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Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged...

June 24, 2021

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Shalom, my friend.

Thank you for the blessing of your partnership and for standing with Israel and the Jewish people through all the ups and downs – especially throughout this past year. You have shown that you are strong and courageous on Israel’s behalf, and I am grateful.

As you read the news stories below, you’ll see why I selected the verse above. With so much going on regarding Iran and their new president, Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza as well as COVID numbers on the increase again – we must continue to lift Israel and her people in prayer.

Let’s pray for strength and for courage and that Jewish people will turn to Jesus the Messiah because He will be with them always, wherever they go and in whatever situation they face. Thank you.

Iran’s president-elect refuses to meet with Biden or negotiate on missiles, support of terror groups

On Monday, Iran’s president-elect staked out a hardline position when he first spoke after his landslide victory. Ebrahim Raisi said simply “no” to the possibility of meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, AP News reported.

Raisi also said his administration would not allow negotiations with world powers aimed at reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal to continue unless they are beneficial to Iran. He promised to salvage the deal to secure relief from U.S. sanctions that have impacted Iran’s economy. But Raisi ruled out any limits on Iran’s missile capabilities and its support for regional terror groups.

Meanwhile, Iran is enriching uranium at 60%, its highest level ever, though still short of weapons-grade levels, according to The Times of Israel.

Iran-based Fars News Agency reported that Raisi said in response to a question that “from the perspective of Iran, the Palestinians are the owners of Palestine.” He added that “before the Zionist region feels threats from us, they should feel deterred by the Palestinian people and its resistance groups.”

Raisi is a 60-year-old cleric and protégé of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He received nearly 62% of the 28.9 million votes in last Friday’s presidential election. It was the lowest voter turnout in Iran’s history. Millions of Iranians stayed home in defiance of a vote they saw as skewed in Raisi’s favor. Candidates who could have put up a fight in the election were barred from running.

Raisi will become the first serving Iranian president sanctioned by the US government even before entering office, in part over his time as the head of Iran’s internationally criticized judiciary — one of the world’s top executioners.

Hamas talks with UN failed, leader threatens escalation

During a meeting on Monday between Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland, Sinwar said Israel must allow the transfer of $30 million in donations from Qatar into Gaza. He threatened to escalate tensions if his demands are not met, according to a report by Kan News, an Israeli TV station.

The report described the meeting as “difficult” and quoted Sinwar as saying at the end of the meeting that “there are no signs of a solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the occupation is trying to blackmail us.”

Sources believe the issue regarding the transfer of donations from Qatar can be resolved next week after the planned visit to Egypt by an Israeli delegation, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Tensions are still high on Israel’s southern border with Gaza while Egypt and the United Nations continue to try to broker a formal ceasefire to stop Hamas rocket attacks. And the terms of even an informal ceasefire agreement to prevent a renewal of last month’s 11 days of violence have not been worked out.

Increase in Israel’s COVID numbers blamed on fast-spreading Delta variant

The number of coronavirus patients within the education system in Israel has tripled over the past week, The Times of Israel reported on Monday. The majority of cases are students, but staff members have also tested positive.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus, which originated in India, is being blamed for some 70% of the new COVID-19 cases, according to health authorities in Israel.

Health Ministry officials in Israel are strongly recommending that 12- to 15-year-olds get vaccinated against COVID as soon as possible and a vaccination drive among teenagers is being fast-tracked.

In addition, the Health Ministry is working on a series of measures to reduce COVID-19 infections linked to international arrivals.

“Within a few days, we will impose strict enforcement at the airport on those who fly to forbidden countries, dangerous countries with high COVID morbidity,” said Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. “There will also be heavy fines on those who ignore the instructions and endanger the health of the citizens of Israel.”

Israel’s foreign minister confirms landmark visit to UAE is scheduled for next week

Next Sunday, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will fly to the United Arab Emirates for a two-day official visit, his office confirmed Monday.

This will be the first time an Israeli minister has visited the Gulf state in an official capacity, according to The Times of Israel.

Lapid will officially inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate in Dubai.

Let us pray together

Please pray with me for:

  • Wisdom for Israeli leaders and other world leaders in dealing with Iran’s new president-elect, Ebrahim Raisi
  • A peaceful transition for Israel’s new government and God-given wisdom for Israel’s leaders
  • Protection for Israel and her people from Iran, Hamas and other terror groups
  • God’s provision and direction concerning the JCPOA nuclear deal negotiations between the U.S. and Iran, especially in light of the newly elected Iranian president and his hardline stance
  • Israel to be able to contain the latest COVID-19 variant
  • Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah

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