Israel Update

March 18, 2013

“I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger.  And I will place salvation in Zion, for Israel My glory.” Isa 46:13

ADVA BITON: ‘OUR SURVIVAL WAS AN OPEN MIRACLE’: Adva Biton spoke Sunday after the road terror attack last week that left her and three of her young daughters with serious injuries. Speaking to Army Radio, Biton said, “It was a revealed miracle that I survived, that my daughters Avigail and Na'ami survived. It was an open miracle. Whoever has seen the pictures from the crash can testify that survival was not at all clear,” she added. Last Thursday Biton's car veered off the road and crashed into a truck that was standing on the road's shoulder due to the ambush by Arab youths who hurled large rocks at passing cars on the Trans-Samaria Highway near the city of Ariel. On Friday morning, 10 Palestinian Authority men were arrested in connection with the attempted murder. All were residents of the nearby villages of Hares and Kifl Harath. Biton, who was driving at the time, suffered moderate to serious injuries, and Na'ami (6) and Avigail (4), were moderately wounded. Their youngest sister, two-year-old baby Adelle, was the most severely wounded, and underwent a second head operation late Friday afternoon. She remains in critical condition. “I am here with her all the time, talking to her, caressing her,” said her mother, Adva. “We believe in the Holy One, Blessed be He,” she continued. “For Him, it would take no effort to save her.” The public has been asked to pray for baby Adelle. (Arutz-7) Continue to pray for the life and full recovery of this small victim of Arab terrorism. Pray that ongoing, brutal rock-throwing incidents against Israeli vehicles and passengers will cease.

NETANYAHU PRESENTS NEW GOVERNMENT: PM Binyamin Netanyahu presented the new government to President Shimon Peres Saturday night, ahead of its swearing in at the Knesset Monday. "As you know, I formed a government. You gave me the mission, and I accomplished it," Netanyahu told Peres. "We are facing a decisive year in security, the economy and efforts to promote peace, as well as the desire of Israeli citizens to bring change. In this government, there is cooperation. I believe we will be able to bring a new message in all fields to all of Israel's citizens," Netanyahu said. Peres thanked Netanyahu and said, "I witnessed the difficult birth pangs in the process of putting together the coalition. The task of assembling a government is complex and requires huge efforts and great ingenuity. I congratulate you and the new government and hope that you will soon be able to start working.” (J.Post/INN) “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life….” I Tim 2:1, 2

RELIGIOUS ‘STATUS QUO’ OUT OF THE GOVERNMENT: For the first time in Israel’s history, the new coalition agreement finalized and presented to President Shimon Peres on Saturday night does not include a commitment to the religious-secular “status quo.” Hareidi-religious parties are concerned, while the religious-Zionist sector celebrates. The Status Quo agreements, instituted when the state was created, essentially declare that the public observance of Jewish tradition will continue as it was in 1948, with no addition or decrease. Among other things, the agreement means cities that did not have public transportation on the Sabbath at that time will not add Sabbath bus lines, and marriage, divorce and conversion for Jews will remain under the auspices of the Rabbinate. While the hareidi-religious parties are concerned that opening the Status Quo agreements would mean a decrease in religious observance, the Religious Labor Zionist party welcomes the change. The group, which seeks “a thinking religious culture” and “a halakhic [Jewish legal] discourse that deals with the challenges of contemporary times,” expressed hope that ending the strict allegiance to the Status Quo would benefit Israeli society as a whole. (Arutz-7)

BENNETT: WE ARE OBLIGATED TO ALL ISRAELIS: Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett emphasized Saturday night that his party would be committed to all sectors of Israel society in the new government. Speaking in Jerusalem, Bennett said the members of the party are obligated to the entire Israeli public. “Are we going to get up every morning and think about all the people of Israel, or are we going to think only about how to take care of our own sector? We are at intersections that go far beyond any sector. We will reduce the cost of housing and the cost of living and create a revolution in religious services, and not only for religious people," he said. "We will strengthen the Torah world, we will be concerned for our brothers the haredim, even if they are not in the government. There's a historic opportunity here," said Bennett, adding that the prime minister's success is the success of all of Israel. (INN)

POLL: AMERICAN SYMPATHY FOR ISRAEL AT RECORD HIGH: Americans' sympathies for Israel matched an all time high according to a Gallup poll released Friday, just five days before US President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit Israel for the first time as president. According to the poll, Americans' sympathies lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians, 64 percent vs. 12%. While partiality to Israel has topped 60% consistently since 2010, the 64% recorded in Friday's poll matched the previous record seen in 1991, during the first Gulf War. President Obama on Saturday night congratulated PM Binyamin Netanyahu on establishing the new government of Israel. (J.Post)

ETTINGER: ANGER IN US OVER OBAMA’S STANCE ON ISRAEL: Former Israeli ambassador to America, Yoram Ettinger, returned recently from a four-week trip to the US, where he visited nine cities and met with members of Congress and the Senate. “There’s no doubt that there’s potential for a lot more support than we’re seeing today,” he said. “In Jewish and Christian circles, but also in politics and the media, many struggle to understand the purpose of Israeli concessions and Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. Likewise, most of those I met were upset with President Obama for not treating the state of Israel properly,” he added. “More people understand that the US has one ally that is loyal, stable, and democratic,” Ettinger explained. Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel will be highly instructive as to his approach to Mideast politics. “The visit will show whether Obama decided to learn from history and not to repeat his mistakes from the past four years,” said Ettinger. The other possibility, he continued, is that “he will again make the relationship with Israel dependent on the Palestinian issue, at a point when no Arab leader is discussing the Palestinian issue, and the Palestinian issue is not the heart of the problems in the Middle East or of anti-American terrorism.” (Arutz-7)

IRAN WARNS OBAMA: ‘ALL OPTIONS ON THE TABLE’: A top Iranian military commander on Saturday told US President Obama that Tehran also had all of its "options on the table," echoing a warning to the Islamic Republic by the American leader.  "Mr. Obama, do not make a mistake: we too have all our options on the table. Before you get deeper in the region's quagmire, go back home," Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri was quoted as saying on the website of the elite Revolutionary Guards.  "Our commanders have been authorized to respond to any kind of hostile move by the enemy," he continued. Jazayeri was speaking shortly after Obama in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 television said that Iran is "over a year or so" from getting a nuclear bomb, and warned that the military option remained on the table. (INN) Continue to intercede for G-d’s wisdom, alertness and strategy to be manifested through world leaders at this growing nuclear threat to the entire planet. Israel leads the list of Iran’s most hated foes – one the Islamic Republic has the utmost desire to destroy.

NEW POPE REACHES OUT TO ROME’S JEWISH COMMUNITY: Pope Francis reached out to Rome's Jewish community at the very start of his pontificate, pledging to continue to strengthen the increasingly close ties between Catholics and Jews. Just hours after he was elected the first Latin American pope in history, Francis sent a letter to Rome's chief Rabbi Riccardo di Segni, saying he hoped to "contribute to the progress those relations between Jews and Catholics" had seen since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council. In a press interview Friday di Segni said the dialogue between Catholicism and Judaism was "complicated" but added that the new pope's background "gives me trust and hope" that relations will continue to improve. Pope Francis over the weekend offered intimate insights into the moments after his election, telling journalists that he was immediately inspired to take the name of St. Francis of Assisi because of his work for peace and the poor - and that he himself would like to see "a poor church and a church for the poor." The new pope’s humor-filled homilies and stubborn austerity - he refused to ride in the papal limousine, wear a gold cross or traditional red slippers - have surprised many. But in Buenos Aires, people are used to seeing the cardinal riding the subway, preaching in slums and ministering to the country’s marginalized. (Ha’aretz/ Miami Herald)

UN: ISRAEL 16TH MOST PROSPEROUS COUNTRY: Israel ranked 16th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index for 2012, released on Thursday. The ranking was one better than the country's ranking for 2011 from the standpoint of economy, education and health. Israel scored 900 out of a possible 1,000 points, as compared to top-ranked Norway's 995. Israel was the highest-rated country in the Middle East. The closest Arab country was oil-rich Qatar at 36th place. The nearest immediate neighbor was Lebanon at No. 72. Only five of the 27 European Union members placed higher. (Arutz-7)

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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