JNN Newsletter - November 13, 2017

“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” Col 4:2

ISRAELI SHEKEL EMERGES AS WORLDS 2ND STRONGEST CURRENCY: The Israeli shekel is currently the world’s second-strongest currency, according to a new report by the German global banking and financial services company Deutsche Bank. The report ranked China’s yuan as the world’s strongest currency. Deutsche Bank’s strategic foreign currency analyst Dr. Gautam Kalani reported that during the past 12 months, the shekel has appreciated 6.1% against the currencies of Israel’s main trading partners, such as the USA dollar, the British pound, the euro and the yen. (Algemeiner) “May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.” Ps128:5

NETANYAHU SURPRISES 3 MILLIONTH TOURIST WITH PERSONAL WELCOME TO ISRAEL: Israel has had a record year for tourism. And last week, PM Benjamin Netanyahu showed his appreciation by surprising tourist number 3 million to arrive in 2017 with a personal welcome to the Jewish state. Ioana Isac, 31, and her partner, Mihai Georgescu, suspected nothing as they arrived at Ben Gurion Airport from their native Romania. As the couple passed into the arrivals hall, they were greeted by an incredible scene: flowers, balloons, a red carpet and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who promptly whisked them away in a limousine to meet with Netanyahu at the Tower of David museum in the Old City of Jerusalem. Netanyahu gave the couple a personal tour, as well as conveying the appreciation of all Israelis, whose economy leans so heavily on incoming tourism. Isac and Georgescu were also given an upgraded hotel suite, a deluxe visit to the Dead Sea, a helicopter tour of Israel and a private dinner with famed Israeli chef Nir Tzuk. (Israel Today)

ISRAEL RUSHES EMERGENCY AID TO MADAGASCAR, BLACK DEATH CASUALTIES RISE: Israel is rushing to send greatly needed aid to Madagascar after a severe outbreak of the Black Death plague in the African island. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the South African branch of Magen David Adom have joined forces to head the aid effort. The aid will be delivered to the International Red Cross in Madagascar. Since August 2017, the island has been battling the epidemic of the airborne pneumonic plague but cases have risen by 8% in the past week alone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the "unusually severe" outbreak has now killed 143 people and infected nearly 2,000. "We expect all packages to be delivered to the International Red Cross in Madagascar in the next few days," Ayellet Black, Deputy Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, told the African News Agency. "Israel has a long-standing tradition of offering humanitarian assistance and coordinating relief to alleviate disease, hunger and poverty," added the Israeli envoy. "We have experience in helping countries going through natural and man-made disasters and will always provide assistance to help those in need." Although currently contained to Madagascar, nine nearby countries and territories have been identified by WHO as priority countries for plague preparedness, with experts fearing that the outbreak, described by WHO as "the worst in 50 years," could reach mainland Africa. (J.Post) Pray that this terrible plague will be contained.

‘THERE’S NO MORE LEBANON, THERE’S IRAN’: Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz last week discussed the latest upheavals in the Middle East, in light of the resignation of Lebanese PM Saad Al-Hariri and Iran's threatening takeover of large areas surrounding the State of Israel. Regarding the nuclear deal with Iran, Minister Katz said that USA President Donald Trump is leading the efforts to change the deal. "I think that with significant international pressure, Iran can be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said, adding, "There is no dispute whatsoever in the State of Israel, at all levels and in the entire security establishment, over the fact that Israel will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, so I hope that the effort will bear fruit but if Iran comes close to acquiring nuclear weapons, Israel itself will have to ensure that this does not happen."

As for the goings on in Lebanon, Minister Katz said, "What happened with Al-Hariri revealed the true face of Hizbullah and what we are claiming and the whole world now sees it: Al-Hariri was merely a fig leaf; in fact Lebanon is Hizbullah and Hizbullah is Iran and we see this as a red line. “Right now the world, in addition to pressuring Iran over the nuclear weapons,” he continued, “must also pressure Iran over its support for terrorism and impose heavy sanctions on Hizbullah as well as sanctions on Iran, if it does not stop funding and arming Hizbullah and other terrorist organizations.” Asked whether he would support Israeli countermeasures such as air strikes, Katz replied, "We do not talk about such things, but Israel has military capabilities. At the same time there is openness in the world to understand that after what happened with Al-Hariri there is no Lebanon, there is Hizbullah and therefore the sanctions on Lebanon must be severe in order to disarm Hizbullah." (Arutz-7) Continue to pray for global awareness, co-operation and divinely conscripted strategies to come into play in order to dismantle the threat that Iran and the Hizbullah terrorist organizations are to Israel and the nations.

ISRAEL WADES INTO SAUDI-IRANIAN CONFLICT: Israel’s Foreign Ministry has instructed its ambassadors to begin a diplomatic campaign against Iran and Hizbullah that includes backing Saudi Arabian claims that the two Shiite allies perpetrated a missile attack on Riyadh International Airport earlier this month. Israel’s ministry sent a classified memo to envoys worldwide urging them to contact foreign government officials to plead the case for reining in Tehran and its Lebanese proxy. The directive came the day after Lebanese PM Saad Hariri resigned from his post, citing fears of assassination and blaming the Islamic Republic for attempting to assert control over Beirut. His comments were echoed by the House of Saud, which accused Iran of sowing strife in Lebanon and committing an “act of war” against the kingdom. “The events with Hariri and the missile launched by Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels, who are supported by Tehran, should cause countries to increase the pressure on Iran and Hizbullah on a range of issues, from ballistic missile production to its efforts at regional subversion,” the ministry message reads. While Jerusalem does not have official diplomatic relations with Riyadh, the two countries have forged ties based on a shared concern over Iran’s expansionism in the region. (Medialine)

USA JERUSALEM EMBASSY MOVE, ‘TAYLOR FORCE ACT’ GAIN MOMENTUM: A subcommittee of the USA House of Representatives held a hearing on the potential relocation of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, ahead of a December 2017 deadline for President Donald Trump to decide whether to approve the process. A law passed by Congress in 1995 called for the mission to be moved to what Israel considers its capital -albeit, the city is not recognized as such by the international community - unless the president deems it detrimental to USA national security interests. Since then, sequential American leaders - Clinton, Bush II, and Obama - have every six months signed a waiver that was included in the law in order to postpone the move, citing the potential negative effects on the peace process. During the 2016 election campaign, Candidate Trump vowed to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem but has likewise delayed the initiative amid yet another push to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. It comes as USA legislators are debating another controversial bill, known as the Taylor Force Act—named after an American who was killed in a terror attack in Tel Aviv—that would cut off financial aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay stipends to those jailed in Israel for security offenses as well as to the families of Palestinians killed in confrontations with Israeli forces. An initial reading of the bill slated for 15 Nov. 2017 in the House Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to pass with broad bi-partisan support, paving the way for a full Congressional vote. (Medialine) Pray earnestly that the Palestinian Authority will be fully prevented from paying salaries to those jailed in Israel (and their families) for security violations and acts of terror against the Jewish State.

INDIAN SPECIAL FORCES IN ISRAEL TO TRAIN WITH THE IDF’S MOST ELITE UNITS: Defense ties between Israel and India have grown in the past few years, with Delhi becoming a major purchaser of Israeli military hardware. A contingent of Indian Garud commandos are in Israel taking part in exercises with elite Israeli special forces as part of the Blue Flag aerial drill. “The roles of the commandos of the two nations are similar. We carry out what others cannot do,” wing commander K. Baharat told reporters. “Our aim is to learn and interact with the world’s best special forces and share how we operate as well.” The 16 Indian commandos are stationed at Nevatim and Palmahim air bases. The commandos will be training with the Israeli Air Force’s elite Shaldag unit and Airborne Combat, Search and Rescue Unit 669. Formed in 2004 by the Indian Air Force, Garud’s mission is to deploy behind enemy lines, protect vital installations, carry out counterterrorism operations and conduct hostage rescues operations. According to India’s Hindustan Times, Delhi is planning to expand the commando wing with at least 10 more units of 70-80 members to secure additional military bases. (Arutz-7)

SPIDERS TURN JERUSALEM AREA CREEK INTO HAUNTED WONDERLAND: An unusual partnership between human waste and nature has created a treat for arachnophiles and a nightmare for everyone else — a stream near Jerusalem with its banks lined by spiderweb-covered trees filled with lurking spiders waiting for their prey. The scene, which alternates between a haunted house display and a strangely beautiful forest-scape of gossamer curtains draped over the trees and branches, has formed along the Soreq creek outside the capital. Experts explain that treated sewage water pumped into the stream from a treatment plant in the area provides the perfect nutrients for mosquitoes, which in turn became food for long-jawed spiders whose population has exploded. Arachnophile Igor Armicach, a doctoral student at Hebrew University’s Arachnid Collection, said it is an exceptional case. Armicach estimated that millions of spiders created the webs in what is a rare occurrence in the Middle East. However, the remarkable drapes and the delicate ecological balance that created them will not last for much longer. With winter approaching, the fall in temperature will kill off the mosquitoes and, deprived of the food, the spiders will soon follow. Long-jawed spiders are of the genus Tetragnatha meaning “four-jawed.” The spiders mate at the end of the summer and are usually found in damp, swamp areas and feed on flying insects. Those concerned at the thought of millions of spiders lurking in the woods can perhaps take comfort in the fact that the spiders are barely larger than a finger tip, and they’re not poisonous. (Times of Israel) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder??

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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