JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE December 26, 2010
“May these words of mine which I have prayed before the Lord be near to the Lord our God day and night that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need; so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other.” I Kings 8: 59-60
YOUR DONATIONS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED AND APPRECIATED: POVERTY UPDATE: Did you know 1.77 million of Israel's residents are needy and approximately half of Israel's poor are children – at least 850,300? To make the picture clearer: According to a Dec. 26, 2010 poverty update some 5,500 kids have resorted to stealing food over the past year, 2,500 were forced to beg and 5,000 collected food that was thrown away. Moreover, 110,000 went to school without lunch, 100,000 have cut down on school work to help provide for the family, and 260,000 walked around in torn shoes. Approximately 480,000 children went without dental treatments. The elderly population living under the poverty line does not fare much better than the needy children. According to the report, 71% are unable to afford medicine and medical services – a 115% increase from five years ago. Two out of three senior citizens do not leave home as result of financial hardship. General data presented in the report shows 75% of the needy have had to go without meals over the past year – a 21% increase since 2009. The biggest fear of 7% of them is dying of starvation. About 75% of Israeli organizations report that demand for food by poor individuals has risen by 27%, compared to last year. Please continue to enable us to assist children, terrorist victims and Holocaust survivors, entire households suffering from hardship, the elderly, and recent Carmel fire victims. Your donations are needed and welcomed at www.visionforisrael.com. Make your online donation today. For residents in the UK and outside North America visit our newly updated website at www.josephstorehouse.co.uk.
CHRISTIANITY NEAR EXTINCTION IN THE ANCIENT LANDS OF ITS ORIGIN: Many Christians across the Middle East are in peril: The major concern has been Iraq, where the Christian population has declined from 1,400,000 on the eve of the 2003 invasion to 500,000 today. After al-Qaeda gunmen, Oct. 2010, stormed a Catholic church in Baghdad, slaughtering dozens of worshippers and two priests, al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia issued a bulletin claiming that "all Christian centers, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for jihadists.” The Assyrians are one of the oldest Christian sects, going back to the time of Christ. Some even speak Aramaic. In Egypt, Coptic Christians routinely are murdered, persecuted and prevented from worshipping. In Saudi Arabia, Muslim converts to Christianity are executed. In Turkey, Islamists have butchered priests and nuns. In Lebanon, Christians have dwindled, menaced by surging Shiite and Sunni populations. (Washington Times) It is human tendency to demand even a little bit of happy news, especially at this time of year. However, it must be faced that so many of our brethren in the Middle East are enduring increased persecution, hardship and martyrdom for their faith in Yeshua. It is time to get on our knees again and pray with diligence. Intercede for those who are harassed, fearful and in mourning as victims of terror and religious extremism.
IRAQI CHRISTIANS MARK SOMBER CHRISTMAS IN BAGHDAD: Iraqi Christians gathered Saturday to mark Christmas in the same church where less than two months ago dozens from their beleaguered community were killed by Muslim terrorists intent on driving them from Iraq. The walls were pockmarked with bullet holes, plastic sheeting covered gaps where glass windows used to be, and small pieces of dried flesh and blood remain stuck to the ceiling. In front of the altar were photos of the dead parishioners, and twin black cassocks hung from the walls representing the two priests killed in the October bloodbath. "No matter how hard the storm blows, love will save us," Archbishop Matti Shaba Matouka told the congregation. The storm has blown violently against Iraqi Christians this fall. Gunmen stormed the Our Lady of Salvation church taking more than 120 people hostage in a siege that ended with 68 people dead. Days later a string of bombings outside Christian homes and in Christian neighborhoods hammered home the threat. (AP)
PA USES CHRISTMAS TO FURTHER HATRED OF JEWS: When Christmas comes around, the Palestinian Authority looks for ways to incite Christian hatred of Jews worldwide. This year, the Jew-baiting took the form of a report by a foreign press agency (AFP) regarding a Jewish town's opposition to Christmas trees and a book that calls Yeshua "the first Palestinian martyr." While carrying the anti-Jewish Christmas tree story, world media neglected to note that the PA has been brutally and systematically driving out its Christian population - in Bethlehem and elsewhere. Depicting Israel in the role of Dr. Seuss's "Grinch who stole Christmas," AFP sadly reported, "There will be no celebrations this year in a Jewish suburb of Nazareth, after its mayor sparked outrage by refusing to allow Christmas trees to be placed in town squares, calling them provocative." The report has been featured on Yahoo News and elsewhere, eliciting mostly angry anti-Israeli talk backs. (INN)
PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS HITS RADAR: A recurrent theme of Christmas messages by senior church leaders was the beleaguered state of Christian communities in countries with Muslim majorities or Muslim populated regions. These concerns were further punctuated by attacks in Jos, a state in central Nigeria, scene of conflict between the Christian south and the Muslim north in that country. Christians were also attacked on Muslim populated Jolo Island in the Philippines. The outrages go beyond attacks by Muslim fundamentalists. Christian groups currently charge that government collusion encourages these atrocities. (Arutz-7)
JORDAN VALLEY TERROR ON THE RISE: There has been an increase in terrorism in the Jordan River Valley over the past six months, according to senior IDF officers. Many of the new attacks involved placing large stones along Highway 90. The makeshift stone barriers are designed to cause a car to flip over, injuring its passengers, or could force the vehicle to a halt, allowing terrorists hidden nearby to attack. The strategy has also been used in areas of Judea and Samaria to the west. Five such snares for drivers were set up last week and caused damage to vehicles. Terrorists have also thrown firebombs and large stones at soldiers in the region with increasing frequency. (INN) Pray for the Lord to bring failure to every terrorist attempt in Israel.
ECUADOR JOINS NEIGHBORS - RECOGNIZES PALESTINIAN STATE: Ecuador on Friday joined the list of South American countries that have recognized a fully sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. In early December, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia declared recognition of Palestine as an "independent state.” On Thursday, Uruguay announced it would formally recognize Palestine in January 2011. (Al Manar)
US TREASURY APPROVED BUSINESS WITH IRAN: According to a recent New York Times report, the US Treasury Department has granted nearly 10,000 special licenses to American companies over the past decade so they could sell products in Iran and other countries the US considers terrorist sponsors. Companies such as Kraft Food and Pepsi and some of the largest US banks benefited. One US organization was allowed to bid on a pipeline job to help Iran sell natural gas to Europe even though the US opposes such deals. Other companies were permitted to deal with Iranian firms suspected of involvement in terrorism or weapons proliferation. (AP) “Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me- those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?” Ps 49: 5,6
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: MISSING LUNCH OR BEING LUNCH: Israel is a major flyway for migrating birds, which range from tiny songbirds to storks. Kibbutzim have tried everything to keep an estimated 70,000 great white pelicans from lunching at their fish ponds on their way from the Danube to Sudan. Some employ a Sound 'n Light Show of noise cannons, projector lights, exploding rifle cartridges and other nerve-racking but harmless scare tactics. Others spread nets and ropes to interfere with the birds' takeoff trajectory and landing approach. The government has even intervened - trying to entice the pelicans to leave pricey trout alone and eat cheap non-commercial fish at special pelican r&r feeding stations in the Hula. Now, there's a cheaper solution on the horizon - a full-size motorized lifelike plastic crocodile, a natural predator with a predilection for pelican meat. So far, pelicans have taken flight at first sight of the toothy reptile. Better to miss lunch than to become lunch. (JTA)
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.