JNN Newsletter - November 8, 2017

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps. 34: 18

ISRAELI PM BENJAMIN NETANYAHU EXPRESSES SOLIDARITY WITH VICTIMS OF SHOOTING ‘SAVAGERY’: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed solidarity with the victims of Sunday’s 5 Nov. 2017 shooting attack on a Baptist church in Texas in which up to 27 people have been killed. Netanyahu said he was “horrified by the savagery in Texas. Our hearts are with the victims, their families and the American people,” the Israeli leader said. The mass shooting occurred at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio. The gunman, who was later shot dead by police, walked in to the church at 11:30 on Sunday morning and began spraying the crowd with bullets. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that on top of the 27 deaths, “many more” had been injured. Paxton said that “In a small town, I can imagine that these people are devastated. And everyone in the community is going to have some type of close relationship” to those either killed or injured in the shooting outrage. (J.Post) Many in Israel, including VFI staff members, join with PM Netanyahu’s shock and condolences regarding the Texas church shooting victims, their loved ones and community in this latest act of violence against the innocent. Please join us in prayer for the comforting and swift recovery of the injured, and for God’s closeness to those who are grieving.

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ISRAELI MILITARY SAYS IT WILL PREVENT JIHADIST TAKEOVER OF SYRIAN DRUZE VILLAGE ON GOLAN BORDER: In an unusual public declaration on Friday 3 Nov. 2017 the Israeli military announced it would thwart a potential takeover of a Syrian Druze town by jihadists. The IDF statement came after a Nusra Front suicide bomber killed at least nine people in Hader, which is located just across the border from Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. The IDF said Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and other top officers had conducted a situational assessment about what was transpiring in Hader. “The IDF is prepared and ready to assist the residents of the village and prevent damage to or capture of Hader, out of a commitment to the Druze population,” it said. Since the civil war in Syria erupted in 2011, Israel has largely sought to remain neutral in the bloody conflict. However, the IDF has responded with pinpoint strikes to occasional cross-border fire - both errant and intentional - in the Golan Heights and has reportedly bombed a number of Hezbollah-bound arms convoys and other targets in Syria tied to the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Shia terror group in recent years. Israel has also provided medical treatment to thousands of people wounded in the fighting in Syria. (Algemeinger) Continue to pray for the safety of Israel’s northern borders. As scriptures describe it in Jer. 1:13, “a boiling pot” facing from the north is in danger of tipping over onto Israel’s land and communities.

LEBANESE PM RESIGNS, BLASTS IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH: Lebanese PM Saad Hariri unexpectedly announced his resignation 4 Nov. 2017 citing Iran's "grip" on the country and threats to his life. "I announce my resignation from the post of prime minister," he said in a speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia. "I feel that my life is being targeted," added Hariri. "In recent years, Hezbollah has used the power of its weapons to impose a fait accompli," he stated. Hariri, a two-time prime minister whose father Rafik was assassinated when he held the same position in 2005, accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of seeking hegemony in the region. PM Netanyahu responded to Hariri's resignation on Saturday night, saying, "The resignation of Prime Minister Hariri and his remarks are a wake-up call to the international community to take action against the Iranian aggression that is trying to turn Syria into a second Lebanon. This aggression endangers not only Israel but the entire Middle East. The international community needs confront this aggression," he added. (Arutz-7)

ARAB MEDIA: WESTERN INTELLIGENCE WARNED HARIRI OF DEATH PLOT: Western intelligence agencies warned former Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri of an assassination plot against him, the Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on 5 Nov. 2017. Asharq al-Awsat reported that the sources "revealed that he had received Western warnings of an assassination attempt that was prepared against him". Hariri announced his surprise resignation the previous day, citing a plot to kill him, and saying the climate in Lebanon resembled that before the assassination of his father Rafik al-Hariri, who was also prime minister, in 2005. He criticized Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah for their role in Lebanon and other Arab countries. Hariri travelled to Riyadh on 4 Nov. 2017 and did not return to Lebanon. His resignation was made in a televised statement from an undisclosed location. Saudi Arabia is an arch rival of Iran. Asharq al-Awsat reported unnamed sources as speculating that Hariri would remain outside Lebanon because of the security threat against him. (J.Post)

RIYADH DETAINS PRINCES, POLITICIANS IN CRAKDOWN ON CORRUPTION: In the latest shakeup in the House of Saud, 11 princes, four current ministers and dozens of former high-ranking officials were arrested in what was described as a crackdown on corruption. They reportedly include well-known billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and two sons of the late King Abdullah. A concurrent cabinet reshuffle also saw Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once a front-runner to assume the throne, removed as chief of the elite National Guard internal security force, whereas Mohammed al-Tuwaijri was named the new economy minister. Salman also announced the creation of a formal anti-corruption committee to be chaired by his son, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed. Analysts say the changes consolidate Mohammed’s power over of the kingdom’s institutions—he already serves as defense minister—which had long been overseen by separate branches of the ruling family. Since being named heir to the throne in June 2017, Mohammed has rapidly moved to modernize the country, foremost through his Vision 2030 plan, which aims to wean Riyadh off of its oil dependence while creating the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world and by relaxing stringent religious laws, most notably the recent decision to permit women to drive cars. (Medialine)

EGYPT SECURITY FORCES DEPRIVING CHRISTIANS OF RIGHTS: Police in Egypt are failing to follow a new law that provides the nation’s Christians with freedom of worship, the right to restore old churches and build a new one – all under pressure from Muslims. Researcher C. Meital wrote that the issue of discrimination against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority has resurfaced recently in the Egyptian media. “The renewed debate follows claims that the security forces, submitting to pressure by Islamist elements, are depriving Copters of their freedom of worship”. They say security forces have been preventing them from holding prayers in several villages in Upper Egypt. In August 2017 two more incidents in Al-Minya villages were reported; in one, the security forces reportedly shut down a church in Kidwan village, and in the other, they prevented Copts from holding services in an apartment in Al-Faran village on the grounds that it was not an authorized church.

The report cites a request from Bishop Macarius of Al-Minya for the federal government to uphold the law, as more than 15 churches have been shut down and about 70 villages have no church at all. That’s why Cops seek alternative locations to worship, officials said. Coptic villagers wrote to Al-Sisi: “In every meeting with Copts you Al-Sisi stress the improperness of directing offensive expressions at any Egyptian citizen, but today we know that what is happening in practice represents the opposite of your approach, for we are treated like criminals and transgressors who must be prosecuted merely for practicing their religion.” (WND) Pray for believers in Egypt who are suffering persecution daily including death, injury, property damage and loss of political rights. May God’s mercy, protection, and courage rest upon them.

NIKKI HALEY: UNLESS UN RIGHTS COUNCIL REFORMS, USA IS OUT: The United States is ready to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council unless it institutes reforms, including removing Israel as a permanent item on its agenda, USA Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told an Israeli American audience. “The Human Rights Council will either adopt these reforms, or the United States will leave.” Haley said the USA proposed reforms include removing “Item 7,” which requires a report on Israeli actions in Judea & Samaria each time the panel convenes. She said the United States also wanted structural changes that would keep major human rights abusers from joining the council. Haley said the USA delegation was endeavoring to keep unpublished a list the UN Human Rights Council is compiling of companies doing business with Judea & Samaria settlements. Israel and the United States see the list as a blacklist for boycotters. She described one of the Obama administration’s last acts — allowing through a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements — as a “betrayal” of Israel. (Times of Israel)

FAMILY SAVED WHEN DOG WAKES THEM UP DURING FIRE BELIEVED SET BY ISLAMIST NEIGHBOR: A Jewish family from the Paris area has their dog to thank for their escape from a fire that they believe may have been started outside their home by an Islamist neighbor. The family was awakened after midnight on Friday night 3 Nov. 2017, by the dog’s insistent barking to discover that their front door was on fire, with smoke rapidly filling up the interior of their apartment in the southeastern suburb of Creteil, said the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. The door had been set on fire by individuals who doused it with a highly flammable fluid, police concluded. The family told police that they suspected a neighbor, who is an Arab, and whom BNVCA said has expressed extremist and anti-Semitic views online. Police detained the neighbor in connection with the incident. Last week, an unidentified person set the family’s car on fire. “The incident confirms BNVCA’s observation that anti-Semitic acts that began as targeting property belonging to Jews (synagogues, schools, community centers) or as assaults on people on the street have evolved into attacks on Jews inside their own homes,” the group wrote. (JTA)

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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