The Word:  The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then Moses said to Him, ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us [or take us] up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?’  And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’ (Exodus 33: 14-17)

The time is coming when Jacob's descendants will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with fruit! (Isaiah 27:6)

*      Pointers for prayer:  As we once again approach the Throne of grace in our intercession, may we continue to cultivate absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit.  Let us begin by entering His gates with thanksgiving and praise (Psalm 100:4).  Let the high praises of God be in our mouths and a two-edged sword in our hands (Psalm 149:6).

*      The enemy seemingly continually comes against the people and nation of Israel, and those who stand with her, yet God is over all. The late Lance Lambert once stated, "I believe that divinely lead and empowered intercession is the only key to this dark situation. We need to know how to hide in Christ; to have the whole armour of God... and stand within His revealed purpose. May the Lord be with you all, and give us, in His mercy and loving kindness, the victory..."  As the enemy does indeed press in, pray for those who stand with Israel, and the people of Israel themselves, that they will not fear but put their trust in God! (Isaiah 41:10-11)

*      Pray for a hedge of protection around the nation (Zechariah 2:5). Pray that Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria & the Golan Heights would remain in Jewish hands, now and until the Messiah returns. But pray too, that the Arab communities would recognise and receive their blessing in wanting to live in harmony with Israel.

*      Whatever the outcome of the EU vote, may we pray that we would know the will of the Lord, and we would receive the correct decision regarding this. However, do pray that the general public would realise just how much the nation of Israel blesses the UK – specifically with the technology it produces.  And do continue to pray regarding those who support BDS and oppose Israel.               

Knowing the will of the Lord    

I’d like to continue on this week with an area I covered in last week’s report regarding the ‘mind-set of denial.’  But first, I felt led to ponder the following.  In Exodus 33, we find Moses pleading with God regarding Israel’s departure from the place where the Lord had given Moses the Torah (Exodus 31:18).  Of course, since Israel had left Egypt, the only thing the majority had done was belly-ache about wanting to return to Egypt – even though they were slaves to the Egyptians.  Even as Moses was on Mount Sinai, the people had made a golden calf to worship. It appears obvious that the people did not know the will of God, yet even Moses appeared not to grasp all that God was going to do for them. He pleads with the Lord, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us [or take us] up from here.”

Depending on when you read this report, we could at this point of the week be only hours away from the all-important day of ‘Brexit,’ or we could be in the middle of voting.  As everyone must now be aware of, the in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU is taking place on Thursday June 23. Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm.  The local results for the EU referendum will come in overnight with the national declaration expected at about breakfast time on Friday June 24.  David Cameron announced the referendum date in February after he secured a deal on revising Britain's membership of the EU at a crunch summit.

Supporters of Brexit argue that EU countries have every incentive to keep trading with the UK, which is a large importer of goods and services.   But there is still uncertainty over what would happen if the UK leaves the EU and needs to develop new trade agreements with the rest of the world.  However, for many, the decisions and desires to leave appear to have little to do with the origins of why Britain joined the common market in the first place, and fall into the category of simply being ‘fed up’ with European politicians, who the British public neither voted in nor want, deciding on how Britain spends our money, while large sections of Britain, such as the NHS are seemingly falling apart.  

As mentioned last week, Britain is currently consumed about leaving or staying in the European Union. The Leave campaigners firmly set out a "roadmap" for the UK to "take back control" if it votes to leave the EU.  Parliament should act to end free movement and curb the power of EU courts, Vote Leave said. However, the government has warned of a "decade of uncertainty" as the UK attempts to disentangle itself from Brussels and form new trade deals. But Vote Leave said a new settlement - including a UK-EU free trade deal - would be possible by May 2020.  The issue I’d been pondering on however is, why are we being all-consumed by the EU debate, when there is a much bigger international organization that we should possibly ask each other whether we would like to remain within, or vote to leave.  

With thousands upon thousands of Christians, Yazidis (Kurdish community) and even Muslims being killed by Isis (Daesh), why isn't the United Nations demanding more action?  Well, last week, we looked at the problem that is the United Nations, and asked just why the U.N.’s top human rights body recently declared Israel as the world’s worst human rights violator- beating Iran, North Korea, Russia and China for the number 1 spot.  The last time the U.N. Human Rights Council wrapped up its session of judgement in Geneva, it adopted four more resolutions condemning Israel.  That’s four times more than any of the other 192 UN member states. If you didn’t read last week’s report, then you can do so by clicking here.

Regarding the European Union (EU) and Israel, the EU diplomatic Chief Federica Mogherini recently stressed that the European Union does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the annexed territory would "forever" remain in his country's hands. Mogherini stated, “The EU recognizes Israel within its pre-1967 borders, whatever the government's claims on other areas, until a final settlement is concluded, and this is a common consolidated position of the European Union and its member states,” Mogherini stated at a meeting in Brussels for international donors supporting the Palestinian economy.  Of course, for Israel to give up the Golan Heights (as indeed Judea and Samaria), would be suicidal.  We would have ISIS flooding into Israel and the results would be far more extreme that what we have experienced since giving Gaza over to the Arab Palestinians/Hamas.  But of course, Israel isn’t even part of the EU. Although Israel is not geographically located in Europe, it is a member in many European transnational federations and frameworks and takes part in many European sporting events. Various Israeli ministers have however expressed that they would like to see Israel in the EU.  But, in reality, Israel are not members of the EU, which, taking into account what David Cameron stated in a news item on Monday June 20, makes a bit of an awkward moment for the UK Prime Minister. 

David Cameron was very selective when he paid a visit to Redditch on Monday, June 20 to visit car interior giant Grupo Antolin’s facility in North Moons Moat. The Spanish-owned company employs 600 people in Redditch and the PM was on a tour to emphasise just how important being a member of the EU is to Great Britain and for British jobs and opportunities.  The facility specialises in making door panels for BMW’s Mini, and the German giant’s Oxford factory was the next stage of Mr Cameron’s automotive supply chain journey to bring home the message that Britain must remain in the EU so that the UK will be able to continue to trade as the ‘in – out’ referendum nears.  However, not far from our home lies a huge complex called Boulby Mine, a 200-hectare (that’s 490-acres) site located on the north-east coast of the North York Moors and is owned by a non EU Israeli company.  The mine has 1,001 employees and can produce up to one million tonnes of potash each year. At 1,400 metres deep, it is the second deepest mine of any kind in Europe, and has a network of underground roads extending under the North Sea, totalling 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) in length.

Today we all know the story of Israel the start-up nation. News of its technological prowess and incredible innovation has spread far and wide. But what many people don’t know is that Israel is exporting far more than just technology. It is also sharing its experience and skills in a whole range of humanitarian and environmental fields to help people everywhere live better, fuller and healthier lives. On top of this, Israel also produce an awful lot of modern technology in many areas of Britain, including our hospital machinery, however Israel are not in the EU, so this won’t change.  So as you can see, there does appear to be quite a large amount of ‘fear-mongering’ or deliberate use of fear based tactics including exaggeration to influence the public in order to achieve a desired outcome – however that has been the case on both sides of the argument.  

Looking at the ‘remain’ argument, Israeli policymakers have studiously avoided comment, desiring not to be seen as interfering in the UK’s internal affairs (which is more than can be said for many other nations). Israeli analysts nevertheless stress that Israel has a definite stake in the outcome, though they differ on whether a British exit would be good or bad for its interests.  Recent polls show that the race is too close to call, with the latest surveys pointing to a resurgence in support for remaining in the EU. An opinion poll for the Mail on Sunday taken June 17-18 showed 45 percent in favour of remaining and 42 percent in favour of leaving.  The stakes for Israel became greater on Monday when all 28 EU foreign ministers decided to endorse the French peace initiative, which began with a meeting in Paris earlier this month and which, according to French President Francois Hollande’s plan, will culminate in an international peace conference dedicated to relaunching Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to be held before the end of the year.

Israel strongly opposes the French initiative – especially as they weren’t even at this so-called ‘peace initiative’, seeing it as a bid to impose a solution on it against its security and interests. “International conferences like those that the EU’s foreign ministers welcomed push peace further away because they enable the Palestinians to continue to avoid direct talks and compromise,” the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement Monday.  Israel’s hopes of staving off the initiative and its standing vis-à-vis the EU could be set back if Britain exits the body, according to Oded Eran, senior analyst at the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv. “It is preferable for Israel that Britain remain in the EU, where it is a voice of moderation in favour of Israel,” Eran told reporters.

Whatever the outcome, may we pray that we would know the will of the Lord, and we would receive the correct decision regarding this EU vote.  And so, as the pop group The Clash once sang, “should we stay, or should we go”?  And if we should go, what about getting out of the United Nations too?

Dealing with the ‘mind-set of denial.’   

As already mentioned, last week we looked at the problem that is the United Nations, and asked just why the U.N.’s top human rights body recently declared Israel as the world’s worst human rights violator – which is simply a gross lie.  Yet it is amazing why so many people believe that Israel is some type of monster, when in fact the opposite is true.  One question many supporters of Israel want to know is “why does the Green Party constantly target Israel?” 

In many countries including Scotland, Wales and Canada (plus many others), the Green Party appear to constantly attack Israel on their policies – yet Israel is one of the ‘greenest’ countries in the world.  Take Canada for an example: Of 13 resolutions to be debated at the upcoming Green Party of Canada's convention in August, only two deal with foreign policy - and both target Israel.  The first would make it Green Party policy to blacklist the Jewish National Fund - one of the world's most successful environmental charities - by revoking their charitable status. The second would endorse the discriminatory, fringe Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  Now I can’t believe that everyone in the Green Party are so biased that they haven’t bothered to check out the facts. 

Now we know there are many political groups opposing Israel, and then there are those such as Palestine Solidarity Campaigners, who quite frankly, are not worth taking serious, but for intelligent people to take to the political table, like those within the United Nations, one has to wonder at the underlying spirit that motivates them.

Take for example the recent issue that Israel has been poisoning the Arab water supply.  How many people would honestly believe this mumbo-jumbo?  But how many people would go to the trouble of finding out the truth? Yes, the good old Palestinian Authority (PA) has revived the medieval blood libel that Jews are poisoning the wells. The PA even named a non-existent rabbi and rabbinical council as being responsible for this call to poison all Palestinian water sources.  An Official PA TV reporter stated: “An Israeli human rights organization has exposed a religious ruling issued by Rabbi Shlomo Melamed (sic), Chairman of the Council of Settlement Rabbis (sic), that gave the settlers permission to poison the drinking water and the natural wells in the [Palestinian] villages and towns throughout the West Bank.” [Official PA TV News, June 20, 2016]. Palestinian Media Watch has researched different sources to demonstrate how this libel has evolved and expanded since its beginning just a week ago. You can read their findings here: Click to view on PMW's website

Another lie that is often doing the rounds, especially on social media, is that apart from being an alleged ‘apartheid state’, Israel is also terrorising and killing the Palestinians.  Again, total lies, in fact the opposite is true.  Many years ago, in the late 80s, I used to take Bibles to what was then the Soviet Union, and I’ve always supported Open Doors, the international Christian persecution charity providing Bibles, training, community development projects and support for persecuted Christians.  In their World Watch Map 2016 (WWL) they list 50 countries where the most oppressive regime in contemporary times, North Korea, tops this year’s WWL for the 14th consecutive year. Eritrea and Pakistan rise to their highest levels yet, namely, number three and number six respectively, and lawless Libya also enters the Top 10 for the first time in WWL history.

Islamic extremism continues to constitute the main driving force of persecution in 35 of the Top 50 countries with Religious Nationalism and Dictatorial Paranoia also rising sharply as driving forces of persecution.  So where is that awful hate-filled ‘apartheid state’ that the U.N.’s top human rights body recently declared as the world’s worst human rights violator, and of which every ignoramus wants to boycott, cause divestments, and bring sanctions against – yes ISRAEL?  Oh hang on… they aren’t on the list!  Surely this must be a mistake?  No, there is no mistake because all these accusations against Israel are about as real as the tooth fairy!  But guess who is on the list at number 24?  Yes, the Palestinian Terror-tries (Territories… sorry, my mistake).  Yes, the very areas where the Palestinian Authority are ruling and subjecting Christian Arabs to all kinds of trouble.  Many Christians have already left, pressured by the growing influence of radical Islam within the PA and Hamas.  Those who remain stay because they cannot afford to leave or feel called to share the Gospel. In Gaza and the ‘West Bank’, Christians share in the desperate economic situation.  Yet in Israel, Christians are free to worship and follow their faith.  

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