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Israel has a new government. But how long will it last?

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2015 at 9:41 am
The Knesset, Israel's 120-seat parliament.

The Knesset, Israel’s 120-seat parliament.

“Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes [to help me lead you].” — Moses’ command to the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 1:13)

Israel has a new government. Its Members were sworn in Thursday evening after Prime Minister Netanyahu named his cabinet.

Netanyahu immediately called on opposition leader Isaac Herzog to join the government as Foreign Minister. The PM asked Herzog to help him unify the country amidst enormous challenges, including the Iran nuclear threat, ISIS, an imploding Syria, a resurgent Hezbollah in Lebanon, the need to find peace with the Palestinians, the need to strengthen U.S.-Israeli ties, badly strained in recent years, and the importance of expanding economic growth and helping the poor and the middle class who face high and rising food, fuel and housing prices.

Herzog thus far has refused Netanyahu’s offer.

The Bible commands us to pray for our leaders, and this new government definitely needs our prayers. We need to pray for Israeli leaders to have great wisdom and discernment on how to handle these domestic and foreign policy matters, and to demonstrate a deep commitment to serve, protect and honor all members of society, Arabs as well as Jews.

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” (I Timothy 2:1-3)

There are many deep divisions within Israeli society and Israel urgently needs leaders who understand these divisions and seek to bring healing and unity, not to exacerbate these tensions. Religious and ultra-religious Jews are at odds with more secular and traditional Jews, and with Jews who believe in Yeshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus). Ashkenazi Jews (those from European countries) have deep differences with Sephardic Jews (those from Spain, North Africa and the Arab world). There are also tensions between Sabra Israelis (native born) and those from Russia and Ethiopia. Then there are serious strains between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, as well as with Palestinian Arabs. Many are concerned the deeply divided new government not only reflects the deeply divided society but will make things worse. All the more reason for us to pray to the God of Israel to have mercy on these leaders and on all the inhabitants of the Land.

One major question looming over the new government: How long will it last? Despite a big and unexpected win two months ago for his Likud Party in national elections, Netanyahu struggled to put together the broad governing coalition he promised. Instead, he was only able to cobble together a razor-thin coalition comprising only 61 of the Knesset’s 120 members, the bare minimum. This means that the defection of even a single Member of Parliament — or one who is ill, or one who is traveling or on vacation — could topple the government. It also means that a single Knesset Member might be able to extract all kinds of benefits in return for his or her loyalty to the coalition and/or his or her vote on specific pieces of legislation.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition was formally sworn in on Thursday night after a raucous Knesset session that saw constant heckling, along with accusations by opposition leader Isaac Herzog that the freshly inaugurated government was ‘a circus,'” reported the Times of Israel. “The Netanyahu government, formed after arduous negotiations following the March 17 elections, thus finally took office almost two months after polling day, with the narrowest possible parliamentary majority.”

“The vote on the new cabinet passed by 61 to 59 — representing the balance of forces in the Knesset,” the Times noted. “Netanyahu’s five-party coalition numbers 61 members (Likud, 30; Kulanu, 10; Jewish Home, 8; Shas, 7; and United Torah Judaism, 6), to the opposition’s 59 seats (Zionist Union, 24; Joint Arab List, 13; Yesh Atid, 11; Yisrael Beytenu, 6; and Meretz, 5). Earlier, taking the stand in the plenum, Netanyahu issued an appeal for electoral reform, and, in a veiled appeal to Zionist Union party chief Herzog, said he was leaving the ‘door open’ to expanding his cabinet.”

“I am leaving the door open to expanding the government for two reasons. The first: Because I think the state needs it. And second: Because this is the only way to amend this [political system],” Netanyahu said. Turning to Herzog, he said, “I assume that the leader of the opposition won’t enter the government, but we must come together to change the system.”

Developing…..

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ISIS names new leader of the caliphate after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi seriously injured in air strike. Here’s the latest.

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2015 at 5:25 pm
ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (pictured here) has been severely wounded in an airstrike. Word is he has been replaced by a Radical physicist based in Mosul.

ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (pictured here) has been severely wounded in an airstrike. Word is he has been replaced by a Radical physicist based in Mosul.

Even as ISIS forces slaughter Christians and Muslims throughout Iraq, Syria and North Africa — and plot new attacks against the U.S., Israel and Jordan — there is a dramatic new development in terms of the organization’s leadership.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, has been seriously wounded in an airstrike in Iraq.

Now a new leader has emerged, apparently based in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the site of the ancient ruins of Nineveh.

“The Islamic State’s temporary leader is a former Iraqi physics teacher located in the country’s second-biggest city, Mosul,” reports Newsweek, based on an interview with “the adviser to the Iraqi government on ISIS.”

Last month, “it was reported by the Guardian that the terror group’s caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was seriously wounded in a U.S. coalition airstrike in western Iraq in March, leaving him with injuries which allegedly rendered him incapable of carrying out the day-to-day duties as caliph,” the article noted. “The revelation raised questions about the leadership structure of the group and reportedly led to frantic meetings between senior ISIS officials on life after Baghdadi.

“Speaking to Newsweek, Dr Hisham al Hashimi, the Iraqi government adviser, confirmed that Abu Alaa Afri, the self-proclaimed caliph’s deputy and a former physics teacher, has now been installed as the stand-in leader of the terror group in Baghdadi’s absence,” the article added.

More excerpts:

  • “After Baghdadi’s wounding, he [Afri] has begun to head up Daesh [arabic term for ISIS] with the help of officials responsible for other portfolios,” confirms Hashimi. “He will be the leader of Daesh if Baghdadi dies.”
  • It is believed that Afri is located in the al-Hadar region of the city of Mosul.
  • He has risen through the ranks of the group, becoming more prominent in the eyes of the group’s leadership and even more important than Baghdadi himself, Hashimi claims.
  • “Yes – more important, and smarter, and with better relationships. He is a good public speaker and strong charisma,” says the adviser when asked if Afri is now more important within the group than Baghdadi. “All the leaders of Daesh find that he has much jihadi wisdom, and good capability at leadership and administration.”
  • Little is known about Afri, also known as Haji Iman, but Hashimi reveals some details about the previous life of Baghdadi’s mysterious right-hand man.
  • “He was a physics teacher in Tal Afar [northwestern Iraqi city] in Nineveh, and has dozens of publications and religious (shariah) studies of his own,” he says. “He is a follower of Abu Musaab al-Suri [prominent jihadi scholar].”….
  • Hassan Hassan, Middle East analyst and co-author of the New York Times bestseller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, says that Afri is “one of its most important players”.
  • “Abu Alaa [Afri] seems to have become more prominent in recent months, especially after the group began to suffer tactical defeats in Syria and Iraq since December. He replaced [ISIS’s Syria governor Abu Ali] al-Anbari as al-Baghdadi’s top man after al-Baghdadi became less involved in decision making for security reasons,” says Hassan.
  • Before becoming Baghdadi’s deputy, Afri was a key coordination link between Baghdadi and his inner circle and also his emirs in different provinces across the group’s extensive caliphate in Syria, Iraq and Libya. “Appointment as a wilayat [province] coordinator is an indication of profound trust and this position is essentially the last link between ISIS’s upper echelon and its lower ranks,” Hassan adds.
  • It is believed that Afri, when senior al-Qaeda operatives Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri were killed in 2010, was Osama bin Laden’s preferred choice to become emir of al-Qaeda in Iraq, the group which eventually morphed into ISIS. Further, last July, The Telegraph revealed ISIS’s cabinet of which it reported that Afri, named as Abu Suja in the report, was a “general coordinator for the affairs of martyrs and women”.
  • Afri is believed to have travelled to Afghanistan in 1998, according to Hashimi, before becoming a senior member of al-Qaeda after its future Iraqi leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi pledged allegiance to the terror group in 2004. He oversaw the sharia authorities in northern Iraq and “was very strict”, notes the Iraqi adviser….
  • [I]t is believed that he leans toward reconciliation with rival extremist group al-Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and prefers that ISIS’s leadership structure is composed half of Arabs and half of foreign members of the group.
  • Hassan concludes that the rise of Afri should not be viewed as the overtaking of Baghdadi as he was installed a “supreme leader” with his generals having the authority to “steer the group”, leading and planning their activities while ensuring the entire leadership “communicate on big issues”.

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America is on the wrong track. Washington cannot fix all that ails us. We need to pray. Will you commit to an urgent time of prayer May 15-23?

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2015 at 5:23 pm

MayDayAmerica is on the wrong track. Almost 7 in 10 people believe this. Only 26% of Americans think we’re going in the right direction. In fact, only 37% believe America’s best days are still ahead of us. And the situation is growing critical. We’re not just in a season of decline. We are facing implosion.

Washington cannot fix all that ails us. We need to humble ourselves and pray like we’ve never prayed before.

On my recent book tour in the U.S., I had the opportunity to address those attending the final dinner of the National Religious Broadcasters convention. My topic was “Three Existential Threats Facing America.” Rather than go through every reason our nation is in trouble, I highlighted three I find among the most serious.

Not long after that event, I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina, where Anne Graham Lotz and I taught a seminar through the Old Testament book of Joel. Anne and one of her daughters took me up to Montreat to visit the Reverend Billy Graham. It was a very special time of praying and reading the Scriptures together with America’s most respected evangelist. He is a lion in winter, graying and tired, but he’s still thinking clearly and still passionate about his love for Jesus Christ. Dr. Graham  is clearly ready to go be with his Savior, but in the meantime — unable to preach or travel any longer — he is praying for America to turn around before it’s too late.

During those few days, Anne and I not only taught the Scriptures and the warnings from the ancient Hebrew prophet Joel. We also had time to share our deep and growing burden for how much trouble America is in. Privately, and with those who attended the weekend seminar, we discussed how rapidly so many are turning away from the Lord and away from His Word and refusing to honor Him or follow the Bible’s teachings on so many subjects, from the sanctity of innocent human life, to the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, to the importance of loving and blessing Israel and the Jewish people, and in so many other ways.

As a result of that time, Anne has decided to launch a national call for prayer and fasting and repentance, and I join her in this call. From May 15th to May 23rd, would you join us and people from all over the country — and all over the world — to pray for Americans to turn back to the Lord, and for the Lord to grant us another Great Awakening?

We cannot wait for the politicians in Washington to get it right. We cannot wait for the cultural and media elites in New York and Hollywood to get it right. It is urgent that we get it right — that we humble ourselves and turn to our Father in heaven and ask for His mercy on us, our families, our communities, our leaders and our nation. There is much Washington can do to get America back on the right track — or make the situation far worse — but Washington cannot fix all that ails us. Washington cannot save us. Only the Lord can do that. But time is growing short.

Here is the letter Anne has posted online and is sending to people all over the country. Please take time to read it and share it with others. Thank you, and God bless you, and may God mercy on this country we love so dearly.

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“For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now…Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.” Matthew 24:21 / Psalm 107:19

This past Spring, Joel Rosenberg and I taught through the book of Joel as we led a prophecy seminar at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. It was my privilege to give the first two messages that covered Joel 1:1 through Joel 2:17. The impact on me was profound. Both times, when I stepped off of the platform, I knew God had spoken. The messages almost made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Why? Because God was clearly warning that His judgment is coming on America and on our world, and it’s going to be ugly. I knew it then, and I know it now.

I believe Jesus is soon to return to take all of His followers to Heaven with Him in what is referred to as The Rapture. While this will be deliverance for His people, can you imagine the impact on our nation, let alone the world, when suddenly every single authentic Christian disappears?

Institutions will collapse. Banks will close. The Stock Market will plunge. Planes will fall out of the sky. Cars will crash on the road. Government in America at every level will disintegrate. Families will be torn apart. In the unprecedented turmoil, our nation will be vulnerable for our enemies to seize the moment and attack us. There will be mass chaos, confusion, fear, grief, despair, anger, threats, danger… judgment.

But just as God allowed the Israelites, His people, to go through three of the ten plagues He sent in judgment on Pharaoh and Egypt in Exodus 6-8, God may allow His people today to go through a time of distress and trouble before The Rapture takes place. I believe we are in that time now. I believe it’s time to not just pray. It’s time to cry out to God on behalf of our nation and our world.

MAYDAY! MAYDAY! is an international distress call that signals a life-threatening emergency. And it’s the call to cry out that I am issuing May 15-May 23. These are the nine days between the Day of the Ascension of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost that have Biblically and traditionally been days of prayer and fasting for an outpouring of God’s Spirit.

The purpose of MAYDAY! MAYDAY! is …

* To claim God our Father’s promise of an outpouring of His Spirit in these days following three blood moons and a total solar eclipse: …I will pour out my Spirit in those days …The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Joel 2:29, 31

* To implore God the Holy Spirit to compel the church to repent of sin and our nation to return to faith in the living God, that times of refreshing may come… Acts 3:19

* To entreat God our Savior for an abundant harvest of souls for His Kingdom in the remaining days. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? ¹ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35

* To delay or soften God’s judgment that is coming on America and on our world. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing. Joel 2:13-14

For those who sign up, I will provide a prayer I have written personally for each of the 9 days, as well as a brief video message, so that we pray with one accord. Before it’s too late and judgment falls on our nation.

Sincerely,

Anne Graham Lotz

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