Israel Update

April 1, 2013

“And I will wait on the Lord, who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him.” Isa 8:17

‘HISTORICAL DAY’: NATURAL GAS BEGINS TO FLOW FROM TAMAR: Four years after drilling began in the Tamar offshore field, some 50 miles off the Haifa shore, natural gas began flowing over the weekend from the offshore platforms to Ashdod. The gas field's developers and politicians hailed this as "a historical day." The gas flowed through pipes to a production rig off the Ashdod shore Saturday night and began to flow to the onshore storage facility on Sunday. Use of the natural gas discovered in the Mediterranean Sea in the last few years is expected to assist the Israeli energy market and reduce electricity costs. Yitzchak Teshuva, CEO of Delek, said Saturday: "The vision has turned into a reality. This is a huge accomplishment for the Israeli market and the beginning of a new era." PM Binyamin Netanyahu said Saturday night, "This is an important day for the economy of Israel. On the holiday of freedom, we are taking an important step toward independence in the field of energy." (Arutz-7)

ISRAEL PASSES US AS WORLD’S LARGEST JEWISH POPULATION CENTER: During Passover, the Jewish population of Israel has passed the symbolic 6 million mark – the same number of Jews believed to have been killed during the Nazi Holocaust – while the country’s total population is now 8 million. Israel now has the world’s largest community of Jews, replacing the US (5.5 million, with 2 million in New York City alone), France (500,000, mostly in Paris) and Canada (380,000, primarily in Toronto). Britain has 290,000 Jews, most of them concentrated in London. According to the Interior Ministry, Israel’s non-Jewish population comprises about 1.6 million Arabs and 350,000 non-Arab Christians plus those listed as "others." (International Business Times/Ha’aretz) “Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you.  As surely as I live, declares the Lord, you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.” Isa 49:17

BENNETT: OBAMA’S POLICIES COULD LEAD TO VIOLENCE: Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett became the first senior minister in PM Netanyahu’s government to slam US President Obama on Friday when he accused him of wishful thinking and warned his policies could lead to the mass murder of Israelis. In a lengthy post on his official Facebook page, Bennett said the atmosphere during Obama’s visit reminded him of the Oslo period. He recalled that during that time in the mid-1990s, there was a feeling that if Israel conceded enough, peace would come. “There were the usual statements about both sides wanting peace and two states side by side being the only chance for peace,” Bennett wrote. “These are nice statements but they are distant from reality.” Bennett noted that in the second intifada that followed Israel’s concessions in Oslo, hundreds of Israelis were killed in suicide bombings in cafes and on buses in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. He singled out the 2002 bombing of Netanya’s Park Hotel on Passover Seder night that left 32 Israelis killed and 160 wounded. “Back then they also said that there is no military solution to terror and that only diplomatic talks would work, but Operation Defensive Shield proved they were wrong and that actually only force can defeat terror,” Bennett wrote. “Now that I am a minister, I will act in every way possible to prevent another tragedy, even if it’s not popular,” he continued. “I want peace with the Arabs no less than anyone else, but giving territory to our enemies is not the answer.” Bennett said he told Obama the time has come to consider new directions on the Palestinian issue that would be different and creative. (J.Post) Continue to keep PM Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders at the top of your prayer list. Pray for their increased biblical insight and courage to stand against the pressures of the nations to divide Israel for a false peace with Islamic terror groups or to give into their outrageous demands.

IRAN BELIEVES CHANCE OF ATTACK ON IT IS LOW: Iran is facing growing economic and domestic pressure due to international sanctions, but Tehran believes the chances of a military strike on its nuclear program is low, IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi reported Thursday. Kochavi said Iran was facing growing economic strains due to the sanctions, including oil exports that have nearly halved, and rising unemployment. “I believe the weight from the sanctions is becoming an increasingly decisive element in the Iranian decision-making process, but it has not yet caused them to change their nuclear policy,” he said. “We believe Iran will continue to develop its nuclear program, and intelligently deal with pressure from the street and the international community,” he continued. “The regime believes there is not a high probability for an attack on it.” In 2013, Iran will continue to advance its nuclear program and will offer no major concessions during talks with the international community in the coming year, Kochavi stated. (J.Post) Pray for Israel’s government, intelligence, and military officials to be on high alert during these times of upheaval across the Middle East. Iran is an avowed enemy of the Jewish state and will not hesitate to take advantage of any and every lapse of Western pressure to keep it from advancing its nuclear program.

ISRAEL FACING FOUR ACTIVE TERRORISM BORDERS: Israel's Military Intelligence chief addressing the situation in Syria late last week noted the Syrian air force is carrying out 40-50 military maneuvers a week, and that the Assad regime has fired 70 Scud and M-600 missiles so far since the conflict erupted. An additional 600 rockets with warheads carrying 250 kilograms of explosives have been fired. Assad’s allies, Iran and Hizbullah, know the Syrian dictator’s fate is sealed, Kochavi said, and have flooded Syria with a militia consisting of 50,000 fighters. As the Middle East continues to convulse from destabilizing developments, Israel, for the first time, finds itself facing four active terrorism borders: Lebanon, Syria, Sinai, and the Gaza Strip. “This is a different reality,” the intelligence chief warned. The threat of terrorist attacks abroad, generated by Hizbullah and Iran, is also high, and several such attacks have been thwarted. Meanwhile, global jihad terrorist organizations are proliferating in Syria and the Sinai Peninsula. “The threat of a security deterioration, caused either by us attacking, or a terrorist attack on us is growing,” Kochavi said. (J.Post) “Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear.” Ps 27:3

RUSSIA LAUNCHES SURPRISE MILITARY EXERCISE IN BLACK SEA: Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised his defense minister in the wee hours of Thursday morning last week with an order for surprise military drills to test battle readiness in the Black Sea. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was awakened at 4:00 a.m. local time with sealed orders to activate 7,000 troops, 36 ships, up to 20 fighter jets and helicopters and 50 pieces of artillery. Aviation, paratroopers and special forces are involved in the exercises, which were launched immediately according to Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said “We are talking about major exercises, intended as a check.” Drills are reportedly taking place on three military test ranges on Russian territory and are expected to last about a week. Russia has been heavily involved in protecting Syria's President Assad from international ire at the UN Security Council, but as Assad's grip on power increasingly weakens, and fragmented rebel forces gain control over more territory in the country, Moscow has begun to quietly evacuate its citizens from Damascus and the surrounding areas. Likewise Putin has joined discussions over what may become of Syria's lethal arsenal of chemical weapons of mass destruction, a rising concern in the international community. (INN)

SYRIA: ANCIENT SYNAGOGUE IN FLAMES: An ancient synagogue near Damascus was robbed, vandalized and set on fire over the weekend. President Assad’s forces and rebel soldiers are each blaming the other for the incident. (INN)

UK PARLIAMENTARIAN APOLOGIZES FOR ANTI-JEWISH SLUR: The British parliamentarian who complained of a Jewish conspiracy after being jailed for his part in a fatal car crash has apologized for his remarks. Nazir Ahmed, a member of the House of Lords, had said a prison sentence he served was a result of pressure applied on the court by Jews “who own newspapers and television channels.” The Labor party member, who was suspended by the party, told media sources days ago that he completely and unreservedly apologizes. He said he had the “greatest respect for the Jewish community and that his comments were “unacceptable” and “the product of a twisted mind.” He said he took full responsibility for the “bigoted and stupid” remarks. The 55-year-old, who became one of the first Muslim peers in the UK after former PM Tony Blair appointed him in 1998, was jailed in 2009 after he killed another motorist while sending a series of text messages while driving. He also claimed the judge in the case was appointed after he helped a “Jewish colleague” of Blair during an important case, and that Jewish-owned media organizations pressured the courts to charge him with a more serious offense. (J.Post)

FIRST FLIGHT FROM CAIRO TO IRAN SINCE 1979: Egypt on Saturday launched the first direct commercial passenger flight to Iran in more than 30 years, signaling improved ties between the two countries. Last month, Egypt's Tourism Minister signed an agreement on operating non-stop flights between the two countries during a visit to Iran. In February, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian president to travel to Egypt since Iran's 1979 revolution ruptured diplomatic ties between the two most populous countries in the Middle East. Tehran broke off relations with Cairo in 1980, a year after Egypt's peace agreement with Israel. The ties between Egypt and Iran have improved since the fall of Egypt's former autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. (Ha’aretz)

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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