Israel Update

March 25, 2013

“They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing; for the majesty of the Lord they shall cry aloud from the sea. Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light, the name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea.” Isa 24: 14-15

PASSOVER 2013: Passover, a seven day remembrance of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, begins this year in Israel at sunset Monday, March 25, and concludes at nightfall on Tuesday, April 2.  Families and friends across the land will gather in homes, halls and hotels to celebrate the annual Seder meal. Together the nation will recall in song and story the biblical deliverance, under the leadership of Moses, from the slave pits of Egypt, the ten plagues preceding it, and escapes from death because of the blood of the Passover lamb. Unleavened bread called matzos will be eaten throughout the holiday, and sweets made with matzo, corn and potato flour will accompany daily meals. The Vision for Israel team extends warmest Passover greetings to our friends around the world. May your faith be enriched this holiday week by remembering miracles past and the eternal faithfulness of the G-d of Israel. “For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.” Ex 12:23

PRESIDENT OBAMA HAILS ‘TWILIGHT OF ISRAEL’S FOUNDING GENERATION’: US President Obama addressed a young audience in Jerusalem Thursday with a message that some will see as inspiring, and others as incitement. He began by reassuring Israelis they have the full support of the United States of America. "Those who reject Israel's right to exist," he said, "may as well reject the earth under their feet or the sky above, because Israel is not going anywhere. And today I want to tell you – particularly the young people – so long as there is a United States of America, you are not alone.” Obama then went on to speak about the need for establishing a state of Palestine with viable borders, so that Israel could achieve peace. Improvising at times and receiving warm applause throughout his speech, Obama eventually reached the point at which he called on Israelis to put pressure on their own government. "Political leaders do not take risks if their people do not push them to take risks," he said. "You must create the change you want to see. Your voices must be louder than those who would drown out hope. Remember," he said, "Israel is the most powerful country in the region. Israel has the unshakable support of the strongest country in the world." Obama told his audience it is facing "the twilight of Israel's founding generation." He called upon them, in effect, to rise up against their own leadership. "It is up to you," he said, "with the president of a country that you can count on as your greatest friend, to win the battles for peace that will replace war. That is your challenge." (Arutz-7)

NETANYAHUY: SYRIA CHAOS A FACTOR IN TURKEY APOLOGY: PM Binyamin Netanyahu explained Saturday evening why he chose to apologize to Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Mavi Marmara incident, in a Friday telephone conversation. "After three years of a disconnect in Israeli-Turkish relations," he stated, "I decided this is the time to rebuild them." The changing reality around us forces us to continually reexamine our relations with the countries surrounding us in the region. The fact that the crisis in Syria is getting worse by the minute was, for me, a central consideration. Syria is crumbling, and the huge, advanced stockpiles of weapons within it are starting to fall into the hands of different elements. The great danger is that the chemical weapon stockpiles will fall into the hands of terror groups. The reality in Syria, which includes jihadist elements that have begun to establish their presence next to our border on the Golan, creates great challenges for our security establishment. We are following the goings-on there and are prepared to respond accordingly. It is important that Turkey and Israel, which border on Syria, are able to communicate with each other, and this is also desirable with regard to additional regional challenges. In addition, the visit by US President Obama, along with Secretary of State Kerry, created a diplomatic opportunity to end the crisis. Therefore, toward the end of the American president's visit, I decided to call the Turkish prime minister in order to end the crisis and patch up relations between the countries." (Arutz-7)

ERDOGAN: ISRAELI APOLOGY ‘WAS OFFERED THE WAY WE WANTED’: Turkish PM Erdogan welcomed Israel's apology over the 2010 Marmara raid, saying it was offered the way the Turkish state wanted, according to Turkish press reports. However, Erdogan was more cautious when discussing the restoration of diplomatic ties by the appointment of ambassadors. "We will see what will be put into practice during the process," he said. "If things move forward in a promising way, we will make our contribution. Then, there would be an exchange of ambassadors." (Arutz-7) Turkish PM Recep Erdogan has long demanded that Israel publicly apologize for intercepting a May 2010 "humanitarian aid" flotilla that tried to break Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The flotilla had set sail from Turkey, and nine Turkish nationals were killed when they and others aboard the Mavi Marmara, attacked the Israeli boarding party. The UN report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla clash found Israel's blockade of Gaza was legal and that Jerusalem owed no apology to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara raid. The UN report sharply criticized Turkey for not doing enough to prevent the flotilla from setting sail. However, the report alleged Israeli soldiers used excessive force, though Israel insisted the soldiers had been attacked and were acting in self-defense. The UN statement further confirmed Israel's blockade of Hamas-run Gaza "was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law."  Pray good relations with Israel’s once closest ally in the Middle East will be restored. Pray against radical Islamic elements that increasingly sway Turkey’s government towards religious extremism and hatred of Israel.

GUNFIRE FROM SYRIA HITS IDF JEEPS IN GOLAN: Someone on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border fired a burst of automatic fire at IDF soldiers Saturday. The bullets struck patrol vehicles near Tel Fares in the central part of the Golan Heights, but caused no casualties. It is still not clear if the gunfire was deliberately aimed at the soldiers, or whether it was meant to hit one of the sides in the Syrian civil war and unintentionally "spilled over" into Israel. About one month ago, a mortar round fired from Syria struck near Alonei Habashan in the northern Golan. No one was hurt and there were no casualties. PM Netanyahu said Saturday that concern over the possibility Syrian weapons would fall into the wrong hands was a prime motivation for him in deciding to apologize to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara incident. (Arutz-7) A constant prayer focus is needed regarding the Syrian crisis and the increasing threat of its chaos spilling into Israel and other neighboring nations. Well informed sources continually warn that advanced and chemical weapons are falling into the hands of terrorist entities, all of who hate Israel and who vow - when they gain control of Syria - their attention and hatred will be turned upon the Jewish state; their number one enemy.

ISLAMIC LAW COMES TO REBEL-HELD SYRIA: The Syrian revolution is moving toward an organized effort to institute Islamic law in areas that have fallen under rebel control. Islamist units are asserting their authority over civilian life, imposing Islamic codes and punishments and administering day-to-day matters such as divorce, marriage and vehicle licensing. The dominant role is falling to Jabhat al-Nusra - the al-Nusra Front. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the US for ties to al-Qaeda, but is widely respected by many Syrians for its battlefield prowess and the assistance it has provided to needy civilians. (Daily Alert)

SYRIAN JIHADIST REBELS SEIZE JORDAN-ISRAELI BUFFER ZONE: Syrian rebel forces, on Sunday, seized a 15 mile buffer zone stretching from the Jordanian border to the Golan Heights, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “The fighters overtook the site after regime forces retreated,” the statement said. “The 15 mile area located between the towns of Muzrib near the Jordanian border and Abdin in the Golan Heights is now out of regime control,” according to press reports. The rebel forces referred to in the statement are part of the radical jihadist group known as the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria, which despises what it considers the rival Western-backed Syrian National Council, the larger opposition force. The rebels on Saturday also gained control of a key air base in Dara'a after two weeks of fierce battles with troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, according to the Observatory. On Sunday, Israel warned Syria the IDF would retaliate by destroying the source of any gunfire directed across its northern border, regardless of who fired. The warning came after two separate attacks within a 12 hour period aimed at IDF military vehicles, both of which hit and damaged the jeeps but did not injure any Israeli soldiers. (INN)

SYRIAN ARMY FIRE DIRECTED AT SOLDIERS; IDF RETURNS FIRE: Gunfire from Syria was directed at IDF soldiers who were patrolling the border on Sunday morning. The IDF returned fire using a surface-to-surface Tamuz guided missile on a Syrian army position from which the soldiers were attacked. The Syrian position was reportedly destroyed in the return fire. All work along the security fence to fortify the frontier has been temporarily suspended, the army added. A defense source told reporters,” "We have repeatedly clarified that we cannot accept shootings at our forces, whether they are accidental or deliberate." The incident came after an IDF jeep on patrol near the Syrian border was hit by gunfire on Saturday. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said the cross-border exchange of fire between Syrian army forces and Israeli soldiers on Sunday morning emphasized the "volatile situation" prevalent on the Syrian border. "The shooting at IDF soldiers this morning endangered the lives of our forces, and therefore we were forced to attack and destroy the position from which the fire came," Gantz said. (J.Post)

KERRY MEETS NETANYAHU IN PUSH TO RESTART PEACE TALKS: US Secretary of State John Kerry began efforts at re-starting talks between Israel and the Palestinians in a late night meeting Saturday with PM Binyamin Netanyahu. The prime minister was joined in his discussions with Kerry by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is in charge of talks with the Palestinians; Yitzhak Molcho, Netanyahu's envoy on the Palestinian issue; and National Security Council head Ya'akov Amidror. One government official said Israel's message to Kerry would be that the diplomatic process would only succeed if it is a two way street. "If only one side – the Israeli side – is asked to be flexible, then it won't work," the official said. "It is crucial that both sides move together. It cannot be that only Israel is expected to take steps. We are prepared to move forward together with the Palestinians." Obama, at a press conference in Jordan with King Abdullah II on Friday, said his immediate hope was that "we can explore with the parties a mechanism for them to sit back down, to get rid of some of the old assumptions, to think in new ways and to get this done." (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 Storehouse?", 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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