Israel Update

February 25, 2013

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.” Prov 21:30

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has warned Republican colleagues they will be held accountable if they vote to end an ongoing Senate filibuster over the nomination of secretary of defense candidate Chuck Hagel. Hagel’s progress toward the defense post was stalled earlier this month when Senate Democrats failed to muster the 60-votes needed to end a Republican filibuster. If just a few Republicans defect on Tuesday when the Senate resumes consideration of the nomination, Hagel is assured approval. In a letter penned to fellow Republicans, Inhofe warned colleagues that a vote for Hagel would imperil the nation’s security. “We should not let claims about presidential prerogatives and precedents dissuade us from carefully assessing the judgment and positions of this nominee. The president can do better,” he added. “Remember,” Inhofe wrote, “our nation’s security is at stake as you cast your vote on Tuesday.” A poll published last week has shown that 38% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of defense. The survey showed, in contrast, only 28% of Americans held a favorable view of Hagel, while over one-third of Americans, 35%, believed that they lack sufficient knowledge to render an opinion. (Arutz-7) Please intercede that Chuck Hagel will be eliminated as the final choice for US secretary of defense. He is a dangerous pick for this strategic position - both for the US and for Israel - as his political history and words have evidenced.

HAGEL IN 2010: NETANYAHU ‘RADICAL,’ ISRAEL SOON TO BE APARTHEID STATE: Those concerned by US Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel’s views on Israel saw another reason to fear with the publication on Wednesday of Hagel’s statements from a 2010 meeting with university students. Hagel reportedly said Israel is becoming an “apartheid state,” and dismissed PM Binyamin Netanyahu as “a radical.” Hagel’s statements were revealed by a student who was present at the event. Former student Kenneth Wagner shared an email he wrote during Hagel’s talk with reporters. “I am sitting in a lecture by Chuck Hagel at Rutgers,” Wagner wrote in the email, which was time-stamped as having been sent at the time of Hagel’s talk. “He basically said that Israel has violated every UN resolution since 1967, that Israel has violated its agreements with the Quartet, that it was risking becoming an apartheid state if it didn’t allow the Palestinians to form a state. He said he thought that Netanyahu was a radical and that Hamas has to be brought in to any peace negotiation,” Wagner wrote. “It was probably the most negative thing I’d ever heard anybody in elected office say,” he told the Washington Free Beacon. Hagel has made several controversial remarks regarding Israel and American Jews, including statements that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people,” and that Israel is keeping “Palestinians chained up like animals.” He has also been criticized for his liberal position on Iran’s nuclear program. (Arutz-7)

ISRAEL APPROVES DRILLING FOR OIL IN GOLAN HEIGHTS: Israel last week awarded the first license to drill for oil on the Golan Heights. A New Jersey-based company was issued the authorization, covering half the area of the Golan. The process of granting the license began following geological tests, which indicated a large potential oil discovery in the southern Golan Heights. On the basis of the findings, last summer, Minister of Energy and Water Resources Uzi Landau declared the Golan as open for oil and gas exploration and production activity. Following the announcement, two license applications were filed with the Petroleum Commissioner for the southern Golan, an area of thousands of hectares. (J.Post)

PA GIVES NO INDICATION OF CALLING FOR CALM IN THE WAKE OF ARAB RIOTS: PM Binyamin Netanyahu sent a message to the Palestinian Authority to calm tensions on Sunday as Palestinians rioted and threw stones at security forces near Hebron. However, a senior aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas gave no indication the Authority would issue any call for calm. Security forces were on high alert in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem on Sunday morning amid concerns the death of Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat on Saturday would set off violent Palestinian demonstrations. The PA strongly condemned Jaradat's death from an apparent heart attack in jail and called for a UN investigation into the case. There were demonstrations in Ramallah and Hebron following his fatal collapse, and 4,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons sent back there food Sunday morning in protest. PA officials yesterday warned a third intifada was indeed unfolding although their official position was that protests must remain nonviolent. Despite Palestinian reassurances, Israeli officials are concerned demonstrations, which resumed in several hot spots around the West Bank Sunday, could be a harbinger of lethal violence. Contributing to the tense atmosphere in Judea and Samaria were clashes between settlers and Palestinians on Saturday. The IDF is investigating the possibility that Israeli civilians shot two Palestinians from Kusra, near Nablus, during clashes with settlers on Saturday. A spokesman for the outpost said Palestinians attacked his small community by throwing stones and that he and others went out to defend their homes. He denied anyone had shot at the Palestinians. (Times of Israel/J.Post/INN)

EGYPT: MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD GOVERNMENT SCHEDULES ELECTIONS ON EASTER SUNDAY TO KEEP CHRISTIANS FROM VOTING: Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi has set parliamentary elections to begin this April - a decision opposition leaders denounced Friday as "a recipe for disaster" because of the ongoing political turmoil in the country. Egypt's main opposition group has criticized the ''rush'' to hold the country's upcoming elections, saying this ''will not lead to stability.'' National Salvation Front (NSF) leaders are meeting this week to discuss the call for elections to begin on April 27. In addition, the country's highest court ruled last week that at least 10 articles in the election law were unconstitutional, and sent them to the upper house of parliament for amendment, including what it called the "arbitrary" drawing of districts that critics say favor the Brotherhood. Coptic lawyer Naguib Gebrail, has meanwhile spoken against the choice of date itself. He said the Muslim Brotherhood had found ''a new method'' to stop Egypt's Copts from voting, by calling for elections to be held on their Easter. April 28 is Palm Sunday for Egyptian Copts and their Easter will be on May 5, when the second round of voting is slated to be held in a number of voting districts including Cairo. Coptic Christians tend to travel during the holidays and have consistently voted against the Muslim Brotherhood. The decree for Election Day therefore violates ''human rights as concerns religious freedom,'' Gebrail said. (Jihad Watch/AP)

EGYPT’S CHRISTIANS TARGETED BY NEW TERROR GROUP: A group of Christian priests from a Coptic church in Egypt were told to convert to Islam or face death. The incident, which comes in the midst of continued persecution of Egypt’s Christian community, took place last week in the town of Safaga, near the Red Sea. The threats are from a new terrorist group in Egypt that focuses on Jihad against non-believers. Gangs target non-Muslims, and pressure them to convert to Islam. “This and even worse things are happening every day to Christians in Egypt” said Adel Guindy, president of the Coptic Solidarity organization. Christians have felt increasingly at risk since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, which resulted in the rise of President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood movement. “Once the worst part of the society surfaced - the Islamists - the Copts are paying a heavy price. The West doesn’t really feel our pain. It’s a war of attrition,” Guindy said. Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. They make up about 10% of Egypt’s 85 million people. (Fox News) Pray for the increasingly victimized Christians in Egypt. Pray for protection and representation, also for courage to resist violent groups pressuring them to convert.

IRAN: JAILED PASTOR DESCRIBES PRISON ABUSE: Prison authorities have increased the pressure on American- Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini to renounce Christianity. In a letter released Friday, Abedini said the conditions in Tehran’s Evin Prison are “so very difficult that my eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very shaky.” In the pastor’s first letter since his conviction last January for practicing Christianity in the Islamic Republic, he wrote, “They are only waiting for one thing, for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law & Justice said, “It is our hope this latest communication will intensify efforts in this country and abroad to pressure Iran to release this US citizen. Sekulow continued that it is heart-wrenching to hear of Saeed’s ongoing abuse and torture in the Iranian prison. “Now our worst fears have been confirmed. He faces life-threatening abuse at the hands of the Iranian officials simply because of his faith.” ACLJ has filed a request with the UN Human Rights Council, calling on the Geneva-based body to press Tehran to immediately release Abedini. Last week, more than 80 members of the US Congress sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to “exhaust every possible option to secure Mr. Abedini’s immediate release.” (INN) Pray for the safety, comforting and the miraculous soon release of Pastor Saeed Abedini.

US CONDEMNS ASSAD’S MISSILE ATTACK ON ALEPPO: The US condemned on Saturday the Syrian regime's missile attack on the city of Aleppo on Friday, which killed dozens of Syrian citizens. “These attacks, as well as other atrocities such as the strike against a field hospital earlier in the week, are only the latest demonstrations of the Syrian regime's ruthlessness and its lack of compassion for the Syrian people it claims to represent,” said State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. She added, “The Assad regime has no legitimacy and remains in power only through brute force. (Arutz-7)

IRAN DISCOVERS NEW DEPOSITS OF URANIUM: The Iran Atomic Energy Organization announced Saturday it has discovered new deposits of uranium in southern and northern coastal areas. A report by the organization disclosed the amount of uranium reaches almost 5,000 tons. The statement said 16 sites had been found for nuclear power stations. The disclosure comes ahead of talks between Iran and the international community about its nuclear development program, believed to include development of atomic weaponry. It's also against the backdrop of the opening of a major military maneuver with ground and air forces to improve the combat capabilities of the army and the Revolutionary Guards. (Arutz-7)

AYALON: IRAN USING NEGOTIATING TECHNIQUES COMMON IN THE PERSIAN BAZAAR: Former deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon said Saturday that Iran's recent announcements of advancements in its nuclear program are part of a ploy by the Islamic Republic to enter Tuesday's nuclear talks in a position of strength. "With the upcoming renewal of the dialogue between the P5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) and Iran on neutralizing the Iranian nuclear program, it seems Iran is trying to raise the bidding price and to enter negotiations from a position of strength," Ayalon said. "With this in mind it is possible to understand the latest Iranian declarations on their increased enrichment abilities with advanced centrifuges and declarations on their discovery of uranium deposits in their territory." Ayalon called Iran's declarations "a negotiating pattern which is common in the Persian bazaar." Ayalon accused the Islamic Republic of attempting to carry out "psychological warfare against the West." The former deputy minister said Iran's behavior "does not signal an Iranian readiness to compromise." He called for "a full embargo" on Iran and said the military option should be portrayed as a more likely outcome. (J.Post)

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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