Knesset Votes To Disperse, Hold New Elections In September

May 30, 2019

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” 1 Tim. 2:1-2

KNESSET VOTES TO DISPERSE, HOLD NEW ELECTIONS IN SEPTEMBER: Knesset members voted Wed. night 29 May 2019 to dissolve parliament, barely a month after the swearing in of the new assembly, after PM Benjamin Netanyahu failed to strike a coalition deal with his prospective partners. Dissolving the Knesset and holding a new round of elections just months after the last and without ever having formed a government is unprecedented even in Israel's fast-paced political landscape. Of the 120 lawmakers that make up the Knesset, 74 voted in favor of dissolving parliament, and 45 voted against. At the heart of Netanyahu's failed attempt to build a coalition after the 9 April 2019 elections was legislation to draft ultra-Orthodox men into the army, which saw two of his expected political partners at loggerheads. Heading into the plenum to vote Wed. night 29 May 2019, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said Israel was holding fresh elections due to the Likud party's refusal to vote on the original version of a bill to draft Haredi men, which he had insisted on and the ultra-Orthodox parties refused to consider. The vote to end the short-lived Knesset marked a dramatic downturn for Netanyahu and sent the longtime leader's future into turmoil. (Ynet) Intercede for Israel’s September 2019 elections and for God’s handpicked men and women to be solidly placed into leadership positions.

SYRIA SHOOTS RUSSIAN MISSILE AT ISRAELI JET: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) took out a Russian-made anti-aircraft battery in Syria on Mon. night 27 May 2019 after an Israel Air Force (IAF) fighter jet was fired on from the position earlier in the day. The targeted Israeli jet had not entered Syrian airspace, but was flying a reconnaissance mission in the Upper Galilee region. The newly-acquired Russian anti-aircraft missile fell short and the Israeli jet returned safely to base. In response, an IAF jet took out the missile battery without entering Syrian airspace. Israeli fighter jets can lock-on and accurately hit targets in Syria from well within Israel’s sovereign territory. Israel has been systematically taking out Syrian military sites over the past year. In Feb. 2018, an IAF F-16 was shot down over northern Israel by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile. The Israeli military has hit numerous targets in Syria in order to prevent Iranian ambitions in the region and to foil the transfer of advanced weaponry to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group. It is also likely that Syria is ramping up aggression toward the Jewish nation with its newly-acquired advanced Russian anti-aircraft missile systems in place. This latest attempt by the Assad’s regime to take down an IAF jet deep within Israeli territory could reflect renewed boldness by the Syrians against Israeli military targets. Over the next few weeks, the IDF will be assessing the situation. Syrian state news agency SANA reported that one soldier was killed in the retaliatory IDF strike that destroyed the Russian anti-aircraft battery. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “Our policy is clear—we are not prepared to tolerate any aggression against us, and we will respond against it powerfully and decisively.” (Israel Today) Pray for the safety of Israel’s Northern borders. “Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens.” Ps. 68:34.

TENSIONS GROW BETWEEN RUSSIA, IRAN IN SYRIA: Russian military police last week carried out a raid against Iranian-backed terrorists stationed at Syria's Aleppo international airport, local media reported. In the aftermath, several Iranian terrorist leaders were arrested in what was seen as the latest episode of tensions between Iranian and Russian forces in Syria. As the war is waning, with Syrian regime forces reclaiming most of the territory once controlled by rebel forces, Russia and Iran seem to be vying for influence in the war-torn country.  "There are definite tensions that exist between Russia and Iran within Syria," said Phillip Smyth, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "You see things like this raid in Aleppo that occur in flashpoint zones because there's criminal activity going on. Each country's proxy wants a cut of that," he said. (Voice of America) Iran, in particular, is a dangerous and unpredictable enemy with a vision to destroy Israel that has been stated repeatedly over the decades. In its alliance with Syria to fight off opposition groups to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran has steadily gained a much-desired foothold in that country and is within far closer striking range of the Jewish state. Continue to pray according to scripture: “Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”  Ps. 121:4

THE OLD SCOURAGE OF ANTI-SEMITISM RISES ANEW IN EUROPE: For years, Europe maintained the comforting notion that it was earnestly confronting anti-Semitism after the horrors of the Holocaust. It now faces the alarming reality that anti-Semitism is sharply on the rise, often from the sadly familiar direction of the far right, but also from Islamists and the far left. The worrisome trend was underscored by a report issued by the German government this month showing that anti-Semitic incidents in Germany had increased by almost 20% in 2018 from the previous year to 1,799, with 69 classified as acts of violence. Anti-Semitism is on the rise all across Europe, as well as in The United States. France reported an increase of 74% in anti-Semitic acts in a single year, with 541 incidents reported in 2018. In the United States, attacks on synagogues by white-supremacist gunmen have led the growing list of assaults on Jews. The Anti-Defamation League reported that these attacks more than doubled from 2017 to 2018, to 39, part of a total of 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents.

What is clear is that these strains of anti-Semitism - from the right, from the left, and from radical Muslims -have morphed into a resurgence of a blight that should have been eradicated long ago, and that is causing serious anxiety among Europe's Jews. More than a third of Europe's Jews said in a poll last year they had considered emigrating in the five years preceding the survey. As appalling as these statistics should be to every European, they should also ring a loud alarm for every American leader of conscience. Speak up, now, when you glimpse evidence of anti-Semitism, particularly within your own ranks, or risk enabling the spread of this deadly virus. (NY Times) Continue to pray that many people from endangered Jewish communities in Europe and the USA – due to mounting political and violent anti-Semitism – will make the decision to immigrate to Israel. 

EVERY JEWISH INSTITUTION IN GERMANY NEEDS POLICE PROTECTION MERKEL SAYS: German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week expressed concerns over the country's rise in anti-Semitism, saying there is no Jewish institution in the country that does not need police protection. "Unfortunately there is to this day not a single synagogue, not a single day care center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen," said Merkel. " Unfortunately, there has always been a certain number of anti-Semites among us, Merkel added. The interview comes after Germany's anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein warned last weekend that Jews refrain from wearing skullcaps in public. "My opinion on the matter has changed following the ongoing brutalization in German society," Felix Klein told Funk media group newspapers. "I can no longer recommend Jews wear a kippa at every time and place in Germany," he said. (Ha’aretz)

IRAN SHUTS DOWN CHURCH, REMOVES CROSS: Iranian intelligence this week shut down a Presbyterian church and removed its cross from the bell tower, the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) announced. The church was located in the city of Tabriz in northwestern Iran and it belonged to the Assyrian community.  “Intelligence agents stormed the 100-year-old church, officially recognized as a national heritage site in Iran, on Thur. 9 May 2019, changed all the locks, tore down the cross from the church tower, and ordered the churchwarden to leave”. Elko, the state agency responsible for the raid together with the Ministry of Intelligence, is under the direct control of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. According to the report, the congregants were left in shock and have not been allowed to hold services in the building since the raid. Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Assyrian community in Iran totaled approximately 200,000 people, Radio Farda noted. However, since then many have fled and in 2015 only 32,000 Assyrians were left in the country, mostly in Tehran. Many churches owned by Protestants have been confiscated. (J. Post)

ISRAELIS AMONG WORLD’S LEADING CONSUMERS OF ADDICTIVE PAINKILLERS: Israelis appear to be one of the biggest consumers of addictive painkillers in the developed world, with the latest report from the OECD ranking Israel first in the rise in the use of narcotic pain medication. The report, which collected data from 2014-2016, puts Israel in 11th place (out of 37 OECD states) in the overall use of narcotic painkillers. This statistic represents a 13% increase from 2013 - the last time OECD conducted research on this matter - when Israel was ranked 24th. According to the report, some 87,000 people in Israel take addictive painkillers on a daily basis, indicating an above average consumption level for an OECD state. "Pharmacists say they definitely feel the sharp increase in the demand for painkillers," said David Papo, chairman of the Pharmaceutical Association of Israel. "We became aware of the issue around two years ago, around the time when the worrisome data on addictive painkillers in the USA was revealed.”  The OECD report also reveals that the number of painkiller-related deaths has increased. In the USA at least 74 deaths per million people due to painkiller-overdose were recorded in 2011, while in 2016 that number spiked to 131. Since 1999 to 2017 at least 400,000 people died from addictive painkillers in the United States. (Ynet)

ANIMAL RECEPTION TERMINAL TO OPEN AT BEN-GURION AIRPORT IN 2020: After nearly 10 years of planning, Ben-Gurion Airport has announced that the construction of the Israeli Animal Reception Center (ARC) is officially underway. The facility will be built over 1.3 acres of land, including around 1,500 meters of kennel and office space able to accompany up to 150 dogs and 50 cats. The structure is being designed by Terminal4Pets, a company that has provided pet shipping services in Israel for more than 20 years. "The ARC will provide pet accommodations and services for pets traveling to, from, and through Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport," the airport said in a statement. "Services including boarding, ground handling, transit services, cargo services, veterinary care, VIP services, kennel shop, grooming, training and emergency services will all be conveniently located near Terminal 1 at Ben-Gurion airport." The ARC intends to provide "professional and essential import and export services," with an emphasis on ensuring the welfare and safety of the animals. (J. Post)

JOIN US FOR THE 2019 SUCCOUT CELEBRATION: Begin now to plan for the annual Vision for Israel Succot Celebration at the Pavilion in the center of downtown Jerusalem. The dates will be 15 Oct. – 17 Oct. 2019.  Take part in praise and worship with Joshua Aaron, Barry and Batya Segal, the Kadosh Dancers and local worship teams. Enjoy teachings focused on Israel and the Middle East with Dennis Greenidge, David Herzog, Barry Segal, Benjamin Siegal, Jones Boateng, Victoria Sarvadi, Tony Sperendao, Nizar Touma and more to come. Connect with local believers and congregations in the land. Walk and dance on the streets of Jerusalem during the annual Jerusalem March!  VFI will also be marking its 25th anniversary in Jerusalem for which there will be a special celebration. For further details including times, venue location, and suggested hotel accommodations, visit our Event’s page on the VFI website at:

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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