“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Jas 5:16
SYRIAN REFUGEES MASSING ON ISRAEL’S BORDER: Syrian civilians fleeing a fresh military offensive by their own government and its Russian allies have been massing on the border of Israel’s Golan Heights. They say that being as close as possible to Israeli forces is the safest place to be, presumably because Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Russia are wary of drawing Israel further into the country’s bloody civil war. Assad wants to end the official rebellion (which is largely unrelated to the fight against ISIS and other jihadist groups) by retaking the last major rebel stronghold, the Daraa region of southwestern Syria. This area borders both Jordan and Israel. It is through Daraa that well over half a million Syrians have crossed the border to find refuge in Jordan. But, the Hashemite Kingdom has now said “no more.” Jordan last week officially closed its border to additional Syrian refugees. It was the worst possible timing for the residents of Daraa, as regime and Russia warplanes began indiscriminately bombing everything in sight in preparation for a major military push into the region. Waseem Kiwan, a resident of Daraa city said that the Russians are bombing everything, including hospitals and UN facilities. As a result, many of these Syrians now feel that the “safest place is the border with Israel because the regime and Russian airplanes cannot strike the area near the Israeli border,” said Kiwan. (Israel Today) Pray for God’s mercy to protect and provide for these newly displaced Syrians, besieged by their own government, until they are able to return to their homes. Intercede for the safety of Israel’s northern borders as so much conflict continues to take place in close proximity.
SYRIANS FLEEING FIGHTING CALL ON ISRAEL TO SAVE THEM: On Friday 29 June 2018, in a video posted online, a dozen men and children held signs and called for help from Israel and the US, saying they had been abandoned by the world. One of the signs requested that the UN forces return to their bases near the demilitarized zone between Israeli forces and Syria. Up to 160,000 civilians have fled fighting in southern Syria in the last week as the Syrian regime, backed by Russian air-power, has launched a major offensive. Thousands have arrived at the border with Israel. The IDF delivered hundreds of tents, tons of food and humanitarian supplies for children on Thursday night. The video also shows a man, identified as a displaced doctor, giving a short speech in which he says Israel should protect civilians next to the “occupied Golan.” Israel has made it clear that it will not open the border to people fleeing the fighting. The US has also indicated that it will not intervene in southern Syria. Meanwhile, Jordan has been working on brokering a ceasefire as the fighting continues. The IDF has for the past two years been providing humanitarian assistance to civilians on the Syrian Golan Heights as part of Operation Good neighbor. It is also well-known that Israel over the course of the war has admitted thousands of Syrians into the country for medical treatment before returning them home. (J.Post) While Israel generously gives aid to help displaced Syrians, pray that the situation will not turn into a border crisis for the Jewish state.
PA: WE’LL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT TERRORISTS: The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ramallah-based cabinet last week condemned the Knesset’s decision to further advance the law to withhold terrorist salaries from tax revenues Israel transfers to the PA. Yusuf al-Mahmoud, a spokesman for the PA government, said the law amounts to “stealing” the money of the Palestinian people and causes damage to “national symbols and symbols of the defense of freedom and dignity.” He stressed that the PA government does not intend to renounce the prisoners serving time in Israel and will continue to support them. The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on 27 June 2018 approved the bill for its second and third readings in the Knesset. The PA regularly pays terrorists who are imprisoned in Israel, as well as families of dead terrorists who carried out attacks against Israelis. The PA policy of paying higher salaries to terrorists serving longer sentences means that the more heinous and deadly the terror attack, the more the terrorist is rewarded by the PA for committing murder. Despite calls from both Israel and the United States to stop the practice of paying terrorists, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly stressed that “families of the martyrs will continue to receive their allowances in full.” (Arutz-7)
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PAID TERRORISTS NEARLY $350 MILLION IN 2017: The Palestinian Authority paid terrorists and their families over $347 million last year, according to its own records. The average income of a Palestinian is $580 per month, which is what the PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to three to five years in prison. The PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to 20 years or more in prison – in other words, those who committed more severe crimes, and likely were involved in killing Israelis – five times that each month for the rest of their lives. Terrorists who are Israeli citizens receive a $145 bonus, which, when added to the amount PA pays for the most severe crimes, comes to over $2,900 a month, more than the average Israeli income of around $2,700. There are also increases in pay for being married and for each child a terrorist has. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, “The PA pays over a billion shekels a year to terrorists and their families, thus encouraging and perpetuating terrorism. There is nothing that better illustrates the PA’s support for terrorism. We must stop this,” he said. Meanwhile, in late March of 2018 the Palestinian Authority authorized increased payments of $355 million to convicted terrorists and the families of terrorists. This is 7.47% of the Palestinian Authority’s operational budget of $4.76 billion in 2018 and some 44% of the funding the PA hopes to receive in foreign aid this year. (J.Post)
ISRAEL SEIZES HAMAS FUNDS GIVEN TO TERRORISTS’ FAMILIES: Israeli security forces last week raided the east Jerusalem home of Hisham Hussein Abu Dhaim and seized NIS 43,000 in cash and foreign currency. Dhaim murdered eight students at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem in 2008. The raid was part of a wider operation to prevent funds from Hamas from reaching the families of terrorists who murdered Israelis. In 2017, security forces seized over NIS 300,000 from the families of seven different terrorists. (J. Post)
POLISH PRESIDENT SIGNS CHANGES SOFTENING HOLOCAUST LAW: Polish President Andrzej Duda signed on Wednesday 27 June 2018 changes in the Holocaust law, removing jail penalties for suggesting the nation was complicit in Nazi crimes. Earlier on Wednesday, in an unexpected u-turn, parliament introduced the changes in an emergency session, hours after P M Mateusz Morawiecki asked it to amend the four-month-old law that had angered the United States and Israel. In a statement regarding Israel’s role in the law’s amendment, PM Netanyahu said Wednesday: “We have stood up as guardians of truth and fulfilled our obligation.” Poland’s Senate passed a controversial bill in February 2018 that outlawed blaming Poland for any crimes committed during the Holocaust. The bill was proposed by the country’s ruling Law and Justice party and calls for up to three years in prison or a fine for accusing the Polish state or people of involvement or responsibility for the Nazi occupation during World War II. The proposed legislation raised concerns among critics about how the Polish state will decide what it considers to be facts. Lawmakers in Israel have pointed to historical records citing complicity by some Poles in the activities of the Nazi regime. Israeli PM Netanyahu called it an “attempt to rewrite history.” (J.Post/Time)
HUNGARIAN PM TO VISIT ISRAEL: Hungarian PM Viktor Orban is slated to visit Israel on 19 July 2018. Orban was reelected in April 2018 for a third consecutive term in office, in an election fought on a fiercely anti-immigration platform. Last week, Hungary’s parliament approved legislation that criminalizes some help given to illegal immigrants. Netanyahu made a congratulatory phone call to Orban following his reelection and invited him to visit Israel. Jewish groups in Hungary have sometimes accused Orban’s right-wing government, in power since 2010, of downplaying Hungary’s role in the Holocaust during which some 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished. In 2015, however, Orban admitted his country’s role in the Holocaust, saying many Hungarians chose “bad instead of good” in helping deport Jews to Nazi death camps. (Arutz-7)
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PRINCE WILLIAM’S VISIT TO ISRAEL CANNOT BE OVERESTIMATED: The decision to send the Duke of Cambridge to Israel was not taken lightly by the Government. No member of the Royal Family had ever been to the Holy Land on an official visit, though many have been made to Arab nations. It always seemed odd that the region’s only true democracy was off limits. The unspoken rationale appeared to be that a Royal presence would give Israel kudos the British government was reluctant to bestow. The symbolism of this event, therefore, cannot be overestimated and its importance has not been lost on Israel. Seventy years after the foundation of the Jewish state, this is seen as treating Israel as a normal, established democratic nation. (Telegraph-UK) Pray that Prince William’s time in Israel will have positive effects and be the beginning of many visits by England’s monarchs to Israel.
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