Standing in the gap for Israel report 10/13

The Word:  The LORD said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire.  Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God… This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.  It’s a Sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your Sabbath.” (Leviticus 23:26-32)

‘Our Father in heaven! May Your Name be kept holy.  May Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us the food we need today. Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us. And do not lead us into hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One. For kingship, power and glory are yours forever. Amen.’ (Matthew 6:9-13 Complete Jewish Bible)

israel flagmovingPointers for prayer: Due to Wednesday being Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) this report was sent out later than normal. My prayer at the time of writing this report (Tuesday 11th October) was that we (all those connected to and including all within Israel) would not experience further terrorist attacks. Along with this, I recognised the great need for Israel to be restored spiritually to the Lord God of Israel.  Yom Kippur may be over for another year, but the need remains.

israel flagmovingBlessed art thou, O Eternal. Our God and the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God that is great, mighty and tremendous… Remember us unto life, O King, who delights in life, and inscribe us in the book of life… And thou, O Eternal, shall rule alone over all thy works, on Mount Zion, the abode of thy glory, and in Jerusalem, thy holy city; as is written in thy sacred words: The Eternal shall reign for ever, thy God, O Zion, from generation to generation. Hallelujah!  (From the Yom Kippur prayers).  

israel flagmovingWhen terror raises its ugly head, there are many well-meaning people who would rather try to explain away the root causes of this evil rather than confronting and stopping its rampage. As the world media either ignore or inaccurately report terror attacks in Israel, please continue to press in with your intercession. Remember, with God nothing is impossible.  Please pray for honest and fair reporting in the world’s media.

israel flagmovingPlease continue to pray that the bloodshed and suffering caused by the civil war in Syria would come to an end. Pray that those responsible for the continued horrific attacks – whether it be the Assad regime, or those opposing Assad would be held accountable, and that these atrocities would stop!

israel flagmovingOnce Yom Kippur has finished, Israel start preparing for Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles). Sukkot is a representation of faith in God’s protection and promises. As the nation of Israel continue to face a time of uncertainty, may our prayers be that the Lord God would protect His people and tabernacle with them. As we come before the throne of grace, may we boldly approach the Lord for His blessing upon Israel.  The on-going conflict in the Land of Israel has done terrible damage to the relationships of Jew and Arab, especially amongst the younger generation. Pray that ordinary Jewish and Arab people will have a desire for reconciliation and to live side by side in peace and harmony.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us

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Wednesday October 12, 2016 was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement ~ the most sacred day of the Jewish holidays, the “Sabbath of Sabbaths.”  By Yom Kippur the 40 days of repentance have passed, and according to the Rabbis, the Book of Life is closed and sealed. The Rabbis say that those that have repented for their sins are granted a good and happy New Year (the Jewish thought and mind-set is always for the “here and now” unlike the Churches idea, which is often focused on the “afterlife”).  The holiday is instituted in Scripture at Leviticus 23:26.

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is a day set aside to atone for the sins of the past year.  However, the day atones only for sins between man and God, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.  It’s interesting how Jesus (Yeshua) used a similar line of thought in what we call ‘the Lord’s Prayer’, as He taught “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…”  How can we expect God to forgive us our sins if we refuse to forgive those who wrong us?  Being forgiven of our sins means we are, as the Psalmist in Psalm 51 states, “washed as white as snow”.  Therefore it is customary to wear white on Yom Kippur, which symbolises purity and calls to mind the promises of Isaiah 1:18.

yom-kippur

The evening service, which would have begun on Tuesday evening, is known as Kol Nidre, named for the prayer that begins the service. “Kol Nidre” means “all vows,” and in this prayer, the Jewish people ask God to annul all personal vows they may have to make in the next year.  They make this prayer because they take vows so seriously that they consider themselves bound even if they make the vows under duress or in times of stress when they are not thinking straight. This prayer gave comfort to those who were forcibly converted to a form of ‘christianity’ (I deliberately used a small ‘c’ to differentiate from true Christianity) by torture in various inquisitions during the Churches dark ages, yet felt unable to break their vow to follow “Christianity”. In recognition of this history, the Reform movement restored this prayer to its liturgy.

There are many additions to the regular liturgy. Perhaps the most important addition is the confession of the sins of the community.   Note that all sins are confessed in the plural (we have done this, we have done that), emphasising communal responsibility for sins. As I was praying regarding this, I pondered the Scripture regarding Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome, and specifically with reference to Romans 11:26 where we read, “And so all Israel will be saved”.  Yes individuals are getting saved, many Jewish people are finding their Messiah Yeshua, however, one day all Israel will be saved. If all sins are confessed in the plural, emphasising communal responsibility, then it stands to reason that Romans 11:26 will come into effect this way. Certainly, this is something we should be praying about.

As Yom Kippur ends, at the last hour a service called “Ne’ila” offers a final opportunity for repentance. It is the only service of the year during which the doors to the Ark (where the Torah scrolls are stored) remain open from the beginning to end of the service, signifying that the gates of Heaven are open at this time.  The service closes with the verse, said 7 times, “The Lord is our God.”  Once Yom Kippur comes to an end, the Shofar is sounded once and the congregation proclaim – “Next year in Jerusalem.” After Yom Kippur, one begins preparing for the next holiday, Sukkoth (Feast of Tabernacles), which begins five days later.

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[Above: Levana Malichi and Sergeant Major Yosef Kirma of the Israeli Police, who were killed in the same terrorist attack.]

As I started to write this on the morning of Tuesday October 11, 2016, the city of Jerusalem was once again trying to get back to ‘normal life’ – if life can possibly be ever seen as normal in Jerusalem – following the latest wave of terrorism by Arab Palestinians two days earlier that caused the streets of Jerusalem to once again see innocent blood shed.  Following this, on Sunday evening, the funeral for the lady who was killed in the Palestinian terrorist attack on the Sunday morning in Jerusalem took place. Levana Malichi, aged 60, was murdered in the terrorist attack at Ammunition Hill.  She was buried in the cemetery in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem.  She leaves behind a husband, three daughters, and six grandchildren.  Please do pray for her family.

Levana Malichi worked in the Israeli Government (Knesset) for 30 years before retiring in 2010. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein spoke at her funeral and stated, “There are no words that can properly convey the heavy shock that has hit us so abruptly. Instead of preparing for Yom Kippur and Sukkot, we are accompanying you on this final journey. The shock, and the anger, are intense… All the old Knesset employees remember a warm, loving woman who was dedicated to her colleagues. And we elected officials were only able to do our jobs because of people like her.”  Edelstein went on to state that even after Mrs Malichi retired she continued to be in contact with the Knesset and participated in various Knesset functions and events.  He went on to state, “Terrorism can’t beat us. It seeks to disrupt the pulse of life. But the Jewish heart, the pulse of Israel and Jerusalem, will continue to beat here, and all over this country! Because the Zionist ideal is greater than any lowly terrorist. And the history of the State of Israel will outlast any crisis.”

Earlier on Sunday, Sergeant Major Yosef Kirma of the Israeli Police, who was also killed while stopping the same terrorist attack, was laid to rest in the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl.  Do pray for all families connected and for the six other people who were badly injured in this terrorist attack.

Thinking upon the Day of Yom Kippur, during the day upon which the Torah calls for affliction of soul and the shedding of blood to remove the guilt of sin, most Jews fast and rest – as of course there is no Temple for sacrifices to be made.  The streets of Jerusalem, and indeed most of Israel are eerily empty of vehicles except for the most urgent of emergencies.  But this also brings with it another problem – the shedding of blood to remove the guilt of sin –again, this is something we should be praying about.  It’s almost impossible to underestimate how the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD changed the idea of Torah for the Jewish people.  With the loss of the sacrificial system, nearly half of the 613 commandments of the written Torah ~ the duties of the Priests given in the book of Leviticus ~ required radical reinterpretation in order for Judaism, as a non-Temple based system, to survive.  Hence the teaching of Yochanan ben Jakkai, the Jewish sage of the first century, is credited with the dogma that animal sacrifices could be replaced with prayer and acts of loving-kindness.  However, it is hard to understand how a form of Judaism can work correctly if nearly half of the 613 commandments of the written Torah require radical reinterpretation.

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Once Yom Kippur is ended, many Israeli families will go outside together on the evening, as soon as Yom Kippur is finished, and drive the first nail into their sukkah (tent/booth) as preparations start for the festive Feast of Tabernacles, which starts this year on the evening of Sunday, October 16 and ends in the evening of Sunday, October 23.  What an opportunity to pray!  As they hammer the first nail into their sukkah, let’s pray that the LORD God of Israel would awaken their spirit to the fact that their Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) has fulfilled the blood covenant, by having their (and our) sins nailed to the cross… He alone can atone for sin.

However, I’d like you to ponder and pray about the following too: If we (as Christians) are taught to “forgive those who sin against us”, how do we do this in connection with Islamic Palestinian Terrorists who murder innocent Israeli civilians?  And how do we pray regarding Hamas, Hezbollah and Isis etc.?  As you read the next section of my report this week, please cry out to the Lord God to deliver the many Arab people from the spirit of deep-seated hatred for the Jewish people. God can reach into hearts where we cannot and He can perform miracles where no one else can go.  Pray that the Arab people may desire freedom from the various Islamic terror groups that rule the Arab Middle East, and that they too would find true salvation.

Telling signs of the spreading cancer

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The aftermath of Sunday’s terrorist shooting in Jerusalem has been very telling in regards to the continuing hostile disposition of Israel’s so-called “peace partners,” and, sadly, of many other people, including Arabs.  I was really shocked at a testimony from an on-looker who explained what he saw to the Israel National News (INN).  Alon Karko, a 24-year old law student at Hebrew University, told INN that he was sitting at a cafe on campus just a mile from where the attack took place, and there witnessed a most disturbing scene.  Most of the workers and patrons at the cafe at the time were Arabs, many of them students at Hebrew University.  Karko recalled that at one point, as news of the attack was showing on televisions, someone came in and announced that two of the wounded Israeli Jews had died.  Many of the Arab workers and patrons “started to sing and clap,” he said. “You could see the joy on their faces, really.”  Not far away in the northern Jerusalem suburb of Aram, Arab ‘well-wishers’ gathered at the home of the terrorist, who was killed by police during the attack.  They danced and sang, “With our spirit and our blood, we redeem you,” the joyous Arab mob then handed out sweets in celebration.  During the attack itself, police arrested a number of local Arabs who were filming the shooting while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” Officials also prevented a mourning tent in honour of the terrorist from being erected near Jerusalem’s Old City.  Along with this, the terrorist’s daughter published a brief video in which she praised her father’s murderous crime.  This, I’m sad to say, is the type of mind-set that Israel have to cope with.

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During the last eight months, Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, has found itself under an almost unprecedented wave of terror attacks. This is having an effect specifically upon the Jewish children, who are afraid to go to their kindergartens and schools.  This isn’t helped by the fact that most of the media only report on Palestinians killed by Israel and not the other way around.  Many have asked why this is.  Well, the media, fed by Palestinian propaganda, only hears the side of those who they consider (with no justice) to be the “weak side”. The Arab Palestinians that get killed, that you usually hear about, are those who actually committed these deliberate, baseless terror attacks on Israeli civilians.

One such report regarding Sunday’s terrorist attack was reported by Al Jazeera who called the terrorist an ‘alleged attacker’ even when reporting that he killed 2 people and wounded another 6!  This is simply shoddy journalism and doesn’t help the situation at all (see the report here).   Again, as Honest Reporting (HR) pointed out on Monday, Sunday’s terror attack in Jerusalem was reported by The Sunday Times (of London) with the following headline: ‘Palestinian gunman kills two, raising fears of Jewish holiday offensive.’   HR then state, “An accurate enough headline: Only a few hours later, Gregg Carlstrom’s story with a few pieces of updated information was posted on The Times’ website under its Monday edition. So how did the updated headline end up like this  “Man shoots two dead in tram attack”?  HR state, “Could the headline have regressed any further? Who is the man in the headline? Who has been shot dead? And since when was a terror attack a “tram attack?” Usually a headline improves as more information becomes available and updates are published. In this case it’s the reverse.”

Without doubt, the whole problem that Israel faces is like some form of Islamic cancer.  With this in mind, I thought I’d end this week’s report with some thoughts from a blog called ‘FirstOneThrough’.  The blogger writes, “Chemotherapy is a terrible thing at first glance. The treatments make the patient feel terrible and make them look even worse. After repeated treatments, the person becomes a shell of their former selves, losing hair, weight and energy.  They often appear as living dead. Amazingly, people suffering from cancer before commencing chemotherapy often do not look ill to the outside world.  While the disease may be destroying the individual internally, the cure looks to be the actual instrument of death.  But appearances can be deceiving.  The chemotherapy gives hope to an otherwise terminal situation.”  The blogger then compares the confusion between cancer and chemotherapy with the Israel/Palestinian issue and writes, “Israel’s military administration east of the Green Line (EGL)/ the West Bank is neither pleasant for Israelis or Palestinian Arabs. The patrols, checkpoints, security barriers, raids and arrests make the region appear as a battleground rather than a holy land.  But for those that look past the skirmishes and understand the nature of the protagonists in the land, the Israeli military is not the sickness, but forces that may enable peace in the region.”

The article continues, “For Israelis, the cancer in the region is the adamant refusal of Palestinian Arabs to accept the rights of Jews to live in the region… The refusal to accept the Jewish state was made clear by the terrorist Palestinian party Hamas, which seeks the complete destruction of Israel as declared in its charter and by its current leadership.  The refusal is seen in the “relatively moderate” Fatah party which controls the West Bank, which seeks to “eradicate the Zionist entity.””  For a well-balanced report that looks at all sides, click here.

David Soakell

(Middle East News Correspondent)

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

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About David Soakell

Believer in Yeshua (Jesus). In full time ministry work. Passionate about Israel, and publishes a weekly Middle East News Report.
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