Israel Update

July 5, 2012

“We wait in hope for the Lord. He is our help and our shield.” Ps 33: 20

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AMERICA, FROM ALL YOUR ISRAELI FRIENDS: Michael Oren, Israel's current ambassador to the US, this week extended heartfelt birthday greetings on behalf of the Jewish state to all its American friends. Oren said that on this 4th of July, with much of the Middle East in turmoil and Iran striving to make nuclear weapons, Americans know there is one state in the region that is “relentlessly democratic, economically and militarily robust, remarkably innovative, and unequivocally pro-America.” Among many positive comments linking Israel to the US, Oren pointed out that prominent Americans, including John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Woodrow Wilson, supported reestablishing Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. “Harry Truman, who claimed to know the Bible by heart, ignored the opposition of his own Secretary of State, and made the United States the first nation on earth to recognize Israel on May 14, 1948. ‘I am Cyrus,’ Truman said, likening himself to the ancient Persian king who, in the Bible, restored the Jews to their homeland.” Oren noted that the deep spiritual connection combined with shared democratic values and close defense ties account for the American public’s extraordinary support for Israel. “All Israelis join in wishing our 300 million American friends the happiest of national birthdays,” said Oren. (Ha’aretz) Vision for Israel staff members also extend heartiest July 4 greetings to our friends in the US. We celebrate freedom and democracy with you!

US INCREASES FORCES IN PERSIAN GULF, A SIGNAL TO IRAN: The US has moved significant military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to deter the Iranian military from any attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz and increased the number of fighter jets capable of striking deep into Iran if the standoff over its nuclear program escalates. The Navy has additionally doubled the number of minesweepers assigned to the region. “Don’t even think about closing the strait. We’ll clear the mines,” said one defense official. “Don’t even think about sending your fast boats out to harass our vessels or commercial shipping. We’ll put them on the bottom of the gulf.” Another administration official was quoted as saying, “When the president says there are other options on the table beyond negotiations, he means it.” The deployment of more American warplanes in the Persian Gulf would give the US a greater ability to strike deep within Iran in the event of a decision by President Obama to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. (Arutz-7) “At the sight of the battle standard their commanders will panic.” Isa 31:9

US CHARGES UNESCO WITH HOT-WIRING HERITAGE SITE: The US State Dept. charged UNESCO this week with “hot-wiring” a Palestinian Authority demand that the Church of Nativity be declared a PA heritage site. The designation is usually reserved for historical property under the threat of destruction. The statement said the UN agency, which recently accepted the Palestinian Authority as a member - over American objections - rejected its own advisors’ opinions and named the church in Bethlehem as an official Palestinian Authority heritage site. It charged the decision adds another pillar to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ strategy of trying to turn the Palestinian Authority into a de facto country. State Dept. spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said the World Heritage Commission’s decision to include the Church of Nativity as a world heritage property was made despite “the official recommendation of the International Council of Monuments that evaluated the site.” She explained, “This procedure in the World Heritage Committee has only been used four times in the past, in extreme cases when the site in question was under threat of being torn down. That was not the case here. From our mind, it speaks to a political move rather than a well thought-out move with regard to the site.” (INN)

The head of the UN's drug fighting agency has criticized antisemitic remarks made by the Iranian vice president last week. The UN Office for Drugs and Crime said agency chief, Yury Fedotov, expressed "his dismay and serious concern" while meeting with a senior unnamed Iranian diplomat in Vienna "about the antisemitic comments of Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi." Rahimi was cited by Iranian media as saying, "The spread of narcotics in the world emanates from the teachings of the Talmud, whose objective is the destruction of the world." EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, also condemned the remarks saying, “Such statements are unacceptable and should not be tolerated.” (AP)

OUTRAGE BUILDS AS EGYPT PRESSES FOR RELEASE OF BLIND SHEIK BEHIND WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK: Egypt's new government is sparking growing outrage in the US for its attempts to win the release of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind cleric behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In Cairo, President-elect Mohamed Morsi proclaimed to hundreds of thousands of supporters in Tahir Square on Friday that he will gain the release of Rahman, who is in a federal prison in North Carolina after having been convicted of masterminding the bombing that killed six and unsuccessfully plotting to blow up other landmarks, including the United Nations. Although a US official said the sheik will never be freed, the fact that Egypt's newly-installed Muslim Brotherhood government is asking has top American leaders seething. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. said, “It’s disgusting for a head of government to state in his inaugural speech that a man who attempted to commit mass murder should be freed - and the Muslim Brotherhood has been trying to convince us they have changed. We need to be more on guard than ever.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. called Morsi's speech an insult to the memories of the victims of the World Trade Center Bombing. “Rest assured, Rahman will stay right where he belongs - in jail for the rest of his life,” Schumer said. (Fox News) Pray the Muslim Brotherhood will fully expose itself to US leaders for the wolf in sheep’s clothing that it is.

SYRIA RUNNING 27 TORTURE CENTERS: Syrian intelligence agencies are running 27 torture centers across the country, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday. Documented torture methods "clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity," the report said. The group called for the UN Security Council to refer the issue to the International Criminal Court and to adopt targeted sanctions against officials carrying out abuse. The report is based on 200 interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch since the beginning of anti-government demonstrations in Syria in March 2011. It includes maps locating the detention facilities, video accounts from former detainees, and sketches of torture techniques described by numerous people who witnessed or experienced torture in these facilities. (Reuters) Pray this brutality against innocent civilians, including women and children, will be fully exposed to the nations and brought to a halt.

BERLIN HOSPITAL SUSPENDS CIRCUMCISIONS: Berlin’s Jewish Hospital has suspended circumcisions in the wake of a court ruling that the procedure is a crime punishable by law. The decree has set off an uproar in the Jewish community, where the Jewish law requiring circumcision of boys dates back to Abraham and is considered one of the most sacred Jewish rituals. German FM, Guido Westerwelle said regarding the decision, "We have to be clear. Religious traditions are protected in Germany." Westerwelle is part of the FDP party, a member of the government coalition which said it will make sure that circumcision continues to be legal. A physician at the Berlin Jewish Hospital stated, “We are suspending circumcisions until the legal position is clear. We regularly performed circumcisions before this ruling, but we don't have the legal freedom to do so any more.” A Jewish leader in Germany said Saturday, "Circumcision is absolutely fundamental for the Jewish faith and non-negotiable.” (Arutz-7) Continue to pray this decree that circumcision is a crime in Germany - a blow to religious freedom - will be repealed! 

ROMNEY TO VISIT ISRAEL: Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, will visit Israel this summer to meet with PM Binyamin Netanyahu and other leaders. Romney, who has pledged to “do the opposite” of the Obama administration on matters pertaining to Israel, is also expected to meet with Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad, President Shimon Peres of Israel, and US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro. “He’s a strong friend of Israel and we’ll be happy to meet with him,” Netanyahu’s senior adviser, said. “We value strong bipartisan support for Israel and we’re sure it will only deepen that.” (Arutz-7)

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.    


All active news articles