Israel Update

December 19, 2012

“You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.” Ps 31:8

FIRST WE TAKE DAMASCUS, THEN TEL AVIV: The leader of the radical Salafist movement in Jordan, whose organization actively supports the Syrian rebels' efforts to topple President Bashar Assad's regime this week warned that once the Damascus opposition achieves its primary goal, it will set its sights on Israel. Abed Shihadeh, the group's leader said, "We tell Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister to get ready. The army of the Prophet Mohammad is coming your way." Shihadeh added: "Those carrying explosives in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan will find you. The next fight is between us and you." The jihadist leader pledged to take over Damascus and then head to Tel Aviv. “As far as we are concerned, Palestine stretches from river to sea, from Rafah to a-Nakura. We will not rest until Palestine is liberated." (Ynet) A cheerless but important point to remember is anti-Assad leaders have made it clear that in the event of their successful takeover in Syria nothing will change regarding national hatred of the Jewish state. They will continue to deem Israel as their number one enemy. Pray for sound, responsible leadership to emerge from Syria’s chaotic upheaval.  Pray Western nations will be careful to examine the intentions, goals and roots of hatred towards Israel and the West before pouring financial and military support into rebel forces.

More than 2,000 additional housing units have been approved for a Jerusalem suburb, in a move sure to set off another firestorm of protest in the international community. The Interior Ministry's planning committee gave its approval Wednesday for a project to build 2,610 new homes in a suburb of Jerusalem located in an area restored to the city during the 1967 Six Day-War. As with all of Judea and Samaria, any part of Jerusalem seized by Jordan during the 1948 War of Independence and held until 1967 is claimed by the Palestinian Authority for its hoped-for state. In particular, the PA has claimed the parts of Jerusalem that were occupied by Jordan to be used for a capital of that state. The international community and leftist organizations support the claim. But Israel's decision to allow more construction in its capital city is about the needs of its citizens, and not about the Palestinian Authority, asserted Housing Minister Ariel Attias on Wednesday. Construction in Jerusalem, Israel's capital, is the norm, he continued. “Who didn't build in Jerusalem from the late PM Yitzchak Rabin to former PM Ehud Barak? All we want is to promote building for people so that they will have a roof over their heads,” he said. US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Tuesday slammed the Netanyahu government's decision to approve long-needed housing projects in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. On Tuesday the Housing Ministry announced plans to issue tenders next week for construction of 3,000 new homes in the cities of Karnei Shomron, Efrat and Givat Ze'ev. All three are located in areas with a large Israeli presence that would remain with the Jewish State regardless of any outcome in final status negotiations with the PA. “We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action,” said Nuland. “These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace.” (Arutz-7) Once again, absolutely no mention is made of the recent successful move by the Palestinian Authority to establish illegitimate, Observer State status at the UN. This crafty strategy on the part of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, supported by all but a handful of UN nations, broke the 1993 Oslo Accord agreements signed by both PA representatives and Israel that any statehood status for the Palestinians would be reached through negotiations between the two entities. How can it be no international outcry has gone up against the Palestinian Authority for its obdurate refusal to display the slightest concessions towards advancing peace with Israel during the past years of fruitless talks, for its outrageous demands of the Jewish state towards that end at every juncture, or for its latest UN move that has been as “provocative,” in the language of Nuland, as “counter to the cause of peace,” as any expansion of legitimate, decades old, Jewish communities on the part of Israel?

ISRAEL: CONSTRUCTION IN JERUSALEM NOT NEGOTIABLE: Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin issued a message to heads of parliaments around the world on Tuesday insisting Israel's decision to build in Jerusalem was not negotiable. "Israel refuses to accept the fact that mere weeks after rockets were fired from Gaza into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, there are still those who see Israel's decision to hold on to strategic territory surrounding Jerusalem, and to build within its capital, as the biggest obstacle standing in the way of peace. There is a sense that nations in Europe are more interested in establishing a Palestinian state than in ensuring the safety and existence of the Jewish state," he added. "For many Israelis it was unbearable to hear Hamas leaders calling for war and for wiping out the Jewish state on one side, and the world condemning Israel for taking steps to protect its security and existence on the other side. Israel will not relinquish control over strategic territories necessary to maintain its security, including the area known as E1, under any future diplomatic arrangement." (Israel Today)

IS JOHN KERRY GOOD FOR ISRAEL? The likely nomination of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as US Secretary of State is causing concern in Israel. Kerry has visited Israel several times, but his stance on Israeli policy - particularly that of PM Benjamin Netanyahu - is ambivalent. Kerry is a staunch critic of Israel's settlement policy. In 2009 he embarrassed PM Netanyahu when he came out against Israeli settlement construction during the latter's visit in Washington. Israeli officials saw the move as an ambush meant to embarrass Netanyahu on his first visit to the US after the 2008 elections. Kerry also lead efforts to tighten relations between Washington and Syria's Bashar Assad and has been accused of engaging Hamas in a dialogue. "He is not considered the standard bearer for Israel at the Senate," a state official said. "His positions on the Palestinian issue are clear and he is fiercely critical of the settlements. If he wants to leave a mark and influence the peace process, he will increase pressure on Israel," a Foreign Ministry official estimated. (Ynet)

UN SENDING CHEMICAL WEAPONS KITS TO TROOPS IN GOLAN: The United Nations is sending chemical weapons kits to UN troops in the Golan Heights because of growing fears over Syria's deadly non-conventional arsenal, officials said Monday. UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous briefed the UN Security Council on efforts to bolster the safety of the UN force, which monitors a ceasefire zone between Syria and Israel, after five troops were injured in attacks. "We have taken measures to enhance security, he said. "We are sending kits for personnel not equipped on a national basis to protect them from chemical attack, if that were to happen." Additional armored cars have also been dispatched to the UN Observer Force which has been monitoring a ceasefire between Israel and Syria since 1974. (Arutz-7) Pray for the protection of all peoples endangered by the use of chemical weapons and that such arsenals of horror will be utterly eliminated in the region.

NETANYAHU MEETS WITH US SENATOR TO DISCUSS SYRIA: PM Netanyahu met with US Senator-elect Ted Cruz on Monday. The Prime Minister touched on key issues presently threatening the region. He said America and the Jewish state face common dangers and that one of the dangers is the unfolding events in Syria. "We're monitoring very closely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Israel and the US have close consultations about the dangers of these regimes receiving such weapons and that these weapons can even go from there to terrorist groups. This is a threat to Israel, a threat to America, and a threat to others in this region. We treat it accordingly." Cruz thanked Israel for its leadership in “a very dangerous region of the world,” also for leadership “protecting the security of the nation and ultimately of the United States.” (INN)

IRAN REMAINS DEFIANT ON NUCLEAR ENRICHMENT: Iran will not stop higher-grade enrichment of uranium in response to external demands, Tehran’s top nuclear official said Tuesday, signaling Iran’s ongoing stance of non-cooperation ahead of planned new talks with world powers. Western nations want Iran to halt enrichment of uranium to a fissile concentration of 20% as it represents a significant step closer to the level that would be required to make nuclear bombs. Iran says it needs uranium refined to 20% to run its medical research reactor in Tehran. Western diplomats say Iran already has made sufficient amounts to fuel its Tehran Research Reactor for several years. The EU quickly responded to the comments, saying Iran must come to grips with increasing international disquiet over the ultimate purpose of its uranium enrichment program to resolve the protracted dispute. (Reuters) How many dozens of times has the Islamic Republic made its policy of non-co-operation regarding nuclear enrichment known to concerned nations? What possible - even slight - indication has unfolded that could influence world leaders to believe otherwise? Meanwhile Iran speeds forward towards the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb.

IRAN: ZERO POSSIBILITY WE’LL BE ATTACKED: Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said Monday there is “zero possibility” for a military attack on Iran, as the country is currently in the best shape to defend itself. “Military operations are carried out against a country when minor losses would be encountered by the attacking side. When the targeted nation is prepared, the other side will suffer considerable losses,” Mehmanparast surmised. He added that Iran having defense equipment and power does not mean it intends to wage war on any country, but the more powerful Iran is, the more secure it will be. (INN) Iranian leaders have repeatedly made known their disdain for Israel. They are notorious for publicly summoning the destruction of the Jewish state. Israel’s political, military and intelligence chiefs take the threat seriously and believe a nuclear empowered Iran equals war against Israel. Pray for wisdom and strategy on Israel’s part to deal with what it considers to be the Jewish state’s number one threat.

DEAD SEA SCROLLS ONLINE LIBRARY LAUNCHED: Israel's Antiquities Authority in a joint venture with Google, has launched the Leon Levy Online Library, a free online digitized virtual library featuring the Dead Sea Scrolls. The launch comes some 11 years after the completion of the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls, initiated by the IAA, and 65 years after the first scrolls were unearthed in the Caves of Qumran. (Ynet)

Blessings from Jerusalem,

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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