“He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.’” Ps 105: 8-11
POLL: SUPPORT FOR JUDEA & SAMARIA PULLOUT, ESTABLISHMENT OF PALESTINIAN STATE DECREASING: Support among the Israeli Jewish public for a withdrawal from Judea & Samaria and the establishment of a Palestinian state is decreasing, a new poll published on 27 March 2017 revealed. The poll conducted on behalf of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) – found that only 36% of Israeli Jews back a pullout from Judea & Samaria as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, compared to 60% in 2005. Also, support for the “Clinton Parameters” – described as a “demilitarized Palestinian state without settlement blocs, full Palestinian security control of Judea & Samaria, Jerusalem divided and the capital of both states, the Temple Mount in the hands of the Palestinians, while Israel receives the Western Wall” – has dropped to 29%, from 59% in 2005. When it comes to the question of the future status of Jerusalem, 79% of Israeli Jews believe it is “important to retain a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty,” according to the poll. (Algemeiner)
ISRAEL AND NICARAGUA RE-ESTABLISH TIES: Israel and Nicaragua announced on 29 March 2017 the re-establishment of diplomatic ties, some seven years after Managua broke off relations because of the Mavi Marmara incident. The joint statement read that the two countries had friendly relations and cooperation across a wide range of areas such as agriculture, health and education until the ties were suspended in 2010 following Israel’s raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship that was trying to break the blockade of Gaza. Nine people were killed in that incident. Relations between Israel and Nicaragua were severed following Israel’s refusal to comply with Nicaraguan demands on the matter. Nicaragua is known for its alliance with Iran, which in the past established a Hezbollah terrorist training base in northern Nicaragua. It has also previously expressed support for the Palestinian Authority. Since Nicaragua severed ties, it has joined Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba as among Israel’s most strident critics in Latin America. The Foreign Ministry said that the re-establishment of ties follows contacts that have taken place over the last year. “Both governments view very positively the re-establishment of ties with the goal of advancing joint cooperation for the advancement of both nations and to contribute to the struggle to achieve peace in the world,” said the joint statement released this week. (J.Post/INN) Pray for Israel’s renewed ties and increasingly good relationships with formerly estranged nations.
ETHIOPIAN – ISRAELI ACTIVIST: ANYONE WHO SAYS JEWISH STATE IS AN APARTHEID COUNTRY DOESN’T KNOW WHAT APARTHEID MEANS: “If someone says Israel is an apartheid country, they don’t know what apartheid means,” an Ethiopian-Israeli activist said Monday. “For example, an apartheid state does not appoint two Ethiopian-Israeli women to become judges,” said Fentahun Assefa-Dawit – the executive director of the Tebeka legal aid group – referring to Adenko Sebhat-Haimovich and Esther Tapeta Gardi. In an interview on the sidelines of the American Israeli Public Affairs conference in Washington DC, Assefa-Dawit – whose NGO’s mission is to promote justice and equality for Ethiopian-Israelis – stated, “Like AIPAC strengthens Israel from the outside, we’re doing it from the inside. Absolutely, progress is being made,” he said. “Like any other country, there is discrimination in Israel and there are many challenges that different groups face. But unlike many other countries, Israel tries to sit down and solve these problems. From the top down, starting with the prime minister, everybody is cooperating to resolve these issues. Approximately 140,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, comprising around 1.7% of the country’s population. “Israel is our home and it’s like in a family – we can fight and then come together and fix the problem,” Assefa-Dawit said. “Those outside the country who use our issues to bash Israel don’t know what they are talking about. They’ve probably never been to Israel or spoken to an Ethiopian-Israeli.” In an interview last year, Ethiopian-Israeli beauty queen Yityish Aynaw said the world must learn about how “unique and diverse” the Jewish state is. (Algemeiner)
JOURNALIST CHANGES OPINION DURING FACT FINDING TRIP: A Canadian journalist, Faith Goldy, came to Israel with a set belief regarding the political situation between the Jewish state and her neighbors. Her trip started out as a fact-finding mission but developed into myth-busting when she discovered that what is portrayed by the mainstream media was not the reality she saw on the ground. Goldy came with a team of three other journalists at the beginning of March 2017. Each member of the team recorded their findings on video clips. Goldy admitted that she arrived in the country as a firm supporter of the “two-state solution,” but during her travels she had the opportunity to interview people from the broad political and demographic spectrum on both sides of the geographical border and as a result, her views and perspective changed dramatically.
As a Catholic who takes her religion seriously, Goldy did some figurative digging to discover what Israel is really like. After seven days investigating in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, she said that coming with an open mind was really important. She said that while asking the hard questions, she discovered that Israel is a free democracy with full civil rights for women and minorities – even the 20 percent Arab minority. Having heard and believed that Israel was an apartheid state, she was shocked to find there is nothing of the sort on the Israeli side of the security fence (which she discovered is 95% fence and 5% wall) and in actuality the apartheid that does happen is on the Palestinian Authority’s side of the border. The journalist was most surprised to find that Bethlehem is almost devoid of Christians and is a Muslim town, ruled by Muslims. She said that religious apartheid is alive and well; and the Pact of Umar which dictates restrictive regulations on non-Muslims – especially Christians – is fully enforced. Her conclusion is that the only solution for the ongoing conflict is a one-state solution under the full authority of Israel, which she praised. (Kehila News)
‘ISRAEL’S ECONOMY DOING WELL, WITHOUT A DOUBT’: The Bank of Israel Annual Report for 2016 was published on Wed. 29 March 2017, after it was presented to President Reuven Rivlin, PM Binyamin Netanyahu, and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. According to the report, Israel’s economy is growing, employment rose by 2.6%, and its unemployment rate is low, providing a stable foundation for economical reforms which will allow continued growth to all sectors of Israeli society, and especially the weaker sectors which the Knesset is trying to strengthen. The report also said Israel’s real estate market is dealing well with the challenges, and that the construction industry, which requires foreign workers, had found a way to import foreign companies and workers in a productive fashion.
“The state of Israel’s economy is, without a doubt, good,” Rivlin said. “The government finished 2016 with a deficit significantly lower than the deficit ceiling set out in the budget. The bottom line of the Bank of Israel’s Annual Report is that the Israeli economy is showing signs of strength relative to other economies, and came through the global crisis well. At the same time, not everything is roses. There are a number of weak points in the Israeli economy, and we must therefore monitor economic processes closely as we move forward, improve and lead. I believe in the importance of maintaining the independence of the central bank, whether in setting monetary policy, as economic advisor to the government, or in supervising the stability of the financial system. I would like to thank you, Madam Governor, and you, the Bank of Israel’s staff, for this important and comprehensive report. Well done!” (Arutz-7)
RECORD EUROPE SALES PUSH ISRAELI DEFENSE EXPORTS TO $6.5 BILLION IN 2016: Sales to Europe have increased over the last four years; Asia remains a top customer with total of $2.6 billion in exports. Israeli military exports grew to $6.5 billion in 2016, an increase of $800 million compared with the year before, according to Sibat, the military exports unit of the Defense Ministry. Sibat chief Michel Ben-Baruch said while Asia remains Israel’s biggest market for military technologies, Europe has become a key buyer too, notably for counter-terrorism, border defense and infiltration prevention. Israeli defense exports to Europe have been climbing for four years, with particularly strong sales in the last two. Exports to Europe reached an all-time high in 2016. Sources in Israel’s defense world think the increase in sales to Europe was driven chiefly by terror attacks on the continent, and also by European armies’ participation in the fight against ISIS. European countries are also hoping Israel can help them contend with lone-wolf attackers. “When they come to Israel, they only care about three things: terrorism, borders and cyber,” said an Israel Defense Forces General Staff officer on collaboration with foreign armies. (Ha’aretz)
‘TRUMP COULD BE REGISTERED IN HISTORY BOOKS’: Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett spoke at the AIPAC conference in Washington this week and called on President Trump to transfer the American embassy to Jerusalem, “the capital of the Jewish nation for over 3000 years.” Bennett said that “nearly 70 years ago President Truman made history when he became the first president to recognize the State of Israel. President Trump could be registered in the history books as the first president to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump, please move the embassy to Jerusalem.” Bennett also addressed the US administration and said “we want you to be the first nation to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem,” and added that Israel could deal with the repercussions of the move whatever they would be. “Embassies are always located in the capital city and our capital is Jerusalem- not Tel Aviv,” concluded Bennett. (INN) “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the Lord of hosts, the Holy Mountain.’” Zech 8:3
230 NEW UKRAINIAN IMMIGRANTS LAND IN ISRAEL: 230 Ukrainian immigrants landed in Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport on 28 March 2017. The immigrants received a warm greeting from Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver. Of the 78 families, most will settle in the north and center of Israel. Four of the immigrants are Holocaust survivors, and over 40 more are children. Some of these immigrants come from war-torn areas of the Ukraine, after having lived several years as refugees. (Arutz-7) Pray for these new arrivals to feel welcome, to have their housing needs met, to find friends and jobs and to learn Hebrew quickly.
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