JNN Newsletter - August 26, 2017

“The Lord foils the plan of the nations; he thwarts the purpose of the people. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Ps. 33: 10-11

UNEMPLOYMENT IN ISRAEL FALLS TO NEW LOW OF 4.1%: Israel's unemployment rate fell to 4.1% in July 2017, according to figures published this week by the Central Bureau of Statistics, down from 4.3% in June. In total there were 4 million people in the Israeli workforce aged over 15 in July, of whom 3,836,000 were employed and 164,000 were unemployed. The rate of participation in the labor force in the 25-64 age bracket rose from 79.8% in June to 80.1% in July. (Globes)

ISRAELI ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNCOVER RARE 1,500-YEAR-OLD JERUSALEM MOSAIC: A 1,500-year-old mosaic floor with a Greek inscription has been uncovered during works to install communications cables in Jerusalem's Old City - a rare discovery of an ancient relic and an historic document in one. The inscription cites 6th-century Roman emperor Justinian as well as Constantine, who served as abbot of a church founded by Justinian in Jerusalem. The full inscription reads: "The most pious Roman emperor Flavius Justinian and the most God-loving priest and abbot, Constantine, erected the building in which this mosaic sat during the 14th indiction." Indiction is an ancient method of counting years that was used for taxation purposes. Archaeologists said the inscription suggests the mosaic dated to the year 550/551 AD. Justinian was one of the most important rulers of the Byzantine era. In 543 AD he established the Nea Church in Jerusalem - one of the biggest Christian churches in the eastern Roman Empire and the largest in Jerusalem at the time. "The fact that the inscription survived is an archaeological miracle," said David Gellman, director of the excavation. "Every archaeologist dreams of finding an inscription in their excavations, especially one so well preserved." The mosaic, which was unveiled to the media this week was discovered earlier this summer. Conservation experts have removed the mosaic and are treating it in a specialist workshop. (J.Post)

ISRAEL TOUR: “70 YEARS – A MIRACLE”: Come join us from the Americas for a unique tour and opportunity to bless and be blessed as we will celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday, as a revived modern nation, during Independence Day next year: April 15-23. For those in the western hemisphere, the flights you choose should depart on April 14 in order to arrive on the 15th. The package price will be for the tour package only (land) which will allow you to shop around for convenient prices for flights. For more information and the USA price, call JDI Travel at (248) 340-9191, Ext. 110 and talk with Bethany or Dee. This will be the opportunity of a lifetime. Watch for more details at www.visionforisrael.com.

NETANYAHU TO PUTIN: IRAN’S GROWING MILITARY PRESENCE IN SYRIA THREATENS ISRAEL, MIDDLE EAST AND ENTIRE WORLD: At a sit-down in Sochi with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 23 Aug. 2017, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a growing risk to international security posed by Iran. “Iran is increasing its efforts to establish its military foothold in Syria,” Netanyahu said at the meeting, his sixth with the Russian leader in the past two years. “That is dangerous for Israel, the Middle East and, I believe, the whole world. Iran is already in advanced stages of taking over Iraq and Yemen, and in effect it also controls Lebanon.” The Israeli prime minister continued, “We are all defeating ISIS in a concerted international effort, and that is welcome. What is not welcome is Iran moving in everywhere ISIS moves out. We do not forget for one minute that Iran continues to threaten Israel’s destruction every day; it is arming terrorist organizations and is itself instigating terrorism; and it is developing intercontinental missiles with the goal of arming them with nuclear warheads. For all these reasons, Israel continues to oppose Iran’s entrenchment in Syria,” Netanyahu concluded. Netanyahu said the summit with Russian President Putin strengthened Israel's security. "We explained to President Putin and to his team our analysis of the situation and our policy, including intelligence that was unknown to him." (Algemeiner/INN)

IRAN EXTENDS REACH WITH FIGHT FOR LAND LINK TO MEDITERRANEAN: Thousands of Iranian-backed fighters in Syria’s central desert region are advancing east, bringing Tehran closer to its goal of securing a corridor from its border, through Iraq and all the way to the Mediterranean and providing it unhindered land access to its allies in Syria and Lebanon for the first time. The land route would be the biggest prize yet for Iran in its involvement in Syria’s six-year-old civil war. It would facilitate movement of Iranian-backed fighters between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon as well as the flow of weapons to Damascus and Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist group; Iran’s main proxy group. David Keyes, a spokesman for Netanyahu, said, “Iran’s aggression in the region continues to grow. Israel cannot and will not allow this,” he said. “Any cease-fire which allows Iran to establish a foothold in Syria is a danger to the entire region. A corridor would be a boost for Israel’s powerful enemy Hezbollah, which has an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles. Iran currently ships weapons to Hezbollah mostly by flying them to Syria to be shipped on the ground to Lebanon. Israel has warned it would do what it can to keep Iran from threatening its borders and has carried out airstrikes in Syria against weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah. (Times of Israel) Pray according to scripture: “He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.” Job 5:12

19 ISRAELIS TO HAVE CITIZENSHIP REVOKED FOR FIGHTING WITH ISIS: The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), provided the Interior Ministry a list of 20 Israelis who had joined the jihadist group, after a law proposed by Interior Minister Arye Deri went into effect this week allowing him to strip Israelis of their citizenship if they are members of foreign terrorist organizations. The 20, who are mostly Israeli Arabs, also include two who were born Jewish and converted to Islam. In October 2015, authorities broke up the first known case of an ISIS plot in Israel and indicted seven Israeli Arabs on charges of belonging to an ISIS cell planning to attack military targets. The first deadly attack believed to have been inspired by the jihadist group was in Jan. 2016, when an Israeli Arab went on a shooting spree in Tel Aviv killing three people; six months later two Palestinians shot dead four Israelis at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market. (J.Post)

EUROPEAN SECRETARIAT HALTS, INVESTIGATES FUNDING TO RADICAL PALESTINIAN GROUP: The Swiss Government confirmed 21 Aug. 2017 that the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat - a joint funding mechanism of the governments of Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, and The Netherlands - is suspending funding to the Women's Affairs Technical Committee (WATC). The decision follows WATC's role in inaugurating a women's center in Judea & Samaria named after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who murdered 38 Israeli civilians in a 1978 terror attack. WATC received $530,000 in core funding from 2014-2016. (INN) Continue to pray that international funding to terrorist groups - also to the Palestinian Authority that uses donations from abroad to pay salaries to terrorists jailed in Israel - will be cut off.

‘MORE ISRAELIS MOVING ABROAD THAN ARE RETURNING’: A recent report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed that following a six-year period of decline in the number of Sabras leaving the country on a long-term basis, a sizable increase has taken place since 2009. Of the 16,700 Israeli citizens who moved overseas for an extended period of time in 2015, only about 8,500 returned, representing a noticeable increase in the exit rate and a decrease in the return rate compared to previous years. Of the 16,700 departures, 57% were married, 53% were males, 95% were Jews and 5% were Arab. The median age was 27.6 years old. The study also revealed that between 1948 and 2015, approximately 720,000 Israeli citizens have left the country and never returned. (J.Post)

DISABLED PROTESTERS BLOCK HIGHWAY DURING MORNING RUSH HOUR: Disability activists blocked traffic on a major highway near Tel Aviv on Thurs. 24 Aug. 2017, as part of their campaign for disability benefits to be raised to the same level as the minimum wage. The demonstration came hours ahead of a deadline set by the High Court of Justice for the government to respond to a petition brought by disability rights organizations on raising disability benefits. The protest was the latest in a series of escalating actions disabled citizens have taken to push for an increase in state benefits. In June 2017 demonstrators tried setting themselves on fire outside PM Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, but were stopped by police officers who grabbed the gasoline containers. Protest leaders have said, “Disabled people are not integrated into the labor market, the Histadrut [labor union federation] does not support them, they have no other way to express their protest except to block roads.”

In June 2017 lawmakers from across the political spectrum urged the government to accept the new plan, which would raise the monthly stipend from NIS 2,342 ($660) to NIS 4,000 ($1,130). The new stipend level would be linked to the minimum wage, which is raised periodically through Knesset legislation. The proposal is a compromise between the demands of disability activists, including MK Ilan Gilon of Meretz, to set the stipend at the minimum wage, or NIS 5,000 ($1,400) per month, and those of a committee appointed by PM Netanyahu that recommended a more modest increase to NIS 3,200 ($900), and would limit the stipend to those with very severe disabilities and no family. (Times of Israel) Dear Intercessors, please take this matter to heart and pray earnestly that the disabled people of Israel will receive needed assistance to live their lives independently and with dignity. Many are ill-equipped to work, many who are employable are the least likely to be accepted for jobs even at the bottom of the wage earning ladder. These people are some of the most severely afflicted amidst the poor of Israel. Intercede for softened hearts in the government and a real change - quickly.

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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