Israel and Hamas have reportedly reached a ceasefire under Egyptian mediation, according to Al Jazeera. A source in Gaza confirmed the ceasefire to Ynet, while two Israeli officials denied a truce had been reached, in line with Israel's policy of ambiguity. The agreement merely ends the latest two-day burst of violence between Israel and Hamas and added that Egypt would continue efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire. Tension along the Israel-Gaza border has escalated since late March when Hamas launched what would become regular mass protests along Israel's perimeter fence with Gaza. Over 180 rockets have been fired from Gaza over the past 24 hours, with the IDF retaliating with heavy bombardments in the strip, destroying a 5-story building, we well as several terror tunnels, military complexes and other targets. Pray that members on both sides of this conflict will long for the true peace that only comes from the Prince of Peace.
Rami Gold, from Kibbutz Be’eri located in the Gaza border region, has no competitors. Riding on his ATV, with an attached water tanker, he arrives first to every fire in the region caused by incendiary kites flown from Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. "Sometimes firefighting crews arrive after I’ve already put out the fire," he says, laughing. "I tell them 'Everything is under control. Go look for another fire.’" Rami is not alone, however. Together with a team of volunteers that he established in the kibbutz, he and his friends fight the arson terror and rush towards any cloud of smoke in the area that raises their suspicion. An average of five fires break out in a day in the Be'eri area. “We are dealing with a bizarre reality but we learnt how to be efficient,” concludes Evyatar Kipnis, one of the volunteer supervisors. “This struggle brought us together and created amazing cooperation between various bodies and connections between great people who just want to protect their homes.” Pray that God will use this devastating conflict to bring about His good purposes.
Some 700 people gathered in Habima Square in Tel Aviv in order to learn Arabic together as a show of protest against the Knesset’s recent passing of the controversial Nationality Law. The law, which declares that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country and that Hebrew is the official language, has stoked anger among critics who argue it is racist. The law strips Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a "special status" that enables its continued use within Israeli institutions. The law also legally enshrines Israel's democratic character, its state symbols, Jerusalem as the capital, and the right of return for Diaspora Jewry. Organisers of the gathering in Habima Square, which was dubbed “The biggest Arabic lesson in the world”, said it was intended “to make the Arabic language widespread in the public.” According to Prime Minister Netanyahu, "The State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, with full equal rights for all of its citizens. This is the meaning of the words 'a Jewish and democratic state,'" he said. "What is the meaning of national rights? They define the flag, the national anthem, the language and, of course, the fact that one of the basic goals of the state is the ingathering of exiles of our people and their absorption here in the land of Israel. This is the meaning of the Zionist vision," the prime minister declared. Pray that God will bring unity and peace where there is division and animosity.
Britain and the European Union praised Israel for the overnight evacuation of hundreds of Syrian rescue workers, known as the "White Helmets", officially known as Syria Civil Defense. The White Helmets is a volunteer organization that operates in rebel-controlled areas of Syria in an attempt to rescue and assist civilians caught in war zones. When children, women, and men in Syria flee for their lives, the White Helmets run towards danger and the rubble to save the innocent and the wounded. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "These are people who saved lives and whose lives are now in danger. I authorized bringing them through Israel to other countries as an important humanitarian gesture." Pray that God will help all those who bravely show kindness to those who suffer.
Israel was ranked as the eighth most powerful country in the world, according to a survey published by US News and World Report. The rankings look at the influence of a nation as well as its political, economic and military power. A country’s alliances factor in as does its influence and whether the country is a leader, US News and World Report said in its description of the rankings. The US was ranked the world’s most powerful country, followed by Russia, China, Germany, Britain, France, Japan, and Israel. Pray that Israel will ultimately find her strength and protection in dependence on God.
Prince William Said to View Mideast Peace as His Lifelong Project
Seventy years after the reestablishment of Israel, Prince William became the first British royal to pay an official visit to the Jewish state. The historic visit breaks a long unofficial British Foreign Office-led boycott against Jerusalem. While officially a non-political visit, Prince William’s arrival in Israel is a visual manifestation of increasingly converging strategic interests between London, Jerusalem and key Sunni Arab states. All see Iran’s Jihad export as a threat that has to be confronted and stopped. Concluding a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Prince William travelled to the Mount of Olives for a lookout of the Old City of Jerusalem. He then visited the nearby gravesite of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, who saved Jews in the Holocaust and whose last wishes were to have her remains buried in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene above the Garden of Gethsemane. William also visited the Jalazoun refugee camp in the West Bank and told Palestinians they had not been forgotten. At the end of his visit, he reportedly told his aides, “This is the start of something new. I will forever honour my commitments to the people I have met.” Pray that Prince William and other leaders of the UK will have godly wisdom, discernment, and courage to be peacemakers in the region.