“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Isaiah 12:2 (NIV)

Shalom, my friend. 

I thank God and praise Him for you and your partnership. Knowing how much you support and care for Israel and her people means a great deal to me. 

As you read through this week’s news stories, I encourage you to be praying for the Jewish people and everything they are facing – whether it be diplomatic opportunities, concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant or potential threats from Iran and the terrorist efforts they support. 

Together, let’s pray that these challenges would lead the Jewish people to turn to Jesus the Messiah and recognize that He is their strength, defense and salvation. 

ISRAEL’S FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS EUROPE MUST RECOGNIZE HIS COUNTRY IS UNDER ATTACK

Last week, during a meeting with European Union (EU) foreign ministers, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Europe must remember that Israel is under constant threat from Iran when it (the EU) criticizes Israel.

“I accept that part of our dialogue is a moral judgment,” Lapid said. “I want to hear your opinions with an open mind. But it is not too much to expect that this dialogue will take into consideration that my home is under attack.”

Lapid noted that Iran backs Hamas in Gaza, which threatens southern Israel and also Hezbollah in Lebanon to Israel’s north.

Invited by EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, Lapid is the first Israeli to speak before the Foreign Affairs Council in more than a decade, The Jerusalem Post reported.

In addition to the larger meeting, Lapid also met one-on-one with Borrell. “They discussed the importance of enhancing EU-Israel relations and considered how to address together existing challenges in order to achieve this common goal,” an EU statement said. They also spoke about “how the dialogue with the Palestinians can be moved forward.”

Afterward, Lapid met with the foreign ministers from Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. 

He also met with the Secretary-General of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Lapid said Israel wants to deepen its cooperation with NATO in intelligence, cybersecurity, missile defense and other areas.

QATAR ENCOURAGES HAMAS TO ACCEPT ISRAEL’S AID MONEY RESTRICTIONS

A diplomatic representative from Qatar is pressing Hamas officials in Gaza to agree to Israel’s requirements for receiving aid from his country, according to Israel’s Kan public broadcaster.

The representative is pushing for a quick response. If Hamas agrees, approximately $30 million will be transferred to the Gaza Strip in the form of a debit card-like system for families in need, The Times of Israel reported.

LAPID WILL BE THE FIRST ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT MOROCCO

On Monday, Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, confirmed he will travel to Morocco for an official visit and that Morocco’s foreign minister will make a visit to Israel. Details of the trips have not been finalized.

Lapid said the trip will happen after the renewal of direct flights between the two countries later this month, The Times of Israel reported.

This will be the first visit by an Israeli foreign minister to Morocco and comes after diplomatic ties were established late last year after a 20-year lull.

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER ISSUES WARNING REGARDING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

On Monday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said authorities will not tolerate people disregarding new coronavirus restrictions, The Times of Israel reported. A significant increase in enforcement is expected this week as infection rates continue to climb due to the Delta variant of the virus.

“I want to say here clearly: government decisions are not recommendations; they are binding. Whoever flouts them will pay,” Bennett said, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Israel has reimposed a number of restrictions, including requiring facemasks indoors and the reintroduction of a system restricting attendance at large events to only those who have been vaccinated against or recovered from COVID-19, or who can show proof of a recent negative test. 

Bennett referred to following all of the virus restrictions as a citizen’s duty. 

On Sunday, in light of the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases over the past month, government officials agreed that criminal indictments would be filed against those who knowingly violate quarantine regulations.

Also on Sunday, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said another lockdown across Israel could happen, but the government is not currently considering it and the goal is to avoid it, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“Our main goal is to open the school year smoothly”

Bennett said the government is formulating a plan to ensure the academic year can begin on September 1, as planned.

“Our main goal is to open the school year smoothly. We went through a year where education was the first thing to get hurt, and we saw millions of students paying the price and zoning out in front of Zoom at home,” the prime minister said. “The actions we are taking now are aimed at helping us open the school year in an organized way.”

DELAY FOR VACCINATED TOURISTS WANTING TO ENTER ISRAEL

“We are postponing the date for the entry of tourists; it is not going to happen on August 1,” said Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash.
 “Unfortunately, the current situation does not permit us to allow tourists to enter.”

Ash also said a new date has not yet been set and authorities will be discussing measures to restrict all travel, including expanding the list of countries under Israel’s travel ban, The Jerusalem Post reported.

AT A MEETING IN IRAQ, IRANIAN COMMANDER URGED INCREASE IN ATTACKS ON U.S. FORCES

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander urged Iraqi Shi'ite militias to escalate attacks on U.S. targets during a meeting in Baghdad earlier this month. This was according to three militia sources and two Iraqi security sources familiar with the gathering, Reuters reported.

Following this visit by an Iranian delegation led by Revolutionary Guards intelligence chief Hossein Taeb, U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria were attacked several times. These attacks came after U.S. airstrikes against Iran-backed militias at the Syrian-Iraqi border on June 27.

Iran will not resume nuclear deal negotiations until new president takes power

Last week, an anonymous diplomatic source said Iran will not start back with negotiations regarding the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) until Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi's administration has begun.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed that Iran asked for more time because of its presidential transition, Reuters reported.

Talks to revive the JCPOA began in April but stalled after the sixth round of negotiations ended on June 20.

Let us pray together

Please pray with me for:

  • Understanding and partnership between Israel and the EU 
  • Protection of Israelis from the Delta coronavirus variant, especially those with compromised immune systems
  • Wisdom for Israel in dealing with Iran, Hamas and other terror groups
  • Additional countries in the Middle East to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel and work together for peace
  • Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah
     

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