VFI News May 24, 2022

Senior Iran Revolutionary Guards Member Assassinated in Tehran

A senior member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was killed outside his home in Tehran on Sunday, May 22, by unidentified gunmen on a motorbike, Iranian state TV reported, giving only scant details of the attack.

Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari “was assassinated during a gun attack carried out by two motorcyclists in Tehran’s Mohahedin-e Eslam Street,” IRNA said.

Reports identified him as a “defender of the sanctuary,” a reference to Iranians who carry out Tehran’s operations in Syria and Iraq within the Guard’s elite Quds Force that oversees operations abroad.

The two assailants shot Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari five times in his unarmored Iranian-made Kia Pride, state media said, right off a highly secure street home to Iran’s parliament.

Security forces were pursuing the suspected assailants, state TV reported, without offering further details or giving a motive for the killing. (TOI / VFI News)

“Lord, we ask that you protect Israel and the world from terror and acts of violence. We ask that you continue to expose the works of the enemy and keep your people safe.”

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.

Slain Iranian Officer May Have Planned Attacks Against Israelis, Jews Worldwide

The senior member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who was killed in Tehran on Sunday, May 22, had planned kidnappings and other attempts to attack Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide.

Although the Guard gave only scant detail about the attack that occurred in broad daylight in the heart of Iran’s capital, the group blamed the killing on “global arrogance,” typically code for the United States and Israel.

An Iranian official quoted by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera warned that the assassination constitutes “a crossing of the red line,” and that those responsible “will pay a heavy price.”

That accusation, as well as the style of the brazen attack, raised the possibility of a link with other motorbike slayings previously attributed to Israel in Iran, such as those targeting the country’s nuclear scientists. If suspicions regarding Israeli involvement in the attack are true, it would pose a new level of action by the Jewish state against Iran, as Khodayari was not involved in any way in its nuclear program.

Little information is publicly available about Khodayari, as Quds officers tend to be shadowy figures carrying out secretive military missions supporting Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group, and other militias in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. (TOI / VFI News)

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. - 2 Thessalonians 3:3

South Africa's EFF Says Israel is an 'Evil State that Must Be Destroyed'

Israel is an "evil state which must be destroyed as a matter of urgency," South Africa's party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said in a statement released after the violent clashes during the funeral of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh last week.

The EFF, the third-largest party in the South African parliament, is a pan-Africanist faction that "draws inspiration from the broad Marxist–Leninist tradition," according to its constitution. The party and its leader, Julius Malema, have been criticized for encouraging racist sentiments and were twice convicted of hate speech.

In the statement, the EFF said it condemns the "sadistic, cruel and genocidal Israeli apartheid state" for Israel’s Police actions taken against Palestinian rioters at the funeral of the Al Jazeera reporter.

According to them, Israel is a "sick, fascist and inhumane regime whose actions eclipse those of an apartheid state."

The EFF also called on the South African government and President Cyril Ramaphosa to expel the Israeli ambassador from the country, saying the world's patience has led "Zionist maniacs to believe they are untouchable."

The EFF publicly supports Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying in a statement released this week that it "commends Russia's anti-imperialist program against the NATO war alliance." (JPost / VFI News)

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. - Proverbs 6:16-19

Chad Restores Full Diplomatic Relations with Israel

Israel has an ambassador to Chad for the first time in 50 years, adding to Israel’s growing ties to African countries.

Ben Bourgel, who serves as a non-resident ambassador to several African countries, added Chad to his list on Tuesday when he presented his credentials to Chad’s president, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno.

Several African nations whose leaders had friendly relations with Israel severed those ties in the 1970s, following pressure from Arab nations. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prioritized restoring diplomatic ties with many of them, and he met with Chad’s former president, Idriss Déby Itno, in 2018.

Déby Itno was killed last year by rebel militants and replaced by his son, Mahamat.

Chad, whose surface area is roughly twice that of Texas, has around 16 million inhabitants, and the average annual salary is about $760, according to World Bank statistics. Its government is widely seen as a dictatorship.

The Israeli ambassador and his team “will work to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in areas of common interest such as climate change, agriculture, water management, and health,” the Israeli embassy in Dakar, Senegal, wrote on Twitter about Bourgel’s accreditation. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you strengthen good and honest relationships between Israel and other countries around the world.”

Sapari Tama (Won't You Tell) | Batya Segal

This 17th-century Jewish poem (piyut) was written by Rabbi Sa'adya ben Amram and has remained a beloved song throughout history. With both Hebrew and Yemenite Arabic, this beautiful ballad is an ode to the connection between body and soul. It is a testament to how the body and mind are one; our bodies do not limit our soul’s purpose, but rather support it. We must merge these parts of ourselves to fully serve our ultimate purpose. While our souls know the bliss of heaven, our bodies must remain on earth where we may only learn of paradise. When the two are in harmony, we can know peace.

Lone Soldiers under Financial Strain, Fear IDF Scholarship Bill Won't Pass

Lone soldiers are expressing concern for their finances and education ahead of the Knesset votes for the IDF Scholarship Bill on Monday, May 23.

The “MeMadim LeLimudim” scholarship for released lone soldiers, combat soldiers, and other soldiers from special backgrounds funds two-thirds of the cost of the veterans' academic or vocational studies — but has been suspended due to political disagreement and delays in the passing of the bill for the program.

Lone soldiers, foreign-born IDF service people without families in Israel, or Israelis estranged from their families, are especially impacted by these delays. They've expressed concern about being in debt and having to suspend their studies because they are unable to pay — And feel that MKs have turned them into political gambling chips, despite having left their families and risked their lives to serve in the IDF.

“The delay has affected me," said a former lone soldier currently serving as an officer. "I am currently studying for my master's and was counting on the scholarship to cover my last few months of university. I lost my mother to cancer recently and she was my main support mechanism. This has put me under unnecessary financial strain.”

The Ra'am Party agreed to support the bill, N12 reported on Tuesday, but the situation has become more tenuous since Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi said on Thursday that she would be departing the coalition — Leaving Bennett's faction with 59 MKs to the opposition's 61. (INN / VFI News)

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. - Psalm 34:17-20

Bennett’s Chief of Staff Quits, in Latest Sign of Discord in PM’s Office

Tal Gan-Zvi, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s chief of staff, will be stepping down in the coming weeks, Bennett’s office announced on Monday, May 23.

Gan-Zvi, who has advised Bennett since 2013, submitted his resignation, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Bennett called Gan-Zvi’s “wisdom, management skills, and fruits of his labor” a valuable asset, and referred to his aide as “one of my pillars.”

“I had the privilege over the past year to work with a true public servant for whom Israel’s well-being was and remains always at the front of his mind,” Gan-Zvi, 41, said in a statement thanking Bennett.

Gan-Zvi’s request comes less than two weeks after another top Bennett adviser announced she would be leaving.

Shimrit Meir, seen as a rival of Gan-Zvi’s within Bennett’s office, announced in a resignation letter that she would leave on June 1.

Meir, the senior adviser for foreign affairs, is also one of Bennett’s closest aides. However, she reportedly clashed repeatedly with Gan-Zvi and other political advisers who felt that she was trying to extend her influence into their spheres, including advising Bennett on his political strategy and responses to crises such as the coronavirus and the departure of MK Idit Silman from the coalition.

Gan-Zvi’s resignation was seen as a further sign of instability in the government, which is struggling to survive after losing its majority. (TOI/ VFI News)

NYC Mayor Sparks Outrage: Touts 40% Drop in Hate Crimes While Antisemitism Surges

Jewish activist Dov Hikind slammed New York City Mayor Eric Adams for boasting about a 40 percent single-month drop in hate crimes without releasing a plan to fight antisemitic attacks in the city, which continue to increase.

“When I heard that Adams had touted a 40% single-month drop in hate crimes even as violent antisemitism continues to skyrocket, I assumed it was because he has some kind of plan for dealing with it,” Hikind wrote in a tweet.

He described in a video how he contacted the mayor’s office to find out what his plan was to deal with antisemitism.

“People in the Jewish community all over New York are extremely concerned about antisemitism, about the attacks that are ongoing almost on a daily basis,” said Hikind, a former NY State assemblyman and the founder of Americans Against Antisemitism.

“Just recently the New York Times headlined, ‘Antisemitic attacks in New York are at highest level in decades.’ What I find fascinating is that the mayor visited a synagogue this past weekend and he sort of boasted, and I understand why he would want to do that, that there was a 40 percent drop in New York City hate crimes, which is very perplexing because there have been attacks after attacks within our community just in the past week.”

Hikind added that “I know the mayor cares” and said that he knew “the mayor wants to deal with this problem.”

He called on Adams to release a plan on how he is going to deal with record high ongoing antisemitic attacks taking place in the city.

“Jewish New Yorkers in particular, they take off their yarmulkes, they hide their Star of David, they are afraid. That is the reality. Mayor Adams, please can I get a copy of the plan, your plan to fight this outbreak of hate in New York. How are you going to deal with it?”

Hikind went on to ask the public to call the mayor’s office to request a copy of the plan, providing them with the phone number.

He noted that New York was facing “a serious problem of hate directed against the Jewish people happening on a daily basis.” (INN / VFI News)

Tens of Thousands March in New York’s Israel Parade in Major Show of Solidarity

Tens of thousands marched in New York City’s Celebrate Israel parade on Sunday, May 22, in a significant and long-delayed affirmation for the area’s Jewish communities and Israel supporters.

Hundreds of groups representing a broad swath of American Jewry — from yeshiva students to bikers — marched and rode down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, along with top American and Israeli government officials.

The parade billed as the largest expression of solidarity with Israel outside of its borders is normally held annually but had not taken place in three years due to the pandemic. It is meant to be both a public show of support for Israel, including at the political level and a chance for New York Jews to get together.

The march came during a fraught period. Since the last parade in 2019, antisemitism has surged in New York, the partisan climate has continued to stoke tensions between Jewish groups and fray political support for Israel, and sizable anti-Israel marches have taken place in the city. Yet the parade passed without incident, and a protest against the event was sparsely attended.

A heavy police presence secured the area around the parade, with manned barricades and police vehicles monitoring entries to the area starting a couple of blocks away.

A New York City Police Department marching band led the procession, which passed by thousands of spectators, many waving flags in front of the avenue’s flagship company stores, for several hours on Sunday afternoon. Many Israelis chatted in Hebrew on the sidelines and in the procession. (TOI / VFI News)

“Lord, we ask that you eliminate antisemitism and thank you for allowing your people to gather freely and safely.”

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

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