“With God we will do mighty things,
and He will trample our foes.”
Psalm 60:14 (TLV)
As Israel is commemorating both Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day or Israel Fallen Soldier’s Remembrance Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) this week, I am reminded of both the sacrifices made by so many and the miraculous victories God has brought to pass for Israel and her people.
I am also reminded of you and your great compassion and love for the Jewish people. Thank you.
In the news this week, you will see Iran mentioned frequently as well as a story about Israel’s response to the International Criminal Court’s war crimes probe. We have also included a story about last week’s Holocaust Remembrance Day observation.
As is often the case, there are many reasons to rejoice and reasons to pray. Again, thank you for your partnership.
During Visit From U.S. Defense Secretary, Netanyahu Speaks Out About Israel’s Need to Defend Itself Against Iran
On Monday, while hosting U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at his office in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel and the U.S. agreed on never allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.
“As you know, the U.S.-Israel defense partnership has continually expanded over successive administrations and our cooperation is crucial in dealing with the many threats confronting both the United States and Israel,” Netanyahu said during a press conference with Austin, The Times of Israel reported.
“In the Middle East, there is no threat more dangerous, serious and pressing than that posed by the fanatical regime in Iran,” said Netanyahu, citing Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, arming of terror groups and calls for Israel’s complete destruction.
“Mr. Secretary, we both know the horrors of war. We both understand the importance of preventing war. And we both agree that Iran must never possess nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu. “My policy as prime minister of Israel is clear – I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.”
Speaking days after an apparent attack on the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran, which Tehran has blamed on Israel, Netanyahu said that “Israel will continue to defend itself against Iran’s aggression and terrorism.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Expresses Desire to Work With Israel to “Address Shared Challenges in the Region”
Austin, who spoke after Netanyahu, refrained from explicitly mentioning Iran but said he traveled to Israel to “express our desire for earnest consultations with Israel, as we address shared challenges in the region.”
Austin’s two-day visit is the first official visit to Israel by an American secretary of defense since 2017. He is the first member of U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to pay an official visit to Israel.
While affirming the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s security and qualitative military edge in the region, Austin said he and Netanyahu discussed “ways to deepen our longstanding defense relationship in the face of regional threats and other security challenges, and I affirm the department’s support for our ongoing diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Arab and Muslim-majority nations.”
Israel Submits Formal Response to ICC’s War Crimes Probe
Last Friday, Israel sent a formal response to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) decision to probe alleged war crimes by Israel. The response stated that the ICC doesn’t have jurisdiction to investigate it.
“In the letter, it will also be noted that Israel completely rejects the claims that it is carrying out war crimes,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said, according to The Times of Israel.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Israel’s stance has been made known to the court by “central countries and world-renowned experts” and emphasized that Israel is “committed to the rule of law” and capable of investigating itself.
The decision on how to respond came after two days of talks held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and other top officials.
“I am sure many countries will understand that there is no room for [such an] investigation, that could harm many other countries in the future,” Gantz said, adding that such an ICC investigation would harm Israel’s relations with the Palestinians and make it difficult to “improve the regional situation.”
Last month, the ICC sent formal notices to Israel and the Palestinian Authority about the impending investigation. The notices stated that they had a few weeks to seek a deferral by proving they are carrying out their own investigations. The deadline to respond was April 9.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on March 3 that she was opening an investigation into actions committed by Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem since 2014. The announcement of the investigation came less than a month after the court ruled it had the jurisdiction to open a probe.
Israel Comes to a Standstill In Remembrance of Holocaust Victims
Last Thursday at 10 a.m. sirens halted Israeli outdoor life in memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II. Pedestrians stood in place, buses stopped and cars pulled over, their drivers standing on the roads with their heads bowed.
The annual Holocaust Remembrance Day is one of the most solemn days on Israel’s national calendar. The main opening ceremony on Wednesday night was attended by Holocaust survivors, President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other dignitaries, The Times of Israel reported.
In his speech, Rivlin spoke of the 900 Holocaust survivors who died over the past year due to COVID-19.
“They survived the ghettoes and the death camps, the immigrant ships and the internment camps,” he said. “But the final battle of their lives was fought with them bewildered and isolated, behind masks and gloves, yearning for contact but parted from their loved ones.”
The ongoing plight of Holocaust survivors was in the news early last week when a survey conducted by the Holocaust Survivors’ Welfare Fund found that 51 percent of respondents said they relied on food provided by a variety of charities, one third said they were in dire need of the assistance.
According to the poll, many Holocaust survivors say they have no choice but to give up essentials in order to have enough money for food. Forty-three percent of respondents said they didn’t have enough money for eyeglasses, 33% said they couldn’t afford dental care and 27% said they couldn’t pay for hearing aids.
To help meet this critical need, Jewish Voice supports ministries in Israel dedicated to providing Holocaust Survivors with dental and eye care, as well as other important necessities. When you give to Jewish Voice, this is one of the many ways you help Jewish people around the world.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2020, there were 179,600 people defined as Holocaust survivors living in Israel. An additional 3,000 people were recognized as survivors in 2020, while 17,000 died, including the 900 virus victims.
Let Us Pray Together
Please pray with me for:
- A peaceful God-inspired solution for Israel’s government following the country’s fourth inconclusive election in the past two years
- The needs to be met for Holocaust survivors who struggle with basic necessities like food and healthcare – and that Jewish Voice can continue to help meet these needs
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah