JNN NEWS, P.O. Box 7411, Jerusalem 91073, Israel
“Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you. Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. ‘As surely as I live,’ declares the Lord, ‘you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.’” Isa 49:17-18
ISRAEL’S POPULATION NEARS 8.2 MILLION: As Israel prepares to celebrate its 66th birthday, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) released a report Thursday estimating its population at 8.180 million. The Jewish population in the country represents about 6.135 million residents -75.0 percent of the total population – and the Israeli-Arab population stands at 1.694 million people – 20.7% of the country’s inhabitants. The additional 4.3%, approximately 345,000 people, represent non-Arab Christians and people of other religions as well as those with no religious affiliation. The report also indicated that since last year, the population in Israel grew by some 157,000 people, marking a 2.0% increase. (Jerusalem Post)
ISRAEL GREETS 16,884 NEW IMMIGRANTS IN 2013: Immigration to Israel increased by 2 percent in 2013, with over 16,000 olim arriving, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced this week. Of the 16,884 immigrants who arrived last year, 43% came from the former Soviet Union, primarily Russia and Ukraine, 17% came from France, 13% from the US and 8% from Ethiopia. At the end of March the Jewish Agency announced that French immigration has risen sharply with 854 French Jews having moved to Israel since the beginning of the year. This increase marks a 312% increase over the comparable period in 2013. (Jerusalem Post) The increase in immigration from France in the past months is due largely to spiraling antisemitic attacks on the Jewish community there. Pray for the protection of Jewish communities in France and that increasing numbers will decide to make Israel their home.
ASSAD STILL LAUNCHING CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACKS: Scientific analysis of samples from multiple gas attacks in Syria shows the Assad regime is still launching chemical weapons attacks on civilians, including children. Soil samples from the scene of three recent attacks were collected by trained individuals. A British chemical weapons expert involved in the testing, said: « We have unequivocally proved the regime has used chlorine and ammonia against its own civilians in the last two to three weeks.” The attacks were conducted by helicopter and could only have been carried out by the Syrian regime. In the last two weeks alone there have been eight separate chemical attacks on rebel-held towns and villages. Meanwhile, Israeli intelligence believes the Syrian regime is concealing chemical weapons while misleading the international community. This assessment joins similar ones from intelligence sources in the US and Britain. There has been no evidence that Syria is transferring chemical weapons to Hezbollah, although the Assad regime continues to try to transfer other advanced weapons systems. A senior Israeli military source said it is now clear that if Assad falls, the dominant factors among the rebels will be extremist Islamic organizations, some identified with al-Qaeda. « In terms of the balance of deterrence, it’s easier for us when we’re dealing with an official address in Damascus, rather than a chaos of gangs as in Somalia. » (Ha’aretz/Telegraph-UK) Please keep a prayer focus on this multi-faceted crisis for which there is no end in sight – and no viable solution to bring it under control in a way that will be fruitful for Syria, Israel or other neighboring countries. Israel is the nation most at risk, as both Bashar Assad’s regime and all rebel groups fighting against it hate the Jewish state and aspire to its destruction. Pray for wisdom and alertness for all those involved in making Israel’s military decisions and protection for all communities on the northern borders. Pray Syria’s chemical attacks on its civilians, including innocent children, will cease.
SYRIAN ISLAMISTS STAGE PUBLIC CRUCIFIXIONS: Pictures emerging from the city of Raqqa in northern Syria show how an al-Qaeda splinter group has been carrying out public « crucifixions » in areas under its control. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) – a group considered so brutal it was booted out of al-Qaeda, which was worried about the harm it would cause to its image – has suffered numerous setbacks in Syria in the past few months, as other rebel groups have turned on it, accusing it of working for the Assad regime to undermine the opposition. But it still has Raqqa firmly in its grip, and reports of the strict imposition of Sharia (Islamic law) have included executions, amputations and lashes. The few remaining Christian families in Raqqa were recently given a choice between conversion to Islam, death, or the acceptance of a special jizya tax for infidels. They chose the latter. But one of the most gruesome illustrations of ISIS’s brutal rule emerged on Tuesday, when pictures of two men crucified in public – with children standing just feet away – emerged on Twitter. The pictures were posted by both pro- and anti-ISIS groups, with the former gloating over them and citing the images as proof of ISIS’s firm grip on the area, and the latter citing them as proof of ISIS’s brutality. (Arutz-7) Pray for the protection of the besieged Christian community in Syria.
UN: HUMANITARIAN AID IN SYRIA INEFFECTIVE: UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, Valerie Amos, said this week the steps decided upon by the Security Council regarding the provision of humanitarian aid to millions of Syrians, “Is not working.” Amos said that instead of relieving the suffering of Syrian citizens, the crisis in the country has “Only worsened” since the Security Council made the decision to provide Syria with humanitarian aid in February. (Israel National News)
PALESTINIAN ARABS CRY ‘REVENGE!’ AT HAMAS FUNERAL IN RAMALLAH: More than 1,000 people gathered in Ramallah Wednesday for the funerals of two Hamas terrorists, as well as the terrorist responsible for the 2001 Sbarro’s suicide bombing. On Tuesday night, Israel transferred the remains of brothers Adel and Imad Osallah, Hamas terrorists who planned attacks against Israel and who were eliminated near Hevron by IDF soldiers in 1998. Israel also handed over the bodies of Izz al-Din al-Masri, the Sbarro suicide bomber, and suicide bomber Tawfiq Mahamid. The terrorists’ coffins were passed through the crowd, which waved green Hamas flags throughout the ceremony. Protestors chanted violent anti-Israel slogans – such as « Revenge! » and « Strike Tel Aviv! »; PA and Hamas also used the funeral to disperse propaganda. Fatah supporters passed out leaflets among the crowd promoting the recent unity pact between the two groups. (Israel-National News) Pray according to scripture: “Scatter the peoples who delight in war.” Ps 68:30
MASHAAL: HAMAS REMAINS COMMITTED TO JIHAD AGAINST ISRAEL: One week after the signing of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation pact, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal announced his movement remains committed to jihad [holy war] against Israel. Mashaal, in the first public comments after the deal, said, “Our path is resistance and the rifle, and our choice is jihad.” Mashaal said that in wake of the failure of the peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians were in need of a joint strategy that would lead to the “liberation of our lands and holy sites and the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes.” The Hamas leader voiced optimism over the prospects of success for the unity agreement, which was signed last week between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. He added that while Hamas was in favor of political and diplomatic action against Israel in the international arena, “there is no past or future without jihad and resistance. Jihad is our path.” An Israeli official in Jerusalem responded that his remarks « expose the myth that Hamas has somehow moderated its positions. » (Jerusalem Post)
ISRAEL’S UN ENVOY WARNS THE WORLD: YOUR MONEY WILL GO TO HAMAS: Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, warned world nations this week that with the Hamas-Fatah unity pact, any funds they transfer to the Palestinian Authority (PA) may end up in the hands of Hamas and be used for carrying out terrorist attacks. “As we speak, millions of dollars are being channeled to the Palestinian Authority. Now that the Palestinians have signed a unity agreement, that funding will be at the disposal of Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization,” Prosor said in a speech before the UN Security Council. “I wonder how taxpayers in London, Luxembourg and Paris would feel knowing that they will enable Hamas to launch more rockets into Israel, kidnap more Israelis, and send more suicide bombers into our cafes,” he added. “Not a day goes by in which Hamas does not seek Israel’s destruction. Just recently, the Israeli Defense Force intercepted a cargo ship sent by Iran and carrying advanced weaponry destined for the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. The weapons included rockets and missiles capable of striking the very heart of Israel. The international community is quick to condemn Israel, but never says a word when Israel is the victim of unrelenting attacks,” said Prosor. (Israel National News)
ISRAELI STARTUP MAKES WORLD’S FIRST MOBILE PRINTER: An Israeli startup has created a printer that can fit in your pocket. Matan Caspi and Tuvia Elbaum of the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) pioneered the initiative while in college, establishing ZUtA Labs. With the initial funding and support of JCT, the startup succeeded in creating the world’s first mini mobile printer. « Print machines are essentially a print head running on a moving piece of paper, » reads a company statement. « Why can’t we just put the print head on a set of small wheels and let it run across a piece of paper? » The 4 by 4.5 inches device was featured at Microsoft’s ThinkNext event. The company says it will have a full line of mobile printers available by January 2015. The mobile printer features a rechargeable battery with an on and off switch, and can directly connect to smartphones and PCs to print on any size piece of paper. At the bottom of the device is a sliding hatch revealing the inkjet, along with the USB connection for battery charging. ZUtA says that inkjet cartridge will last for over 1,000 printed pages, and the battery will work for over an hour after each full charge. (Arutz-7)