Israel Update

June 27, 2013

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Mt 12:25

DRAMATIC TURN IN THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS: To effectively understand, and to pray into the latest developments in the Middle East, the following information, compiled by Vision for Israel editors, contains necessary background facts. We urge our readers and dedicated intercessors to take the time to absorb important details on the Sunni and Shiite Muslim factions. Thank you from the VFI team.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUNNI AND SHIITE MUSLIMS: The religion of Islam was established by Muhammad in the seventh century A.D. There are two branches of the religion he started; Sunni and Shiite. The serious split between the two is rooted in who should succeed Mohammed in leading Muslims after his death in 632. Shias say the prophet's cousin and son-in-law Ali was his rightful successor but was cheated when authority went to those the Sunnis call the four "Rightfully Guided Caliphs" - Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman and, finally, Ali. Sunnis are the majority across the Islamic world. In the Middle East, Shias have strong majorities in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain, with significant communities in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other parts of the Gulf. Both sects of Islam consider the Quran the word of God. But there are sharp distinctions in theology and religious practice between them. When talk in the Middle East turns to the tensions between Islam's two main sects, Shias are described by Sunnis as devious, power-hungry corruptors of Islam. Sunnis are deemed by Shias to be extremist, intolerant oppressors. Hatreds between the two are now more virulent than ever in the Arab world because of Syria's civil war. Hard-line clerics and politicians on both sides in the region have added fuel, depicting the fight as essentially a war of survival for their sect. In Syria, Sunnis make up 74% of the total population. Shiites and their Alawite offshoot group make up the remaining 13%, including Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime. The Lebanon-based terrorist organization, Hizbullah, is a Shiite-backed group. Iran’s previous president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Shiite. Syrian rebels are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims. Al-Qaeda, until May 2011 ruled by Osama bin Laden is a Sunni Muslim terrorist organization. The two Muslim factions, Sunni and Shiites are bitterly opposed to each other and are increasingly at war in the Middle East. Both are avowed enemies to Israel and the West. (Compiled by VFI editors) How can we pray? Vision for Israel editors have often asked its prayer partners to intercede for the division and scattering of Israel’s enemies. This prayer is being answered right now. It is our belief these rapidly weakening links between Islamic sects and terror groups can be pulled apart totally at the seams with our intercession. Please pray to that end. Above all intercede for the hope and light of the Gospel to increasingly reach nations and individuals steeped in the darkness and chaos of Islam.

SUNNIS LYNCH, MURDER SHIITES IN EGYPT: The tension in Syria between Sunni and Shiite Muslims is spilling over into the rest of the Arab world. In a savage incident in Egypt Sunday, thousands of Sunnis lynched and murdered four Shiites in a Giza-district village, beating them and burning their houses down. Some 3,000 Sunnis, led by religious leaders, conducted their own “Jihad” against the hapless Shiites, who were far outnumbered. A top Egyptian Shiite leader, Hassan Shachata, was dragged out of his home into the street, beaten to a pulp and then stabbed to death by dozens of Sunnis. Shachata was accused of “insulting the Muslim prophets who came after Mohammed,” village residents said. Before the executions, Salafist preachers riled up the crowd, portraying the Shiites as “heretics” who “spread immorality” in the village. Witnesses said police did nothing to intervene. About a million Shiites live in Egypt, which has over 82 million residents. Tensions emerged between Sunnis and Shiites during the revolution that unseated Hosni Mubarak as president, and they have been sharpened by the fighting in Syria, which has essentially deteriorated into a civil war, with Sunnis on one side, and Shiites and Alawite Muslims on the other. (INN)

HAMAS: STOPPING ASSAD PRIORITY OVER ‘JIHAD IN PALESTINE’: A senior Hamas official this week stated that toppling the regime of Syrian President Assad is more urgent than “jihad in Palestine.” Abdel Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council, said the PLC fully supports the Syrian opposition in its efforts to stop the bloodshed, which is a priority over anything else, including Jihad against Israel. He added that keeping Assad’s regime in power was tantamount to “a stab in the heart and chest,” arguing that removing the Syrian dictator would pave the way for boosting the Palestinian cause. (J.Post)

ISLAMIC JIHAD SEVERS TIES WITH HAMAS: As a result of an internal conflict that broke out between Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the second-largest terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad on Sunday announced it was suspending its ties with Hamas. The movement has accused the Gaza leaders of being responsible for the death of one of the group's top members. Raed Qassim Jundeyeih died Sunday after being shot the previous day by Hamas police officers. Hamas officials went on Saturday to deliver a summons to a member of the Jundeyeih family, when members of the clan opened fire at the officers. Jundeyeih was injured in a subsequent gunfight. The movement stated that Hamas members were responsible for Jundeyeih, describing his death as a "favor" to Israel. Apparently, the seven rockets fired into southern Israel later Sunday are Islamic Jihad's way of settling the score with its fellow terrorist group in Gaza. In the past, Islamic Jihad has reacted to internal conflicts with Hamas by trying to increase tension with Israel along the Gaza border. Israel’s air force struck four targets in Gaza in response to the rocket fire. No injuries were reported. PM Netanyahu on Monday warned Palestinians in the Hamas-led Gaza Strip that Israel would continue to act militarily against elements that launch rockets at the country's population centers. (Ha’aretz/J.Post) Pray for the renewed safety and protection of Israel’s southern residents that have, for years, had their lives disrupted by terrorist rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

12 LEBANESE SOLDIERS KILLED IN CLASHES WITH SUNNIS: Lebanese soldiers fought Sunni Muslim gunmen in the southern city of Sidon on Monday in one of the deadliest outbreaks of violence fueled by sectarian divisions over the civil war in neighboring Syria. The army said 12 soldiers had been killed in clashes which broke out on Sunday after security forces detained a follower of the hardliner Sunni Muslim cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir. His supporters retaliated by opening fire on an army checkpoint. Security sources put the army death toll at 15, with 60 wounded. They said at least two gunmen were also killed in the clashes but soldiers were surrounding the mosque where Assir's supporters were based, making it difficult to verify details. The mosque showed signs of heavy damage from 24 hours of ferocious exchanges of rocket and gunfire. Sidon had been on edge since violence erupted last week between Sunni and Shiite Muslim fighters, at odds over the Syrian conflict which pits mainly Sunni rebels against President Bashar Assad, an Alawite from an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Tensions escalated further when the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hizbullah sent fighters into Syria to lead the recapture of a strategic border town by Assad's forces. (J.Post)

SYRIAN CIVIL WAR ERODING HIZBULLAH’S FORCES: Hizbullah’s large-scale involvement in Syria is eroding its military resources. The Lebanese terrorist organization’s Shiite fighters, who were deployed to Syria to fight on behalf of Syrian President Assad at Iran’s orders, tipped the balance in favor of Assad at the battle of Qusair in recent weeks. But Israeli security analysts said this week the victory came at a heavy price for Hizbullah that will spiral the longer the organization remains engaged in Syria. Additionally, as Sunni- Shiite sectarian tensions spread to neighboring Lebanon, Hizbullah could find itself dealing with unrest on its home turf too. Any benefits Hizbullah is gaining from its Syrian intervention, in the form of battlefield experience, is being outweighed by the high price of the involvement, according to Yoram Schweitzer, the director of the Terrorism and Low Intensity Warfare Project in Tel Aviv. “There is an erosion of Hizbullah’s fighting forces and its resources. And of course, politically, this is increasingly chipping away at Hizbullah’s image as the resistance party that fights the common enemy Israel,” he added. It is likely Hizbullah sent some of its quality units, originally designated for combat with the IDF, to the battlefields of Syria, Schweitzer said. (J.Post)

SAUDIS: WE CANNOT BE SILENT IN FACE OF IRAN, HIZBULLAH INVOLVEMENT IN SYRIA: Saudi Arabia regards the involvement of Iran and Hizbullah in Syria's civil war as dangerous and believes the rebels must be offered military aid, the kingdom's foreign minister said on Tuesday. Speaking with US Secretary John Kerry in Jeddah, Prince Saud al-Faisal added that Saudi Arabia "cannot be silent" about Iranian intervention and called for a resolution to ban arms flows to the Syrian government. "The kingdom calls for issuing an unequivocal international resolution to halt the provision of arms to the Syrian regime and states the illegitimacy of the regime," Prince Saud said. (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 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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