Israel Update

December 22, 2011 


“Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.” Psalm 68:24

ISRAEL EASES SECURITY RESTRICTIONS FOR HOLIDAY SEASON: Israel began to ease security restrictions Monday in its annual holiday tradition of expanding authorizations of visitor permits for border crossings with the Palestinian Authority. Both the number and type of permits are being increased for the holiday season. The decision was made by IDF officials, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz who met to discuss "trust-building measures" to improve the quality of life for PA Arab residents. Permits are being provided for Christian PA Arabs from the Judea and Samaria regions to visit Israel during the entire season, with no limitations on age. Permits will also be allocated for Christians from Arab nations to visit in the Judea and Samaria region during the holidays, the IDF Spokesman said. The holiday period, which began Monday, December 19, will extend to January 20, 2012. (Arutz-7) Pray for the protection and peace of all Israeli residents and visitors during the holiday season. 

NETANYAHU CRITICIZES ABBAS FOR MEETING PALESTINIAN TERRORIST FREED IN SHALIT DEAL: As some of Israel’s top government officials gathered to discuss and implement "trust-building measures" to improve the quality of life for PA Arab residents, PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas was visiting Turkey. His mission there was to engage in warm get-togethers with freed terrorist murderer, Amna Muna, and other former Palestinian prisoners. PM Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Abbas for meeting with Muna this week. The terrorist killer, who was sent to Turkey during the first stage of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange swap with Hamas, was serving a life sentence for her part in the murder of Ofir Rahum, an Israeli teen from Ashkelon. She was meant to go to the Gaza Strip, but refused to enter the territory - apparently because she is a secular Muslim. On Wednesday Abbas met Muna in private after holding a group meeting with the rest of the Palestinians deported to Turkey in the Shalit deal. In response, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement later that day, saying it was “shocking to see the man who claims to the whole world that he aims for peace with Israel, going as far as Turkey to meet a despicable murderer.” (Arutz-7) Pray the hypocrisy of Israel’s pretend peace-partner, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, will continue to be manifested for all the nations to behold.

GULF STATES RALLY AROUND SAUDI CALL FOR “UNION”: Gulf Arab leaders Tuesday rallied behind Saudi King Abdullah’s call to form a “single entity” in their ongoing move to create a bulwark against their increasingly aggressive rival Iran. King Abdullah said the security of Saudi Arabia and its Arab neighbors was being targeted and called on Gulf Arab states to “move beyond the stage of cooperation and into the stage of unity as a single entity.” The six-member GCC, holding its highest-level meeting since a wave of protests swept the Arab world this year, pledged closer military and security integration in a final statement read out on Saudi state television. They agreed to adopt King Abdullah’s suggestion of moving from cooperation to union. (INN)

EXPERT: IRAN WILL PRODUCE FIVE NUKES AT FIRST: Iran will be able to produce a first core for a nuclear bomb in about one year’s times, according to Dr. Efraim Askolai, a former member of the Israeli Atomic Energy Committee. Askolai's estimate lines up with similar ones made recently by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Askolai said Iran will be able to produce up to five nuclear bombs at first. For this, it will utilize the secret plant it built near Qom, which he described as "a smoking gun" that proved its intentions to produce a weapon. He said Iran wants to reach a point where it can produce a bomb at short notice. It will then be able to enrich uranium to a 90% level in a short time and carry out a nuclear explosion. “Sanctions that have been applied to Iran cannot delay Iran's nuclear program,” he stated. (INN) “Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations….Scatter the nations who delight in war.” Psalm 68.30

IRAN FEARS CYBER-ATTACK, MOVES GOVERNMENT WEBSITES: Iran has moved most of its government websites from foreign-based hosting companies to new computer facilities inside the country to protect them against cyber-attacks. Ali Hakim Javadi, who serves as Iran’s deputy minister for communications and information technology said the move was a vital one for protecting governmental information. He added that more than 30,000 Iranian websites belonging to ministries and other government bodies had until recently been hosted by companies in North America and other countries. He claimed “the data could have been exposed to constant danger at any moment.” The new security arrangements come a year after the powerful Stuxnet computer virus attacked computers at Iran’s nuclear reactor in Bushehr. After Stuxnet targeted Iran’s nuclear facilities and other industrial sites, the Islamic Republic acknowledged it had affected a limited number of centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment facility in the central city of Natanz. However, it claimed its scientists discovered and neutralized the malware before it could cause serious damage. In April, Iran said its nuclear program had once again been attacked, this time by a different computer virus called Stars. Most recently, the Islamic Republic said it had detected Duqu, a computer virus that experts say is based on Stuxnet. The Stuxnet attack is widely believed to have been an Israeli cyber-attack, but Israel has not admitted it. One computer expert said Iran’s latest measure would have only limited impact since the sites can be hacked from any corner of the world. (Reuters)

FIRE AT IRANIAN REFINERY PROMPTS ANOTHER EMERGENCY IN RECENT CHAIN OF MISHAPS: Witnesses reported seeing flames and thick smoke covering the area of the Isfahan oil refinery, the second largest in Iran, in the latest of a string of mysterious mishaps during the past few months. A power outage took place as a result, and a state of emergency was declared at the refinery, according to the Iranian Mehr news agency. The report stated that workers burned off the excess oil and gas in pipes to prevent a blast in the site. Traffic to the area was blocked and all phone lines were disconnected to prevent an explosion. Iran ranks second in the world in work accidents. Last week a blast at a steel factory in Yazd left at least 18 dead. (Ynet)

FINANCIAL FEARS ADD TO IRAN’S WOES: Iran's currency, the rial, tumbled in value to its lowest level ever against the dollar on Tuesday in panic selling caused by the country's increased economic isolation due to international sanctions, an unbridled inflation problem, and worries that government officials there are ideologically incapable of devising a workable solution. Iran's Fars News Agency reported it cost 15,150 rials to buy one dollar in Tehran, compared with 13,400 rials to the dollar a few days earlier. In late October, it cost about 7,000 rials to buy one dollar, which means the Iranian currency has plunged by more than 50% against the dollar in the past few months. (NY Times) “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse.” Genesis 12:3 

ASSAD LOSING CONTROL AS 10,000 SOLDIERS DESERT SYRIAN MILITARY: More than 10,000 soldiers have deserted the Syrian army, sources say, with as many as half the conscripts not reporting in the last three call-ups. According to Western intelligence agencies, even though the top brass is still loyal to President Bashar Assad, lower-level officers are deserting in large numbers. In some cases whole units have deserted en masse. On Tuesday, at least 73 people were killed in Syria in clashes between the army and opposition, most of them in Homs in the west and Idlib in the northwest. The 73 dead added to the 100 who were killed on Monday, among them 14 soldiers ambushed by opposition forces, human rights groups said. More than 5,000 people have been killed in the unrest in Syria, most of them anti-Assad activists. In recent weeks, on the average, dozens have been killed every day. (Ha’aretz)

ISLAMISTS WIN 70% OF THE VOTE IN SECOND ROUND OF EGYPT ELECTIONS: The Muslim Brotherhood party secured 39% of the vote, while the ultra-conservative Salafi Al Nour party won 31% of the vote in the second stage of Egypt’s landmark post-Mubarak elections, according to election results published this week. Islamist parties won some 70% of the total vote, a similar result to the first stage of elections on Nov. 28. (Ha’aretz)

ISRAEL TO SEND DEVELOPMENT ASSESSMENT TEAM TO SOUTH SUDAN: Jerusalem will send a government delegation to South Sudan shortly to see how Israel can help the development of the fledgling country, PM Netanyahu told visiting South Sudanese President Salva Kiir this week. During his tour, Kiir said he was very moved to be in Israel and to walk on the soil of the Promised Land. He thanked the Jewish state for supporting the South Sudanese people. “Without you, we would not have arisen. You struggled alongside us in order to allow the establishment of South Sudan,” he said. (J.Post)

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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