Israel Update 16 March 2016
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Israel Update 16 March 2016

Iran Launches Missile With Psalm 83 Message

Iranian missile test (Fars News Agency photo by Omid Vahabzadeh)


Launching a missile with a deadly, prophetic message for Israel, Iran showed off its military might Tuesday as Vice President Joe Biden attended meetings in central Israel the same day.
Iran fired two long-range ballistic missiles with the message written in Hebrew: Yisrael Tsricha LeHimachek Me’Al pnei ha-adama — Israel shall be wiped off the face of the earth.  The threat is reminiscent of the intentions of Israel's enemies as prophesied in Psalm 83:4:
“They say, ‘Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!’”
Iran's Fars News Agency indicated that these two missiles were shot from Iran’s eastern Alborz mountains, aimed to strike coordinates in the Sea of Oman, 870 miles (1,400 km) away.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division, confirmed that “the 2,000-kilometer (1,240-mile) range of our missiles is to confront the Zionist regime,” meaning Israel.
Hajizadeh said that the words on the missiles were "a choice by colleagues" and not a high-level decision.  Even so, he told Fars News that “Israel is surrounded by Islamic countries and it will not last long in a war.  It will collapse even before being hit by these missiles.”

Despite that threat, the Prophet Ezekiel indicates that those who invade Israel during the end-time war(s) (which possibly include Russia as well as Iran) will incur the Lord's devastating wrath:
“‘I will no longer let my holy name be profaned,’ says the Lord.  ‘I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them.  From that day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God.’”  (Ezekiel 39:7, 21–22; see also Psalm 83:13–18)
The Israel Foreign Ministry released a statement, saying, “The missile launches over the past few days represent a clear violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which adopted the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.  The decision bars Iran from firing missiles that have the capability to carry a nuclear warhead — which are precisely the missiles they fired.”
But Iran’s official position about the launch, according to IRNA news agency is that the missiles were “conventional defensive instruments and they were merely for legitimate defense,” stated Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari.

The day after the missile test, on his visit to Jerusalem, the US vice president reportedly urged Netanyahu to accept the renewed 10-year defense aid package and not to wait for the next US administration, which Netanyahu has proposed doing if his requested increase in funding cannot be met.
The current agreement that ends in 2018 designates $3 billion a year.  The renewed package offers a similar amount but with no possibility to add additional funding throughout the year, except for extreme emergencies.  Israel reportedly is seeking $5 billion annually in light of regional threats from the Islamic State; terrorist pockets such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad; and Iran.
Israel must also consider the growing arsenal of weaponry pouring into the Gulf states; even those who are relatively friendly toward Israel could join an anti-Israel coalition at any time:
“Yes, there’s a convergence of interest on some key issues between us and many of the Gulf states.  But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the tremendous amount of sophisticated military hardware that is flowing into a region where instability is rife and regimes can change,” said an Israeli Foreign Ministry official.
And while $30 billion over ten years might seem like a lot of money, the economic reality is that “Iran’s going to get about $100 billion now” from unfrozen assets, Netanyahu told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

Those billions are quickly being spent on building up its military arsenal.
Even though there is a United Nations embargo on selling weapons to Iran for at least five or more years, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted a ban on selling and shipping nuclear-related technology to Iran.
In November, Russia also gave a green light to the transfer of S-300 surface-to-air anti-aircraft batteries for Iran’s defense and delivered the first of the batteries to Iran on February 18, according to Russia’s RIA state news agency.
In a welcome turn of events, however, Russia recently halted future delivery once Israel proved that some of Russia’s SA-22 missiles were sitting in Hezbollah territory in Lebanon.
This freeze is a sign that Russia is keeping its agreement with Israel to not let its own missiles or anti-missiles be used by Hezbollah, which lies in wait on the Israel-Lebanon border.

Iran, however, has made several purchase requests.  Russia Today stated in mid-February that, “Iran is seeking to buy Russian Su-30 and Yak-130 jets; the Mi-8 and the Mil Mi-17 helicopters; the K-300P Bastion-P Russian mobile coastal defense missile system equipped with Yakhont anti-ship missiles, in addition to diesel-electric submarines and other military equipment.”
“There are also reports that Iran is interested in purchasing T-90 tanks,” as well as learning from Russia how to repair its current fleet of Russian jet fighters (Mikoyan MiG-29), supersonic super bombers (Sukhoi Su-24MK), and submarines.  (Russia Today)
Prophecy watchers await Iran and Russia's next move in light of the events described in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38.
"Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages.  I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth.'"  (Ezekiel 38:10–12) 

A Palestinian children's show character encourages children to throw
rocks at Jewish people.  The show also encourages shooting, stabbing,
and martyrdom, hailing those who have died trying to murder Jews.

Hamas Hacks Israeli ET TV as France Rejects Terror-Touting Network
“There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.  And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”  (Job 2:3)
On Friday night, some Israeli satellite viewers found that Hamas had hacked Israel’s Channel 2 reality show “Big Brother,” replacing about three and a half minutes of programming with a message of hatred.
Hamas threatened the Israeli public in both Hebrew and Arabic, saying, “Learn from history.  Flee for your lives and get out of our country.”
The clip incorporated sounds of explosions with fast-moving images and footage of past victims and terror attacks taking place.  The pictures show mourners wailing and a coffin draped in an Israeli flag, as well as a rocket siren firing and Israelis running for safety.
The alternate broadcast falsely accused Israelis of murdering “women and schoolgirls in cold blood,” likely referring to terrorists who die while trying to kill Jewish Israelis, an image included in the hack.

A vehicle damaged in a Palestinian shooting attack.

As photographs of real carnage from terrorist attacks flickered in quick succession, text on the video stated, “Stay in your homes.  The story is not finished.  The continuation will come.”
According to Channel 2, the hack successfully targeted private dishes but did not infiltrate Israel’s primary satellite and cable providers.  (Times of Israel)
The Hamas hack came after the Israeli prime minister thanked President Francois Hollande for intervening in the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa network carried by French satellite provider Eutelsat.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pleaded with the French president to take action against the terror incitement against Israelis and Jews perpetuated by the network.

While Eutelsat complied with the president’s resulting recommendations or directives, Netanyahu noted at the outset of his weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday that “the channel was indeed removed but resumed broadcasting on another satellite.”
“We are fighting against media outlets that encourage the murder of Israelis and Jews,” Netanyahu said.  “This is not a question of freedom of the press, but rather stopping incitement to murder.”  (Israel HaYom)

Hamas quickly overcame the obstacle by linking up their propaganda channel to Nilesat, an Egyptian satellite.  (JPost)

Netanyahu stated that Israelis are working to prevent such broadcasts “in other places and in other channels.”
Meanwhile, on Friday, Ramallah-based Falastin al-Yom, an Islamic Jihad-affiliated television station urging Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks on Jewish Israelis, was raided by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Shin Bet (Secret Service) and taken off the air.
The shut-down order followed an Israeli diplomatic-security cabinet decision to enforce counterterrorism measures against Palestinian media outlets that incite violence.

An IDF official said that taking the channel off the air “illustrated the considerable efforts the military invests in disrupting and thwarting Palestinian incitement, which fuels terrorism across Judea and Samaria and in Israel.”

Palestinian children programming brainwashes children to adopt the goal of martyrdom.  (YouTube capture)

Israeli Army Helps Arab Start-Ups in Nazareth
"'Nazareth!  Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.  ‘Come and see,’ said Philip.”  (John 1:46)
While Nathanael may have had a grim view of Nazareth in John 1:46, a lot of good is expected to come out of a Nazareth program in which technology experts from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will help launch Arab start-ups in Nazareth.
This past week, the Israel Ministry of Economy and Industry announced that it has funded Hybrid, a partnership that will help Nazareth’s Arab entrepreneurs to increase their potential in the start-up nation and the world.
"We are working to shatter the classic image of the entrepreneur in the start-up nation.  Our vision is to create success stories among Arab entrepreneurs, so as to increase the number and quality of entrepreneurs operating in the Arab sector all over Israel," said Fadi Swidan, Director of Nazareth Business Incubator Center, the hub of the new program. 

Evolving from a 2007 government policy that made Arab inclusion in the high-tech sector a national priority, the Hybrid program will be operated by the 8200 Alumni Association, an educational and community-service nonprofit managed by a top central army intelligence unit.

The 8200 group operates in several service roles, as well as helping its own graduates “integrate into the Israeli society as meaningful and productive individuals, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and involved citizens.”
Now the 8200 group’s technology experts will be helping to push Nazareth’s Arab start-ups beyond the first phase of fund raising.
“There are already a number of programs to help start-ups in the Arab sector, and many of the companies get initial funding from the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Economy Ministry.  But for various reasons, many of those start-ups don’t get to the next stage, raising A-round and further-stage funding from venture-capital firms,” Swidan told David Shamah of Times of Israel.
In the first week of March, the Hybrid management team issued a call for start-up candidates, seeking ten to take part in the program, which begins next month with the first of several intensive months “that will nurture several outstanding Arab start-ups, identified by us [the Ministry of Economy] as having the greatest possible potential for success.”  (MFA)

“Graduates of this program will be uniquely equipped with the skills and connections required in order to transform their technological ideas into businesses — and will serve as role models for other aspiring entrepreneurs in their communities,” said Ran Kiviti, director of the ministry’s Small and Medium Business Agency.

Nazareth, Israel

Biden Chides PA Failure to Condemn Violence
A sharp spike in Palestinian terror attacks coincided with an official visit to Israel by United States Vice President Joe Biden, who attended a meeting Tuesday about a mile from a deadly attack in Jaffa.
In the span of three hours, three terror attacks hit Jaffa, Petah Tikva, and Jerusalem, with at least two other attempted attacks foiled.

For Biden, the nearby terrorist stabbing spree in Jaffa hit close to home, as 22-year-old Bashar Massalha from Auja in the Qalqilya area stabbed and killed Taylor Force, an American tourist, US Army veteran, and West Point graduate.

Taylor Force was killed by a Palestinian on a murderous rampage. Force, who was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management, was visiting Israel with his classmates in order to learn about global entrepreneurship and also to share his expertise with start-ups in Israel.

Massalha also critically injured Force’s wife, moderately-to-seriously injured a pregnant woman, and wounded between 8 and 11 others, including two Arab men, based on varied reports.
Massalha’s attack began at the Jaffa Port where he stabbed several pedestrians before running northward to Jaffa’s clock tower, where he stabbed two more.
Just outside the Jerusalem Old City, after 5 pm on Tuesday, two Border Police officers were shot and seriously injured by a male motorcyclist with an improvised submachine gun, according to police.
According to The Jerusalem Post, “hundreds of curious Palestinians passively watched the chaotic scene unfold.”
Earlier Tuesday, in Jerusalem, a female terrorist pulled a knife from her bag and tried to stab a Border Police officer in the Old City, being shot and killed in the process.
“They’re targeting innocent civilians, mothers, pregnant women, teenagers, grandfathers, American citizens,” Biden said after Tuesday’s attacks.  “There can be no justification for this hateful violence, and the United States stands firmly behind Israel’s right to defend itself as we are defending ourselves at this moment as well.”

Biden called on the Palestinian Authority to condemn the attacks, but Abbas refused, merely expressing condolences to Biden for Force’s death, quickly dropping in a reference to Palestinian casualty numbers — many of whom were terrorists killed amid their murderous attacks.
Meanwhile, Abbas’ party, Fatah, posted on their official Facebook page a drawing of a hand gripping a knife with the name of Force’s murderer and the words “The Heroic Martyr” written in Arabic.  (Facebook)
Earlier this week, as well, Abbas wrote a letter to the family of a young Arab Palestinian woman who was shot and killed while running over an Israeli soldier with her car.  Abbas wrote to her parents, “We see in her a martyr who watered the pure earth of Palestine with her blood.”  (Times of Israel)

On Wednesday, Biden stated in a joint press conference with Netanyahu, “Let me say in no uncertain terms: the United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts.”

Pew Poll Reveals Israeli Beliefs on God, Israel, and Religion
“I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.”  (Jeremiah 32:40)
In the redemptive pattern presented by the Prophet Ezekiel, God promises to Israel, “I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land; and then, I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean … I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.”  (Ezekiel 36:24–26)
This verse reveals that Israel will return to the Land of Israel before it returns to God.  Indeed, the results of a Pew Center survey published this past week seems to suggest a strong, unified connection to the Land of Israel with about half of Jews expressing a strong conviction in God’s existence.
The survey stated that 91 percent of Jews in Israel see a Jewish state as necessary for the people’s long-term survival.  They almost unanimously support preferential treatment of Jews who make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel and receive citizenship.
“Virtually all Israeli Jews say they are Jewish — and almost none say they have no religion — even though roughly half describe themselves as secular and one-in-five do not believe in God,” writes the Pew Forum.

Of the 5,601 Israelis that Pew surveyed between late 2014 and early 2015, 29 percent categorized themselves as Traditional/ Conservative (Masorti), 13 percent religious/ Orthodox (Dati), 9 percent ultra-Orthodox (Haredi), with secular (Hilonim) taking the largest category, at 49 percent.
Only half of Israeli Jews and those who went to a secular university believe in God with absolute certainty, while almost all Haredi, Dati, Yiddish-speaking, and those educated in an Israeli university do.
Nearly all Haredi, Dati, and 80 percent of Masorti believe that God gave Israel to the Jewish People.  Thirty-one percent of the secular Hilonim also believe that.
However, while secular Jews self-categorize as “the least religious,” various Hilonim still observe several religious Jewish customs, including not traveling on Shabbat, fasting on Yom Kippur, and praying.
The definition of “secular” therefore does not imply a lack of belief in God or antagonism toward God, nor do all religious Jews pray or even believe in God.

One in three secular Jews, as well as the majority in all other categories, fasted all day on the previous Yom Kippur.  In addition, the majority of Jews in all categories attended a Seder the previous Passover.
Orthodox Jews traditionally fall into the Dati (religious) category, ranging from the more liberal modern-Orthodox to the more conservative; Haredi Jews can be identified by ultra-conservative dress (for the women) and black-and-white garb (for the men).
Ultra-Orthodox Jews are more inclined to attend synagogue at least once a week, pray daily, study Torah weekly and think religion is very important than modern-Orthodox Jews.  Yet, according to the survey, 7 percent of Haredim and 9 percent of Modern Orthodox Jews say they never pray.
The Pew Research Center states that “Israeli Jews also are more religiously polarized than US Jews:  they are more likely than US Jews to say they go to synagogue either weekly or never, while Jewish Americans are far more likely to attend synagogue on an occasional basis (e.g., a few times a year).”

In connection with the Land of Israel, “most secular Jews in Israel say they see themselves as Israeli first and Jewish second, while most Orthodox Jews (Haredim and Datiim) say they see themselves as Jewish first and then Israeli,” the Pew Forum notes.
Sixty-four percent of Jews do not think Halakha (religious Jewish law) should be state law, including 90 percent of Hilonim and 57 percent of Masorti Jews.  Eighty-six percent of Haredim and 69 percent of Dati Jews believe it should be.
Similarly, 58 percent of Muslims want Sharia law established for Muslims in Israel.
According to the research, 32 percent of Israeli Christians and Muslims believe that Yeshua (Jesus) will return in their lifetime, with 79 percent of Christians and 84 percent of Druze certain of God’s existence.
According to the Pew Center, “due to cultural sensitivity over the very idea that God’s existence [could] potentially be denied,” Muslims were only asked if they believe in the Islamic shahada declaration of faith, which 97 percent agreed to.

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