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November 6, 2009   

  


1.  Israel Intercepts 500 Tons of Weapons Bound for Hizbullah
2.  US Shuns UN's Goldstone Discussion
3.  Senior officer - New Rockets a Real Threat on Home Front
4.  Heavy Rain Reverses Water Loss in Galilee
5.  West Urges Tehran to Accept Uranium Enrichment Deal
6.  PM-Unprecedented Prosperity among Palestinians
7.  Survey-US Anti-Semitic Attitudes Lowest Ever
8.  Crusader Marble Hoard Found in Akko

1.  Israel Intercepts 500 Tons of Weapons Bound for Hizbullah

The Israel Navy Special Forces on Tuesday night [November 3] intercepted a civilian cargo vessel with "an exceptionally large quantity" of weapons, missiles, and rockets sent from Iran and bound for Hizbullah in Lebanon, according to an IDF press release.  The captain of the ship, the Francop, agreed to the search and no force was needed. An IDF spokesperson article on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website said the cargo contained roughly 500 tons of weapons in thirty-six shipping containers. The IDF press release said the shipment, disguised as civilian cargo amidst hundreds of other containers, was on a ship flying an Antiguan flag.

Said the press statement, "This is a well-known Iranian technique, taking advantage of cargo ships flying different flags in order to smuggle containers loaded with large amounts of highly volatile weaponry to terrorist organizations such as Hizbullah." The IDF said the weapons were intended to be used "against the State of Israel and its citizens".

According to the release, the Israeli search of the Francop "was conducted in accordance with the usual search protocols as dictated by international law," and the boat was brought to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

The IDF blasted Iran's shipping of weapons, noting smuggling weapons by the Islamic state violates United Nations Security Council resolutions, which prohibit them from exporting weapons of any kind.

"The Iranians continue to act deceptively while blatantly ignoring and violating both international law and UN Security Council decisions," said the IDF statement. "They relentlessly act under the guise and flags of different countries in order to arm and encourage extremist factions that strive to destabilize the Middle East and other regions."

The statement said that once the Francop has been inspected, it is expected to be released. The operation was authorized following the "confirmation of intelligence information gathered by the IDF".

(By Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, November 5, 2009)

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that he has allowed the IDF to intercept this and other shipments of weapons, preventing their use against Israeli citizens; pray that he will continue to protect the nation of Israel by quickening the military to any such attempt to smuggle weaponry to Israel's enemies.

Scripture

"Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts; they continually gather together for war" (Psalm 140:1-2).
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2.  US Shuns UN's Goldstone Discussion

WASHINGTON-The United States on Wednesday evening [November 4] decided not to speak at the United Nationals General Assembly [GA] discussion on the Goldstone Report, which accuses Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza. While dozens of countries sent their delegates to speak at the GA, the Americans openly shunned it. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice did not even attend the discussion. Her deputy, Alejandro Wolff, entered the auditorium to listen to the addresses of the European Union [EU] representative and Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, and was later seen leaving the place.

In recent weeks, the Obama administration has been expressing its objection to the [UN] Human Rights Council's decision to have the General Assembly in New York discuss the report. The Americans expressed their anger at the Arab states' move, along with the non-aligned countries, to separate the discussion on the Goldstone Report from the annual meeting on the situation of human rights.

On Tuesday [November 3], the US House of Representatives rejected the Goldstone Report's conclusions with an overwhelming majority, calling the report "biased".

The Egyptian ambassador was the first to speak against Israel at the GA, and was expected to be followed by some 40 delegates before the [UN] resolution [on the Goldstone report] would be voted on. In light of the automatic majority enjoyed by the Arab countries and their supporters, the resolution is expected to pass.

The Egyptian ambassador said during his speech that "Israel retaliated against civilians in Gaza". The Swedish ambassador said on behalf of the EU that the Goldstone report is serious and that any violation of human rights must be probed and that those responsible must be prosecuted.

The speeches clearly show that the move's leaders are trying to create a momentum which will eventually turn the report over to the Security Council, the only UN body with operational authorities.  From there, they hope to drag Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but the Americans are expected to veto such a move.

(By Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynetnews, November 5, 2009)
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3800509,00.html

Prayer Focus

Praise the Lord that the United States has taken a stand against this report; pray that the intention of the Arab states to use this document to slander the nation of Israel and further degrade her standing in the international community be exposed and brought to a swift end.

Scripture
"'You are my servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' "Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish" (Isaiah 41:9b-11).
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3.  Senior officer - New Rockets a Real Threat on Home Front

The new rockets in Hamas' possession will one day turn into a real threat on the home front, a senior Israel Defense Forces officer told Ynet on Tuesday [November 3], after Major-General Amos Yadlin, head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, said the Palestinian organization recently held a successful trial launch of a rocket with a 60-kilometer [37-mile] range which could reach parts of Tel Aviv. Military sources noted that despite the improved rockets, Hamas' ability to launch missiles into central Israel is limited, but added that it was only a matter of time before this ability is improved, with Iran's support.

The Israeli army, however, is not waiting for the Iron Dome anti-missile system to become operational in mid-2010, and is preparing for an escalation in other ways. "Just like the IDF was prepared for Operation Cast Lead, it is operating now by preparing and training in order to respond powerfully to any development," a military official said.

"Hamas is deterred and has no desire to act now, but it is definitely preparing for the next conflict, which may take place whenever it wants," a military source explained. "Hamas members have analyzed their mistakes from Cast Lead and are now implementing the lessons, including handling their supply of rockets and improving them."

Iris Levy of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom added, "The distance to Tel Aviv from Ashkelon and Ashdod was a matter of time, not of distance. This is a disaster for the State and a red flag."

(Excerpts of an article by Hanan Greenberg, Ynetnews, November 3, 2009, Ilana Curiel contributed to this report) http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3799922,00.html
 
Prayer Focus
Pray that these rockets will never be used against Israel; pray that the Lord Himself will move powerfully to remove this threat.

Scripture
"And he said: 'The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, You save me from violence'" (2 Samuel 22:2-3).
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4.  Heavy Rain Reverses Water Loss in Galilee

Copious amounts of rain fell in central and northern Israel over the weekend, sending the level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) up by four centimeters [1.57 inches] and adding certainty that this level will rise by another three centimeters [1.18 inches] by midweek from natural runoff.  The rainstorm that fell over the past days was equivalent to the annual average for both October and November. More heavy rain is expected over the next few days. Despite this excellent start to winter the water situation is still very grave.

The Kinneret is still over 5.5 meters [18 feet] lower than the optimum full level, and even if there are numerous days this winter of intense rain as in the past few days, the lake, which is Israel's primary fresh water source, will not be considered full by the Water Authority. The underground aquifers are also much depleted and continued serious rainfall this winter is essential to stop the main aquifers from becoming saline.

According to the Israel Meteorological Service, the levels of rainfall in some places have been far above the seasonal averages.

(Excerpts of an article by Edgar Asher, Isranet, November 1, 2009)

Prayer Focus

Praise the Lord that he has been faithful to bring rains to the Land. Pray that this will continue to be a wet winter, bringing the levels of the Kinneret and the underground aquifers to record high levels.

Scripture
"You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, for so You have prepared it. You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth. You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance" (Psalm 65:9-11).
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5.  West Urges Tehran to Accept Uranium Enrichment Deal

Western powers have urged Tehran to immediately reply to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) proposal [that would send enriched uranium from Iran abroad to be turned into fuel for an Iranian medical research reactor, thereby delaying Iran's ability to make a bomb]. "We both want to see a prompt response from the Iranian regime in respect of the Tehran research reactor proposal," Britain's Foreign Minister David Miliband said at a news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a visit to Morocco that the Iran package currently on the table would not be changed.

"Acceptance of this proposal... would be a good indication that Iran does not wish to be isolated and does wish to cooperate with the international community." She said Iran should accept the deal it as it stood, "because we are not altering it."

In his farewell speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei said the proposed deal offered "a unique and fleeting opportunity to reverse course from confrontation to cooperation and should therefore not be missed."

(By World Jewish Congress, November 3, 2009)

Prayer Focus
Continue to pray that the world community stands firm against this threat to the entire free world and takes whatever action necessary to ensure that Iran does not achieve nuclear capability.

Scripture
"Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones" (Psalm 83:1-3).
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6.  PM-Unprecedented Prosperity among Palestinians

"The Palestinians should come to their senses and enter negotiations as soon as possible," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Sunday's [November 1] cabinet meeting. The prime minister also said that US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell will remain in Israel an extra day "in order to coordinate an effort to jumpstart the peace process." Netanyahu briefed the cabinet ministers of his meeting with Mitchell and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who assured Netanyahu on Saturday [October 31] that a settlement building freeze will not be a precondition to renewing negotiations, despite Palestinian demands to the contrary.

"We had a very good, long, and serious meeting with the secretary of state," Netanyahu said. "We are making a concerted effort to renew negotiations. This is not the effort of a moment. We have been making these efforts since the government was formed."

Netanyahu mentioned the steps taken by his government to this end: "We did things that have not been done by any prior government. We removed hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints. We have taken steps to ease their lives and the Palestinian economy. The result of this is unprecedented prosperity in the Palestinian Authority."

"I put forth a vision for peace at Bar Ilan that revolves around the principles that unify the vast majority of the country's citizens," said Netanyahu, "a vision that you can run with to reach a real solution. We also expressed willingness to do unprecedented things in order to jumpstart the peace process, and the Americans understand this willingness very well.

"On the other hand, we are encountering the opposite trend. While we are in the process of allowing for negotiations and their development, we are faced with preconditions being stipulated by the Palestinians that have not been posted since the beginning of the peace process 16 years ago."

Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz said, "The American administration understands now what we have been saying for some time-that the real barrier to talks is the Palestinians. Even the US understands that freezing the settlements is not a precondition for talks. We need to start talking, and we are prepared to talk, even though, unfortunately, the other side is not."
 
The picture looks a bit different from Ramallah. Palestinian sources said to Ynet that the Palestinian Authority understood from Clinton's associates that she has not adopted Israel's stance regarding the settlements.

(Excerpts of an article by Roni Sofer, Ynetnews, November 1, 2009, Ali Waked contributed to this report)
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3798428,00.html

Prayer Focus
Pray that the awareness of Palestinian rejection of Israeli efforts toward peace will continue to grow while at the same time, the lives of Palestinians who live in poverty will continue to be positively impacted through efforts of the Israeli government.

Scripture
"I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor" (Psalm 140:12).
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7.  Survey-US Anti-Semitic Attitudes Lowest Ever

The beginning of the financial crisis did not affect the figures of poverty in Israel, which remained almost unchanged last year, according to the National Insurance Institute's Poverty Report for 2008. Nonetheless, the data published Monday [November 2] point to an extremely grim picture: There are 1,651,300 needy people living in Israel, including 783,600 children. The percentage of poor people in Israel dropped slightly to 23.7%. In other words, one in four Israelis is defined as needy. According to NII officials, the financial crisis' influence, which was partly seen in the second half of 2008, compensated for the rise in income in the first half of the year.

The results of the crisis erased the improvement in the dimensions of poverty among families and children. However, many families are now above the poverty line, thanks to allowances they are receiving.

The poverty rates among elderly people remained almost unchanged at 22.7%. The percentage of needy single parents dropped from 29.8% in 2007 to 28.8% in 2008, but poor families became poorer: The poverty depth rose by four points over the years-a development which may be attributed to the dismissal of the household's only provider.

Welfare and Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog said that the Poverty Report "points to a direct link between going out to work and emerging from poverty. Despite the financial crisis, the higher participation in the labor market, which characterized the Arab sector in 2008, led to a drop in the number of poor families in the Arab sectors. However, the depth of poverty worsened significantly among single parents due to dismissals.

 (Excerpts of an article by Yael Branovsky, Ynetnews, November 2, 2009)
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3798960,00.html

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will bless the economy of Israel, providing employment for Israelis and the opportunity to emerge from poverty.

Scripture
"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 'I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go'" (Isaiah 48:17).
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8.  Crusader Marble Hoard Found in Akko

You can't take it with you, but you can leave it for archaeologists to find. That's what apparently happened to a sizable stash of valuable marble hidden beneath a cellar floor in the Israeli port city of Akko. According to a press release from the Israel Antiquities Authority, 350 rare marble pieces hidden during the Crusader era over 700 years ago were discovered upon reaching a cellar that had been likely blocked off by the destruction wrought on Akko during the Muslim invasion at the end of the 13th Century.

Dr. Edna Stern, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in the release, "The marble was concealed like one would bury a jar with gold coins. It seems that the owner was in fear of impending danger."

Those fears were apparently justified, at least eventually, although neither the one-time owner of the hoard nor the invading enemy were able to fully enjoy the discovery, which included a large stone cross and a large fragment of porphyry-a rare precious purple stone that has been the color of royalty since the time of the Romans.

Said Stern, "We have here a unique find, the likes of which have never been discovered in the "Kingdom of Jerusalem" in the Crusader period [the capital of which was Akko]… Everyone knows that Crusader Akko was an important center for international trade and the marble hoard reflects the magnificent buildings that were erected here but have not survived, as well as also the commerce and the wealth of its residents."

(Excerpts of an article by Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, November 4, 2009)
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Note: All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

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