VFI News Aug 10, 2021

Israel Carries out Airstrikes against Lebanon after Rocket Fire

The Israeli Air Force struck southern Lebanon early Thursday morning, July 5, in the fourth round of retaliatory attacks following rocket fire toward the city of Kiryat Shmona.

The airstrikes were the most severe since the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and followed some 100 artillery shells that were fired by the IDF in response to the rocket fire.

The strikes targeted the direct areas from where the rockets were fired, as well as other locations from where rockets had previously been fired. The IAF also struck additional infrastructure used for terrorism, according to a statement released by the military. (JPost / VFI News)

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. - Ephesians 6:11

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.

Will Faith Protect Israel from the Fourth COVID-19 Wave?

Faith could be one of the keys to helping Israel successfully ride the fourth COVID-19 wave if success against the Delta variant is judged by the number of people who die from the virus.

According to a new study conducted by Prof. Uzi Rebhum of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, any 1% increase in the number of residents with a strong religious identity is expected to reduce mortality rates by about a third.

Rebhum, whose study was published in the British journal Migration Letters, examined population characteristics and environmental factors to determine which one contributes most to a country’s ability to effectively deal with the pandemic.

Israel was ranked first among OECD countries for managing COVID then, making it a role model for other countries around the world. Rebhum said that although this research was conducted during the first wave, “I interpret and draw conclusions for the current COVID wave.”

The more religious a country was – judged by the percentage of the population that goes to pray at least once per week – the lower its mortality rate was during the first 100 days of the pandemic, Rebhum said. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we thank You for Your protection during COVID-19, and ask that You continue to protect Your people and Your Land during this time. We also pray that more people would seek and come to know You and Yeshua the Messiah.”

Israel to Send Firefighters to Greece to Battle Wildfires

Israel is sending a 16-man delegation of firefighters to Greece, to help battle the wildfires that have been raging in the country over the past few days, in the wake of extremely hot weather, with temperatures surging as high as 45C / 113F.

The delegation left on Friday, August 6, following a request for assistance from the Greek government, and was coordinated by the Israeli embassy in the Greek capital of Athens, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Security, the Fire Fighters Organization, and the National Security Agency.

A statement issued on behalf of Foreign Minister Lapid noted that "Israel is coming to the aid of Greece due to our mutual sense of responsibility and amicable relations. The entire region is grappling with climate change challenges, and wildfires are threatening human lives and property."

"I thank our firefighters who represent the State of Israel and are now coming to the aid of our Greek friends." (INN/ VFI News)

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15:14

UNRWA to Probe 10 Staff Members for Anti-Israel Hate Speech

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) pledged to investigate 10 of its staff members for anti-Israel hate speech following a report by the Geneva-based NGO UN Watch that highlighted such activity.

"The Agency takes each allegation seriously. It has immediately launched a thorough investigation," UNRWA stated.

Earlier this week, UN Watch reported that 22 UNRWA school employees had authored social media posts that glorified terrorism including against Israel, denied Israel's right to exist, advocated violence over peace, put Hitler in a positive light, and blamed Jews for the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are concerned that some of the posts violate our rules and policies, and should misconduct be found, UNRWA will take immediate administrative or disciplinary action," UNRWA said in response to the report.

But it did not pledge to fire the employees. It explained that when it dealt with such violations of its policy in the past, those employees were censured or fined. UN Watch has called on UNRWA to fire employees engaged in incitement against Israel, antisemitism, and glorification of terror.

It has also demanded that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres investigate UNRWA's educational system, which runs for 539,000 refugee Palestinian children in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

"UNRWA's failure to fire a single teacher of hate, and its scurrilous resort to ad hominem attacks on those seeking to combat antisemitism, makes it clear that they are incapable of investigating themselves on incitement, just like on corruption and abuse," UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said. (JPost/VFI News)

“God, we pray that antisemitism and hate against Israelis and the Jewish people would cease, and for those UNWRA employees to repent and follow You.”

Hashkifa | Barry & Batya Segal

This beautiful hymn is a prayer from Deuteronomy 26:15, expressing a great desire that God would look upon us with an eye of love, complacency, and delight—and to grant the promises that He has made to us for abundance and prosperity. Enjoy this warm, personal communication with God, set to serene scenes and timeless tones from the Land.

Prisoners Who Escaped Iran’s 1988 Killings Compare Raisi to Hitler

In Israeli TV interviews broadcast Thursday, former political prisoners who escaped Iran compared the Islamic Republic’s new President Ebrahim Raisi to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler for his alleged central role in extrajudicial executions, mostly of young people, across Iran in the late 1980s.

“It was exactly like the final solution that Hitler made for the Jews,” Iraj Masadagi, a former Iranian political prisoner, told the Kan public broadcaster.

“Raisi was a killer,” Masadagi continued. “He talked to me, and he said that they don’t want to have any more political prisoners. He said that we want to solve the ‘problem.”

The ultra-conservative cleric Raisi was sworn in on Thursday as the Islamic Republic’s eighth president. He has been accused by activists and human rights groups of having played a key role as a prosecutor on the “death commission” that sent thousands of prisoners to their deaths in 1988.

Amnesty International has described the killings as a crime against humanity.

Most rights groups and historians say between 4,000 and 5,000 were killed, but the political wing of the MEK (People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran), the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), puts the figure at closer to 30,000. (TOI / VFI News)

Cabinet to Approve President Herzog's Brother as Amb to US

Veteran political negotiator and brother of President Isaac Herzog, Michael Herzog, is Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s leading candidate for ambassador to the US, a senior source in Jerusalem said on Thursday.

Currently, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Herzog had a long IDF career including as head of strategic planning and retired a brigadier-general. He later served as a senior adviser to defense ministers Ehud Barak, Amir Peretz, Shaul Mofaz, and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, including as chief of staff to the defense minister.

He was former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy on the peace process 2009-2010 and was a negotiator in the secret channel between Israel and the Palestinians 2013-2014. He previously participated in most rounds of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Jordanians and Syrians, including the Wye Plantation summit, Camp David summit, Annapolis, and others hosted by the Americans, and as such has many connections in Washington. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that You oversee our relationships with other countries and place Michael Herzog in the position of ambassador to the US if it is Your will.”

Israel in Contact with Most Arab Countries, Including Iraq

The Foreign Ministry maintains some form of contact with almost all Arab countries, including ones officially designated as “enemy states” like Iraq, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday, August 3.

“Over the last twenty years, the Foreign Ministry was always in touch with almost all the players in the Arab World,” said the outgoing director of the Foreign Ministry’s Middle East Division, Haim Regev, during a briefing in Jerusalem.

While he clarified that this list of covert contacts does not include Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen, it does extend to Baghdad. In 2019, Iraqi ambassador in Washington Fareed Yasseen said, “There are objective reasons that may call for the establishment of relations between Iraq and Israel,” speaking in Arabic at an event entitled “How Iraq Is Dealing with the Current Regional and International Developments” at the Al-Hewar Center for Arab Culture and Dialogue in Washington.

He noted that there is an important Iraqi community in Israel and they are still proud of their Iraqi attributes. “At their weddings, there is Iraqi culture of celebration. At their weddings, there are Iraqi songs,” the veteran diplomat, who has served in DC since November 2016, went on. Yasseen also noted “outstanding” Israeli technologies in the fields of water management and agriculture. (TOI / VFI News)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:34-35

El Al to Try Inflight COVID-19 Testing

Israel’s national carrier El Al held a trial for inflight COVID-19 testing on Thursday, August 5, in a plan that will enable passengers to skip the mandatory tests that all arrivals are required to undergo when they land at Ben Gurion Airport.

There have been numerous complaints about long and crowded lines at the airport, as arriving passengers wait to take their tests. These have sparked concerns that the conditions could facilitate the spread of the virus among the crowds.

The voluntary pilot program was tried on an El Al flight leaving New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport at 2 p.m. local time, carrying about 280 passengers. It is being done in coordination with the Health Ministry and the Femi Premium company, which operates COVID-19 testing facilities at Ben Gurion, as well as XpresCheck, a US company that carries out testing at JFK.

Specially qualified personnel will perform throat and nose swabs while wearing personal protection outfits and disposable gloves — the latter replaced between passengers.

The tests will be placed in a culture used for transporting samples and stored in special refrigerated coolers during the flight. Each sample will be marked with a barcode to identify the passenger it came from. Passengers will be asked to provide details such as name, passport number, address, and telephone number, in order to inform them of the test results.

Tests will cost NIS 80 ($25) each for passengers who sign up for the program before the flight. (TOI / VFI News)

“You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you.” - Exodus 23:25

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

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