Israel Update



“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12  

ISRAEL TOURISM BUOYANT DESPITE MIDDLE EAST TURMOIL:   Israel's vital tourism industry has been surprisingly resilient in the face of regional turmoil that has dried up visits to neighboring Arab countries, tourism officials say. In contrast to Egypt and Jordan, the number of tourists visiting Israel appears to be holding steady, according to tourism experts. "Tour operator bookings indicate a good picture for 2011," said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. With its holy sites and Mediterranean beaches, Israel has long been a tourist magnet. Foreign tourists pumped some $4.4 billion into the Israeli economy last year, up from $3.3 billion the previous year, according to government figures. After a record year with more than 3.4 million visitors in 2010, Israel was hoping to attract as many as 4 million this year. Ami Etgar, chief executive of the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association, said the figures probably won't be that high, but he expects them remain steady or fall slightly to no less than 3.2 million in 2011. Egypt and Jordan are both reporting significant drops in tourism, attributed directly to the political unrest in the Arab world. (Ha’aretz)

GOLDSTONE STOPS HALFWAY, WILL NOT RETRACT REPORT:  Judge Richard Goldstone will not retract his anti-Israel report on alleged IDF war crimes, despite his admission that Israel did not intentionally attack civilians. His refusal comes hours after he said he will visit Israel in July because he “loves” the country. The retired judge headed the UN Human Rights Council panel that condemned Israel and barely mentioned Hamas in its investigation of Israel’s counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead defensive campaign two years ago. He said he was misquoted by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who said in a telephone call that Goldstone would retract the report. The conversation was held through an interpreter, and a spokesman for the minister said that there was a lack of clarity in Yishai’s statement to reporters. (INN) Last Friday, Goldstone stated in an article for The Washington Post, "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” He specifically admitted that figures of Hamas civilian fatalities were not correct and that Israel did not intentionally fire on civilians during the battle to end eight year of rocket and missile attacks on Israel.

STATE DEPARTMENT MAINTAINS ISRAEL NEVER INTENTIONALLY TARGETED CIVILIANS DURING GAZA WAR:   The US State Department responded Tuesday to Judge Richard Goldstone's retraction of his Operation Cast Lead findings, saying: "We've made clear from when the Goldstone Report was initially presented, and maintained ever since, that we didn't see any evidence that the Israeli government had intentionally targeted civilians or otherwise engaged in any war crimes," State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said. (Ynet)

HEAD OF UN PANEL SAYS ISRAEL DID NOT INTENTIONALLY KILL GAZANS:    Many modern armies have struggled with how to battle an enemy who uses human shields, perhaps none more so than Israel. So Israeli leaders were especially pleased after an admission by Richard Goldstone that war crimes accusations contained in his report on Israel's offensive in Gaza two years ago should be reconsidered. PM Benjamin Netanyahu urged the UN to nullify Goldstone's report. Commentators alternated between attacking Goldstone for causing what they said was irreparable damage to Israel and praising him for admitting he made a mistake. Urban warfare has long vexed Israelis military. While referring to itself as the world's "most moral army" and insisting it has strict rules of engagement, it nonetheless has killed civilians in fighting over the years. The US and other Western powers have faced a similar challenge in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where terrorists often blend into civilian populations. (Fox News)

WHO CAN I TRUST WITH MY DONATIONS?  Many people ask, "Where can I send my financial contributions and be sure they reach the people who need them most?"  As an employee of Vision for Israel & The Joseph Storehouse, I have witnessed since 2006, food, clothing and household goods go out to the poor, often twice a week. Thousands of dollars of hospital equipment have been freely given to old age and care institutions that simply can't afford new beds or other medical necessities. School packs have been prepared annually for thousands of needy children. Additionally, when there have been catastrophes abroad, Vision for Israel & The Joseph Storehouse are among the first to send necessary supplies to alleviate the distress. Your donations are needed and welcomed at  Make your online donations today. For residents in the UK and outside North America visit our website at   (Hannah)

EUROPEAN JEWISH LEADERS DEMAND EU ATONEMENT FOR GOLDSTONE REPORT:  The European Jewish Congress (EJC) has asked the EU to retract its endorsement of the Goldstone Report following the author’s admission that its conclusions were incorrect. EJC president Dr. Moshe Kantor told the organization’s General Assembly at a meeting in Budapest, where he also met with the Hungarian prime minister, “It should now be clear to all that the conclusions of the Goldstone report were wrong. The European Parliament needs to correct the resulting damage that the erroneous Goldstone Report caused Israel.” (Arutz-7)

HAMAS COMMANDER KILLED IN SUDAN ATTACK:  One of the 2 men killed in this week’s airstrike on a car in Port Sudan was a senior Hamas military commander. The foreign media has largely placed responsibility for the attack at Israel's feet based on initial speculation the car was carrying weapons intended for Hamas in Gaza. If Israel is responsible for the attack, it would appear to be another step in Israel's global campaign to stop Iranian arms smuggling into the region. (Ha’aretz)

AL-QAIDA EXPLOTING LIBYA UNREST TO ACQUIRE WEAPONS:  Al-Qaida is exploiting the conflict in Libya to acquire weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, and smuggle them to a stronghold in northern Mali, a security official from neighboring Algeria has reported. The official said a convoy of eight Toyota pick-up trucks left eastern Libya, crossed into Chad and then Niger, and from there into northern Mali where in the past few days it delivered a cargo of weapons. "Several military barracks have been pillaged in this region (eastern Libya) with their arsenals and weapons stores and the elements of the terrorist groups who were present could not have failed to profit from this opportunity." (Ha’aretz)

A THIRD OF PALESTINIANS SUPPORT ITAMAR ATTACK:   A team of Israeli and Palestinian pollsters says a third of Palestinians surveyed said they supported an attack last month that saw five members of the Fogel family stabbed to death in their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar. A young couple and three of their children, ages 11, four and three months, were killed in the March 11 attack. (Ynet) Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land. Ps 74:20

SECOND IRON DOME BATTERY DEPLOYED - TO PROTECT ASHKELON:  A second battery of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system was deployed Monday in southern Israel. The battery, operated by commanders and soldiers from the IAF's Aerial Defense Network, will be deployed in as part of efforts to protect residents of the cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod against rocket fire from Gaza. This is the second Iron Dome battery ever deployed. The first battery was deployed in the Be'er Sheva region eight days earlier. Iron Dome is considered a significant achievement for the Israeli defense establishment. It will be used to defend Israel against the threat posed by rockets and mortar shells. The Iron Dome system is capable of identifying and destroying such projectiles before they strike Israeli territory. For a decade, Gaza terrorists have purposely fired missiles and mortar shells into southern Israel, playing a game of roulette with the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians. (INN) Continue to pray for the protection of Israel’s southern communities against all kidnappings and projectiles fired by terrorists from the Gaza Strip.

ISRAEL PROVIDES HAMAS WITH BUILDING MATERIAL FOR SCHOOLS, HOMES:   Hamas is still holding IDF soldier Gilad Shalit hostage and recently canceled a ceasefire that never was, but Israel has approved the transfer of materials for Hamas-run Gaza homes and schools, where incitement against Israel is taught in schools. Hundreds of tons of equipment and material for nearly 1,000 homes, 33 infrastructure projects and 1,000 farm projects have recently been allowed in. The building activity, valued at more than $100 million, is aimed at boosting the poor economy in Gaza. Meanwhile, Hamas has not shed any light on the fate and condition of Shalit, kidnapped in an underground raid on an IDF position on the Gaza border in June 2006. Hamas has also renounced a “ceasefire” that was declared last week but was never put into force. Hamas made the ceasefire conditional on Israel halting all retaliatory and pre-emptive operations to prevent terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers. (INN)

Blessings from Israel

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.  





All active news articles