Inside Israel - February 15, 2012

Iran: Zionist Regime is a Cancer

Tehran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised that the world will soon be rid of the "cancerous Zionist regime" and pledged Iran’s help to anyone working to eliminate Israel. Khamenei made these statements while addressing thousands of worshippers attending a Tehran University prayer service. He said that any threats from the United States only show its weakness, and that Iran will not forfeit its nuclear ambitions despite the sanctions. After his speech, the crowd chanted, "Death to Israel." (Ynet)

Please pray for Israel's protection against its enemies and for Iran’s threats not to turn into action.

Ancient Jewish Scrolls Found in Afghanistan

There was once a vibrant Jewish community living in Afghanistan along the Silk Road, but little was known of their culture. Recently, scrolls with poems, commercial records and judicial agreements were found, providing a window into a unique ancient Jewish society. The scrolls, written in the Judeo-Persian language, date back to the 11th century. They are currently in the possession of antique dealers in London, who value the scrolls at several million dollars. (Ynet)

Tu B'Shvat – Israeli Earth Day

This holiday, on which Israelis honor God’s creation, began on the evening of February 7 and ended on the evening of February 8. The holiday falls at the beginning of the planting season after the winter rains have soaked the fields. Many people plant trees in remembrance of Leviticus 19:23 – "When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food..." Israelis today find it important to eat locally-produced foods in season and to practice responsible farming. On Tu B'Shvat, Israelis eat nuts, dried fruits and fresh produce in special holiday dishes and classes make field trips to plant trees. (JPost)

Please pray for a special harvest this year with bountiful rain and yields.

Special Award for Work Among Holocaust Survivors

A new award to honor those who have worked tirelessly to help improve the lives of Holocaust survivors will be given to sixteen recipients in Tel Aviv. There are about 207,000 Holocaust survivors whose living conditions are very bad – many are below the poverty line – and their needs increase as they grow older. The recipients of the award, including an official who fought hard to raise pensions for Holocaust survivors, have helped these survivors live in dignity. (JPost)

Please pray for these dear people who have lived through so much and who are now struggling in Israel.

Skiing on Israel's Mount Hermon

Israel's tallest mountain, Mt. Hermon, received 1.5 meters of snow during a weekend snowstorm. The storm temporarily closed major roads in the Golan Heights and added 11 centimeters to the Sea of Galilee. Despite a rainy January, the Sea of Galilee is still 44 centimeters below the "red line" that indicates an adequate water level. As snowfall is rare in Israel, many people find it very exciting. Crowds converged on Mt. Hermon after the blizzard to ski and play in the snow. (JPost)

Please pray for more rain to come to Israel.

Elite Chefs Tour Israel

A delegation from the group "Club des Chefs des Chefs," or "Chefs of the Heads of State," which included chefs from the White House, the Kremlin, the Élysée Palace and the German Chancellery, toured Israel in early February and cooked a gala dinner in an initiative called "Cooking for Peace." The chefs prepared specialties from their home countries with the help of Israeli and Palestinian chefs. The proceeds from the dinner went to support youth programs in Tel Aviv and Jaffa. (JTA)

Please pray for many avenues of building peace between Israel and the Palestinians, including this unique opportunity.

Gilad Shalit Welcomed In France

The Shalit family – released soldier Gilad along with his parents, Noam and Aviva – traveled to France, where Nicolas Sarkozy welcomed them at the Elysee Palace. They thanked the French President personally for his commitment to Gilad's release from Gaza. Noam and Aviva were the guests of honor at a banquet held by the Council of French Jewish Institutions, and received standing ovations. Gilad did not attend, as it is still difficult for him to be in large crowds; his integration back into normal life is a slow process. Noam addressed the attendees, "We always knew that you, the French, and you, Mr. President, would never tire until our son returned to us." He also thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for his courage in going ahead with the deal and bringing Gilad home after five years in captivity. (Haaretz)

Please pray for Gilad Shalit's continued adjustment and healing.

Harvard Professor Says Israel Needs to Strike Iran Now

Harvard University history professor Niall Ferguson, speaking to Newsweek magazine, said that the current Iranian threat is like the Arab world's threat to destroy Israel in 1967, and Israel must attack now. Dr. Ferguson believes that the United States would come to Israel's defense if Israel was to take action to slow down Iran's nuclear development or even destroy the facilities altogether. In his view, the United States cannot see the price of oil at $200 a barrel (as Iran is a big exporter of oil and would close the Strait of Hormuz) and there would be a tremendous backlash for not standing by Israel's side. Ferguson stated, "War is evil, but sometimes a preventive war can be a lesser evil than a policy of appeasement. The people who don't yet know that, are the ones still in denial about what a nuclear-armed Iran would end up costing us all." (Arutz-7)

Please pray for wisdom for all the governments involved in deciding how to deal with Iran’s threats.

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