JNN Newsletter - April 18, 2017

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.” Is 60:11

RECORD-BREAKING NUMBER OF TOURISTS ENTER ISRAEL IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2017: A record-breaking 739,000 tourists entered Israel in the first quarter of 2017, adding 5,000 new jobs and injecting 4 billion shekels ($1 billion) into the country's economy. According to new data from price comparison site HotelsCombined, there was a 157% increase in hotel bookings from Hong Kong compared to last year. Hotel bookings by Italians were up 139%, South Africans 134%, South Koreans 116% and Finns 116%. The site noted that bookings by both Spaniards and Austrians increased 78% and that Turkish bookings increased 12% compared to last year. The sharp increase in tourism comes despite the strengthening shekel, which serves to make Israel an especially expensive tourist destination, financial daily Globes reported. (Israel Ha’yom) “Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isa. 60: 2-3

50,000 TOURISTS AND ONE MARRIAGE PROPOSAL: The Samaria Regional Council reported its feeling of satisfaction after two days filled with various festivals and holiday events in honor of Passover's intermediate days. Over 50,000 visitors flocked to Samaria, flying kites at Mount Gerizim's national park, "meeting" King Herod in the national park in ancient Samaria, hiking on "Israel's porch" and tasting wine at prize-winning Samaria wineries. On Thurs. 13 April 2017, Israeli musician Ariel Zilber gave a musical performance, and thousands of people visited tourist sites in northern Samaria, and participated in the spring celebrations marking 50 years since the liberation of the Dotan Valley where the Bible relates that the young Joseph looked for his brothers. Among the visitors was David Shapira, who proposed to his girlfriend Racheli at the Tura Winery in the town of Rehelim. Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan said, "The growth of Samaria's tourism industry is nothing less than a renaissance. Every year, the number of visitors to Samaria grows. We've had visitors from France, China, Canada, and all over Israel. They all come to enjoy the unique tourist sites in Samaria. It's a feast for the eyes to see them." (Arutz-7)

ISRAELI MIRACLE SURGERY HELPS CHILD HEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME: For the first time in Israel, Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center performed an advanced brainstem implant. The patient was a five-year-old boy born deaf because he lacked an auditory nerve, the hospital announced on 14 April 2017. Prof. Thomas Roland, head of the department of otolaryngology, and colleagues at New York University Langone Medical Center came especially from Manhattan to help perform the unusual operation with Shaare Zedek ear-nose-and-throat surgeons, neurosurgeons and speech therapists. Since the development of cochlear implants, the number of deaf people in the world has declined significantly, and in most cases, the implant connects well with the auditory nerve and allows the deaf to hear. The implant is particularly successful in babies who were born deaf and are transplanted at an early age. It is also performed in adults who had normal hearing in the past but became deaf for various reasons. The operation was successful, and after the placement of the implant, appropriate electrical responses were received. The boy recovered well and was released home. The doctors who participated are very optimistic that the child’s ability to speak and communicate with his surroundings will improve over time. (J.Post)

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BRITISH WOMAN KILLED, 2 OTHERS WOUNDED IN JERUSALEM TERRORIST STABBING: A young British woman visiting Israel was killed on Friday 14 April 2017, and two Israelis were wounded in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian Arab terrorist aboard Jerusalem’s light rail. As the commuter train passed through the center of Jerusalem, the terrorist began stabbing the 25-year-old British woman multiple times in the upper body. Off-duty police officers and civilians were quick to react and wrestled the terrorist to the ground. An older Israeli man hurt his leg while trying to flee the scene, and a pregnant woman riding the train suffered light abdominal injuries when it came to a sudden emergency stop. The terrorist was identified as a 57-year-old Palestinian Arab from a nearby village. (Israel Today) Continue to pray against terrorist attacks in and around Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem.

WHY DOES ISRAEL NEED TO PREPARE FOR ANOTHER WAR WITH HAMAS THIS SUMMER? Israel Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday morning 16 April 2017, said there will be no choice other than to enter another war with Hamas. He warned Israelis to prepare for such a conflict during the coming summer. Why does the Hamas terrorist organization, which rules the Gaza Strip, keep engaging Israel in hopeless wars every few years? Part of the answer perhaps lies in the word “hudna.” It is an Arabic expression often translated as “cease-fire", which has little to do with establishing peace with one’s neighbor. Historically it was a strategy which allowed the party declaring the hudna to regroup and rearm, while the enemy was off-guard. The term comes from the story of the Muslim conquest of Mecca. Unable to carry off an immediate victory, Muhammad made a ten-year treaty with the Kuraysh tribe. In 628 AD, after only two years of the “ten-year treaty”, Muhammad and his forces reasoned the Kuraysh were too weak to resist. The Muslims broke the truce and took over all of Mecca without opposition. According to Umdat as-Salik, a medieval summary of Shafi'i jurisprudence: “If Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with the Kuraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud.” ('Umdat as-Salik, o9.16). The condition for Muslims making a truce with its enemy is weakness. Hamas is weak and always looking for ways to regroup and once again become strong to the detriment of Israel. Terrorist leaders reigning in Gaza admittedly are not looking for peace with the Jewish state - rather to destroy it. Even an extended “cease-fire,” means only time enough to dig new terrorist tunnels and build up the arsenals against Israel – all in preparation to again “shoot oneself in the foot” and stumble around for the next half decade. (JNN)

6,500 SECURITY-RELATED PRISONERS ARE SITTING IN ISRAELI JAILS: With "Palestinian Prisoners' Day" on 17 April 2017, the Association for Prisoners and Freed Prisoners, and the Central Statistics Office provided statistics on the number of security-related prisoners sitting in Israeli jails. According to the statistics, Israeli jails house 6,500 security-related prisoners, among them 57 women and 300 minors. Since 28 September 2000, when the Second Intifada began, nearly 100,000 Palestinian Arabs were arrested, among them 1,500 minors and 70 Palestinian Authority officials and former officials. In addition, 27,000 administrative detention orders were issued. All of these prisoners were involved in terror attacks, either directly murdering innocent civilians, attempting to murder innocent civilians, or aiding and abetting direct murderers. Their numbers are a testament to the unchanged desire of Palestinian Arabs to kill Israeli Jews and to their undying hope of wiping Israel off the map. 44 of the prisoners have spent more than 20 years in jail, and 29 of those were arrested before the Oslo Accords, now admittedly a failure, were signed in 1993. Nearly 500 prisoners are under administrative arrest. Arab organizations claim 210 terrorists died during their stay in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian Authority pays a monthly salary to terrorists. This salary rises with each year the terrorists spend in jail and is in proportion to the violence of the crime. The terrorists also receive a grant from the PA upon their release from prison. Arab terrorists have said they enjoyed a life of ease in Israeli prisons, with officials admitting that various perks are given to the terrorists in an attempt to prevent rioting. Terrorists once could pursue an academic degree during their terms in Israeli prisons. Although this is now against the law, academic studies have continued. In 2011, it was revealed that the terrorist prisoners' favorite course was "Genocide". (Arutz-7)

HALF OF RELEASED PALESTINIAN PRISONERS HAVE RETURNED TO TERRORISM: Mazen Fuqha, the Hamas official killed in late March 2017 in Gaza, planned to turn this year’s Passover holiday into a bloodbath for Israelis. Fuqha, who was released as part of the 2011 Shalit prisoner exchange, headed Hamas' "West Bank headquarters" and was responsible for establishing a number of terrorist cells across Judea & Samaria. Israeli defense officials believe the Passover attacks planned by Hamas would have include the abduction of an Israeli soldier or civilian, in order to force Israel to release hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners not included in the Shalit deal. Fuqha was sentenced to life in prison and an additional 50 years for planning a suicide bombing on a bus in northern Israel in 2002, where nine Israelis were killed. But in 2011, Fuqaha was released from prison as part of a prisoner exchange deal to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The Shalit deal saw the release of 1,027 prisoners collectively responsible for the murder of 569 Israelis. This infused Hamas' leadership with new blood, including its new leader, Yahya Sinwar. Defense officials today believe that 50% of those released in 2011 are currently involved in terrorist activity. (JNN/Israel Hayom) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas even this month told USA President Trump that there will be no peace talks “without a complete settlement freeze in Judea & Samaria and east Jerusalem” and “a limited release of prisoners serving time in Israeli jails for terrorism.” Hundreds of terrorists have been released over the years from Israeli jails in good will gestures to PA President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Each prisoner, upon release, signed a vow to cease acts of violence against the Jewish State. Weeks later, even days later, many released prisoners were again implicated in terrorist attacks or plots against the Jewish state. Intercede that these unreasonable conditions on the part of the PA will never again be agreed upon by the Israeli government.

IRAN’S AHMADINEJAD IN BID TO RECLAIM PRESIDENCY: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former Iranian president who was a disruptive figure both in and out of office, and who was told by the Ayatollah himself not to run for office, has decided to make a run for his old office and challenge incumbent Hassan Rouhami for the presidency. When Ahmadinejad ran for re-election in 2009, his victory was questioned and triggered riots in the streets that resulted in deaths and mass imprisonment of opponents. On the world front, the former president was known for making outlandish threats against Israel and the United States including predictions that the Jewish state will cease to exist within a short period of time. Regarding the Supreme Ruler’s well-known position on his run for the presidency, Ahmadinejad dismissed the comments as a “suggestion” rather than an edict. All citizens wishing to run for office are signing up with the Guardian Council which is responsible for vetting the names and promulgating a candidate list. Women who sign up to run for office – and a number have already done so – are typically dropped from the Guardian Council’s final list. (Medialine)

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