“You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.”
2 Samuel 22:29 (NIV)
Shalom, my friend.
I chose this week’s verse because it is a powerful reminder that we don’t face the darkness of the world alone. As we look at some the latest news from Israel, I strongly encourage you to focus on the eternal light of God that does not waver or fade. Join me in prayer that as the world grows darker, the Jewish people would continue to be drawn to the light of God and accept Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah.
ROCKET FIRE FLARES ALONG THE STRIP — FLAMES FANNED BY MANHUNT FOR ESCAPED PRISONERS
Late last week and through the weekend, rocket fire lit up the skies across the Gaza Strip. In the late hours of Sunday night, The Times of Israel reported terror groups along the Strip had fired a rocket towards Israel and then fired a second rocket a couple of hours later. Both were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Sunday’s outbreak was the third night in a row of rocket fire along the Strip with responses from the Israel Defense Force (IDF) targeting Hamas military locations in Gaza.
The Times of Israel reported that one rocket was fired toward the Israeli town of Sderot near the Gaza border, triggering sirens there and in the surrounding community.
Three Israelis were injured as they scrambled for shelter and another two Israelis were treated by medics for acute anxiety attacks.
In response, the IDF launched a series of airstrikes on Hamas targets, hitting four bases, including an underground tunnel and weapons storage and production facilities.
During this retaliatory attack, terrorists in the Strip launched a second rocket toward southern Israel — while the Israeli Air Force hit several more Hamas targets.
According to The Times of Israel, the back-to-back rocket attacks came amid growing tensions between Israel and terror groups in the Strip, as the ceasefire brokered in the aftermath of an 11-day conflict in May appeared poised to break down completely.
They are the fourth such attacks against southern Israel since the significant flashpoint in May between Israel and Palestinian terror groups led by Hamas. Tensions between Israel and Hamas have risen again over the past few weeks.
And The Times of Israel reports that the flames were fanned by the escape of six Palestinian security prisoners from Gilboa Prison, most of whom are Islamic Jihad members serving life sentences for terrorism. Four were recaptured over the weekend, with Islamic Jihad vowing to avenge any harm done to them or the remaining fugitives.
TERROR IN JERUSALEM LEAVES TWO ISRAELIS INJURED IN THE CENTRAL BUS STATION
The Jerusalem Post reported that earlier this week two Israeli men were injured in a stabbing attack at a store next to the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem.
Two female Border Police patrol officers at the scene shot the terrorist.
The attacker was identified as 17-year-old Basil Shawamra from the village of Deir al-Asal al-Fauqa, near Hebron in the southern West Bank. Two additional suspects were detained.
Both stabbing victims are expected to recover from their injuries.
Terrorist group Hamas congratulated the stabbing attack, saying, “The escalation of stabbings in occupied Jerusalem, the shootings, the increasing confrontations of popular anger in the West Bank and the demonstrations in Gaza come within the framework of the freedom intifada launched by our Palestinian people in solidarity with the heroic prisoners and confronting the brutality of the occupation against them.”
The attack came hours after another attempted stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion junction targeting IDF soldiers. That attacker was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center with gunshot wounds to his hand. No soldiers were injured in the attack.
Israel Police Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman told The Jerusalem Post that there was “no doubt” that there is an escalation of violence taking place, stressing that police are prepared for any situation.
The defense establishment has extended its high level of alert following the escape of the six high-security prisoners last week out of the worry that the fugitives, or their supporters, might carry out attacks.
There have been three attempted stabbing attacks by Palestinians since late last week, two of them in Jerusalem.
ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER DECLARES ISRAEL WILL DEFEND HERSELF AGAINST A NUCLEAR IRAN
The Times of Israel reported that during a visit to Moscow late last week, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that Iran must be stopped from obtaining nuclear weapons.
As reported, Lapid told a press group following his meetings with Lavrov:
“Iran’s march towards a nuclear weapon is not only an Israeli problem, it’s a problem for the entire world. A nuclear Iran will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The world needs to stop Iran from getting a nuclear capability, no matter the price. If the world doesn’t do it, Israel reserves the right to act.”
According to The Times of Israel, while Lapid and Lavrov were meeting in Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was meeting with Rob Malley, the U.S. envoy on Iran, to discuss “the prospects of restoring full-fledged implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Months of negotiations in Vienna earlier this year aimed at bringing Iran back into compliance with the 2015 deal — which former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018 — stalled in June after hardliner Ebrahim Raisi was elected the new president of Iran.
Lapid told reporters that over the past 30 years Russia has become “one of Israel’s most significant and important partners.” And he noted that his meeting with Lavrov did not focus solely on “threats and conflicts.”
“Israel and Russia have strong and deep ties in economics, culture, tourism, energy and science,” he noted. “Without Russia, culture in the world, and in Israel, wouldn’t be the same.”
CORONAVIRUS FOURTH WAVE IN ISRAEL SHOWS SIGNS OF STILL GROWING
The Times of Israel reported earlier this week that the coronavirus reproduction rate (R rate) crossed “1” for the first time in close to three weeks, according to statistics released by the Health Ministry.
After weeks of steadily dropping, the “R rate” — indicating the number of people who will be infected by a single coronavirus patient — began to tick up again two weeks ago, and has now hit 1.01, indicating that the outbreak is growing.
According to The Times of Israel, there were 80,759 active COVID cases, with 1,114 hospitalized, 691 in serious condition and 187 of those on ventilators as of Monday morning. And more than 41,000 of the current active cases are among school-age children, and another 108,000 students are in mandatory quarantine due to exposure. Close to 56% of those who tested positive late last week were students.
In addition, The Times of Israel also reported this week that vaccination rates have decreased, with 53,526 people receiving a third vaccine shot, and just 6,232 receiving their first dose of the vaccine, compared to one week ago, when more than 7,100 got the first shot and close to 73,000 received a third dose.
Overall, 2,870,182 have received a third dose of the COVID vaccine, which amounts to close to 31% of the population, and just over 6 million have received one dose, 65% of the total population.
Among those in serious condition, close to 67% were not vaccinated at all.
Let us pray together
Please pray with me for:
- God’s grace and peace to bring calm to the hostilities, violence and terrorism that continues to escalate along the Gaza Strip
- God’s protection to be upon His people in the ongoing terror attacks being unleashed upon Israel and the Jewish people
- God’s wisdom to be poured out on the world’s leaders in handling the nuclear threat from Iran
- God’s guidance and grace in the midst of the continued growth of the pandemic in Israel (and around the world)
- Peace in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel and their enemies
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah