“…Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without wall for the multitude of men and cattle therein. For I saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about and will be the glory in the midst of her” (Zec. 2:5)
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
The news from Jerusalem this week is all about the approval of new construction zones and the modernization of the city’s transportation networks. This past week, Israel’s Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s announced a tentative approval to move forward with a controversial plan to place a train station in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City and quickly move tourists from the Ben-Gurion Airport to the Western Wall.
The plan involves extending the high-speed Jerusalem-Tel Aviv train line to the Old City. The plan would involve constructing two underground stations and excavating over two miles (three kilometers) of tunnel beneath downtown Jerusalem and under the politically and historically sensitive Old City — a project likely to raise fierce opposition by archaeologists, religious authorities and the Palestinian Authority. The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews are allowed to pray.
The nation of Jordan and the “guardian” of the Muslim Dome of Rock, quickly protested. Amman’s foreign ministry spokesman Daifallah al-Fayez called on the international community to “assume its responsibilities to resist the illegitimate and illegal Israeli steps,” He cited that this plan plan a “flagrant violation of international law, “according to comments carried by the BBC.
Building up Jerusalem
Jerusalem is currently in the midst of expanding its light rail network, from one to five lines. Construction is ongoing throughout the city, slowing down traffic. When these projects are completed, half of Jerusalem’s population will live within a five-minute walk of a train station. The system will carry over 400,000 passengers a day and waiting times will be improved to about five minutes between trains. Meanwhile, pray for the peace of Jerusalem, while its citizens wait for these projects to be completed by 2025-30!
North of Jerusalem, and still technically within the city’s boundary’s is a suburb named Atarot or “Crown.” Atarot today is an industrial district with also nearby Arab communities. Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben Gurion once dedicated Jerusalem’s airport here in 1973. This airport is no longer active, but the land and its runways remain. On February 9, the ministry submitted a building plan that would see some 9,000 housing units constructed at the site of the Atarot Airport, which has been inoperative since the breakout of the Second Intifada in 2000.
Givat HaMatos and Har Homa to Increase
Givat HaMatos is a small hill, once sees to the right on Hebron Road, while driving south to Gilo. Its name means “Airplane Hill.” Years ago, an Israeli plane was shot down there, by Jordanian anti-aircraft fire, The name remains, as well as a memorial to the pilot. It is a small section of open land, within city’s limits that has been undeveloped due to international pressure against building and construction freezes. The community of Har Homa (Mountain of the Wall) is opposite of HaMatos and at present is home to some 40,000 Jerusalemites. Both HaMatos and Har Homa are just meters over the old “Green Line”and on Israel lands, but the U.N. , the E.U. and other international agencies label these areas as being settlements. Har Homa and HaMatos are both a integral part of Jerusalem and within the city’s limits.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced this week, construction of a Jewish neighborhood of 3,000 housing units in Jerusalem’s Givat HaMatos and 2,200 housing units in the city’s Har Homa neighborhood. Netanyahu made the statement with Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, saying, “I have huge news. We’re adding another 2,200 housing units to Har Homa.”
“I also approved construction on Givat HaMatos. This means another 4,000 housing units: one thousand for the Arab residents of Beit Safafa and 3,000 for the Jewish residents,” Netanyahu added. Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon said, “Today is a great day for Jerusalem! The Prime Minister and I are announcing new neighborhoods in Jerusalem, the Homat Shmuel, and Givat Hamatos. These are thousands of new housing units.” This is big news for the city and especially for young families,” he said. ” This is my realization as Mayor of Jerusalem, and closes a circle with the Prime Minister who in 1998 announced establishment of the neighborhood of Homat Shmuel” ( aka:Har Homa) . (www.timesofisrael.com )
Israelis go again to the polls, March 3rd to elect a new Prime Minister. This March election will be the 3rd time in less than a year, that Israelis go to the polls. Prior to this upcoming election, neither leading political party has been able to form a majority in order to organize a government. Polls taken this week, project Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party at winning 33 seats in the Knesset, while Blue and White’s Benny Gantz has 31 seats. Sixty one seats are needed to form a coalition government. Pray that this election impasse be resolved and that Israeli vote to elects parties that desire to come together to govern.
The Desert Will Rejoice
Isaiah prophesies that “The desert will rejoice, and flowers will bloom in the wastelands” (Good News Version, Is. 35:1)). Due to an abundance of rainfall this winter season, moisture has renewed the deserts. Many varieties of desert flowers are now blooming, and can be seen all along the Dead Sea shores.
Colorful floral landscapes can be seen near the northern shoreline of the Dead Sea. Places dormant for decades are now blooming with breathtaking flowers. These desert flowers have sprouted from the cliffs to the shoreline of the Northern Dead Sea. The four mile stretch from Kibbutz Kalya to Ovnat is alive with newly formed fields of annual species whose seeds can lay dormant in the desert for years until there is enough water for them to sprout. The land is rejoicing and “the parched ground has become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water” (Is. 35:7)
For photographs of these desert flowers, go to www.breakingisraelnews.com
Gene and Marylois/House of Peace