Israel Update

July 19, 2012

“I writhe in pain...I cannot keep silent...for I hear...the alarm of war.” Jer 4:19

ASSAD LEANING ON INNER CIRCLE IN REGIME’S FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL: As fighting rages in Damascus, and the Assad family that has ruled Syria for four decades struggles for its life against a growing rebellion, a picture is emerging of a tight inner group determined to ride out the crisis, even as support for the government falls away. At its head is Syrian President Bashar Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000 and who friends and opponents alike say appears increasingly detached from reality, convinced he is fighting a conspiracy against him and Syria. Around him is a tight circle of family and clan members, plus a security establishment. "Even those who love him feel he can no longer provide security," said Ayman Abdel-Nour, a former advisor to Assad and now an opposition figure. "They think he is useless and living in a cocoon. He thinks of himself as God's messenger to rule Syria. He believes that he is right and that whoever contradicts him is a traitor. Many of his close friends and advisers have either left him or distanced themselves from him.” (J.Post)

SEVEN KILLED IN TERROR ATTACK ON ISRAELI TOURISTS IN BULGARIA: At least seven people were killed and 35 others were injured Wednesday in a terror attack on a bus carrying Israelis in Bulgaria. Most of the casualties are youths. Bulgarian media reported the explosion took place while the bus was still in the Burgas Airport terminal. A total of 35 Israelis were wounded in the attack at least four are in serious to critical condition, as of this report. An 11 year old child and two pregnant women were among the injured. Following the assault, Israel suspended all flights bound for Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Greece, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Azerbaijan. PM Benjamin Netanyahu said, "All the signs are pointing to Iran. Only in the past few months we've seen Iran try to target Israelis in Thailand, Indian, Georgia, Cyprus and more. Iranian terror is spreading worldwide. Israel will react to it with force," he said. The terror strike in Bulgaria Wednesday occurred on the 18th anniversary of a terrorist attack on the Jewish community in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and wounded several hundreds. Iran is highly suspected to have been involved in the 1994 attack. Interpol has issued Red Notices calling for the arrest of several Iranian suspects in the case, one of them being Iran’s current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi. (Ynet/INN/Ha’aretz) Pray the lives of the injured will be spared in this terrible attack and that those who have lost loved ones will be comforted. Pray terrorist perpetrators will be tracked down and brought to justice and that such atrocities will cease.

SYRIAN DEFENSE MINISTER KILLED IN DAMASCUS BLAST: Syria's rebel commander has reported that his forces carried out an attack in Damascus that killed the defense minister and other regime officials. Riad al-Asaad said rebel fighters planted a bomb inside a room where senior government officials were meeting Wednesday. Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha and his deputy Gen. Assef Shawkat, who also was President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law, were killed. The rebel commander said the attack marked "the beginning of the end of the regime." The capital has seen four straight days of clashes pitting government troops against rebels, who are trying to bring down the regime. The fighting in Damascus is an unprecedented challenge to government rule in the tightly controlled capital. Wednesday's attack struck the city’s National Security building during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. (FOX)

HEAVY FIGHTING IN SYRIAN CAPITAL: Syrian opposition fighters have converged on Damascus, where fierce clashes with security forces have continued since last weekend. Overnight Tuesday, the revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad came within sight of his presidential palace as fighting erupted in major Damascus neighborhoods. According to reports, an army barracks near the palace complex came under rebel fire around 7:30 Wednesday morning. Opposition activist, Mustafa Osso said there is a new strategy by the Free Syrian Army to bring the fighting into the center of the capital a tactic that will threaten the regime. On Sunday, the country's international airport was shut down by the clashes. Some of the worst fighting since the 16 month civil war began in March 2011 was seen about a mile from the airport highway Monday morning. Estimates are that opposition forces currently control more than 50% of the country. (Arutz-7)

 SYRIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF DEFECTS TO REBEL FORCES: The head of Syrian intelligence has left the country and defected. His whereabouts are unknown. The high-ranking Syrian officer was one of President Bashar al-Assad's closest confidantes. Rastam Ruzhilla's disappearance is the latest in a series of defections of top officials. Syrian Ambassador to Iraq, Nawef Fares, announced his resignation last week, changing sides to the opposition forces. "Where is the honor in killing your own people?” Fares said before leaving Iraq and moving to Qatar. Two Syrian Air Force pilots handed themselves over to Jordanian authorities last month. One of the two brought along a Russian made MiG 21 fighter jet as a gift to the Jordanians. Some 85 Syrian soldiers defected to Turkey two weeks ago, including a general and several other officers. The death toll in Syria this week rose to more than 18,000 people since the civil war was ignited in March 2011. (INN)

IDF INTELLIGENCE CHIEF SAYS FALL OF ASSAD ONLY A MATTER OF TIME: Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi told the Knesset committee on Tuesday that Assad’s regime in Syria will not overcome the uprising against it. Kochavi warned the Golan Heights region could turn into a theater of anti-Israel operations, similar to the Sinai Peninsula region, due to the growing presence of global Jihadists in Syria. “The clashes in Syria are worsening on a daily basis, with 500 to 700 people being killed every week. In Lebanon, there are today between 70,000-80,000 rockets that could hit Israel,” said Kochavi. Israel is additionally concerned weapons from Syria’s vast chemical arsenal could fall into the hands of terrorists in Lebanon to be used against the Jewish state. (Ha’aretz)

NEARLY A DOZEN RECENT SINAI ATTACKS THWARTED: The IDF has stopped nearly a dozen attacks from Sinai, IDF intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday. He said the IDF is closely following terrorist networks in Sinai that continue to plan assaults against Israel. He warned that terrorist groups in Sinai may try to create a diplomatic crisis between Egypt and Israel through attacks. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Monday that Egypt's Sinai desert next to Israel could become an "operational base" for jihadists if security is not maintained. Clinton said the situation is dangerous for Israel, Egypt and for the US that still has forces in the area monitoring the Camp David Accords. (J.Post) Pray that security will be established and maintained against terrorist groups that are connecting to carry out attacks from Egypt’s Sinai desert.

ROCKET FIRE AIMED AT SOUTHERN ISRAEL: As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Monday evening with PM Netanyahu, residents of southern Israel were forced to grab their children, snatching them as they slept in order to race for bomb shelters. The first scream of the Color Red incoming rocket alert came at 9:30 p.m. Fifteen seconds later, a Qassam rocket fired by Palestinian Authority terrorists in Hamas ruled Gaza exploded in the western Negev. As IDF soldiers searched for the rocket's landing site, parents strove to calm their children and each other, working to minimize trauma symptoms triggered by the attack. One hour later, a second Qassam was launched, this one against the city of Sderot. No physical injuries were reported. (Arutz-7) Pray that alliances between terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip will collapse and that ongoing attacks will end. Pray for the safety and peace of many deeply distressed residents of Israel children as well as adults who reside within range of constant terrorist rocket fire.

ISRAEL’S FIREFIGHTING CREWS BATTLE BLAZE IN LOWER GALILEE: Five firefighting crews battled a forest fire Monday evening that burned its way around the village of Iksal, in Galilee. Officials said the fire was likely due to an arson attack. A suspect was taken into custody for questioning by police. Hundreds of fires, including many deliberately set by terror arsonists, have been ignited around the Jerusalem area in recent weeks. Four arrests have been made in connection with several large wildfires that did extensive damage to forest land around Jerusalem. (Arutz-7) Continue to pray against arson attacks throughout Israel. All forested areas are at high risk during the dry, scorching heat of summer.

ISRAELI MK TEARS UP BIBLE: Israeli Member of Parliament, Michael Ben-Ari, publicly tore up a Hebrew Christian Bible after lawmakers expressed outrage that the religious text was sent to all parliamentarians by a Christian group, Israeli media reported Tuesday. Ben-Ari, of the right wing National Union party said while throwing away the annotated Hebrew Old and New Testaments, "The place of this book and its senders is the dustbin of history." Several lawmakers said they were deeply offended to receive the text from the Tel Aviv based Bible Society in Israel, and have asked parliament to tighten Israeli laws restricting proselytism. (Ma’an/J.Post/Maariv) Pray such lack of reverence and disrespect for sacred scripture will not be repeated. Also pray bitterness in Israel regarding the role of the Church during the Holocaust and other dark periods in history will be forgiven. As Believers we must continue to set good examples by our prayers and deeds on behalf of the Jewish people everywhere so that heinous wounds and breaches of trust from the past may be healed.

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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