. Throughout the Land families have built succahs (huts) with a roof covering of branches. Children have made and hung decorations inside these temporary dwelling places. For seven days and nights, families and guests will eat their meals in the succah and otherwise regard it as their home. This is to commemorate the forty years traversed in the Sinai Desert prior to entering the Holy Land during which Moses and the children of Israel dwelled in tents. Succot events will take place day and night throughout Jerusalem and in other parts of Israel. Staff members at Vision for Israel & The Joseph Storehouse send their warmest greetings to friends near and far at this happy time. If you haven’t been able to join us for the 2011 Succot Celebration in Jerusalem, there’s still time to celebrate with us in the U.K. Details are outlined below. We hope to see you there.

ISRAEL, HAMAS REACH DEAL ON GILAD SHALIT: Israeli officials, including PM Benjamin Netanyahu, announced Tuesday evening they had concluded a prisoner exchange deal with the terrorist group Hamas that should see abducted soldier Gilad Shalit returned to his family within days. Details regarding the deal were thin at press time, but Hamas officials in Gaza suggested the agreed upon terms were somewhat different than previous proposals, and that the deal may include the release of jailed Israeli Arab terrorists. Many Israeli government ministers have been opposed to a deal for Shalit's release that includes setting free convicted terrorist killers. The Palestinian beneficiaries of past prisoner exchanges have gone on to kill hundreds more Israelis. Netanyahu was reportedly meeting with members of his cabinet on Tuesday evening to make sure a majority of them vote in favor of the Shalit deal. If it passes the Israeli cabinet, and if Hamas holds up its end of the bargain (the group is notorious for increasing demands at the last minute), Shalit could be home with his family by the weekend. (Israel Today/Ryan Jones) Much prayer for wisdom is needed for Israel’s leaders in this extremely complicated and heart-wrenching situation in which a beloved son of Israel has remained captive in the hands of Hamas terrorists for a number of years.  While the actuality of his soon liberation would be a gift to his family, friends and the entire nation, the price being demanded by Hamas terrorists for Shalit’s release could place hundreds of other Israeli lives at risk. Shalit was abducted and two fellow soldiers were killed by Hamas terrorists in a brash raid into southern Israel on June 25, 2006.

BUSINESS BOOMING FOR SUCCOT FOUR SPECIES TRADERS: As Succot approaches, the thoughts of Jewish people turn to palm fronds (lulavim), citrons (etrogim), myrtle branches (hadassim) and willow branches (aravot), in order to perform one of the key obligations of the Succot festival: the taking and shaking of the Four Species, or Arba Minim. Despite much concern, the great lulav shortage of 2011 has not transpired, and that’s the official word from the professionals on the street. Despite a ban imposed this year by Egyptian authorities on the export of lulavim, the streets of Jerusalem are awash with palm branches and trade is brisk. What is in short supply are hadassim, the three fragrant myrtle branches used as part of the Four Species ritual. The availability of the highest quality myrtle branches is low this year and they are selling for as much as 120 shekels (about $32) - far more than usual. (J.Post)

JERUSALEM MARCH 2011: Starting from 15:00, on October 18 this festive parade will curl through the main streets of Jerusalem, from King George, through Agron and King David. It will end at Sacher Park at 17:00. The annual march which takes place during the holiday of Succot attracts thousands of visitors from all over the country and the nations. Many of the participants are believers in Yeshua who wear national costumes and wave colorful flags or banners to show their love and support for the people of Israel. Join this festive parade in the spirit of the holiday and enjoy a great time and beautiful scenery along the route. (Janglo) “God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of the trumpets. Ps 47:5

SEPTEMBER’S RECORD-BREAKING TOURISM TO ISRAEL: Despite the geopolitical situation in the region, the Ministry of Tourism has succeeded in its marketing efforts. With increased and targeted activities, and a larger budget, demand for tourism to Israel has increased. Some 284,000 visitors arrived in Israel in September 2011 – a 5% increase from the same time last year and a 7% increase from September 2008. This is an all-time record. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, of the visitors who entered Israel in September, 229,000 were tourists who had planned a long-term stay, which is an 11% increase compared to the same time last year and an all-time record for tourism in September. (Janglo)

MOVING TO ISRAEL NOW CONSIDERED A GOOD CAREER MOVE: Two years ago, Gil Margulis was in a difficult place emotionally and geographically. His New York life was losing its sparkle, especially after the financial crisis killed his company. His solution: immigration. As a citizen of the start-up nation, he would rejuvenate his career by plugging into Israel’s robust economy. “Economies elsewhere are sputtering, and Israel is booming. You feel that dynamism, you feel that energy. It’s happening,” said Margulis, 42, who is starting what he calls a mobile content company. Protesters frustrated with Israel’s high cost of living and widening wage gap have covered the land this summer and autumn. Outside the tent cities newcomers are hustling in a country that has become a latter-day land of opportunity. Even their recent predecessors placed more emphasis on homeland and religion as a reason for making the move to Israel, said Chaim Waxman, a Rutgers University professor who conducts research on aliyah. This new breed of olim loves Zion, and their careers, too. In 2010, nearly 4,000 North Americans made aliyah, more than any year since 1973, said Jewish Agency spokesman Barry Spielman. He sees the increasing prominence of economic motivations, especially in the higher numbers of young immigrants. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of olim aged 20 to 39 has grown a percentage point each year, to 42% from 38%. Aliyah is also on the rise from Western Europe. (The Jewish Week)  “I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.” Zech 8:8

ISRAELI UNIVERSITY VOTED BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO WORK: Israel's Weizmann Institute has once again been singled out by The Scientist as one of the best places in the world for academics. This is the sort of distinction, multiplied manifold, that recently earned the Weizmann accolades from The Scientist magazine as "best place to work in academia" outside the United States. The institute consistently appears among the top five international (non-US) institutions, and has been ranked first twice before. Since the Weizmann has no undergraduates, most professors have a light teaching load and can devote much of their time to their research. It has been tagged as a true haven for young scientists.  (21C)

DID YOU KNOW: October 9, 2011 - An Israeli company has invented a non-toxic, plant-based solution to keep insect infestation out of food packaging and distribution warehouses? (21C)

ISRAEL CASH ENTICING HOLLYWOOD TO FILM IN JERUSALEM: Israel is fed up with Hollywood’s duplicating Jerusalem in other countries for movie sites and is offering filmmakers cash incentives. The fear of terror has proven too great for most Hollywood filmmakers to take advantage of ancient and modern Jerusalem, as well as other popular spots such as Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea, despite a three-year-old law offering insurance for terror attacks. The 2008 law was too complicated to be of practical use. The Jerusalem Film Fund was set up at the same time to attract Hollywood but has not been able to overcome the constant fear that a terrorist attack would explode in film stars’ faces. The Fund’s director Yoram Honig said, "It's absurd. Movies set in Jerusalem are filmed in Malta, Morocco and Greece. If they think it's expensive and dangerous, they won't want to come." Jerusalem now is adding cash incentives so that millions of movie-goers around the world will be able to see the real Jerusalem, possibly encouraging them to visit. (INN)

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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