VFI News December 27, 2019

Israel to Seize ‘Pay For Slay’ Terrorist Salaries

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” Rev. 21:4-5

Israel’s Defense Minister, Naftali Bennet on Wed. 25 Dec. 2019 signed a seizure order for salaries from the PA received by convicted terrorists. The order freezes the monthly allowance given by Palestinian sources to them and their families. The Palestinian Authority has long made monthly payments to individuals under arrest in Israel for terrorism-related offenses. The payments range from about $400 to $3,400 month depending on the time served and the seriousness of the terrorist attack. The salaries are informally known as “pay for slay” payments. Among those covered under the new order are five Arab Israelis serving life sentences. One participated in a 2003 double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, which killed 23. Two others assisted the suicide bomber who attacked a bus at the Meron Junction in August 2002, killing nine people and injuring 38. The Defense Ministry spokesperson stated that this was the first time that Israel is actively working against terrorists' allowances coming from the Palestinian Authority – and that similar orders will soon be signed into action.

 “He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made.” Ps. 7:14-15

A Season to Give A Special Gift To Jerusalem

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

Israel’s New Laser Device Tackles Incendiary Balloons

Israeli security forces on Thur. 26 Dec. 2019 introduced the new Light Blade laser system intended to shoot down incendiary balloons, kites, and drones before they enter Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip. In a series of weekly demonstrations since March 2018, along with other forms of violence, Palestinians have launched fire balloons, kites and burning rags from the Gaza Strip borders destroying thousands of acres of Israeli agricultural and forest lands. The Light Bade laser system was developed for police and the IDF by three Israeli engineers from the private sector. The laser can engage targets day or night with an effective range of 2 km. and can be installed on a small trailer or truck. Border Police chief Kobi Shabtai said that Light Blade "provides a near conclusive response to everything relating to balloons and kites, and delivers a safe and effective solution to the drone threat." The system will also be deployed along the northern border with Lebanon. (VFI News)

Palestinians to Limit ‘Great March’ Protests In 2020

A Palestinian organization representing terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip disclosed that Friday’s 27 Dec. 2019 demonstration at the border fence with Israel will be the last in a series of weekly protests since March 2018. The “Great March of Return” demonstrations - falsely dubbed as  "peaceful resistance" - have been viewed as an effort to revive hostility against the Jewish state.  Some thirty thousand Palestinians participated in the first protest that took place on 30 March 2018, with thousands taking part each Friday since at the Israel/Gaza border. Groups consisting mainly of young men approached the border, rolling burning tires towards the fence to provide smoke screens, and also throwing stones and Molotov cocktails in the direction of Israeli troops. In April 2018, Palestinian began launching kites bearing incendiary devices over the border fence, causing wide-spread damage to property on the Israeli side. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, admitted in a media interview, "when we talk about 'peaceful resistance', we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support." The weekly demonstrations often turned violent, with upwards of 200 protesters having been killed in clashes with Israeli forces, and thousands more hurt. During one of the protests, an Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper. The umbrella organization, calling itself the Higher National Committee, says that starting in Jan. 2020 the protests will be scaled back to once a month but would also be held on national days. Participation in the Friday demonstrations has lessened in the past few months. (VFI News)

Intercede that changes will come from within the Palestinian society that result in softened hearts, educational and media shifts, and a true desire for good relations with Israel. Pray for Palestinian leaders to be placed into positions who have the wisdom to put an end to terrorist incitement against the Jewish state and who envision the peaceful growth and well-being of the Palestinian people.

Israel’s Capital Rated Fastest Growing Tourist Destination

Israel has welcomed 4.5 million visitors during 2019, and the UK-based Euromonitor International this week ranked Jerusalem as the world's most popular and fastest-growing tourist destination. Jerusalem leaped forward in the 219 Top 100 City Destinations report by six places from 2018 to rank 61st while Tel Aviv ranked 79th. The cities that topped the 2019 list were Hong Kong, Bangkok, Macau, Singapore, London, and Paris.  (VFI News)

“Your gates will always stand open - they will never be shut, day or night.” Isa. 60:11

Researchers Develop Molecule for Fighting Lupus

Over five million people globally are afflicted by Lupus, an autoimmune disease similar to Colitis and Crohn's. The long-term malady affects the immune system by making it hyperactive, attacking normal, healthy tissue. Symptoms of the disease range from swelling, inflammation, damage to either the skin, joints, kidneys, heart or lungs, severe fatigue as well as unexplained fever, pain, and rashes across the skin. Researchers Professor Varda Shoshan-Barmatz of Israel’s Ben Gurion University and Dr. Jay Chung of the United States National Institute of Health have successfully shown that the mitochondrial protein VDAC1 is "critical" for the release of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The mtDNA is linked to the composition of Lupus in patients. Also, the newly found discovery has shown results in patients to successfully relieve symptoms of the disease. “Our breakthrough is identifying a new pathway for the exit of mitochondrial DNA that we can either trigger under controlled conditions or inhibit using our novel molecule that we specifically developed to prevent the formation of this pathway,” said Shoshan-Barmatz. “Since the results thus far with lupus have been so promising, we believe that the molecule will be beneficial with regards to other diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis - as our preliminary results already support." (VFI News)

Israel is a leader in science, medicine, technology and dozens of other areas to assist our planet and its inhabitants to heal and to prosper. “And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing.” Zech. 8:13

First Winter Storm Brings Gales, Rain, Snow to Israel

Israel saw its first snowfall of the winter season on Wed. 25 Dec. 2019 as cold fronts, rainfall, and strong gusts swept through the country. Israel was hit by widespread flooding the following day as torrential downpours and strong gusts swept through the country. In Thursday’s late hours of the morning, snow began falling on Mount Hermon, with the temperatures in the area dropping to 0 degrees Celsius. The Sea of Galilee reportedly rose by 6 cm within 24 hours. Before the current rainstorm, measurements showed that this year's annual rainfall in northern Israel stood at around 50% of the yearly average, but this number soared to over 110% of the region's expected quantity of precipitation in just 24 hours.  Low temperatures, heavy showers and strong gusts of wind are expected to last until Saturday 28 Dec. 2019. Police forces remain on high alert, calling for people to prepare for road closures due to flooding and urged the residents to stay away from low lying areas. (VFI News)

Pray for a much needed abundant rainy season in Israel but with protection and safety for Israel's elderly and others who are vulnerable to severe weather conditions, and with limited damage to property, and agriculture.

Iran Limits Internet Prior to Renewed Protests

The Iranian regime this week limited Internet access in several provinces across the country ahead of the expected renewal of nationwide protests on Thur. 26 Dec. 2019. Iran was shaken by demonstrations in over 100 cities during Nov. 2019. Tehran imposed a total Internet shutdown for at least five days in a bid to prevent civilians from posting photos of the ensuing crackdown on social media. Media sources said that the violent repression, which killed up to 1,500 people, was ordered directly by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. An additional 7,000 people are believed to have been jailed, some of whom have been tortured according to rights groups. The internal unrest, which poses the greatest challenge to the mullahs since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, has been worsened by protests in Iraq and Lebanon partially fueled by anger over Iranian interventionism in both countries. The regime’s predicament is further compounded by the intensifying effects of USA economic sanctions. (VFI News)

Pray that the Iranian people who want political and social change but live in fear of expressing their discontent will be encouraged in their hopes. Intercede for courage and the protection of those taking part in nation-wide protests.