The Word:  ““At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.” This is what the Lord says: “The people who survive the sword will find favour in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel.” The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you, Israel, will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit. There will be a day when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’ ”” (Jeremiah 31:1-6).

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”” (Romans 8:15).

*      Pointers for prayer:  The Hebrew word ‘Abba’ appears three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). In the Gospel of Mark, Yeshua (Jesus) speaks yearningly and tenderly to God the Father by using the word "Abba".  He said, "Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” (Mark 14:36).  Today, no matter where one goes in Israel, one can hear the cry of “Abba, Abba” coming from the lips of children as they call out to their Dad’s. May we pray to our Father in Heaven, for the people and nation of Israel, and as the Jewish nation faces even more opposition as they celebrate their 68th anniversary of what has to said is a hard-won independence, pray that the whole nation would cry out to the Father God of Israel for salvation, protection and blessings.  Israel might be celebrating 68 years since its rebirth, but actually, the Land God gave to the Jewish people is 5776 years old. However, like never before, Israel needs your prayers. This next 12 months could be pivotal. 

*   The prophet Jeremiah in chapter 31:1-6 writes, “The people who survive the sword will find favour in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel… I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you, Israel, will be rebuilt.”  The people who survived the sword could be those who survived the Holocaust.  When the Jews returned to what was then Palestine, the land was indeed a wilderness – a dessert.  As they celebrate their 68th anniversary of independence as the State of Israel please continue to pray that Israel would not be isolated and pressured into making ungodly concessions regarding Judea, Samaria and the Golan. Pray that Israel would stand strong for what is Biblically correct.  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.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Independence Day) 2016      On Thursday, May 12, 2016, Israel will be celebrating its 68th anniversary of what has to said is a hard-won independence.  Having literally just returned back from Israel, I have to say that in many ways, the success story of this tiny nation – the size of Wales – amid the vast Islamic/Arab nations who rule the rest (99.9%) of the Middle East, Israel has had an amazing success story, amid all its imperfections. 

I could list dozens and dozens of other nations throughout the world who, like Israel, are a work in progress. Yet for some reason, only Israel appear under the spotlight of the world’s ‘hypercritical, condescending judgement’ as time and time again, the United Nations unfairly dish out its pronunciations of condemnation, while ignoring all the Islamic nations that commit horrendous crimes and have shocking humans rights issues.   I for one do not look at Israel through ‘rose-tinted spectacles’.  Yes, blemishes abound with the only Jewish state within the entire world, and to be fair, Israelis are the first to criticise and question their own shortcomings.  Only recently, there have been accusations from within Israel of political corruption and cries of extortion and blackmail regarding the ultra-Orthodox parties.  Many people of course criticise the situation of the Arab Palestinians in the so-called ‘West Bank’ (even though these said ‘Palestinians’ mainly suffer under their own Islamic leadership such as Abbas’ P.A. and Hamas).  However, I would like to challenge anyone – specifically those of the BDS mind-set – to show me another other country on planet Earth that, within such a relatively short time and against such daunting odds, has done what Israel has achieved since its re-birth as a Nation/State in 1948.

In 1945, at the end of the Second World War, the Jewish people had suffered the loss of 6 million souls in the Nazi Holocaust (The Shoah).  As Israel celebrate their 68th Independence Day, the population numbers today are over 8.5 million — more than 10 times what it was when the state was founded. The latest figures issued last Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBofS) also show that since last Independence Day, the population has grown by 182,000, an increase of about 2.2 percent.  The figures issued by the CBofS show the Jewish population at 6.37 million (74 percent of the total) and the Arab population, 1.77 million (20.8 percent). The remaining 5.2 percent is comprised of non-Arab Christians, members of other faiths and those without a religious classification.  However, what we need to remember is that Israel is only 0.1% of the entire Middle East (99.9% of which is Arab/Muslim controlled, as already mentioned). 

One other issue that I feel needs pointing out is that 75% of the Jewish population in Israel are “sabras” (someone should inform Naz Shah and the UK Labour party leader of these figures) – that means they are native-born Israelis (over half of them second-generation Israelis). In 1948, at the founding of the state, sabras constituted 35% of the Jews in the country.   Now there is an old saying that states, ‘two Jews, three arguments’, and then one wonders why there is so much discord within Israel?  And yet, if we really thought long and hard, we would be staggered at just how much the nation of Israel has blessed the world entire.  Indeed, if only those who opposed Israel checked out the FACTS, there would be no boycotts, no divestment and no attempted sanctions (BDS). 

Today, the Nation of Israel is one of the main nations of the world to be resourceful.  Amongst so many other areas, Israel created the computer, the mobile phone and much of the machinery in our hospitals… and this is why anyone who seriously wants to boycott Israel today needs to stop and think, because actually, to do it properly, without being hypercritical, is impossible.  It’s not just a case of stopping buying fruit like Jaffe oranges… it actually involves every area of everybody’s lives.   Computer desktops, laptops and notebooks including Apple (and many working parts inside the computer) were either developed or manufactured in Israel. Microsoft is heavily reliant on its Israel centres.   All computers anti-virus software and personal firewalls originated in Israel.  Mobile phones, along with the technology connected to these, were developed in Israel, where the first mobile phones were manufactured.  Mobile chip technology from one single Israeli company has now been installed in over 100 million devices.  For those wanting to boycott Israel, this is a major problem… as is food and drink – and I’m not just talking about oranges, as cherry tomatoes and honey are produced for all over the world in Israel (in fact, Israel has developed solutions to the worldwide problem of bee-colony collapse, so that any products derived from bees might only be available now due to an Israeli invention).

If people want to boycott Israel, then no agricultural products from the following areas must be consumed as they use water irrigation and agricultural technology provided directly from Israel. This includes most of Africa, China, India, Indonesia (a Muslim country), Nepal and many others. Fruit and vegetables (including organic) imported into the UK have been enhanced using Israeli technology. This may save millions of people from starving around the world, but it has to be boycotted if these BDS campaigners really want to boycott Israel.  Then there is medication. Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals, the largest generic drugs company in the world, will have manufactured many of your medicines, which include medication or treatment for cancer; AIDS and HIV; Diabetes (Insulin devices are developed by Israeli scientists); Multiple Sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease; Heart problems (many Israeli devices are used for early detection of these); Epilepsy, and Israel have created the wonderful protection for babies and infants from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome with the Babysense system.  In fact, Ghana has been receiving technological aid from Israel since 2006 and Israel is now providing neo-natal units to save many of the 4,800 babies that die each year.

On top of all this, Israel’s ‘Save A Heart’ organisation performs life-saving heart operations for many Arab children from around the globe — including many Palestinians — free of charge.  With its freedom of worship, Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the number of Christians is increasing.  The Israel Defence Force (IDF) is a world leader in saving people trapped by natural and man-made disasters. With very little warning, the IDF’s search and rescue unit has operated in many countries (including Mexico, Kenya, India, Turkey and the U.S.) following earthquakes, train wrecks, collapsed buildings and terrorist attacks. And, Israel regularly offers free medical care to Syrians wounded in their civil war. At physical risk to themselves, the IDF has rescued more than 2,000 people (including many fighters who are sworn enemies of Israel) on its north-eastern border and transferred them to Israeli hospitals.

Did you know that if you are one of those people who stand for BDS against Israel that you need to leave all your taps running when you leave home and you must never flush your toilet?  Why? Well Israel provides water-saving technology to over half of the planet. It also is providing sewage treatment technology across the world, including to the UK. So… if you are really serious about boycotting Israeli products… forget it – otherwise your life might as well be flushed down the toilet.  Without typing hundreds of pages to this report (and I’ve only scratched the surface of what Israel has provided for the world) it’s clear to see by any sensible human being, that boycotting Israel is not only foolish, but impossible – unless one has the desire to go back to being a primitive being and living in a cave (but be careful as the Israeli’s may have created the cave!).  Suffice to say, God is allowing the people of His nation Israel to make a mockery of those who oppose God’s people.  Basically, for those wishing to oppose Israel…forget about your hypocritical boycotting, and have a party. Israel is celebrating its 68th anniversary, and that, I believe, is worth enjoying the party for! Le Chaim!

Opposition to Israel   I read an interesting article this week by an Arab journalist (yes that’s right, an Arab journalist), Fred Maroun, who stated, “The Arab world still does not today accept the concept of a Jewish state of any size or any shape. Even Egypt and Jordan, who signed peace agreements with Israel, do not accept that Israel is a Jewish state, and they continue to promote anti-Semitic hatred against Israel. During Israel's War of Independence, Jews were ethnically cleansed from Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and in the years that followed, they were ethnically cleansed from the rest of the Arab world. Jews demand the right to exist, and to exist as equals, on the land where they have existed and belonged continuously for more than three thousand years.  We would rather claim that the conflict is about "occupation" and "settlements." The Jews see what radical Islamists are now doing to Christians and other minorities, who were also in the Middle East for thousands of years before the Muslim prophet Mohammed was even born. The real Arab grievance against the Jews is that they exist.”  You can read the full article at the Gatestone Institute here:  In many ways, I feel he is right, after all, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964; three years before there were any "occupied territories." Exactly what then, was the PLO planning to "liberate"?

Both Fatah and Hamas have always considered, and still consider, Israel as simply part of "Palestine" (even though Arabs would have considered Palestinians to be Jews before 1948). Even on their current official maps, all of Israel is identified as "Occupied Palestine."  This is all in keeping with the teaching of PLO’s founder Chairman Yasser Arafat.  He stated back on January 30, 1996, “You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel, and establish a purely Palestinian state. ... I have no use for Jews; they are and remain, Jews.”  And this, believe it or not, was spoken 2.5 years after he signed the Oslo Peace Accords.

In view of these repeatedly intolerant Islamic Arab views on Israel’s existence, international law should not expect Palestinian compliance with any agreements, including those concerning use of armed force -- even if these agreements were to include explicit U.S. security guarantees to Israel.  The sad truth is, there will be no peace while Hamas, the PLO/PA, Muslim Brotherhood, Isis etc. etc. continue to threaten Israel with annihilation.

Last Sunday, 8th May 2016, Israeli jets had to be ordered to hit sections of Gaza in response to Hamas Terrorist rocket fire. Escalation along Israel's Southern Border has continued after Islamic Terrorists launched rockets into Israel on Saturday 7th May 2016.  The Israel Air Force struck two Hamas military targets in the southern part of the Gaza Strip overnight on Saturday in response to an earlier incident in which Kassam rockets from Hamas were fired into Israeli territory from Gaza.  Tensions on the Gaza border have escalated over the past week with the IDF's second discovery of a Hamas terror tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israel in the last month. Hamas has fired a number of mortar shells at troops carrying out operational activities on the border, prompting IDF reprisals with tank fire and air strikes. The Israeli Defence Force stated on Saturday that it holds Hamas solely responsible for all aggression originating from Gaza. They stated, “The IDF will not tolerate terrorists opening fire onto Israeli territory and will continue to act severely against any attempt to disturb the peace of its communities.

Meanwhile, masked Arab terrorists stabbed two elderly Jewish women ages 86 and 82 in the Armon Hanatziv neighbourhood of Jerusalem on Tuesday morning. Police said they’d arrested two suspects but have not concluded their investigation into the incident. The two victims were reportedly recovering at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem.

Finally, much prayer is needed regarding reports I’ve read from the German Bild newspaper this week.  The German paper stated that the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization is planning to launch a massive attack against Israel from the Sinai Peninsula.  The Algemeiner are also reporting this story, however I haven’t had any conformation from my personal sources.  According to the report, the IDF is concerned about a potential large-scale ISIS terrorist attack against Israel. The report quotes an IDF officer who said such an attack could include even the use of tanks and artillery by ISIS terrorists. The Sinai based Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis, a terrorist organization which has pledged allegiance to ISIS in Syria, is allegedly training hundreds of terrorists, who are reportedly waiting for the order to attack Israel.

I know from my contacts that the IDF are on high alert, and have been for some months now regarding Isis threats on the Golan Heights Syrian border, however apparently Israel has dramatically bolstered security also on its border with Egypt as result of ISIS’ build-up. Increased ISIS presence and activity in the Sinai Peninsula is perceived by Israel’s security establishment as a mounting threat.  Do please pray into this.

David Soakell  

(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)  Tweet me @David_CFI



Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Christian Friends of Israel UK & Jerusalem, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, & Israel National Radio