VFI News December 16, 2022

Is Hanukkah in the Bible?

Did Jesus celebrate Hannukah? Is Hannukah in the Bible? How is Hannukah celebrated in Israel today? All this and more in today's special Hannukah episode of VFI News.

#visionforisrael #hannukah #israel

Chag Hanukkah Sameach

As Hanukkah begins on Sunday at sundown, we wish all of our readers Chag Hanukkah Sameach. May you have a prosperous holiday season, filled with health, love, and happiness, and may the Lord send all His blessings to you and your family.

12-story Scaffolding Collapses in Jerusalem area, Killing Two

Two construction workers were killed and another person was moderately injured after a 12-story building collapsed in Givat Ze'ev near Jerusalem on Monday, December 12.

The three were trapped under the rubble and eventually pulled out by fire and rescue services. Among them, a 35-year-old man was found dead and brought out from under the rubble, while another man was seriously injured.

After prolonged rescue efforts, medics were forced to determine the death of a 32-year-old man who was pulled out and taken to Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem's Mount Scopus.

The two casualties were later identified as Haitham Mahmoud Hamamera, a resident of the Palestinian village of Husan near Bethlehem, and Muhammad Ibrahim al-Quaisi. Three suspects have already been detained for questioning on Monday evening, police said.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman reported just a few months ago in May that the state only collected 5% of the fines for safety violations and filed only eight indictments out of 72 fatal accidents in the construction industry.

According to the comptroller, the number of fatalities in work accidents in Israel is twice the average in EU countries, a ratio of 11 per hundred thousand people in Jerusalem, compared to five fatalities in Europe. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you protect your people from work accidents, and that you give us the means so that we can avoid fatalities in the future.”

The articles included in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Vision for Israel. We try to provide accurate reporting on news pertinent to Israel, the Middle East, the diaspora, and Jewish issues around the world—and we hope that you find it both informative and useful for intercessory prayer.

Israeli Ambassador: Israel Is Threatened by Dark Forces

On Monday, December 12, Ambassador of Israel to the United States Michael Herzog and Ms. Shirin Herzog hosted a Hanukkah celebration at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.

During the event, Ambassador Herzog addressed attendees, comparing Israel’s current struggle against Iran to the protracted war the Maccabees fought against the Seleucid Empire.

“The Jewish state of Israel is threatened by dark forces, first and foremost Iran and its proxies. We are trying not only to fight back and deter, but also to spread light through expanded normalization and cooperation with our partners in the region. We strongly believe that this is an important key to the stability and the wellbeing of the Middle East, indeed to its future.”

The celebration was attended by senior members of the U.S. administration, members of Congress, Jewish community leaders, members of the media and civil society leaders. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined as the guest of honor and gave remarks. (INN / VFI News)

“You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race”. - Psalm 12:7-8

US Against UN Blacklist of Companies Operating in Judea and Samaria

The United States expressed opposition to a United Nations blacklist of companies doing business in Judea and Samaria. A State Department spokesman said on Friday, December 9, that the US is pressing the United Nations not to update the blacklist.

The United States "continues to oppose any work to update it" and has raised concerns "directly with the Office of the High Commissioner" for rights, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel was quoted by French media as having told reporters.

"Our view is that this database only serves to reinforce an anti-Israel bias that too often finds traction in UN venues," he added. "Also, this database poses a genuine threat to companies doing business or considering business operations in the region," said Patel.

The initial list included 112 companies which operate in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. The UN said that the companies, including Airbnb, Expedia, and TripAdvisor, violate international law by continuing to operate in the Jewish communities in the area. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we thank You for blessing us with powerful allies that take active steps to fight anti-Semitism around the world, without fear of the potential consequences.”

Over 80% of Israeli Youth Have Encountered Anti-Semitism Online - ADL

A new survey published by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation revealed alarming data about the extent of Israeli teens’ exposure to anti-Semitism on the Internet and social media.

According to the survey’s findings, more than one in four Israeli teens (27%) has been the target of derogatory language because they are Jewish. About half of the victims of the attacks experienced the attacks on social media (48%).

Another alarming figure indicates that 81% of Israeli youth have encountered expressions of online anti-Semitism, either in general or targeting them personally. Only 14% of the respondents said that they had not encountered anti-Semitism online.

When drilling down to see where the Israeli teens encountered online anti-Semitism, it was found that 71% encountered anti-Semitic expressions coming from various people on social media, 66% encountered pages with anti-Semitic content on social media, 65% encountered songs or videos with anti-Semitic content and 30% encountered actual anti-Semitic websites.

“The results of the survey are shocking and of great concern," said Dr. Beatrice Gorawantschy, director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Israel. "This is a wake-up call for us all". (JPost / VFI News)

Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright. - Proverbs 14:9

JOY IN A TIME OF SORROW | Vision for Israel

During Hanukkah 2021, we hosted a Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebration for children of terror victim families. To us, it was a fitting way to shine light through a dark time, and dark circumstances—during a season that celebrates light.

Herzog Grants Netanyahu 10 More Days to Form Coalition, Adds a Warning

President Isaac Herzog on Friday, December 9, granted Likud leader and Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu 10 additional days to finish forming a government.

He also expressed concern that the coalition Netanyahu is assembling — set to be the most right-wing in Israeli history — could potentially damage Israel’s democratic checks and balances, breach the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and alienate Jews overseas.

The presumed incoming prime minister formally asked Herzog for the maximal extension of two weeks on Thursday, saying that the complexity of cobbling together his coalition required extra time, but Herzog gave him only 10 days.

Netanyahu’s 28-day mandate to assemble a government was set to expire at midnight on Sunday night, December 11, and he will now have until December 21 to form a government. Herzog did not specify why he chose not to grant Netanyahu the maximum 14-day extension.

“These are complex times for Israeli society as differences over core issues threaten to stoke violence and blind hatred,” the president said in a letter addressed to Netanyahu. Therefore, Herzog told Netanyahu to form a government that “must work for the entire public in Israel.” (TOI / VFI News)

“God, we trust in You that newfound leadership will guide Israel towards the right paths, and that national and transnational cooperation can be achieved.”

World Cup: Second Journalist Dies in Qatar 'Unexpectedly' - Report

A second journalist has died under suspicious circumstances while covering the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Khalid al-Misslam, a Qatari photojournalist, died suddenly while covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to Qatari media.

His death came into the limelight shortly after the sudden passing of Grant Wahl, a soccer journalist covering his eighth World Cup.

Very few details about Misslam's death are available, with little-to-no information about his death covered by the local media. His employer only briefly mentioned the passing in their own broadcast.

The 43-year-old journalist died under unclear circumstances, although foul play is currently not suspected. It is unclear if an investigation has been opened to look into his cause of death.

Qatar's World Cup organizers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), paid tribute to Wahl's "enormous love of football" and offered condolences to his family, friends and media colleagues.

His agent, Tim Scanlan, told British media that Wahl had "appeared to suffer some kind of acute distress in the start of extra time" at the quarter-final match. (JPost / VFI News)

Israel Welcomes Over 2 Million Tourists in 2022, Amid Steady post-COVID Recovery

Over 2 million tourists visited Israel between January and October, and the number is expected to rise to about 2.5 million by the end of 2022, according to the Tourism Ministry.

Ministry figures showed some 2,078,000 tourist arrivals in Israel in the first 10 months of the year. Should these continue at the same rate, the ministry said it expects to record between 2.4 to 2.6 million arrivals by the end of the year.

These figures are a far cry from 2019’s figures when Israel welcomed some 4.5 million tourists, its strongest year on record, but the numbers show promising signs of recovery for inbound tourism, the ministry said.

Israel only reopened its skies in March, lifting most COVID-related travel restrictions. Hotel industry figures also point to signs of recovery.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), 19.3 million hotel stays were recorded between January and October this year, compared to 21.8 million over the same period in 2019. (TOI /VFI News)

“God, we are grateful for steadily recuperating from financial losses, as well as for being able to welcome people from around the world and exhibit our hospitality.”

Evidence Unearthed in Judean Desert of Maccabean Revolt

Evidence for a dramatic moment in the history of the Jewish people was uncovered in the Judean Desert: A rare wooden box containing a small hoard of 15 silver coins, dated to the days leading up to the Maccabean Revolt.

The box was hidden in Muraba‘at Cave in the Darageh Stream Nature Reserve about 2,200 years ago, and it was discovered in excavations carried out there last May.

The coin hoard has since been researched, and it will be exhibited to the public over Hanukkah in the Hasmonean Museum in Modi‘in, in the context of Israel Heritage Week that takes place on Hanukkah.

Among the many finds, the unique lathe-turned wooden box was discovered in a crack in the cave. When the lid was removed, it turned out that the upper part of the box was full of packed earth and small stones. Below this earth layer, a large piece of purple woolen cloth was found, covering the 15 silver coins that were arranged with pieces of sheep’s wool in the lower part of the box.

The coin hoard, cleaned in the Israel Antiquities Authority metal finds laboratory, comprised a homogeneous group of silver tetradrachma coins, minted by Ptolemy VI, King of Egypt.

The name “Shalmai” in Aramaic script was found secondarily incised on one of the coins. Based on the date of the latest coin in the hoard in 170 BCE, the year when the hoard was hidden can be fixed to the beginning of the Maccabean Revolt, and the war declared against Antiochos Epiphanes IV decrees against the Jewish religion, or to the events that led up to the Revolt.

According to Dr Eitan Klein, who studied the coins together with Dr. Gabriela Bijovsky, Israel Antiquities Authority numismatic expert, “This is an absolutely unique find, presented the first clear archaeological evidence that the Judean Desert caves played an active role as the stage of the activities of the Jewish rebels or the fugitives in the early days of the Maccabean Revolt, or the events that led up to them." (INN / VFI News)

The suggestions, opinions, and scripture references made by VFI News writers and editors are based on the best information received.

Want to see more from VFI? Follow us on Facebook! Our official Facebook name is Vision for Israel. Follow us there and please hit “like” if you like us.