May 6, 2013
“Blessed be the Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” Ps 144:1
EXPLOSIONS ROCK DAMASCUS, ISRAEL CARRIES OUT SECOND AIRSTRIKE: A series of explosions were heard in Damascus overnight Saturday in a second air attack within hours against Syria, believed to have been carried out by Israel. Jets bombed Syria on Sunday, rocking Damascus for hours and sending pillars of flame into the night sky in what a Western source called a new strike on Iranian missiles bound for Lebanon's Hizbullah terrorist group. Local people reported massive explosions and Internet videos showed the capital's skyline lit by flashes. Syrian opponents of President Bashar Assad rejoiced at Israel's third raid this year, and second in 48 hours, while anger in Tehran highlighted how Syria's civil war risks spinning further beyond its borders. Israel, while declining to confirm the strike, stressed its focus was to deny its Lebanese foes new Iranian firepower and not take sides between Assad and rebels who have won sympathy from Israel's Western allies but who also include al-Qaida Islamists hostile to the Jewish state. It appears to calculate that Assad will not risk forces he needs to fight the rebels by attacking a much stronger Israel. The Syrian foreign ministry statement said Sunday that three military sites had been hit in the Israeli nighttime aerial raid: a "research center" at Jamraya, a "paragliding airport" in Damascus, and a site in Maysaloun. Syria’s foreign minister called Sunday's attack a "declaration of war," and the Iranian foreign minister urged countries to resist Israel. The number of calls to the Israel Postal Company, in charge of distributing gas masks, increased four-fold on Sunday due to tensions in the north. (INN/J.Post)
ISRAEL ON ALERT FOR POSSIBLE SYRIAN OR HIZBULLAH REPRISAL: Syria has stationed missile batteries aimed at Israel in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes in the country, according to a top Syrian official on Sunday. Prior to this announcement, the Israeli army deployed two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to the north in anticipation of retaliatory action either by Hizbullah or Syria. Former IDF chief and defense minister, Sha'ul Mofaz, said Israel must do everything in its power to prevent Hizbullah from becoming any stronger as a result of the chaos in Syria. Mofaz also noted that the weekend aerial assault had sent a clear message to Iran, which continues its defiant march to attain nuclear weapons. US President Barack Obama said his government "continues to believe the Israelis justifiably have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hizbullah." Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed Sunday for restraint to avoid an escalation in the Syrian conflict, expressing "grave concern" over Israeli air strikes. (Israel Today/INN) Pray for angelic as well as military protection of Israel’s northern borders. Pray fear will not grip residents there or in other vulnerable parts of the country.
FRIDAY: ISRAEL BOMBED WEAPONS INTENDED FOR HIZBULLAH: On Friday, Israel bombed a weapons shipment headed for the Lebanese-based terrorist group, Hizbullah. Israeli officials said Saturday the Jewish state had enforced its own red line of not allowing game-changing weapons to reach Lebanon's Hizbullah, a heavily armed foe of the Jewish state and an ally of Syrian President Assad's regime. The airstrike was directed at a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that Israel believed was intended for Hizbullah, according to American sources. Israeli officials confirmed the strike targeted “game-changing” weaponry. The missiles, sent to Syria by Iran were being stored at an airport in Damascus when they were struck in the attack, one American official said. The targeted Syrian warehouse was believed to be under the control of operatives from Hizbullah and Iran’s paramilitary Quds force. Also Saturday, a source in Damascus said Israeli F-16 jets carried out three strikes on the road connecting Damascus and Beirut. (Ynet) “The Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me.” Jer 20:11
OBAMA: ISRAEL JUSTIFIED IN STOPPING WEAPONS TRANSFER: Israel is justified in protecting itself from advanced weapons shipments to Hizbullah, US President Barack Obama said this weekend. "What I have said in the past and continue to believe is that the Israelis justifiably have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hizbullah," the president said. "We coordinate closely with the Israelis, recognizing they are very close to Syria, they are very close to Lebanon." Israel and the Hizbullah terrorist organization, a faithful ally of Syrian President Assad, fought a war in the summer of 2006. UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon recently warned that Hizbullah is replacing the Lebanese army in the region and building up its military presence on the border with Israel, in violation of its ceasefire deal with the Jewish State. (INN) Continue to pray for Israel to be strengthened in its battle against all terrorist organizations, their associates and their malicious intentions against the Jewish state. No justification is necessary for fighting terrorism!
ATTACK INTO SYRIA – MESSAGE TO IRAN: Every Western intelligence agency estimated it would happen soon, and now it has: Bashar Assad tried to reward Nasrallah and his Hizbullah operatives - who are fighting and dying for him – by transferring modern, surface-to-surface missiles that would alter the balance of power between the Lebanese terrorist group and Israel. The Jewish state intervened and thwarted, just as the prime minister, defense minister and IDF chief had promised it would. Israeli aircraft flew over Lebanon in the past few days – mainly over south Lebanon, and even carried out simulated attacks. These flyovers were supposedly meant to signal to Hizbullah and Syria: We are aware of your intentions and we will not sit idly by – as Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon warned. Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to voice its support of Israel’s military actions against Syria’s shipments of advanced weapons to Hizbullah. In accordance with its new agreements with the Jewish state, the US is trying to show Syria and its supporters – Iran, Russia and China – that the US is serious when it says that "all options are on the table." The message: We stand by Israel when it protects itself. (J.Post)
US SAYS IRAN IS OBTAINING MATERIALS IN VIOLATION OF UN SANCTIONS: US officials said Friday that both Iran and North Korea are trying to obtain high-tech materials linked to their nuclear programs, in violation of UN sanctions. According to Thomas Countryman, Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, Iran is also sending weapons and ammunition to Syrian government forces despite a ban. “Both Iran and North Korea have developed channels that enable them to continue to export and to procure items they need for their weapons industry,” Countryman said in Geneva. The commander of US Central Command warned recently that Iran’s behavior poses the greatest risk to stability in the Middle East. In a recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis said, “Iran remains the single-most significant regional threat to stability and prosperity.” Mattis, the top US Commander in the Middle East, added that the Iranian government’s “reckless behavior and bellicose rhetoric characterize a leadership that cannot win the affection of its own people or the respect of any responsible nation in the region.” (Arutz-7)
GOOGLE GIVES ‘PALESTINE’ ONLINE STATEHOOD: Internet behemoth Google changed the tagline on its Palestinian edition from “Palestinian territories” to “Palestine” on Thursday, in a controversial move that lends online credence to local aspirations of statehood. Israeli officials indicated their displeasure with the move. Last November, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to upgrade the status of its Palestinian mission to that of non-member observer state. The move was met with strong Israeli and US criticism. The term “Palestine” is contentious largely because the final status of the Palestinian territories and their borders has yet to be settled through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Talks between the parties have been at a standstill for over four years, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ government demanding near-impossible preconditions of Israel ahead of their resumption. Israel’s FM spokesman said Friday there can be many questions raised by this change, regarding Google’s policy and its implications. Precisely because Google is not the UN or any international diplomatic institution, this begs the question of whether there is room for any political stance on controversial issues on behalf of what is basically a private Internet company.” Google has not yet commented on the change, which appears on both the Arabic and English versions of the local homepage. (Times of Israel)
FINLAND, DENMARK UPGRADE PA’s DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS: Finland and Denmark on Friday became the latest European countries to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic missions in their countries. Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja and Danish counterpart Villy Soevndal made the announcement after a meeting of the Nordic foreign ministers in Stockholm. Soevndal said the move means "Palestine gets the same status" as embassies from other countries based in Helsinki and Copenhagen. (INN)
US LIST OF TERROR SUSPECTS INCREASES BY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN JUST 5 YEARS: The number of names on a highly classified US central database, used to track suspected terrorists, has increased from 540,000 to 875,000 in just five years. Known as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), the database provides information on people whom US authorities see as known, suspected or potential terrorists from around the world. People on the list include alleged Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose name was added in 2011 after the US spy agency received a request from Russian authorities to investigate him for suspected radical Islamist activities. The CIA also entered the name of Tsarnaev's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev's, into the TIDE database. Karen Greenberg, an expert in counter-terrorism policy, questioned whether the growth in the database's size made it easier for officials to spot threats before they materialize. She said: “What you want is more focus. It can't be just about quantity. It has to be about specificity.” The vast size of TIDE came into the spotlight in the wake of the bombing late last month of the Boston Marathon. (MainOnline)
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 http://www.visionforisrael.com/
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.