Christians Throng Israel's Capital, Jerusalem

“Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night,  so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations, their kings led in triumphal procession.” Isa. 6:11

CHRISTIANS THRONG ISRAEL'S CAPITAL, JERUSALEM: Tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims are expected to arrive in the country over the Christmas holiday, capping a record-breaking year that included 3.5 million tourists. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin expressed pride in the record numbers of annual visitors. “Israel invites the faithful from all religions to pray, worship and visit all the holy sites in Israel in freedom and security,” he said. “I am proud to announce that this year we have broken all previous records for incoming tourism, and are set to end 2017 with a record 3.5 million tourists – half a million more than the previous record.” According to the ministry’s statistics, more than half of the 2.9 million tourists in 2016 were Christian. The most visited sites by Christians included the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jewish Quarter, Western Wall, Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, Capernaum, Church of the Annunciation and City of David. (J.Post) Pray for the joy and safety of Israel’s visitors during this very busy and blessed holiday season.

A SEASON TO GIVE A SPECIAL GIFT TO JERUSALEM: As 2017 soon comes to a close we want to thank all of you who have given so generously throughout the year. We couldn’t have blessed the needy of Israel in so many diverse ways without you. For those who would like the opportunity to bless Israel before the year’s end there is still time for you to make a tax deductible gift before 31 Dec. 2017, according to the laws in your own country. Give generously at For residents in the UK and outside N. America visit our website at Please continue to help hands and hearts at VFI rebuild hope and provide for the nation’s poor both now and in 2018. “Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.” Rom. 15:26-27

UN VOTES 128-9 TO CRITICITIZE USA DECISION ON JERUSALEM: The UN General Assembly on Thurs. 21 Dec. 2017, adopted a resolution criticizing the USA decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The nonbinding resolution was adopted with 128 nations in favor, 9 against, 35 abstained, and 21 countries did not vote. USA Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, "The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What's more, that nation is asked to pay for the privilege of being disrespected. In the case of the United States, we are asked to pay more than anyone else for that dubious privilege. Unlike in some UN member countries, the United States government is answerable to its people. As such, we have an obligation to acknowledge when our financial capital is being poorly spent. We have an obligation to demand more for our investment. And if our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways." (Politico)

HALEY INVITES COUNTRIES THAT DIDN’T VOTE AGAINST USA TO FRIENDSHIP RECEPTION: USA Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley sent an invitation on 21 Dec. 2017 to the 65 countries that didn't vote against the USA in the UN General Assembly vote to denounce President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The invitation invites them to the 3 Jan. 2018 reception "to thank you for your friendship to the United States." (Fox)

TRUMP TO PRESENT NEW DOCTRINE THAT SAYS ISRAEL NOT THE CAUSE OF MIDEAST PROBLEMS: USA President Donald Trump is poised to outline a new national security strategy that envisions nations in a perpetual state of competition and downplays the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s impact on the broader world order. The plan, according to senior administration officials who offered a preview is to focus on four main themes: protecting the homeland and way of life; promoting American prosperity; demonstrating peace through strength; and advancing American influence in an ever-competitive world. While the administration often says that “America First” does not mean “America Alone,” the national security strategy to be presented by Trump will make clear that the United States will stand up for itself even if that means acting unilaterally or alienating others on issues like trade, climate change and immigration, according to people familiar with the strategy.

Despite international challenges, the document cites emerging opportunities to advance American interests in the Middle East. “Some of our partners are working together to reject radical ideologies and key leaders are calling for a rejection of Islamist extremism and violence,” it says. “Encouraging political stability and sustainable prosperity would contribute to dampening the conditions that fuel sectarian grievances.” The strategy document asserts that “for generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from radical jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats.” (Times of Israel)

HIZBULLAH’S YOUNG ADHERENTS LEARN IDEOLOGY OF HATE: Anchal Vohra Ali is six, and yet already he fiercely chants "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" at a Beirut rally alongside his family. "At six, he is too old to not be here," his mother Fatima said. On a television screen hanging above the packed market street, Hizbullah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, announced to a rapturous response, "After victory in Syria and Iraq, we will focus on Israel." Ali has been taught to unquestioningly identify his enemy and call for his death. "Jews and Americans are my enemy," he said. Indoctrination begins early. There were as many if not more women and children as men at the rally. Women like Fatima brought their kids along not because of a lack of nannies or day care centers, but to purposely acquaint them with Hizbullah's self-proclaimed cause - resistance to Israel. "This is the right age to learn about how the Jews took our land," Fatima said. She spoke heatedly about the events of 1948, when the state of Israel was formed on Palestinian land. "America helps Israel regularly and imposes war on us,” Fatima said. (Worthy News)

PALESTINIAN TEEN ARRESTED FOR GOADING IDF SOLDIERS: A video of 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi and two other women harassing troops in the Judea & Samaria village of Nabi Saleh went viral last week, leading to her arrest. The army also confirmed the teenager took part in violent riots in the Ramallah area, during which her cousin reportedly was injured. In the video, Tamimi is seen yelling, hitting and slapping the faces of the soldiers, who refrained from retaliating. Tamimi’s mother was also detained on suspicion of assault and incitement and likewise was held until 21 Dec 2017. Nabi Saleh has been a frequent staging ground for provoked clashes between Palestinians and Israelis, with members of the Tamimi family in particular known for their involvement in highly-publicized altercations with the IDF. In 2012, 13-year-old Ahed - who some refer to as “Shirley Temper” - gained notoriety when a video of her leading a group of children in a verbal confrontation with Israeli soldiers became an Internet sensation. Two years ago, she again made headlines for biting the hand of an Israeli soldier holding down a Palestinian boy who had been throwing stones. Palestinian activists have praised Ahed’s actions, while many in Israel accuse the Tamimi family of using her as a propaganda tool. (Medialine) This is a mere glimpse of the bad fruit that comes of a society that teaches its children - from babyhood on - that hatred and violence, especially against Israeli Jews is the way to become a hero.

“JEWS IN SWEDEN FEAR INEVITABILITY OF ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS”: Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the President of the Conference of European Rabbis requested an urgent meeting with Swedish PM Stefan Löfven to discuss rising anti-Semitism in the Scandinavian country. Rabbi Goldschmidt sent a letter to Löfven following several firebomb attacks on Swedish synagogues. Anti-Israel protesters threw firebombs at a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden on 10 Dec. 2017. The attack took place while Jewish students were inside the synagogue. The next day, two burning objects were thrown at a chapel located at a Jewish cemetery in Malmo. According Rabbi Goldschmidt, "Sweden is the only country in Europe that has a combination of rising number of high profile anti-Semitic, as well as public anti-Israel displays that result in violent attacks against the Jewish community and bans on Jewish religious practice including religious slaughter." Rabbi Goldschmidt noted that "Sweden’s 18,000 Jews live in fear of the inevitability of anti-Semitic attacks," and that "the Government of Sweden’s response has been weak or totally absent,” he continued. “I believe that fear of being accused of intolerance against Muslims, especially refugees, has paralyzed your government from properly addressing deep-seated prejudice against Jews, which has resulted in a persistent rise in anti-Semitic attacks. It is time to stop speaking about anti-Semitism and start doing something about it. These matters are a cause of great distress for me and the Jewish community across Europe." (Arutz-7) Intercede against anti-Semitic harassment and acts of violence against the Jews in Sweden. Pray that the government will take action against growing anti-Semitism there – also that those who are able will decide to make their homes in Israel. “Save us, Lord our God and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.” Ps.106:47

ANCIENT TOMB DOOR WITH MENORAH CARVING REVELED IN ISRAEL: An ancient basalt tomb door with a stunning menorah carving was recently put on display by the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The door was discovered in Tiberias in Israel's Galilee region in 2010, but was only revealed to the public a few weeks ago. The tomb door, likely part of a Jewish tomb from the second to fourth centuries, is ornamented with a depiction of the seven-branched menorah that stood in the ancient Jewish Temple, one of the key symbols of Judaism. (Fox)

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

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff