VFI News December 18, 2019

UK Elections: Corbyn’s Defeat is Israel’s Win

“Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.” Isa. 54:15

Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu congratulated his British counterpart Boris Johnson following Johnson’s landslide win in last week’s UK general election. “Congratulations my friend Boris Johnson on your historic victory,” Netanyahu tweeted on Friday 13 Dec. 2019. "This is a great day for the people of Great Britain and for the friendship between us.” UK PM Boris Johnson's Conservative Party the previous day emerged triumphant in a crushing defeat over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. Israel’s politicians have hailed Corbyn’s downfall as 'a milestone in the fight against anti-Semitism'. Corbyn, who was elected to lead the party in 2015, lost the support of many Jewish and non-Jewish voters due to his friendly connections with terror groups and his documented anti-Semitic statements and actions. Many British Jews said the elections were critical for them because they believe that the Labour Party has become institutionally anti-Semitic under Corbyn. The Labour Against Anti-Semitism group has documented thousands of cases of anti-Semitic hate speech by members since 2015. Signaling a final defeat, Jeremy Corbyn announced his resignation as leader of the Labour party early Friday morning 13 Dec. 2019. (VFI News)

“May all who hate Zion be turned back in shame. May they be like grass on the roof, which withers before it can grow.” Ps. 129: 5-6

UK To Ban BDS

Landing another blow to the jaws of anti-Semitism this month, the new Conservative government in the UK has announced it will pass a law making it illegal for public bodies to engage with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.  The Conservative Party’s platform in the general election last week included a commitment to "ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment, or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries.”  Specifically, the move is meant to bloc local councils controlled by the Labour Party from using taxpayer funds to boycott Israel. UK Special Envoy for post-Holocaust issues Eric Pickles said over the weekend that Labour's historic defeat in last week's election showed that the British people reject anti-Semitism. "Anti-Semitism is an attack on the British way of life and British identity. Without our Jewish citizens, we would be a lesser nation. BDS is anti-Semitic and should be treated as such." The envoy continued to explain that the new law will not allow public bodies to work with those who boycott, divest from or sanction Israel in any way. The Palestinian launched and backed BDS movement, rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and is among the most prominent efforts to undermine Israel’s existence. (VFI News)

More voices of protest are being raised on behalf of Israel, and ever-increasing action being taken in high places against organizations and groups that further BDS, anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitism. These changes are answers to prayer. Thank you, intercessors! Continue to pray for far-reaching Western government decisions to be made on behalf of the Jewish state.

BDS and America’s New Anti-Semites

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) pushes for economic measures to oppose Israel’s [so-called] occupation of Judea & Samaria. The campaign’s Palestinian instigators initially called for changes in Israeli policies, but numerous backers have taken it up to oppose Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state. Supporters of Israel have pointed out that the boycott movement is anti-Semitism in disguise. Backing this observation, a report scheduled to be issued in full this week has exposed what it called “unprecedented similarities between the BDS movement and far-right groups to propagate anti-Semitism in the United States.” The 120-page report, titled “The New Anti-Semites,” is backed by 23 Jewish and Christian American non-governmental organizations. “The wide coalition behind the report illustrates the growing concern about the spike in anti-Semitism in the United States,” the report's authors said. “Much of this hatred is often disguised under the veil of the delegitimization campaign (BDS) against the Jewish State of Israel.” The report warned that “this bigotry does not end with the Jewish people; it threatens to dismantle American values and result in mass violence. (VFI News)

Continue to intercede against the BDS movement in the USA, Canada and across Europe that seeks to further hatred against Jews, the Jewish state and to undermine Israel’s economy.

Israelis Head for a Third National Election in 2020

The deadline passed on Wed. 11 Dec. 2019 to nominate a candidate for Israel’s next prime minister, officially launching the third election in less than a year. The Knesset voted to dissolve itself late Wed. night. New elections will be held on 2 March 2020. Unable to find common ground following inconclusive election results in April 2019 and again in Sep. 2019, lawmakers from PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White blame each other for the impasse. Yair Lapid, Blue and White’s second in command, predicted that the next few months would be “a festival of hate and violence and disgrace.” According to two opinion polls, the public seems to agree with more than 40 percent of respondents blaming Netanyahu for the political deadlock. More than a quarter of the public believes Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman is responsible, and a similar percentage says all parties are equally at fault. Another poll conducted last week revealed that the prevailing sentiment could have tangible effects, with Blue and White predicted to win 37 out of the Knesset’s 120 seats in March 2020. However, neither party is expected to be in a clear position to head a minimum 61-member coalition, as the country’s Right and Center-Left blocs are projected to receive about the same overall representation as they did in both April and September of this year. (VFI News)

It’s Not Always Sunny in Israel

For those who have never visited Israel, it’s easy to picture it as a land of deserts and white stretches of beach with occasional rain in the winter months - but mostly sunny and warm. Actually, Israel is a country of two seasons; summer and winter with a short-lived, breathtaking spring and a brief reminder of autumn sandwiched between the hot and the cold. In the late fall and winter months, snow, freezing temperatures, storms, and blustery gales can cause chaos from Israel’s well-forested north to its wind-carved deserts in the south. For example, last week turbulent weather lashed the coastline of Israel on Thur. 12 Dec. 2019 and moved inland, causing numerous injuries and damage to cars and buildings. Flash floods were predicted in the Judean Desert and the ski resort at Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights was closed down for the weekend due to weather conditions. The Magen David Adom rescue service said a number of people were hurt in weather-related incidents around the country. Among them was an 80-year-old man who was found unconscious in his apartment suffering from hypothermia. Paramedics sought to resuscitate him and then rushed him to a coastal hospital. There, he was sadly pronounced dead.  While precipitation is desperately needed across the country during the rainy season, it is often a bleak and deadly time for the poor, the elderly and those in need who live alone. For such people, there is often no holiday respite with good food, company, let alone fireplaces or even a small space heater. For them, the sun is behind the clouds for weeks on end. (VFI News)

Please continue to pray for an abundant rainy season in Israel, more importantly for the provision and care of those in need who face each winter with dread and the expectation of hardship.

Lack of Heat Fatal for too Many Elderly Israelis

MK Itzik Shmuli (Labor) last week wrote about the death of elderly people due to a lack of heating in their homes. In a Twitter post, he responded to the death of an elderly Israeli man who perished in his home during a severe storm and high freezing winds: "Another elderly man died of cold. Every year, thousands of houses become cold traps and some people simply freeze to death when there is no money to heat the house. Only now did I demand in the Knesset to stop the electricity cuts and increase the heating grant, but the government does not care. I will require the urgent convening of a committee." The most recent figures revealed that thousands of elderly Israelis give up food, medicine or heating because they cannot afford to pay for them. Some 18 percent of Israeli elderly go without home heating and about 20% forego basic commodities in order to pay for heating. In need of assistance, these old men and women who have no families they can turn to, say that feeling cold to the bone is worse than feeling hungry. "I'm afraid of going to sleep because I'm not sure I will wake up," said one elderly man. At least 23% of Israel's elderly live completely alone. According to the Israeli Center for Legal guardianship (ICLG) - a public trust that helps the impoverished elderly in all walks of life - there are thousands of Israelis for whom the winter is nothing but a reoccurring nightmare. (VFI News)

Intercede for the elderly and Holocaust survivors in Israel to receive the love, provision and emotional support so badly needed.  Heat, food and medical supplies are among the most basic needs that so many are suffering without.  Please make a difference with your prayers and donations on behalf of the elderly of Israel during the cold winter months.

Over 1 Million Israeli Children Experience Food Insecurity

A new study released by a welfare NGO last week revealed that food insecurity currently affects more than one million children in Israel. The figures represent one-third of all children in the country, with an additional 1.3 million adults suffering from hunger. This adds up to the sad figure of more than 2.3 million Israelis live in poverty. Some 29.4% of people in this figure reported weight loss due to an inability to afford food. At least 12% admitted to rummaging through garbage bins for meals.  Some 27.9% counted in the study said that their children routinely go to school without lunch, marking a 16-point increase from last year. Among the 35 countries listed as members of the OECD, Israel is ranked at the highest level of poverty. (VFI News)  

Intercede for the children of Israel to have the nourishment, clothing, shelter, and love needed. May those individuals and groups who are able to give, give abundantly. Pray that the plight of those in need in the nation will become a major concern to the government and that the annual budget for the elderly, the disabled, children at risk and families undergoing hardship will reflect that concern.

A Season to Give a Special Gift to Jerusalem

If you have read the preceding articles, you will realize that poverty and hunger continue to be major concerns for so many people, both young and old, in the Jewish state. This past year many of you have helped us at VFI to make a tremendous difference in the lives of underprivileged children, their families, and the elderly.We want to thank all of you who have given so generously throughout the year. We couldn’t have blessed the needy in the land in so many diverse ways without you. For those who would like the opportunity to bless Israel before the year’s end, there is still time for you to make a tax-deductible gift before 31 Dec. 2019, according to the laws in your own country. Give generously at www.visionforisrael.com. Please continue to help hands and hearts at VFI rebuild hope and provide for the nation’s poor both now and in 2020.

“Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.” Rom. 15: 26-27