Israel Update

October 16, 2011 


“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance….” Ecclesiastes 3:4

NATURE-LOVERS SWARM PARKS AND FORESTS FOR SUCCOT HOLIDAY: National parks, nature reserves and forests around the country attracted thousands of visitors on the first day of the Succot holiday Thursday. The park authority reported some 50,000 people made their way to national parks and nature reserves where an admission fee is charged, in addition to another 100,000 people who visited sites where admission is free. The most popular destinations were the Caesarea and Yarkon national parks and the hanging bridge at Banias, in the Golan Heights. The park service expects its sites to attract a total of a million people in the intermediate days of the holiday. (Ha’aretz)

ISRAELI GYMNAST WINS BRONZE AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Israeli gymnast Alexander Shatilov won a bronze medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Tokyo Saturday morning, securing a place at the London Olympics in 2012. Shatilov is Israel's leading male gymnast. (Ha’aretz)

SHALIT TRANSFERRED TO EGYPT: Hamas has reportedly moved captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit into Egypt pursuant to the deal brokered with Israel for his release. Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas six years ago, has been held in captivity as a bargaining chip for the release of terrorists from Israeli jails. He expected to be handed over to Israel as soon as the prisoner exchange begins on Tuesday. His alleged transfer comes on the heels of the government of Binyamin Netanyahu agreeing to release 1,027 prisoners – including some 450 terrorists – from Israeli prisons. Among those to be released are terrorists with soldiers’ blood on their hands and the Sbarro murderess. Hamas has hailed the deal as a victory over Israel and proof kidnapping is a working tactic for the organization – promising more kidnappings and that the freed terrorists would return to haunt Israel in the future. While Shalit’s release has been met with jubilant celebrations from his family and the mainstream Israeli media, the terms have drawn sharp criticism from a broad spectrum including the families of terror victims, soldiers involved in counter-terror operations, nationalist politicians, and security officials who predict the move will result in spilled Israeli blood. Earlier this week Shin Bet Security chief Yoram Cohen described the deal as “tough and difficult,” noting 28 confirmed murderers were among the terrorists being released. (INN)  “A time to tear and a time to mend….” Eccles 3:7  

SURVEY REVEALS 69% OF ISRAELIS SUPPORT SCHALIT DEAL: According to Channel 10 poll, most Israelis back the recent prisoner exchange agreement, despite fact that 62% believe releasing Palestinian prisoners will worsen security. A great majority of the Israeli public supports the agreement signed with Hamas, by which kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit will be returned to Israel in exchange for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Some 69% of Israelis support the deal for Schalit, despite the fact a number of terrorists with blood on their hands stand to be released as part of the transaction. (J.Post)

THE PRISONER EXCHANGE – INITIAL REPORT: Information about the first 450 Palestinian terrorists to be freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit: Some110 will be released to Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. Half will be subject to security restrictions. Among them are 57 Hamas terrorist operatives. During negotiations the final number of terrorists released to Judea and Samaria was reduced from 200 to 110. Most of the 6 Israeli Arabs to return to their homes have already served long sentences or are no longer young. Twenty five of the 27 women terrorists will be permitted to return to their homes. Two will be deported: Amna Muna, responsible for the seduction, abduction and murder of Israeli teenager Ofir Rahum, 16, whom she met on the Internet in 2001, and Ahlam Tamimi, who drove the suicide bomber who blew himself up at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001 in an attack that killed 15 people. Among those to be released in the first stage are 279 prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)

TERRORIST WHO MURDERED MORE THAN 100 JEWS ON RELEASE LIST: The Ministry of Justice is set to publish the list of names of terror prisoners who will be released in the first part of the Shalit deal. Families of people murdered by the terrorists will have 48 hours to file motions against the release. The High Court is expected to reject the appeals, however. Among the murderers that will be released is Hussam Badran, former commander of Hamas in Samaria. He was responsible for massacres at the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium, Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, Matza Restaurant in Haifa and the Park Hotel in Netanya. Badran has as much Jewish blood on his hands as some of the Nazi criminals who were put on trial after the Holocaust. Another terrorist on the list was in charge of attacks in which a total of 22 Israelis were murdered. A terrorist who caused the number 405 Egged bus to veer off course and plunge into a deep ravine next to Highway 1, killing 16, is to be liberated. The driver of a bus who purposely ran down a group of soldiers at Azour, killing seven soldiers and a civilian woman and maiming others, will be freed. Also on the list is one of the terrorists who murdered Yossi Shok near Beit Haggai, and a terrorist who admitted to murdering youths Ronen Kermani and Lior Tubul as well as taxi driver Rafi Doron. He was also involved in the murder of a soldier, Yehoshua Friedberg. Another terrorist to gain freedom murdered yeshiva student Haim Kerman. One of the terrorists involved in capturing and murdering soldier Nachshon Waxman will go free as well. (INN) Once again, the conflicts and mixed feelings of joy and anger being experienced by most Israelis regarding the release of Gilad Shalit is a critical matter for prayer.  Prayers are needed for the comforting of those who lost family members and friends at the hands of terrorists now scheduled for release in exchange for Shalit.  Pray also that Palestinian prisoners, so many of them murderers, will not return to terrorist activities if freed. 

DEATH TOLL IN SYRIA PROTEST CRACKDOWN EXCEEDS 3,000: The UN’s top human rights official called on Friday for international action to protect Syria's civilians, saying its "ruthless repression" of anti-government protesters could drive the country into full-blown civil war. The death toll in the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations that began in March against President Bashar Assad now exceeds 3,000, including at least 187 children, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.  At least 100 people had been killed in the last 10 days alone. The US and Europe have imposed  sanctions on Syrian oil exports and several businesses, and pushed - so far in vain - for UN sanctions. Thousands had been injured and arrested by Syrian forces, including many tortured in custody, Pillay said. "Family members inside and outside the country have been targeted for harassment, intimidation, threats and beatings." (Ha’aretz)

OBAMA SAYS FACTS SUPPORT ACCUSATION OF IRANIAN PLOT: US President Obama said late last week he would push for what he called the "toughest sanctions" against Iran. He claimed the US had strong evidence Iranian officials were complicit in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US. Obama insisted American officials know that he - the alleged Iranian-American perpetrator - had direct links, was paid by, and directed by individuals in the Iranian government. Obama promised to "apply the toughest sanctions and continue to mobilize the international community to make sure that Iran is further and further isolated and pays a price for this kind of behavior." (NY Times)

EGYPT’S MILITARY RULERS APPROVE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW: Egypt's military rulers approved Saturday a law, punishing discriminatory offenses with a minimum jail term of three months. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, language or ideology, according to the report. Offenders also face fines of up to 100,000 Egyptian pounds (16,600 dollars).The move comes a week after dozens of people were killed in clashes between army forces and mostly Christian protesters in central Cairo. The clashes raised fears about sectarian tensions in the predominantly Muslim country. (Ha’aretz)  Pray this new law will be rigidly enforced and Christians in Egypt enabled to live in their own country without fear and further violent persecution.


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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