VFI News July 12, 2022

Saudi Arabia & Israeli Relations

Saudi Arabia is now going to be allowing Israeli flights to fly over the Arabian Peninsula! Is this a sign of a potential future where Israel and Saudi Arabia can coexist as allies? Check out this week's VFI News as Barry Segal dives into this week's hot topics that you need to know.

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Iran Escalates Enrichment with Adaptable Machines at Fordow

Iran has escalated its uranium enrichment further with the use of advanced machines at its underground Fordow plant in a setup that can more easily change between enrichment levels, the UN atomic watchdog said.

Although technically the latest escalation by Iran is not as serious as some of its previous enrichment moves, the signaling made it unmistakable that the Islamic Republic is still eyeing confrontation with the West in the nuclear standoff over an immediate negotiated compromise.

Western diplomats have long expressed concern about the devices with which this cascade of centrifuges is equipped. The use of these so-called modified sub-headers means Iran could switch more quickly and easily to enriching to higher purity levels.

While Iran is required to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency about such a switch, if it chose not to, it might escape detection for some time, as there is currently a lag between Iran’s enrichment and IAEA inspectors’ verification of what is produced.

Iran is already enriching to up to 60% elsewhere, well above the 20% it produced before its 2015 deal with the world’s major powers that capped its enrichment level at 3.67%, but still below 90% weapons grade.

A jump to 90% weapons grade would be a new signal that Tehran might be seeking to become a nuclear threshold state or to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran’s avoidance of such a move has helped keep up hopes that it still may want to cut a deal. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you protect your people from nuclear war.”

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 Warns Against Military Alliance with Israel

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Saturday, July 9, warned that the establishment of a joint defense alliance between Israel and the Arab states in response to Iran's UAV attacks, and announced that the move would only exacerbate instability in the region. "This will be a catalyst for tension and divisiveness," a spokesman for the ministry said.

The Iranians' remarks were made against the background of reports of contacts between Israel and Arab countries for cooperation in the field of air defense. IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi participated in a secret discussion with his Saudi counterpart at a meeting attended by senior representatives of the IDF and the armed forces of various Arab states.

The participants agreed in principle on a plan to share air defense alerts through a variety of media. The agreement remains theoretical for the time being, pending the approval of the political echelons of both sides. (INN / VFI News)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10

IDF, Police Bust Gun-Running Operation on Jordanian border, Seize 12 Handguns

Israeli security forces arrested two men in northern Israel early Friday morning, July 8, suspected of smuggling guns from Jordan, confiscating a dozen handguns in the process.

According to Israel Police and the Israel Defense Forces, the two men in their 30s from Bedouin villages in the Tel Arad area were caught after a brief chase near the town of Neve Ur and found to be in possession of 12 pistols.

Police said they had been following the pair for some time as part of an “undercover investigation” into smuggling attempts in the area. Friday’s arrest was a joint effort between various police and military units operating in the area.

Law enforcement officials have previously indicated that guns smuggled in from Jordan are often sold to Arab Israelis, for both criminal and terrorist purposes. The military and police have stepped up efforts to halt smuggling attempts along the Jordanian border in recent months. (TOI / VFI News)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” - Matthew 5:9

Israeli Leaders Express Shock at Assassination of Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and other Israeli leaders expressed shock and condolences on Friday, July 8, at the assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

“On behalf of the government and people of Israel, I send my condolences to the Japanese people and their government on the tragic death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe,” Lapid said in a statement. “Abe was one of the most important leaders of modern Japan, and a true friend of Israel who brought about flourishing and prosperous relations between Israel and Japan.”

“His heinous murder will not change his distinguished legacy,” Lapid added. “Today, Israel bows its head and mourns the loss of Abe together with the people of Japan.”

Abe died on Friday of his wounds hours after he was shot from behind during a speech in Nara in western Japan. He was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment but was not breathing and his heart had stopped. He was pronounced dead later at the hospital.

President Isaac Herzog said he was “horrified by the despicable murder” of Abe, who he called “one of Japan’s most preeminent leaders in modern times.” (TOI / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you comfort Shinzo Abe’s family and the Japanese people during this time of loss.”

Ma Navu | Barry & Batya Segal

This song is often sung in celebration. It rings in happiness and appreciation for God's love and blessings. Rejoice for the good that God bestows on us every day!

Georgia Guidestones Explosion: Blast has 'Destroyed a Large Portion' of Monument

Police in Georgia are investigating an explosion Wednesday, July 6, targeting the Georgia Guidestones monument, which the state says is known as "America's Stonehenge."

The early morning blast "destroyed a large portion of the structure" in northeastern Elbert County, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"The preliminary information indicates that unknown individuals detonated an explosive device at around 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 6th," the agency said.

The Elbert County Sheriff's Office is among the law enforcement agencies investigating and a bomb squad has been called to the scene. (FOX / VFI News)

Jewish Toddler Orphaned at Highland Park Shooting

A deadly massacre at a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb has left a Jewish toddler an orphan.

Two-year-old Aiden survived Monday’s attack in Highland Park, Illinois, because his father shielded him with his body, local media reported. The toddler was eventually found wandering alone after the attack, and given to his grandparents by police.

Aiden will be raised by his grandparents, Misha and Nina Levberg, immigrants from Russia who raised their only child, Irina McCarthy, 35, in the Chicago area, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The grandfather told the paper that Irina met her husband, Kevin McCarthy, 37, through her job in pharmaceuticals.

“He will have a long road ahead to heal,” said Irina Colon, who organized a GoFundMe page with the family’s permission. The fund had raised over $827,000 by Tuesday night.

At least two Jewish community members, including the boy’s mother, were among the seven fatalities who were killed. The other Jewish victim identified in Monday’s attack was Jacki Sundheim, 63, the bar and bat mitzvah and events coordinator at North Shore Congregation Israel, a Reform synagogue in Glencoe, Illinois. She attended the synagogue and had worked there for decades.

“There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and sympathy for her family and loved ones,” said the synagogue. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you comfort the families of the Highland Park victims, especially little Aiden as he grows.”

Israel, US Sign Last Agreement for Visa Waiver Program

The last necessary agreement for Israel to join the US Visa Waiver Program was signed on Thursday morning, July 7, by Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev and US Deputy Ambassador to Israel Jonathan Shrier and witnessed by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.

As part of the agreement, both countries will be allowed to check fingerprints from each other's country's citizens 1,000 times a year and request information on citizens with severe criminal backgrounds.

In order for it to come into effect, the Knesset has to pass Israel's entry into the program in three readings.

"This agreement is strategically important for Israel," said Bar Lev. "The agreement will organize mechanism to strengthen the cooperation between Israel and the US in everything to do with the war against crime and terror." (JPost / VFI News)

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. - Leviticus 19:34

Earliest Depictions of Biblical Deborah, Yael Found at 5th-Century Galilee Synagogue

Archeologists working at a dig in the Galilean town of Huqoq have uncovered the earliest known depictions of the biblical heroines Deborah and Yael, in mosaics that are thought to be nearly 1,600 years old.

The find, announced by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Prof. Jodi Magness on Tuesday, July 5, joins a growing collection of ancient mosaics discovered over the past decade at the site of a former synagogue in the Lower Galilee.

Magness, a professor of religious studies at the university, has overseen a team of students and archeologists excavating the area for more than 10 years. Excavations at the site restarted earlier this year after they were halted for close to three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mosaics depict the biblical story in the Book of Judges when the prophetess Deborah told the Israelite military leader Barak to mobilize the troops of Naftali and Zevulun to fight against Canaan, whose forces were led by Sisera. Barak said he would only go to battle if Deborah joined him, and Deborah in turn prophesied that a woman would defeat Sisera’s army. Sisera, fleeing flooding, sought refuge in the tent of Yael, who drove a tent peg through his head, killing him.

“This is the first depiction of this episode and the first time we’ve seen a depiction of the biblical heroines Deborah and Yael in ancient Jewish art,” Magness said in a statement. “Looking at the book of Joshua, chapter 19, we can see how the story might have had special resonance for the Jewish community at Huqoq, as it is described as taking place in the same geographical region — the territory of the tribes of Naftali and Zevulun.”

All of the newest mosaics have been removed from the site for conservation, the university said. (TOI / VFI News)

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. - Romans 15:4

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

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