"Comfort, comfort my people says your God" Isaiah 40

    We invite you on a grand journey through each page of the September/October edition of the Word From Jerusalem.

    The path Israel has traveled over 70 years is one of the greatest miracle stories of our time. Dr. Jürgen Bühler demonstrates some of the deeper, surprising regional trends in the Middle East and how Israel's standing is changing for the better (pp. 4-6).

    Israel is a strong nation with a strong economy, so one might ask, “Why should Christians still give to bless Israel?” Barry Denison addresses this question by taking us through the word of God to explain the biblical importance of supporting the Jewish people. (pp. 8)

    The road to reach Jerusalem for the remainder of Ethiopia’s Jewish community has been a long and hard-fought effort. The ICEJ’s TV Department ventured out to capture and share unique moments of insight and background into the journey of Aliyah for the Jewish community in Ethiopia today. Read more about this moving documentary called "Journey of Dreams." (pp. 14-15)

    Explore many more topics ranging from Gaza troubles (16-17), updates on the Haifa Home (18-19), the Arise Summer Tour (10), instability on the northern border of Israel (23), and much more. Enjoy the journey as you read each of these articles displaying God's hand moving powerfully here in Israel and in the nations.  


  2. Israel came to a standstill on Wednesday to mark Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calender. Millions of Jewish men and women spent the day praying in Synagogues while many children took part in the traditional day of biking and otherwise playing in the empty streets. One group which was kept busy was the Magen David Adom ambulance service, which reported treating 1,728 people for injuries suffered in bike and scooter accidents, dehydration and weakness caused by fasting.

    Israeli Air Force Team in Moscow for Consulations
    A senior-level team from the Israeli Air Force was in Moscow on Thursday to present data to Russian officials regarding the downing on Tuesday of a Russian Air Force reconnaissance aircraft on Tuesday, killing 15 Russian serviceman. The Kremlin blamed Israel for the incident, saying Israeli attack aircraft used the Russian plane for cover as they launched a strike on Iranian-supplied missiles being transferred to Hezbollah in Syria’s Latakia province. The anti-aircraft missiles fired by Assad regime forces at the Israeli planes hit the Russian plane by mistake, according to the Kremlin assessment.

    Israel immediately issued a statement expressing sorrow over the loss of the Il-20 surveillance aircraft and its crew, but put the blame squarely on Assad regime forces which "fired indiscriminately" in the general direction of the Israeli aircraft without taking into account the presence of the Russian plane.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin issued  a statement blaming the loss of the aircraft on "a chain of tragic chance events" but promised that the Kremlin would fully review all relevant data and take steps to ensure such an incident was not repeated, prompting analysts to speculate that the season of Israeli freedom of action in the skies over Syria might be about to end.

    Iran Named Major State Sponsor of Terrorism
    The US State Department issued its annual survey on global terrorism Wednesday, once again naming Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. "Designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2017, including support for Lebanese Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East," the report said. It added that Iran has a highly active offensive cyber program which has carried out attacks against computer networks belonging to a variety of governments and private entities around the world.

    Also on Wednesday, U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told Bloomberg News that German manufacturer Volkswagen will soon terminate its operations in Iran in compliance with US sanctions, adding that the US is "pleased with this decision because Iran diverts its economic resources away from its people to spread violence and instability across the globe."

    PA Gives Stipend to Family of Ari Fuld’s Killer
    The Palestinian Authority announced this week that it will provide a monthly stipend of NIS 1,400 to the family of Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin, the terrorist who murdered 45-year-old Israeli journalist Ari Fuld last Sunday. The announcement led to a renewed debate in Israel over enforcement of recently passed legislation which would deduct the amount of money the PA budgets for such stipends from the amount Israel transfers to the PA from collected taxes on Palestinian goods and services traversing Israeli territory.

    Today’s video gives an analysis of Israel’s regional strategic situation

  3. Palestinian reaction was swift to the announcement on Monday by the Trump Administration in the US that it has ordered the PLO’s offices in Washington DC to be closed, with the stated purpose of pressuring the Palestinians to return to negotiations with Israel. "Adherence to Jerusalem and preserving it and the rights of the Palestinians, including the issues of Jerusalem and the refugees, is more important than the relationship with the US," declared PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh. “The decision to close the PLO office won't stop us from preserving our Islamic and Christian holy sites or change our commitment to international resolutions and the decisions of Arab and Islamic summits concerning the Palestinian cause."

    "We reiterate that the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to US threats and bullying," added senior PA diplomat Saeb Erekat. "Accordingly, we continue to call upon the International Criminal Court to open its immediate investigation into Israeli crimes."

    However, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Tuesday evening saying "The US made the correct decision regarding the PLO mission in Washington. Israel supports American actions that are designed to make it clear to the Palestinians that refusing to negotiate and attempts to attack Israel in international forums will not advance peace."

    Other steps taken by the Trump Administration, including cutting US funding for the UNRWA, have also been bitterly criticized in recent days, with a report surfacing on the London-based website Al-Khaled Tuesday indicating that the Administration is pursuing a plan to pressure Arab countries to grant citizenship to Palestinian refugees drawing accusations of a “conspiracy” to eliminate the decades-old demand that the descendants of Arabs who fled Israel during and following the 1948 War of Independence be allowed to “return” to the country. 

    Russia Says Reports of Chemical Weapons in Syria Untrue
    The Kremlin was pushing back Tuesday against claims that chemical weapons had been used in attacks on rebel positions in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, saying the film evidence being presented to prove the allegations had been staged. Nevertheless, defense community analysts speculated that the Trump Administration would strike Assad regime forces in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons and Turkish President Erdogan warned that the situation could rapidly escalate regional tensions.

    Erdogan told the Wall Street Journal newspaper on Tuesday that "All members of the international community must understand their responsibilities as the assault on Idlib looms. The consequences of inaction are immense. A (Assad) regime assault would also create serious humanitarian and security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond."

    Turkish troops have deployed on the border with Idlib province in an apparent attempt to contain any spillover violence and officials in Ankara have warned that they will not accept any more refugees from the war in Syria.

    Joint List MKs Get Support for Anti-Israel Campaign
    Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit pledged his support Tuesday to Joint (Arab) List MKs Ahmad Tibi and Jamal Zahalka for their efforts to drum up international pressure against Israel over the recently passed “Jewish Nation-State Law” during a meeting they held in Cairo. Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer characterized the behavior of Tibi and Zahalka as “spitting in the face of the country that pays their salaries.”

    Iranian Leader Rattles Nuclear Sabre
    Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Wednesday that the Islamic Republic has between 3,000 and 4,000 active centrifuges, adding that the nuclear infrastructure should be noted by the clerical regime’s enemies. "America and Israel have a program against Iran and they scrapped a deal they requested," Larijani said, referring to the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal. "After America withdrew, European leaders asked that Iran not give a quick reply to this action and they asked for time, which is passing now."

    Today’s videos give a look at how Israelis are celebrating Rosh Hashanah in 2018

  4. As Israeli Jews prepared to celebrate the festival of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) starting Sunday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the leadership of the IDF and Security services Thursday for a toast to mark the occasion, thanking them for their hard work and briefing them on the latest developments. Elsewhere, the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City was the site of “Selichot prayers” all this week, as thousands gathered to prepare for the High Holy Days.

    Here is a video about Rosh Hashanah in Israel

    Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran Meet Over Syria
    The presidents of Russia, Turkey, and Iran were meeting in Teheran Friday in an effort to coordinate strategies for dealing with the multiple, overlapping crises in Syria. The talks were reportedly focused on efforts to avert a bloodbath in Idlib Province, home to nearly 3 million civilians and the last remnants of rebel factions, including an estimated 10,000 members of Al Qaida and other Islamist terror militias. Assad regime forces have already begun shelling and bombing rebel positions inside Idlib, with support from Russian aircraft, as ground forces including Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias mass on the border for a possible invasion.

    "We look to Russia, Turkey, Iran to come with hope to the civilians in Idlib," said Staffan de Mistura, the United Nation's Syria envoy. "There are indeed many more babies than there are terrorists in Idlib. There are a million children."

    Iranian Leader Complains of ‘Economic and Media War’
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a speech in which he blasted the US and Israel for what he described as unwarranted aggression against his regime. "Today, [Iran's] Islamic system faces an all-out economic war that is carefully guided by a war room, but along with this war, there is a major media and propaganda warfare that is often neglected," Khamenei said on Wednesday.

    IDF Completes Separation Fence Segment on Northern Border
    A senior IDF Northern Command officer briefed reporters on the Lebanese border Wednesday, showcasing an 11 km length of concrete barriers that have recently been constructed and giving an open warning to the Lebanese Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah that “Anyone who crosses into Israel will not return [alive] to Lebanon…in the next war Hezbollah’s Radwan unit will be eliminated.”
    “This is a planned operation designed to maintain long-term stability on the frontier and is fully coordinated with UNIFIL forces,” the IDF said, referring to the refurbished border barrier. “The interest in maintaining relative stability is clear, and there is no reason that it should be affected by construction work.”
  5. US President Donald Trump spoke with American Jewish leaders by conference call on Thursday, saying that he plans to withhold funds from the Palestinian Authority unless they agree to enter into negotiations with Israel. He added his hopes that this approach, which he said had never been tried before, would lead to a breakthrough in the decades old stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians.

    “We’re going to be able to get it done,” Trump said. “We did something that I now understand why so many presidents before me didn’t do. They would campaign and they were always going to talk. They were always talking about Jerusalem and the embassy, and it was all very beautiful and everybody was happy. And then they never did it. I’d say, you’ll get money, but we’re not paying you until we make a deal. If we don’t make a deal, we’re not paying. And that’s going to have a little impact.”

    “I said, “’By the way, did you ever do that before?’” he added. “I said to some of the past negotiators, ‘Did you ever do that before? Did you ever use the money angle?’ They said, ‘No, sir. We thought it would be disrespectful.’ I said, ‘I don’t think it’s disrespectful at all. I think it’s disrespectful when people don’t come to the table.’”

    Meanwhile, in a Rosh Hashanah interview with the Jerusalem Post, US Ambassador David Friedman attempted to dispel rumors that the White House was looking to extract something from Israel in return for moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. “There’s nothing we have in our back pocket that says, ‘Well, Israel, you’ve got to give up X, Y and Z because the embassy was moved,’” he declared. “The embassy was moved to Jerusalem because the American people have, through their elected officials for the last 25 years, directed the president to do exactly that, and Donald Trump was the first president to do so. That’s the beginning and the end of the Jerusalem decision.”

    “It has sent exactly the right signal to our friends and to our foes: that the United States can be trusted at its word; that the United States does not act out of fear, but out of strength,” he added.

    In response to a question about the PA rejecting the so-called “deal of the century” before it’s even been publicly revealed, Friedman added, “The idea of rejecting a plan that you haven’t seen strikes me as being grossly irresponsible. You want to read it and tell us what you don’t like about it, by all means. You want to read it and say, ‘It’s not acceptable.’ Sure, that’s your right. But to not know what’s in there, and to reject it out of hand, and to cause others within the leadership to refrain from having conversations because you don’t like something you haven’t read, just strikes me as being grossly irresponsible when you’re trying to lead a couple of million people to a better future.”

    Elsewhere, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the US, hosted a Rosh Hashanah toast on Wednesday evening in Washington, saying among other things that “What is new is the behavior of many Arab states. They are no longer reflexively dancing to the Palestinians’ tune. Despite the best efforts of Palestinian leaders to whip up opposition to President Trump’s Jerusalem decision, the response in the Arab world was mostly silence. And that silence should give us real hope for the future – the hope that after 70 years of demonizing Israel, some Arab states may finally be ready to turn the page.”

    In related news, the Jordanian government recently sent reinforcements to the civil defense guards at Al-Aqsa Mosque on top of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City and has also taken other steps which it says is meant to bolster the morale of Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem. The government also sponsored a visit by Christian officers in the Jordanian armed forces to Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem.