VFI News December 20, 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.
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Chag Hanukkah Sameach
As Hanukkah began 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.
Hanukkah Menorah in Tel Aviv Breaks World Record for Largest Menorah Built of Legos
A Hanukkah menorah in Tel Aviv set a Guinness world record on Thursday, December 15, for the largest menorah built completely of LEGO blocks.
Amnon (Marc) Applbaum, a commercial real estate developer and engineer who was appointed by the project as a measurement specialist, said, “I hereby declare that this menorah beats the current Guinness Record for the largest LEGO brick menorah, which was 4 x 4 x 0.3 meters.”
“I measured it to be 4.5 meters high, which is 14.7 feet by 4.4 meters wide.” He added, “It was built out of more than 130,000 bricks with no adhesive or structural support beyond the magical power of the LEGO bricks themselves.”
The holiday of Hanukkah is symbolized by the lighting of menorahs, the spinning of dreidels, the cooking of fried latkes and the exchanging of gifts.Jews in Israel and all over the world celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, to commemorate the miracles performed amid the Maccabean revolt against Israel’s Greek king, who wished to limit their religious practices.
Yoav Gaon, CEO of Tor Group and LEGO Israel, said, “The LEGO values of creativity, imagination, learning, fun and quality were brought to life through the incredible event of creating the largest menorah from 130,000 LEGO bricks, as hundreds of kids, parents and grandparents attempted to break the Guinness record.” (FN / VFI News)
“God, we are grateful for being able to celebrate and honor our roots, while establishing new traditions and connecting with our people worldwide”
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.
King Charles Dances with Holocaust Survivors Before Hanukkah
King Charles III visited a London Jewish community center on Friday, December 16, ahead of Hanukkah, where he was given a tour of the facilities and charitable programs, and also danced with Holocaust survivors.
Arriving at the JW3 community center in North London, King Charles was introduced by the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Camden Roxane Zand to the center’s Chair Marc Nohr, its CEO Raymond Simonson, and its founder and Life President, Dame Vivian Duffield, according to Jewish media.
King Charles proceeded to lean over the entranceway to wave at kids skating on the JW3 ice rink on its ground floor. The children greeted the king by cheering and waving back.
He was taken on a tour around the center where he spoke with students who were wrapping holiday gifts that will be donated by JW3 to the local community. He also stopped to talk with students participating in a program for at risk youth.
Simonson told the news outlet that King Charles, who also met with volunteers in the center’s food bank kitchen, had a “really interesting conversation about their food bank work, which is inspired by Jewish values.” (INN / VFI News)
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” - Psalm 133:1
Iran Expelled from UN Commission on the Status of Women
Iran was expelled from the UN Commission on the Status of Women Wednesday, December 14. The vote was held as Iran faces mass protests over its treatment of women following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman who was arrested by Iran's morality police in September.
29 countries voted in favor of expelling Iran at the vote at the UN's Economic and Social Council. Eight countries voted against the measure, and 16 abstained. The countries which voted to keep Iran on the commission are Bolivia, China, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Russia and Zimbabwe.
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan spoke at a special meeting in the UN's Economic and Social Council before the vote.
Ambassador Erdan compared the Ayatollah regime in Iran to the Nazi regime, "This resolution must receive the support of all of us, and whoever doesn't support it is complicit in the oppression and murder of women...The regime in Iran represents the embodiment of evil, just as Hitler’s Nazi regime represented the embodiment of evil."
Ambassador Erdan added, "Seeing as the international community refused to take action against the suffering of the Iranian people, the Iranian people decided to take their futures into their own hands. We Israelis salute their bravery and view ourselves as true allies of the Iranian people. Yet what have we, the family of nations, done to support their cause? Where is our courage? Have we taken swift and severe action? Have we all made it clear that if the regime continues to execute protesters the international community will act against it? No, no, and no. It’s truly a disgrace. "
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said following the vote: "Today we came together at the United Nations and stood with Iranian women, Iranian girls, and the Iranian people. (INN / VFI News)
“God, we thank You for letting us help Iranian women in their fight against their authoritarian regime, and we hope that they will soon be completely autonomous and able to freely express themselves, without constantly fearing for their lives.”
Germany Earned Over $1 Billion from Iran Trade, Amid Tehran’s Repression
German business deals with the Islamic Republic of Iran are booming amid the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown on protestors who are seeking the end of the theocratic state.
According to newly published statistics from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, Germany exported €1.2 billion worth of goods to Iran from January to the end of October in 2022.
The federal republic imported roughly €260 million in merchandise from Iran. The German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce boasted on its website that “Germany is still Iran’s largest trade partner in Europe.”
Germany exported €275 million worth of machines and engineering technology to Iran in 2021. Germany's non-transparent export regulations do not permit disclosure of the nature of the goods and material sold to Iran - some of which has been used for dual-use purposes (military and civilian aims) over the decades.
The Iranian-owned bank, European-Iranian Trade Bank located in Hamburg and German banks (Volksbank Konstanz and Volksbank Schwarzwald-Donau-Neckar) situated in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg provide transactions for sensitive business deals between German companies and Iranian banks.
The US accused the European-Iranian trade bank (EIH) of playing an illicit role in Iran's nuclear and missile programs. Germany continues to permit the EIH to operate. (JPost / VFI News)
“But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” - Proverbs 4:19
The Story of Hanukkah
Happy Hanukkah! Have you ever wondered why we light a Hanukkiah? What's the story behind the feast of lights? Discover the history and truth behind this wonderful celebration and let it take you deeper into the light of Yeshua. Learn more about this wonderful feast.
IDF Exposes Hamas, Islamic Jihad Rocket Launch Sites Near Gaza Schools
The IDF on Wednesday, December 14, exposed three new school locations that Hamas has recently been using as rocket launch sites, violating the laws of war about keeping war-related issues away from civilian areas.
A statement by the IDF said, “Hamas exposed: This is how the Hamas terrorist organization uses schools and education to promote its terrorist agenda. Additional instances of Hamas deliberately using children as human shields are now being exposed.”
“This exposure comes approximately two weeks after UNRWA reported that the ground of one of its schools had collapsed. The collapse was caused by the construction of a Hamas terrorist tunnel,” said the IDF.
The first location listed by the IDF is adjacent to the Mo'ath Bin Jabal school in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. In addition, the IDF stated that “prior to Operation Guardian of the Walls, the school’s principal, Mehammed Abu Oun, maintained contact with an operative in the Hamas rocket array, Jalal Abu Aoun,” who the IDF said was managing the firing of rockets from the site.
Hamas stationed a second rocket launch site near the Khalil Al Nobani school in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, said the IDF. No additional information was provided regarding the firing of rockets from that location.
Finally, the IDF said that “terrorist organizations stationed rocket launch sites near the Al-Furqan elementary school” which is also located in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. (JPost / VFI News)
“God, we ask that you protect innocent children from terrorists and that the perpetrators, as well as enablers of such missions are brought to justice and become convicted for their crimes.”
Netanyahu Promises Ultra-Orthodox Parties Exclusion from Military Service - Report
Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to the leaders of the ultra-Orthodox parties on Thursday, December 15, that the next government under his leadership will follow a policy according to which "no one will go to prison for learning Torah," according to Walla.
Netanyahu's pledge was made during talks with representatives of UTJ and Shas on the exemption of yeshiva students from military service in the IDF. As of Thursday morning, UTJ holds a fairly optimistic overview of the progress in the coalition negotiations.
After long hours of discussions conducted in recent days by senior members of the party with Benjamin Netanyahu and other Likud members, agreements were reached regarding most of UTJ's coalition demands.
According to some of the agreements reached, the government will advance a basic law on Torah study, designating studying in a yeshiva as a core legal value, proving it difficult for the High Court of Justice to invalidate the arrangement that exempts Torah students from serving in the IDF.
Although the parties have yet to reach a final agreement on the wording of the law itself, it appears that the demand that it does not include recruitment targets and sanctions will be accepted. (JPost / VFI News)
Israel to Host the First-Ever Abraham Accords Esports Peace Games
Tel Aviv will host the inaugural Abraham Accords Esports Peace Games in January 2023, The US Embassy in Israel announced on Wednesday, December 14.
The event, organized in partnership with Israel's Foreign Ministry, philanthropist Sylvan Adams, New York-based investment banking firm LionTree and the Israeli Esports Association, will see competitors from Israel, the US, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and "special guests and leading gamers" compete against one another, with a prize of $82,000 to be distributed among the winners.
Adams, who co-chairs the games' organizing committee alongside US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, said Israel will "witness the power of sports to bring people together in friendship in this new Middle East. "The Abraham Accords are a game changer for our region, with our new diplomatic relations fostering business, educational and scientific exchanges".
Esports is growing globally, with the US estimating an international industrial value of $1.8 billion by 2025.The event's organizers announced plans to add up to 10 nations to the peace games, which will be held at a production cost of $1.5 million.
The event, which will be held in Tel Aviv's Shlomo Group Arena, is expected to draw "thousands of people from across the country," the embassy wrote. (JPost / VFI News)
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” - Joshua 1:8
Jordan Eyes Tourism Bonanza, in Expansion of Jesus' Baptism Site
For centuries, thousands of pilgrims a year have made the journey to Bethany Beyond The Jordan, a site on the east bank of the Jordan River, which Christians believe to be the exact spot where Jesus was baptized.
This number could swell to one million visitors a year if a proposed phased six-year estimated $300 million project for a 'tourist city' adjacent to what is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site goes ahead.
Among those who gathered at the river bank two weeks ago were Jordan's King Abdullah and Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, who joined architects, museum curators and investors to hear about the proposal from its organizers.
Organizers hope that with souvenir shops and walking trails, boutique hotels and botanical gardens, the site - which lies outside the formal boundary of the baptism location - will eventually attract five times as many annual visitors than the current 200,000, and will help preserve the region's dwindling Christian presence.
The project still needs funding, however, and planners are presenting their plans to Christian leaders from all denominations from the Middle East and beyond, in the hope it will help draw donors, investors and contributing churches. (JPost / VFI News)
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” - Romans 6:4
The suggestions, opinions, and scripture references made by VFI News writers and editors are based on the best information received.
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