“May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.”
Psalm 20:1 (NIV)
Shalom, my friend. I am so thankful for your partnership and for your love and concern for Israel and the Jewish people.
Again, I come to you asking for prayers as I share news from this past week. We know our Lord hears and answers when we pray, so please join me in lifting up Israel and her people.
It has been another tragic few days.
Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, took place early this week, but across Israel and for Jewish people everywhere, celebrations of the holiday were overshadowed by the continued fighting. As terror groups in Gaza fire more rockets on cities in Israel, the Jewish State must respond and defend itself.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have spoken multiple times over the past several days. Biden has reaffirmed his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from terror groups Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. He condemned these indiscriminate attacks against Israel.
Thank you for also standing with Israel, especially during such a difficult time. Here are the news stories for you to read and pray over.
FIGHTING CONTINUES INTO SECOND WEEK BETWEEN HAMAS AND ISRAEL
Fighting began on May 10, when terror group Hamas fired long-range rockets at Jerusalem after clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli police.
Since that day, Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired more than 3,200 rockets into Israel. In response, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have launched hundreds of airstrikes targeting Hamas’ militant infrastructure. IDF officials said Hamas stockpiled about 15,000 rockets before the fighting began.
On Monday, the IDF said it struck 35 “terror targets” and the tunnels. Also called the “Metro,” these tunnels are used by Palestinian fighters to take cover from airstrikes. In addition, the IDF said it hit nine houses belonging to “high-ranking commanders” in Hamas.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad say at least 20 of their fighters have been killed. Israel says the number is at least 130 and released names and photos of more than two dozen militant commanders it says were “eliminated.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States would support any initiative to stop the fighting but also indicated the U.S. did not intend to put pressure on the two sides to accept a ceasefire, saying “it is up to the parties to make clear they want to pursue a ceasefire.”
In a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized her country’s solidarity with Israel. She condemned the continued rocket attacks from Gaza and said she hopes for a swift end to the fighting, her office reported.
Isamail Haniyeh, Hamas’ top leader, who is based abroad, said the group has heard from the United Nations, Russia, Egypt and Qatar regarding ceasefire efforts but “will not accept a solution that is not up to the sacrifices of the Palestinian people,” according to AP News.
U.S. BLOCKS THIRD UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION ON GAZA
For the third time in a week, the U.S. blocked a UN Security Council joint statement calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The draft statement made no specific mention of Hamas rocket fire in Gaza.
During a Security Council meeting on Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. was “working tirelessly through diplomatic channels to try and bring an end to this conflict.”
Meanwhile, the current president of the UN General Assembly (GA) planned to convene the GA on Thursday to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, according to The Times of Israel.
IDF PUBLISHES DOCUMENTATION TO PROVE IT MAKES EVERY EFFORT TO AVOID CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN GAZA
After facing repeated international criticism and allegations of indiscriminately striking targets in the Gaza Strip, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) published operational documentation showing that they do everything in their power to avoid hurting civilians.
Video and audio recordings of Israeli Air Force pilots show the pilots calling off an airstrike after noticing civilians, including children, in the area, The Jerusalem Post reported.
In addition, the IDF is known for inventing a tactic that uses different methods to warn populated areas in advance of a planned airstrike to give civilians the opportunity to evacuate the area.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu accused terror group Hamas of committing a double war crime. “They’re targeting our civilians and hiding behind Palestinian civilians, effectively using them as human shields.”
In a conversation with U.S. President Biden over the weekend, Netanyahu stressed that “Israel is doing everything to avoid harming persons who are uninvolved.”
U.S. SENATE SPEAKS OUT AGAINST IRAN, RECENT HAMAS ATTACKS ON ISRAEL
Last week, 43 republican senators called on President Biden to deny sanction relief and end negotiations with Iran, citing the country’s ties with Hamas, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, who are funded by Iran, have launched a series of rocket attacks into Israel,” the letter reads. “They are targeting Israeli civilians and cities, including Israel’s capital Jerusalem. This is troubling as members of your administration are currently in Vienna negotiating with Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”
The senators wrote that “In light of these recent attacks by Hamas against Israel, the United States should take all steps necessary to hold Tehran accountable and under no circumstances, provide sanctions relief to Iran. This is especially important as Iran is supporting terrorist activity against the United States’ closest ally in the region, Israel.”
The statement also said “The United States must not do anything to enrich Israel’s enemies, such as by offering sanctions relief to a regime that seeks to destroy Israel. As a longtime partner of the Jewish state, we also urge you to unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself against any and all terrorist attacks.”
U.S. HOUSE ALSO ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING ROCKET ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAEL
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) issued a statement following Hamas rocket attacks:
“The events of the past few days have demonstrated, once again, the danger Israelis face every day and the reason peace is so necessary. No provocation in Jerusalem justifies raining down rockets on a civilian population, and no nation can be expected to sit idly while rockets are fired into its borders and its civilians are targeted. Israel has every right to defend itself and take necessary action to stop the attacks from Gaza.”
Hoyer continued, “America stands by our ally Israel because we understand what the Jewish state represents: the striving of a people long denied freedom and self-determination to build a future in their ancient homeland based on democracy, justice, and peace. Our relationship continues to be based in common ideals and common purpose.”
He also said, “the unjustifiable attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to jeopardize Israeli and Palestinian lives and hinder efforts for peace on all sides. Peace cannot be achieved while terrorist groups continue to undermine the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people.”
PALESTINIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD OFFICIAL CLAIMS WEAPONS, MONEY AND FOOD PROVIDED BY IRAN
During an interview that aired on Iraq’s Al-Ahd TV on May 7, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Official Ramez Al-Halabi spoke of Iran saying, “They are the ones who support us with weapons, money and food.”
He also said, “The Kornet missiles that we use to blow up the Israeli tanks – the pride of the Israeli and global defense industry – are the Kornet missiles of Qasem Soleimani and Iran. The guns that we use to shoot at the Israeli enemy... Those who use these guns were trained by our brothers in the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps]. We say this loud and clear.”
Soleimani was an Iranian IRGC military commander who was killed by U.S. drones in Iraq in 2020.
This interview was reported on by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), headquartered in Washington, D.C.
LET US PRAY TOGETHER
Please pray with me for:
- Peace to prevail throughout Israel
- Protection for civilians during the fighting
- Continued support for Israel from the U.S., Germany and other countries
- God’s provision and direction concerning the nuclear deal negotiations between the U.S. and Iran
- A peaceful God-inspired solution for Israel’s government following the country’s fourth inconclusive election in the past two years
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah