Israel Update

August 23, 2013

“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” Isa 59:14

ASSAD FLAUNTS RED LINE ANNIVERSARY - HUNDREDS DEAD IN CHEMICAL ATTACK: The world looked on in horror as graphic images emerged showing the aftermath of a dawn poison gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus that wiped out as many as 1,700 people, including children, as they lay sleeping in their beds. Reports were accompanied by ghastly photos and video footage Wednesday. Hundreds of others were wounded in the assault on rebel-held areas of eastern Damascus. According to reports, the Syrian army used missiles equipped with warheads loaded with sarin gas. The missiles were fired indiscriminately with the purpose of causing mass casualties. A spokesman for the rebel Free Syria Army in Paris, said its branch in Damascus had documented 1,729 deaths following Wednesday's attack. He added that 6,000 people were also suffering from breathing problems. After the taboos of using artillery, helicopters and missiles on civilians have been broken, the taboo of using unconventional weapons has apparently been shattered as well. Even a cruel regime that is fighting for its life, as Assad's is, would not dare violate international law in such a blatant way without being certain it would not pay a price for such immoral and inhumane conduct. (INN/Ynet) Pray with mercy for those who suffer in Syria. In addition to children being gassed in their beds, according to latest UN figures over one million Syrian children are now refugees.

INITIAL ASSESSMENT: ASSAD INDEED USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS: A preliminary assessment made by US and allied intelligence agencies concludes chemical weapons were indeed used by Syrian forces in the assault near Damascus this week. It is believed the attack was carried out with high-level approval from the government of President Bashar Assad. American and European security sources cautioned the assessment was preliminary and, at this stage, they were still seeking conclusive proof - which could take days, weeks or even longer to gather. Meanwhile, senior US officials are weighing choices for a response to the events in Syria, ranging from increased international sanctions to possible air strikes on Assad's forces, administration sources said. A high-level meeting of members of Obama's National Security Council, the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies was held at the White House late on Thursday but made no decisions on what to recommend, officials said, and further discussions were planned. (Arutz-7)

ASSAD HONORS OBAMA CHEMICAL “RED LINE” ANNIVERSARY: The US “red line” comment – in this case regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons - refers to a stand US President Obama made exactly one year ago, promising that the use of chemical weapons against Syrian rebels would bring a game-changing shift in US posture toward Assad's regime. “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground,” Obama said on August 20, 2012, that “a red line for us is if we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.” However, at an afternoon press conference following the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons Wednesday morning, resulting in mass casualties in Damascus, the White House continued to deflect demands that it must take unilateral action against the regime. “This is and should be a top priority of the United Nations,” said Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest in a briefing with journalists. He continued that “Those who are responsible for the use of chemical weapons - if it's determined that that's what happened will be held accountable.” When reporters pressed Earnest on whether President Obama is “willing to use the stick along with the rhetoric” on Syria, he quipped it was “a philosophical question which might be better answered by the Commander-in-Chief himself.” (AP/MailOnline)

THE IMPOTENCY OF WESTERN POWERS: Chinese and Russian tensions with Western powers have allegedly meant the UN Security Council has stopped short of sending a team - who are already in Syria to investigate previous attacks in other areas - to examine the site of Wednesday’s chemical attack on Damascus suburbs. Rather, they have called for “clarity” over the deadly incident. Instead of demanding that the UN experts - who are just a few miles from the attacked neighborhood - visit the site, the council's statement was watered down to appease the Russian and Chinese governments who have previously vetoed Western attempts to impose penalties on the Syrian government. Russia, which has supported the regime and vetoed past efforts to secure a tough UN resolution, suggested the assault could be a “premeditated provocation” by opposition forces. Syrian National Coalition spokesman Khaled Saleh said, “Politics is knocking on closed doors and we understand that the UN is one of those closed doors for us." Many rebels and activists in the opposition area say they had lost interest in UN investigations or help from Western powers abroad. “We're being exterminated with poison gas while they [UN officials] drink their coffee and sit inside their hotels,” said activist Bara Abdelraman. The US is losing its influence in the Middle East and it will not resolve the crisis either. (MailOnline) In the words of one Israeli commentator: "It’s not only innocent victims being buried in Damascus, but the concept of enlightened Arab nationalism and the hope that the West has a conscience. Women and children who were gassed to death are being buried in Damascus, along with the ideal of an international community and the illusion of international law."

“THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT SYRIA, THEY WON’T CARE ABOUT US”: A Former IDF Chief Rabbi, wrote Thursday on his Facebook page that the hundreds killed by the Syrian army in a chemical weapons attack Wednesday sent a grim message to Israelis. “Hundreds of people – supposedly born in the image of G-d – die before us from chemical poisoning, and the world remains silent.” One day soon, he said, those chemical weapons could be aimed at Israel, too. “And the world will remain silent – very silent. We cannot rely on the sense of justice of the liberal world. They will act exactly as they did when Jews were slaughtered in Europe.” He said the only solution is to “prepare ourselves for an ongoing struggle against our enemies, without expecting any help from the international community. We must understand the situation and accept it, dealing with it without the visual bribery of mirages of “peace talks” to distract us.” Such talks, he said, “make our leaders sleepy, blinding them to what is really happening.” PM Binyamin Netanyahu commented Thursday that the alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria “proves yet again that we cannot permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to acquire the world’s most dangerous weapons.” (Arutz-7/Reuters) “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.” Ps 146:3

IDF: 3 ROCKETS FIRED AT ISRAEL; AIR CORRIDOR CLOSED: The Israel Defense Forces reported Thursday afternoon that four rockets were fired from Lebanon at an area in Israel just south of the Lebanese border. There were no casualties or injuries. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one rocket for the first time along the Israeli-Lebanese border, but apparently, out of the four rockets two managed to hit residential areas. One of the two sites hit is an inn for Holocaust survivors, in which damage was sustained to the kitchen. Several guests who were at the inn's dining room were rushed to fortified space when the sirens sounded. PM Netanyahu warned later Thursday, "Anyone who harms us, or tries to harm us, should know - we will strike them." He also said, "We are working on all fronts - north and south, to protect Israeli citizens from these attacks." Two weeks ago, four Israeli soldiers on a routine patrol of the Lebanon border were seriously wounded by a roadside bomb. As the situation appears to be escalating, Israeli concerns that Syria's ongoing civil war could reach Israel via Lebanon's Hezbollah terrorist militia seem more valid than ever. (INN/Israel Today) Continue to pray for the protection of Israel’s borders and her communities near to them.

ISRAELI AIRCRAFT STRIKE IN LEBANON: Israeli aircraft struck a terror target south of Beirut Lebanon Thursday night, said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. According to the statement, a direct hit was identified and all aircraft returned safely to their bases. The IDF said that the airstrike came in response to Thursday afternoon’s rocket attack from Lebanon at northern Israel. (INN)

LEBANON: HEZBOLLAH COMMANDER ASSASSINATED: A leading supporter of the Hezbollah terrorist group was assassinated in Tripoli on Thursday. Al-Mouri was gunned down by "masked men on motorbikes," along with a security official and a bystander, according to Lebanese media sources. The 40 year-old leader of a pro-Hezbollah Sunni militia was standing at the entrance to his home along with the two other men when the gunmen drove up and shot them. Unlike most Sunnis in Tripoli, the al-Mouri family supports the Iranian-backed Shia organization and its Syrian and Iranian patrons, as opposed to the Sunni rebels in Syria. His death will contribute to the increasing political and sectarian divisions within Lebanon, as the civil war in neighboring Syria continues to spill over. (Arutz-7)

TWIN BLASTS IN LEBANESE CITY OF TRIPOLI KILLS AT LEAST 42: Twin explosions outside two mosques killed at least 42 people, medical and security sources said, and wounded hundreds in apparently coordinated attacks in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday. The blasts, the biggest and deadliest in Tripoli since the end of Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war, struck as Friday prayers ended in the largely Sunni Muslim city. They came a week after a huge explosion killed at least 24 people in a stronghold in Beirut of the Shi'ite Muslim terrorist movement Hezbollah. A recent resurgence of sectarian violence in Lebanon has been stoked by the war in adjacent Syria, where President Bashar Assad is fighting a largely Sunni-led rebellion and Hezbollah has sent fighters into combat on his side. (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 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


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