Israel Update

February 18, 2013

“Israel put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption." Ps 130:7

Riyad Hijab, the former prime minister of Syria who defected, said Thursday that Iran is currently in control in his country. Interviewed by Al Arabiya, Hijab said a transitional government was a "national need," adding that when there is complete agreement among all the opposition factions, such a government will be created as soon as possible. He said even the Nazis did not do what the regime is doing to the people. (Arutz-7)

SYRIA DEATH TOLL MAY HAVE REACHED 90,000: US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday the death toll in Syria may have reached 90,000, citing figures given to him by his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal. The figure is much higher than estimates given earlier this week by UN rights chief Navi Pillay who said the death toll from the civil war was "nearing 70,000." The newly appointed Kerry said the "desperate humanitarian situation" in Syria would be one of the issues topping a packed agenda for his first meeting at the State Department with UN chief Ban Ki-moon. "I want to learn from the secretary general what he thinks we can do to try to change President Assad's calculations, to stop the bloodshed and begin a peaceful political transition towards a democratic future," Kerry said. The "vast numbers of refugees" fleeing the 23-month conflict pose a huge burden for Syria's neighbors, Kerry warned. Jordan’s health system has begun to crack under the strain of caring for 340,000 Syrian refugees and Amman is already seeking help with the effort. (INN)

7 SYRIANS HURT NEAR BORDER TAKEN TO ISRAELI HOSPITAL: Seven Syrians injured in fighting between government forces and armed opposition members in the Golan Heights near the border with Israel were evacuated by the IDF to a hospital in Safed on Saturday. An army spokeswoman said the men had arrived with injuries at the Israeli border fence, and received first aid from IDF soldiers on the scene. They were then rushed to a hospital for medical care where Israeli doctors on Saturday night saved the life of one of the Syrians who was in critical condition after being wounded in clashes between regime and rebel forces. Four other Syrians in the group were moderately injured and two suffered light injuries. The incident marked the first time that Syrians had been taken to Israel for medical treatment since the uprising against President Bashar Assad erupted some two years ago. “They asked for our help and we gave it,” said a top Defense Ministry official. Earlier Saturday, Israeli media reported that Syrian rebels had taken over a police barricade in the Syrian Golan Heights, very close to the border with Israel. Syrian army forces were reported to be shelling the area. Syrian activists confirmed fighting in the Quneitra region, which is on the cease-fire line between Syria and Israel in the Golan Heights. (J.Post/Times of Israel)

IRAN’S ENGLISH TV CHANNEL TERMINATED IN NORTH AMERICA: Iran's English-language Press TV channel has been dropped from the satellite platform that allowed it to broadcast in the US and Canada, the channel said. The state-owned, 24-hour network screens pro-government views beyond Iran's borders. New sanctions recently announced by the US Treasury Department blacklisted the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and its director, Ezatollah Zarghami, which oversees Iran's broadcast channels. Press TV said in response that its being dropped was a "flagrant violation of freedom of speech." Pro-Israel media activist group, HonestReporting Canada, welcomed news on Saturday that global satellite communication provider Intelsat had removed Iran’s state-funded propaganda mouthpiece PressTV from its broadcast platform in Canada as well as in the US. HonestReporting Canada Director Mike Fegelman said, “Press TV has a long history of promoting Holocaust denial, giving platforms to neo-Nazis, and perpetuating a radical anti-Israel, antisemitic, and anti-western agenda. Its 'reports' and 'reporters' distort the truth and manipulate the news all while the Iranian regime stifles free speech and imprisons journalists. That PressTV claims Intelsat’s decision was tantamount to a ‘flagrant violation of free speech' is all the more laughable,” said Fegelman (Reuters/J.Post/Inn)

IRAN WARNS ISRAEL: WE’LL AVENGE GUARDS COMMANDER: Iran will soon exact revenge on Israel for the recent killing of a Revolutionary Guards commander in Syria, an aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying on Saturday. Iran reported Thursday that an Iranian military commander named Hassan Shateri had been killed in Syria by rebels fighting President Bashar Assad, an ally of Tehran. However, a faction of Syrian insurgent was quoted as saying on Friday that Shateri had actually been assassinated on January 30, when Israel allegedly attacked a convoy and military factory in Syria, near the Lebanon border. Israel has not commented on the matter. (J. Post) “As I have observed, those who plan evil and those who sow trouble reap it.” Job 4:8

HIZBULLAH THREATENS ISRAELI POWER GRID: The head of Lebanon's Hizbullah terrorist movement, which is an Iranian proxy militia, warned Israel on Saturday not to think that a weakening of Bashar Assad's regime in Syria means Hizbullah is also weaker. "We have everything we need in Lebanon. We don't need to transport arms from Syria or Iran," Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast on a giant video screen in southern Beirut. "I warn the Israelis that the resistance in Lebanon will not remain silent in the face of any aggression against Lebanon," he said. "They know all it takes is a few rockets for their airports, ports and power plants to be plunged into darkness," said the leader of the terrorist group. His warning comes against the backdrop of tension along Israel's border with Syria and Lebanon. Israel is worried that with the loosening of Assad's grip on power, weapon stockpiles will fall into the hands of terrorist groups, including Hizbullah. Assad is an ally of Hizbullah and he is believed to have been transporting some of his weapons stockpiles to the Lebanese terrorist group, out of fear that they would fall into Syrian insurgents' hands. (Arutz-7)

FRANCE “MULLS” LABELING HIZBULLAH A TERRORIST GROUP - BUT LIKELY WON’T: France reportedly is considering labeling Hizbullah a terrorist organizing, pending review of the results of a Bulgarian investigation into a terrorist attack in Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists and their bus driver. Last week, Bulgaria openly charged the Iranian-backed Hizbullah with having carried out the July bus bombing. The conclusions of the investigation, citing a clear connection to an attack on European Union soil, has a slight prospect of paving the way for the EU to join the United States in branding Hizbullah a terrorist organization. However EU sources indicated Saturday it is unlikely that will happen. A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said though the issue was not on the European Union agenda, the alliance could discuss it should one of the EU ministers propose to do so. Meanwhile, Canada has urged the EU to blacklist Hizbullah. “We believe there is overwhelming evidence to suggest Hizbullah has been actively carrying out terrorist attacks around the world in support of Iran,” a government official was quoted as saying. “We hope that the European Union will follow Canada’s lead.” (J.Post) It’s going to be a tough battle to convince EU nations to blacklist the Hizbullah organization. Prayer partners, please continue to intercede to that end. Thus far the Netherlands is the only EU member state that has listed Hizbullah as a terrorist entity. The rest, including France – whose envoys to Beirut hold regular meetings with Hizbullah officials – do not consider the group a terrorist organization. An angry article published in the Israeli press last week, lashed out at EU member states’ policy toward Hizbullah. The piece specifically slammed the positions of France and Germany, saying the EU has chosen to avert its eyes from Hizbullah’s practices due to “interests and political considerations,” irrespective of the Burgas investigation.

KERRY: BUDGET CUTS MAY FORCE REDUCTION IN ISRAEL AID: Automatic spending cuts set to take effect in the US next month could "lead to reductions in military assistance to Israel, Jordan and Egypt, undermining our commitment to their security at such a volatile time," US Secretary of State John Kerry warned last week. Across-the-board cuts, known as "sequestration," set to begin March 1, would take $2.6 billion out of the budget for the State Department and USAID, America's development assistance agency, Kerry said. "Cuts of this magnitude would seriously impair our ability to execute our vital missions of national security, diplomacy and development." The warning from Kerry, who took over recently from predecessor Hillary Clinton, follows similarly stark alerts from Pentagon chief Leon Panetta and other Obama administration officials over cuts that will take place unless lawmakers and US President Barack Obama reach an agreement to stop them. (J.Post)

EGYPTIAN POLICE TO GET 100,000 NEW PISTOLS: An Egyptian security official on Saturday said the Interior Ministry will supply policemen with 100,000 new 9mm pistols, after many complained about a lack of firepower. The official said the decision was made after studying the demands of policemen who said they could not properly defend themselves against increased lawlessness following the ouster of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak two years ago. The move is likely to be criticized by rights groups who say policemen are operating with impunity and using excessive force against protesters. (Times of Israel)

ISRAEL CONCERNED OVER FATE OF TUNISIAN JEWS: Israeli officials have expressed grave concerns over the safety of the Jewish community in Tunisia. Some 2,000 Jews still live in the country, and the Foreign Ministry's office said instability in the country could have serious negative effects on the country's Jews. The recent murder of leftist opposition leader Chokri Belaid has brought hundreds of thousands of angry Tunisians out into the streets, as popular opposition to the country's Islamist regime grows. The unrest could be a recipe for attacks on local Jews, officials warned. Public declarations of antisemitism, in social media and traditional media, have risen significantly in recent days. In addition, local imams in mosques have been inciting against Jews, claiming they are responsible for the liberal opposition to the Islamist party, which runs the country. Many residents are reportedly living behind locked doors out of fear that pogroms could evolve. The Foreign Ministry has instructed Israeli diplomats around the world to ask the governments of the countries where they are stationed to intervene with the Tunisian government to ensure the safety of the country's Jews. (INN) Pray for the protection of Tunisia’s Jewish community and for the quelling of mounting antisemitic violence in the troubled area.

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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