VFI News June 26, 2020

Turkey’s Airstrikes in Northern Iraq Threaten Christian Villages

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. —Proverbs 3:5-6

Civilians have been killed and villagers threatened by Turkey’s widespread airstrikes in northern Iraq. Ankara claims to be fighting “terrorists” but has used disproportionate force. Activists fear that Christian minorities, already threatened by Turkey’s invasions of northern Syria, will have to flee again.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has condemned Turkey’s operation “Claw Eagle,” launched last week. Airstrikes pounded Sinjar, the area where Yazidi minorities are recovering from the 2014 ISIS genocide. Following the airstrikes, Turkey launched wide-ranging attacks into the mountains of northern Iraq in the autonomous Kurdistan region.

Although Turkey claims it is fighting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), there have been no terror attacks on the country.

Turkish-backed extremists, which US memos labeled “jihadi mercenaries” attacked civilians, murdering Kurdish female activist Hevrin Khalaf. Turkish far-right pro-government media labeled the murder of Khalaf, who was unarmed, as the “neutralization of a terrorist.” There was no evidence that she or the other 300,000 people forced to flee by Turkey’s invasions engaged in terrorism. (JPost / VFI News)

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. —Matthew 5:10

“God we ask that you act swiftly to protect the innocents throughout the world who suffer persecution—particularly for their faith in you.”

IDF Chief Kochavi: Iran the Most Dangerous Country in the Middle East

Despite its distance from Israel, Iran is the most dangerous country in the Middle East, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said Sunday evening.

“It’s made significant progress with its nuclear program, but the nuclear [threat] is no longer the only threat. Iran also possesses conventional weapons,” Kochavi said at a ceremony marking Strategy and Third-Circle Directorate, an entirely new position on the General Staff, which will focus principally on Israel’s fight against Iran.

Speaking at the ceremony, Kalman said that the reality of the global and regional environment “has changed significantly” and that while “the IDF has strengthened its position as a player in international security...faced with these challenges, the IDF is required to operate in a variety of arenas and dimensions.” (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you protect the people of Israel—and the rest of the region—from the threat of nuclear war, and other hostility.”

Tel Aviv to Recognize Same-Sex and Interfaith Couples

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality will recognize same-sex, interfaith, and other couples who are otherwise not eligible to be married by the state’s religious authorities, announced Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai, in honor of the city’s Pride Week, on Sunday.

“We hope the government also will move towards the 21st century and promote in law the rights of the (LGBT) community — the right to marry, to equal parenting, to protection from hate crimes and workplace bullying and more,” Huldai said.

Those couples who live together will be allowed to register their relationship with a statement to the city. They will be eligible for municipal benefits, including housing tax discounts, and easier enrollment of their children into public daycares and schools.

The recognition on the municipal level has no impact on recognition on the national level. Same-sex and interfaith marriages are not performed by the rabbinate, and those performed in Israel are not recognized by the state. Marriages performed outside of Israel can be registered with the state. (INN / VFI News)

Israel’s Annexation Plans Remain a Partisan Issue for US Lawmakers

Top congressional Republicans penned a letter backing Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

The letter comes as another is already circulating among Democrats in the House that warns Israel of the perils of applying sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

The Republican letter, shared with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, was spearheaded by the first, second, and third-ranked Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives: Kevin McCarthy, Calif., Steve Scalise, La., and Liz Cheney, Wyo., respectively. It has garnered 116 signatures out of 198 Republicans in the House.

The Democrat letter has so far garnered 170 signatures, including top pro-Israel leaders like Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader. (INN / VFI News)

A Spanish State Declares BDS Movement Anti-Semitic

A Spanish state has, for the first time, passed legislation declaring the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel a form of anti-Semitism.

The parliament of the Balearic Islands Autonomous Community — one of 17 such entities that make up the semi-federal state kingdom of Spain — made the declaration in a June 11 motion that was passed unanimously and finalized last week.

It said the Balearic Islands condemn “any form of anti-Semitism” as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and “particularly the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, and calls to boycott Israeli products, scientists, artists and athletes from Israel,” the motion reads. It also spoke about the need to research and educate about the unique Jewish history of the region, whose capital city, Palma, is on the island of Mallorca.

The definition of anti-Semitism referenced in the resolution includes some examples of anti-Israel vitriol, including comparisons between the Jewish state and Nazi Germany.

Spain’s judiciary has repeatedly defined BDS as a discriminatory endeavor, but legislation reflecting this view rarely passes. (INN / VFI News)

Austria Breaks Ground for New Holocaust Memorial

Austria broke ground on a new memorial to the country's 65,000 Jews killed during the Nazi era, according to an AP report.

“The Memorial to the Jewish Children, Women, and Men of Austria who were Murdered in the Shoah” being erected in Vienna's central Ostarrichi Park will consist of large slabs set in the ground in a circle, engraved with the names of the 64,000 victims who have been identified.

Another 1,000 are known to have been killed by the Nazis, but their names have been lost.

At the time of Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938, around 210,000 Jews lived in the country. Many fled, but later found themselves in Nazi hands again as the German armies swept westward to the English Channel and deep into the Soviet Union in the east.

The memorial is to be completed by next spring and is envisioned as a place of reflection, and both a tribute to those who lost their lives and a reminder of the perils of anti-Semitism. (INN / VFI News)

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. —1 Thessalonians 4:17

“God, we ask that you make sure that the terrible atrocities of the Holocaust are never forgotten so that we as a civilization never repeat their horror.”

Israeli Gov’t Report: Vaccine for Coronavirus May Be Ready by Winter

Researchers at an Israeli government center say that tests of a coronavirus vaccine have been successful on hamsters, and the vaccine could be ready by the end of winter if human trials are allowed in the coming weeks.

The vaccine developed at the institute in central Israel uses a VSV virus, which does not cause the disease in humans. None of the hamsters that received the vaccine became sick with the coronavirus, according to the report.

The report noted that a vaccine being developed at Oxford University could be approved for use in specific cases as early as October, and one being developed by the American biotech company Moderna also is promising.

Israel signed a deal last week with Moderna to purchase its vaccine should trials be successful, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced during a meeting of the government’s so-called Coronavirus Cabinet. No details on the deal were released. (INN / VFI News)

And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. —Numbers 16:48

“God, we ask that you continue to bless and edify and inspire those who are diligently working to protect us from this pandemic.”

Rare Solar Eclipse Dims Israel

As the moon passed between the sun and the earth it first appeared to touch the sun's edge at 7:25 a.m. in Jerusalem, a minute later in Tel Aviv, moving to maximum eclipse at 8:24 in Jerusalem when approximately 35% of the sun was blotted out. The spectacle lasted until 9:30 a.m. in the capital when the moon finally left the sun's edge behind.

The phenomenon won't be seen again in Israel until 2027. Solar eclipses happen between two and five times a year and are normally named for their maximum point, when the moon covers the most area of the sun.

2020 sees two solar eclipses. Sunday’s June 21 eclipse happened to fall on the longest day of the year, but another will pass across South America and the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in December, when the moon will block the sun's light entirely as it will be closer to Earth at that time. (JPost / VFI News)

“And on that day,” declares the Lord God, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. —Amos 8:9

Sing the Songs of Zion with Barry and Batya

Be sure to subscribe to Barry and Batya’s Music YouTube Channel—featuring memorable, easy-to-learn melodies that are sure to heighten the spiritual mood of any occasion. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Nj8CTAGFJZUVvSL-7iBBg

There are 4 music videos so far with more to come:

-          Hodu La'Adonai - https://youtu.be/zXkO24MiWZw

-           Hine Lo Yanum - https://youtu.be/TTQoRNbIPFA

-          On Your Walls O Jerusalem - https://youtu.be/9yDt8B170N4

-          Ma Navu - https://youtu.be/omZ7OyfT5uM