The Word:   The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.  And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. In that day,” says the Lord, “I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.  And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.’ (Zechariah 12:1-5)   

*      Pointers for prayer:  As the political world increasingly opposes the Nation of Israel, and the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) machine influence more people, please do pray that your church may be blessed in blessing Israel, according to God’s promise (Genesis 12:3). Pray for the Lord to open eyes to the amazing mystery of His plan for Jews and Gentiles in His Kingdom (Romans 11:11). Pray also that Paul’s teaching about Israel may be understood and properly taught and that the error of ‘replacement theology’ would be exposed and refuted wherever it occurs (Romans 11:12). Pray for a passion for truth in the church where Israel is concerned, and a willingness to learn the facts without bias (Proverbs 23:23).

*      Pray that your pastor and other church leaders will not be afraid of tackling controversial issues, but will handle them with insight, on the basis of Scripture (Psalm 60:4). Pray for a change of heart in those who have set their hearts and minds against the subject of Israel and the Jewish people, for whatever reason. “Hear the word of the LORD, O you nations… He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock.” (Jeremiah 31:10) For a free download of all these prayer pointers and more, click on the CFI website here.

*      Pray also that the Word of God would reach the Palestinians and the Arab World.  As Islam increases upon many shores, pray that the Church would take every opportunity to reach out to the Muslim and to share the truth.

Sobering Times   We are living in very sobering times in history that I believe, calls us, as believers in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), to try by every means to keep our vision sharp, and to stand with Israel.  As the political world increasingly opposes the Nation of Israel, and the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) machine influence more and more people, those who stand with Israel, along with the world’s only Jewish State, are indeed finding themselves on the battle front. We therefore should not be passive in the face of prophecy as we are called to pray with passion, to intercede, and to bless the people and nation of Israel.  This is not about politics; this is about the Word of God, but the political ramifications are extremely dramatic. The Scripture above declares there will come a time when all the nations of the world will turn against Israel. It is highly conceivable that this could be happening even today.  I believe it is therefore critical to stand with Israel today.

American author, Pentecostal minister and Chancellor of The King's University, Jack Hayford, once wrote, “In Genesis 12:3, the Lord says in the covenant He cuts with Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." This relates not only to a people (the Jews), but it also relates to a land (Israel). God will judge nations and deal with them for their decisions, just as He does individuals. The Lord chose them for purposes: "...who are the Israeli’s, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Torah (law), the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen." (Romans 9:4).”  Jack Hayford goes on to state, “The general attitude of the world today regards the Palestinians as the underdog, but Israel is defending the land covenanted to them in 1917 and established by the United Nations Assembly in 1948. The Palestinian goal is not to secure a homeland but to drive Israel out altogether. For the sake of mounting public opinion against Israel, surrounding, well-resourced Arab nations have never offered refuge to the Palestinians. The majority of the world doesn't know this, and nobody is bothering to tell them because sympathies are so overridden by other forces.”

Maybe it should be clarified that Israel is not only defending the land covenanted to them in 1917 and established by the United Nations Assembly in 1948, but are also defending the land covenanted to them by God Himself according to the Bible.  It is these ‘other forces’ that we are up against.  How strange then that certain Christians can teach replacement theology and oppose the nation of Israel.  How strange then that today the United Nations also oppose Israel.  How strange that politicians have forgotten that they created a two-state solution when they created Trans-Jordan to be the Arab Palestine.  Stranger still that Israel are willing to give more land away for peace, only for the modern Arab Palestinians to continually reject Israel’s offer – as you will see in this report. 

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks fail again    It reminds me of the days I used to own an old Datsun 7 Sunny van in the early 80s.  The cold winters would cause havoc trying to start the van.  I would try every method available to get the van going so that I could get to work, yet time after time I’d fail miserably.  Well, attempts to jumpstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks seem to be like that old Datsun as they have failed to even get started this time.  The Palestinian Authority (PA/PLO) rejected a suggestion by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to hold direct talks in Paris under the auspices of the French government almost directly after he had made the suggestion on Monday in a joint press conference with visiting French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Manuel Valls was in Israel to brief leaders on a summit scheduled for June 3, 2016 in Paris to discuss a new French initiative on promoting an agreement between the two sides.

The PA has more recently preferred an international peace process, largely because many countries seek Israel's return to the alleged ‘pre-1967 borders’ and for Israel to stop building in what some class as ‘East’ Jerusalem.  On top of that there is the large issue of Judea and Samaria (or the so-called West Bank). Israel has said turning to the international community allows the Arab Palestinians to bypass talks of substance. Netanyahu previously said direct negotiations are the "the only way to achieve peace."  He has already stated, “We will not achieve it through a U.N.-style international conference, or diktats from the international community regarding our security,” Netanyahu said. “Peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations, in which the Palestinians have to decide whether they recognize the state of Israel or continue to hope that it will vanish. We want two states for two peoples and a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state.

Of course the Arab Palestinians have had numerous occasions in the past when they could have accepted their own State (even though, as mentioned, that was what Trans-Jordan was created for).  The first time was in November 1947 when they refused to accept the UN Resolution 181, the Partition Resolution which called for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in the land which at that point was controlled by the British-run Palestine Mandate.  All the Arab countries opposed the resolution, voted against it, and promised to go to war to prevent its implementation.   On another occasion, in the summer of 2000, US President Bill Clinton hosted intense peace talks at Camp David between Arab Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leader Ehud Barak, culminating in a comprehensive peace plan. Despite the vast concessions the plan required of Israel, Prime Minister Barak accepted President Clinton's proposal, while Arafat refused, returned home, and launched a new terror campaign against Israeli civilians (the Second Intifada).  On another occasion when the PLO/PA snubbed any potential peace was in 2008, after extensive talks.  That time, the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (who is still the Palestinian President eight years later – with no elections ever suggested) and presented a comprehensive peace plan. Olmert's plan would have annexed the major Israeli communities to Israel and in return given equivalent Israeli territory to the Arab Palestinians, and would even have divided Jerusalem! It was suicidal for Israel and it would have created a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank.  But that too was rejected.  Needless to say, the Palestinians will never accept a peace deal with Israel, simply because they refuse to accept Israel exists at all.  As Jack Hayford rightly states, “The general attitude of the world today regards the Palestinians as the underdog, but Israel is defending the land covenanted to them in 1917 and established by the United Nations Assembly in 1948. The Palestinian goal is not to secure a homeland but to drive Israel out altogether.”

Hippocratic hypocrisy and horror    I can remember when doing some studies whilst working with the National Health Service (NHS) in the 90s being asked my the tutor if any of us knew what was meant by the ‘Hippocratic Oath’.  We didn’t have to agree to this oath as we weren’t doctors/physicians, however it was still expected that we knew of it as we were to look after our clients/patient’s to the best of one's ability, and to preserve a patient’s privacy.  I’ve never really understood why this oath is so important in the medical world, after all, it was written nearly 2,500 years ago, yet most people (including doctors) know precious little about it. There are different versions of the Hippocratic Oath - the "classic" version (or more precisely, one translation of the original oath), and then there is at least one "modern" version.   Believe it or not, the classic version of the Hippocratic Oath starts with, “I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant…”  I was really shocked when I learned that it originates from swearing to greek gods.  The modern version of the Hippocratic Oath however starts, “I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant: I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow…”  Should you wish to learn more about the definition of Hippocrates, click here.

However one feels about the Hippocratic Oath, it is still held sacred by physicians: to treat the ill to the best of one's ability, to preserve a patient's privacy, to teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation, and so on.   Without doubt, when looking after the wellbeing of the patient, treating the ill to the best of one's ability, and preserving a patient’s privacy is vitial by those who choose to work in this field.  We would expect any doctor to have the patient’s best interests at heart, unless of course that doctor was Harold Shipman, the GP who murdered hundreds of patients.   However, the Shipman’s of this world are an extreme exception surely?  Well, let’s hope that this next former doctor is an extreme exception.

An NHS doctor who spent seven years working in Britain left his wife and two children in Sheffield to join ISIS fighters, it has emerged.  Issam Abuanza moved to Syria with the militant group, leaked recruitment papers have disclosed.  The 37 year-old doctor is said to be the first practising NHS doctor known to have joined ISIS fighters, and is said to have gained a licence to practise medicine in Britain in 2009.  Issam Abuanza, an Arab Palestinian who has British citizenship, left his wife and two children in Sheffield to fight for the extremists.  Registration papers, which every Isis recruit is required to fill in before being accepted, reveal that he elected to become a soldier rather than a suicide bomber. Since crossing into Syria in July, 2014, his online posts have celebrated atrocities by the terrorist group. 

Last year he praised the Charlie Hebdo gunmen, writing: “Praise be to Allah for this terrorist act… Allah kill off their enemies, military and civilian, men and women, adult and children.”  Images posted on social media appear to show Abuanza wearing an army uniform and clutching an AK-47 while reading the Koran.  According to various sources, Abuanza wrote many posts on Facebook.  In February 2015, he wrote a post about the death of the captured Jordanian pilot who was murdered by ISIS fighters. In a bizzare yet sick post, he said that he “would have wanted to heal the victim so they could kill him all over again… I would've liked for them to burn him extremely slowly and I could treat him so we could torch him once more,” he wrote.  In another post online from March 2015, he celebrates when 11 British medical students left their studies to join him in Syria.

The questions have to be asked: “What on earth is an doctor – who signs the ‘Hippocratic Oath’, along with another 11 British medical students doing joining the ISIS – an Islamic group who have barbarically cut the throats and beheaded hundreds, if not thousands of Christians?  What type of sick mind-set causes such a switch in direction of how people view other human beings?  I haven’t posted the video as I feel there is no need, however another Doctor, believed to be Ahmed Kheder, is seen declaring on behalf of the doctors and medical council in wilayat al-Kheir [Deir Ezzor province] in the Islamic State. In the final minutes of the video, the English-speaking doctor gives a lengthy speech urging Muslims with skills in medicine to join ISIS. He specifically appeals to Muslims in England, praising the so-called Islamic State as ‘a great cause being fought here’.

Saudi Arabia-led coalition against Yemen use British-made cluster bombs   According to Amnesty International UK, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition which has been brutally attacking Yemen for over a year, killing civilians and destroying homes, schools and hospitals, has now been found to have used a British-made cluster bomb.  If this is true, does the UK government have Yemeni blood on its hands?  When Israel retaliated against Gaza based Hamas Terrorists and attacked Gaza in 2014, known as Operation Protective Edge, Israel were heavily condemned for allegedly using Phosphorous and cluster bombs. 

Both Amnesty International (A.I.) and The Guardian Newspaper amongst other media groups have reported that so many cluster bombs have been fired into the villages, farms and surrounding countryside of Yemen by the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition, that deadly sub-munitions – or “bomblets” – are found everywhere - in houses, courtyards, streets, fields used to graze livestock, around springs for water, and even hanging off the trees.  The people of the UK might argue that might ask, “What does it have to do with us.  It’s just another regional Middle Eastern conflict, isn’t it?” Well, not quite. According the A.I. and The Guardian Newspaper, the UK has provided Saudi Arabia with much of its huge arsenal of weaponry. British arms manufacturers have sold literally billions of pounds of war planes, missiles and bombs to oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Large consignments of Typhoon jets and missiles (£2.8bn’s worth) have continued to be sent to Riyadh even as the civilian death toll in neighbouring Yemen has mounted.  Amnesty International – which is calling on the UK to halt all arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other members of the military coalition that could be used to commit further human rights violations in Yemen – has written to David Cameron to ascertain the full circumstances surrounding UK cluster munitions being used in Yemen, including full disclosure over whether any British personnel or officials were involved.  To view the Amnesty International report click here.

BDS hits further problems   In a report in the Jerusalem Post, it would appear the BDS wagon has hit another large pot-hole in the road. Citing anti-discrimination laws, a Spanish constitutional tribunal recommended scrapping a local government motion calling for a boycott against Israel.  The Ministerio Fiscal, an advisory judicial authority charged with guaranteeing equality in the judiciary, made the recommendation this month, according to a statement by ACOM, a Spanish pro-Israel lobby. The recommendation comes after ACOM sued the northern municipality of Gijon for declaring itself “a space free of Israeli apartheid.”  For more on this story, go to the Jerusalem Post’s article here.  Unlike the parliaments of Britain, France and other European countries, which have pledged unconditional support for Palestinian statehood, in 2014 Spain’s Congress passed a nonbinding motion in which it said it would only support a Palestinian state if it reached a peace agreement through talks with Israel – language that was hailed as a diplomatic victory for Israel and its supporters. 

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