Israel Update

October 19, 2011 


“The Lord sets the prisoners free.” Psalm 146:7

GILAD SHALIT WELCOMED HOME TO ERETZ ISRAEL AFTER 1941 DAYS IN CAPTIVITY: Thousands have prayed for his release for years, especially those of us with sons near Gilad's age. The price paid is not acceptable to many Israelis, especially those who have lost family to the terrorists who have just been released. But Gilad is home and for that we praise the G-d of Israel. (ECI) Please pray the released terrorists will not resume their murderous acts and that no further Israelis will be kidnapped. Unfortunately terrorist leaders are convinced that such tactics work.

GILAD SHALIT’S HOMECOMING AFTER FIVE YEARS AND FOUR MONTHS IN CAPTIVITY: The European Coalition, as do so many individuals and communities, rejoice with the family of Gilad Shalit who Tuesday, October 18 welcomed their son back home after being held hostage for five years and four months by the terrorist organization Hamas. Though the price of his release was very high it shows the determination of his family and the people of Israel to bring back their kidnapped son. Shalit was captured in July 2006 while patrolling the southern border of Israel by the Gaza strip. He was then held captive by Hamas for over five years in breach of international humanitarian law and with no access for the International Red Cross. Shalit who has dual Israeli and French citizenship has been supported by the French President as well as by the whole European Parliament, which last year issued a declaration in support for his release. ECI director Tomas Sandell said no other country in the world has had to pay such a high price for the release of one of their sons. There are those who may say the price of the prisoner swap was too high, but on the other hand it underlines the value of human life in Israeli society. This prisoner swap shows with all clarity the difference between the two sides. While the Israelis are celebrating the homecoming of one innocent young soldier, Hamas activists are celebrating by calling for new attacks on Israel and the taking of new captives. It will be very difficult to create a Palestinian state while these are still the realities on the ground. (ECI)

NETANYAHU: SHALIT’S RELEASE MEANS I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED MY MISSION: PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday following the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit that he had accomplished his longtime mission by setting the abducted soldier free after five years in Hamas captivity. "On this day, we are all united in both joy and pain," Netanyahu said. "Two years and a half ago, I returned to my post as prime minister and one of the most important, complex missions I found on my desk was to return Gilad Shalit home alive and well. Today that mission has been accomplished." Israel's leader emphasized the decision to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners as part of the deal that secured Shalit's release was "very very hard," but added that he had focused his efforts on returning home he who was sent into battle by the State of Israel. "I know very well that the pain of the families of the victims of terrorism is too heavy to bear," said Netanyahu. "It is difficult to see the miscreants who murdered their loved ones being released. But I also knew that in the current diplomatic circumstances, this was the best agreement we could achieve, and there was no guarantee that the conditions which enabled it to be achieved would hold in the future. It could be that Gilad would have disappeared. To my regret, such things have already happened." (Ha’aretz)

US JEWISH GROUPS’ JOY FOR SHALIT: Jewish groups in the US expressed joy at the release of Gilad Shalit. “Shalit’s safe return home demonstrates some of Israel’s most inspiring qualities: its embrace of life, its sense of community and family; its tenacity; and the great lengths to which Israel is prepared to go to fulfill its commitment to the men and women who make up its citizen army,” said a statement from the Anti-Defamation League. Jewish media outlets in New York dedicated their news coverage Tuesday to Gilad’s return home. (INN)

PERES: SHALIT’S LIFE OUTWEIGHS PRICE OF RELEASED PALESTINIAN TERRORISTS: In a meeting with bereaved families, President Shimon Peres said he understood the pain of family members over the sight of Palestinian terrorists released as part of the Gilad Shalit swap deal, adding, however, that it was his duty to save even one life. Peres' remarks came amid a campaign led by family members of those killed in terror attacks against the Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange, with some bereaved families saying the price Israel was forced to pay for the freedom of the abducted Israeli soldier was too high. (Ha’aretz) Continue to pray for the comforting of bereaved families who have lost loved ones in terrorist attacks. May God give them grace to forgive our government leaders in the face of such seeming and actual injustice.

ABBAS PRAISES NEWLY RELEASED PALESTINIAN PRISONERS: The Gaza Strip and West Bank gave a jubilant welcome on Tuesday to hundreds of Palestinians freed from Israeli prisons in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit. Fire-crackers and cheering carloads of flag-waving young men raised the noise level steadily in Gaza city as thousands converged on a central square for a mass rally with speeches scheduled by Hamas leaders and well-known terrorists just liberated in the swap mediated by Egypt. In Ramallah, thousands packed into the headquarters of the Palestinian presidency to greet prisoners released into the West Bank. President Mahmoud Abbas and Hassan Youssef, a senior member of the Hamas group, both delivered speeches in a rare show of national unity. "We thank God for your return and your safety," Abbas said, greeting the prisoners. "You are freedom fighters and holy warriors for the sake of Allah and the homeland." He also said Israel had promised him to free more prisoners following the two-stage swap. It was the first mention of such a release. "We hope soon to see Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat, as well as every prisoner freed," Abbas told the thousands of cheering supporters, referring to two high-profile prisoners who Israel had refused to release. (Ha’aretz) Pray that G-d’s justice will prevail as men and women who have brutally slaughtered hundreds of the Lord’s beloved people flaunt their escape from temporal penalties and promise more brutality.

SYRIA, QATAR, TURKEY TO TAKE DEPORTED PALESTINIAN PRISONERS: Qatar and Turkey have agreed to absorb the Palestinian prisoners who are to be deported after their release in the prisoner exchange, according to the London-based Arab daily Al-Hayat, which reported that Syria was the third state on the list. (Ha'aretz)

SEVENTY THOUSAND ATTEND PRIESTLY BLESSING AT KOTEL: Tens of thousands of people gathered on rooftops, balconies and every empty corner to watch the traditional Succot prayer at the Western Wall.  More than 70,000 people on Sunday attended what appeared to be the biggest Priestly Blessing ever seen at the Western Wall. The crowd recited both the Morning Prayer and the Musaf Prayer. Hundreds of Kohanim blessed the worshippers with the following Biblical verses: "May the Lord bless you and guard you. May the Lord make his face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up his face unto you and give you peace." The prayer was attended by Israel's Chief Rabbis, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino. The Priestly Blessing tradition was founded in 1970 during the War of Attrition by Jerusalem resident Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gafner. It has been held for over 40 years, twice a year: On Passover and Succot. (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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