“By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.” Heb. 11:28
PASSOVER 2019: PLEASE HELP VISION FOR ISRAEL TO MAKE THIS A JOYFUL CELEBRATION FOR THOSE IN NEED: Passover, a seven-day commemoration of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, begins this year in Israel at sunset Friday,19 April, and ends at nightfall on Friday, 26 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.
Sadly, there are many families in Israel whose financial situation prevents them from purchasing the necessary food supplies for the Seder meal and the seven days of the holiday. Every year, thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, Vision for Israel is able to help hundreds of families by providing gift cards for purchasing holiday food, so they can celebrate with dignity. This year, our team has given gift cards to terror victims, Holocaust survivors, and needy families in our communities. Throughout the holiday we hope with the help of our partners to reach 1,000 families, with a gift of approximately $150 per family. Please help us to attain this goal. Your donations are vital and appreciated at www.visionforisrael.com For residents in the UK and outside N. America visit our website at www.josephstorehouse.co.uk From all of our VFI staff members: A richly blessed and joyful holiday to our JNN readers, intercessors, and generous givers.
MUSLIMS CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY IN SYRIAN TOWN ONCE BESIEGED BY ISIS: A community of Syrians who converted to Christianity from Islam is growing in Kobani, a town besieged by ISIS for months, and where the tide turned against the terrorists four years ago. The converts say the experience of war and the onslaught of a group claiming to fight for Islam pushed them towards their new faith. After a number of families converted, the Syrian-Turkish border town's first evangelical church opened last year. ISIS terrorists were beaten back by USA airstrikes and Kurdish fighters at Kobani in early 2015 after taking over swaths of Iraq and Syria. After years of fighting, USA-backed forces fully ended the group's control overpopulated territory last month. Christianity is one of the region's minority faiths that was persecuted by ISIS. "After the war with ISIS people were looking for the right path, and distancing themselves from Islam," said Omar Firas, the founder of Kobani's evangelical church. "People were scared and felt lost." Firas works for a Christian aid group at a nearby camp for displaced people that helped set up the church. He said around 20 families, or around 80 to 100 people, in Kobani now worship there. They have not changed their names. "We meet on Tuesdays and hold a service on Fridays. It is open to anyone who wants to join," he said. The church's current pastor, Zani Bakr, 34, arrived last year from Afrin, a town in northern Syria. He converted in 2007. (J.Post) Pray for the blessings of protection, growth, provision, and strengthening of faith for each one of these new believers!
AFTER NOTRE-DAME FIRE JEWISH WORLD LEADERS EXPRESS SOLIDARITY: In the aftermath of the devastating blaze that ravaged the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, Jewish leaders from all over the world have been expressing their condolences to the French people and institutions over their national tragedy. “We were about to send greetings for a tranquil Easter to our French Catholic members and for Passover to the Jewish community. Throughout history, and especially under Nazi occupation, synagogues were burned and cemeteries desecrated. We thus acutely feel the pain of our Christian friends at this time,” said the Director for International Relations of the Wiesenthal Center, Shimon Samuels, in a letter to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on Tue. 16 April 2019. “The World Jewish Congress and our affiliated communities in more than 100 countries stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of France and the Catholic Church in the face of the unimaginable devastation of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a blow that has struck straight to the heart of Paris,” World Jewish Congress President, Ronald S. Lauder, said in a statement. The president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, remarked on the important role the cathedral has played in French culture and history. “Our hearts are with the people of #France and the legends of @notredameparis, real and fictional, and we pray it will stand in eternity,” he tweeted, also sharing a memory of a recent visit to Paris. “I looked over the skyline of the city and the spires of the cathedral made it even more beautiful,” he added. (J.Post)
NETANYAHU AGAIN ON TIME’S LIST OF WORLD’S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE: PM Benjamin Netanyahu recently won a fifth term as Israel’s prime minister and on Wed. 17 April 2019 he was rewarded by Time magazine with inclusion for the fourth time in a decade on its list of the world’s 100 most influential people. “Israel is Bibi’s nation,” Time columnist, David French, wrote in a short piece explaining the choice and noting Netanyahu’s recent reelection to a fifth term. “The reasons for his enduring appeal are clear,” French wrote. “The Second Intifada undermined Israel’s political Left, with fresh memories of suicide bombers rebuking the idea that there exists a partner for peace. Ongoing rocket attacks launched by Hamas show that present dangers are real. And Iran’s power and ambition signal that even two generations after the Yom Kippur War, Israel can face existential threats.” French wrote that in spite of the dangers, Israel is growing more prosperous and powerful, with the elections showing that sufficient numbers of Israelis believe that Netanyahu is not only partly responsible for that success, “but that he’s the nation’s, indispensable man". Netanyahu made the list in 2011, 2012 and then again in 2015. He is one of only 27 people who have been on the list four times or more. (J.Post)
TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY SCIENTISTS PRINT FIRST 3D HEART USING PATIENT’S BIOLOGICAL MATERIALS: Tel Aviv University researchers have "printed" the world's first 3D vascularised engineered heart using a patient's own cells and biological materials. "This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers," said Prof. Tal Dvir. "Maybe, in ten years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world." The 3D-printed heart is small, about the size of a rabbit's. It is not yet functional and doesn't pump. However, the Israeli work on the engineered heart has more immediate value in making a cardiac patch, a piece of functioning heart tissue to repair heart attack damage. (CBS)
USA INT’L MAPS INCLUDE GOLAN HEIGHTS AS PART OF ISRAEL: The USA has updated its official international maps to include the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Jason Greenblatt, the USA Special Representative for International Negotiations, unveiled the maps in a post Tue. 16 April 2019 on his Twitter account. “Welcome to the newest addition of our international maps system after @POTUS issued a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” wrote Greenblatt. Trump several weeks ago signed a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights which was liberated by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community. (Arutz-7)
GROUP OF SCHOOLCHILDREN FIND 1,600 YEAR-OLD COIN IN THE GALILEE: A rare 1,600 year-old gold coin was recently found by a group of ninth-graders, the Israel Antiquities Authorities said this week. The coin was discovered during a school trip in Nahal Zippori in the Galilee. Nahal Zippori was once the capital of the region and the seat of the Sanhedrin. The coin features the effigy of the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II, who was also the Roman leader who abolished the presidency of the Sanhedrin. The four students from Kibbutz Yifat gave the coin to the relevant authorities. They were awarded a certificate of good citizenship. "This type of coin is known as a solidus, a gold coin minted in Constantinople, today's Istanbul, by Theodosius II, around 423-420 AD,” said Gabi Bichovsky, a coin expert at the Antiquities Authority. “This is the first time a coin of this kind has been discovered in the Land of Israel," he added. (J.Post)
HERE’S TO A SWEET YEAR AS WINTER RAINFALL HAS HONEY PRODUCTION BUZZING: After a five year decline of honey production in Israel, the heavy rains and large range of flower blooms this year will bring the annual honey production up to 3,800 tons of honey just in time for Passover, according to the Council of Production and Marketing of Honey. Normally the Passover holiday accounts for a quarter of the annual demand for honey manufactured in Israel, and about 20% of the amount of honey consumed in Israel, this year the council is expecting a need for 800 tons. "Last year, the production of honey was about 3,000 tons, and this year we expect a 25% increase in output, an additional 800 tons of honey. There has been never been such an increase in honey production," said Zeev Meidan, the director general of the council. Considering this was one of the stormiest and rainy winters in past years, distributing preternatural amounts of water around the country to farms and wild agriculture alike - the rainfall ensured great spring blossoms and have heightened areas of bee pollination throughout Israel. Meidan noted that in Israel and abroad, there has been a phenomenal disappearance of bees expanding in number from year to year worldwide, with about a third of the bees having disappeared from around the world.
The honey council encourages tree planting in certain areas, and works in cooperation with experts from around the world in order to provide enough food for the bees and proper honey production, "for the honeybee is not only a manufacturer of honey, but, it is also of great importance to man, because it is the central pollinator in nature, which is responsible for taking care of 80% of all agricultural crops," urged Meidan. According to data from the council, the honey bee contributes around NIS 3 billion to the country's economy every year in various forms, currently housing thousands of hives dealing with and assisting agriculture as well as honey production. With the numbers appearing the way they are now, there will be no shortness in sweetness this year. (J.Post) “And He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Deut. 26:9
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