JEWISH PRAYER FOCUS 2015 – September 13 – October 4 2015
22 days of focused prayer for the Jewish people
Israel is reversing the trend of Western nations and currently embarking on a national Bible reading program called “929 Studying the Bible together”. 929 is the number of chapters in the Hebrew Bible. The nation is reading one chapter per day with studies taking place in schools, on social media, internet, TV and private and educational institutions. The project aims to unify the nation around the treasure God has entrusted to the Jewish people. It will finish on Israel’s 70th birthday, Independence Day, April 2018. You can learn about this, as well as the upcoming Biblical holidays and many Messianic congregations and ministries in this year’s Jewish Prayer Focus.
The theme for this year is, “My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all Nations” (Isaiah 56:6-7). God is answering our prayers with many Jews giving their hearts to the Lord, including with an ever-growing active Messianic youth movement. The Jewish Prayer Focus is a 22-day call to prayer (September 13–October 4) for a harvest of souls amongst the Jewish people group, at the time of year when they are soul-searching and repenting in accordance with the Holy Days of the Biblical calendar in Lev 23:26-44. These include the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles, which all foreshadow the return of the Messiah.
This year we have input from prayer leaders and pastors from Israel and the nations who share their insights with us, introduce their ministries, or provide Hebraic teaching and prayer points. Each year the dates, articles and writers differ. The project is endorsed by Lawrence Hirsch (President of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of Australia) and John Dawson (President, YWAM), Rob Stearns (International Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem) and Tom Hess from the House of Prayer for all Nations in Jerusalem. All our profits are returned to those for whom we are praying. Please join us and learn the GOOD news from Israel, and see how God is moving across the earth in raising up prayer houses in the nations.
Copies available from JPF, PO Box 54, Kerrimuir VIC 3129, call 03-9899 7231 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Cost: Aud $8.50 for one copy, $16 for 2, $22.50 for 3, $75 for 10, $120 for 20, incl local postage. Cheques to Living Way Christian Network Inc. Credit card purchases at our website or download from www.jewishprayerfocus.org/. Also available at Koorong.
ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER CLAIMS NUCLEAR DEAL WITH IRAN A HISTORIC MISTAKE
Iran and the P5+1 nations have reached a final nuclear deal whose details are still emerging. According to reports, in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions on Iran, the deal restricts the amount of nuclear fuel that Iran can keep in its stockpile for 15 years, and requires Iran to reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduces the number of centrifuges at Iran’s enrichment centre at Natanz by two-thirds. But American officials acknowledge that after the first decade of the deal, the breakout time for an Iranian nuclear weapon would begin to shrink. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said “all sanctions will be lifted,” according to Press TV.
“This is a pitiful chapter in Western diplomacy that I think ranks with Neville Chamberlain stopping at the top of the stairs of his plane and waiving a sheet of paper, and thinking that somehow ink on paper would stop the ravenous appetite of a madman like Hitler,” Gary Bauer, head of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) told reporters at CUFI’s Washington Summit before the deal was reached. “We’re facing the same kind of hatred, the same kind of ideology that is not only anti-Israel, it’s anti-Semitic, and the idea that the mullahs of Iran would sign anything that the West could rely on is I think outlandish.” President Obama said the U.S. and the international community “have achieved something that decades of animosity has not.”
But the Iran deal is expected to face stiff opposition from Congress. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I would like to say—when you are willing to make an agreement at any cost, this is the result. From initial reports we can conclude that this agreement is an historic mistake for the world,” he said. “Far-reaching concessions have been made in areas that were supposed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In addition, Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars with which it can fuel its terror machine and its aggression throughout the Middle East and the world. I say to all the leaders in Israel, it is time to put petty politics aside and unite behind this most fateful issue to the future and security of the State of Israel,” added Netanyahu.
ISRAEL’S KNESSET TOUGHENS PUNISHMENT FOR ROCK THROWERS
A bill to increase the punishment of rock throwing terrorists became law in Israel when the Knesset voted to approve the draft. The bill, proposed by former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and promoted and finalized by current Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, passed with 69 Members of Knesset (MK) voting in favour and 17 against. The law is intended to address incidents to which previous legislation did not pertain, such as throwing rocks at public transportation or at police vehicles. The previous law stated that a prosecutor must provide proof of the assailant’s intent to cause harm in order for the terrorist to receive the maximum sentence prescribed by law—20 years in prison.
In practice, such intent is difficult to prove legally, and so terrorists have been receiving a much lighter sentence of about two years. The new law places the onus on the rock-thrower to prove there was no nefarious intent. The amendment cites that an offender could be sentenced to 10 years in prison without requiring the prosecutor to prove intent to cause harm. “Tolerance towards terrorists ends today,” Shaked announced after the bill was passed. Noting that over 1,000 indictments are handed down against rock-throwers annually, she said the new law will elevate the level of sentences given to the terrorists. “A rock-thrower is a terrorist, and only an appropriate punishment will serve as a deterring, punishing and just element,” Shaked stated.
Several Arab MKs vigorously opposed the bill, saying it was a travesty of justice that ignored the real problem—Israel’s so-called “occupation,” which in their view justified murder or attempted murder. “Anyone who throws rocks at people and cars needs to assume that someone will be hurt,” Shaked stated earlier on this year, “A rock can kill.” MK Nissan Slomiansky, Chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, who introduced the bill, said that “David killed Goliath, the strongest Philistine, using a rock. In other words: rocks kill. Hundreds of cases involving such crimes are discussed in the courts. The legislature must render assistance to law enforcement agencies, and convey an unequivocal message on this issue.”
TROUBLING NEW SIGN AS JEWISH PRAYER FORBIDDEN ON TEMPLE MOUNT
Violating Israeli law guaranteeing freedom of worship, Israeli Police have erected a new sign at the visitors’ entrance to the Temple Mount strictly forbidding any kind of prayer and enforcing a set of stringent restrictions on dress, behaviour and the bringing of religious items in order to “respect the holiness of the site.” The Israeli Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the rights of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in all of Judaism and the third most holy site in Islam. Though the issue is a difficult one due to the controversial nature of the site, complete freedom of worship is guaranteed by the Israeli Declaration of Independence and the Israeli Knesset’s Basic Laws.
Attempts by the Israeli Police to curtail this right on the Temple Mount have been defeated several times in court. Nevertheless, Israeli Police enforce their own rules on the Temple Mount, closely monitoring Jewish visitors to prevent any kind of visible prayer, escorting any “violators” off the Mount and occasionally arresting and banning Jews from the holy site. Muslim prayer, however, is freely allowed. Although the sign does not specify non-Muslim prayer, it is clearly aimed solely at Israelis and tourists. It is written in Hebrew and English—not Arabic—and it is posted only at the visitors’ gate and not at the multiple Temple Mount entrances used by Muslims.
EGYPT APPOINTS ITS FIRST AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL IN THREE YEARS
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has appointed Egypt’s first ambassador to Israel in three years, marking a possible sign of continued warming relations between the two Mideast powers. The new ambassador, Hazem Khairat, previously served as Egypt’s envoy to the Arab League and Chile. Egypt recalled its last envoy in Tel Aviv, Atef Salem, in 2012 under then president Mohammed Morsi—a leader of Hamas’s parent group, the Muslim Brotherhood—in protest of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defence in Gaza that year. Since then, Salem has served in Cairo and has not returned to Tel Aviv.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Egypt’s decision to send a new ambassador to the Jewish state. “It strengthens the ties between our countries. It strengthens peace,” Netanyahu said. Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, Haim Koren, recently made history by becoming the first Israeli envoy to ever deliver a Ramadan greeting to the Egyptian people. In a video message in Arabic posted by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Koren said, “On my behalf and on behalf of the people of Israel ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, we wish the Egyptian people Ramadan Kareem.”