VFI News January 24, 2023

Archaeological discoveries prove the existence of King David and more!

In Israel today, the Jewish claim to the land of Israel is tied to the history of the Bible. Recent archaeological discoveries prove those Jewish ties to the land of Israel to be true. Find out more with today's episode of VFI News!

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European Parliament Votes in Favor of IRGC Blacklist

The European Parliament on Wednesday, January 18, called for the EU to list Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, blaming the force for the repression of protesters and the supply of drones to Russia, British media reported.

In a text backed by an overwhelming majority of lawmakers, the European Parliament condemned "the brutal crackdown by Iran, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on the demonstrations after the death of Mahsa Amini, following her violent arrest, abuse and ill-treatment by Iran's 'morality police'".

The text called for the EU and its member states to include the IRGC on the bloc's terrorist list "in the light of its terrorist activity, the repression of protesters and its supplying of drones to Russia".

A total of 598 members of the parliament voted in favor, while nine voted against and 31 abstained. The European Parliament has no power to compel the EU to add the IRGC to its list, but the text proposed by Polish conservative lawmaker Anna Fotyga represented a clear political message to Tehran.

Designating the IRGC as a terrorist group would mean that it would be considered a criminal offense by the EU to belong to it, and any of its assets in the bloc would be frozen. It would also not be able to receive funds from EU citizens or businesses.

Wednesday’s vote came days after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that it is important that the EU blacklist the IRGC as a terrorist organization. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we thank You for enabling significant allies around the world to realize that the authoritarian Iranian regime poses a great threat to its own citizens, as well as the international community overall.”

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.

EU Backs Down from Adding Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to Terror Listing

Despite last week’s appeal from the European Parliament to blacklist Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels, won’t proceed to do so.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who chaired the meeting, said that this could only happen once a court in a member country hands down a ruling, condemning the Iranian guard corps for terror acts.

The European Union is set to impose sanctions on several more Iranian officials suspected of playing a role in the crackdown on protesters, but won’t add the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard Corps to the EU’s terror group blacklist.

There has been vociferous pushback from Iranian officials against the listing move, along with warnings that European countries would face retaliation if it went ahead.

The 27-nation bloc has already imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iranian officials and organizations — including government ministers, military officers and Iran’s morality police — for human rights abuses over the protests that erupted in Iran in mid-September over the death of Mahsa Amini.

European officials also fear that blacklisting the Revolutionary Guard would all but end the slim hopes the bloc might have of resuscitating the Iran nuclear agreement, which has been on ice since the Trump administration withdrew from the internationally-backed accord in 2018. (TOI / VFI News)

“Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.” - Psalm 21:11

Report: IRGC Office Discovered in Jewish Area of London

An office used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been discovered deep within a Jewish neighborhood in London, England.

The chair of the British parliamentary foreign affairs select committee called on the government to close what is being described as the “London office” of the IRGC, which is used as an “outreach center” by the Iranian government, Jewish media reported.

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns said that the Islamic Centre of England (ICE) in Maida Vale, which has voiced support for IRGC terrorists, is used by the Iranian regime for nefarious purposes related to the IRGC.

With the IRGC in charge of Iran’s funding of terrorist networks, specifically Hamas and Hezbollah, and with oversight over the country’s nuclear and missile programs, Kearns told the news outlet that ICE used the office “solely to spread the word of the Islamic repressive regime.” She also called on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to list the IRGC as a banned terror entity and added that ICE was responsible for harassing Iranian dissidents living in the UK.

According to ICE’s constitution, the head of the organization is the representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. ICE’s current director, Seyed Moosavi, who called protesters in Iran “soldiers of Satan” at a sermon at the center, was appointed by Khamenei. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we hope that people who promote or engage in terrorist actions are immediately identified by the global community, are subsequently prevented from perpetrating other nations, and face the just consequences of their actions .“

Report: Anti-Semitism on London University Campuses up 250%

A new report by the Community Security Trust (CST), the organization tasked with providing safety, security, and advice to the British Jewish community, found that anti-Semitism on London university campuses has risen 250 percent over the past two years.

During the same time period, the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 academic years, campus anti-Semitism has increased 22 percent across the UK, the report also found.

The investigation was the second time that CST has exclusively examined the experiences of Jewish students along with staff and campus Jewish organizations in the UK. The report noted that 150 anti-Semitic campus incidents were reported to CST in the last two academic years taking place on 30 campuses in the UK.

“Jewish life on campus is vibrant and there are a wealth of opportunities available that contribute to the overwhelmingly positive experiences of Jewish students at university. Most Jewish students will not encounter any anti-Semitism during their studies, but anti-Jewish hatred can still present a significant challenge for Jewish staff and students,” CST said in a blog post.

CST recorded 95 university-related anti-Semitic incidents in 2020/2021, the highest ever total for an academic year. The report said that 55 of the incidents took place in May 2021 during the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The 150 incidents listed in the report include seven threats against Jewish students, three of which were death threats, and three physical assaults. The other 140 incidents were described as “abusive behavior,” including verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti on non-Jewish property, and online or offline written abuse. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask for the protection of Jewish people, as well as for the significant diminishment of anti-Semitic incidents. We hope that all Jewish people are treated with respect and dignity by all other members of the global community onwards.”

Watch Hineh Lo Yanum (Psalm 121:4) by Barry & Batya Segal

This psalm is a celebration of God's constant and continued protection of His people. Though we may slumber and rest, our God is constantly vigilant and watching over us. We must trust Him as our protector, and rely on Him alone for our reassurance. Though worldly entities may seem tempting, the only stronghold that is always diligent is God's love.

‘Anti-Semitism Threatens Democracy as a Whole’

Germany's Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, highlighted the fact that the fight against anti-Semitism will not go away any time soon.

In times of crisis people are particularly susceptible to supposedly simple answers such as those offered by anti-Semitism, Klein said during a meeting of the Bundestag Human Rights Committee. “Whether it is the Ukraine war, the energy crisis, inflation or the Corona pandemic – crises provide a breeding ground for such ideas,” Klein said.

“Conspiracy narratives, Holocaust trivialization and criticism of Israel have long since spread not only on the political fringe, but have reached into the middle of society and can also be found in intellectual, academic milieus. This threatens democracy in Germany as a whole.”

The fact that there are efforts in EU member states such as Finland to ban circumcision and slaughter is worrying, as it threatens the basic conditions for Jewish life, Klein said. The number of online hate posts has recently risen massively in Germany, and the number of criminal offenses had reached a peak of more than 3,000 in 2021, he said, referring to statistics from the Federal Criminal Police Office.

The first National Strategy against Anti-Semitism, which the German government adopted in November 2022, should contribute to countering anti-Semitism at all political and social levels, Klein explained. For the first time, it deliberately addresses everyone, defines five fields of action.

Klein emphasized the importance of countering hatred on the internet. He also called for the fight against anti-Semitism to be placed even higher on the European agenda. (INN / VFI News)

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” - Proverbs 17:17

North Korea Reportedly Persecutes Christians More Than Any Other Country

Open Doors US is an organization that tracks the persecution of Christians around the world. This week, the organization released its annual report of 50 countries where Christians experience the most extreme levels of discrimination for their faith.

The number one country where Christians are being persecuted the most is North Korea, and according to the watch list, the country has the highest levels of persecution ever seen. The high score reflects an increase in arrests of Christians and house-churches discovered getting closed.

Somalia reportedly came in second and Yemen came in third. Afghanistan made the ninth spot, and in previous years had ranked higher. Open Doors said fewer Afghan Christians were killed for their faith in 2022, as many left the country or were killed when the Taliban regained control.

Also notable was China, which ranked 16th. The organization said China’s use of digital surveillance technology is adding to persecution and intimidation, and as the tools become more sophisticated, the communist government employed censorship, disinformation and surveillance to gain control over the religious groups.

Open Doors reported that last year, 5,621 Christians were killed because of their faith, and 90% of those deaths were in Nigeria alone. Nigeria ranked sixth on the list, and the organization noted that the increase in violence in the country has only caused more Christians to lose their lives over the last five years.

"I would emphasize again, persecution of Christians is now a global phenomenon, and it requires a global response," Pearce said. "I urge each of us to do what we can to be alongside them, to pray for and support them, and to use the influence we have to speak up for their right to live out their faith." (FN / VFI News)

“But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” - Matthew 10:33

Written Records of Biblical King David Discovered by Researchers

The Mesha Stele, also called the Moabite Stone, is a basalt stone slab that has provided historians and linguists with the largest source of the Moabite language to date.

Researchers have only now been able to verify with a considerable degree of certainty that the stele contains explicit references to King David.

The stele was discovered in fragments in 1868 roughly 15 miles east of the Dead Sea, and currently resides in the Louvre museum in Paris. While it was damaged in 1869, a paper-mache impression of the inscription was captured before the damage occurred.

The slab is etched with a lengthy account of King Mesha of Moab going to war with Israel. The events described correspond, albeit imprecisely, with a similar account in 2 Kings chapter 3.

The House of David The text contains allusions to the Israelite God as well as the "House of David" and the "Altar of David." However, until today, scholars could not be entirely sure that these references to King David were being correctly deciphered.

The Moabite phrase "House of David'' consists of five letters: bt dwd. "Bt" is similar to today's Hebrew word for house - bayit - which is beit in its construct form. And "dwd" can be thought of like modern Hebrew's daled vav (the letter, in this case, is actually waw) daled which spells the name "David." (JPost / VFI News)

“Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.” - 2 Kings 3:12

Expanded Cardiovascular Benefits Shown When Wearing Tefillin - Study

The cardiovascular health of both men and women who wear tefillin (phylacteries) around their arms can improve, according to new research at the University of Cincinnati (UC).

The study suggests those benefits are the result of ischemic, or reduced, blood-flow preconditioning that produces protection from the damage caused by heart attacks.

“Tefillin is used for morning prayers for Jewish men over the age of 13 on weekdays,” said clinical internal medicine Prof. Jack Rubinstein of the Division of Cardiovascular Health in UC’s College of Medicine.

“It is placed on the non-dominant arm around the bicep and the forearm in a fairly tight manner,” he said. “It is never worn in a fashion as to occlude the blood flow. This is traditionally worn for about 30 minutes continuously during prayers, which involve sitting and standing, resulting in occasional retightening of the strap around your arm.”

The study included 14 men and 16 women. The binding of the arm and the discomfort users often report may serve as a form of preconditioning, and offer a substantial degree of protection against the damage that occurs when someone suffers a sudden loss of blood flow (acute ischemia) or after the blood supply is restored to a tissue or organ after an ischemic event (reperfusion), Rubinstein said.

“It means that if we can have people wearing tefillin or a similar device, and they can get themselves to be preconditioned every day, we expect that those people should be protected or should have a decreased amount of damage if they should get a heart attack during the time they are protected,” he said. “This is a low-intensity way of protecting people from heart attacks.” (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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