“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.’ (Zechariah 8:7-8)
And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase… Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land. (Jeremiah 23:3, 7, 8)
Pointers for prayer: As I’ve mentioned in recent prayer pointers, throughout the world there is so much deception and lies spoken out against Israel. Whether it is groups who promote anti-Semitism; areas of the church that promote replacement theology; the media or political campaigns speaking out against the Jewish state. No matter what the issues might be, God is concerned for truth and so should we. As you will see below, a programme aired on Al Jazeera Media Network regarding anti-Semitism brought this huge issue into controversy. Please continue to pray that the truth will be revealed and that lies and deception will be cast down, wherever they are found.
You will probably not hear about it on the Western News channels, but once again Israel has been one of the first nations to respond to the tragic events in Nepal. Do uphold this whole situation before the Lord in your intercession.
Please also pray for the Arab world. While tens of millions of Arabs have been suffering for decades from brutal oppression from their own Arab leaders, and many have been tortured and imprisoned and women humiliated, the world has become obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as if the Palestinians (who have rejected one peace offer after another) were the only victims in the Middle East. Cry out for the Arab people struggling under the heavy restraints of Islamic oppression.
Before I get under way with this week’s report, I’d like to say a very warm welcome to the many new recipients of this weekly report. It is so encouraging that we have had such a large increase of support over this past couple of weeks. I’d also like to thank Julie Hanks at our UK HQ for all her extra hard work at collating the many extra recipients – this is truly appreciated.
Israel – saving lives in Nepal
I recently heard a quote that stated, ‘Complaining about a silent God while your Bible is closed, is like complaining about not getting texts when your phone is turned off.’ Indeed, if we know our Scriptures and study them, we shouldn’t be surprised when we see our world being turned upside down. Didn’t Yeshua warn us in Matthew 24:6-8 that “you will hear of wars and rumours of wars… For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”? If we look at what has been happening in the Middle East this past few years, with uprising in every Islamic country, we’ll soon realise that we are heading towards the ‘end days’ quicker than we might like to think. Now I need to state, I’m not suggesting we need to get all worked up about ‘the end of days’ like some religious people are – however we do need to be alert and know how to pray. I believe the two main (spiritual) gifts we should desire at this moment in time are ‘wisdom and discernment’. One can easily get too caught up in the ‘troubles of the world’ and start proclaiming prophetic issues that actually might not be true. However, things do appear to be ‘out of sync’ at the moment.
In the past three years we have seen 200,000 Muslims murdered in Syria, along with hundred, if not thousands of Christians in Islamic countries being killed (such as the beheadings by Isis). Hundreds of thousands of people have been wiped out from Tsunamis and floods in the past decade, while large earthquakes doubled in 2014 compared to each consecutive year since 1979 (source). A global increase in large earthquakes has happened in the ten years between 2004 – 2014 (Source). One report in the Guardian stated, “Current graphs clearly show an alarming worldwide trend of increasing earthquake strength and frequency. These results are in agreement with the USGS statistics page, which shows an increase in the frequency of stronger earthquake” (source). And before the current destructive earthquake in Nepal, as of February 2015, there were around 3,100 earthquakes happening a month (click here for the link). We read in Genesis that when Noah warned their respective people of God’s coming judgment and destruction, the people would not listen. Instead they treated Noah as ‘an extremist’. Then the destruction that did happen found the people unprepared. Now I don’t want us to be seen as extremists, but we do need to be prepared.
Needless to say, the scenes coming out of Nepal are horrific as many nations are now trying to help following Saturday’s earthquake. The UN has estimated that eight million people have been affected – which is more than a quarter of the population. Foreign aid is arriving but being hampered by congestion at Kathmandu’s sole airport. Officials say the death toll from the 7.9-magnitude quake has now passed 5,000, but could reach 10,000. And as you will have seen on national news, the quake triggered a very bad avalanche on Mt. Everest. However, as ever, Israel was very quick to respond and has sent search and rescue teams to Nepal, including medical staff. A Magen David Adom team left for Nepal to provide aid to disaster victims with two El-Al airliners carrying a humanitarian assistance team from the Israeli army and the Defence Ministry. The Israeli army sent a team immediately on Saturday to examine the extent of assistance needed in Nepal, ahead of sending the search and rescue team, Israel Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said.
Whenever there are any world disasters, Israel are often first on the scene and always sent search and rescue teams to help. But just why are Israelis so good at getting to disaster areas throughout the world, and why are they often the first responders in global disasters? Well Voice of Israel (VOI) last month covered this and interviewed Shachar Zahavi, founder of IsraAid, and explains far better than I can write to VOI’s Eve Harow of how and why the Israelis respond with humanitarian aid to virtually every global crisis. Check out the interview here: http://www.voiceofisrael.com/why-israelis-are-first-responders-in-global-disasters/ By way of an update, the Israel Defence Force (IDF) humanitarian mission to Nepal landed in Kathmandu as you will see from this link. They are now providing care to the thousands of people who suffer from thirst, hunger and severe injuries.
Click here to view:
Al Jazeera on Anti-Semitism?
Al Jazeera, which literally means ‘The Island’ (abbreviating the Arabian Peninsula), is a Doha-based broadcaster owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar. Doha by the way, is the capital city of Qatar and on many occasions Qatar has been accused of funding Islamic terrorism including Hamas and Isis. Two examples of this funding of terror can be read in Oriental Review here and by the UKs Telegraph here. Needless to say, Qatar has strongly denied funding Isis and other terrorist organisations. In his only broadcast interview the current emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said “We don’t fund extremists” and explained that terrorism was “not acceptable in our culture and our religion”. However he went on to state, “There are differences between some countries, of who are the terrorists and who are the maybe Islamist groups, but we don’t consider them as terrorists.” Not everyone declares Hamas to be a terrorist group of course. And so it was with a curious nervousness that I watched the debate on Al Jazeera under the heading, ‘Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Old fears, new threats?’
Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages. Recently, it broadcasted a programme interviewing Professor Robert S. Wistrich, of which my good friend Or Nehushtan (an Israeli and Shaliach of Leeds Jewish Community [a Shaliach is an emissary from Israel, sent by the Jewish Agency]) was also on the show.
According to Professor Wistrich, Anti-Zionism is a new form of anti-Semitism. I would add, it is also a new form of anti-Israelism. Wistrich contends that, in many quarters what anti-Zionism has become over three, four decades and especially more recently … is a kind of mask for an increasingly open form of demonisation, even slander of the essence of the whole Zionist project. In the programme ‘Head to Head’, the show’s host Mehdi Hasan – a Muslim- challenges Robert Wistrich, one of the world’s leading scholars of anti-Semitism, on why he thinks criticism of Israeli policies is a modern manifestation of historical anti-Jewish hatred. Questions are raised such as ‘Are boycotts driven by prejudice or principle?’ and ‘Is criticism of the Palestinians and the Muslim world Islamophobic?’ Having had to sit through the whole show and then discover that his questions had been drastically cut by the programmes editing team Or Nehushtan stated, “I was asked to attend in order to ask a question, as the producers anticipated the majority of the audience will be unfavourable (to say the least) towards the speaker and his theses, Professor Robert Wistrich, who’s written a book that beautifully explains the common denominators between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism.”
Or Nehushtan continued, “I went there to ask a question which will support the arguments I agree with, and to show my own, and The Jewish Agency for Israel’s support in the State of Israel, as the Israeli-Palestinian issue was sure to be highlighted and discussed throughout the programme, and hardly in Israel’s favour. The host Mehdi Hasan did great journalistic work, in challenging the assertions and statements the Prof. [Wistrich] has made in the past, so much so, that I decided to change the original question I sent to the producers, and address my question to the panel members. Sadly, Or Nehushtan, along with Professor Robert Wistrich and one member of the panel – Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews appeared to be well outnumbered by a rather hostile, anti-Israel audience. Even the rest of the panel consisted of three others who spoke for the Arab Palestinians, and in general were only in favour of the Arab Palestinians, if not completely against Israel. They included Hannah Weisfeld (Director of Yachad); a representative of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and a Palestinian journalist.
I have worked on many occasions with Or Nehushtan as we have attended events to honour Israel, along with Steven Jaffe (Board of Deputies for the Belfast Jewish Community and co-chair of Northern Ireland Friends of Israel) and Ishmael Khaldi (the first Bedouin diplomat in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs). I always think it’s both an honour yet rather funny how God seems to have drawn us all together – an Israeli Jew, an Irish Orthodox Jew, a Bedouin Arab, and a Christian (albeit from a Jewish background). Shame the four of us weren’t on the panel.
Or Nehushtan did his best to challenge the anti-Israel discourse, however most of it was edited out, which sadly is often the case in the media. Or Nehushtan stated, “All in all, it was a fascinating experience, even though being almost the only one raising his hands when a pro-Israel statement is made, and surrounded by an audience applauding every wrongful and very partial, anti-Israel comment, was not the best of feelings. More than expected, my part was very much cut off, and especially the short back-and-forth I had with the panellists. Most importantly, they cut off my comment about the upcoming elections in Israel (as the programme was shot a month before the Israeli elections), and me saying that the Palestinians had probably completely forgot what this word “elections” even mean.” This is certainly the case for Mahmoud Abbas, who was elected to serve until 9 January 2009, but due to Palestinian internal conflict he unilaterally extended his term for another year and continues in office even half a decade after that second deadline expired – Israel is a true democracy, unlike the Palestinian ruled areas, and the majority of the rest of the Islamic Middle East. If you wish to watch the full programme, click here.
Hope when hope seemed lost (Hatikva)
This next report was brought to my attention from Barry Shaw in Israel and brings hope and encouragement to those of us who have told the world the truth regarding Israel (which for me has been the past 30 years). What this report proves, is that the battle we are in, by trying to show people the true picture regarding Israel, is worth continuing to battle with, and for us all to remain faithful in standing with Israel.
Barry Shaw writes, “Recently, a group of Harvard students, of all backgrounds and faiths, visited Israel. They were led by extraordinary Israeli students at Harvard who planned the Harvard Israel Trek with the support of Harvard Hillel and leading local foundations and donors. More than 300 students applied for the 50 spaces on the Trek, making it possible to select a cohort whose experience in Israel, seeing the country in all of its marvellous complexity through a very special lens, would have the greatest impact on campus. Sometimes the impact of a trip like this cannot be captured in prose; it can only be captured in poetry. What follows is a poem, posted on the Harvard trek blog, that reflects one Harvard student’s transformative experience. The author, Oliver Marjot, is a sophomore medieval history concentrator from Guilford, England. He expected the Trek to be a confirmation of his “European certainty of your arrogant oppression.” That’s not quite the way things turned out. I think you’ll agree that it underscores the value of visiting Israel, and beautifully expresses the splendour and complexity of the country that we all love.”
Sadly I cannot include the whole poem here, but it is well worth reading in full and can be read here: https://medium.com/harvard-israel-trek-2015/to-my-newfound-love-74a34b604990 Part of Oliver Marjot’s poem, entitled ‘To My Newfound Love’ states, “I came to you, Israel, wanting to hate you. To be confirmed in my reasonable European certainty of your arrogant oppression, lounging along the Mediterranean coast, facing West in your vast carelessness and American wealth. I wanted to appreciate your history, but tut over the arrogant folly of your present. I wanted to cross my arms smugly, and shake my head over you, and then leave you to fight your unjust wars. I wanted to take from you. To steal away some spiritual satisfaction, and sigh and pray, and shake my head over your spiritual folly as well.”
Marjot goes on to write, “I didn’t realise you were broken as well as wealthy, fragile as well as strong. I didn’t realise that you suffer from a thousand voices clamouring in your head, and that some of those voices care about justice and democracy, and that some of them love their neighbours. I didn’t realise that a thousand enemies press on your borders, hoarding instruments of death, as chaos and darkness and madness consume the world every way you look. I didn’t realise that you care about your past – that some of those voices of yours treasure the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob every bit as much as I do. I didn’t realise. Nobody told me. Or maybe they did, and I refused to listen. I didn’t expect to fall in love with you.”
Expressing his desire and new found love of Israel, Marjot goes on to write about how he saw as what Solomon saw when he wrote about his Beloved; he saw the homeland that Jesus loved, He saw the lush green of Israel’s Galilee, the stark strength of Israel’s desert, and the bare whiteness of her Judean hills. From someone who went to ‘hate the nation of Israel’ and to gather together his ammunition to prove his hate, Oliver Marjot instead is totally blown away by a new found love, and it’s a sheer joy to read this encouraging poem. May the Lord raise up more people like Oliver Marjot, who through ignorance or lies have presumed they know all they needed to know about the Jewish state of Israel, only to have this untruth washed away as the waves of God’s spirit activate a love that can only be gained by visiting the Land God chose as His own.
Next week is the general elections in the UK. I will attempt to cover areas that involve Israel with this.
In the meantime, do pray that the Lord would bring into position the man He wants as Prime Minister.
(Middle East News Correspondent)
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio