“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’”
Psalm 122:6-7 (NIV)
Shalom, my friend.
While we celebrate many victories this week – including the one-year, historic celebration of the Abraham Accords and the capture of the final two escaped prisoners - I’m reminded by the Scriptures that we must remain vigilant in praying for continual peace.
That’s why I want to invite you to continue to pray with me and everyone at Jewish Voice on behalf of God’s people.
ABRAHAM ACCORDS CONTINUES TO SHAPE THE MIDDLE EAST, ISRAEL AT THE HEART
Representatives from member countries of the Abraham Accords gathered in Washington last week to mark the one-year anniversary of the historic peace and trade agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
Prior to the Accords, according to The Jerusalem Post, Israel had diplomatic ties only with Egypt, with which it signed a peace treaty in 1979, and Jordan, with which an agreement was reached in 1994.
The event was held two days after the actual September 15 anniversary date of the White House ceremony that allowed Arab states to normalize ties with Israel. And this one-year gathering happened at a time when much concern and focus in the Middle East is on Iran and their acceleration of nuclear capabilities.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. and the U.N., Gilad Erdan, said in response to the recent New York Times report indicating that Iran is just weeks away from having enough uranium for a nuclear weapon:
“I think it doesn’t make a real difference if the Iranians are one month or two months or three months [away], they are closer than ever to becoming a nuclear threshold state. And in addition to the fact that they have the most radical president ever, their supreme leader still believes that Iran should possess a nuclear bomb. This is a huge red flag to the international community: Do something about it. You cannot continue allowing Iran to drag its feet, playing its game of maneuvering, and simultaneously advancing its nuclear capability. Because we will wake up one day [and realize that] it might be too late. “This is the time to act, and I hope to see the international community getting together and making it clear to Iran that they’re going to pay a huge price for this illegal advancement.”
The Jerusalem Post also reported that Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, also called on other Arab countries to join the Accords, saying: "We’re going to make this a bigger and bigger event and a bigger and bigger initiative for peace in the region."
This will include helping to strengthen Israel's burgeoning ties with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, Lapid is reported to have said. And he also spoke of supporting Kosovo's new ties with Israel, even though the country is not part of the Accords.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told The Jerusalem Post, “These unprecedented agreements are a new chapter in the history of peace in the Middle East. Relations between the countries are only at their beginning and are already bearing many fruits. The government of Israel under my leadership will continue to implement the agreements while striving for a stable, secure and prosperous Middle East for the future of our children.”
ISRAEL CITES ECONOMIC CRISIS FOR ALLOWING HEZBOLLAH OIL SHIPMENTS TO REACH ENERGY-STARVED LEBANON
The Times of Israel reported that the first of the oil convoys from terror groups entered Lebanon late last week. While the Iran-backed terrorists touted this as a major victory within the region, Israeli officials cited Beirut’s economic crisis for their lack of interference.
According to The Times of Israel, dozens of trucks carrying Iranian diesel arrived in Lebanon late last week, traveling through neighboring Syria in violation of U.S. sanctions imposed after the U.S. pulled out of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2018.
The shipment is being portrayed as a victory by Hezbollah, which stepped in to supply the fuel from its patron, Iran, while the cash-strapped Lebanese government grapples with months-long fuel shortages that have paralyzed the country. Hezbollah operates independently from Lebanese authorities, which are struggling to deal with a crippling energy crisis.
While Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria to prevent Hezbollah weapon shipments from reaching their targets, officials are concerned that targeting the fuel would be seen as needlessly harming the economic recovery of Lebanon.
The Times of Israel reported that groups of Lebanese gathered on the roadside to greet the convoy. Hezbollah’s yellow flags and banners praising the Iran-backed group and Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad decorated the streets. Many raised banners reading: “Thank you Iran,” and “Thank you Syria.” Heavy gunfire, and at least one rocket propelled-grenade, were fired in celebration.
However, many Israeli officials - and other officials within the region - see the convoy as a symbol of the dissolution of the Lebanese state. And while the oil delivery was seen as a victory for Hezbollah, the group is also facing growing internal criticism for increasingly pulling Lebanon into Iran’s orbit and for defending its political allies who resist change rather than push for reform.
ISRAELI FORCES ARREST FINAL TWO ESCAPED PRISONERS, ENDING THE TWO-WEEK MANHUNT
The recapture of the last two prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison late last week marks the end of the manhunt that began earlier this month.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the final arrests were made by the Israel Defense Force (IDF), Shin Bet and police special forces, based on intelligence from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). The operation was overseen by Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Alaluf, the head of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division, which is responsible for the West Bank, and by Col. Arik Moyal.
The IDF released a statement saying, “The Yamam, Shin Bet and the Haruv Reconnaissance Unit entered the city of Jenin, sealed off and surrounded the house, including use of gunfire around the building in which the fugitive terrorists were hiding. They came out unarmed and without resistance. The two terrorists were caught alive and were handed over for interrogation by the security forces.”
The Jerusalem Post reported that in order to prevent a large-scale confrontation with Palestinians, a large number of security forces entered different parts of the Jenin as a distraction. Gunmen in Jenin associated with several militant groups, including Fatah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, had warned that they were prepared to thwart any attempt by the IDF to enter the city or its refugee camp in search of the two security prisoners. They formed a “Joint Operations Room” to repel a possible “invasion” by the IDF.
While security forces were leaving the city, clashes with Palestinians erupted in a number of locations where they threw stones and explosives and opened fire toward Israeli forces. Three Palestinians were moderately wounded during the clashes, according to the reports. No injuries were reported among Israeli forces.
The recapture of Ayham Kamamji and Munadel Enfayat is a blow to the Fatah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) gunmen in the Jenin refugee camp who had over the past few days pledged to defend the fugitives and foil any attempt by the IDF to enter the camp or the city of Jenin, the residents said.
Let us pray together
Please pray with me for:
- God’s grace and peace to continue to permeate the Middle East and the broader region
- God’s protection to be upon His people as Iran-backed Hezbollah – and other terror groups – continue to strengthen their grip on Lebanon and Israel’s northern border
- God’s wisdom to be poured out on the world’s leaders in handling the nuclear threat from Iran
- Peace in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel and their enemies
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah