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Prayer Letter - March 4 2013

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“I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong,
because the Lord Almighty is their God.’” Zech. 12:4-5

PERFECT WEATHER FOR 20,000 RUNNERS ON MARATHON DAY: The Jerusalem Marathon, just three years old, drew 20,000 runners on Friday, up from 11,000 two years ago. Following last year’s rain and hail, perfect weather graced this year’s hilly marathon course. The favorable conditions last Friday allowed the men and women’s winners to blast through previous race records by more than a minute each. Abraham Ketla of Ethiopia won with a time of 2:16:29.25. In the women’s division, Migrate Anotonios of Ethiopia took first place with a time of 2:47:26.40, setting a new record for a woman finisher. Twenty thousand runners, including 1,800 from 52 countries, participated in the full marathon, half marathon, and fun race for charity. A number of MKs also joined in the festivities. This was also the first year the marathon took place without the shadow of terror hanging overhead. Last year, the day before the race, a Palestinian teenager stabbed a soldier in uniform on the light rail, wounding her seriously. Two years ago, a bus bombing outside of Binyanei Hauma killed Mary Jane Gardner from Scotland and injured 39 people just two days before the marathon. (J.Post)

SAVE THE DATES FOR THE 2013 ROOTS & REFLECTIONS TOUR - UK JUNE 2-10 – US JUNE 1-11: Join Barry Segal for the fourth annual Roots and Reflections Tour: Journey to the Center of the Earth. This exciting excursion will mingle ancient as well as modern Israel at its very heart. Together, we will explore sites ranging from the ultra-modern beaches of Herzliya to the archaeological wonders of the City of David. We will board wooden boats for a sail on the Sea of Galilee and tour ancient tunnels beneath the Western Wall – plus much more. The full tour price for UK residents, including airfare and hotel accommodations, is £1599 per person. To book your UK reservations now contact Polly at Arch Tours – Telephone: 01372 843678 - Mobile: 07971 169639 - email: The USA price including flights and hotels is $3575 per person. For flights from the US contact Heather at JDI Travel - Tel: 248-340-9191 ext. 10 - Fax: 248-340-0307 – email: . For further information visit our website at

NETANYAHU GRANTED EXTENSION TO FORM GOVERNMENT: Israeli President Shimon Peres on Saturday night gave PM Benjamin Netanyahu a two-week extension, as permitted by law, to continue his efforts to form a coalition government. According to the law, should Netanyahu fail to form a government at the end of his 14-day extension, Peres could task another candidate with the responsibility. In the event the president does ask another candidate to form the government and he or she fails as well, a new general election would be called. Netanyahu reported to Peres Saturday night that in discussions with potential coalition partners, he has made "significant progress" on foreign affairs, economic issues and universal military or national service, but has been unable to form a government due to a "boycott" of the haredi Orthodox parties." The Yesh Atid party has said it will refuse to sit in a government with the haredi parties, and the Jewish Home party, which was widely supported by voters living in the West Bank settlements, has said it will only join a government that includes Yesh Atid. On Sunday, at the opening of the weekly Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said he was briefed on major powers' talks with Iran on the nuclear issue, which he regards as an effort by Iran to stall for time as it continues to process uranium to make nuclear weapons. (Ynet/ JTA) Continue to pray for the formation of a strong, unified government within the next two weeks.

OREN: ISRAEL TRYING TO SALVAGE US MILITARY AID: Jerusalem is working to retrieve some of the military aid the US provides Israel, after US President Barack Obama was forced to approve $85 billion in automatic government budget reductions Friday night. These cuts are expected to shave off up to $729 million annually from American aid to Israel, as well as aid in funding for missile defense systems such as Iron Dome, Arrow and David's Sling. "The Israeli embassy still doesn't know what will be the extent of the sequester," Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren said Friday. "The aid to Israel is included in the federal budget. Just as this budget is cut, so can the aid to Israel. As the United States' closest ally in the Middle East, Israel understands the complex budgetary challenges the Americans face. We are ready to carry our share of the burden, while trying to maintain the same projects that are essential to the security of the State of Israel, among them the Iron Dome," Oren added. (J.Post) “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save.” Ps 146:3

SYRIAN AND IRAN CONDEMN US AID TO ANTI-ASSAD REBELS: The US said on Thursday it would for the first time give non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, describing the assistance as a way to bolster the rebels' popular support. Provisions will include medical supplies, food for rebel fighters and $60 million to help the civil opposition provide basic services like security, education and sanitation. Syria and Iran on Saturday condemned the move to provide relief to rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, accusing Washington of double standards. "I do not understand how the United States can give support to groups that kill the Syrian people," Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moualem, said at a news conference with Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's foreign minister. "This is nothing but a double-standard policy." Salehi said the US move to provide aid would merely prolong the Syrian conflict. Syria and Iran both indicated Saturday that Assad intends to stay in power at least until 2014 presidential elections. (Reuters)

THREE SYRIAN MORTAR SHELLS STRIKE GOLAN HEIGHTS: Three mortar shells exploded Saturday afternoon in the southern Golan Heights. No one was hurt and no damage was caused. The defense establishment believes the shells were stray ones, which were fired in the course of the civil war in Syria, on the other side of the border. Israel filed a complaint to the UN force that is stationed on the border with Syria. Three Iron Dome batteries were stationed in northern Israel in the course of the last month, to defend against a possible enemy attack. (INN) Situations on the northern borders of Israel, although not always in the daily breaking news, are in constant need of vigilant intercession. Pray the ongoing upheavals in Syria - and hostilities against Israel issuing forth from the Hizbullah terrorist group, based in Lebanon - will not spill into the Jewish state, triggering devastating scenarios.

ANCIENT SYRIAN SYNAGOGUE DAMAGED BY ASSAD ARMY: One of the oldest synagogues in the world was damaged on Friday in the Damascus district of Jobar by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. A video posted online by the Syrian opposition shows extensive damage done to the outside of the 2,000-years-old synagogue after shelling in the area reportedly carried out by the Syrian army. The Jobar synagogue was built atop a cave that, according to tradition, was used by the prophet Elijah to conceal himself from persecution. Six World Heritage sites in Syria were damaged by the Syrian civil war from shelling and open fire between regime forces and rebel fighters. Historic buildings, archaeological sites and residential areas have been left in ruins. (J.Post)

AL-QAEDA ISSUES ENGLISH-LANGUAGE ADVICE MAGAZINE: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the radical Islamist movement's most active branch, has released an English-language magazine advising would-be terrorists on how to torch parked cars and cause traffic accidents. The magazine, released on terror websites, also warns France to pull back from Mali and lists 11 public figures in the West, including author Salman Rushdie, who it says are "Wanted dead or alive for crimes against Islam." Among others are Dutch politician Geert Wilders and Canadian-Somalian activist Ayaan Ali, both strong critics of Islam, and US pastor Terry Jones, who staged a public burning of copies of the Koran. AQAP, based in the impoverished, lawless state of Yemen, has previously plotted to bring down international airliners and is seen by Western governments as a danger to oil-producing Gulf States and major crude shipment routes. (Ynet) Pray this Al-Qaeda publication, and any like it, will be shut down immediately.

ADL CALLS ON JOAN RIVERS TO APOLOGIZE FOR VULGAR REMARKS: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed shock at a “vulgar and hideous” remark by Joan Rivers on television show “Fashion Police.” She commented on a dress worn by a German-American supermodel with the quip: “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.” Aside from doubling over with laughter, neither Rivers nor any of the co-hosts responded to the remark, and no apology was offered. The segment first aired on February 25 and has since been shown at least four times on the network. ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman, himself a Holocaust survivor said, “This remark is so vulgar and offensive to Jews and Holocaust survivors, and indeed to all Americans, that we cannot believe it made it to the airwaves. Almost as bad as her original comment is the fact that she sat there doubled over with laughter after saying it. It is vulgar and offensive for anybody to use the death of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust to make a joke.” ADL urged the broadcasting network to prevail upon Rivers to issue a formal apology, and to remove the segment from future broadcast. However, CNN reported Friday, “Comedian Joan Rivers has no intention of apologizing for a joke she made about the Holocaust.” (INN)

PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS AFFLICTS EGYPT: An enormous swarm of locusts is plaguing Egypt, in a development that agricultural authorities admitted they failed to predict. Egyptian Agricultural Minister Salah Almoman said the swarm, comprising an estimated 30 million insects, descended near southern Cairo, where it is causing great damage. “The armed forces and the Egyptian border units are trying to battle the swarm with various means at their disposal,” Almoman said. A ministry official reported crop-spraying aircraft will be deployed to tackle the insects. Almoman said strong winds predicted for the coming days are expected to blow the insects in the direction of Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea. Although winds usually take the insects past Israel, in 2004 a large swarm descended on Eilat and the surrounding area. It did not spread to the more fertile areas in the center and north of the country. (Reuters)

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Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff

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