“O LORD my God in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:…Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.  My defense is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.  God judgeth the righteous and God is angry with the wicked every day.”  Psalm 7:1, 9-11

Dear Intercessors for Israel:

The Israeli Attorney General announced February 28th, that Prime Minister Netanyahu will be indicted on criminal charges for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.   In his decision, Attorney General Mandelblit announced that there is sufficient evidence to charge the Prime Minister in three separate cases.

The first charges brought against Netanyahu are found in Case 1000.  He is accused of receiving gifts of expensive cigars, bottles of Dom Perignom champagne and other favors in exchange for favors.  Case 2000 revolves around Netanyahu advancing legislation to ban one newspaper’s (Yediot Aharonot) chief competitor (Israel Hayom) from being distributed freely in exchange for favorable political coverage.  Case 4000 involves regulatory changes which would benefit the Bezek telecommunications company in exchange again for favorable coverage. Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly denied these accusations against him, and has accused the news media and his political enemies of pressuring the Attorney General to file these charges.

Israel Elections
The announcement to indict the prime minister has thrown Israel’s April 9th elections in chaos.  Netanyahu’s Likud party and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party are neck and neck in the polls, and if the prime minister loses even a few seats due to the accusations against him for public corruption, it could turn the tide. PM Netanyahu is fighting for his political life.

Even if Netanyahu wins reelection, there is a strong chance that Mandelblit, after holding a series of pre-indictment hearings with Netanyahu’s lawyers, will issue a final decision to indict him in the next three to 12 months. This could lead the High Court of Justice to force the prime minister’s resignation if he does not voluntarily step down (www.jpost.com).

Netanyahu’s Likud party responded to these charges by calling this announcement by the Attorney General “one sided” and “an unprecedented act of interference in the elections, which are only five weeks away.  It has a single purpose: to bring down the right-wing government of Netanyahu and replace it with a left-wing government led by Lapid-Gantz. That must not happen” (www.israelnationalnews.com).

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s responded to these charges in a national televised address by saying “prosecutors were actively working to interfere with the upcoming Knesset election, and vowed to refute the allegations against him” (www.israelnationalnews.com).  Netanyahu also rejected the Attorney General’s decision to charge him with fraud, breach of trust, and bribery.  He also claimed that after serving for a decade in office, the political Left believed that the only way it could remove him from power was through the indictments.

“We transformed Israel into a rising world power, and we did it without compromises. The Left knows that with these accomplishments they could never defeat us at the polls. So they made a political witch hunt for the past three years, an unprecedented witch hunt with a single goal – to topple the right-wing government and to install the party of Lapid and Gantz to power” (www.israelnationalnews.com).

Israel opposition parties upon hearing of Netanyahu’s indictment moved in quickly to make political capital of his troubles.  Opposition candidate Benny Gantz called on Netanyahu to resign saying “the country can’t have a half-time prime minister preoccupied with his own legal defense” (www.timesofisrael.com).  Ayman Odeh, leader of the far left radical Arab-Jewish Marxist Hadash (New) Party declared that “Netanyahu’s place is in prison.”

Secular national Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is our Home) party leader Avigdor Liberman responded to Netanyahu’s indictment by asking for a presumption of innocence to be respected.  “In the state of Israel, the only institution able to determine if a person is guilty or not is the court.”

Please Pray
Pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu that God would bring all darkness concerning these charges into the light.  Pray these scriptures taken from Psalm 7:

“O LORD my God in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:…Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.  My defense is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.  God judgeth the righteous and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalm 7:1, 9-11).

Pray for the upcoming Israeli election, this April 9th. The makeup of the entire 120 seat Israeli Knesset is at stake, as is the future of the country.  Pray that the voters will not be swayed by false opinions and political “smoke and mirrors” (the obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or irrelevant information), but know what the will of God is in these elections.

The Blue and White Party
With the Knesset elections just around the corner, all of the competing parties are looking for ways to achieve victory in the polls.  The future office of the prime minister is at stake as is the political direction of the country.  A new party was formed two weeks ago.  Labeled the Blue and White Party, or Kachoi Lavan, it is made up of an alliance of three political parties opposed to Netanyahu’s governing conservative coalition.  This party is led by former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid.  Should they form the government, the two have agreed to a rotation which would have Gantz serving for the first two years as prime minister, with Lapid as foreign minister and Telem leader Moshe Ya’alon (in the third slot on the list) as defense minister. For the next two years, Lapid would serve as prime minister, with Gantz as defense minister. Gantz’s new political party is surging in the polls in its popularity.  The Blue and White Party now has a serious chance of achieving victory over PM Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Gantz’s centrist political party, Blue and White, is leading in the polls despite being particularly vague on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Gantz has both stated that he would seek peace through compromise with the Palestinians and has run graphic ads boasting of the damage inflicted on Palestinians in Gaza during his time as head of the IDF.

Public opinion in Israel shows his success is because of, not despite, his vagueness. For more than a decade, Israeli attitudes toward the conflict have been increasingly characterized by dissonance, which a string of short-lived centrist parties have appealed to voters.  Prime Minister Netanyahu recently declared that if Gantz’s Blue and White coalition is elected, then Israel will be forced to accept a Palestinian State.

The “Deal of the Century
Last year, the Trump Administration revealed its hope for a “deal of the century” peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.  Details of the peace agreement were revealed last week, including elements of former proposals of trading “lands for peace.”  In this newest proposal, Israel would keep lands near its Jordanian border, as a security zone.

US President Donald Trump’s peace plan also will propose establishing Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip with political and economic links to the West Bank, according to new media sources. Jewish settlements will remain under Israel’s jurisdiction, but will not be expanded. The deal will also include strengthening cooperation between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians over the management of the Al Aqsa mosque.  Moreover, most of IDF checkpoints will be removed, enabling the Palestinians free movement across the West Bank. However, Area B and Area C will remain under complete Israeli control. Sources involved in the formulation of the deal said that some $25 billion will be invested in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in addition the US will transfer an additional $40 billion to Egypt, Jordan, and possibly Lebanon “to ensure their cooperation” in implementing the deal.

The report comes three days after Kushner, Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, told Sky News Arabia in Abu Dhabi: “We want to get advice from them (countries in the region) on what is the best way to proceed and share with them some of the details of what we will be pursuing, especially on the economic vision for all the opportunity that exists if there is peace.” The so-called “elephant in the room” (a metaphorical idiom for an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to discuss) is the Palestinian Authority.  Its present leadership is not likely to agree on anything but a complete Israeli withdrawal to “1967 lines (1948 ceasefire) as well as establishing its capital in Jerusalem.

I believe that this present “deal” is also destined to fail, no matter how many billions of dollars the Trump Administration dangles in front of the P.A. and Israel to accept its “land for peace” offer.  The LORD God through the prophet Joel has declared: “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.” (Joel 3:1-2 NKJV).

Golan Heights Recognition
U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) introduced companion resolutions on Tuesday urging the United States to officially recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The bill emphasizes the strategic importance of Israeli control over the area, which the Jewish state captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, in protecting civilians against threats from Iran in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Israel annexed the region in 1981, a move that has not been recognized by the international community. It also states that “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of a peace agreement between Israel and Syria will be an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.”

The bill adds that “it is in the United States’ national security interest to ensure that Israel retains control of the Golan Heights [and that] the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad faces diplomatic and geopolitical consequences for its killing of civilians, the ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, and the use of weapons of mass destruction.” Pray that this bill would advance and not die in committee.

Rains of Heaven
Israelis have enjoyed the wettest winter in over five years.  The sea of Galilee has risen over 5 feet!  Yet the Kinneret is still greatly in need of more rains to bring it up to levels above the “red line.”  Jerusalem received over five inches or 135 mm of rain in just one day (Feb 28th), which represents one-quarter of the city’s annual rainfall!

“This year has a built-in extra month of prayer for rain. A prayer for rain is inserted into the thrice-daily prayers during the autumn holiday of Sukkoth and extends until the springtime holiday of Passover. This year is a leap year and as such, an extra month of Adar is added to the Hebrew calendar before Passover. In effect, this means that there will be an additional month to pray for rain. Rain in Israel is a reflection of the relationship between the Jewish people and God.”  (www.breakingisraelnews.com)

“If, then, you obey the commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, loving Hashem your God and serving Him with all your heart and soul, I will grant the rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late”. (Deut. 11:13-14a)

Shabbat Shalom,
Gene and Marylois,
House of Peace