Israel Update

March 16, 2012


“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way. Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come….’” Isa 35: 3- 4

GAZA TERROR GROUPS CONTINUE TO BOMBARD ISRAEL DESPITE CEASE FIRE: Dozens of Israelis have been wounded during the past week as some 226 rockets have struck across the Negev and parts of the coastal plain. Nearly one million civilians have been forced to spend most of their time in bomb shelters. Schools in the area have been closed all week, and Israel's emotional crisis hotline, Eran, has recorded a 150% increase in calls. A fragile cease fire was entered into Tuesday, but by Wednesday afternoon the residents of Netivot and the “southern capital" of Beersheva were again under attack. In response, Israel’s air force targeted Gaza Strip terrorist sites Wednesday night. Military sources confirmed the pilots hit their marks – a rocket launching site and a weapons smuggling tunnel. Wednesday evening saw Strip-based terrorists fire three Grad rockets at Israel's Negev communities. The Iron Dome defense system intercepted a Grad rocket fired towards Beersheva Thursday morning. Also Thursday a rocket landed near the town of Netivot. The Iron Dome successfully intercepted a projectile fired by Gaza terrorists at Ashdod Thursday evening. (J.Post/Ynet/Israel Today) Pray fervently for Israel’s residents in the south to be protected from injury and death resulting from brutal terrorist attacks issuing forth from the Gaza Strip. Pray for confusion, disunity and dread to strike the enemies of the Jewish state.

NETANYAHU: GAZA EQUALS IRAN: PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday told the Knesset that Tehran was behind the recent rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip. He warned again of a possible military strike on Iran, broadly hinting that Israel might act even without US approval. Speaking at a special session of the Knesset on the escalation in Gaza rocket fire upon Israel’s southern communities, PM Netanyahu said, "The dominant factor that motivates these events in Gaza is Iran. Gaza equals Iran. Where do the missiles come from? From Iran. Where does the money come from? From Iran. Who trains the terrorists? Iran. Who gives the orders? Iran. The terrorist organizations in Gaza - Hamas and Jihad, as well as Hizbullah in Lebanon - are taking shelter under an Iranian umbrella. Imagine what will happen if that umbrella becomes nuclear. Our enemies must know that Israel will not accept an Iranian base in Gaza. Sooner or later, Iran's terror base in Gaza will be uprooted," said Netanyahu. (Prime Minister's Office/INN) "Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually." Ps 140: 1- 2

OBAMA SAYS WINDOW FOR DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION TO IRAN NUCLEAR STANDOFF IS SHRINKING: US President Barak Obama explained Wednesday that the international community has applied so many sanctions - and the US has employed so many of the options that are available to it to persuade Iran to take a different course - that the window for solving diplomatically Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons pursuit is shrinking. "I am determined not simply to contain Iran that is in possession of a nuclear weapon; I am determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” vowed Obama. “It would trigger a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the world. It would raise nonproliferation issues that would carry significant risks to our national security interests. It would embolden terrorists in the region who might believe they could act with more impunity if they were operating under the protection of Iran. So this is not an issue that is simply in one country's interests or two countries' interests. This is an issue that is important to the entire international community," said Obama (White House)

RUSSIA ASKED TO WARN IRAN OF LAST CHANCE: The US has asked Russia to warn Iran that negotiations slated for April are a final opportunity to avoid military strikes against its nuclear program. Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported Wednesday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Russian FM Sergei Lavrov that the upcoming talks between Iran and the five major powers plus Germany are to be the Islamic Republic’s last chance. Clinton asked her Russian colleague to make this clear to the Iranian authorities. The discussions are expected to begin in April at the latest. The report gave no further details on the kind of military action Tehran faced, but Russian diplomats at the UN told the paper they believe it is a "matter of when, not if," a military strike will occur against Iran. The International Atomic Energy Association has issued two reports in recent months indicating Iran has sought - and continues to seek - nuclear technology that has solely military applications. (Arutz-7)

AZERBAIJAN ARRESTS 22 IN PLOT TO ATTACK US, ISRAELI EMBASSIES: Authorities in Azerbaijan have arrested 22 people on suspicion of spying for Iran. The detainees are said to have received orders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to commit terrorist acts against the US, Israeli and other Western states' embassies and their employees. Firearms, cartridges, explosives and espionage equipment were found during the arrest. In January, Azerbaijan officials said they uncovered an Iranian-linked Muslim gang that plotted to assassinate rabbis who teach at the Chabad Jewish school in Baku. It was later reported the terrorists who were arrested were planning an attack against the Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Michael Lotem. Azerbaijan, a Muslim country, has good relations with Israel and has been often mentioned as being a convenient site from which Israel could launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Azerbaijan has recently signed a $1.6 billion contract with Israel for drones and anti-aircraft and missile systems; a deal that might have included guarantees for Israel to use its air space or even land bases for an attack. (INN)

AHMADINEJAD FACES HOME-FRONT WRATH DUE TO ECONOMY: Iran’s parliament grilled President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Wednesday on the ailing Iranian economy. It was the first time an Iranian president faced parliamentary questioning and may be a spark of hope for Israel and the West that internal dissension will weaken, or even topple, Ahmadinejad’s race for a nuclear weapon. The massive spending on nuclear development and advanced weapons severely drained the oil-rich economy even before Western sanctions sent the local rial currency into a tailspin since December. The parliament has questioned Ahmadinejad about price hikes and cuts in subsidies, apparently to help finance his military ambitions. (Arutz-7)

SYRIAN CRISIS ENTERS SECOND YEAR: Syria's popular uprising entered its second year on Thursday as the death toll from President Bashar al-Assad's bloody crackdown fast approaches 9,000. Saudi Arabia on Thursday shut down its embassy in Syria and withdrew its staff and diplomats following reports that death squads were massacring civilians in Homs and Idlib. War crimes in Syria have become commonplace. Activists say crimes include systemic rape, torture, and mass executions. Amnesty International has been taking videotaped testimonies from Syrian doctors who claim forces for President Bashar Assad have been posting troops at hospitals across the country to prevent regime opponents from getting treatment. Doctors say the troops use hospitals to identify regime opponents for execution, and they persecute medical personnel attempting to treat them. Patients have been taken away and killed, while doctors, nurses and emergency room workers have been arrested, tortured and even murdered for doing their jobs, according to Doctors Without Borders and Human Rights Watch. At least 77 people were killed by security forces across Syria on Wednesday. (INN) Pray for deliverance and mercy to come to those “caught in a cruel net,” under the evil Syrian regime. “As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” Eccles 9:12

ISRAEL STRIKES OIL OFF TEL AVIV COAST: Israel's Modiin Energy and Adira Energy Corp. on Tuesday confirmed the discovery of an commercially viable quantity of oil just 15 miles off the coast of Tel Aviv. Late last year, Modiin and Adira published surveys of the 150-square-mile Gabriella field showing the site likely contained significant quantities of both oil and natural gas. Gabriella is expected to yield 232 million barrels of oil and 1.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Add that to the 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered last year at other Mediterranean sites, and Israel's energy situation is starting to look much improved. Drilling at the Gabriella site should begin later this year, and a well will be in place producing oil in about five years. (Israel Today)

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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