“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me.” Ps. 66:20
ISRAELI CENTRIST PARTIES UNITE TO CHALLENGE PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Israelis awoke Thursday 21 Feb. 2019 to a new political landscape, as former army chief of staff Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience party formed an alliance with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid—a move geared towards unseating PM Netanyahu in the 9 April 2019 elections. Following weeks of on-and-off talks, the two held a marathon session overnight and agreed to rotate as premier—with Gantz serving in the capacity for the first 2.5 years of a four-year term—in the event their bloc wins the upcoming vote. Israel Resilience and Yesh Atid are currently polling in second and third place—predicted to win about 20 and 10 seats, respectively, in the next parliament—well behind Netanyahu’s ruling Likud which is projected to garner at least 30 mandates. Hence, the decision by Gantz and Lapid to join forces—a union that a survey conducted last week found could win 34 seats—although it remains an uphill battle for the center-left to overcome the combined political strength of right-wing parties. In this respect, Netanyahu caused an uproar on Wed. 20 Feb. 2019 by pushing the national-religious Bayit Yehudi to unite with the far-right extremist Otzma Yehudit, the offspring of the banned Kach party founded by the late Meir Kahane who advocated for the expulsion of Arabs from the Jewish state. Netanyahu canceled a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in order to facilitate the merger, which could allow the new list to pass the electoral threshold and thus provide the Likud with additional support to form the next government. (Medialine) Please intercede that the political leaders of the Jewish state will be divinely appointed for the coming times and seasons.
GAZA BORDER HEATING UP AMID RENEWED LAUNCHING OF INCENDIARY DEVICES INTO ISRAEL: The Israeli army struck a Hamas outpost in the Gaza Strip last week following the renewed launching of incendiary devices into southern Israel. For months, Palestinians flew thousands of flammable objects—some with explosives attached to them—into the Jewish state in parallel to the so-called “March of Return” protests. The rudimentary kites and balloons caused massive ecological damage before Hamas agreed to curb the practice as part of a Nov. 2018 cease-fire that narrowly averted a fourth major conflict over the past decade. This comes as Gazans are upping the frequency of border demonstrations, which on three occasions last week resulted in clashes with Israeli forces. Military Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi on Wed. 20 Feb. 2019 met with the heads of the Gaza Division, touring the frontier amid assessments that Hamas could spark a conflagration in order to thrust its agenda back into the global spotlight while coaxing billions of dollars out of the international community. Meanwhile, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace is fading while “the risk of war continues to loom large.” (Medialine)
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BARS FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ABORTION CLINICS: The Trump administration issued a rule Friday barring groups that provide abortions or abortion referrals from participating in the $286 million federal family planning program, a move that would direct money away from Planned Parenthood and toward faith-based providers. The regulation, called “The Protect Life Rule,” shores up Title X of 1970’s Public Health Service Act, prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services from funding family planning projects in which abortion is part of the family planning process. President Ronald Reagan first issued the rule, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991. President Bill Clinton rescinded the policy through an executive order. No president has since sought to reissue the rule. “It is absolutely appropriate that the new Title X regulations take into account the difference between abortion and health care.” Opponents of the rule have vowed to challenge it in court. (Washington Post) Continue to intercede that those who perpetrate abortion will be exposed and drained of all federal, state and private funding.
JUST HOW RADICALIZED IS ILHAN OMAR’S DISTRICT? “More men and boys from a Somali American community in Minneapolis have joined – or attempted to join – a foreign terrorist organization over the last 12 years than in any other jurisdiction in the country,” Fox News reported. The Muslim community is a part of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, which is now represented by Ilhan Omar. Omar is one of two Muslim women elected to the House in Nov. 2018. The FBI has at least 45 recorded instances of Somalis from that community leaving the country to join radical Islamic terrorist groups like al-Shabab or ISIS. In 2018 alone, Fox reported, “a dozen more had been arrested with the intention of leaving to support ISIS. Both numbers are far higher than those of alleged terrorist wannabes who left or attempted to leave the country from other areas in the country where Muslim refugees have been resettled,” the report stated. In case you were wondering what kind of people would vote for Omar, a clear anti-Semite who unfairly bashes Israel, you’ve found the answer. (Steadfast Loyal)
AUSTRALIAN LEADERS PRAISE ISRAEL: Australia’s PM Scott Morrison has deemed Israel “a beacon of democracy in the Middle East.” He said that though Australia chaired the 1947 UN Committee which voted to divide the territory of Mandate Palestine, the country will be “standing by Israel in the face of biased and unfair targeting of Israel in the UN General Assembly.” Morrison last week described Israel as “a nation of immigrants with a free press; parliamentary democracy; financially prosperous; the source of innovation in the world; and a refuge from persecution and genocide, that is somehow now the center of cruelty in the world, according to some in the UN. That is intellectual fraud.” Leader of the Labor opposition Bill Shorten said that: “The hard truth is that 70 years after Israel’s recognition: peace and security still elude the region. All of us in this place, support the right of the people of Israel to live safely within secure borders. And as a true friend of Israel, my party strongly supports a two-state solution,” he said. Israel’s ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer, was in parliament to hear the leaders speak of the relationship between the two countries. Sofer said he appreciated the sentiments by both Australian leaders. “The bipartisan expression of deep friendship between Australia and Israel, as expressed in the speeches of PM Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was indeed moving and heartfelt,” he said. “Israel does not take this relationship for granted and will continue to nurture it in the best interests of the peoples of both our countries.” (Arutz-7)
ISRAEL’S FIRST AMBASSADOR TO RWANDA PRESENTS HIS CREDENTIALS: Israel’s new ambassador to Rwanda Ron Adam presented his credentials on Friday 22 Feb. 2019 to Rwandan President Paul Kagame as Israel’s 11th embassy in Africa went into full operation. “Israel shares a lot of similarities with Rwanda and I am excited to be my first country’s representative here,” said Adam after the ceremony where he presented his credentials along with 12 other new ambassadors. Among the new ambassadors is one from Saudi Arabia, who will also be that country’s first ambassador in Rwanda. PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who has spearheaded closer ties with Africa with four visits to the continent in less than three years, announced that Israel would open an embassy in the Rwandan capital of Kigali when he met Kagame on the sidelines of the inauguration of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nov. 2017. At the time Netanyahu posted a tweet saying that the “historic step” of opening an embassy in Rwanda “comes as Israel is expanding its presence in Africa and deepening its cooperation with countries across the continent.” Netanyahu first floated the idea of opening an embassy in Rwanda, Israel’s closest friend in Africa, during a visit there in July 2016 as part of his four-country tour to East Africa. Kagame has in recent years been a key ally for Netanyahu in efforts to build closer ties with African countries. (J.Post)
LINDA SARSOUR SCHEDULED TO SPEAK AT NYU DESPITE HER ANTI-SEMITIC ACTS: Linda Sarsour, an activist known for her support of anti-Semitism and BDS, is scheduled to speak in March 2019 at a New York University (NUY) program on immigration. The announcement for the 25 March event, sponsored by NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, pegged Sarsour as a “racial justice and civil rights activist, known for her efforts to build bridges across racial, ethnic, and faith communities,” disregarding her anti-Semitic actions. Sarsour defended the legality of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as well as defended Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for supporting the BDS movement. Sarsour helps lead the national Women’s March, which lost a number of sponsors due to concerns about anti-Semitism from Sarsour and her colleagues. In 2012, Sarsour wrote that “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” on her Twitter page, a post which she has still not removed. As part of her anti-Semitic actions, she encouraged stoning the Israel Defense Forces and she was photographed with a former Hamas operative jailed by the Israeli authorities in the 1990s, all the while acknowledging having many male relatives in Israeli prisons. (J.Post)
SEA OF GALILEE’S WATER EXPECTED TO RISE ABOVE LOWER RED LINE: There is continued good news regarding Israel’s rainy season this year: The water level in the Sea of Galilee, or Kinneret, is expected to climb above the freshwater lake’s lower red line for the first time in two years, at which point pumping will no longer face government restrictions. The water level now stands at 23 centimeters below the lower red line, but is expected to pass that within a few weeks, thanks to the heavy rains and snow this winter. “Despite the heavy rainfalls that have been hitting Israel over the past few weeks, the Sea of Galilee is still 4.435 meters (174.6 inches) short of reaching its full capacity. We expect that by the beginning of March 2019, the waterline will rise above the lower red line,” said a Water Authority official. (Ynet) Continue to pray for the rain and the snow to fall in abundance for the remaining weeks of Israel’s wet season.
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff