Israel Update

March 27, 2013

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.” Ps 5:11

JORDAN SHUTS SYRIA CROSSING: Jordan closed its main border crossing with Syria on Monday after two days of fighting there between Syrian troops and rebel fighters, Jordan's information minister confirmed. Border traders said passengers were turned back at the Jordanian border crossing of Jaber and prevented from entering in the first such closure of the crossing since the revolt against President Assad's rule started two years ago. According to a Jordanian official, "The border post is effectively closed because there have been clashes since yesterday and they are continuing."  The crossing is a thoroughfare for passengers and was a transit route before the Syria conflict for hundreds of trucks daily carrying goods to Turkey from the Gulf and vice versa. Situated near the Jordanian border, Syria's southern Deraa province is a critical battleground. Rebels in the last month have stepped up fighting for control of the border area and Deraa town after gaining territory in the countryside and capturing several army bases. They have also over-run several towns near the Golan Heights, fueling tensions in the sensitive military zone. (J.Post)

ABBAS ACCUSES ISRAEL OF ‘DESTRUCTIVE’ JERUSALEM PLAN: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused Israel of carrying out a “destructive” plan against Jerusalem and urged the Arab and Islamic countries to work toward preventing it from implementing its scheme. Abbas’ accusation came during a speech he delivered at the Arab summit in Doha, Qatar. “The Israeli occupation is systematically and continuously working toward Judaizing east Jerusalem,” Abbas told the Arab heads of state. He said Israel was also seeking to expel its Palestinian residents and assault Islamic and Christian holy sites. Abbas urged the Arabs and Muslims to go to the UN and other international organizations to stop Israel from pursuing its “destructive scheme.” Abbas also sought the help of the Arab and Islamic countries in putting pressure on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, whom he described as “brave.” Abbas told the summit that during his recent meeting with US President Obama in Ramallah, the two discussed all the final-status issues. Abbas quoted Obama as stressing that the US was resolved to achieve the two-state solution through negotiations. “We reiterated to Obama our commitment to the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders and the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002,” Abbas said. “We also emphasized that halting settlement construction and releasing Palestinian prisoners were not Palestinian pre-conditions, but Israeli obligations in accordance with signed agreements and the Road Map.” (Arutz-7) Palestinian leaders unceasingly feign peaceful intentions, while slandering and making impossible demands of the Jewish state. Meanwhile the Obama administration would dearly love to gain a political feather in its cap by bringing about so called “peaceful solutions” in the Middle East.  As we go around the “peace process” mountain for the hundredth time, continue to pray for backbone, strength and wisdom for Israeli leaders. Israel has made dozens of good will gestures towards the Palestinians including multiple releases of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails. The PA, in return, has rendered not a solitary token of peace towards the Jewish state or kept its part of Road Map obligations- rather ongoing violence and animosity.

TURKS EXPECT ‘TENS OF MILLIONS’ IN COMPENSATION FROM ISRAEL: Justice Minister Tzippy Livni on Sunday spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, discussing the possibility that Israel would pay reparations to the families of nine Turkish supporters of Hamas who were killed in 2010 aboard the Mavi Marmara, after they attempted to attack and murder IDF soldiers boarding the illegal flotilla. Turkey's vice-premier, Bulenbt Arink, confirmed that a dialogue for compensation had taken place, but he gave no details. Turkish media reported Sunday that the families were due to receive “tens of millions of dollars” in compensation. Turkish PM Erdogan told reporters Turkey had set forth three conditions for restoring relations with Israel. One of those was a demand for a full Israeli apology. “They wanted to express regret, but we said no. We insisted they use the word 'apology,'” he said. (Arutz-7)

UN MOVES STAFF OUT OF CONFLICT-RIDDEN SYRIA: The UN is moving half of its 100 international staff still in Syria out of the country due to the growing danger. The Damascus office of UN-Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, will be closed as part of the new measures, diplomats confirmed Monday. "The UN has told us this is due to the growing danger in Damascus. There have been suicide bombs and a number of attacks very near the UN mission," said an unnamed official. The UN has a huge humanitarian operation in Syria aiming to feed and help more than two million Syrians caught in the two-year-old conflict. Most of the distribution work is now handled by Syrian staff and through the Syrian Red Crescent. (INN)

IRAN AND HIZBULLAH ACCESSING TREASURE TROVE OF SYRIAN WEAPONS: Syrian President Assad's forces have reportedly lost 13,000 men and another 40,000 have deserted. Iran and Hizbullah are gaining access to a treasure trove of weapons in Syria, "obtaining air defense capabilities, shore-to-sea missiles, surface-to-surface missiles and other capabilities," IDF Military Intelligence Chief Aviv Kochavi disclosed this week. "Hizbullah and Iran understand that Assad's fate is sealed, and they're preparing for the day after." (Ha'aretz)

CYPRUS VERDICT COULD INHIBIT HIZBULLAH OPERATIONS IN EUROPE: The conviction in Cyprus of a Hizbullah operative plotting to attack Israelis could undercut efforts by the terrorist group to carry out additional attacks outside the Middle East. Last week's guilty verdict was the second confirmation in recent months that Hizbullah is active on European soil. The first was when Bulgarian authorities identified the Lebanon-based terrorist group as being behind the July 2012 bombing in Burgas that left six people dead, five of them Israelis. Hizbullah is also believed to be behind recent plots against Israelis and Jews in India, Thailand and Azerbaijan. The Cyprus conviction makes Europe likelier to list Hizbullah as a terrorist group, and that would bring new restrictions on Hizbullah that would have immediate operational consequences for the group, says Daniel Benjamin, a top US counterterrorism official. “If Hizbullah has to increase its operational security in Europe, if it can't use Europe to fund raise or travel through, it will be challenged to innovate to avoid being caught by European authorities,” said Benjamin. Meanwhile on Tuesday in Bahrain, lawmakers voted to label the Lebanese Hizbullah a terrorist organization. Tensions have been high since Bahrain, situated on the western shores of the Persian Gulf, accused Hizbullah trained insurgents in Lebanon and Iran of seeking to overthrow its government in 2011. (JTA/INN) Continue to pray Hizbullah will be officially listed as a terrorist group by European nations - facilitating sanctions and a debilitating blow to its murderous activities on European soil as well as abroad. This ground is slowly being gained through intercession and as European nations are being furnished with ongoing concrete proof of Hizbullah’s terrorist actions and intents. This Lebanon-based terrorist entity is one of Israel’s leading foes.  From the inception of Hizbullah to the present, the elimination of the State of Israel has been one its primary goals. Translations of Hizbullah's 1985 Arabic-language manifesto state that "our struggle will end only when Israel is obliterated."

ISRAEL FIGHTS OFF LOCUST SCOURGE ON PASSOVER EVE: Crop-dusting planes on Monday bombarded a scourge of locusts with pesticides in an effort to cull the biblicaly timed plague that threatened to annihilate crops in southern Israel. Israel has battled swarm after swarm of the voracious insects for the past three weeks, with ever-larger plagues of the destructive insects arriving daily from neighboring Egypt. Unlike previous swarms that have entered Israel in the past month, the locusts that hit Israel Sunday are yellow and fertile and, in this stage of their metamorphosis, pose less risk to crops because they eat significantly less. Once the insects lay eggs and they hatch, however, Israeli farmers will face the threat of this wave’s insatiable brood, which will eat anything green in their path. “The planes spray the swarms and stop them from going further into the country,” a Ramat Negev Regional Council official said. “You spray them in the morning to stop them from arriving at moister areas, where they would lay eggs and the larvae would eat everything in sight.” The latest swarm to hit Israel on Passover eve carries biblical significance: Of the 10 plagues which, according to the Bible, smote Pharaoh to ensure the release of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, the eighth was locusts. (Times of Israel) Pray ongoing hoards of pests will be driven back and destroyed.

PASSOVER SEDER IN THE WHITE HOUSE: US President Barack Obama and his family hosted about 20 Jewish friends and staff for the traditional Passover seder, Monday evening, which included the reading of the Haggadah and eating of traditional holiday dishes made by the White House chef. As he said in his speech in Israel last week, the president sees great importance in the story of Passover and its link to liberty and freedom throughout the world. The White House seder meal included the use of a seder plate given by PM Netanyahu's wife Sara to first lady Michelle Obama. (Arutz-7)

POPE FRANCIS EXTENDS PASSOVER GREETINGS TO JEWISH COMMUNITY: Pope Francis on Monday extended his wishes to Rome's chief rabbi and Jews worldwide in a gesture aimed at strengthening relations between the two religions, as the Jewish world marked the beginning of the holiday of Passover. In his message to Rabbi Riccardo di Segni, the pope said he hoped “that the Almighty, who freed his people from slavery in Egypt by guiding them to the Holy Land, continues to free them from all evil and accompany them with his blessing.” The pope also requested prayer from the Jewish community: “I ask you to pray for me - as I assure you my prayer - confident of being able to deepen the bonds of mutual respect and friendship," he said. A large delegation of rabbis attended the pontificate's inaugural mass on March 19, underscoring the strong ties between the two religions. (INN)

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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