VFI News 4 Hostages Dead in Captivity, 11 People Injured During Hezbollah Drone Attack

Hezbollah Scorch Israel's Northern Border - Latest Updates | VFI News

In this week's VFI News, we discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, extreme heatwaves, and US President Joe Biden's plan for Gaza.

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4 Hostages, Including British Israeli Man, Murdered in Hamas Captivity in Gaza, Israel Says

Four hostages including a British Israeli citizen have been murdered in Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli military.

Nadav Popplewell, 51, who was taken from Kibbutz Nirim, was confirmed dead by Israeli officials on Monday, June 3 — along with Israelis Chaim Peri, 79, Yoram Metsger, 80, and Amiram Cooper, 84, who were taken from Kibbutz Nir Oz, Israeli media reported.

Hamas previously claimed that all four were killed in Israeli airstrikes. The circumstances of their deaths were not immediately clear. Their bodies remain in the Gaza Strip.

“We estimate that the four were killed together, in the Khan Younis area, several months ago, while being held by Hamas terrorists and while IDF forces were operating in Khan Younis,” Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.

“We are examining the circumstances of death in-depth, looking into all possibilities, and we will present the findings as soon as possible, firstly to the families and then to the public,” he added.

Popplewell was last seen alive in a Hamas propaganda video released in early May, with the short, 10-second clip showing him with a black eye. (NYP / VFI News)

“Lord, we pray for the families of the hostages who died in captivity and we ask that You give them comfort and peace during this devastating period. We send our sincerest condolences to them and we trust that You will provide them with the necessary strength to overcome this immense loss. We pray for the immediate and unconditional release of all remaining hostages in Yeshua’s name, and we hope that this nightmare our nation has been going through will soon come to an end.”

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.

At Least 11 Hurt in Hezbollah Drone Attack on Soccer Field

An attack drone launched by Hezbollah exploded in a soccer field in Hurfeish, a Druze town in northern Israel. At least eleven people have been wounded in the attack.

Rescue and medical forces reported that one person is in critical condition, three are in serious condition, and the rest are in light to moderate condition.

No alarms were activated before the drone struck. Resident Ali Bader told the media that “there was no alarm. We are used to this situation, but this time it was really surprising - and was even worse because we had [soccer] practice there with children.”

The IDF stated, “A short while ago, a number of launches that were identified from Lebanon fell in the area of Hurfeish in northern Israel. No sirens were sounded, the incident is under review.” (INN / VFI News)

“God, we pray for all the people who were injured during the Hezbollah drone attack and we ask for their full recovery in Yeshua’s name. May You dismantle this terrorist organization and help us reach long-lasting peace with Lebanon and all our other neighbors.”

10,000 Dunams, Including Nature Reserve, Destroyed Due to Rocket Fire

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority has estimated that 10,000 dunams of open fields were burned Sunday, June 2, following Hezbollah rocket strikes on northern Israel.

Firefighters and JNF-KKL volunteers fought for hours alongside Nature and Parks Authority staff to battle the flames and gain control of the blaze. The fire decimated nature reserves, pastures, and agricultural fields.

In addition, the flames also threatened several towns, including Ani’am, but the firefighting teams succeeded in preventing the flames from entering the towns.

Sunday’s fire was sparked after Hezbollah launched about 15 rockets from Lebanon towards Katzrin in northern Israel. The rockets fell in open areas and sparked fires in several locations. No one was injured.

Aran Heims, Upper Galilee regional manager at the Nature and Parks Authority, said that 1,200 dunams of parks were burned, among them 750 dunams of the Mordot Naftali reserve. (INN / VFI News)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” - Ephesians 6:10-12

Iran Becoming Aggressive in Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons, IAEA Chief Warns

IAEA director-general Rafael Grossi warned the IAEA Board of Governors that Iran may be taking a more aggressive approach to the nuclear weapons issue. He said, “Public statements made in Iran regarding its technical capabilities to produce nuclear weapons and possible changes to Iran’s nuclear doctrine only increase my concerns about the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations.”

In addition, Grossi said that despite his visit in early May to Tehran, which at the time he said could reignite more positive cooperation, “I deeply regret that Iran has yet to reverse its decision to withdraw the designations for several experienced Agency inspectors,” meaning that the Islamic Republic has still banned many key IAEA inspectors from its soil.

Some of those inspectors caught Iran enriching uranium up to 84% in February 2022, the closest it ever got to the 90% weaponized level.

Grossi did reference that he had met “with Foreign Minister, H.E. the late Mr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian,” leaving open the possibility that progress was set back by his death in the recent helicopter crash, but also noted that “Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), H.E. Mr. Mohammad Eslami,” who is still alive, was also part of the discussions.

Moreover, he stated, “There has been no progress in resolving the outstanding safeguards issues. Iran has not provided the Agency with technically credible explanations for the presence of uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at Varamin and Turquzabad or informed the Agency of the current location(s) of the nuclear material and/or of contaminated equipment.” (JPost / VFI News)

“Our Heavenly Father, we pray that a nuclear war will not erupt in the Middle East. We pray that You prohibit Iran from enriching its uranium even more and that You regulate all countries that are currently in possession of nuclear weapons, in Yeshua’s name. May You protect us from nuclear war and allow us to rejoice in peace according to Your Will in Heaven.”

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International Community to Hamas: Agree to Gaza Hostage Deal, Ceasefire Proposal

Some 17 countries, including the US, issued a joint statement on Thursday, June 6, backing the latest proposal for the release of the remaining hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. “There is no time to lose,” said the statement issued by countries whose citizens are among the captives.

“We call on Hamas to close this agreement, that Israel is ready to move forward with and begin the process of releasing our citizens. We note that this agreement would lead to an immediate ceasefire and rehabilitation of Gaza together with security assurances for Israelis and Palestinians, and opportunities for a more enduring long-term peace and a two-state solution,” the statement said.

Its issuance is part of a massive global diplomatic initiative US President Joe Biden set in motion on May 31 when he unveiled a three-phase proposal which he and his administration officials have said has Israel’s approval.

The deal allows for the release of humanitarian hostages in its first six weeks in exchange for a lull to the war. It also outlines a negotiating process that could bring about an end to the war and the release of all the hostages, as well as set the stage for day-after plans and the reconstruction of Gaza.

Meanwhile, Arabic media reported on Thursday morning that Hamas has rejected the Israeli proposal. Sources in the Hamas terror group have claimed that the decision was made due to an understanding that the Israeli proposal is inherently different than the one presented by US President Joe Biden.

A memorandum sent to the various terror groups on Wednesday and shown to the Arabic news outlet claimed that the agreement “does not promise a permanent ceasefire, the occupation’s forces will remain in Gaza, and when they receive the hostages, they will renew the destruction against our nation.” (JPost / VFI News)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” - Matthew 5:9

Israel Recommends that Its Citizens Avoid the Maldives

Israel’s foreign ministry on Sunday, June 2, recommended that Israeli citizens not travel to the Maldives after its government banned the entry of visitors with Israeli passports.

The recommendation, the Israeli ministry said, includes Israelis with dual citizenship. “For Israeli citizens already in the country, it is recommended to consider leaving, because if they find themselves in distress for any reason, it will be difficult for us to assist,” the ministry said in a statement.

Maldives President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu made the decision after a recommendation from the Cabinet, a statement from his office said.

“The Cabinet decision includes amending necessary laws to prevent Israeli passport holders from entering the Maldives and establishing a Cabinet subcommittee to oversee these efforts,” the statement added.

A total of 528 Israel nationals have visited the Maldives in the first four months of this year, dropping from 4,644 during the same period in 2023, according to Maldives government data. (JPost / VFI News)

Mexico's Sheinbaum Wins Landslide to Become Country's First Woman, Jewish President

Claudia Sheinbaum won a landslide victory to become Mexico’s first female and Jewish president, inheriting the project of her mentor and outgoing leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, whose popularity among the poor helped drive her triumph.

Sheinbaum, a climate scientist and former mayor of Mexico City, won the presidency with between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote, according to a rapid sample count by Mexico’s electoral authority. That is set to be the highest vote percentage in Mexico’s democratic history.

“For the first time in the 200 years of the republic, I will become the first woman president of Mexico,” Sheinbaum told supporters to loud cheers of “president, the president.”

Victory for Sheinbaum is a major step for Mexico, a country known for its macho culture and home to the world’s second-biggest Roman Catholic population, which for years pushed more traditional values and roles for women.

Sheinbaum is the first woman to win a general election in the United States, Mexico, or Canada. “I never imagined that one day I would vote for a woman,” said 87-year-old Edelmira Montiel, a Sheinbaum supporter in Mexico’s smallest state, Tlaxcala. “Before we couldn't even vote, and when you could, it was to vote for the person your husband told you to vote for. Thank God that has changed and I get to live it,” Montiel added. (JPost / VFI News)

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” - Proverbs 31:30

Columbia University Alumnus Snubs Alma Mater, Donates $260M to Israeli University

A Columbia alumnus snubbed his alma mater and anonymously donated a staggering $260 million of his fortune to one of Israel’s largest universities.

Bar-Ilan, the public research university that is getting the gift, described the philanthropist as a “North American Jew and graduate of Columbia University who was active in World War II.” It said Monday, June 3, that the donor sees Bar-Ilan as “best able to undertake the great task of expanding science-based technological resilience in Israel.”

The Columbia alum’s massive donation to a major academic institution in the Jewish state fueled speculation that he was upset with the anti-Israel and antisemitic protests that have engulfed the uptown Ivy League university amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The donor, while remaining anonymous, wanted it known that he was a Columbia graduate. “The donor, a man of broad academic education, believed that the development of Israel’s technological resilience relies primarily on breakthrough science. During his visits to Israel, he recognized the significant impact Bar-Ilan University has made in key areas thanks to its science-based infrastructure and deep connections to all sectors of Israeli society,” Bar-Ilan president Arie Zaban said in a statement announcing the donation.

He said the gift will be invested in the development of “deep tech” sciences and has the potential to “positively influence the future of Israel and humanity.” (NYP / VFI News)

“Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.” - Psalm 112:5

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

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