JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE January 9, 2011
“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt 16:18
OBAMA CALLS SHOOTING JEWISH CONGRESSWOMAN A TRAGEDY FOR AMERICA: Representative Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded when shot outside an Arizona grocery store in a shooting spree January 8. Giffords, the first Jewish woman to be elected to Congress in Arizona, was shot in the head when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store while she was meeting with constituents. Another six people were killed and 13 more wounded in a rampage that shocked the nation. Obama called the incident a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country. The hospital said Gifford's outlook was "optimistic" despite the fact the bullet had gone through her head. A 9-year-old child was among the dead, and a federal judge was also fatally shot in the attack. Shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, is in police custody. His motives for the killing spree are being investigated, but Loughner listed Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto as two of his favorite books on his YouTube and MySpace pages. (Ha’aretz) Pray for the full recovery of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others who were injured on Saturday; also for the comforting of those who have lost loved ones in this tragic attack.
80% OF THE MOST DANGEROUS COUNTRIES IN WHICH TO BE CHRISTIAN ARE ISLAMIC: The most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones. Of the top 10 countries on the 2011 World Watch List (WWL), eight have Islamic majorities. Persecution has increased in seven of them. They are Iran, which clamps down on a growing house church movement; Afghanistan, where thousands of believers cluster deep underground; and Saudi Arabia, which still refuses to allow any Saudi person to convert to Christianity. Others are Somalia, ruled by bloodthirsty terrorists threatening to kill Christian aid workers who feed Somalia’s starving people; tiny Maldives, which boasts it is 100% Islamic; Yemen with its determination to expel all Christian workers; and Iraq, which saw extremists massacre dozens of Christians in a Baghdad cathedral on Oct. 31. Of the top 30 countries, only seven have a source other than Islamic extremists as the main persecutors of Christians. The country that saw the greatest deterioration of Christian religious freedom in the reporting period from Nov. 1, 2009, through Oct. 31, 2010, was Iraq. (Google) Continue to intercede for Christians in the Middle East who are being increasingly persecuted for their faith. Pray for strength, courage, protection and refuge.
ISRAEL ALONE HAS STRONG CHRISTIAN GROWTH IN THE MIDDLE EAST: The holiday season has left behind a trail of devastation and a rising sense of anguish among Christian communities in the Middle East. With few exceptions, those targeting Christians are the same people who wish to see a return to a Muslim Caliphate and a radical interpretation of Islam in the Muslim world. The only country in the Middle East where the Christian population has seen strong growth is Israel, where the total has increased from 34,000 in 1948 to more than 150,000 today. The one country in the region without a Muslim majority is the country where the number of Christians is growing. (World Politics Review) “Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you.” Is 60: 2
THE ISLAMIFICATION OF BRITAIN: Some 200,000 ethnic British people have taken on the Islamic faith. The number of Britons choosing to become Muslims has doubled in the past decade. A new study by the inter-faith think-tank, Faith Matters, suggests there are as many as 5,000 new conversions nationwide each year. (Independent-UK)
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 pay for 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.
CLINTON SEEKS STRONGER TIES WITH ARAB ALLIES: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to the Persian Gulf this week is intended to strengthen ties with Arab allies, rally support for penalties against Iran, and promote democracy and security across the Middle East. Clinton departed from the US late Saturday for the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, where leaders are concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and growing influence in the region. Clinton also will seek greater cooperation in enforcing international sanctions on Iran that are designed to make Iran prove that it’s not trying to develop nuclear weapons. Many Arab nations share US fears that Iran is using a civilian atomic energy program to hide weapons development. Those concerns were amplified in leaked diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks website late last year that revealed deep mistrust of Iran by Sunni Arab leaders who must deal with an increasing emboldened Shiite neighbor. (Ha’aretz)
ISRAELI SOLDIER DEAD, 8 WOUNDED AS GAZA VIOLENCE ESCALATES: An Israeli soldier was killed and four other soldiers were wounded by friendly fire while battling Hamas terrorists on Friday night along the Gaza security fence. The soldiers spotted a Hamas cell planting bombs along the fence. A team of infantry soldiers advanced on the terrorists, while another team responded with artillery fire. An initial investigation suggested one of the artillery shells went off target and hit the advancing infantry team. On Saturday, Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired four mortar shells at a kibbutz in southern Israel, wounding three Thai laborers working the fields there. Several hours later, three short-range missiles were fired from Gaza, wounding a truck driver whose windshield was shattered by the impact. A growing number of Israeli politicians, even those from the far left, are urging stronger Israeli military action against the Gaza terrorists. They warn that Israel’s deterrence is eroding, and Hamas is becoming increasingly bold in its action. (Ryan Jones/Israel Today)
DESPITE FREEZE: JUDEA/SAMARIA JEWISH POPULATION UP BY 4.5%: The Central Bureau of Statistics has released the most recent population statistics of Judea and Samaria indicating yet another nation-leading growth rate. Despite the ten months of construction freeze that ended in September, the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria grew by more than 4.5% in the course of 2010 – compared to 2.9% in the entire country. The number of Jews living in Yesha grew by nearly 15,000 during the year. (Ynet)
GOD BEHIND THE BIG BANG POPE SAYS: The Big Bang was an act of God, with divine will bringing the universe into being, Pope Benedict XVI told a gathering of Catholics at the Vatican. "The universe is not the result of chance, as some would want to make us believe," Benedict said Thursday. "Contemplating the universe we are invited to read something profound into it: the wisdom of the creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God," Benedict told some 10,000 people gathered to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany. Benedict has worked to integrate modern scientific theories into religious teaching. (Reuters)
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.