Tensions in Jerusalem Escalate
As the end of Ramadan approaches and Jerusalem Day arrives, tensions in Jerusalem are very high. The number of worshippers allowed in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount is restricted, and violent riots have erupted. Palestinians are frustrated with their long-term neglect and rising poverty. As a result, the weekend saw many Israeli policemen and Palestinians injured in riots that took place over the Old City. Now, with the celebration of the fifty-fourth anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification, security officials fear the capital could potentially see an escalation in violence that would lead to a larger conflict. Police commanders have been asked to significantly boost their forces. Israel has also seen a rise in activity from radicals on both sides—including Palestinian and Jewish extremists—who have caused injury and damage.
UPDATE: Tensions reached a peak Monday morning in Israel as riots broke out on the Temple Mount. More than 300 people, including 21 police officers were injured after attempts to disperse the crowds failed. Jewish worshipers were prevented access to the site on the day dedicated to celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. The annual parade, the March of Flags, was diverted as a result of the clashes taking place. Threats from Hamas have also increased tensions on the Gaza border.
Please pray for tensions to decrease in Jerusalem. Please pray for wisdom for Israel’s police force in dealing with a tense and volatile situation. Please continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that the Prince of Peace will have His way in their midst.
Fire Balloons from Gaza
After six months of quiet, Hamas in Gaza recently sent seven incendiary balloons into Israel. Once they touch the ground, they burst into flame, setting alight forests and agricultural land. The Israeli fire brigade was able to put out the fires, but some crops were lost. The State is recommending to farmers to harvest their crops early, which results in great loss to the farmers but prevents more widespread damage. One farmer said, “The damage caused by the balloons is enormous and is no less harmful than missiles. It hurts to see all the crops burn, it’s like a fire in your heart.”
Please pray for protection for Israel’s southern civilians and grace and peace for Israeli farmers affected by the fires.
The Mandate Is Given to Yair Lapid
The time has passed for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to put together a majority government, and he was unable to accomplish the task. As a result, President Reuven Rivlin has passed the mandate to Yesh Atid’s leader, Yair Lapid. Lapid now has twenty-eight days to try to form a majority government with what many are calling the “change bloc.” If successful, it would be a unity coalition of different parties from both left and right sides that mainly desire to see an end to Netanyahu’s twelve years of serving as Israel’s prime minister. It has been said that the Yamina party, led by Naftali Bennett, would lead a rotation agreement, and Bennett would serve first as prime minister, with Lapid following. The two main parties have been negotiating coalition terms over the past couple of weeks, and many expect an announcement in the coming week. Bennett commented that he would support such a government. He added that a fifth election in two-and-a-half years would “simply destroy the country.” There are, however, many challenges ahead in the formation of a government. If Lapid is unable to complete the mandate, President Rivlin has the option to task the Knesset with voting in a new prime minister. If the Knesset is unable to agree, another election would be necessary.
Please pray for Israel’s leadership as they try to form a stable government.
Beautiful Mosaic Found in Israel
Another wonderful archeological discovery was recently made in Israel! A 1,600-year-old Byzantine floor mosaic, believed to be from the fourth or fifth century, was found in what is thought to be an affluent home in Yavne. This mosaic has beautiful geometric motifs and was originally covered with a patina coating. Initially, the archeologists thought the floor mosaic was just a simple white tile floor until they removed the patina and they realized there was color and design to it. It is currently being preserved by the Israel Antiquities Authority before being placed on display at the city’s cultural center.
Please pray for all those involved in archaeological excavation around the country.
Thanking the Lord for Our Ministry Leaders
Our workers in Israel are grateful for our ministry leaders who made some difficult decisions over the last year and brought us through to where we are now! The Lord has been good to us and opened many doors for ministry. We are so grateful for that! Our leaders and ministry workers have been stable and consistent, in contrast to Israel’s inability to agree upon a leader and form a government.
Please pray for our ministry leaders, that the Lord would lead, guide, and protect them and their families.