VFI News May 4, 2021

45 Crushed to Death, Over 150 Hurt in Stampede at Lag B’Omer Event in Meron

At least 45 people were crushed to death and more than 150 people were hurt, including many in critical condition, in a stampede after midnight Thursday at a mass gathering to celebrate the Lag B’Omer holiday at Mount Meron, medics said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident “a terrible disaster,” promised a thorough investigation, and said that Sunday would be declared a day of national mourning.

Army Radio reported that children were among the dead and injured.

The event is believed to be the worst peacetime tragedy in modern Israeli history, with a death toll higher than the 44 who lost their lives in the 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire. (TOI / VFI News)

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. - Romans 14:8

"Lord, we pray that you would comfort the families who lost their loved ones, that you would heal those who were injured and that you would prevent such accidents from happening again."

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.

IDF to Respond Strongly if Gaza Rockets Continue

The IDF will respond powerfully if rocket fire from Gaza continues, the security cabinet decided on Monday after an hours-long debate.

The cabinet authorized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to instruct the IDF to react strongly if Gazan terrorist groups launch more rockets on the heels of a weekend that saw more than 40 rockets launched into southern Israel.

The ministers also voted in favor of an operational plan to strike Hamas.

UN Special Envoy Tor Wennesland and Egypt said Hamas does not want an escalation, Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alian, the coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT), told the security cabinet. (JPost / VFI News)

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day - Psalm 91:5

Abbas Delays First Palestinian Elections in 15 Years, Blaming Israel

On Thursday night, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the first Palestinian national elections in 15 years would be indefinitely delayed.

The vote would be postponed until Israel agreed to allow East Jerusalem Palestinians to participate, Abbas told a conference of senior Palestinian officials. The decision was widely interpreted to mean the elections will not be held at all in the foreseeable future.

“We have decided to delay the legislative elections until the participation of Jerusalem [residents] is ensured,” Abbas said in a statement following the meeting. (TOI / VFI News)

No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. - Psalm 101:7

EU Moves to Stop Funding Palestinian Terrorists

The European Parliament Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring EU funds do not reach anyone affiliated with terrorists. It also rapped UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, for inciting hate and violence in its textbooks.

The legislature’s annual budgetary report says the EU must “thoroughly verify” that its funds are not “allocated or linked to any cause or form of terrorism and/or religious and political radicalization.” Any funds that did go to any person or organization with terrorist ties must be “proactively recovered, and recipients involved are excluded from future union funding.”

The article in the report came following an ongoing dispute between Palestinian NGOs and the EU over the affiliations of some of the organizations’ leadership and employees. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you educate those who spread hatred and misinformation. We pray that the funds that the UN gives to the PA will be used for the betterment of the people's lives and not for terrorist activity and that any attempt to do so by the PA will be stopped.”

Aid to the Poor During Passover

Thanks to wonderful supporters like you, hundreds of families all over the country received financial aid from VFI for Passover. Among them were: terror survivors, lone soldiers, families in need, Holocaust survivors, new immigrants from Ethiopia, and other nations.

IDF Downs Drone from Lebanon

On Tuesday, the Israeli Defense Forces said that it shot down a Hezbollah drone that had crossed into Israeli airspace.

“Our troops downed a Hezbollah drone that crossed from Lebanon into Israel today. In addition, we located another Hezbollah drone that we downed a few weeks ago,” the IDF posted on Twitter. The drone was closely surveilled the entire time, it said, and there were no reports of injuries or damage.

“We will continue to operate in order to prevent any attempt to violate Israeli sovereignty,” stated the IDF.

It specified that the drones were most likely gathering intelligence, and were taken down using electric pulses and not gunfire. The Israeli military had announced in November that it downed a Hezbollah drone that crossed into Israeli airspace.

When you take the field against your enemies, and see horses and chariots—forces larger than yours—have no fear of them, for Hashem your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt, is with you. - Deuteronomy 20:1

Iran Gets Four-Year Judo Ban for Ordering Athletes to Avoid Israelis

Judo’s world body issued a four-year ban against the Iranian Judo Federation over Tehran’s demands that its athletes refuse to face Israeli opponents.

The ban was backdated to begin in September 2019, when Iranian judoka and former world champion Saeid Mollaei left the Iranian team during the World Championship in Tokyo, saying he was ordered to throw matches and withdraw from competitions to avoid facing Israeli competitors.

The International Judo Federation initially responded to the Iranian order with an open-ended ban on Iran’s team participating in international judo competitions. That initial ban was overturned in March by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (TOI / VFI News)

Iran Still Seeks Mass Destruction Weapons

The German intelligence agency for the state of Bavaria said last week in its new report that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ceased its drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction during 2020.

“Proliferation-relevant states like Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Pakistan are making efforts to expand their conventional arsenal of weapons through the production or constant modernization of weapons of mass destruction,” wrote the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the formal name for the domestic intelligence agency.

“In order to obtain the necessary know-how and corresponding components, these states are trying to establish business contacts to companies in high-technology countries like Germany,” said the Bavarian intelligence report in its section on weapons of mass destruction. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you protect us all from nuclear war, that you would stop the Iranian efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, and that you would expose any hidden, evil plan by the Iranian government.”

EU Likely to Open to Israeli Travelers

On Sunday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that vaccinated Americans will soon travel freely to EU countries. Does this mean that Israelis will be able to do the same? Likely, the answer is yes.

“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” von der Leyen pointed out while speaking with The New York Times. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.”

“Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA,” the president added.

Von der Leyen did not provide any details regarding a specific timeline but did highlight that the development will be influenced by the epidemiological situation. (JPost / VFI News)