41 House Democrats Visit Israel Amid Widening Partisan Divide

Aug 6, 2019

“O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.” Ps. 7:9

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41 HOUSE DEMOCRATS VISIT ISRAEL AMID WIDENING PARTISAN DIVIDE: On Mon. 5 August 2019, 41 House Democrats led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Maryland) arrived in Israel, kicking off a week-long tour of the Jewish state and the Palestinian Authority. The delegation is headed by the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (California). According to a statement by Hoyer’s office, the Democratic delegation, made up primarily of freshman lawmakers, will “learn about issues critical to the USA-Israel relationship and international security.” Members will visit Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria and see an Iron Dome battery. The delegation will also visit important historical and cultural sites, including the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. The delegation will be meeting with both PM Binyamin Netanyahu and his primary election rival, Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz. The Democratic House members will also meet with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, as well as young entrepreneurs in the Palestinian Authority and Israeli activists.

The trip comes as following a series of high-profile controversies involving Democratic lawmakers and the Jewish state, including a string of comments by Minnesota congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, from a 2012 tweet accusing Israel of “hypnotizing” the world, to more recent claims that Jewish lobby groups had corrupted Congress. Omar drew criticism last month when she introduced a bill supporting the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement. Another Democratic lawmaker, Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, also sparked controversy both with her open support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as with a number of recent comments, including accusations of racism directed at the Israeli government, and a claim that Palestinian Arabs gave Jews a “safe haven” after the Holocaust. While moderate Democrats have criticized the freshman lawmakers, the broader partisan divide over Israel has been a long-standing issue for Democrats even before Tlaib and Omar’s election last November. Last January, a Pew Research Center poll found that the partisan divide on Israel had reached its widest point in four decades. (J. Post) Intercessors, pray that House Democrats visiting in Israel this week, some for the first time, will come to a greater understanding, love, and appreciation for the Jewish state. Pray that lies formed in the minds of those members who are prejudice against Israel will be removed and that they will leave with greater comprehension and sympathy for the many challenges faced daily by Israel’s leaders and its society.

IRANIAN FM: WE MAY LEAVE NUCLEAR DEAL: Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif mocked the USA sanctions regime against Iran, including the recent decision to impose sanctions against him personally. Speaking at a news conference on Mon. 5 August 2019, Zarif said the USA bid to form a coalition of Arab Gulf states against Iran to increase the pressure of oil sanctions on the Islamic republic had failed, leaving the USA alone. The Iranian foreign minister also accused the USA of trying to deprive Iran of its rights. Zarif warned that Tehran is prepared to withdraw completely from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. (Arutz-7) Pray that the Iranian Islamist regime will be brought to its senses through the many sanctions being imposed upon it - and before full-scale war breaks out as a necessity to end the danger posed to the world by the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions and support of terrorism.

ISRAEL SENDS CONDOLENCES AFTER MASS SHOOTING IN USA: PM Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday 4 August 2019: "In the past 24 hours, we have witnessed two murderous attacks in Texas and Ohio. On behalf of all government ministers and all citizens of Israel, I send condolences to the bereaved families, best wishes for recovery to the injured, and solidarity with the mourning of the American people." Twenty people were killed and at least two dozen injured in a shooting attack on Saturday afternoon 3 August 2019 at a Walmart shopping center in El Paso Texas.  In Dayton, Ohio, 9 people and the shooter were killed and 26 injured in a mass shooting attack shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday 4 August 2019.  The shooting took place on the outskirts of downtown Dayton’s Oregon District, a popular entertainment area. (JTA)  May families and entire communities be comforted in the wake of these two national tragedies and the loss of so many lives.  Pray for the swift and full recovery of the injured.

DUTCH SUSPEND GRANT AFTER UNRWA ETHICS PROBE: The Netherlands suspended its contribution last week to the UN agency for Palestinian Arab refugees pending the outcome of a probe into alleged mismanagement and abuses of authority by the agency's top management. The Dutch decision came a day after a similar move by Switzerland, which said it would suspend additional contributions. UN investigators have opened an inquiry after an internal report alleged "serious ethical abuses" at the highest level at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). As one of the agency's main European donors the Netherlands "expressed its great concern and asked for clarification," the Dutch foreign ministry said in a statement. Sigrid Kaag, foreign trade, and development cooperation minister, "would like to hear what steps the UN plans to take based on the outcome of the investigation," it added. The Netherlands is the UNRWA's fourth-largest EU donor country and planned to contribute 13 million euros ($14.4 million) this year. The Dutch government "is also in consultation with other donors," the ministry said, without giving further details. (Arutz-7)

ISRAEL BELIEVES HAMAS, IRAN AGREED ON GAZA FRONT IN CASE OF NORTHERN WAR: Israeli intelligence officials believe the Hamas and Iran have come to an agreement for the Gaza-based terror group to open a war front against Israel from the southern coastal Strip in the event of conflict breaking out with Iran’s allies on the Jewish state’s northern border, according to a report last week. A senior security official was quoted as saying the intelligence establishment estimates Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group will try to force Israel to move forces and air defense systems to the south at the expense of troops fighting in the north. The report says that Israeli intelligence sources believe Iran has increased its involvement in the Strip in order to turn Hamas into its operational arm against Israel. Iran is a backer of the Fizz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, and the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military branch. According to the unnamed officials, Iran and Hamas have been in contact over the issue for several months and the Gaza-based group has held talks with members of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards. Visiting Tehran last month, Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri said that Hamas and Iran stand on “the same path” in fighting Israel. Arouri, who was elected as Hamas’ deputy chief in October 2017, has traveled to Iran at least five times over the past two years. He has frequently heaped praised on Iran. (Times of Israel)

‘I WANT TO BE THE BEHEADING PERSON’: TWO SOMALI REFUGEES IN USA ARRESTED FOR TRYING TO JOIN ISIS: Ahmed Mahan Mohamed, 21, and Abadi Yemeni Hussein, 20, both residents of Tucson, Arizona, and refugees from Somalia, were arrested days ago on suspicion of trying to join ISIS. They revealed in communications with an undercover FBI agent that they wanted to travel overseas to fight on behalf of ISIS or conduct an attack within the USA. The men purchased tickets to travel from Tucson to Egypt, with the intent to travel on to the Sinai Peninsula. In preparation for their journey, Mohamed and Hussein had been exercising so they could be strong enough to behead people. “I want to be the new jihadi John beheading the chuffer (disbelievers) like animals,” Mohamed said. He also called for “another 911 and promised that he “will make attacks anywhere so that he can kill many".  (UK Daily Caller)

USA: BIN LADEN’S SON IS DEAD: The United States believes Hama bin Laden, son of assassinated al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, is dead, says Reuters, citing an anonymous USA official. The White House declined to comment on whether an announcement was imminent. The NY Times reported that Washington had a role in the operation that led to Hama’s death, which supposedly took place sometime in the past two years. USA Special Forces killed his father at his compound in Pakistan in 2011. The State Department designated Hamza a global terrorist in 2017. (Medialine)

INDIA, ISRAEL CELEBRATE FRIENDSHIP DAY TOGETHER: In honor of Friendship Day, Israel wished India a happy holiday and received the same in return. "Happy Friendship Day 2019 India!" the Israeli embassy in India wrote on Twitter. "May our ever-strengthening friendship & growing partnership touch greater heights." Modi replied to the message, "Thank you. I wish a happy Friendship Day to the wonderful citizens of Israel and to my friend Benjamin Netanyahu. Our relationship is strong and everlasting. I wish that our countries' friendship will grow and bloom even more in the future." "Thank you, my friend, Netanyahu responded. "I could not agree with you more. The deep connection between Israel and India is rooted in the strong friendships between Israelis and Indians," he continued. "We cooperate in so many areas. I know our ties will only strengthen in the future!"  India-Israel relations have improved in recent years. Netanyahu has initiated a visit to India in coming months, most probably in Sept. 2019. (J. Post)

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