- U.S. WILL GIVE VISA TO AHMADINEJAD
- RICE TO MEET ARAB MINISTERS NEXT WEEK
- SENATE REJECTS IRAQ WITHDRAWAL
- WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SURGE?
- CONGRESS OPPOSES $86 MILLION FOR PA MILITIA
- PRO-FAMILY AGENDA ADVANCING IN NEW CONGRESS
- LEGISLATIVE UPDATES FROM THE HILL
- U.S. PREPARING SANCTIONS AGAINST SUDAN
- GEN. PETRAEUS: IRAQIS ARE FIGHTING AND DYING FOR THEIR COUNTRY
- DEPARTING U.S. AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN "OPTIMISTIC"
- SYRIA STATIONS MISSILES ALONG ISRAELI BORDER
- "ISRAEL WILL NEVER RETURN GOLAN HEIGHTS"
1. U.S. WILL GIVE VISA TO IRANIAN PRESIDENT
The U.S. will approve Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's request for a visa so he can visit the U.N. as the Security Council moves to impose additional sanctions against his country for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday that the United States has approved a U.S. visa for Ahmadinejad previously and will do so again, consistent with its obligations as host country for the United Nations. The request for Ahmadinejad to speak to the U.N.'s most powerful body took some members by surprise because he has said the Security Council has "no legitimacy" and vowed to ignore any sanctions.
Security Council members have raised no objections to a request from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak right before they vote on a resolution that would impose new sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, the council president said Friday. South Africa's U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, the council president for March, said he sent the request from Iran's U.N. Ambassador Javad Zarif to the 14 other council nations on Thursday "and we haven't received one objection at all, so ... I'm assuming it's going to happen." Kumalo said no date has been set for a vote.
On Thursday, the five permanent members of the Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France- along with Germany compromised on a sanctions package to step up pressure on the Islamic republic to suspend uranium enrichment. The full council will consider the measures in coming days. At a rally Thursday in the central city of Meibod, Ahmadinejad said, "These threats won't have one iota of effect on the strong will of the Iranian nation." (AP)
• As the enemy prepares to enter the gate of New York City, take up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and confront him there. Place the Blood of the Lamb over the point of entry, guarding the gate. Remember that we do not war against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in high places. Come against the spirit of Babylon that operates through Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, binding it and calling it of no effect through the Blood of Jesus. Bind spirits of confusion and disarray; loose order, truth and peace. Finally, bind the mesmerizing, hypnotic spirit that seems to emanate from the president of Iran as he speaks to the members of the United Nations Security Council, and pray for the protection of the minds of all who will hear his speech. Pray for the soul of the president of Iran, for our Lord died for him, too.
• "He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness." (I Samuel 2:9)
2. RICE TO MEET ARAB MINISTERS NEXT WEEK
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet foreign ministers of four Arab states in Egypt next week ahead of an Arab summit, Egypt's foreign minister said on Saturday. Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters the meeting, set for March 24 in the southern town of Aswan, will bring together the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates with Rice and himself.
Rice, who will also meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, spoke favourably ahead of her visit of a 2002 Saudi peace plan that offers Israel normal ties in return for full withdrawal from the land it occupied in the 1967 war. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Wednesday some aspects of the Saudi plan, endorsed by all Arab states, were positive but suggested that Arab leaders should normalise their relations with Israel without waiting for a peace agreement.
Arabs reject this and say the peace plan was final. "This initiative was unanimously put forward in the (Arab) summit of 2002 in Beirut. There is no change to this initiative and we hope it will be a key to solve the problem," Mubarak said in remarks published on Saturday. (Reuters)
• Pray that the Secretary of State be given divine revelation before she meets with the Arab ministers next week in Egypt. The land of Israel was given to the Jews by God; it is not theirs to give away. Moreover, in 1967, the Jews took back possession of Jerusalem -- the city that bears His Name. Pray that the U.S. does nothing that would offend the Lord in this matter, and pray for the collapse of the Saudi peace plan.
• "And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there." (I Kings 11:36)
3. SENATE REJECTS IRAQ WITHDRAWAL
Senate Democrats Thursday failed to get enough votes for a bill to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by next March, the first test of new Democratic leaders who will spend the next weeks challenging President Bush's war strategy. Senators rejected on a near party- line 50-48 vote the proposal by Majority Leader Harry Reid that called for troops to start leaving Iraq in four months. Senators on both sides hailed the vote as a victory."We've had a very good day for the Democrats," Mr. Reid said. Democrats said they did not look at the Senate vote as a failure, and pointed out they picked up votes since June, when the Senate voted 60-39 against a nonbinding Democratic resolution calling for the start of troop withdrawal. Five minutes later, Republicans came to the microphones with a similar message. "I think this is a good day," Republican Whip Trent Lott of Mississippi said. "Well obviously I'm very pleased," agreed Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
Earlier, on the other side of the Capitol, a Democratic war-spending plan cleared its first hurdle yesterday in the House Appropriations Committee, setting the stage for a floor battle next week. That measure, which passed on a mostly party-line vote, puts a framework to withdraw U.S. troops by September 2008 as a condition on a $124 billion supplemental appropriation bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
President Bush praised the Senate for having "wisely rejected a resolution that would have placed an artificial timetable on our mission in Iraq." He also warned the House against using the war-spending bill "as an opportunity to micromanage our military commanders, or to force a precipitous withdrawal in Iraq, or threaten vital funding for Iraqi security forces, and fund projects that have nothing to do with the war on terror." (AP)
• Pray that this war in the Middle East will be seen by our Congress for what it is - a stand against terrorism and a stand for the protection of Israel. Many in the Middle East state that to withdraw our troops from Iraq would lead to a bloodbath there and a confirmation to Islam that we have no will to stand against their desire for world domination. Lift up to the Lord's will all members for His wisdom to prevail in the war in Iraq, and contact your senators and representatives with your views.
• "Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore." (Psalm 105:4)
4. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SURGE?
. . .the Surge protector !
When President Bush decided to send a "surge" (previously known as reinforcements) of new troops to Iraq, he was roundly condemned by the legions of the "wise" that reside in Big Media, academia and Congress. The chorus was deafening: "It won’t work." "Worst mistake in our lifetime." "Our men will be chewed up in house-to-house fighting." "He is ignoring our generals." "It’s a civil war we can’t do anything about." I met with President Bush during that avalanche of criticism. He knew there were risks — it was a war after all — but he believed it to be important for the future of our country.
You may have noticed that Big Media hasn’t said much since, other than to continue the negative slant on all things related to the war. But after 30 or 40 days of sending reinforcements into Baghdad, we do have some early indications of what is happening. From February 14th to now, 265 Iraqis have been killed in Baghdad, down from 1,440 in the 30 days before the surge.
Car bombings dropped from 56 to 36, and mortar attacks and kidnappings have all declined. And, perhaps most importantly of all, the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq during the first 30 days of the surge declined to 17, compared to 32 in the 30 days before reinforcements arrived.
Now admittedly, 30 days doesn’t prove anything other than this: for now the hated Bush plan has saved lives. (Gary Bauer)
• Praise the Lord that the many prayers for Presdient Bush for the Lord's wisdom are reaping benefits. Continue your earnest supplications on behalf of President Bush. Pray that the American media would begin - in spite of themselves, if necessary - to speak truth about the triumphs and victories in Iraq. Continue to pull down the strongholds of violence in that country.
• "Bless the Lord,O my soul, and forget not His benefits: " (Psalm 103:2)
5. CONGRESS OPPOSES $86 MILLION FOR PA MILITIA
Key Congressional members are increasing pressure against the Bush administration's plan to give $86 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for training and equipping forces loyal to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. They argue that the plan may violate the law forbidding the government to use tax revenues to finance outlawed terrorist organizations, including Hamas, with which Abbas's Fatah party has agreed in principle to form a coalition government.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters, "The bottom line is our intention is to move forward with the program. Now whether or not that includes the full $86 million will depend upon the answers to the questions that we have and that the Congress has."
Nita Lowey (D-NY), who chairs the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees the State Department budget, has placed a hold on providing the money. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehthien (R-FL), senior members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee which Lantos chairs, wrote Secretary of State Rice, "The fact that Fatah will now join a government led by Hamas terrorists -- and will do so with Abbas's blessing -- raises serious questions about the commitments and loyalties of the Palestinian security forces we have undertaken to assist." (IsraelNN.com)
• Again, a strong shout of praise to the Lord for the questions raised by members of Congress about using taxpayers' monies to fund the PA. While the funds may be well-intentioned, the PA cannot be trusted and could use $86 million to arm terrorists attacking Israel and possibly the USA. Surely there are other strategies the Lord can give to the Bush administration to help the Palestinian people oppressed by their own countrymen. Pray.
• " There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand." (Proverbs 19:21)
6. PRO-FAMILY AGENDA ADVANCING IN NEW CONGRESS
. . . toward thr BIG Three !
On Friday, the Republicans in the United States House of Representatives won their 5th procedural vote in a row to advance a pro-family/conservative agenda even though they are now in the minority, being outnumbered by the Democrats 233-202. Just last week the House Republicans won 3 procedural votes ("Motions to Recommit" the bill being debated and voted on in the House.)
On Wednesday, on a "Motion to Recommit" offered by Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, Republican from Georgia, Republicans gained a victory affirming that a federal employee has the constitutional right to engage in permissible religious exercise and expression in the workplace. The Republicans won this procedural vote unanimously, 426-0. Federal workers will of course be able to have a Bible on their desk, will be able to wear a religious emblem on their clothing, and will be able to express their views to other employers; all allowable under the United States Constitution before left-wing judges tried to suppress these constitutional rights.
Yesterday the House overwhelmingly passed a Republican proposal -- the 5th procedural vote victory - - to protect military recruiters from discrimination by colleges and universities. It passed by a bipartisan vote of 309-114 after Democrat Leaders held the vote open for nearly an hour - representing the fifth such legislative victory for House
Republicans in less than two weeks. The Republican measure would prohibit federal agencies from awarding contracts to colleges and universities that bar military recruiters from gaining the same access to students as any other employer. Such prohibitions are not only discriminatory; they are morally unjust at a time when our nation is at war.
For the 12 years of a Republican majority in the House, Democrats succeeded only 14 times (in 349 attempts) in passing a motion-to-recommit. House Republicans have now achieved five legislative victories using this tool - usually the only tool provided by the Democrats - to protect the underlying bills, and the efforts are paying off. Having set this precedent early in the 110th Congress, the GOP motion-to-recommit now stands as a continual, long- term liability for Democrats, who can never again dismiss the MTR as little more than a procedural motion. (Christian Coalition ofAmerica)
• This report is a direct answer to our prayers for this Congress. Offer praise that the MTR strategy is working this effectively so far in the 110th Congress. Offer praise, too, that more often than not, pro-family members from BOTH parties are joining forces to protect the families of America in passing these bills. [For more information on how the MTR strategy actually works, please see our next Legislative Update (written by Tim McGhee) to be published Monday night.]
• "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16) "For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37)
7. LEGISLATIVE UPDATES FROM THE HILL
a. MAKING ADOPTION TAX CREDITS PERMANENT
Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) has begun a push to make tax credits permanent to help families who wish to adopt. Many of the tax reductions granted under the Republican Congress the last decade have sunset clauses and will end unless extended. In the case of the adoption credits, that will be December 31, 2010. Senator Bunning, whose daughters have both adopted special needs children, has introduced S- 561 to make the tax credits permanent. (Religious Freedom Coalition)
• Heavenly Father, we ask for support to build towards the passage of this act. Thank You that You promise to be a father to the fatherless, Father God. Thank You for Your hand of blessing upon this good work.
• "Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire when ye pray,believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:24)
b. STEM CELL BILL POSTPONED; ALTERNATIVE, PRO-LIFE VERSION INTRODUCED
The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Destruction bill (S. 5), sponsored by Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid and Iowa Democrat Senator Tom Harkin, was postponed by the Democrat leadership until after Easter during the first week of April. President George W. Bush is committed to vetoing this thoroughly immoral bill.
There will likely be a vote on two bills after the Senate's Easter vacation, S. 5, and a bill sponsored by Senators Norm Coleman, R-MN, and Johnny Isakson, R-GA, which according to Senator Coleman "doesn't cross the moral line" by funding embryonic stem cell research and would, instead, allow funding of adult stem cells and other alternatives.
Senator John Thune, R-SD, the Senate Chief Deputy Minority Whip said: "People will have something to vote for. They won't have to just vote against something. I think there's a way to get a positive outcome on this (for Republicans) and not just trying to vote against whatever the Democrats are putting forward." (Christian Coalition of America)
• We Take authority in Jesus Name and speak death to the Reid/Harkin Embryonic Stem Cell Destruction Bill; and we speak life into the Coleman/Isakson bill allowing funding of adult stem cells and other alternatives (if morally right). • "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist." (Luke 21:15)
c. UPDATE: HATE CRIME LEGISLATION - 2 BILLS TO WATCH
WILL TARGET YOUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH
A battle has been waging during the opening months of the 110th Congress over proposed Hate Crime legislation. The main bill currently before the House is H.R. 254, titled, "The David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act," introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson- Lee (D-TX). Opposition is growing to the legislation because hate crime laws would make certain types of speech a federal offense, allowing federal "thought police" to interfere in the law enforcement authority of states and local government. Such interference is blatantly unconstitutional.
The main force supporting the bill is the Anti- Defamation League (ADL). Freedoms of speech and hate crime legislation are not compatible. Many organizations who advocate hate crime legislation, such as the ADL, are pushing for control of the Internet to stop "hate speech." While most people would interpret hate speech as being on the lines of neo- Nazi white supremacy, in reality the ADL really means groups which advocate issues like free enterprise, property rights, gun rights, etc. Others are now advocating that skeptics of global warming theories be denied the right to speak out. Still others advocate making it a crime to use the term "illegal aliens." Reason and rationality are thrown out the window for political correctness under so-called hate speech.
To preserve freedom of speech in America H.R. 254 must be stopped. In fact, now that many are protesting the bill, supporters on Congress are trying a new tactic. While using H.R. 254 as a shield, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers is quietly gathering support for yet another hate crimes bill entitled, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is actually worse than HR. 254. Both must be stopped. Call your congressman and demand he/she stand for free speech and against any hate crime legislation. (By Tom DeWeese, NewsWithViews.com, 3/13/07)
• In Jesus Name, the Lord of Hosts, we decree the absolute end to H.R.254, and to the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. Forgive all who support these bills, Lord, for they don't know what they do.
• "Good and upright is the Lord; therefore will He teach sinners in the way." (Psalm 25:8)
8. U.S. PREPARING SANCTIONS AGAINST SUDAN
President Bush's envoy to Sudan said Wednesday that the administration is preparing tough economic sanctions against Sudan in response to its refusal to allow deployment of United Nations peacekeepers in Darfur. Pending final approval by the President, Sudanese companies will be subject to sanctions, and international transactions involving U.S. dollars will be blocked, Andrew Natsios said. "It is pretty clear the president is angrier than anyone else. He gets very upset when he talks to me about the situation," Natsios said.
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir made known his disapproval of the U.N. plan in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Under the plan, a U.N.-African Union force totaling 22,000 military and civilians was to go to Darfur. "I was stunned by the letter," Natsios said, adding it was practically an invitation by al-Bashir to "sanction us, come after us."
Over four years, 200,000 Darfurians have died and more than 2.5 million have been displaced from their homes. The United States has said the situation there is "genocidal," attributing most blame to the government and government-backed militias. Scenes of the suffering in the region have produced an outpouring of concern and demands for international action to protect the victims and provide relief for them. (AP, 3/16/07)
• "He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap . . ." (I Samuel 2:8)
9. GEN. PETRAEUS: IRAQIS ARE FIGHTING AND DYING FOR THEIR COUNTRY
While discussing the job of Coalition and Iraqi security forces in Iraq, General Petraeus said, [Iraqis] are fighting and dying for their country. In fact, their casualty levels typically are a good bit higher than ours. Our job is to provide progress, frankly and then leave it up to others to determine that's sufficient and fast enough and so forth. This is not up to the US to win. It's up to coalition and Iraqi security forces to provide a window of opportunity for the Iraqi political leaders to win this war." (ABC's "World News," 3/12/07)
• Lord, You know what is good; we know that You will accomplish Your plans and Your purposes for Iraq, the place you chose for mankind to begin. We pray, Lord for a determination amongst the coalition and Iraqi security forces to be focused on delivering their country from those who would continue to destroy it. We pray that the people of Iraq would not live in fear - but that they too would have the same determination. Oh Lord, we pray for a noble end to this war.
• "Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight." (2 Samuel 10:12)
10. DEPARTING U.S. AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN "OPTIMISTIC"
The departing American ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald E. Neumann, said Monday that he did not see the Taliban as the big threat it appeared to represent a year or two ago, and that he was leaving feeling "reasonably optimistic" about the state of the insurgency and the country's progress. "We spent a lot of last year worrying about this year," he told a small group of journalists in the refurbished old embassy building, which reopened recently. "We will certainly face hard fighting in the south," he said, "but I am going away feeling reasonably optimistic." Mr. Neumann said he did not believe that time was on the Taliban's side. "I don't see where the Taliban are going to increase," he said. (The New York Times)
• Father, we offer up praises and thanksgiving. It seems that the progress in Afghanistan receives little press. Thank you Lord for this good report, and now we pray for an end to the insurgency, so that the country can be built up. We pray for the people of Afghanistan to be able to make an HONEST living (no more drug money from the poppies). This can only be done when they are delivered from the threat of the Taliban.
• "I look for Your deliverance, O LORD." (Genesis 49:18)
11. SYRIA STATIONS MISSILES ALONG ISRAELI BORDER
Syria has stationed thousands of missiles along the Israeli border, Agence France-Presse reported, relying on unnamed military sources who said the rockets are camouflaged or hidden underground and can strike at targets from the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) to Haifa. All sources now agree that Syria is arming, but do not agree on why. Russia has proposed a US $1 billion sale of advanced anti-tank rockets to Syria, similar to the weapons that Hizbullah has successfully used against the Israel Defense Forces in last summer’s war. The weapons have a range of six kilometers (almost four miles), and some of the rockets probably would go to Hizbullah, which Israeli officials have repeatedly insisted is smuggling weapons into Lebanon from Syria.
One scenario that discounts war is that Syria simply is preparing its defense against an Israeli attack. Former military intelligence chief Gen. Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash recently said, “In Syria’s estimation, it is preparing for a war this [coming] summer initiated by Israel, not Syria, and so it is focusing on reinforcing its arsenal.” A flurry of diplomatic activity has begun on several fronts. The Bush administration Saturday [March 10] issued statements terming a report that the United States has told Israel not to hold even exploratory talks with Syria a “myth.”
In addition, the Knesset [Parliament] this week has scheduled an unprecedented appearance of a citizen of an enemy state. Syrian-born American businessman Abe Suleiman, who has been involved in shuttle talks with Damascus, will testify before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee about recent unofficial contacts between Syrians and Israelis.
European Union (EU) foreign policy adviser Javier Solana said on Friday that he will travel to Damascus and resume high-level contacts after a two-year freeze. “We want to tell the Syrians we want them to work with us and the international community, particularly on Lebanon,” Solana told a press conference at the end of a two-day EU summit in Brussels. Syria is widely assumed to be actively involved in trying to help Hizbullah and other pro- Syrian parties topple the Lebanese government. The EU froze relations with Syria after the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, whose murder has been blamed on Syria. (Arutz Sheva) [Reported by: Bridges for Peace]
EU BACKS SYRIA'S AIM TO REGAIN GOLAN HEIGHTS
The European Union supports Syria's goal of regaining the occupied Golan Heights from Israel, the EU foreign policy chief said after meeting President Bashar Assad on Wednesday, on a visit that ended a two-year freeze on high-level EU contacts with Damascus. "We would like to work as much as possible to see your country Syria recuperate the territory taken in 1967," Javier Solana told a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, according to Ynet News. Syria has made it clear that its cooperation to help end violence in Iraq was tied to Western, especially US, backing for its peaceful campaign to regain the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied during the Middle East war four decades ago. (ICEJ News)
• The news declares that Israel is surrounded by her enemies. Let’s declare that God surrounds His people and He alone is their defense.
• “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.” (Psalm 125:2)
12. "ISRAEL WILL NEVER RETURN GOLAN HEIGHTS"
“Israel will never retreat from the Golan Heights; the region is an integral part of Israel and vital for its security and protection,” Likud Knesset [Parliament] Member Yisrael Katz said Wednesday evening [March 14] in response to the European Union’s [EU’s] support of Syria’s claim to regain the disputed territory. Earlier on Wednesday, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told a joint news conference with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Damascus that, “We would like to work as much as possible to see your country Syria recuperate the territory taken in 1967.”
Katz said Solana should focus on “pressuring the Syrian president to stop supporting Palestinian terror and the flow of Iranian arms to Hizbullah as part of the regional axis of evil.” Fellow Likud Knesset Member and former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Solana’s comments are indicative of a “complete diplomatic collapse. After Europe decided to talk to Hamas, today it announces that it supports the return of the Golan (to Syria),” [Shalom] said. “This is a disturbing development. The relations with Europe are very important to Israel, and everything must be done to get them back on the right track.”
However, Knesset members from the other side of the political spectrum welcomed Solana’s statements. “Negotiations (on the Golan) must lead to security arrangements and the end of Syria’s contacts with Israel’s enemies,” Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin said. “Israel will have to return the Golan Heights region, which was under Syrian sovereignty until 1967.” Knesset Member Avshalom Vilan, also of Meretz, said Israel would pull out of the Golan Heights in return for a comprehensive peace agreement that would include the dismantling of Hamas and Hizbullah, the demilitarization of the region, and the opening of embassies and borders. “I believe most of the Israeli public would support such a settlement,” he said. (Ynetnews) (Reported by Bridges for Peace]
• Pray that Israel will never give up any more land for “peace” and that they will understand that it has proven to be a vain effort to achieve peace.
• “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave My land to themselves as a possession . . . But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel . . . For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown.’” (Ezekiel 36:5a, 8–9)