VFI News June 16, 2020

Jewish Community Flourishing in Dubai

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8

One of the most surprising Jewish communities in recent years has been the Jewish community of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is based largely in Dubai.

The President of the community, Solly Wolf, spoke of what Jewish life is like in the country, and the respect the community is treated with.

“When I came here, …you could not find kosher food or matzah [for Passover]. Today, in most supermarkets, you can find many kosher ingredients, even kosher groceries and gefilte fish," Wolf said.

When asked if it is difficult to live in such a devout Muslim state, Wolf responded, "We are very safe here, we are not hiding. We feel comfortable and we are able to pray and to go to the synagogue or anywhere else. I've been here for 18 years, and I've never felt hostility or anything like that, even though everyone knows I'm Jewish. We have neighbors near the synagogue, and they accept us as we are." (INN / 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

“God, we ask that you continue to watch over and care for your children, wherever they happen to live.”

Israeli Researchers Using Precision Data to Heal the World

Recent studies have revealed that people suffering from the same disease category may have different manifestations. As doctors and scientists better understand the reasons underlying this variability, they can develop novel preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic approaches and provide optimal, personalized care for every patient.

This year, the Israel Precision Medicine Partnership (IPMP) selected 16 research projects to receive NIS 60 million in grants to advance the implementation of personalized healthcare approaches – providing the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. All the research projects pull data from Israel’s unique and vast medical databases.

Shai-Lee Spigelman, CEO of Digital Israel, a program of the Social Equality Ministry, said she hopes that the research programs will “strengthen the excellent existing collaboration between Israel’s academia and health system. This collaboration underpins Israel’s excellence in health and is one of the reasons for Israel’s success in battling the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.” (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to bless the people in the scientific and medical community—that you would help them create and discover novel therapies that save, extend, and improve lives.”

Dutch Church Group Walks Back Call for EU Sanctions Against Israel

Following an internal debate, a large Dutch church group retracted and apologized for its call for European Union (EU) sanctions against Israel. The Council of Churches, an umbrella of 18 churches and denominations, issued its unusual apology in a statement Thursday.

The group took back its letter from last month to Foreign Minister Stef Blok urging him to scrap trade deals between the European Union and Israel if Israel applies its civilian laws in Judea and Samaria, a move some call annexation.

“We’re sorry that the letter brought to the minister’s attention has led to concern and confusion,” the council wrote in the statement.

Had the Dutch Council written its own letter, the retraction read, “it would have conveyed more carefully the ideas we wanted to express.”

“We don’t wish to speak over specific sanctions or penal action, this is the responsibility of the political domain,” the statement said, although the council’s statement did reiterate its concern about what it called Israel’s “annexation plans.” (INN / VFI News)

Trump Halts War Crimes Probe by International Criminal Court

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order imposing sanctions on individuals involved in the International Criminal Court's (ICC) probe into war crimes allegedly committed by US, Afghan, & Israeli forces—as well as crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Taliban—during the war in Afghanistan.

The order authorizes US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to freeze assets of ICC officials involved in the investigation. In addition, Pompeo will be authorized to block these officials from entering the US.

The move follows a push by the court's Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate potential crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians—a prospect about which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said they were "gravely concerned."

"Despite our demand, the tribunal has also politically persecuted Israel, our ally," Trump said.

The green light to sanction ICC officials has drawn concern from international officials and human rights organizations. (INN / VFI News)

Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right. - Proverbs 16:13

Connecting to the Divine through Music

In today’s climate of unrest, it can sometimes feel impossible to find peace—even in prayer. The worries that tug at our hearts, and the sadness and chaos of a world that risks losing its connection to the Divine can drown out the beauty that is right in front of us, within us, and all around us.

But music has the ability to change that. Since ancient times, music has been used in worship and contemplation—to aid the soul in its orientation toward the divine. And so, we invite you to come and listen.

Join our founders, Barry and Batya Segal, in a state of peace and rest with the Lord, as you experience Mizrahi—a style that mixes traditional Middle Eastern sounds with modern world music. We hope that you will enjoy it prayerfully, subscribe, and share generously. Click the link below, or copy the text into your browser window to get started (VFI News)


Hassidic Man Stabbed in London in Suspected Hate Crime

A Hassidic Jewish man was stabbed on Friday in a suspected hate crime in London’s Stoke Newington, suffering head wounds. The man was later identified by the Jewish Chronicle as Rabbi Alter Yaakov Schlesinger, an Orthodox rabbi from Stamford Hill’s Satmar community.

The attacker was tackled by builders working nearby and pinned to the floor while police were called.

Schlesinger, who is in his 50s, is identifiably Jewish and was wearing Orthodox clothing. He is thought to be in a stable condition as he was talking at the scene when dozens of emergency vehicles arrived, including the Jewish ambulance service Hatzalah.

The area is home to one of London’s largest Jewish Orthodox populations.

“Antisemitic incidents have become commonplace and part of what Jews around the world are going through,” Vice-Chairman of the World Zionist Organization Yaakov Hagoel said in response to the stabbing.

“I call on the authorities to deal with the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the law,” Hagoel added. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you heal this man—and this community. We ask that your love permeates the wicked hearts of those who would do your children harm and that we may live in peace.”

Antisemitic Insults Hurled at Paris Counter-Protesters

In light of the Black Lives Matter rallies that have been taking place in protest against police brutality in the US, French protesters gathered in the city to protest the death of Adama Traoré, a Malian French man who died in police custody in 2016.

Tensions were already running high when a counter-protest group dropped a banner from a nearby building reading "Justice for the victims of anti-white terrorism."

In response, some protesters were heard yelling "dirty Jews," at the counter-protesters.

The European Jewish Congress called on anti-racist marchers and organizers to ensure that “antisemitism is not being adopted by some within their ranks,” following Saturday’s incident in Paris.

“The people who claim to march against hate and racism while shouting violent antisemitic statements are hypocrites and acting against the worthy cause of the majority,” EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said.

“They are trying to hijack and piggyback on the justifiable anger and hurt of anti-racist demonstrators. …They have shown that they would rather sabotage an important rally for their own hate.” (JPost / VFI News)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. - Ephesians 4:29

“God, we ask that you bless and protect those who struggle for justice, and eliminate hatred in all its forms.”

Pompeo: The US will always support Israel's right to defend itself

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday addressed the opening plenary of the 2020 AJC Global Forum, where he reaffirmed the strong US-Israel relationship, condemned rising worldwide anti-Semitism, and cautioned Iran against threatening Israel and pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

AJC's signature annual event, which was originally scheduled to take place this week in Berlin, Germany, was changed to an online meeting due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, Pompeo’s remarks reached an audience of many thousands in the US and around the world.

"Since 1948, Israel has proven time and again that it's up to any challenge to the Jewish people's right to govern themselves in their ancestral homeland," he said. "The United States will always support Israel's right to defend itself."

Pompeo noted that he has visited Israel four times as Secretary of State, adding, "As a Christian, being in Israel deeply is moving, a very moving experience for me." (INN / VFI News)