VFI News Fri., March 17 — Unpredictable Events and Alliances | VFI News

Israel Protests Judicial Reform: What You Need to Know

Discover the latest updates on the ongoing protests in Israel against the proposed judicial reform in this must-watch video.

In addition, the video also covers the recent developments in Saudi Arabia and Iran's relations under the auspices of China, as well as Netanyahu's visit to Germany.

Stay informed and get a comprehensive understanding of these significant events in the region.

Iran's IRGC Rolls out New Missiles, Naval Supply Ships

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is increasing its naval power, according to Iranian reports. Images of newly equipped fast boats, as well as a new support ship, were broadcast on Thursday morning, March 9.

The IRGC, which runs its own branch of Iran’s navy, will receive almost 100 new patrol boats and a large “ocean liner”-style support ship, which was converted for naval needs, the reports said.

This expands Iran’s ability to threaten countries in the Gulf and project power at sea. Iran basically has two navies – an official one and one under the IRGC. Iran has been trying to expand its relatively small naval power in recent years, even sending ships on long-distance voyages to Russia and South America.

The reports about Iran’s new missile-capable and drone-launch-capable missile boats goes back to at least 2020, when an online defense media company reported that Iran had received 112 missile-launching boats.

The Iranian reports of the newly equipped ships come while Iran continues to send weapons to the Houthis in Yemen. The US and UK navies have interdicted some of these shipments. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we hope that we are always able to defend our country and ensure the safety of our people. We ask for protection from other nations, regardless of their ambitions, capabilities, or malevolent plans.”

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.

Iran Says Supreme Leader Pardoned 22,000 Arrested in Anti-Regime Protests

Iran announced Monday, March 13, that the country’s supreme leader has pardoned 22,000 people arrested in the recent anti-government protests that swept the Islamic Republic. There was no immediate independent confirmation of the mass release.

The statement by Iran’s judiciary head Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi offered for the first time a glimpse of the full scope of the government’s crackdown that followed the demonstrations over the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country’s morality police.

Ejehi said a total of 82,656 prisoners and those facing charges had been pardoned. Of those, some 22,000 had been arrested amid the demonstrations, he said. Those pardoned had not committed theft or violent crimes, he added.

However, anger still remains in the country as it struggles through the collapse of the nation’s currency, the trial, economic woes, and uncertainty over its ties to the wider world after the collapse of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Iranian state media had previously suggested Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could pardon that many people swept up in the demonstrations ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when the pious fast from dawn to dusk. Ramadan starts later next week. (TOI / VFI News)

Iran and Saudi Arabia Restore Ties After Years of Tensions

Iran and Saudi Arabia on Friday, March 10, agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies after years of tensions between the two countries, including a devastating attack on the heart of the kingdom’s oil production attributed to Tehran.

The deal, struck in Beijing this week amid its ceremonial National People’s Congress, represents a major diplomatic victory for the Chinese, as Gulf states perceive the United States slowly withdrawing from the wider Middle East.

It also comes as diplomats have been trying to end a yearslong war in Yemen, a conflict in which both Iran and Saudi Arabia are deeply entrenched.

The two countries released a joint communique with China on the deal, which apparently brokered the agreement. Chinese state media did not immediately report on the deal. Iranian state media posted images and video it described as being taken in China with the meeting.

The United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Saturday also welcomed the deal reached by Saudi Arabia and Iran to re-establish diplomatic relations. (TOI / VFI News)

“Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts.” - Psalm 28:3

Saudi Arabia Denies Visas to Israeli Delegates at UN Event - Report

Against the backdrop of reports of diplomatic efforts between Israel and Saudi Arabia and the desire to normalize ties, the reality on the surface seems to be completely different.

An Israeli delegation was invited to participate in a UN tourism event in Saudi Arabia, but Saudi authorities refused to give them visas, according to American media.

The delegation consisted of residents of the Circassian town of Kafr Kama, who were invited to a special ceremony by the UN after it was included in an exclusive list of tourist destinations.

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) invited residents of Kafr Kama and from 22 other countries to a two-day event in the Saudi city of Al-Ula. However, the Israeli delegation wasn't given visas, despite an appeal by UN officials who demanded that Saudi authorities treat each of the organization's member states equally.

Israel's Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the UNWTO insisting that the delegation receive the visas. The UNWTO secretary-general reportedly sent a letter to the Saudi Tourism Ministry asking for the visas. Both the ministry and the UNWTO declined to comment. (JPost / VFI News)

“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” - Proverbs 12:26

WATCH: Thank you for your love and support in 2022

Thank you for all your love and support in 2022. This is an overview of the work Vision for Israel does to love and support the people of Israel.

Percentage of Israelis Optimistic about National Security Drops to 31%

February saw a sharp increase in the proportion of Israelis who describe their nation's overall situation as bad or very bad, according to the Israeli Democracy Institute's February 2023 edition of the Israeli Voice Index.

The percentage of Israelis who are optimistic about the future of Israel's national security declined from 46% in January to 31% in February.

Optimists were in the minority across the political spectrum - 11% of those on the Left, 22% of those in the center and 46% of those on the Right reported optimism about Israel's security. The IDI report noted that this could be due to February's uptick in terror attacks.

The level of optimism about the future of democracy has stayed the same over the last several months, according to the IDI's reports. Only 38% of all respondents reported feeling optimistic about the future of democratic rule in Israel. Among those, 41% of Jews expressed this sentiment whereas only 19% of Arabs interviewed did.

In terms of Israel's overall situation, the percentage of interviewees who characterized it as bad or very bad rose from 30% to 47% since October 2022 when the question was last asked. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that You enable us to establish security in our region and prevent terrorist attacks, so that all Israeli people can feel safe and rejoice within their communities.”

In Ground-breaking Ruling, Middle Eastern Islamic Council Declares ‘Fatwa’ Against Hamas

In a groundbreaking ruling, an official Islamic legislative body based in the Arab world declared a "fatwa," or a legal opinion, against the Islamist militant group Hamas Thursday, March 9, calling its treatment of millions of Palestinians living under its rule in the Gaza Strip "inhumane", and urging the terrorist organization and its followers to immediately give up arms, sit down and make peace.

The unprecedented declaration, published by the Islamic Fatwa Council, a non-government body of Shiite, Sunni and Sufi clerics headquartered in the Iraqi spiritual capital of Najaf, states that Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, "bears responsibility for its own reign of corruption and terror against Palestinian civilians within Gaza" and deems "it prohibited to pray for, join, support, finance or fight on behalf of Hamas."

"As an Islamic legal body, we take note of the condition of the oppressed all over the world," Muhammad Ali Al-Maqdisi, a cleric for the council, said in a video statement shared with American media.

"We have seen what Gaza has been subjected to under Hamas’ rule. We have also seen the atrocities which, in our view, have been perpetrated against Palestinians — faithful and unarmed civilians — who have neither strength nor recourse. And, so, we believed it was our Islamic obligation to aid the oppressed."

According to the council, the decision to issue the legal ruling, which while being non-binding is considered highly influential in the Muslim world, came after the publication of a series of video testimonies from ordinary civilians in Gaza published last month by the U.S.-based Center for Peace Communications. (FN / VFI News)

“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” - Proverbs 29:7

6,600 Foreigners, Mostly Syrians, Killed in Turkey’s Earthquakes - Analysis

A new report from Turkey has said that the death toll in the earthquake has now risen to 48,448, and that 6,660 of them are believed to be foreign nationals.

Some “6,660 of the dead were foreign nationals,” Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said at a news conference, according to the report, adding that the statement was made “in quake-hit Malatya province along with Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.”

The report said that more than 13.5 million people have been affected. The large number of foreigners killed, almost 14% of the victims, points to a disproportionate effect on foreign nationals, particularly Syrians, whom it is believed were most of the foreign victims.

The number 6,600 likely means that other missing Syrians will also be added to this number, perhaps as many as 10,000 eventually. The overall number of Syrians killed is not known.

Syrian refugees in Turkey are also facing obstacles to travel and where they can reside after the earthquake. Because it affected areas with a large population of Syrian refugees, they will also need housing and solutions for their needs. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we pray for the people who have been affected by the disastrous earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, and we hope that all injured and afflicted parties can find permanent residence and stability.”

Coin with Oldest Depiction of Temple Menorah Displayed for First Time

An ancient coin bearing the oldest-known depiction of the Temple menorah went on display to the public for the first time on Monday, March 13, with the opening of the recently renovated Davidson Center in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The coin dates to around 40 BCE, during Roman times and the reign of the last Hasmonean king. “This is the oldest known artistic depiction of the menorah, created 107 years before the destruction of the Second Temple,” says Dr. Yuval Baruch, head of archaeology and administration at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The coin was donated to Israel sometime during the 1940s, during the British Mandate period, and it’s unclear where or when it was found.

It’s part of an exhibit of rare artifacts that contain some of the earliest known references and research about the origin of the Temple menorah, a seven-branched candelabra that is also used as the symbol of the modern State of Israel.

Next to the coin is the Magdela Stone , which was discovered in the town of Migdal in 2009 and was likely a Torah reading table from a first-century synagogue. The intricately carved stone shows multiple menorahs as well as a possible depiction of the Jerusalem Temple.

The new visitor’s center will combine archaeological finds with interactive technology to help visitors experience what life was like during the First and Second Temple Periods. (TOI / VFI News)

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

Want to see more from VFI? Follow us on Facebook! Our official Facebook name is Vision for Israel. Follow us there and please hit “like” if you like us.