Standing in the gap for Israel 07/13

~ July 13, 2017 ~ (Tamuz 19, 5777)  

 The Word: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday…  Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitat, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling… “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation (Y’shua).” (Taken from Psalm 91)

Pointers for prayer: Let us ponder the above Scripture, and turn this into intercession and a proclamation of God’s promises towards Israel. Pray that all in the nation of Israel – from the Prime Minister to the man on the street, will desire the God of Israel to be their ‘habitat’. Thank God for His faithfulness to the Jewish people and His everlasting love for them. Praise Him that He will prevail over every principality, power, and false religion that seeks to usurp Him and destroy the truth of His Word!  Please do continue to pray for the truth to be revealed regarding how Israel, and in particular Hamas and Gaza are portrayed by the media. There is far too much distortion within the media, which is being blindly accepted by many people without checking the truth. Do pray into this.  Please continue to pray that God will grant Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government courage to not give in to international pressure to divide Jerusalem, and continue to proclaim God’s sovereignty over the nation of Israel. As you read through this report, please bring all these issues before the Lord – that this generation may know the relevance of the days in which we live.

Qui habitat

It is claimed that Martin Luther (1483-1546) came to understand God as the God of grace as opposed to a God of unrelenting judgment thanks to reading the Psalms in Hebrew, and apparently, Luther counted the Hebrew language above all as worthy of praise. He once wrote, “The Greeks express themselves with the best and most delightful words, but the Hebrew language shines with such simplicity and majesty that it cannot be imitated,” (from Luther’s “Table Talk,” 1532, as recorded by C. Cordatus).  In the same writing he stated, “The Hebrew language is held of little account because of a lack of dutifulness or perhaps out of despair at its difficulty… Without this language there can be no understanding of Scripture, for the self-same New Testament, though written in Greek, is full of Hebraisms. Therefore it has been correctly said that the Jews drink from the spring, the Greeks from the stream that flows from it, and the Latins from a downstream pool.”  I have to say, I wasn’t given the option of learning Latin in school, however I did have to sing it when I sang second base in Berlioz ‘Requiem’ at the local Town Hall where I lived many years ago.  I can still sing the ‘Lacrimosa’ section without looking at the music.  However, I much prefer Hebrew as a language rather than Latin.  Nevertheless, Psalm 91, is often referred to by its Latin title ‘Qui habitat’, and is known as the Psalm of Protection.

Regarding this Psalm, Billy Graham once stated, “If you read and reread Psalm 91, you will discover that in Him we have a permanent abode and residence, and that all of the comfort, security, and affection which the human heart craves is found in Him.”  It’s funny how people think of the word ‘habitat’.  I had a bit of fun asking children some of these questions the last time I took a class in school.  Ask a child the meaning of habitat and they are likely to say it’s the natural environment in which an animal or plant usually lives.  Well, that’s correct, but what of people?  If one gave an example of Eskimos to a child, they may tell you they live in Igloos; an Indian might dwell in a tepee/Tipi; if a child sees a picture of a hut, they might think of Africa. Children will inform you that ‘Scots come from Scotland; Germans come from Germany and Egyptians from Egypt. So don’t Israelis come from Israel?  Yet the political world will tell you different.  Now we all know that Jews live in most countries throughout the world, but then so do Muslims.  Yet the issue of Israel seems to trigger off some explosive trip wire like no other subject.

During the last few decades, the Arab Palestinian propaganda machine, aided by anti-Israel groups such as the BDS campaigners (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) and the international community such as the U.N. have created one of the most powerful and effective statements which are used as an emotional and psychological weapon to defeat Israel – namely – “End the occupation.”  We’ve seen it all over the world; on many pages of social media and in public marches in many cities including London – not to mention leading politicians being involved.  But where do they all get it from, and what does “end the occupation” mean?

The Jerusalem Post’s Moshe Dann wrote recently, “Ending the occupation could refer to what Israel conquered during the Six Day War in 1967, or what Israel acquired during the War of Independence (1948-49), or everything “from the river to the sea.” At first, Arab Palestinian propaganda focused on Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) as a “violation of international law,” specifically, the Fourth Geneva Convention as interpreted by the International Committee of the Red Cross. An anti-Israel, Geneva-based NGO, the International Committee of the Red Cross was the first to accuse Israel of “occupying Palestinian territory,” thus arbitrarily allotting a disputed area to one side. Because the International Committee of the Red Cross is also – uniquely – an official UN agency, its decisions are considered authoritative.”

I read a letter from a UK MP this week (who will remain nameless) who stated, “I am concerned at the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the terrible suffering that many Palestinian people are experiencing. It is clear that the blockade of Gaza undermines basic human rights and economic prospects, as well as the availability of essential services and I believe that these restrictions should be eased.”  She also went on to state, “I will be visiting Palestine [please note: not Israel!] in September with a number of Labour MPs which will be an invaluable experience in seeing for myself the situation on the ground,” and she then rattled on about Israelis ‘occupying’ the land.  I don’t expect she’ll be visiting to poor suffering Jewish community in Sderot though!  Let’s pray that she does get a truthful and balanced ‘situation on the ground’ as she clearly doesn’t understand the true situation.  It’s right that she should be concerned at the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the terrible suffering that many Arab Palestinian people are experiencing.  Indeed many of us are.  But if she is really concerned then as a Member of Parliament should she not be demanding an end to the Hamas tyranny, as it is Hamas who are forcing this persecution upon their own Arab Palestinians.  Regarding the ‘the blockade of Gaza,’ does she not know that Israel daily sends in many convoys of aid.  However, if Hamas stopped its acts of terrorism against Israel, there would be open borders.

And then of course there is that same old argument of “occupied territory” – yet there is no occupied territory – only disputed territory.  In the light of the fact that 2017 is the 100th year of the Balfour Declaration; the fact that we also have the San Remo agreement; along with the Court of Appeal of Versailles who ruled that ‘West Bank settlements’ and occupation of Judea and Samaria by Israel is unequivocally legal under international law (Click here to read), how is it that these educated politicians are not aware of these legal documents?   Let’s face the facts, if these politicians really want to facilitate positive, pragmatic and pro-active engagement in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict then surely they should start with the facts and the historical documents in countering bias and misinformation about the Arab-Israel conflict.  I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again: It is impossible to understand the complex legal implications of the Arab-Israel conflict without an acquaintance with the basics of context of the 1920 San Remo Resolution. Both the San Remo Resolution and the Balfour Declaration charged Britain with the duty to facilitate Jewish immigration and settlement by Jews in the territory which then included Transjordan, which had already been adopted by the other Allied Powers. Furthermore, as the San Remo resolution has never been abrogated (repealed, revoked) it was and continues to be legally binding between the several parties who signed it. It is therefore obvious that the legitimacy of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the Jewish state of Israel all derive from the same international agreement at San Remo. So if the British Members of Parliament, along with the United Nations are reneging on their part to Israel, then they must do likewise to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

As mentioned, Moshe Dann writes a very good explanation regarding this issue in the Jerusalem Post, and he ends with this: “As long as terrorism exists there will be “occupation,” checkpoints, police interventions, and long lines at airports. “Ending the occupation” begins with ending incitement and hatred, ending terrorism. “Ending the occupation” does not apply only to Israel. It includes ending the dictatorship in Iran that threatens the entire world. Ending the occupation applies to Hamas rule in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad and ISIS in Syria, and the Taliban in Afghanistan. “End the occupation” is not a call to protect Palestinian rights, but to end Israel’s existence. It’s not a plea for humanity, but a paean to mayhem and genocide. “End the occupation” should be understood for what it is: a death threat.”  You can read the full article here:  http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Understanding-End-the-occupation-497554

As for the people and Nation of Israel, how do we pray for them?  Well I believe we need to pray for their wellbeing and protection.  But getting back to Psalm 91 and ‘habitats’, I also believe we need to pray that just as a child will yearn to take the hand of his/her mum or dad, so that such a child will sense the love, safety, and security of the strength of his/her guardian, so each Israeli needs to come to that place in which they long to sense the sanctity of being within the place of security wherein a loving God is found.  Only then, will they find their true calling and reasons for being the nation God called into existence.

House of Commons Middle East peace talks    

Thankfully, not all politicians have the same mind-set. Last week in the House of Commons a ‘General Debate on Israeli and Palestinian Talks’ took place where 14 MPs called for a return to direct peace talks, condemned Hamas’s violence and criticised the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral actions and glorification of terror.  Numerous Conservative MPs also reiterated calls for the Government to proscribe the terror organisation Hezbollah in its entirety, following last month’s Al-Quds Day rally in London where the terrorist organisations flags were openly displayed.

Among the Conservative MPs to speak in support of Israel, the Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP spoke strongly against the Palestinian Authority.  Other MPs also spoke up for Israel – so let us praise God that we have some MPs who are willing to speak out against the ‘norm’.  Former Northern Ireland Secretary, Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers, condemned the Arab Palestinian incitement, stating that “as many as 25 Palestinian schools are named after terrorists” and an “estimated £84 million is paid annually to convicted terrorists, with higher salaries given to those who have killed more people”. She deplored recent reports that “President Abbas has vowed never to stop these hateful payments”.  The speech is well worth listening to and can be seen here:

However, no matter what the British government and Theresa Villiers might demand, Abbas has pledged he will not stop paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists and the families of the so-called “Martyrs.” According to his own Fatah Movement, Abbas has made the following statement, vowing to continue honouring terrorists and murderers with monetary rewards no matter what.  Abbas stated: “Even if I will have to leave my position, I will not compromise on the salary (rawatib) of a Martyr (Shahid) or a prisoner, as I am the president of the entire Palestinian people, including the prisoners, the Martyrs, the injured, the expelled, and the uprooted.” [Source: Official Fatah Facebook page, July 2, 2017].  According to the 2016 PA budget, the PA currently pays 26,800 families of “Martyrs” a total of 660 million shekels ($183 million) per year, and 6,500 terrorist prisoners receive PA salaries amounting to 486 million shekels ($135 million) per year.  A member of Fatah’s Central Committee, Jamal Muhaisen, also quoted Abbas’ promise, and emphasized that the payment of salaries to terrorist prisoners and “Martyrs” is not an issue of money, but rather is about the “Palestinian historical narrative.”

UNESCO at it again!

It was nice to see UNESCO have made the “Lake District in Cumbria” a World Heritage Site… however if Abbas thinks he can now claim Keswick, Windermere and Helvellyn as part of Palestine, he may end up being left dangling halfway over Blencathras Sharp Edge!  Unbelievably, yet another vote was held last week at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare Israel an “occupying power” in Jerusalem and harshly criticised Biblical archaeological excavations there. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon stated, “Nothing is more disgraceful than UNESCO declaring the world’s only Jewish state the ‘occupier’ of the Western Wall and Jerusalem’s Old City.”  Moments after the vote was taken, a bizarre series of events ensued in which a moment of silence to honour victims of the Nazi Holocaust was followed by a demand by the Cuban delegation for another moment of silence to be held for the Arab Palestinian people. Israel’s delegation objected to the comparison, but most of the assembled delegates stood for both moments of silence.

The 41st session of UNESCO met in Krakow, Poland (2nd to 12th July 2017).  Apart from the condemnation of Israeli archaeological excavations, Israeli officials and Jewish leaders outside of Israel reacted with fury following Friday’s vote to declare the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a key Jewish holy site in Hebron, an “endangered Palestinian world heritage site.”  The resolution, which claimed the tomb was “faced with serious threats which could have deleterious effects on its inherent characteristics while under Israeli control”, passed UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee by 12 votes to 3 with 6 countries abstaining.  The nations voting in favour included “the Arab bloc, Cuba, Zimbabwe and other dictatorships,” a report from Geneva-based monitoring organization UN Watch said.  The storm of condemnation in the wake of the vote was led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who denounced it as “another delusional UNESCO decision,” and reaffirmed that Israel would “continue to guard the Cave of the Patriarchs, to ensure religious freedom for everybody and guard the truth.”

The Cave of the Patriarchs (also called the Cave of Machpelah) is a series of chambers located in the heart of the old city of Hebron in the Hebron Hills. According to the Torah in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), the cave and adjoining field were purchased by Abraham as a burial plot. (Genesis 23:17-19, Genesis 50:13).  Dating back over 2,000 years, the monumental Herodian compound built upon the caves is believed to be the oldest continuously used intact prayer structure in the world, and is the oldest major building in the world that still fulfils its original function. The Hebrew name of the complex reflects the very old tradition of the double tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, considered the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people, who are buried there. The only Jewish matriarch missing is Rachel, who is believed to be buried at Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem.  Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely slammed UNESCO for passing another in a series of anti-Israel resolutions following in the same week UNESCO describing the Jewish state as an “occupying power” in its capital, Jerusalem.

To add insult to injury or in this case ‘injustice’, Hamas on Wednesday issued a statement essentially thanking UNESCO for siding with the terrorist group in its struggle against Israel.  A Hamas spokesman, Abdel Latif al-Qanua, said that the international community had taken another important step toward defeating what he called the “false Israeli narrative” regarding Jerusalem and Hebron.  He urged the UN to follow up with firm action on the ground to “save Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque from Judaization, excavations and Zionist projects.”

David Soakell

(Middle East News Correspondent)

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & https://www.algemeiner.com/

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Standing in the gap for Israel report 22/06

~ June 22, 2017 ~ (Sivan 28, 5777) ~

The Word:  O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God. See how Your enemies growl, how Your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against Your people; they plot against those You cherish. “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”  With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you… Make them like tumbleweed, my God, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with Your storm. Cover their faces with shame, Lord, so that they will seek Your name. May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. Let them know that You, whose name is the Lord— that You alone are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalm 83: 1-5, 13-18)

Pointers for prayer: When God cut His covenant with Abraham, He promised his descendants ownership of the land of Israel as an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:8). This promise of ownership was transferred through Isaac and Jacob to Israel (Genesis 26:3-4; 35:12; Psalm 105:8-11). God also promised a second regathering of the Jewish people to their land in the latter days, from which they will never be uprooted again (Isaiah 11:11-14; Jeremiah 16:14-16; Ezekiel 11:17; Amos 9:14-15). The promise of the regathering specifically includes Judea and Samaria – commonly misnamed ‘the West Bank’ (Jeremiah 31:5-14; Ezekiel 36:1-15).  With the ongoing surge of Islamic extremism throughout the world, the enemy is doing his utmost to annul God’s promises to His people.  This past week has brought even more threats to the people of Israel with further terrorist attacks in Israel and ugly demonstrations in London, UK.  Please continue to pray for protection for Israel from all the attempts by the enemy to destroy God’s plans for Israel. As terrorism is always a huge threat to Israel (and indeed here in Britain), let us battle on in our intercession regarding this issue.  Let us pray for great wisdom and discernment too for the times ahead.

Can we ponder the above Scriptures, and turn this into intercession and a proclamation of God’s promises. Thank God for His faithfulness to the Jewish people and His everlasting love for them. Praise Him that He will prevail over every principality, power, and false religion that seeks to usurp Him and destroy the truth of His Word!

Please continue to pray that God will grant Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government courage to not give in to international pressure to divide Jerusalem, and continue to proclaim God’s sovereignty over the nation of Israel. As you read through this report, please bring all these issues before the Lord – that this generation may know the relevance of the days in which we live.

“Let us destroy them as a nation, so Israel’s name is remembered no more.”

Amalek was an ancient Middle Eastern people/tribe that had an inborn hatred towards Israel.  The Amalekites took any opportunity to attack Israel for absolutely no reason. There was no land dispute or provocation that caused this hatred – it was an intrinsic pathological need to destroy God’s people. Such hatred cannot be combatted through diplomacy or peace talks. There was no option to re-educate the Amalekites or review their school curricula. Their hatred was not only taught – it was ingrained. As long as the spirit of the Amalekite walked the earth, no Israeli was safe. In time, the Amalekite nation assimilated into the people around them. Their inborn hatred might not be seen today as a nation, but they are still very much alive.  Could Psalm 83 be even more relevant today than when it was written?

In my last report, I asked the question, “Is there yet hope?”  This past two weeks has brought many disturbing headlines to our attention that, to be totally honest, causes me to despair that all hope is indeed lost.  No wonder the Psalmist in Psalm 83 (above) declares, “O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God. See how your enemies roar, how your foes rear their heads.”  The Psalm then goes on to state, “With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.””  Last Sunday, we once again witness hordes of people marching through the streets of London yelling, “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea”.  The meaning of this chant is clear – they want Israel wiped off the face of the map.

Just some of the headlines in Israeli based papers this week have stated: “Hezbollah Flags Fly at ‘Al Quds Day’ March in London as Islamist Agitators Blame Grenfell Tower Tragedy on ‘Zionists’”; “Palestinian Authority Praises Killers of Israeli Policewoman Despite Assurances to Trump on Terror.”  “Palestinians Launch Fresh UNESCO Bid to Deny Jewish Ties to Hebron Holy Sites,” and BBC repugnant headlines: “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two”. [This was removed and updated after many complaints were made.]  But should people really need to complain before the truth is published?

Despite the recent horrific London terrorist attacks and the Manchester bombing, Islamic extremist ‘Al-Quds Day march’ still went ahead in London last weekend.  This was despite nearly 25,000 people signing a petition delivered to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.  One letter stated, “After the terrible recent terrorist events in Manchester and London this display of extremism has no place on the streets of the UK… Allowing this march to go ahead will send a worrying message to the UK’s Jewish community and call into question the commitment of the Mayor of London to eradicate extremism and anti-Semitism.”  In a written response to the petition, the Mayor of London, Mr Khan stated, “As is the case for any group, protesters have the right to march as long as they do so within the law. The mayor does not have the power to ban a march in London.”

[Above photo created by D Soakell]

You may recall that when Theresa May was ‘Home Secretary,’ she gave clear guidance on hate crime to all police forces. These guidelines made specific mention of anti-Semitism and confirmed that holding Hezbollah flags “is a criminal offence in accordance with Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000”. The act states that people who “wear clothing or carry or display articles in public in such a way or in such circumstances as arouse reasonable suspicion that an individual is a member or supporter of the proscribed organisation are guilty of a criminal offence.”  Yet last Sunday, London witnessed Hezbollah flags being waved in the UK capital.   So how was this allowed?

Apparently, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) who were responsible for organizing the march, stated on their website that participants “are welcome to bring flags that show solidarity with the Palestinian cause.” The group added, “You can bring a Hezbollah flag to show support for the political wing of Hezbollah. This is because the political wing of Hezbollah is not a proscribed organization.”  However, both the political wing and the military wing of the terrorist Hezbollah organization use the same flag.  Around 1,000 people joined the anti-Israel march – with numerous men, women and children openly waving the flag of proscribed terrorist organisation Hezbollah in full view of dozens of Metropolitan Police officers on duty for the event.

Accompanying the Hezbollah flags were placards supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and accusing the Jewish state of war crimes, genocide, and ethnic cleansing. But what was worse, in my personal opinion, was that marchers delighted in chants such as “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which surely exposes the true intent of the organizers: that of the total destruction of the Jewish state. In previous years, chants also included, “we are all Hamas.” This year, as the demonstration left its starting point outside the BBC building in Duchess Street, supporters held up banners stating: “Zionism is Racism” and “We are all Hezbollah”.  Along with the chants of “From the river to the sea – Palestine will be free” they also shouted: “Zionists/ISIS are the same. Only difference is the name“.  Hundreds of smaller paper flags bearing the machine gun logo of the Hezbollah movement were held high by the crowd.   One large Hezbollah flag was also flown next to a large Palestinian flag at the front of the march.

However, worse was to come as one of the speakers at the ‘Al Quds Day’ March in London declared that the horrific London Grenfell Tower tragedy was the fault of ‘Zionists’.  Speaking through a loudspeaker at the front of the demonstration, a man proclaimed: “This demonstration calls on justice for Grenfell.  Some of the biggest supporters of the Conservative Party are Zionists… They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell.  The Zionist supporters of the Tory Party. Free, Free, Palestine!”  When a member of the Jewish Chronicle asked why this person was able to express such an opinion openly, a female police officer said: “It’s just an opinion.” To hear this hate speech and check out the evidence, click here: https://twitter.com/ZionistFed/status/876454827584258050 .  One person on Twitter replied, “Lies and anti-Semitism are alive and well on the streets of London today.  Reminiscent of Nazi propaganda – scary stuff.” Jewish and pro-Israel groups also organized a counter-demonstration, and a significant police presence ensured the sides were kept apart. The counter demonstration was addressed by Kay Wilson, victim of a horrendous terror attack in 2010.

“Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two”.

[Above photo created by D Soakell]

As I mention above, this headline came from the BBC after yet another terrorist attack upon the Jewish people.  The BBC stated, “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two”. This was removed and updated after many complaints were made.  Later, Abbas’ Palestinian Authority turned the Islamic murderers into the victims.  Fatah called Israel’s shooting of the three terrorist as a ‘murderous act’.  Fatah stated this attack was a “despicable crime that was committed today in cold blood and claimed the lives of three Palestinians.

The facts were that three Arab Palestinian terrorists had just attacked, stabbed and murdered a 23-year-old Israeli policewoman, Hadas Malka, near the Old City of Jerusalem’s Damascus gate.  Armed with guns and knives, the three terrorists had been planning a large terrorist attack. Many other innocent Israelis could have been killed had not the Israeli Policewoman intervened. However after the young Israeli woman was murdered, police immediately shot and killed the three terrorists.  But according to the Palestinian Authority, Israel does not have the right to stop Palestinian terrorists in the act of murdering Israelis, for to do so is a “war crime.”  Fatah (PA) immediately and repeatedly condemned Israel and honoured the terrorist murderers calling them Shahids (Islamic Martyrs). The mother of one of the Palestinian terrorists who knifed the 23 year old Israeli female to death stated, “I wanted him to succeed in killing twenty, fifty, one hundred of them… thank god I am proud.

[Above photo from Social Media]

In related news, Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have named yet another square after a terrorist. The newly inaugurated “Martyr Khaled Nazzal Square,” is named after the terror leader who planned the attack that led to the murder of 22 children and 4 adults in the Ma’alot Massacre on May 15, 1974. This is just the latest example of the PA’s relentless glorification of terrorists.  The new square is in Jenin.  Remember… these are the people that the world’s politicians, including the UN and the majority of the British MP’s (both Conservative, Labour, Lib Dems etc.) are expecting Israel to make peace with.  “Peace partners”?! Really? The full story can be read here: http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=21330

Palestinians launch fresh UNESCO bid to deny Jewish ties to Israel

[Above photo taken by D Soakell]

As many of you will know, over the past few months, I have been touring parts of the UK speaking at various places.  The main theme of the talks centred on the issue of Jerusalem and Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority’s demand for the U.N. to acknowledge that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City have “no historic ties to Judaism.”  Everywhere I’ve been invited I’ve challenged the Christian audience that if the U.N. agreed that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall were exclusively Islamic and had nothing to do with Judaism, then they were declaring that the Gospel writers, and therefore by implication all the New Testament is untrue, inaccurate and full of fables, as Jesus could not have done what the Bible proclaims He did in and on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Proving through archaeology, and taking the audience on a pictorial journey through the Western Wall tunnels and the Southern Wall’s ancient steps, that date back to Herod’s Temple and beyond, I have tried to enable the church to see the importance of the truth, and how we need to act and pray against these acts by the UN in dismissing Israel’s biblical history.  However, if Abbas hadn’t tried hard enough to disprove history and the Bible, he is once again attempting to allure the United Nations into further lies and deceit.  Palestinian representatives at the global cultural and heritage organization UNESCO are campaigning for the Cave of the Patriarchs and the Old City of Hebron to be designated as “Endangered World Heritage Sites” at a meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Poland next month.  A key holy site for the Jewish faith, the Cave of the Patriarchs – known as the Machpela Cave in Hebrew – houses the tombs of Abraham and his wife Sarah, their son Isaac, and their grandson Jacob and his wife Leah.

Ever since 2009, when the Arab Palestinians gained entry into UNESCO, their strategy has been to force UNESCO to consider Jewish holy sites such as the Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem – which they refer to as the “Al-Buraq Wall” – as purely Islamic.  Last year, a UNESCO executive board meeting passed a resolution ignoring Jewish ties to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. A similar measure concerning the Cave of the Patriarchs will now be discussed at UNESCO’s 41st World Heritage Committee meeting in the Polish city of Krakow on July 12, 2017.

Jewish groups have begun mobilizing against the Palestinian effort. “The Palestinians have declared their intention to once again hijack the Heritage Committee to take over the Machpela Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, a site until now open to worshipers of all three monotheistic religions,” said Shimon Samuels, the international relations director at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC), and a veteran of the battles at UNESCO over Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem and Israel.  All my talks at St Paul’s Church, Newport, Isle of Wight can be heard on MP3 here. To watch one of the talks from an earlier event click here.

World democracies snub UN

If issues relating to UNESCO are looking bleak, at least we are slowly seeing a breakthrough and a stand against the UN Human Rights Council.  This week, the world’s democracies collectively snubbed the UN Human Rights Council’s annual “condemnation of Israel” in Geneva on Monday, when none of their representatives attended the council’s presentation and debate on “Item 7” — a permanent agenda item focused on the “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”  As was the case last year, the seats of all the democratic nations represented on the council were empty for the duration of the discussion, sparking protests from Arab countries.

The title alone of ‘Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories’ is enough to make one baulk – especially when one thinks of the horrors in Syria and other Middle Eastern Islamic countries.  Have the UN Human Rights Council done anything regarding Syria with over 200,000 Muslims being killed? Syria kills, chemically attacks, bombs indiscriminately, and women and children are slaughtered in the hundreds of thousands – where are the UN Human Rights Council? What of ISIS massacring and slaughtering everything in their wake with Christians being ethnically cleansed? Libya is in a desperate state of civil war. Then there’s Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Somalia, North Korea, China, Burma, Pakistan, Indonesia, Yemen, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, etc., human rights violators all, yet accompanied by an almost deafening silence from those who demonise Israel.  What of Hamas, who knowingly and willingly use human sacrifices to protect their command and control centres and rocket launchers – every single action of which contravenes International Law and is categorically a war crime. When you look at it rationally, one wonders why the United Nations Human Rights Council isn’t abolished as it’s become a sickening embarrassment.

The United States has never attended an Item 7 debate since the council was established in 2006 as a successor to the Commission on Human Rights. In an address to the council on June 6, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley charged that “Item 7 is a scandalous provision that must be removed.”  Hillel Neuer – executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch NGO stated that the non-attendance at Monday’s session signalled a “significant stand by the Western democracies against prejudice.”  Although Neuer did take part in the debate it was only to point out why the democratic countries were absent. “Hopefully, one day Item 7 will be removed,” he said.  In his speech before the council, Neuer observed that “the US, Canada, Australia, all European Union member states, Japan, and other established democracies have boycotted this debateThe democracies are absent to protest prejudice — because this is the only agenda item that singles out one specific state, the Jewish state, for differential and discriminatory treatment.”

David Soakell

(Middle East News Correspondent)

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & https://www.algemeiner.com/

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‘Standing in the gap for Israel’ report 06/08

~ June 8, 2017 ~ (Sivan 14, 5777) ~

 The Word: And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, the cloud filled the House of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the House of the LORD. (1 Kings 8:10, 11)

Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore… lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33-37)

Pointers for prayer: Last week, the Jewish world celebrated Shavuot/Pentecost. In the Christian world, this day was celebrated on Sunday.  In the days we are living in, we need to see the power of God’s Holy Spirit upon all who believe in the God of Israel.  In a week that has witnessed what Israel have experienced for the past 30 years plus, may we cry out that the true church within Britain would awaken to the real threat of these terrorist attacks, and that we would be able to give comfort, strength and real answers to those who seek the truth.

Please continue to pray for all the victims who survived these attacks, and pray too for the families who are grieving the loss of loved ones.

God has a purpose for the nation and people of Israel. Israel’s enemies also have a purpose – they desire to eliminate the State of Israel. And so we must continue to press in with our intercession to fight this spiritual war in the heavenly realms. As terrorism is always a huge threat to Israel (and indeed here in Britain), let us battle on in our intercession regarding this issue. Let us pray for great wisdom and discernment too for the times ahead.

Is there yet hope?

As I was writing these notes, we were approaching the time of Shavuot. In 2017, Shavuot fell on Wednesday, 31st of May. Shavuot, or Pentecost as the church knows it by, is probably one of the most important holidays (holy days) in the Bible, yet how many of us actually even remember this time of the year?   Shavuot is partly the celebration of God blessing Israel with His Word, the Torah. As you might expect, I believe God’s Word – the Bible – is everlasting. I believe the Word of God, which includes the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), and the New Testament, is the definitive Word of God.  And I believe if we have doubts over this, our very foundations are in danger of collapsing.  On top of this, I don’t believe for one moment that if God promises through an oath, one thing, that He could get it wrong and so change His mind (i.e. as in replacement theology). If He promises us everlasting life through the ‘Blood Covenant’ in the shedding of the blood of Yeshua (Jesus), then He’s not going to change His mind later! So on that evaluation, I would say His everlasting ‘Land Covenant’ to Israel – the Jewish people – is what it says it is – EVERLASTING (1 Chronicles 16: 15-18; Psalm 105: 8-11).  For if it wasn’t, if God could change His mind about His promises to Israel, then what hope do we have about His promise to us as Christians?

In the above gospel reading of Mark 13, we read Yeshua warning His hearers stating, “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey [i.e. Yeshua going back to heaven after the Ascension], who left his house [the Church], and gave authority to his servants [Acts 1:8], and to every man his work [all Believers are called to something], and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, [second coming]… lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you [His disciples], I say unto all [all Believers through the ages, including us today]… watch.”  One of the key commands to Believers in the last days, and none more important than now, is ‘watch & pray.’  This is particularly so in these days of global Islamic terrorist attacks and the anti-Israel stance of the United Nations.  Today, the Holy Spirit is seeking to prepare the church to be the ‘Bride of Christ’, and to awaken her to their responsibilities to the Jewish people, so that God’s purposes for Israel and the Land might be accomplished.

We are also supposed to understand the times and seasons according to I Thessalonians 5, where Paul states “Therefore let us not sleep …” God intends us to understand the signs of the times. Events in the world are now coming so in line with the prophetic scriptures, that clearly the climax of the age and the return of the Messiah can’t be too far off, as is also the restoration (in fullness) of Israel and her turning to the Messiah (Zechariah 12 & 13).  It is within this framework that I believe Shavuot/Pentecost finds its fullness.  God promised to Israel, through Jeremiah, “I will write my Torah on their hearts.”  This He does as He gives His Holy Spirit. The same One God gives both Torah and Spirit on the same one holiday, Shavuot/Pentecost, to the same one people, stretching through history from the fire on Mount Sinai to the tongues of fire at Jerusalem. Yes, we the Church – who are grafted into Israel (Romans 11:11-31) – should hunger for the power of the Holy Spirit and be activated by His Spirit, but I also believe we need to be praying for the people God first revealed His word to. And so, for this very reason, it is my belief, that Satan wants to thwart God’s purposes, and this is what really lies behind today’s Middle East conflict.

The great revivalist Duncan Campbell once wrote, “How is it that while we make such great claims for the power of the Gospel, we see so little of the supernatural in operation? Is there any reason why the Church today cannot everywhere equal the Church at Pentecost? I feel this is a question we ought to face with an open mind and an honest heart. What did the early Church have that we do not possess today? Here I would suggest that one of the main secrets of success in the early Church lay in the fact that the early believers believed in unction (act of anointing) from on high and not entertainment from men.”  As I worked at a recent Christian festival, these words stung my conscience.  How is it that the Church would sooner be entertained, rather than seek the power of God’s Word and Spirit?  Where are the Bereans in our churches today (Acts 17:11)?

As we witnessed London being ripped apart by Islamic terrorists in the wake of Manchester only a few days before, I pondered, “Is there yet hope for us today?”  The battle is raging.  The workers in the field need much prayer.  Let us hope that the church will not desire entertainment, but hunger and desire for a mighty move of God through His Holy Spirit today, both in the body of Messiah (the Church) and in the nation of Israel.  This I felt was confirmed by a message from Pastor Agu Irukwu to RCCG Churches on June 4, 2017.  You can hear his message about praying for our nation – especially in light of the coming elections here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxXtCJCMTLo&feature=youtu.be

Too much tolerance of extremism!

These were the words of Theresa May following the latest Islamic Terrorist attacks in London.  I have to admit that, at the time, I was very reluctant to comment on the Manchester terrorist attacks due to the sensitivity of this shocking incident.  However, having watched a report by the BBC, I then felt I needed to speak out, and did so via Social Media.  On May 22, 2017, twenty two innocent people were murdered by an Islamic terrorist and 119 people were injured in the Manchester attacks.  Many children were among the twenty-two young people blown up by a Fedayeen suicide bomber.  Only twelve days later on June 3, 2017, three Muslims shouting “This is for Allah,” ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge; then proceeded to Borough Market, stabbing people until seven others were dead. Forty eight people were also injured.

Rightly so, Britain has been shocked by these horrific Islamic terrorist attacks, and these attacks need the strongest condemnation possible, and yes, the British bulldog spirit will not be broken!  However, following the Manchester attacks, the BBC News focused upon the leaders of the Didsbury mosque, where the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, used to pray.  When the mosque leaders faced the media, they used a common argument to distance themselves from Islamic extremism. Fawzi Haffar, one of the trustees of the mosque, stated “Such violence, is so alien to Islam’s principles that it has nothing to do with our faith. This act of cowardice has no place in our religion, or indeed any other religion.” So is Fawzi Haffar reading a different Quran?  Or are those who believe Islam’s founder – Mohammed – taught a radical hateful teaching, simply misquoting or mistranslating the Quran?

Whatever your views, anyone with the ability to read a copy of the Quran must come to the conclusion that Islamic terrorists can find seemingly inspiring doctrine to support their terrorist actions.  After all, the Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to ‘war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.’ Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. And, as you can see in this YouTube clip, some of their preachers declare “their Prophet has said there is a Jew hiding behind a tree… kill him”:

Following the latest attacks in London, Theresa May stated that there is far too much tolerance of extremism in our country and that it is time to be more robust in tackling it. Delivering a statement outside Downing Street following the terror attack that has killed seven and injured 48, the Prime Minister said it was time to say “enough is enough“. She said that “identifying and stamping it out across the public sector and across society” would require “difficult and embarrassing” conversations.  Warning that the UK was facing a “new trend of terrorism” she described a copycat situation where “terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack … by copying one another and often using crudest means of attack.”  Theresa May also stated that this was the third terror attack on UK soil in three months and during that time, the intelligence services had also disrupted five further plots.

In response to the wave of attacks, she listed four key points that needed to change in order to tackle the threat of extremism.  Firstly, she said we need to deflect the “evil ideology” of what she described as “a perversion of Islam.” Secondly, she said we need to shut down the “safe space” the internet provides to terrorists, calling for international action to regulate cyberspace.  Thirdly, she said it was time for the country to have the “difficult and embarrassing conversations” needed to stamp out extremism.  Her fourth point was to review the country’s counter-terrorism strategy in the light of the changing threat.  But have lessons really been learnt by the UK?  Well if they had looked to Israel, who have suffered hundreds of these Islamic terrorist attacks, and lost hundreds of innocent lives too, they might have learned something.  However, the world, and especially the UK have turned a blind eye for the past 30 years plus.  And I can personally testify to this. I survived a terrorist attack in 2002 in Jerusalem when 15 people were murdered and 50 seriously injured. And that bus, that was ripped apart by the terrorist, was filled with children on their way to school. So, with these recent attacks, will the British press finally wake up and tell the truth?

Well I was surprised to read this following article in the Independent newspaper following the Manchester attack.  The Independent stated, “Manchester attack: It is pious and inaccurate to say Salman Abedi’s actions had ‘nothing to do with Islam’.”  In the report, it stated, “The real causes of “radicalisation” have long been known, but the government, the BBC and others seldom if ever refer to it because they do not want to offend the Saudis or be accused of anti-Islamic bias. It is much easier to say, piously but quite inaccurately, that Isis and al-Qaeda and their murderous foot soldiers [and we should add Hamas, Palestinian Authority and Hezbollah into that group] “have nothing to do with Islam.”  The report went on to say, “The attack on Manchester Arena – and those on the Bataclan and the Pulse nightclub before it – can trace their routes to the Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil states. The U.K. and U.S. governments just won’t admit it.”  Read the full report here.

Before I go any further, I do need to stress that there are indeed many peace loving Muslims.  I even have Muslim Arab friends in Israel and enjoy meeting up with them for coffee when I’m there, but how can anyone pretend that these Islamic Terrorist attacks have nothing to do with Islam?

Another issue is that Britain has not learned from history due to being too ‘politically correct.’ Terror attacks by Islamic extremists to further their ‘pure Islamic religious traditions’ and ‘political cause’ have occurred globally. However, although many references are given by the media to Islamic terrorist attacks in France, Germany, and now Britain etc., the majority of media reports completely ignore the atrocities that Israel have suffered in the past 25 years or so.  Therefore, I felt I needed to put the record straight, and create, for anyone wanting to view it, a list of these horrific attacks by Islam upon Israelis.

Whilst doing my research for this report, I came across a time lapse map video created by Milan R. Vuckovic which shows global terrorist attacks with more than 20 fatalities over the last 15 years.  That means, if the fatalities from these terrorist attacks are under 20 people killed, they are not featured here.  While there have been several tragic attacks in Europe and North America, it’s the people of Africa and the Middle-East – and specifically Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel who have been the primary victims.  In 2014, deaths from Islamic terrorism increased by 80% from 2013, with a total of 32,658 victims.  Now, while there have been worldwide Islamic terrorist attacks, if you study this video, and concentrate upon the Middle East – and specifically Israel – you will see a predominantly high ratio of attacks here. The time lapse video can be viewed here:

So why is it, that Israel not only receives ‘bad press’, but most of the Islamic terror attacks from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority upon Israel go unreported?  And why is it, that when such attacks happen in the UK, as has been the case these past few weeks, that the media will compare these devastating attacks with the ones in France, whilst completely ignoring the terrible frequent terrorist attacks upon Israel?

Yes, terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists, to further a perceived Islamic religious or political cause, have occurred globally as I’ve already mentioned. The attackers have used such tactics as arson, vehicle rampage attacks, bomb threats, suicide attacks, bombings, spree shooting, stabbings, hijackings, kidnappings and beheadings.  However, has any other nation, apart from Syria in the past six years, suffered the constant volume of attacks that Israel has?  And should not this be recognised by any worthy Media organisation if they were truly producing an ‘impartial’ news item?  After all, as you will see from the following list that I have compiled of Islamist terrorist attacks in Israel (and other areas where Jews were killed), the list is frightening.  The full details of this list of attacks from 1986 to the present day can be found on my blog site here: https://davidsoakell.com/islamic-terrorist-attacks-on-israeli-civilians/ .

More than 1,060 Israelis have been killed between 1986 and 2017, and more than 4,485 Israelis have been seriously injured during this same period.  Please note, these figures do not include soldiers that have been killed in battle.  These numbers are civilians, with a few police/security people involved with civilians.

Branch FM Radio latest show

The latest interview I did at Branch FM Radio covers issues regarding Shavuot; The Holy Spirit in Acts; The Bereans; The Balfour 100 celebrations; Palestinian teaching of their children and so much more. This show continues to grow and we have had excellent feedback not just from people listening to the show on radio, but also worldwide, as the radio shows can be heard on the internet.

The subjects I’ve covered so far have been very challenging to the listener, and Israel and the ministry of CFI have been covered in great detail.  The show goes out at different times over a few weeks, so hopefully we are getting plenty of coverage.  The latest show can be heard here: https://www.mixcloud.com/Branchfm/christian-friends-of-israel-may-2017/

And Finally… Anointed worship throughout Israel

Hillsong Israel is one of many Hillsong churches around the world. They aim to serve by being the hands, the feet, and the voice of Yeshua, bringing hope and life wherever they go.  As anyone who has been to Israel will know, the scriptures come alive when you explore Israel.  Just wandering around Jerusalem is an awesome experience.  Visit the empty Garden Tomb, or the Southern Wall steps and you will be walking in the very footsteps of Jesus the Messiah. A trip to Israel will strengthen and encourage your relationship with the Lord.  Add to this powerful experience the sounds of Hillsong United, as they lead in worship and it’s truly an amazing experience.  Here is Hillsong United singing “Oceans” live at Caesarea:

David Soakell

(Middle East News Correspondent)

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio

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Standing in the gap for Israel report 05/11

~ May 11, 2017 ~ (Iyar 15, 5777) ~

Please note: This is an extra report; however, due to time away, hospital appointments and CFI festivals there will be no further reports until June 8, 2017. Apologies for any inconvenience.

The Word: To the faithful You show Yourself faithful, to the blameless You show Yourself blameless, to the pure You show Yourself pure, but to the devious You show Yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord?  And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for war; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make Your saving help my shield, and Your right hand sustains me; Your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. (Psalm 18:25-36)

Pointers for prayer: As mentioned above, due to time away on a short sabbatical, further hospital appointments and CFI festivals at the ‘Big Church Day Out’ and other engagements, there will be no further reports until June 8, 2017. Please do lift before the Lord all the staff at CFI UK and CFI Jerusalem, and please remember our CEO, Jacob Vince, who is in Israel with the Jerusalem conference and tour.

God has a purpose for the nation of Israel. Israel’s enemies also have a purpose. And so we must continue to press in with our intercession to fight this spiritual war in the heavenly realms. As terrorism is always a huge threat to Israel (and indeed the western world), let us battle on in our intercession regarding this issue. Let us pray for great wisdom and discernment too for the times ahead.

Over the past few reports, we have been looking at North Korea, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the PLO etc. – all of whom are threatening Israel or attempting to remove the Jewish people from Israel. As we continue to monitor these events and pray into these situations, may we know at all times that the LORD God is in complete control irrespective of what we see. Even so, please do continue to cry out to God for the situations many Israelis and Arab Palestinians find themselves in.

The Battle belongs to the Lord

Twenty four years ago or so, I had the privilege to hear Dr. Bob Gordon teach on Isaiah chapter 6 (among many other teaching sessions).  His teaching has always remained with me and his legacy lives on.  Sadly, he died far too young and at a time when his ministry was at a peak.  I’ve never understood why, yet I do know God is still sovereign.  As I once again read the words of Isaiah this week, I guess in some ways Isaiah must have felt such pain and questioned God regarding the death of King Uzziah.   King Uzziah of Judah had a long and very distinguished reign, described in 2 Chronicles 26 and in 2 Kings 15:1-7 (Uzziah is called Azariah in 2 Kings 15). Uzziah began his reign when he was only 16 years old, and he reigned in Jerusalem for 52 years. Overall, he was a good king, and 2 Kings 15:3 says, he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done.  Uzziah also led Israel in military victories over the Philistines and other neighbouring nations, and he was a strong king. He was also an energetic builder, planner, and general. 2 Chronicles 26:8 says, his fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt.  Sadly though, Uzziah’s life ended tragically. In 2 Chronicles 26:16 it states, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the House of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.” In response, God struck Uzziah with leprosy, and he was an isolated leper until his death.  So in many ways, when we read the opening verses of Isaiah chapter 6, which states, “in the year King Uzziah died” is to say a great deal. Isaiah was no doubt greatly discouraged and disillusioned at the death of King Uzziah.  You can almost hear him asking, “Where was the LORD in all this? Where is God?”  This is a question I have asked of the Lord in the last few years of our ministry with Israel.

In many ways, and at many times, I hear a similar question being asked by the Church today regarding the modern State of Israel.  They will ask, “Where is the LORD in all this?”  They will argue that “Israel cannot be part of God’s plan for it is largely a secular nation.  And what about the way its army behaves?  How can God bless them when they kill Arab Palestinians?  And how can Christians possibly support Israel when Jesus taught us to “love our enemies (Matthew 5:44)?”  Yet isn’t the whole of the Bible God’s Word?  What about controversial verses such as Psalm 144:1, where we read, “Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle…”?  Or what of part of the Psalm I’ve included above where we read, ‘He trains my hands for war; my arms can bend a bow of bronze (from Psalm 18)?

By far, the greatest number of prophecies in the Bible concern the nation of Israel. In fact, many have said that if you want to know what time it is on God’s clock, look at the nation of Israel, for Israel shall be the centre of attention in the fulfilment of Bible prophecies in these last days. Today we live in an age when the entire world is focused upon the tiny strip of land in the Middle East. But could God Himself defend Israel and cause Israel to be mighty in battle?  According to Scriptures He can, He has, and will do so again.  In the Scriptures, God helped Uzziah to lead Israel in military victories over the Philistines and other neighbouring nations.  We can also read of the many accounts where God blessed His people in battle… people like Joshua, Samson, and David etc.  The Word of God also states in Zechariah 12:8, “On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them.”  Taken in context, this verse speaks about God defending Israel in a battle to come in the last days. Have we not seen this miraculously occur several times since Israel became a nation again in 1948? They were greatly outnumbered in key Arab-Israeli wars in 1948, 1967, and 1973. Yet Israel exists! Has not God seen to that?

The Word of God also declares that Jerusalem would be a burden to the entire world. Zechariah 12:2-3 states, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about… And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces.”  Today, Jerusalem is a burden that causes trembling for all the nations just as God foretold. What makes this prophecy even more remarkable is that when the prophet Zechariah spoke these words around 520BC, Jerusalem lay in ruins. But God said it would become the focus of the world’s attention! Today, Israel has 0.01% of the world’s population, yet more than 35% of the United Nations resolutions have been passed concerning her!  In the end, all nations shall come against Israel. Zechariah 14:2 states, “I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it…”  One day, the Bible predicts, she will have no allies, and all nations shall be gathered against her. The media news will show you that we are on the road towards that battle.  In this, the 100th year since the Balfour Declaration, let us rouse ourselves all the more to stand firm in our calling, and uphold the Jewish nation before the Lord God – Who called that very nation into being.

When words have no meaning – Hamas and moderation!

According to CNN, Al-Jazeera and the UK’s Guardian newspaper, the Islamic Terrorist group Hamas now accepts a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines.  Many other papers including the New York Times called this move “moderation”.  But does this mean that Hamas now accepts the State of Israel?  Ah, well… actually, no!  According to Al-Jazeera, Hamas presented the new political document that accepts the formation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, without recognising the statehood of Israel, but states that the conflict in “Palestine” is not a religious one.  Regarding Israel, Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas stated, “We shall not waive an inch of the Palestinian home soil, no matter what the recent pressures are and no matter how long the occupation.”

Back in February, Hamas named another top terrorist as their leader.  Yahya Sinwar now leads the terror group that has ruled Gaza since 2007, placing one of the Islamic terror group’s most hard-line figures in charge of operations in its core power base.   Yahya Sinwar was freed by Israel in a 2011 prisoner swap –which proves that Israel should think long and hard before releasing these terrorists from prison.  The Hamas military wing, which controls thousands of fighters and a vast arsenal of rockets, has battled Israel in three wars since Hamas took control of Gaza a decade ago.

The armed group is sworn to Israel’s destruction and has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings, shootings and other attacks.  Sinwar was sentenced to four life terms by Israel in 1988 for a series of crimes, including his role as mastermind of the abduction and killing of two Israeli soldiers. During his final years in prison, he was the leader of the hundreds of Hamas prisoners held by Israel.  In 2011, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to release Sinwar, along with about 1,000 other prisoners, in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had been captured by Hamas five years earlier in a cross-border raid.  However, apart from Sinwar, Khaled Mashaal has been leader of Hamas and a supporter of violent campaigns against the Jewish state.  After the founding of Hamas in 1987, Mashaal came to lead the Kuwaiti branch of the organization. He moved from Kuwait to Jordan in 1991. Following the expulsion of the Hamas leadership from Jordan in August 1999, Mashaal lived in Qatar before moving to the Syrian capital of Damascus in 2001. He returned to Qatar in 2012 as a result of the Syrian Civil War.

In the Guardian newspaper, they wrote, “Hamas has unveiled a new political programme softening its stance on Israel by accepting the idea of a Palestinian state in territories occupied by Israel in the six-day war of 1967. The new document states the Islamist movement it is not seeking war with the Jewish people – only with Zionism that drives the occupation of Palestine.” See the full report here.  So I guess this is great news, right?  Well maybe not, because as ever, the western media failed to point out certain areas, as the Israeli Prime Minister pointed out, they forgot one small detail, and made it a complete distortion of the truth.  Hamas believes that “no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded, irrespective of the causes, the circumstances and the pressures and no matter how long the occupation lasts. Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus.” Note – “from the river to the sea” – that means ALL of Israel.  The text of Hamas’ Document can be found here: http://english.alresalah.ps/new/post.php?id=5586&t=Text-of-Hamas’-Document-

Speaking on this, Netanyahu stated in a video this week, “The new Hamas document says Israel has no right to exist. It says every inch of our land belongs to the Palestinians. It says there is no acceptable solution other than to remove Israel. So why does Hamas say there is a consensus for a smaller Palestinian state now? In order to destroy Israel later. They want to use their state to destroy our state. Is moving from calling for genocide of all Jews to calling just for the annihilation of Israel really progress or moderation?  Only if you have no standards whatsoever!  It’s bad enough Hamas lies to the world.  We don’t also have to lie to ourselves.  Hamas murders women and children. They have launched thousands of missile attacks at our homes. It brainwashes Palestinian kids in suicide kindergarten camps.  So, where does this hate-filled document belong? In the trash.”  To watch Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech, click here:

If Hamas are not ‘moderate’ what of Abbas?

It seems painfully obvious that Hamas have no intention of becoming a ‘moderate’ political group, and let’s not forget, Hamas are still officially recognised by the EU, Canada, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom as a terrorist organization.  But what of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority?  Well, this week the archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has stated that a “moment of opportunity” could be within reach in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after he met political leaders from both sides during a trip to Israel.  According to a report in The Guardian this week, Justin Welby has held separate talks with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, in which both spoke positively about the possibility of reviving peace talks in the coming months. Abbas had just returned from meeting Donald Trump in Washington.  Later, when meeting the Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, Welby stated, “It does seem that internationally perhaps the planets are aligning. Perhaps a moment of opportunity is coming that may not repeat itself for a while.” Maybe Welby was just a big fan of 60s band ‘The 5th Dimension’ as his words did sound as if they’d been taken from their new age hit ‘Aquarius’ which states, “When the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars. This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius…”

In January 2016, and continuing through February 2016, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn did appear in a straight line in the sky, leaving many to wonder what it would mean when the planets align.  Well if people were looking for some sort of mystical piece of magic, then they will have been disappointed. As a ‘Christian’, and a religious leader, my hope is that Justin Welby’s comments about ‘planets aligning’ was just an expression of hope.  However, I do wish people in positions such as archbishops and other leading roles would actually learn to look at history and learn from it, along with realising the truth regarding Abbas’ real desires. Could the archbishop not have challenged Abbas over the ways in which promotes terrorist attacks perhaps.  Nationalistically, the Palestinian Authority actively elevates violence as a valid and heroic means to achieve political goals, while “religiously” fighting and killing Jews has been presented repeatedly by PA religious and academic leaders as Allah’s will.

On the social level, the PA leader honours even the most loathsome of murderers, portraying them as heroes and role models.  An example of this is Dalal Mughrabi, who led a bus hijacking in which 37 Israelis were killed.  Abbas also has schools, summer camps, and many other events and places bearing names to immortalise and glorify Islamic terrorists. The success of the PA’s promotion of violence is readily evident. We need only look at what is being taught in PA controlled schools to see what is at the core of what the PA demand. http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=449

Time and time again, the Palestinians have been offered peace.  Arafat was offered peace many times and turned every offer into opportunities to attack Israel with terrorist intifadas.  Likewise, Abbas has also refused every offer of peace.  Meanwhile, Chairman Abbas and numerous other Palestinian Authority leaders have rejected the demands of Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, and many other governments and legislators to stop the payments of salaries to imprisoned terrorists.  Following the demand made by Israel and just before Abbas’ meeting with Trump last week, Director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake announced Abbas’ “absolute refusal.”  Karake stated, “The President Abbas emphasised his absolute refusal of the Israeli demands to stop the allowances of the families of the prisoners and Martyrs (Shahids), and emphasised his absolute support for them (i.e., for the payments).’” Yet these are terrorists who targeted civilians. Terrorists like Abdullah Barghouti who built the bombs that murdered 67 civilians at the Hebrew University, in cafés, and on buses.  Barghouti, who is currently leading the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike (though he is actually happily eating – https://vimeo.com/216392757 ), planned several attacks which makes him a cold-blooded murderer. Nonetheless, each has received nearly $200,000 in PA salaries.

Finally… Plan now to celebrate

A major event to celebrate the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration is to be held at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 7th November starting at 7:30pm.  Through music, song, dance and drama the programme captures some of the key moments of early Zionism that laid the foundation for the recreation of the State of Israel in 1948.  Click here to download the flyer with more details.

David Soakell

(Middle East News Correspondent)

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio

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Standing in the gap for Israel news report (05/04)

~ May 4, 2017 ~ (Iyar 8, 5777)

The Word: Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth… I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you… (Isaiah 46:3-10) 

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD! Awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old… So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 51:9-11) 

Pointers for prayer: Israel celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut last Tuesday. As the re-birthed state is another year older, may we, who are called to uphold the nation of Israel by our prayer, remain faithful to the God of Israel, and pray for His continued protection for the whole nation.  As Israel celebrate, pray that the nation would have a clear vision of what God has called them to be, and that the strong resolute spirit of the Jewish people would enable them to see the Lord God at work within them.  Pray that the Lord would pour out His Spirit upon Israel – especially upon the young people so that His works can be declared to future generations.  May they stay united, flourish and never forget the One Who holds His hand over their existence.

As I stated two weeks ago, world events appear to be getting out of control. If we look at North Korea, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the PLO etc. – of whom all are threatening Israel or attempting to remove the Jewish people from Israel – then we must realise there is much to ponder on and pray into here. Before we do that however, let us seek the Lord to quieten our heart, so that the Spirit of the Lord would rest upon each of us; and that the Spirit of wisdom and understanding; the Spirit of counsel and might; the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord might enable us to truly intercede for these complex and difficult issues regarding all who oppose Israel. Pray that we will be in the correct position (spiritually) to know how to intercede, and have wisdom and discernment for when to speak up and when to remain silent.

Yom Ha’atzmaut 2017

Israel this week turned 69 years old.  However, according to the Jewish calendar – it is actually 5777 years young.  After two thousand years of exile, the Jewish nation of Israel was re-birthed on the 14th May 1948, thus fulfilling prophecies in the Word of God from Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah etc.  If only the church at large would truly be like the Bereans in Acts 17, they would be enriched all the more, and would cease from opposing the Lord God! (Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Torah (the Scriptures) every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11).  The biblical emphasis on Israel’s ownership does not diminish, but rather increases with the passage of time (See Jeremiah 30:3; Ezekiel 36:24; Amos 9:15.).  Will we see Israel expand further in a time to come? God also promised a second regathering of His people to their land (which has been and continues to be a fulfilment of Scriptures since the 1800s to present day – check out Isaiah 11:11-14 etc.).

Without doubt, this return of the Jewish nation is a miracle which was against all the odds.  From the horrors of watching six million Jews exterminated in the Holocaust, Israel then survived the War of Independence in 1948 that followed as the Arab armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon invaded the re-birthed Jewish state.  Since the 1948 War of Independence, Israel has had to fight many wars with its Arab neighbours. The Arab nations have repeatedly expressed their objective of destroying Israel.  Last Monday, Israel remembered their fallen soldiers during the Yom Hazikaron ceremonies before celebrating their ‘Independence Day’ on Tuesday.  However, even today Israel wakes up to find their enemies seeking their destruction.  Yom Hazikaron is a poignant reminder of the toll of war. Each year Israel remembers Israeli soldiers and citizens who were killed in defending the State of Israel.  The service, which takes place just before Independence Day includes prayers, songs, poems and other tributes as a reminder of the individuals who lost their lives.  Yet even today, Israel’s cities and land are continually threatened by terror. Even today, farmers working the land face the danger of death from snipers, while boys and girls must flee to bomb shelters fearing rockets and missiles.  Yet even so, Israel is still a land and nation of beauty.  Today, one can travel from the snow-capped mountains in the north, via the beautiful Sea of Galilee, before going across to Netanya on the Mediterranean Sea and Tel Aviv.  One can then journey to Jerusalem and over to the Dead Sea, and finally after a hot trek in the Negev desert, swim in the wonderful clear Red Sea at Eilat.  And all this in a nation the size of Wales!

Without doubt, the re-birth of sovereign Israel astounded the world. Never before had an entire race of people been re-established as a nation. When the Jewish people began to make Aliyah (return) to their Biblical homeland in the 1880s, who could have foretold that the culmination of that homecoming would be too late for millions of Jews?  Who could have foreseen the 6 million Jews murdered during the Nazi Holocaust? Who could have known that three short years after the Holocaust, the 1948 War of Independence would be but the first war within Israel for further wars to come? Who would have thought that Israel would have to fight for its very survival in 1948, 1967, 1973, and throughout the years that followed?

But much has changed in 69 years if one thinks of what Israel has done; how the Land and wilderness has blossomed, and how Israel has changed the world through new inventions such as the mobile phone, computers, gadgets like the memory stick, solar windows and a space camera.  Israelis have invented much of the technology used in the world today such as instant messaging, firewall security software, Intel wireless computer chips, numerous medicines, and miniature video camera capsules to examine internal organs.  One of Israel’s sources of pride is the enormous number of inventions and innovations that have taken root on its soil over 69 years — despite challenges of geography, size and diplomacy. The ever-churning Israeli mind has brought us drip irrigation, the cherry tomato, the electric car grid.  Robotic Spine Assists and other surgical robots are transforming spine surgery from freehand procedures to highly accurate, state-of-the-art operations with less need for radiation.  Indeed, a lot has changed in 69 years… yet really… what has changed?  The world still appears to hate the Jews and opposes Israel for simply existing.

Sixty nine years later, and Israel celebrates her 69th birthday of the re-born nation.  Even as Abbas demands his Islamic state in the heart land of Israel; even as Hamas continues to fire rockets from Gaza; even as Iran and North Korea along with Hezbollah in the north threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the map; even as the Middle East continues to rock at the revolt of one Islamic group murdering their own Islam brothers… even in the midst of all this turmoil, Israel celebrates and continues to bless the world with its inventions and humanitarian work.  Sixty nine years of toil and pain… yet we stand as one in saying, “Thank you Israel, for all you have done for our world… may the Lord Almighty bless you and protect you. Shalom Aleichem (שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם‎) and ‘am Yisrael chai (עם ישראל חי)!  – The people of Israel live!

No apology for Balfour Declaration

The UK have firmly told the Arab Palestinians, along with all who oppose the nation of Israel, that there will be no apology regarding the Balfour Declaration.  Her Majesty’s government slammed the door shut regarding an online petition, and stated that it is proud of the role Britain played in re-establishing the Jewish state of Israel. This is indeed good news.  The British government emphatically refused to apologize for the publication, a century ago, of the document that legitimized the re-creation of a future Jewish state, saying instead that it is proud of the role Britain played in establishing Israel.  In February, the Balfour Apology Campaign, run by the ‘Palestinian Return Centre rights group’, launched a petition on the British parliament website calling on Britain to, “openly apologise to the Islamic Arab Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration. The colonial policy of Britain between 1917-1948 led to mass displacement of the Palestinian nation.”  The truth of course is that before 1948, the Palestinian people were actually referred to as the Jewish people, for example what is today’s Jerusalem Post was ‘The Palestine Post’ – a Jewish newspaper. The modern day Arab Palestinians are a modern invention after 1964 when Arafat created the PLO, by taking a redundant name ‘Palestine’ (as the land was now referred to its Biblical name ‘Israel’) and applying it to his terrorists organisation.

As for the statement, “The colonial policy of Britain between 1917-1948 leading to mass displacement of the Palestinian nation…” again this is completely inaccurate, as there was no Arab Palestinian Nation ruled by Arabs, and never has been.

As for ‘mass displacement’, it was actually the Arab leaders who told their own people to leave so that when the six Arab nations that attacked the tiny Jewish state had wiped Israel out and won the war, then they could return.  The problem was however, the six Arab nations lost the war.  However, what about the 856,000 Jews that were expelled from the Arab Nations?  Why has there been little concern over these? Out of the 856,000 Jews living in Arab countries in 1948, the overwhelming majority found refuge from Arab persecution in Israel. The remaining Jews, like the ‘Arab Palestinians’, were dispersed throughout the world.  Last week the UK Foreign Office posted a response to the petition, stating. “The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which her Majesty’s Government does not intend to apologise,” the response began. “We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel. The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.”  Signed on November 2, 1917 by the UK’s then foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour, the declaration announced his government’s intention to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” in the Land of Israel.

However, on top of this, it is impossible to understand the complex legal implications of the Arab-Israel issue without an acquaintance with the basics of context of the 1920 San Remo Resolution.  As I have written before in these reports, both the San Remo Resolution and the Balfour Declaration charged Britain with the duty to facilitate Jewish immigration and settlement by Jews in the territory which then included Transjordan, which had already been adopted by the other Allied Powers. As a trustee, Britain had a fiduciary duty (the highest standard of care) to act in good faith in carrying out the duties imposed by the Mandate.  Furthermore, as the San Remo resolution has never been abrogated (repealed, revoked etc.) it was and continues to be legally binding between the several parties who signed it. It is therefore obvious that the legitimacy of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the Jewish state all derive from the same international agreement at San Remo.  So if anyone (including the United Nations and UNESCO) attempt to renege on their part to Israel, then they must do likewise to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

גְּבוּל (G’vul) – Praying along the borders (part two)

[Above photo: Kim Jong-un, North Korea leader. (photo credit:KNS / KCNA / AFP) ]

In my last report, I mentioned about the need to be praying along Israel’s borders.  Well, lots of issues have happened since then, but for all those of you who have been praying, we are truly grateful.  However the need continues.   Last Friday, Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) reported that members of the PLO/Fatah Central Committee had sent an official letter of congratulations to Syrian President Bashir Assad expressing support for the Syrian people in its struggle against “the terrorist organizations.”  So who exactly is the PLO? And are not Fatah guilty of acts of terrorism? So is this a case of one terrorist group praising another terrorist group for fighting terrorists?  Really… you couldn’t make this up!  However, on Friday 28th April 2017, reports came in that Israel had shot down a Syrian drone over the Golan Heights.  According to sources, Israel fired a Patriot anti-ballistic missile in north Israel, reportedly intercepting a drone that entered Israel’s airspace from Syria. The interception came hours after Israel allegedly struck a Hezbollah arms depot near Damascus International Airport, a move condemned by Russia, which called it a “gross violation of Syrian sovereignty.”

In March 2017, Syria warned that scud missiles would be fired toward Israeli targets if Israel carried out any further air strikes in the war-torn country. Beirut’s Ad-Diyar daily reported that Damascus had prepared four scuds out of their arsenal of 800, which can carry half a ton of explosives, and would launch them without any prior warning if Israel carried out a strike.  Israel’s air defence systems include the Iron Dome, which is designed to shoot down short-range rockets, the Arrow, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, and the newly operational David’s Sling missile defence system, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles and medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles.

Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah has also warned that the terrorist group is able to hit “the entirety of occupied Palestine with missiles,” but according to a senior Israeli Army officer in the Air Defence Command, Israel is now able to protect more territory from enemy rockets or missiles than before. The border with Syria has been tense since the civil war erupted in 2011, and while Israel is suspected of carrying out strikes against Hezbollah weapons convoys in Syrian territory, it rarely publicly admits to them.  On top of all this of course, is North Korea.  You may remember that when Israel destroyed Syria’s nascent nuclear program, it was quickly discovered that North Korea had provided the know-how and hardware to the defiant Arab dictatorship.  It is also known that North Korea is in league with some of the Middle East’s more ‘unsavoury’ players, all of whom want to see Israel annihilated.  As such, few Israeli tears would be shed if Trump followed through on his threats to end the North Korean regime.

Following Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments regarding this last week, the North Korean government responded with a stern warning for Israel: “The reckless remarks of the Israeli defence minister are sordid and wicked behaviour and a grave challenge to the DPRK (North Korea).”  The statement went on to threaten Israel and any other nation that damages the “dignity” of the North Korean leadership with “merciless, thousand-fold punishment.”

Finally… pause for thought.

As Yom Ha’atzmaut was starting on Monday evening, I was sat waiting for the ITV programme ‘Little Boy Blue’ to start on the TV. The programme is a crime drama based on a tragic true story of when eleven-year-old Everton fan Rhys Jones was brutally killed by a shooting. I remember that when this incident took place 10 years ago, this senseless killing shocked the country. Now, ITV has turned the story into a four-part drama. Little Boy Blue revisits the murder of the 11-year-old Liverpool boy Rhys Jones, killed by a local gang member while going home from football practice.  On the evening of August 22, 2007, Jones was caught in the conflict between two gangs while crossing a pub car-park. Sean Mercer – a 16-year-old in one of the gangs began shooting at two members of the rival gang, but one of Mercer’s stray bullets hit the 11-year-old in the neck, and Mercer fled the scene. Paramedics spent an hour and a half trying to resuscitate the boy, but were unable to save Rhys Jones’ life.

The programme is hard to watch, but what shocked me before the programme started was an advert for holidays in Israel. I was stunned. The advert stated, “Two cosmopolitan Cities on one unforgettable break. Visit Jerusalem’s breath-taking beauties with a captivating blend of antiquity and contemporary, cultural treasures and world heritage sights. And explore Tel Aviv – the city that never stops: Beautiful beaches, outdoor activities and entertainment.” I thought “WOW”… but then I thought about what was to come… a hard true story of a young boy who was an innocent victim of mob hatred.  I wrestled with the idea of selling holidays before a serious true story this like.  However, I then thought about the whole picture.

Liverpool is a fantastic city, lots of history and it’s a city I love to go to. Yes, they have had their problems and riots and gangs and murders have marred this beautiful city. But that shouldn’t cause people not to come and visit Liverpool.  But how many young kids (and other families) have been shot, stabbed, blown apart etc. in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem? Hundreds! In many ways the likeness between the gang thugs of Liverpool and the Arab Palestinian Terrorists trying to wipe out Israelis are similar. It’s a mind-set of hatred and evil. Yet should these gangs cause people not to want to experience to sights and history of Liverpool – a fabulous city? Absolutely not. Likewise… if you’re never been to Israel and experienced Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the many other fabulous places of this awesome country, now is a good time to go!  See the advert here:

David Soakell

(Middle East Correspondent)

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio

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‘Standing in the Gap’ News Report (04/20)

The Word: “I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. (Exodus 23:31)

…“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say: ‘Our bones are dried up; our hope is lost; we are cut off—by ourselves.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says Adonai Elohim: ‘Behold, I will open your graves. I will bring you up out of your graves, My people. I will bring you back to the land of Israel. You will know that I am Adonai, when I have opened your graves and brought you up out of your graves, My people. I will put My Ruach in you and you will live. I will place you in your own land. (Ezekiel 37: 11-14)

גְּבוּל (G’vul) – Praying along the borders

David on the Gaza border

[Above photo: David Soakell on Israel’s border watching Kassam rockets being fired from Hamas Terrorists in Gaza]

In the lectures/talks I’ve been taking around many parts of the UK recently (see my last report here for details), I have been stating that last year – 2016 – was a year of great uncertainty.   With the Syrian conflict; the Brexit vote, and Donald Trump being elected president of the United States; many were wondering what would come next for international alliances, diplomacy and peace.  At the same time, the United Nations through UNESCO attempted to erase Jewish history in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel, and some of the world’s leading forces appeared closer to a world war than any time in the past few decades.  For six years now, I have been reporting on the genocide going on in the Islamic Middle East in general and Syria in particular. Islamic group ISIS have slaughtered Yazidis and Christians, and in Syria, Shia Muslims joined Alawite Muslims to exterminate Sunni Muslims –this genocide reached fever pitch towards the end of December 2016 and continued into 2017.

Two weeks ago, I reported on the fact that up to 100 people had been killed and 400 injured in the latest Syrian ‘chemical attack’, although Assad refused to accept the blame.  This led to US President Trump getting involved with what he called ‘necessary retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed civilians and children earlier in the week.’  The US then attacked ISIS tunnels and the complex cave areas in Afghanistan by dropping a ‘Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb – the largest non-nuclear weapon in its arsenal.  The GBU-43 bomb weighed 21,600 pounds, was 30 feet long and contained 11 tons of explosives.  Afghanistan’s Defence Ministry said that no civilians were harmed as Afghan media reported that 82 militants had been killed.  However, ISIS denied suffering any deaths or casualties in the strike.  Enter North Korea.  Kim Jong-un stated that North Korea has “vowed to retaliate in a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive” against the US and its allies if Washington chose to attack them. Kim Jong-un’s commitment to test even more nuclear weapons has led many in the US government to call for new emergency plans in the event of a catastrophic attack.

This week, Alan Dershowitz wrote in the Gatestone Institute, “We failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. As a result, our options to stop them from developing a delivery system capable of reaching our shores are severely limited.  The hard lesson from our failure to stop North Korea before they became a nuclear power is that we MUST stop Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear arsenal. A nuclear Iran would be far more dangerous to American interests than a nuclear North Korea. Iran already has missiles capable of reaching numerous American allies. They are in the process of upgrading them and making them capable of delivering a nuclear payload to our shores.”  The report goes on to state, “Its fundamentalist religious leaders would be willing to sacrifice millions of Iranians to destroy the “Big Satan” (United States) or the “Little Satan” (Israel). The late “moderate” leader Hashemi Rafsanjani once told an American journalist that if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, they “would kill as many as five million Jews,” and that if Israel retaliated, they would kill fifteen million Iranians, which would be “a small sacrifice from among the billion Muslims in the world.” He concluded that “it is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.” Recall that the Iranian mullahs were willing to sacrifice thousands of “child-soldiers” in their futile war with Iraq. There is nothing more dangerous than a “suicide regime” armed with nuclear weapons.”

Threats Facing Israel

Now have a look at the above map that was created in August of 2013 – nearly four years ago – and reflect on the dangers that Hamas, the PLO/Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria are to Israel’s borders.  Remember, Israel is the size of Wales, 0.1% of the Islamic Middle East.  Remember, that map and the statistics is nearly four years old.  Hamas and Hezbollah have dramatically increased their arsenal.  What of Iran?

And one nation that we shouldn’t ignore is Turkey.  Is Turkey a friend of foe to Israel?  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just narrowly won a referendum to expand presidential powers, which could keep him in office until 2029.  Putting Hamas and Hezbollah to one side, many believe that after Iran’s theocratic Islamist state, the greatest threat to Israel is Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey and Turkey’s Islamist government. This is surprising because Turkey and Israel used to be close allies. However, the rift between the countries is directly linked to the ascendancy of Islamist rule in Turkey.  This is a nation that many within Israel are keeping a close eye on.

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In Hebrew, the word for border, boundary, and territory is G’vul.  I feel now is a good time to really pray and that those who have a calling to stand with Israel, would take up their positions and really intercede, and even see if people couldn’t pray in teams 24/7 along the borders of Israel.  I have no desire to be a ‘false prophet of doom’, nor do I wish to ever jump on the media’s war-glorifying bandwagon of sensational fake news. Far too many news channels today have dropped most fact-checking and critical analysis steps in order to churn out news more cheaply and quicker and as a result untrue stories are appearing in mainstream news more than ever before – especially if it relates to darkening the name of Israel.  I believe we need to pray for great wisdom and discernment in these days.  However, I also believe we need to pray for secure borders around ALL of Israel, and for safety of all who live within the Land.

Why did Fergie use the Balfour 100 year to help Palestinian propaganda?

A.J. Balfour (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, British Foreign Office) stated that “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people … it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…”  Formally, this became known as ‘The Balfour Declaration’.  In 1920, the San Remo Peace Conference gave Britain a provisional ‘Mandate for Palestine’ based upon the Balfour declaration. In legal terms, ‘The Mandate for Palestine’ was ‘The Trust’ and Britain was the ‘Mandatory’ or ‘Trustee’. The primary objective of the Mandate was to grant political rights in respect to what was essentially Jewish Palestine to the Jewish people. Initially the Mandate defined “Palestine” as spanning both west and east of the Jordan. In 1922, the British Mandate was formalized in September 1922 by the Council of the League of Nations.

Essentially this body gave unanimous approval for a Jewish national homeland in historic Israel – a land the Romans renamed ‘Palestine.’ Article 25 of this Mandate enabled the Mandatory to change the terms of the Mandate in the territory east of the Jordan River. Britain, under Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill, activated this option and cut away 77% of the original mandated area for the Jews and created a new country called Trans-Jordan, later called Jordan (this was to be Arab Palestine). The East Bank was therefore given to Britain’s Arab allies!  This reduced mandated area for a Jewish homeland included the Gaza strip and the Golan Heights, plus Judea and Samaria, today’s ‘West Bank’. According to the Mandate, the Jews could settle anywhere between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. To date, this is the last legally binding document regarding the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza. The Mandate did not grant any national political rights to Arabs in what became the rebirth of Israel, but Article 2 did safeguard the civil and religious rights of all inhabitants of what was Palestine, irrespective of race or religion. Political rights were given however to self-determination for Arabs by the League of Nations in four other mandates (for Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan).  So why is it that people who should know better, appear to know little regarding this legal document, and wilfully swallow a diet of make-belief and lies from the Palestinian Authority (PLO) leaders?

Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, as a part of her ‘charity and human rights work’, visited Bethlehem (Judea) on Tuesday, where she met with Islamic Palestinian personalities and visited different sites. The visit included a tour of the Nativity Church (Christian not Islamic) and the Old City district of Bethlehem (where the Jewish Messiah was born), in addition to what she described as “the apartheid wall.”  In an interview with the Arab Palestinian Press, the duchess said that her mission in ‘Palestine’ is to support Palestinians and the people in the area to be able to build a hospital.  The Duchess of York stated, “I come as a mother… and if I was suddenly unable to give my girls the right to play in olive trees or to go to school because someone has put a wall there I would be very upset…”   She added, “If my children can’t have a heart operation, but the people on the other side of the wall can have the heart operation, I’d be very unhappy as a mother.” To view the news clip, click here:

Needless to say, there was no mention of her speaking out against the Palestinian Authority’s constant manipulation to teach Arab Palestinians to hate and murder Israeli Jews; there was no mention of why the wall had to be erected to try to stop all the Islamic Palestinian suicide attacks; there was no mention of the thousands of Arab children that have had successful heart transplants and other operations in Israel’s hospitals – performed by Jewish Israeli surgeons and doctors, nor the brilliant work of groups like Shevet Achim (https://www.shevet.org/il).  In a very one sided, Palestinian propaganda campaign, one has to seriously question why Sarah Ferguson chose this specific time and year to speak out against Israel, and who gave her the right to do this?

Rising from the ashes

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[Above photo taken and created by D Soakell]

Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) takes place this year on May 2nd.  However before that can be celebrated, a very thought provoking and sombre occasion happens in Israel.  Although the UK commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th, next Monday (April 24) Israel marks its annual Holocaust Memorial Day, a solemn remembrance of the 6 million Jews who perished in Nazi-controlled Europe. Out of the ashes of Nazi Europe, the Jewish nation was re-birthed, however we still need to reflect just where Israel came from and what preceded the re-birth.  And so, sirens will wail throughout the Land of Israel on April 24, and public life will come to a standstill in honour of the victims of the Holocaust.  Last year when this happened, my wife and I stood on our balcony in Poriya overlooking Tiberias and the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) as the mournful, eerie sirens filled the sky (click here to view this: https://www.facebook.com/pg/CFIUK/videos/?ref=page_internal).

When I first got involved with Christian Friends of Israel (some 30 years ago), there was 250,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel.  Today, however this number is significantly less.  One thing that is certain however, these precious people are now very old and in 10 or 20 years’ time, no eye witnesses to that horrific chapter in human history will be left.  This is why we must remember this time.  My eyes were opened to the horrors of the Holocaust through Anne Frank.  As a young boy, I watched a film about Anne Frank.  Following this, and after reading her diary over and over I could not get her story out of my mind… indeed, her short life is engraved in my soul – and so I guess God would end up using me somehow to help those who survived the Holocaust.  Spending many years writing songs and poems around this theme birthed my book called ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ – a gathering of written works originally set to music, which try to reflect something of the horror of the Holocaust and beyond.  To purchase your own copy of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ click here:  http://www.cfi.org.uk/shop.php?product=1104.  In an age when Israel’s enemies are denying the Holocaust took place for political gain, we need to keep the candle burning, and challenge the youth regarding this issue.   Click here if you would like to help us support our work with Holocaust survivors or if outside the UK, click here.

The official events commemorating the Shoah or Holocaust – the systematic slaughter of the Jews in Europe in the course of the Second World War – will begin at the Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Jerusalem).  Then, as it does every year on the 27th/28th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, Israel will come to a standstill at 10 AM on the Monday morning as air raid sirens blare across the country commemorating the massacre of six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust.

A day of teaching & prayer – CFI Conference

Hawick Conference - May 2017

Finally, I would like to let you know that CFI UK are putting on a teaching & prayer conference in the Scottish Borders on Saturday May 6, 2017 (10 am – 4 pm).  The day conference, entitled ‘Israel – God’s Promised Land’ will be held at Elim Community Church, Fairhurst Drive, Hawick, TD9 8HU, Scottish Borders.  The speakers are Julia Soakell (CFI UK Liaison Support/prayer) and Julie Archer (CFI North East England Regional Link).  The day is being organised and hosted by our Scottish Borders Regional Link, Philip Aitchison.  Contact details are philipaitchison@gmail.com (07443 900244).

  • Pointers for prayer: World events appear to be getting out of control. If we look at North Korea, Syria and of course the US governments response; along with all the activity by Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the PLO etc. to attempt to remove the Jewish people from Israel – and specifically Jerusalem, Israel’s capital – then we must realise that these threats have increased dramatically  over the past 10 years.  There is much to ponder on and pray into here, however before that, let us seek the Lord to quieten our heart, so that the Spirit of the Lord would rest upon each of us; and that the Spirit of wisdom and understanding; the Spirit of counsel and might; the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord might enable us to truly intercede for these complex and difficult issues regarding all who oppose Israel (Isaiah 11:2).  Pray that we will be in the correct position (spiritually) to know how to intercede, and have wisdom and discernment for when to speak up and when to remain silent.
  • In Israel, feasts and festivals can quickly come and go. Passover has now finished, and I’d like to say a huge thanks to all who stood in the gap for Israel and prayed against any terrorist attacks over this period. Do continue to lift the family of Hannah Bladon before the Lord, who was murdered in the Jerusalem terror attack on ‘Good Friday’.  Players of the Football Championship in England’s Derby County and Huddersfield Town bowed their heads during a minute’s silence before the start of their game in memory of Hannah Bladon.  Hannah, 20, was a keen Derby County supporter who was studying for a semester at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. Thousands of fans from both Derby and Huddersfield stood in rare respect in the UK, for the victim of a Palestinian terror attack.
  • Next Monday (April 24) Israel marks its annual Holocaust Memorial Day, a solemn remembrance of the 6 million Jews who perished in Nazi-controlled Europe. Please continue to uphold Israel through this time, and continue to pray that the people of Israel will turn to the Lord God. Isaiah 30:19 states, “He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry. When He hears it, He will answer.” Amen, may it be so.
  • Pray that the nation of Israel would have a clear vision of what God has called them to be, and that the strong resolute spirit of the Jewish people would enable them to see the Lord God at work within them. Pray that the Lord would pour out His Spirit upon Israel – especially upon the young people so that His works can be declared to future generations.

David Soakell

(Middle East News Correspondent)

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio

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Standing in the gap for Israel report (04/06)

~ April 6, 2017 ~ (Nisan 10, 5777)

 The Word: Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs… Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door-frame. Not one of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. (Exodus 12:7 &22)

The next day, Yochanan saw Yeshua coming toward him and said, “Look! God’s lamb! The one who is taking away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

israel-flagmovingPointers for prayer: As we continue to monitor events in and around Israel and the Middle East, and pray into these situations, may we know at all times that the LORD God is in complete control irrespective of what we see. As the nation of Israel prepares for Passover, they could be facing a time when the enemy might try to use terrorist attacks against the Jewish people. Please stand with Israel over this period and pray for Israel’s protection.

israel-flagmovingAs we enter the time of Passover may we pray for truth and God’s revealed purposes. May we be seen to carry Israel on our prayers, asking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for blessings to be bestowed upon Israel, and that God in His mercy, would “cleanse them with hyssop”, that they would know the Passover Lamb in whom they seek.

israel-flagmovingAs you may have seen from the latest news updates, there have been further horrific chemical attacks in Syria. As many as 100 people may have been killed and over 400 injured in Syria’s ‘chemical attacks.’ There is a report with links below. Please pray into this horrific situation.

Praying around Pesach

seder

[Above photo taken by D Soakell]

As often happens, Easter and Passover fall at the same time this year.   Passover starts on Tuesday April 11, 2017 for one week and continues throughout the Easter weekend.  Passover of course marks the Israelis liberation from slavery and their exodus from Egypt around 3000 years ago to their freedom.  For this freedom, a lamb was sacrificed for each family.  Easter on the other hand celebrates the Christians freedom from sins through the death and resurrection in the Messiah Jesus (Yeshua).

The central part to the week-long festivities for Passover is the Seder meal. My family celebrate this meal with our friends at our home. In addition to telling the story of Passover (from the Haggadah), we also read from ‘The Song of Songs’ (Song of Solomon), which is the traditional thing to do.  This is one of the five scrolls that are connected to particular festivals.  But why is Song of Songs read at Passover? Well, what is the Passover all about?  In many ways it’s more than the story of the Jewish people finding their freedom… It’s a love story!  It’s God demonstrating His love for His covenant people, the Jews – or Israel as they are known nationally.  After all, it’s the same God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son ~ the ultimate Passover Lamb, so that Believers in Yeshua could also be engrafted into His people Israel, and know God.

In Song of Songs chapter 2:8-13, we read, “The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping upon the mountains… My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth… Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!” Here God is calling His beloved Israel, “Rise up My Beloved… Come to Me, I want to love you”.  This is what the Passover is all about, and this ultimately is what the Easter story is also about – God’s love for us – seeking our relationship through His Communion with us.  May we all know this awesome love of God both for His people Israel, and for His Church.

PLO terrorists

However, we also need to remain alert over this period.  Palestinian Media Watch have reported this week that they have had information stating that April 17 will be day of terror and killing (according to Fatah’s student movement).  Fatah have been quoted as saying, “Let us turn April 17, 2017 into a fire that will burn the occupiers and burn the land like an inferno… We declare in a clear manner that splits the sky… We will not hesitate to burn the land under the feet of the tyrants if [Israel] harms the prisoners… Remember the Wadi Al-Haramiya operation (i.e., terror attack, 10 murdered), the Ein Arik operation (i.e., terror attack, 6 murdered), and the hundreds of heroic operations that were carried out by Fatah members and the fighters of our people.” [Source: Official Fatah Facebook page, March 29, 2017].  On April 17, Fatah (Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority) celebrates its annual ‘Prisoner’s Day’ and Fatah’s student movement Shabiba has called for a day of terror against Israel. Fatah encouraged students and other Palestinians to use violence and “escalate the confrontation with the occupier:” A full report from PMW can be found here.

Over the past few days, many sources have stated that Israel is expecting attempted terrorist attacks from both Fatah and Hamas.  Israeli’s residents have been warned, and the IDF (Israel Defence Force) and the Police are on high alert.  Last week, Hamas closed its only civilian border crossing with Israel on Sunday, and Israeli troops were on high alert as tensions continued to rise.  This followed the death of a senior Hamas operative who was mysteriously shot dead at point-blank range in the parking garage of his home.  Hamas has accused Israel of being behind the killing of Mazen Fuqaha, 38, a senior commander in the militant Islamist movement’s military wing. He spent nine years in an Israeli jail for his part in planning numerous suicide bombings that killed multiple Israeli civilians during the second Intifada in the early 2000s.  Fuqaha was eventually one of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released in 2011 in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Upon his release, Fuqaha was barred from returning to the ‘West Bank’ and expelled to Gaza. From there he managed Hamas’s terrorist operations according to multiple sources.

Up to 100 people killed and 400 injured in Syria ‘chemical attack’

For the past six years I have frequently brought updates from the harrowing situation in Syria.  This nation has seen Shia Muslims join Alawite Muslims to exterminate Sunni Muslims – a classic definition of genocide where an ethnic group is target for annihilation, yet the United Nations have done very little – if anything – about it.  UK-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll in Khan Sheikhoun at 72, including 20 children, but other sources state that the current death toll is much higher – even around the 100 mark.  Footage from the scene showed civilians, many of them children, choking and foaming at the mouth. Witnesses said clinics treating the injured were then targeted by air strikes.  Khan Sheikhoun in the Idlib Province is half way between Aleppo (to the north) and Homs (to the south) – see map below.

Latest attack in Syria - D Soakell

[Above map by Google Maps – picture created by D Soakell]

The United States have blamed the Syrian government and its patrons, Russia and Iran, on Tuesday for one of the deadliest chemical weapons attacks in the six years of war in Syria.  As I watched the scenes unfolding on the news channels, we were warned that the scenes were horrific, and indeed they were.  A senior State Department official said the attack appeared to be a war crime and called on Russia and Iran to restrain the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria from carrying out further chemical strikes.  Britain, France and Turkey joined Washington in condemning the attack, which they also attributed to Mr. Assad’s government. The United Nations Security Council was scheduled to be briefed on the attack on Wednesday – but have made little response in six years of war.  The White House says it is “confident” Bashar al-Assad’s government was behind an apparent chemical attack in north-west Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke. Later, aircraft fired rockets at local clinics treating survivors, medics and activists.  Syria’s army denied the government had used any such weapons.

I have included footage of the attacks, however these come with a clear WARNING as the footage is disturbing:

As mentioned, the latest death toll could be as high as one hundred people killed and over 400 injured in the apparent chemical attack.  A video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent can be seen here: http://www.itv.com/news/2017-04-04/at-least-18-dead-and-dozens-injured-idlib-gas-attack-in-syria/

A call of God? Challenging churches to intercede

DSC_0166

[Above photo: D Soakell]

As many of you may be aware, my wife Julia and I have been touring the UK speaking at various places for CFI including three dates in the North of England; three days in Norfolk, and another speaking engagement plus a conference on the Isle of Wight.

The main theme of the talks has centred on the issue of Jerusalem.  As Israel’s Communications Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said in Washington recently, “Moral claim to the land [of Israel] come from the Bible, not Google or Wikipedia.”  Tzachi Hanegbi was speaking at an event held in support of placing what are alleged to be ‘West Bank settlements’ or rather Jewish Communities within final borders of the Jewish state of Israel.  Needless to say, as the end days approach, the City of Jerusalem will, and is, becoming centre stage in world history.  Are we nearing the words of Zechariah chapters 12 & 14 coming to pass? (All nations will gather against Jerusalem – Zechariah 12:3).

At the conference on the Isle of Wight, along with a meeting in Norfolk, Julia spoke on a ‘Heart for a Generation’ which included updates and answers to prayer.  In three of my talks, I spoke on how 2016 was a year of great uncertainty.  The Syrian conflict saw the historic city of Aleppo slip further into peril; the Brexit vote initiated the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States, leading many to wonder what comes next for international alliances, diplomacy and peace.  All the while, the United Nations through UNESCO attempted to erase Jewish history in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel.

Throughout 2016, there was and still is, genocide going on (see above report), which has been going on for years and years in the Islamic Middle East in general, and Syria in particular. Islamic group ISIS have killed multitudes of Christian and other minorities; and in Syria, as mentioned earlier, Shia Muslims joined Alawite Muslims to exterminate Sunni Muslims – a classic definition of genocide where an ethnic group is target for annihilation, yet the United Nations have done very little about it.  Yet worse was to come.  The United Nations not only appeared to ignore the issue with Syria but focused condemnation on the world’s only Jewish state, Israel – a country the size of Wales that has nearly 2 million Arabs living in complete safety – the only place in the Middle East where Muslims are safe.  All the while, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority demanded the U.N. acknowledge the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City to have no historic ties to Judaism.

In many of my talks, I challenged the Christian audiences that if the U.N. agreed that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall were exclusively Islamic and had nothing to do with Judaism, then they were declaring that the Gospel writers, and therefore by implication all the New Testament is untrue, inaccurate and full of fables, as Jesus could not have done what the Bible proclaims He did in and on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.  Proving through archaeology, and taking the audience on a pictorial journey through the Western Wall tunnels and the Southern Wall’s ancient steps that date back to Herod’s Temple and beyond, I then hopefully enabled the church to see the importance of the truth, and how we needed to act and pray against these actions by the U.N. in dismissing Israel’s biblical history.   All the talks at St Paul’s Church, Newport, Isle of Wight can be heard on MP3 at http://www.stpaulsbarton.co.uk/.

To watch one of the talks from an earlier event, click here:

 

Praise God for answers to prayer

thanking God

Following on from the above report, news has just literally come in that on April 4th, 2017, in Brussels, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has firmly rebuffed any attempts to deny Jewish history connected to Jerusalem. In a unique statement at the ECI policy conference in the European Parliament she said that “in the Torah, Jerusalem is the capital of King David, where Solomon built the Temple and placed the Ark of the Covenant.”  Distinguishing between her role as the highest official of UNESCO and the resolutions passed by member states of the same organisation, she stated, “To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justifies its inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The protection of the heritage of Jerusalem is part of a broader vision for peace and the fight against all forms of denial of Jewish history, delegitimisation of Israel and anti-Semitism.”  UNESCO is the United Nations specialised agency for education, science and culture, and their original resolution, which referred to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of ‘Al-Haram Al Sharif,’ was approved by the United Nations at its 40th session last year, and was the reason that I felt called by the Lord to speak around the country and ask the Church to pray against this.  It appears prayers have been answered!

The statement by Irina Bokova were conveyed by UNESCO Director Genc Seitii and were warmly received by the conference, which included Israeli Ambassador to the European Union, Aharon Leshno-Yaar. Given the official EU policy of supporting a re-dividing of Jerusalem and the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital, the conference was unique in that it clearly contradicted EU policy and ambitions.  In his keynote speech Dr Dore Gold from the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs presented two competing schools of thought that the EU will have to choose between.  “One school of thought teaches that Islam is superior to any other religion while the other school of thought wants to protect all religions. Only Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem can preserve all the holy sites while radical Islam will seek to destroy them”, he said. He illustrated his point by recent examples, such as the blowing up of ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2001 as well as the occupation and desecration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002 by Palestinian militants who were later given free exile in Europe and Gaza. “Which side will Europe chose – the side which protects holy sites or the one which seek to destroy them?” he asked.

The Vice-President of the European Parliament MEP Ryscard Czarnecki gave the Israeli government credit for protecting all the holy sites after recapturing Jerusalem in 1967. In a written statement, he acknowledged that the Jewish people have had a long history in his native Poland but pointed out that no other city can illustrate Jewish identity and aspirations more than Jerusalem.  The European Coalition for Israel’s (ECI) Founding Director, Tomas Sandell, added that “Jerusalem is not only of legal, political and strategic significance but symbolises the very values that our Western civilisation are built on. To abandon Jerusalem is to dismantle these very values.” The conference concluded with the presentation of an open letter in support of a united Jerusalem. In his remarks ECI Legal Counsel, Andrew Tucker, explained why Jerusalem needs to remain the un-divided capital of the State of Israel, adding that even a majority of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem prefer to live in the state of Israel rather than in a Palestinian state.

The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, while not being able to participate in person, had sent a recorded video message to the conference illustrating the diversity in Jerusalem by noting that “in one square kilometre we have more churches, mosques, and synagogues than anywhere else in the world.”   The conference was organised with the support and active participation of MEPs from the four largest party groups in the European Parliament: European Peoples’ Party (EPP), European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and Socialists and Democrats (S&D). For more information on this click here: www.ec4i.org.

Israel Today

Finally, I’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to my good friend and journalist Charles Gardener.  Charles has in the past used my reports in the Israel Today magazine.  In his recent article in Israel Today Charles writes, “As genocide is being committed against Christians, Yazidis and even ‘dissident’ Muslims across the Arab world, the international finger of criticism continues to point at Israel. The latest example is a UN report urging swift action to oppose and end Israeli “apartheid”.  Thankfully, my Christian Friends of Israel colleague David Soakell has produced an ‘ace’ card exposing all this nonsense with a timely series of testimonies from Arabs which I have aptly titled Apartheid Claims Exposed (ACE). He tells us that Israeli Arabs – both Christian and Muslim – are risking disapproval from their own communities by volunteering for the Israeli Defence Forces in increasing numbers, disproving the lie that Israel is a racist, apartheid state. (Non-Jews are not obligated to serve in the IDF).” To read the report click here: http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/31312/Default.aspx  & https://davidsoakell.com/2017/03/09/land-of-apartheid/

David Soakell

(Middle East News Correspondent)

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio

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