Unity Government Finally Formed
In the midst of a national quarantine, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “Blue & White” party leader Benjamin “Benny” Gantz finally put concerns over Israel’s political future to rest. Earlier today, the two leaders announced that they signed a deal for a unity government. Netanyahu will continue to serve as the prime minister of Israel for another eighteen months, after which he will be replaced by Gantz. The cabinet will include about thirty ministers, with the ministries divided almost evenly between Likud and Blue & White. Gantz’s party will receive sixteen ministries, including defense, immigration, and economics. Likud will maintain the ministries of public security, transportation, housing, and education, among others. The formation of this unity government staves off a fourth election since April 2019.
Please pray for guidance and wisdom for Israel’s leaders, and praise God that an agreement has finally been reached!
Animals Are Out
With Israel’s parks closed and people spending most of their time indoors, animals are coming out of hiding. Jackals living on the periphery of Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park usually come out at night to eat the scraps of food left behind by all the people who played, picnicked, etc. Now, since people are locked down and are not visiting the park, there is no food left over for the jackals. With the park empty, they are hungry and coming further and further into the park. Some people have started leaving dog food out for them, though city veterinary director, Zvi Galin, strongly advises against it. He said that the animals may get used to being fed by humans and may become aggressive if they are not fed. Additionally, wild boars, which are normally nocturnal, have been seen in broad daylight in Haifa looking for food as they travel in packs, even blocking roads at times. In the southern resort city of Eilat, Ibex deer were seen strolling down the promenade, not afraid of the empty streets.
Please pray for wisdom for local governments to have discernment in how to manage wildlife in domestic spaces, and for citizens to have a better understanding of the natural world.
Holocaust Memorial Day
Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, which begins this evening, will not be commemorated with ceremonies and large gatherings due to social restrictions because of the coronavirus. The siren will sound as usual, and everyone will stop what they are doing and stand still while listening to the wail of the siren and remembering the horrors of the Holocaust. This year, the country will go to their balconies and open their windows to remember. The Israeli Defense Forces are delivering special packages to Holocaust survivors and there will be memorial events online. Additionally, the Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, will be calling for an international campaign to remember the Holocaust. Beginning tonight, they are asking for people all over the world to record themselves reciting the names of Holocaust victims. Then, the videos should be posted on social media using the campaign hashtags #RememberingFromHome and #ShoahNames. While the number of Jewish people at the end of 2018 is just about the same as in 1925, it is still two million fewer than there were in 1939 before World War 2. May we never forget those who perished and those who survived in the Holocaust.
Please pray for the Holocaust survivors who are struggling during this difficult time.
Sea of Galilee Highest in Sixteen Years
The Sea of Galilee, Israel’s largest natural fresh water source, is at its highest water level in sixteen years. The water levels have been rising at a rate of one inch every day, and the lake is now only a little more than seven inches short of the upper red line—the level at which the dam must be opened to allow water to flow out to prevent flooding. This past winter’s rainy season was exceptional, and now the snow run-off from Mount Hermon is helping to top off the lake. Until recently, the winters in Israel have not been rainy enough to fill the Galilee, and as a result, the lake had been rapidly receding.
Praise God for His abundant blessings, seen in the filling of the Sea of Galilee.
Ben Gurion Airport Sees One Plane Depart
This past Wednesday, Ben Gurion airport let only one plane depart and two flights arrive. The departing flight left with tourists stranded in Israel and came back the same day with stranded Israelis from Europe. The other flight was the daily New York flight, but passengers arriving in Israel need to proceed immediately to a “COVID-19 hotel,” where they will wait out the mandatory fourteen-day quarantine. During this peak time of year, there are usually more than three hundred flights arriving and departing daily.
Please pray for Israelis and others who are stranded around the world as a result of the travel restrictions.
Special Phone Calls Made to Holocaust Survivors
During this week, as the Holocaust will be on everyone’s minds, our team, who used to visit with Holocaust survivors and run special events for them, will make an extra effort to call and encourage them. Please pray for special opportunities to connect with these precious people, pray with them, and encourage them. Many of them are alone and bored, but because of the special relationships we have built with them over the months and years, they will know they are not forgotten and are appreciated.
Praise God for the bonds of love and trust we have built with Holocaust survivors that allow for special conversations about the Lord and His love for them today!