“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.”
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV)
Thank you for your partnership. No matter what is happening in our world, it is such a blessing to have faithful friends standing with us in support of Israel and her people.
This week, I’m sharing Scripture focused on the importance of placing our trust in the Lord. Trusting Him is the only answer to having true peace – or as Isaiah states it – perfect peace.
I hope you will pray this both for yourself and for the Jewish people. That they will put their trust in the only source of perfect peace, the Messiah Jesus.
In the news, Iran has been busy, leading to airstrikes by the U.S. and Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also is speaking out about Iran and the nuclear deal.
There is good news regarding initial signs of cooperation between Israel and a few other countries in the Middle East to better deal with the threat of Iran. Also, the first-ever ambassador from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) visited Jerusalem.
In addition, on Monday, the government voted to reopen grades 7-10 and move forward with easing coronavirus restriction starting Sunday – this includes the reopening of restaurants and cafes and allowing larger gatherings.
Here are this week’s news updates for you to read and pray over.
Netanyahu Says Iran Was Behind Blast That Hit Israeli-Owned Ship
On Monday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran was behind the explosion that hit an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman last week.
“This is indeed an action by Iran, it is clear,” Netanyahu said.
In response to a question about whether Israel would respond to the attack on the ship, Netanyahu said that Iran “is Israel’s biggest enemy and we are striking them across the region.”
The prime minister added that Israel has told the U.S. that Jerusalem will not allow Tehran to have nuclear weapons, no matter what the terms are of any potential multinational deal, The Times of Israel reported.
“The Iranians will not have nuclear weapons, with or without an agreement. I said that to my friend [U.S. President Joe] Biden as well,” Netanyahu said.
Israel Reportedly Strikes Iranian Targets in Response to Attack on Ship
Late Sunday, Israel reportedly bombed Iranian targets in Syria. This led to speculation that the airstrikes were in response to the attack on the Israeli-owned ship the Gulf of Oman last Thursday.
No official government or military statement was made by Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The Syrian army said an Israeli airstrike targeted parts of southern Damascus. Regional intelligence sources say the strikes targeted Iran-linked assets.
U.S. Carries Out Airstrikes on Iran-Backed Militias in Syria
Last Friday, U.S. airstrikes against militias backed by Iran in Syria killed at least one fighter and wounded several others. U.S. officials said this was a calibrated response to rocket attacks against American personnel in Iraq, part of an increase in anti-U.S. attacks in Iraq.
The attacks were intentionally limited in scope to show that President Biden will act tough but wants to avoid a major regional escalation, according to U.S. officials.
The airstrikes targeted militia sites on the Syrian side of the Iraqi-Syrian border where groups backed by Iran control an important crossing for weapons, personnel and goods, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Prime Minister Speaks Out Regarding Iran and Nuclear Deal
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he told U.S. President Joe Biden he will do whatever it takes to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, regardless of whether the U.S. reenters the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.
“I told him, with or without an agreement, my obligation as the prime minister of Israel, as the prime minister of the Jewish state, is to prevent a recurrence of the terrible things that have been done to our people,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 13, The Times of Israel reported.
“There is a regime whose flagship goal is to destroy us. I will do everything I can, everything in my power, to prevent it from attaining nuclear weapons,” he said.
Netanyahu rejected the premise that the existing nuclear deal, which Iran has violated repeatedly, would be better than no agreement at all.
“An agreement with a state like that? How many times do we need to learn from history? Agreements are made. But if you rely solely on agreements, that’s a mistake,” he said.
When asked if he relies on Biden when it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, Netanyahu responded: “I rely on myself, on ourselves.”
Israel, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Bahrain in Talks About Defense Alliance Against Iran
With the goal of expanding cooperation in facing its common enemies, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain held discussions, an Israeli official with knowledge on the matter said on Monday.
All four countries are American allies, and all view a nuclear Iran as a significant threat. They have also been watching to see what the Biden administration will do regarding the 2015 nuclear deal.
The remarks about the four countries having talks came after an article by World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder in Arab News called for a “NATO of the Middle East,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
“Facing the accelerating threat of a malevolent Iran and the weakness of a coronavirus-hit world, the path toward self-reliance seems also to be the only path forward,” Lauder wrote. “Israelis and Arabs should seize the opportunity to work together to save the Middle East from the looming catastrophe of extremism and nuclearization.”
Israel Officially Receives First-Ever U.A.E. Ambassador
On Monday, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin formally received the first-ever ambassador to Israel from the UAE, Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khajah. This comes after the historic deal to normalize ties between the two countries in 2020.
The UAE was the first country to agree to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords, a pact brokered by former U.S. President Donald Trump. Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have also joined the Abraham Accords.
Mysterious Oil Spill Closes Large Portion of Israel’s Coastline and Halts Seafood Sales
Last Wednesday, Israel’s Health Ministry issued a decree banning the sale of all seafood caught off Israel's Mediterranean coast. The country is still assessing the damage of the previous week’s massive oil spill.
Because of the spill, approximately 100 miles of Israel’s 120-mile coastline was covered in thick black tar. Local plants and wildlife have been severely damaged. It is believed that hundreds of sea turtles, crabs, fish, whales and seagulls have died in the spill.
Local and international authorities are searching, but the tanker responsible for the spill has yet to be identified. Thousands of volunteers and portions of the Israeli military have been helping with recovery efforts, but it’s expected to take several months.
The impact on Israel's struggling tourism, hospitality and seafood industries will be huge, especially as the country continues to ease the lockdown and travel restrictions.
Let Us Pray Together
Please pray with me for:
- Wisdom for both Israel and the U.S. in dealing with Iran
- Expansion of cooperation among Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to form a defense alliance
- Protection for Israelis as the government further eases COVID-related restrictions beginning Sunday
- Coronavirus infection rates to keep trending down in Israel
- A speedy resolution to the oil spill and reduced environmental damage
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah