VFI News February 14, 2020

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"Evening, and morning and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice." Ps. 55:17

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“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Prov. 19:17

NGOs Call for End to Use of Palestinian Child Soldiers

An estimated 10,000 children are trained in Gazan terrorist camps each year, while at least 160 have died digging terror tunnels into Israel. From 18-21 Feb. 2020, the Coalition to Save Palestinian Child Soldiers is holding a Solidarity Week and is inviting members of the public to sign an open letter to the European Parliament and USA child welfare advocates to condemn the use of Palestinian children as soldiers. "For decades", the letter states, "Palestinian children have fulfilled the role of combatants, human shields, rioters, laborers, support staff, and even as suicide bombers. As a result, their childhoods have been cut short by death, severe injury, or imprisonment. The global community's unwillingness to address the issue has emboldened organizations such as Hamas, Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and PFLP in their exploitation of children as war resources," the letter continues. "A 2016 report found 240 textbooks, used in hundreds of UNRWA-sponsored schools were teaching Arab children between the first and ninth grades to kill Israelis and martyr themselves. It was not, however, until August 2019 that the UN finally called on Palestinian leaders to act against racist speech and hate crimes, including incitement to violence against Israelis and Jews. These organizations expose them to inciteful and violent children’s shows, and flood social media with calls for jihad and terrorism," the letter reads. "When the children are older, they’re sent out to partake in riots and to act as human shields as thousands of others have before them."

The coalition of NGOs hopes that public pressure put on the terrorist organizations will eventually force them to abandon their use of children to fight their wars. As part of that effort, they are also encouraging people to hold rallies and share materials online to raise awareness of the fact that children are being used in this way. One video, entitled 'Palestinian Child Soldiers in Numbers' notes that 17,000 children were enrolled in Hamas' child militia programs in 2019, and that 29 children have already lost their lives as suicide bombers. "In combat, children from as young as 9 have been pushed into the battle fray to fight and die alongside adult terrorists. Hamas and PIJ have been proud of the teenagers that have been 'martyred' in battle," the organizers noted. "These practices have led to a strategic culture that views children as resources and denies them their childhoods. For the future of the Palestinian people as a whole and for these children as individuals with rights according to international law and decent moral doctrine, the above practices must be stopped." (J. Post)

Pray for further exposure and effective action against Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist entities for the heinous practice of educating and using its youth to hate Israel and to serve as child-soldiers in conflicts with the Jewish state.  Intercede that such organizations and leaders will be made to feel increased penalties and the futility of promoting and glorifying terrorism in Palestinian society.

USA to Abbas: 'Choose Peace, America Will Be There'

USA Ambassador Craft spoke Tue. 11 Feb. 2020 at a special meeting of the UN Security Council. She urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to put aside past grievances and work together with Israel toward a better future for both people. “If you choose the path to peace, America and many other countries will be there,” Craft said. Even though the UN meeting had intended to dismiss USA President Donald Trump's plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Craft chose a conciliatory approach. She said she wanted to talk about how to move forward toward a brighter future, one that she believed Trump’s peace plan promised. Craft did not address the Palestinian frustration with the plan’s offer of only a fraction of east Jerusalem, handing them portions of the city on the other side of the barrier. Instead, she said, “this conceptual map represents a historic step toward the establishment of a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem. The plan also offers them more than 50 billion dollars in investments that would end the cycle of poverty", Craft said. The plan “is an opening offer. It is the beginning of a conversation – not the end of one,” she added. (VFI News)

USA Official on Trump Deal: 'Old Way of Doing Things is Over'

In the wake of a caustic UN Security Council debate on Tue. 11 Feb. 2020, during which all member nations except the USA and Israel shunned President Trump’s "Deal of the Century", the White House celebrated the withdrawal of a resolution rejecting the plan. The administration reportedly put heavy pressure on critics to drop the measure, introduced by Indonesia and Tunisia, and diplomats gave up at the risk of not having the necessary nine out of 15 votes to secure its passage. “By not putting forward a polarizing resolution, the UN Security Council demonstrated that the old way of doing things is over,” said a senior Trump official. “For the first time on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the Council was willing to think outside the box, and not fall back on the calcified Palestinian position, which has only allowed the failed status quo to continue". Ron Prosor, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN said, "The Palestinians’ inability to put forward a vote tonight shows the change that the international community has gone through in recent years. Two years ago, the Palestinians easily recruited many countries willing to vote in favor of a resolution condemning the USA recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The USA vetoed the decision. This time they don’t have nine countries behind them,” Prosor said. “It shows that countries have different priorities now and they put their own interests first. The failure of the Palestinians on Tuesday to ram a resolution against the Trump Plan through the Security Council is just the latest example of a UN that is no longer an arena where the Palestinians can score a slam dunk at will." (VFI News)

"They have dug a pit before me. Into the midst of it they themselves have fallen." Ps. 57:6

Israeli Ambassador to UN: Abbas Not Dedicated to Peace

Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas is insincere when he says he wants peace, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said on Tue. 11 Feb. 2020 at a UN Security Council meeting. The assembly was called to address the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan. The ambassador also called for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. “If Abbas was truly interested in peace, he wouldn’t be here, he would be in Jerusalem,” Danon said, referring to former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat speaking in the Knesset before signing a peace treaty with Israel. "Abbas says he wants sovereignty for the Palestinian people, but he has done everything to avoid it. The call for sovereignty has become a battle call, rather than an actual goal, a way to keep the conflict alive,” said Danon. He also accused the international community of encouraging Abbas’ “rejectionism” by way of their UN voting patterns and by calling for pre1967 lines to be the basis of negotiations. “They apply preconditions that directly contradict previous agreements between the sides,” he said, pointing out that Israel and the PLO agreed in the past that future borders would be determined via negotiations. “Why should he negotiate for us, when you’re negotiating for him?” Danon also praised USA President Donald Trump’s “sane approach” in trying a different way to make peace and not “accepting out-of-date concepts and a formula that has failed for over 70 years.” (J. Post/VFI News)

1st Jewish Museum In Madrid To Open In 2022

Madrid Mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, announced last week that the municipality has agreed to grant it the use of a building in the city center to create a Jewish museum. Spain was once home to the largest Jewish community in the world. The 1492 expulsion presented them with the choice to leave all and flee, or to convert to Catholicism, putting an end to centuries of flourishing Jewish life. This rich and tragic history will be presented in the Madrid-based Jewish museum, which is set to open in 2022. One of the goals of the museum will be to highlight 3,000 years of Jewish contributions to Spain and the rest of the world, emphasizing the importance of shared Judeo-Christian values and roots. About 45,000 Jews live in the country today, mostly in Madrid (20,000) and Barcelona (15,000), according to the European Jewish Congress. (VFI News)

Israel's Haredi Mom of 5 Wins Miami Half-Marathon Race

Beatie Deutsch, 30, who moved to Israel from New Jersey in 2009, is known for running in a skirt, sleeves that fall below her elbows, and a headscarf.  On Sunday 9 Feb. 2020 this Haredi Orthodox mother of five won the half-marathon at the 18th annual LifeTime Miami Marathon and Half Marathon event. She finished in a time of 1:16:4 to win in the women’s category. In May 2019 Deutsch was the top female finisher in a 13-mile half-marathon race in Riga, Latvia, becoming the first ultra-Orthodox woman to win an international athletic competition. Beatie, all of 4′ 11″ tall, is also known affectionately as "Speedy Beatie." (VFI News)

Kudos to Israel's athletes who consistently excel in sports competitions between the nations!   

Israel's Judoka Peter Paltchik Takes Home the Gold

Israeli judoka Peter Paltchik won the gold medal at the Paris Grand Slam on Sunday 9 Feb. 2020, defeating Olympic silver medalist Varlam Liparteliani in the under-100-kilogram category. Paltchik, currently ranked sixth in the world, is the first Israeli judoka to take gold in the Paris Grand Slam since Arik Zeevi in 2004. Paltchik is considered one of Israel's top athletes and a potential Tokyo 2020 Olympic medalist. In 2018, Paltchik brought home several medals, taking gold at The Hague Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Tbilisi, Georgia and at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which led to Israel's national anthem, Hatikvah, being played for the first time at a Gulf State sporting contest. (Israel Hayom)