JNN Newsletter - April 9, 2017

“When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.” Ex 12:23

VISION FOR ISRAEL 2017 PASSOVER GREETINGS: Passover, a seven day commemoration of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, begins this year in Israel at sunset Monday, 10 April and concludes at nightfall on Monday 17 April. Families and friends across the country will gather in homes, halls and hotels to celebrate the annual Seder meal. Together the nation will recall in song and story the biblical deliverance, under the leadership of Moses, from the slave pits of Egypt, the ten plagues preceding it, and escapes from death because of the blood of the Passover lamb. Unleavened bread called matzos will be eaten throughout the holiday, and sweets made with matzo, corn and potato flour will accompany daily meals. Our Vision for Israel team extends warmest holiday greetings to our friends near and far. Please intercede throughout the week that this happy time will not be marred by terrorist attacks or Islamist violence against Israel. Pray that families and groups partaking of the Seder meal and recalling the exit from Egypt throughout the week will experience deeper revelations of the meaning of the Passover lamb.

RECORD-HIGH LEVELS OF TOURISM AS PASSOVER APPROACHES: According to the Israeli tourism ministry, Israel is seeing record-high levels in tourism on the eve of the Passover holiday. The ministry reported that in March 2017, 293,000 tourist entries were recorded - a 22% increase on March 2016. Similarly, in the three months January-March 2017, a record 739,000 tourist entries were recorded - a 24% increase on the same period last year. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin noted the developments, claiming that the record-high level of tourism was no accident. “For the past few consecutive months, we are witnessing record highs in incoming tourism and I am pleased that March is also a record month for tourist entries. This is not coincidence – this is a result of policy. We are implementing marketing activities and taking innovative steps to brand Israel and we are bringing new airlines and routes into the country – and all this is proving itself, month after month. This significant increase is making a significant contribution to the Israeli economy and to the labor market. Israel is an attractive and varied tourism destination and we are proving that if we work correctly, it is possible to bring tourists here. I am convinced that if we continue on this path, we will see significant increases in incoming tourism in the future.” (Arutz-7)

ISRAELI HOSPITALS TREAT THOUSANDS OF ARABS - WHERE’S THE MEDIA COVERAGE? No further evidence is necessary of the mainstream media’s anti-Israel bias than its total lack of coverage of the fact that Israeli hospitals routinely treat Arab patients from all over the Middle East. Instead, the media paints Israel as a bigoted society that only wishes ill on its Arab foes. A recent Israeli media report disclosed what’s going on at just one Israeli hospital. In cooperation with the Israeli NGO “Save a Child’s Heart,” Wolfson Medical Center in the central Israel town of Holon has treated thousands of Arabs in recent years. Most of the patients have been Palestinian Arab children in need of life-saving surgery, which is fully covered by “Save a Child’s Heart” and the Israeli taxpayers. Many other patients have come from war-torn Iraq. Others have from as far away as Afghanistan. In one instance, a princess from the emirate of Bahrain insisted on having critical surgery in Israel, insisting that only in the Jewish state would she receive the treatment needed to save her life. Isn’t that curious? After all, Israel’s antagonists suggest that an Arab who falls into the Jewish state’s hands is more likely than not to lose his life. They say Israel is a nation of “child-killers.” But here these Israelis are, not killing, but saving the lives of thousands of Arab children. And the media is silent. (Israel Today)

LIKUD MINISTER: ‘SYRIA STRIKE MADE USA REGIONAL LEADER ONCE AGAIN’: Adding to Israeli PM Netanyahu’s praises for the USA missile strikes on a Syrian army base, a senior cabinet minister said it “restored America’s regional leadership in a big way.” Yisrael Katz, Israel’s Transportation Minister and a member of the cabinet’s defense said, “There are things that only the number one superpower in the world can do.” In contrast to the failed policy of leading from behind, the United States has “restored America’s regional leadership in a big way in the Middle East.” Netanyahu praised President Donald Trump in a statement that said that Trump, “in both word and action,” had “sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision.” Netanyahu added that he “hopes this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere.” (JTA)

TRUMP EASED OBAMA’S FAILURE: In an article published on Israel Ha’yom's Hebrew website, Professor Eitan Gilboa said USA President Trump is changing America's foreign and security policy, especially when it comes to weapons of mass destruction: Trump said he would not tolerate the use of chemical weapons - and he didn't sit idly by when they were used, unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama - who made promises and then failed to fulfill them. Trump has erased Obama's failure, and set a new red line limiting the use of WMDs anywhere in the world. A few years late, Trump responded to Syrian President Assad's decision to cross several red lines. The USA attack was smart, fast, logical, and focused. It punished the site where the chemical weapons were launched from. Apparently, it was the result of efficient decision making, and the decision included several high-ranking and experienced generals. Despite the anti-Trump crowd's complaints that Trump acts hastily, this military strike was very well planned and careful. Trump sent a clear message to the international community in general, and to the Middle East in particular. Unlike Obama, who did not act as a leader of the free world, Trump did right and made order in the international community. Unlike Obama, who confused friends and enemies, Trump is rebuilding the USA' traditional ties and warning its enemies. Professor Gilboa is the head of the International Communications Center and a senior researcher at Bar Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Research. (Israel Ha’Yom)

WORLD LEADERS PRAISE STRIKE ON SYRIA, AS USA BRACES FOR RUSSIAN RESPONSE: A broad coalition of world leaders who for months criticized USA President Trump as an erratic force sang his praises over the weekend, grateful his administration chose to act where his predecessor would not in striking Syrian President Assad for his use of chemical weapons against innocents. But Russia, which remains Assad’s top patron and a critical player in the civil war against him, warned that USA action brought the two nuclear powers within “an inch” of war, and is said to be considering military steps that would escalate the conflict. Moscow says it will be increasing its missile and air defenses around Syria, suggesting that future USA strikes will not be tolerated. Russia also raised the specter of direct military confrontation with the USA. Stoking those fears, Moscow has officially shut down a “deconfliction” channel with Washington set up at Russia’s request in order to prevent midair clashes between Russian forces and USA-led coalition forces fighting ISIS. After an emergency defense intelligence briefing held for senators on Capitol Hill, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) said there was reason for serious concern that Russia and Syria might retaliate against USA forces on the ground. “This move by Washington has dealt a serious blow to Russian- USA relations, which are already in a poor state,” President Vladimir Putin’s office said in a statement.” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Trump’s actions “significantly increased” the chances of direct conflict. (J.Post) It is not an overstatement to say that the situation in and surrounding the Syrian conflict is like a skyscraper filled with highly explosive materials surrounded by firebrands. Intercede against chemical and bomb attacks on Syrian civilians, pray that Assad will be removed and replaced by leaders that are merciful and sane, that ISIS will be overcome, and that Russian and Iranian forces will return to their own borders. Pray also for the safety of Israel northern borders.

TRUMP'S UN ENVOY: OUSTER OF ASSAD IS A TOP USA PRIORITY: USA Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in an interview that she sees regime change in Syria as one of the Trump administration's priorities in the country wracked by civil war. "Defeating ISIS, pushing Iranian influence out of Syria, and the ouster of Syrian President Assad are priorities for Washington," Haley said in a weekend interview on CNN’s State of the Union. "We don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there," Haley said. The comments followed a USA hit on a Syrian air base with 59 Tomahawk missiles. The American assault early Friday 7 April 2017, was in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack by Assad's forces on Syrian civilians. Trump ordered the missile strike after watching television images of infants suffering from chemical weapons injuries. Syrian forces launched further airstrikes on Saturday that killed 18 people including five children in rebel-controlled Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the civil defense rescue service reported. (J.Post)

25 PEOPLE SAID KILLED IN BOMB ATTACK ON CHURCH IN EGYPT, 42 VICTIMS INJURED: A bomb blast killed as many as 25 people in a church in the Nile Delta on Sunday 9 April 2017. Dozens of people were also injured in the explosion. The bombing occurred near the St. George Coptic Church north of Cairo, as Coptic Christians were marking Palm Sunday. ISIS is believed to be the perpetrator of the bomb assault. ISIS’s branch in Egypt, which has waged a conflict for years in the Sinai peninsula, has stepped up attacks on Christians in Egypt in recent months. A suicide bombing at Cairo's largest Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people and wounded 49 others in Dec. 2016. Many of the victims were women and children. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack. A shift in ISIS tactics from attacking soldiers and police to targeting Christian civilians has become a potential turning point in a country trying to halt a provincial insurgency from spiraling into wider sectarian bloodshed. (Ynet) Intercede for those who have lost loved ones in this latest barbaric attack on a Christian place of worship. Pray for the recovery of those who have been injured and for the protection of the Christian Coptic community in Egypt whose people have been increasingly victimized by Islamist violence.

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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