April 25, 2012
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.” Ps 143:8
INDEPENDENCE DAY 2012 - ISRAEL’S POPULATION STANDS AT NEARLY 8 MILLION: On birthday number 64, Israel's population stands at 7.881 million; 75.3% of the population is Jewish and 20.6% is Arab. At its establishment, the population of Israel was 806,000. According to numbers published by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday, Israel's Jewish population stood at 5.931 million people, or 75.3% of the general population. The Arab population in Israel was 1.623 million, or 20.6% of the general population. The remaining 4.1%, or 327,000 people who are classified as "others," are immigrants and their descendants, who are not registered as Jews in the Interior Ministry. (Ha’aretz)
ISRAEL’S MEMORIAL DAY 2012: Israelis Tuesday evening began the painful process of remembering the 22,993 soldiers and civilians who have fallen in war and terrorist attacks since the Jewish state's rebirth 64 years ago. Nearly every Israeli knows a soldier who has died, be they friend or family member, making Memorial Day particularly poignant in Israel. The National Insurance Institute this week released the latest statistics on the number of Israelis who have been killed in terror attacks. Since January 1, 1950, a total of 2,357 Israelis have perished as a result of terrorist violence. An additional 120 foreign residents have been killed in such attacks as well. Since Independence Day 2011, some 15 Israelis were murdered in terror attacks and 90 were injured. Since the beginning of the second intifada (also known as the Oslo War) in 2000, some 996 Israelis have been killed in terror attacks. Those slain in the violence have left behind 2,822 orphans, with 84 orphaned from both parents, the statistics said. The victims also left behind 839 widows and widowers, as well as 1,063 mothers and fathers. The Knesset has recently passed a bill that increases the amount of compensation given to survivors of victims of terror attacks. (INN/Israel Today)
IRAN: ISRAEL JUST BLUFFING ON ATTACKS: Iran's foreign minister has dismissed talk of an Israeli attack as just bluffing. Ali Akbar Salehi, during a visit to Tunisia on Monday, said threats from Israel were "empty words, bluffing." Fearing Iran is moving quickly toward nuclear capability, Israel has repeatedly warned it may carry out a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Salehi also pronounced himself "optimistic" about the next round of talks with the six world powers over Iran's controversial nuclear program, to be held in Baghdad on May 23. He expressed satisfaction with the earlier meeting on April 14 in Istanbul. Israeli PM Netanyahu, conversely, described the mid-April meeting as an opportunity for Iran to get a "freebie" from the international community. He said the May summit gave the Iranians an additional five weeks to continue uranium enrichment without any restrictions. Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, last week warned that his country had never promised the US it would hold off from attacking Iran while nuclear talks were taking place. He called the diplomatic push to reach a compromise with Iran a waste of "precious time." (AP) “But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.” Jer 20:11
VIOLENCE CONTINUES IN SYRIA DESPITE CEASE-FIRE: Syrian regime forces unleashed an artillery barrage on a neighborhood of the city of Hama and reportedly executed residents who spoke with UN peace monitors - who had visited the area a day earlier. Monday's clashes left 28 to 38 people dead in the city. The violence - perhaps the bloodiest day since a cease-fire was to have taken effect on April 12 - casts fresh doubt on the future of a monitoring mission proposed by the UN. The unstable truce has not subdued the widespread violence and bloodshed in Syria which continues after more than a year. The UN estimates at least 9,000 people have perished in the Syrian conflict thus far. (Wall Street Journal/CNN)
QUREIA: PEACE PROCESS IS A WASTE OF TIME: Former Palestinian Authority PM, Ahmed Qureia, said Monday the Israeli-PA peace process is "no more than a waste of time." Qureia insisted that Israel's decision not to halt construction in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem for a second time made peace talks impossible. Israeli officials reject that settlement construction is a so-called "obstacle to peace," saying PA preconditions are a fait accompli aimed at forestalling talks in which they would have to make unpopular compromises. They note that a previous 10-month construction freeze in the disputed territories, aimed at meeting PA demands, was not only rebuffed, but met with more preconditions and a unilateral statehood bid at the UN in violation of existing agreements. At present, PA officials insist Israel agree to the indefensible pre-1967 lines for future borders, halt construction in the disputed territories, and release all Arab terrorists from its jails before talks can begin. (INN)
UNDERSTANDING THE BUILDING-FREEZE PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATORS DEMAND OF ISRAEL: Vision for Israel periodically takes time to review facts on key Middle East subjects - enabling our readers to better understand the background and substance of controversial issues. Focusing on Israel’s settlement communities, the most recent statistics show some 328,000 Israelis live in the 121 officially-recognized settlements in the West Bank. A further 200,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem and over 20,000 live in settlements in the Golan Heights. Settlements range from farming communities to suburbs to frontier villages, and, in the case of East Jerusalem, city neighborhoods. The three largest settlements, Modi'in Illit, Maale Adumim and Betar Illit, are cities with well over 30,000 residents each. These Jewish communities include homes, schools, government buildings, shopping centers and thriving business. Israel has long withstood pressure from foes, and also from well-meaning allies, who have insisted the Jewish state forgo even natural-growth construction towards meeting the need for additional schools, medical facilities, apartments, and shops in these populated areas. A complete construction halt is a Palestinian Authority pre-condition for returning to peace negotiations with the Jewish state. The Palestinian hope behind this outrageous settlement-freeze demand is that Israelis will eventually agree to walk away from these thriving towns and neighborhoods and turn them over to their enemies in return for a false peace. The Gaza Strip is an outstanding example of what happens when Israel and others fall for the lie of attaining peace with terrorist entities, who hate Israel and the West. The bad fruit resulting from the Gaza “land for peace” deal has been increased terrorist rocket attacks against Israel’s southern communities and years of Jewish work on homes and businesses obliterated. Pray such gullibility will not occur again!
EGYPT CUTS OFF GAS SUPPLY TO ISRAEL: Egypt this week unilaterally decided to terminate its supply of natural gas to Israel, despite having signed a long-term agreement, and possibly in violation of the peace treaty between the two nations. Egyptian authorities called the move purely "commercial," claiming Israel had failed to pay its bills. Israeli authorities countered that during 2011 Egypt had supplied only 25% of the natural gas due to its inability or unwillingness to protect the gas pipeline from repeated sabotage. The pipeline, which runs through the Sinai Peninsula, has been blown up 14 times over the past year, resulting in disruptions in gas supplies to Israelis and rising domestic gas rates. PM Netanyahu toned down the country’s initial reaction to Egypt’s cancellation of the agreement to supply natural gas, saying it was a commercial dispute and not politically motivated. However, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz described the new Egyptian provocation as "very worrying," while opposition leader Shaul Mofaz labeled it "a flagrant breach of the 1979 peace treaty." The Camp David Accords obligate Egypt to allow Israel to bid on its surplus oil and natural gas resources. (Israel Today/Bloomberg)
EGYPT: NEW MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD CANDIDATE WON’T MEET WITH ISRAELIS: Mohamed Mursi, 59, is the Muslim Brotherhood's new presidential candidate, tossed into the race after its first choice was disqualified. Asked about relations with Israel, Mursi said: "Egypt's next president can't be a follower who executes policies put to him from outside," referring to popular criticism of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak as a man who did US bidding. An aide said Mursi would comply with the Brotherhood's pledge to uphold international treaties, a reference to Egypt’s Peace deal with Israel. The spokesperson said Mursi would not meet Israeli officials as president, though his foreign minister would. (Reuters) Continue to pray that out of Egypt’s prolonged political upheaval there will emerge new leaders committed to making liberating changes for an oppressed and poor society. Pray that Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the conservative Salafist party, Al Nour, will have dwindling influence in the Arab world's most populous country.
Blessings from Israel
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff
As international speakers and messengers of the Good News through music, Barry and Batya Segal are at the forefront of what God is doing in the present day nation of Israel. With strong ties in both the nations and Jerusalem, the Segals are weaving the deepest roots of our biblical heritage together with the fresh Spirit-filled worship of today to create their rich harmony of Scripture and song.
The Segals have a vast vision for God's purposes in the nations and to the people of Israel. In fact, their longing to help rebuild Israel both spiritually and physically inspired them to pioneer the non-profit charity organization, Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse. This arm of their ministry focuses on assisting the poor and needy, widows and orphans, and reaching out to the new Jewish immigrants coming into the land of Israel. Vision 's most challenging project to date is "The Joseph StorehouseŽ", humanitarian aid center, located in the hills of Jerusalem. The Joseph Storehouse functions as a channel of blessing to all of Israel, Jewish and Arab, through the gathering and distribution of emergency medical supplies, food, clothing, and other basic life necessities. USA office contact info: Vision for Israel, PO Box 7743, Charlotte NC 28241, 866-351-0075. The Segal's web site is http://www.visionforisrael.com/
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.