Dear Intercessors for Israel:
Jerusalem Day greetings! Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) for Hebrew Year 5781 begins this Sunday night, the 9th of May 2021 and ends at sunset Monday, the 10th of May. This annual Israeli holiday celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israel’s control over the Old City in June 1967. Prior to this, the nation of Jordan claimed sovereignty over the city and denied entry to Israel. Then in a great victory during the Six-Day war in 1967, Israel defeated Jordan and took possession of its “heart”, the city of Jerusalem. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel set aside this day on the Hebrew calendar as a minor religious holiday, to thank God for victory and for answering the 2,000-year-old prayer of “Next Year in Jerusalem.”
Jerusalem Day It is celebrated on the 28th day of Iyar (six weeks after Passover and, one week before the eve of Shavuot (Pentecost). It is gradually becoming a “pilgrimage” day, when thousands of Israelis travel (some hike or march) to Jerusalem to demonstrate solidarity with the city. This show of solidarity is of special importance to the state of Israel, since the international community has never approved the “reunification” of the city under Israeli sovereignty, and many countries have not recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. A common quote recited during Yom Yerushalayim celebrations in Israel comes from Psalms 122:3: Ir shehubrah lah yahdaiv — “a city uniting all.” Marylois and I though also like how the Passion Bible translates this verse: “O Jerusalem, you were built as a city of praise where God and man mingle together.”
The day is celebrated with singing and dancing in the streets, cumulating with a city-wide march of the flags, where streams of young people enter through the gates of the Old City and converge at the Kotel or Western Wall.
Jerusalem Day Tensions
This year, Jerusalem Day occurs near the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, a time of fasting and feasting for Muslims. Tensions are high in the city as rioting and terror attacks have happened daily, near the Damascus gate as well as in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank.) Hamas, the Iranian sponsored terrorist movement has repeatedly threatened violence. Ramadan ends May 12.th The IDF and the Israeli police are already on high alert so as to discourage and prevent acts of Islamic terrorism. Hamas has already sent eight incendiary balloons into Israel areas near Gaza, causing fires in fields and nature preserves. More rioting on the Temple Mount occurred after Friday prayers, which were attended by some 75,000 Muslims. Rocks and bottles were thrown at the Israeli police and Hamas flags were seen. The Israeli IDF responded with stun grenades and other means of crowd control. An IDF outpost in the Judea and Samaria was attacked earlier by three terrorists, shooting automatic rifles. The IDF quickly neutralized these invaders and prevented a major terrorist attack.
The Night of Power
Right before Jerusalem Day, is the “Night of Power or “Laylat Al Qadr,” a time for Muslims when the “gates of heaven” are open, and their destiny is revealed by their god Allah. Many Muslims fast and pray all night, seeking heavenly visions. It is a good time to pray that Jesus would appear to Muslims and show them that He along is “the way, the truth, and the light,” not Islam.
Palestinian Elections Canceled
The Palestinian Authority, an artificial Arab government created in 1994, has not held elections since 2006. President Mahmoud Abbas, the 86 year old leader of the P.A has remained in power for 15 years. He promised this year new elections, and set the date of May 22nd for them to be held. Then in a surprise move, Abbas abruptly canceled them. He used the excuse of Israel not permitting the Arab of east Jerusalem to participate. Israel, though quickly denied his demands, knowing that such permission would be a “de-facto” act of recognition that East Jerusalem including the Old City, belongs to the P.A. Independent polls show that Abbas and his “Fatah” party would have been defeated in this election, and Hamas would have won. Thirty-six Arab parties were running with 1,365 candidates registered for seats in the P.A.’s 132 member legislature. Every one of these Islamic political groups identify as being against Israel and its right to exist. Needless to say, there is much anger among the Palestine community, that this election was canceled.
Israel Government Formation
After four inconclusive elections in two years, Israel still has not managed to assemble a working government. The last election, brought together a coalition assembly of left and right parties under Netanyahu called a Unity Government. This coalition also failed bringing a 4th election in March 2021. Prime Minister Netanyahu has remained in power as the leader of an interim government, but a financial budget still has not been passed, nor is their any government to oversea international agreements.
Last month, PM Netanyahu was given a 45 day “mandate” by President Rivlin to form a coalition government. He was unable to do so. President Rivlin has then handed this mandate to Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid (There is change) a center-left party. He has 45 days to form a coalition of 61 seats. Yair is looking for Naftali Bennet, head of the Yamina party (with 7 seats in the Knesset) to join his coalition government. This assembly if it works would be unique. Israel would be governed by a coalition of left wing, center wing and right wing parties, also including the four seat Arab party. The religious parties would be left out.
If Yair Lapid is unsuccessful, then Israel will enter into a fifth election, sometime later this year. One advantage to this political mess, is that Israel is unable to enter into any international political agreement or treaties forcing it to give up more land.
U.S. Humanitarian Assistance to Iran
The Biden administration is currently “weighing” giving the nation of Iran, Israel’s arch enemy some one billion dollars as “humanitarian aid.” These funds would come from “unfreezing” Iranian accounts held by the United States. “Whether the release of these funds would occur unilaterally, is not clear, but one line of thought is that it could serve as a useful goodwill gesture to Tehran, according to three people briefed on the internal deliberations, as the talks in Vienna enter their second month with no concrete signs yet of a breakthrough. The Iranians continue to demand sanctions relief in return for compliance with the nuclear deal.” (www.cnn.com). The funds would be spent on food and medicine and not outright cash. Even so, Republicans in Congress are opposed to this new deal as it reduces any “leverage” the U.S. might have in applying sanctions against Iran for developing nuclear weapons. Israel has been continually threatened with destruction by Iran. Iran also sponsors Hamas and Hezbollah, two groups actively carrying out numerous acts of terrorism against Israel.
Please pray about these matters concerning Israel.
Gene and Marylois/House of Peace