Israel's 71st Birthday

May 7, 2019

“What great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?” Deut. 4:7

ISRAEL’S 71ST BIRTHDAY: Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) in Jerusalem and throughout Israel is a time of parties, dancing in the streets and joyful activities. It celebrates the declaration of independence of the State of Israel in 1948.  This year’s Yom Ha’atzmut begins on Wednesday evening 8 May and ends Thursday 9 May at sunset.

ISRAEL’S 71ST BIRTHDAY: SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR ISRAEL WITH A BIGHEARTED FINANCIAL GIFT: Israel’s 71 years of amazing accomplishments and contributions to the world in the field of technology, medicine, invention, human resources, culture and so much more, are gain for millions of people around the globe. And yet this tiny country can’t do it all. Israel still struggles with wide-spread poverty: More than 1.7 million Israelis – about 22% of Israel’s population – are living below the poverty line. One out of every three children, and more than 180,000 elderly, live in poverty. Vision for Israel continues to impart comfort and provision for so many of the nation’s poor, including children, terrorist victims, and their families, the elderly and Holocaust survivors. We urgently need your ongoing help to do all that we can. Please give generously at  Your donations are vital and appreciated.

ISRAELI POPULATION TO SOAR TO 15.2 MILLION BY 100TH ANNIVERSARY: Israel’s population is expected to soar to 15.2 million by the time the state celebrates its centenary in 2048, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of the country’s 71st Independence Day. A mere 806,000 citizens resided in the State of Israel when David Ben-Gurion declared independence on 14 May 1948. Today, 9.021 million people call Israel home, an increase of 177,000 or 2% since last year’s Independence Day celebrations. During that time, 188,000 babies were born, 31,000 immigrants arrived and 47,000 Israelis died. Some 6.697 million (74.2%) of Israel’s population are Jewish, and a further 1.89 million (20.9%) are Arabs. Approximately 45% of the world’s Jewish population currently lives in Israel. A further 434,000 citizens (4.8%) are of different faiths or origins. Since the establishment of the state, 3.2 million immigrants have received Israeli citizenship. Average life expectancy for Israeli men stands at 80.7 years and for women at 84.6 years. Some 48,000 Israeli citizens are 90 years old or older. An impressive 88.9% of Israelis are said to be satisfied with their lives. During the past year, a record 4.4 million tourists and business people entered Israel, and 8.5 million Israeli went abroad. (J.Post) “Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.  He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors.  The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” Deut. 30:4-6

ON INDEPENDENCE DAY EVE, 82% OF ISRAELIS HAPPY WITH COUNTRY'S ACHIEVEMENTS: Some 82% of Israelis say the country’s achievements outweigh its failures, according to a report by the Israel Democracy Institute. Released Monday 6 May 2019 on the eve of Israel’s 71st Independence Day, IDI’s new “Israeli Voice Index” survey found that among Jews, a majority (60%) think there were “many more” successes than failures this past year, and one quarter said there were “somewhat more” successes than failures during the same period. In 2018, 80% of Israelis said they were satisfied with Israel’s achievements, an increase from 71% as compared with in 2014. Among the religious segment of the population, the rate of those who view the successes as greater than the failures is the highest (93%), versus 80% among the secular. More than three-quarters (77%) of haredim, 83% of the national-religious, 65% of traditional religious and 61% of non-religious are optimistic about the future of democratic governance. Over time, Jewish Israelis have consistently expressed more pride in being Israeli, although in 2018 a majority of Arab Israelis also said they were proud to be Israeli.  Moreover, Israelis are very satisfied with what the country has achieved. (J.Post)

ISRAEL, GAZA-BASED TERRORISTS REACH CEASE-FIRE: After two days of intensifying violence, Israel reportedly agreed to a cease-fire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem did not immediately respond to the announcement by its foes, possibly to avoid a public backlash and insulate PM Netanyahu from widespread criticism related to his Gaza policy. However, Mon. morning 6 May 2019, the Israeli army’s Home Front Command lifted restrictions for residents along the shared border, a move all but confirming the sides indeed forged a United Nations- and Egyptian-mediated truce. Over the course of 48 hours, Gaza-based terrorists fired some 700 rockets at Israeli population centers, killing four civilians and wounding hundreds more. For its part, the Israel Defense Forces struck over 300 Hamas and Islamic Jihad assets, including rocket launchers, weapon storehouses, and manufacturing facilities, as well as the homes of numerous terrorist leaders. For the first time in years, the Israeli security cabinet authorized the military to target specific individuals, prompting the assassination of a Hamas operative who acted as the main conduit for funneling Iranian funds to the enclave. International mediators did not disclose the details of the reported cease-fire, although precedents suggest that Hamas and Islamic Jihad agreed to end their rocket fire in exchange for the easing by Israel of restrictions on goods entering Gaza. (Medialine) Please continue to intercede for the swift and complete recovery of Israelis who have been wounded in last weekend’s barrage of terrorist attacks and for the consoling and comforting of families who have lost loved ones.

AS CEASEFIRE GOES INTO EFFECT, NETANYAHU SAYS GAZA CAMPAIGN NOT OVER: PM Netanyahu on Mon. 6 April 2019 commented on reports of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal in Gaza, after two days of fighting in which four Israelis were killed, saying that Israel was readying for further confrontations with terrorist groups in the coastal enclave. “Over the past two days, we have hit Hamas and Islamic Jihad with great force, attacking over 350 targets and terrorist leaders and activists, and destroying terrorist infrastructure,” said Netanyahu. “The campaign is not over. We are preparing to continue,” the prime minister added. “The goal was and remains to ensure the peace and security of the residents of the south”. The ceasefire was criticized Monday morning by opposition parties, as well as by one senior member of the prime minister’s Likud party. MK Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) said the terms of the agreement hold little to no benefit for Israel and will not prevent future violence. Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff, laid the blame for the rocket onslaught from the Gaza Strip over the weekend at the government’s door. “Nearly 700 projectiles were launched at Israeli territory, four were killed and many are wounded,” said Gantz. “All of this is the result of losing our deterrence, and it’s ending with surrender to more blackmail from Hamas and other terrorist groups. All the government has done is, once again, led us to the next confrontation,” he charged. (Times of Israel) “When grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil….” Isa. 26:10

WORLD LEADERS CONDEMN ROCKET ATTACKS FROM GAZA: The USA State Department and European leaders have condemned last weekend’s rocket fire against Israel from the Gaza Strip. A spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said "Only a political solution can put an end to the violence."  "The United States strongly condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza upon innocent civilians and their communities across Israel,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted to his personal Twitter account a video showing residents in Israel’s southern communities driving amid incoming rocket fire and large explosions surrounding nearby buildings. Germany’s foreign ministry also condemned the “massive rocket fire” on Israel writing on its Twitter account, “There is nothing that could justify attacks on civilians. Israel has the right to defend itself and to protect its citizens.” Austria also expressed its support for “Israel’s right to defend itself” while “strongly” condemning the Gaza rocket fire, said government spokesman Peter Launsky. “Austria firmly stands behind Israel, the security of the country and its population”. (Israel Hayom)

ILHAN OMAR DEFENDS PALESTINIANS AFTER TERRORISTS RAIN DOWN ROCKETS ON ISRAEL: USA Rep. Ilhan Omar sided with Hamas and Islamic Jihad hours after terrorists fired hundreds of rockets at civilian targets in Israel by Hamas last weekend. “How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and kids must be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends? The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable”, the Minnesota Democrat said Sunday night, 5 May 2019. Omar’s comments followed terrorist fire of over 600 rockets [700 by Monday 6 May 2019] into southern Israel, killing at least four Israelis. President Trump condemned the rocket attacks on Twitter and expressed American support for Israel. “Once again, Israel faces a barrage of deadly rocket attacks by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We support Israel 100% in its defense of its citizens,” Trump said on Sunday. “To the Gazan people — these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. END the violence and work towards peace - it can happen!” (Washington Examiner)

USA SENDS REINFORCEMENTS TO MIDDLE EAST, WARNS IRAN OF ‘UNRELENTING FORCE’: The Trump administration is deploying air and sea strike forces to the Middle East in response to what it described as “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran. It’s not clear what Iranian escalations National Security Adviser John Bolton was referring to Sunday evening 5 May 2019. Israel blames a deadly escalation over the weekend on the Gaza Strip border in part on Iranian arming and funding of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. “The United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the USA Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” Bolton said. “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said. (JTA)

MONTH OF RAMADAN FASTING FOR MANY MUSLIMS BEGAN MONDAY: United Arab Emirates -- Muslims in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, and much of the Middle East, including Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, began fasting on Monday 6 May 2019  for the start of the month of Ramadan. Millions more, however, in India, Pakistan, and Iran, began the start of the lunar month on Tue. 7 May 2019  based on moon sightings there. Muslims follow a lunar calendar, and a moon-sighting methodology can lead to different countries declaring the start of Ramadan a day or two apart. Across the world, Muslims fast each day for the entire month of Ramadan, abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk. That means around 15 hours without food, water, cigarettes or caffeine. (Ynet)

The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.

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Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff

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