“Between the Straits”

“For the LORD has chosen Jacob unto himself and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” Psalm 135:4

Dear Intercessors for Israel:

Greetings from the East Coast of the United States.  Marylois and I are traveling this week to see family and friends and also minister.

“Between the Straits”

The Jewish people enter into a traditional time of mourning and anguish, reflecting the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples, which starts on the 17th day of the Jewish month of Tammuz—the fast of Shiva Asar B’Tammuz—and ends on the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av—the fast of Tisha B’ Av—which occurs exactly three weeks later. Both of these fasts commemorate events surrounding the destruction of the Jewish Temples and the subsequent exile of the Jews from the land of Israel.

The three weeks are considered historically a time of misfortune, since many tragedies and calamities which befell the Jewish people are attributed to this period. The Midrash (a Jewish Bible commentary) states that God marked the 9th of Av as a day of catastrophe because it is the day the ‘spies’ returned from the land of Canaan and gave an evil report.  Past tragedies include the expulsion of the Jews from Spain shortly before Tisha B’Av in 1492, and the outbreak of World War I shortly before Tisha B’Av in 1914, which overturned many Jewish communities.

This year, the “Straits” begin on Saturday, July 20, and continue until Saturday, August 11, 2019. Israel is facing the threat of wars, both from the north (Lebanon and Hezbollah, Syria, Iran) and from the south (Gaza and Hamas). Please pray against any plots, plans, or attacks against the Jewish people by the enemies of Israel. Pray against tragedies, accidents, and incidents during this time.

“King Bibi”

On Saturday, July 20, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will become the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, beating Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion. Netanyahu previously was prime minister from June 1996 until July 1999.  He has served as the current prime minister since March 2009. Netanyahu is the only prime minister in Israel to have been elected three times in a row. The prime minister is still very popular in Israel and is called affectionately “King Bibi” in reference to his many years of service. Netanyahu is currently on the cover of Time Magazine.

Netanyahu also recently appointed the head of LGBT forum for the Likud as his new spokesperson. The appointment was seen as the as a move to make up for comments said Saturday night by his newly appointed Minister of Education that LGBT people should undergo conversion therapy. This is Netanyahu’s second gay appointment, the first being his Justice Minister. These appointments may also be an effort by Likud leaders to gather votes from Tel-Aviv’s liberal wing.

Please pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Israeli Elections

Israel is in the midst of election campaigning, with new elections scheduled to be held September 17.  The last elections ended in a stalemate with no one party able to form a majority coalition government. The outcome of this new election is far from certain as Israeli political parties/leading Knesset candidates are still campaigning for votes. Please pray that Israelis will elect the right party into power for the right time.

Turkey Deploys Russian S-400 Anti-Aircraft Missiles

The nation of Turkey, a key NATO member, recently purchased the S-400 Anti-Aircraft missile system from Russia, and received the first group of missiles to be deployed last Friday. The Trump Administration has repeatedly warned Turkey about this purchase, since the S-400 poses a threat to the newest generation of U.S. stealth fighters, the F-35. Israel also has several squadrons of F-35 fighters. The US also believes the S-400 sale is part of Russian efforts to disrupt the alliance amid Western concern over Erdogan’s burgeoning relationship with Putin.

Turkish officials insist that the deal to purchase the S-400 does not affect the security of the US and have repeatedly stressed that they will go ahead with the deal despite Washington’s objections.  President Trump has settled on a sanctions package to punish Turkey for receiving parts of the S-400 Russian missile defense system

The S-400 anti-aircraft missile has a range of some 250 miles, and is effective against aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles. Syria is also equipped with this air defense system. One of its anti-aircraft missiles was recently launched against attacking Israeli aircraft (July 1, 2019), and it missed and exploded just outside Nicosia, Cyprus!

Jerusalem—City of Peace and Traffic Jams!

While Jerusalem is known as the City of Peace, a new construction project near the city’s center has added to problems faced by its commuters. This week, authorities closed the main entrance into Jerusalem (which is used by tens of thousands of travelers every day) for the next three years!  A new commercial center is being built called the Jerusalem Gateway. Drivers are now forced to use alternative routes, which compounds the traffic woes everyday commuters face in this city.

Israel to Build 5G Mobile Networks

Israel is becoming more and more high tech.  This week, the Israeli Communications Ministry announced that it will begin construction of fifth-generation or 5G networks throughout the country. Fifth-generation cellular network technology increases speeds some 20 times faster than current 4G networks. “This is a technological move that will leave its mark for decades to come,” said Communications Minister David Amsalem. “The entry of this new 5G technology will kick off the smart digital revolution that will affect all aspects of our lives: smart homes, smart cities, smart medicine, bringing the periphery closer to the center, education, autonomous vehicles, advanced industry and more.” (www.timesofisrael.com)

Scientists are just beginning to study and acknowledge the harmful effects on humans and the environment that can result from increased exposure to greater levels of radiation stemming from these devices.

Biblical City of Ziklag Discovered

Archaeology continues to prove that places and characters in the Bible really existed. This week, archaeologists claimed to have found the long-lost city of Ziklag, the ancient Philistine city where David hid from Saul.

Finds suggest that the site of Khirbet al-Ra’I near Kiryat Gat could be the ancient desert city of Ziklag, to which the Bible says David fled from Saul before he made his way to Hebron to be anointed as the second king of Israel. Archaeologists, say they identified the biblical city of Ziklag near the modern day city of Kiryat Gat  (35 miles South of Tel Aviv).

Researchers say the name Ziklag is unusual for the region; it isn’t a Canaanite or Semitic place name, but rather one of Greek origins, given to the city by the Philistine population that originated from there. There are several other suggestions for the location of biblical Ziklag including Tel Halif near Be’er Sheva and Tel Sera in the Western Negev desert.

Summer 2019 Travel Plans

Marylois and I are in the middle of a busy summer. We left Israel on the 21st of June, attended the ETH convention, and now are traveling to the East Coast. We will be ministering at God Pleasers Church with Bishops Emmanuel and Mercy MacJones. God Pleasers Church is in Lanham, Maryland. We will also be meeting with the local ETH branch.

Then in August we will be traveling to Austin, TX, to be with our daughter Alysa before flying to Brisbane, Australia, for two weeks. Bruce and Cheryl Lindley of ARC Global (International Apostolic Community) have invited us to minister in the churches and fellowships there. Then in September, I will be with Pete Snyder on a mission’s outreach to the Philippines.  We will be returning to the Western Visayas to do a Bible seminar, and outreaches in other churches, schools and evangelism.  Marylois and I will then return to Israel around October 1 for another season administrating the ETH House of Peace. We would greatly appreciate if you would remember us your prayers.

Shabbat Shalom,
Gene and Marylois
House of Peace, Jerusalem