“As the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” Isa 61:11
ISRAEL STOPS PALESTINIAN BID FOR FULL UN MEMBERSHIP: Israel announced Sunday, 6 Jan. 2019 that it had blocked an upcoming bid by the Palestinians to gain full membership at the United Nations - saving the USA from having to veto such a push if it came before the Security Council. It was just last month that Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said he would seek full membership this month to the world body. However, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon started lobbying UN member states and several Security Council members in recent weeks to prevent such a push. Danon had made it clear to those with whom he spoke that the Palestinians did not meet the conditions of full UN membership, in part due to its payments to terrorists. “We exposed the hypocrisy of the Palestinians,” said Danon “They continue to pay terrorists every month and to encourage violence and incitement against Israel; therefore, they are very far from meeting the definition of a 'peace loving' state. The Palestinian Authority continues to error in its attempt to establish facts on the ground through unilateral moves while it has not abandoned the path of terror." The Israeli mission said the Palestinians now understand that the chances of the proposal passing have gone, and they are shelving the plan to promote the status upgrade. (Arutz-7)
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JOHN BOLTON: USA TO PROTECT KURDS FROM TURKS IN SYRIA PULLOUT: USA forces will remain in northeastern Syria until Turkey agrees not to go after the Kurds, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday 6 Jan. 2019, clarifying that President Donald Trump is committed to protecting opposition allies. “That’s what the president said,” Bolton told reporters in Israel, ahead of a meeting this week in Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States, so they don’t endanger our troops, but also so that they meet the president’s requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered.” Bolton’s clarification follows a backlash from USA lawmakers and other nations after Trump’s surprise announcement last month that he would quickly withdraw from Syria left the fate of the Kurds in doubt. Trump has since indicated the withdrawal would be slower than initially suggested. (Newsmax)
USA AMBASSADOR: NO PEACE PLAN IN NEAR FUTURE: USA Ambassador to Israel David Friedman indicated that his country would not likely be releasing its Middle East peace plan in the immediate future. Speaking in Jerusalem this week, Friedman assessed that Trump’s peace plan would be released within the next several months. "We want to release it in a way that gives it the best chance of getting a good reception," he said, adding that Israeli elections "are a factor, but not the only factor," alluding to the ongoing Palestinian Authority refusal to accept the plan. Friedman said the contents are "pretty much completed," but there is additional "wordsmithing and smoothing" that needs to be done. "The challenge to a peace plan is making the case for a much more sober assessment of the realities in this region," Friedman asserted. "The last time there was a meaningful agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians was 1993. A lot has happened since 1993.” (Arutz-7)
ESTIMATE OF LOST JEWISH PROPERTY IN TUNISIA, LIBYA: $50 BILLION: Israel released an official estimate of the value of Jewish property lost when Jewish communities left two Arab countries -Tunisia and Libya - on Saturday night 5 Jan. 2019. The initial amount surpassed $50 billion, with the total estimate of property lost in the Arab world, valued at $250 billion, expected to come soon. Israel is likely to demand compensation for Jewish property left in Arab countries as a condition to a regional peace deal. Secret valuations of Jewish property in Morocco, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran and Yemen have been conducted over the past year and a half, the report said. (J.Post)
SECRET DELEGATIONS FROM IRAQ VISIT ISRAEL: Three delegations from Iraq visited Israel in recent months, the last of which arrived in Jerusalem during Dec. 2018, Israeli news sources reported on Sunday, 6 Jan. 2019. The delegations included a total of 15 influential people from Iraq, including local religious leaders. The groups reportedly met with Israeli officials, visited the Yad Vashem Museum and met with academics and organizations related to Iraqi Jewry. The visits were made possible in part because, compared to the generally hostile Arab world, Iraq has a relatively favorable attitude toward Israel. Last month, PM Netanyahu attended a conference of Israeli ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry and told the diplomats, "When I meet with Arab leaders, they say to me, 'We have security and economic interests, and we also want to enjoy the fruits of progress, and we will not mortgage our normalization with the State of Israel to the whims of the Palestinians.'" Netanyahu added at the time, "This does not mean peace agreements yet, but it certainly means that a situation could be created in which our progress toward normalization with the Arab world takes place before peace with the Palestinians. It means that we are not conditioning our cohesion with the Arab world on peace with the Palestinians." (Arutz-7) Pray for Israel’s increasingly good relationships with formally bias and hostile nations - also that the Jewish state will be recognized and honored for its widespread contributions to humanity.
EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT CONFIRMS ISRAEL IS HELPING FIGHT SINAI JIHADISTS: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi confirmed in an interview on "60 Minutes" aired on Sunday 6 Jan. 2019 that his military was working with Israel against terrorists in North Sinai. Asked if cooperation with Israel was the closest ever between two enemies that once were at war, he responded, "That is correct. We have a wide range of cooperation with the Israelis." The Egyptians are battling an estimated 1,000 ISIS-affiliated terrorists on its Sinai peninsula that they have allowed the Israelis to attack by air. Although Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, their ties have been formally cold at times, and Egypt's political elite has remained hostile to any normalization of ties with Israel. Ties have improved under Sisi, who took power in 2013 after the army ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. (J.Post/CBS)
EGYPT DESTROYS 37 TUNNELS WHICH INFILTRATED FROM GAZA IN 2018: The Egyptian military destroyed 37 cross-border tunnels linking the Gaza Strip to the Sinai Peninsula over the past year. The IDF has also invested extensively in locating Gaza cross-border terrorist tunnels and destroyed 15 of them in 2018, including one tunnel which stretched into both Israel and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula near the Kerem Shalom crossing. Israel dclaims that the tunnel was used for smuggling, asserting Hamas intended to use it to bring terrorists and weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip for a possible future combined attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing from the Egyptian side. The IDF also destroyed a tunnel extending into the Mediterranean which would have enabled terrorists entering a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip to exit into the sea unnoticed. Israel has completed 27 km. of its underground barrier designed to prevent tunnels from crossing into Israeli territory from Gaza. The barrier will also stretch into the Mediterranean to stave off Hamas infiltration by sea. (J.Post) How tragic that Hamas has used billions of dollars of foreign aid money to build terrorist attack tunnels into Israel and neighboring Egypt, to buy and use weapons against the Jewish state, and to pad their own pockets. So much could have been done to build up the suffering Gaza Strip society, to provide jobs, homes, schools, and so much more. Instead, Hamas continues to feed its men, women and children on hatred and jihad. An entire population is starving on such a diet. Pray that Hamas will be overthrown and that others with a positive eye towards rebuilding the Gaza Strip and co-operating with Israel will be put in place.
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS LIVE AN AVERAGE SEVEN YEARS LONGER: Holocaust survivors live seven years longer on average than other Jewish people in Israel who did not experience the horrors of the Nazi genocide. In a new study, scientists say survivors may have been genetically more resilient to the severe hardships they endured at the hands of the Germans. This 'cruel Darwinistic selection' - combined with a heightened awareness of their own well-being - has increased their life expectancy beyond that of Israeli Jews who were not caught up in the 20th-century extermination of their people, they claim. The abominable treatment survivors experienced may have also improved their mental and physical toughness, experts say, and made them more health conscious. A combination of these factors has culminated in a life expectancy of 84.8 years of age for survivors. This is considerably higher than the average lifespan of Israeli Jews who did not live through the holocaust - which is 77.7 years on average. But the remarkable endurance of these people is made more astonishing by the fact they are also more likely to suffer with hypertension (16%), kidney disease (11%) and dementia (seven per cent). The study compared more than 38,000 Holocaust survivors born in Europe and nearly 35,000 Israelis all born between 1911 and 1945. (UK Dailymail)
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