Israel Update

May 24, 2012

“Then you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, that I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never again be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” Joel 2: 27-28

DISCOVERY PROVES BETHLEHEM IS PART OF THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH: Archaeologists have discovered the first evidence outside of the Bible that Bethlehem was part of the First Temple era Kingdom of Judah. The dramatic find was announced Wednesday, mere days before Jews around the world celebrate the holiday of Shavuot and hear the recital of the Book of Ruth, which mentions Bethlehem. A half-inch clay seal was discovered at the ongoing excavations at the City of David located across the road from the Western Wall. Eli Shukrun, director of the excavation said, “This is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible, in an inscription from the First Temple period, which proves that Bethlehem was indeed a city in the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly also in earlier periods.” Bethlehem is mentioned in the Book of Ruth as the place where “the children of Judah dwelled,” including Boaz, who is a central figure in the Book of Ruth, almost all of which takes place in Bethlehem. (INN)

One of the most tender and endearing books of the Bible is traditionally read during the annual Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) celebrations in Israel and in Jewish observances abroad. A moving tale of kindness and redemption unfolds in the Book of Ruth. The story highlights the passionate commitment of Naomi’s daughter-in-law, Ruth - who is a Gentile - both to her widowed mother and to the God of Israel. Ruth’s faithfulness and care for her Jewish relative causes the blessings of heaven to be unleashed upon her through Naomi’s kinsmen redeemer in Bethlehem where the two women have returned following a famine and the death of both of their husbands in Moab. Boaz marries Ruth bringing her into the House of Israel. A son is born to them who is destined to be included in the lineage of the Messiah. The Biblical holiday of Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai, 50 days after the exodus of Moses and the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. It is a harvest festival and includes the sharing of dairy meals with loved ones. This year’s festivities in Jerusalem begin at dusk on Friday May 25 and ends at sunset May 27. A blessed holiday to friends near and far from our staff members at Vision for Israel and the Joseph Storehouse. “And Ruth said, ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you. For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.’” Ruth 1:16-17 

US SENATE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES TOUGHER SANCTIONS ON IRAN: The US Senate unanimously approved on Monday a package of new economic sanctions on Iran's oil sector just days ahead of a meeting in Baghdad between major world powers and Tehran. The sanctions are meant to strip Tehran of revenue by shutting down financial deals with Iran's powerful state oil and tanker enterprises. The new restrictions build on penalties signed into law by US President Barack Obama in December against foreign institutions trading with Iran's central bank. Those sanctions already have cut deeply into Iran's oil trade. The new package would extend sanctions to cover dealings with the National Iranian Oil Co and National Iranian Tanker Co, aiming to close a loophole that could have allowed Tehran, the world's third-largest petroleum exporter, to continue selling some of its oil. (Reuters)

ISRAEL SPURNS REPORTED IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL WITH IAEA: The announcement that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Yukiya Amano had struck a deal with Iran Tuesday to inspect its nuclear facilities was received in Jerusalem with great suspicion. According to a top Israeli official, the government is very skeptical that Iran would adhere to any deal. "The Iranians are serial agreement violators," said the official. "We know from past experiences how all these agreements between the IAEA and Iran end. Iran continues to establish uranium enrichment facilities in Natanz under the nose of the international community. The IAEA's last report refers to the military intentions of Iran's nuclear program." The official noted that "Amano's talks in Tehran dealt mostly with the issue of inspection over nuclear facilities.This is not enough. The Iranian plan continues and needs to be stopped, which means an end to uranium enrichment." (Ha'aretz)

TOP COMMANDER REITERATES IRAN’S COMMITMENT TO FULL ANNIHILATION OF ISRAEL: Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj.-Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi this week said threats and pressures cannot deter Iran from its revolutionary causes and ideals. He stressed the Iranian nation will remain committed to the full annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel to the end. The top military official stressed that the Iranian Supreme Leader considers defending Palestine as a full religious duty and believes any kind of governance by anyone other than the Palestinians is an instance of usurpation. (Fars-Iran)

NETANYAHU WARNS WORLD POWERS NOT TO LET IRAN PUSH THEM AROUND: PM Benjamin Netanyahu this week warned the world powers against letting Iran "push them around," toughening his stance in a last-ditch effort to head off a nuclear agreement between the world powers and Iran at talks slated to start Wednesday in Baghdad. The prime minister restated his desired outcome from the talks between Iran and the six world powers: that Iran is to stop all uranium enrichment, get rid of all enriched uranium already produced, and dismantle the underground enrichment facility at Fordo. Netanyahu implied the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany were acting naively in the face of Iranian deceit. "During the last few weeks I've heard those who would doubt Iranian intentions. They say that when Iran's leaders declare their desire to wipe Israel off the map, the comments actually mean something else in Farsi." He added: "It would be interesting to hear what they have to say about comments made by the chief of staff of Iran's military just yesterday, that Iran must destroy Israel." (Ha’aretz) Israel is rapidly entering into the hour of greatest need, with the most difficult of security decisions to be made by her government, intelligence and military leaders. The entire world - with the Jewish state at the forefront of nations most hated by Iran - is threatened with a major war as hour by hour diplomatic means to end the threat of Iran’s nuclear weapons development fail. Those who love Israel please intercede that divine mercy and intervention will provide strategies and solutions to this most pressing of all global threats being made by the Islamic Republic.

SYRIAN REVOLUTION WILL NOT BRING PEACE WITH ISRAEL: There was early hope and speculation as the "Arab Spring" commenced last year that the ostensibly pro-democracy uprisings would lead to better relations between Israel and its neighbors. Israeli officials from the beginning cautioned skepticism, and the outcome of Egyptian elections have certainly justified their concerns. With a parliament and possibly a presidency controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt is more hostile toward Israel today than any time since the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the nation's second president who launched two wars against the Jewish state. Syria is now following a similar path, with leading rebel officials making it clear that should they seize control of the country, Israel will continue to be regarded as Syria's number one enemy. Syria's revolution has seen thousands killed as the regime of dictator Bashar Assad brutally clings to power. But the West's blind backing of the opposition forces has come under recent criticism. A number of Christian sources reported the Syrian opposition has massacred and exiled huge numbers of Christians. (Israel Today/Ryan Jones)

IDF TO USE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MUNITIONS IN NEXT WAR: The Hizbullah terrorist group, operating out of Lebanon, has ten times as many rockets as it did when the Second Lebanon War broke out, and Syria possesses hundreds of accurate missiles, according to Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh. Naveh said the IDF will need to make the next war as short as possible because of the vulnerability of the home front. "In order to do this we need a first strike that reaches all ranges and can almost bring the war to decision," Naveh said Tuesday. He stressed that tactical communications are among the most meaningful abilities the IDF is developing. "An infantry soldier will be able to talk to the helicopter flying above him, pass him data, and based on that the craft will close the circle of fire quickly. Every fighter on the ground will be able to immediately talk to Intelligence, to the plane and to the missile ship," he said. (INN)

RABBIS TO EU AMBASSADOR: TORAH DOESN’T ALLOW GIVING UP LAND: A senior delegation of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) met on Tuesday with the Head of the EU in Israel, to present the Torah view on the issue of giving up land to the Arabs. The rabbis made it clear the majority of rabbis in Israel and abroad are of the opinion that it is absolutely forbidden to give up land to the Arabs. The rabbis cited the Halakha in the Jewish Code of Law that the sanctity of life overrides all other considerations and giving up land has proven more than once that it leads to violence, bloodshed and instability. “As rabbis we are committed to peace and to promoting peace, but a true and lasting peace, not one that will blow up in our faces before the ink of the agreement has a chance to dry,” they told the ambassador. (INN)

ISRAEL ENERGY PLANS GAS DRILLING IN EARLY JUNE: Israel Land Development Co. Energy Ltd., a natural-gas explorer, plans to drill early next month off the country's Mediterranean coast. The Sara and Myra prospects may hold 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas. The Tamar and Leviathan gas deposits together hold an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet, more than triple the UK's remaining reserves. These finds are sufficient to meet Israel's domestic needs and may enable it to export gas. (AP) “Because of the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below….” Gen 49:25

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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