VFI News Aug 3, 2021
Reports of Clashes in Southern Syria near Israel’s Golan
Clashes in southern Syria have spread in recent days amid protests against the Assad regime, culminating in reports of gun battles and deployment of Syrian army tanks in Deraa province.
If the situation deteriorates it could have major ramifications for Israel and Jordan as well as for the Syrian regime and pro-Iran elements, such as Hezbollah, that have cells and bases near the Golan.
The Syrian regime retook areas in Deraa and near the Golan in 2018 after seven years of civil war. The southern front was a largely stable frontline for years but the Syrian rebels collapsed quickly and Syrian civil defense volunteers, called White Helmets, were evacuated through Israel to Jordan in July 2018.
A year later pro-Iran elements linked to Hezbollah set up shop near the Golan and even prepared “killer drones” that they intended to use against Israel which carried out airstrikes in late August 2019 against the drone squad.
"Lord, we pray that you would protect the northern region of Israel and that you would prevent Hezbollah from carrying deadly attacks against Israel."
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Ship Operated by Israeli-owned Company Attacked near Oman Amid Iran Tensions
An oil tanker operated by an Israeli-owned company came under attack off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea, the British military said Friday, with the company later confirming the reports.
The vessel is operated by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company belonging to Israeli tycoon Eyal Ofer.
Israeli officials did not immediately acknowledge the incident, but it comes amid heightened tensions between it and Iran as negotiations remain stalled over Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. In recent months, other Israeli ships have been targeted amid a shadow war between the two nations, with Israeli officials blaming the Islamic Republic for the assaults.
A brief initial statement from the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations said an investigation was underway into the latest incident, which it described as happening late Thursday night just northeast of the Omani island of Masirah. The location is over 300 kilometers (185 miles) southeast of Oman’s capital, Muscat.
The statement did not elaborate, other than to say that it suspected the attack did not involve piracy. (TOI/ VFI News)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. - Eph. 6:12
Fitch Reaffirms Israel’s A+ Rating, Citing Strong Finances, Pandemic Rebound
On Thursday, July 29, Fitch Ratings reaffirmed Israel’s A+ rating with a stable outlook, citing its “strong external finances and solid institutional strength.”
The credit rating agency also noted Israel’s relatively high government debt to GDP ratio and security risks.
Israel’s economy contracted by 2.6 percent last year due to the pandemic but is expected to grow by 5.1% this year and 5.7% in 2022. The economy stood up to pandemic shock relatively well due to Israel’s high-tech industries and successful vaccination campaign.
The report noted fiscal risks including the government coalition’s razor-thin majority in the Knesset, its diverse membership, and security risks, including instability in Syria, tensions with Iran, and potential violence with the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.
The A+ rating is not Fitch’s highest — the agency’s scale spans from AAA to D. An “A” rating denotes high credit quality with low risk of default and a strong capacity for paying off financial commitments, but some vulnerability to adverse business or economic conditions. (TOI / VFI News)
Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly. - Genesis 47:27
Israel, US Complete 'Juniper Falcon' Military Drill
US and Israeli troops have finished the week-long Juniper Falcon drill which tested the level of coordination between the two countries in the event of a ballistic missile threat against Israel.
Two US Air Force C-130J Super Hercules from the 37th Airlift Squadron landed in Israel last week with equipment and troops from US Air Forces in Europe and Air Force Africa Airmen and ended on Tuesday.
Juniper Falcon focused on scenarios that would see the deployment of US forces in Israel under fire during conflict and saw troops train in several locations across the country.
According to a statement released by EUCOM, the drill, “serves as an opportunity for US military personnel and the IDF to exercise together and learn from one another” and “represents another step in the deliberate and strategic relationship between the US and Israel and contributes to overall regional stability.”
Washington and Israel have signed an agreement which would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war and a week before the drill began the IDF released an updated intelligence assessment that said that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group has an arsenal of between 130,000-150,000 rockets and missiles and could launch some 3,000 projectiles a day for at least a week should fighting break out. (JPost/VFI News)
“God, please bless this blossoming cooperation between Israel and the United States, and see that Your children remain safe”
True Faith, Incredible Hardship
Ambushed and stoned by terrorists. In self-defense, he responded by shooting at the ground to drive them away. A few years later, in 2002, Boaz tragically lost his wife and 3 of their children in a separate terror attack. Still, Boaz is such an inspiration to us—having lived through tragedies that most of us will never experience, yet keeping an optimistic outlook on life.
Biden to Nominate Holocaust Historian Deborah Lipstadt as US Antisemitism Envoy
US President Joe Biden has picked renowned Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt to be his antisemitism envoy, officials said Thursday.
Lipstadt has been a long-time favorite to get the role and pressure has mounted on the Biden administration to fill the position amid a surge in antisemitic incidents in recent months.
Lipstadt, 74, is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta.
The Biden administration has faced pressure to name someone to the post, with added urgency after a swastika was found on Monday etched into an elevator in the US State Department building, near the office of the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.
“Let me be clear: Anti-Semitism has no place in the State Department, in my Administration, or anywhere in the world,” Biden tweeted. “It’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor and stand up to bigotry wherever we find it.” (TOI / VFI News)
But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled - 1 Peter 3:14
New Iranian President Raisi Takes Office Next Week as Nuke Talks Freeze
Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, is due to take office next week on August 3, though aspects of the transition are expected to continue into mid-August.
His ascension to power and replacing outgoing President Hassan Rouhani has brought negotiations between the Islamic Republic, the US, and the world powers to a standstill now for over two months with no clear end in sight.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remains the final word in the country, especially on major strategic issues like the nuclear negotiations.
But Khamenei lined up support for Raisi to be elected president, and Raisi is rumored to be his choice as his successor given that he is 82 and has had health problems in recent years.
Both US and Iranian officials have given unclear messages about whether nuclear negotiations will restart once Raisi takes power, whether this may wait multiple months or whether new concessions Raisi may demand will end the negotiations. (JPost / VFI News)
These Jewish Athletes Won Medals at the Tokyo Olympics
The Jewish highlights of the Tokyo Olympics kicked off with Jewish basketball superstar Sue Bird serving as one of Team USA’s two flag bearers at the opening ceremony, a huge honor.
The lasting accolades, though, are the medals that winning athletes take home. Dozens of Jewish athletes are competing in the Games this year, but the fierce competition means that only some will enter the record books as gold, silver, or bronze medalists.
Avishag Semberg won bronze in taekwondo for Team Israel on day one of the competition. Semberg, 19, was third in the women’s under-49 kg category, giving Israel its first medal of the Tokyo Olympics and its first-ever in the sport.
Jessica Fox of Australia won bronze in women’s kayak slalom on day four of the competition. Two days later she took gold in women’s canoe slalom.
Lilia Akhaimova won gold with Team Russia in the women’s team gymnastics competition on day four of the Games.
Akhaimova will compete in the women’s individual vault competition later in the Games. (JPost/ VFI News)
“God, please watch over the athletes who are representing You and Your people in the 2021 Olympics.”
Google Cloud to Connect Israel and Europe via Underwater Cable
Google Cloud said on Thursday that it will help construct and operate two submarine cable systems that will connect the Middle East with southern Europe and the Asian continent.
In partnership with Sparkle and other communication platforms, the Blue cable will connect Italy, France, Greece, and Israel. The “Raman” cable will connect Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, and India.
Increasing the network’s capacity is critical for Google users and customers around the world to ensure strong, stable connections. The two submarine cable systems are equipped with 16 pairs of fiber optics and are expected to be ready for service in 2024. Subsequently, the consortium of companies plans to promote the construction of additional connection points and link the two systems through terrestrial network assets. (JPost/ VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions, and scripture references made by VFI News writers and editors are based on the best information received.
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