Young Adult Unemployment
A recent report released by the Israeli Employment Services revealed that almost half of Israelis who are unemployed and not studying in higher education are under the age of thirty-four. The under-thirty-four demographic comprises 48 percent, which is a 6 percent increase since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. These unemployment rates among young people in Israel are higher than in twenty-four of the thirty-seven member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. A closer look at even younger adults, those under twenty-four, show that these young people who are not working often come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds or from ultra-Orthodox or Arab communities, who are not required to enlist in the Israeli military. One concern is that these younger groups of people historically take longer to recover after economic disasters.
Please pray for the financial, emotional, and physical well-being of these young people who are struggling. May they find hope and fulfillment in Jesus!
The anticipated July 1, 2020 date to begin the process to annex portions of the West Bank has been postponed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the delay of plans for annexation after it came under much criticism from the European Union, the United Nations, and many others. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also made a strong appeal to delay. All those opposed to the plan have said it would violate international law and undermine the prospects of establishing a viable independent Palestinian state. Netanyahu wants to follow the peace plan unveiled in January by President Trump, which envisions bringing some 30 percent of the territory under permanent Israeli control while giving the Palestinians limited autonomy in pockets of the remaining land. The United States, who initiated and backed the plan, has indicated that agreement between Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz on this issue would be a prerequisite for proceeding with the annexation. Gantz has stated that annexation can wait until Israel gets through the coronavirus crisis.
Please pray for wisdom in dealing with the delicate political situation.
Virus Surge – New Restrictions
Following a surge in coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Netanyahu has reinstated some of the restrictions that had recently been loosened. Back in May, as a result of the nationwide lockdown, daily new cases had been reduced to only a dozen. This past Wednesday, Israel reported more than 1,000 new cases in the prior twenty-four-hour period. Israel is keeping an eye on the number of serious cases and potential need for ventilators so that the hospitals can be prepared. Masks are mandatory again, with fines for not wearing one in public, and new limits have been imposed on gatherings. Netanyahu has said that he is trying to find the balance between the economy and virus, so restaurants and day camps can stay open but the number of people at indoor gatherings is capped at twenty, and fifty is the maximum in bars, restaurants, and places of worship.
Please pray for wisdom for government leaders as they deal with balancing the economy and the surging virus.
United Arab Emirates and Israel Sign Deal
Israel and the United Arab Emirates, who do not share diplomatic ties, have just signed a historic agreement to jointly combat COVID-19. Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries will share research and development technologies with the UAE’s Group 42 in the fight against the pandemic. “At G42, we embrace international cooperation as a way to develop new and innovative technological solutions for the public good,” Group 42 said in a statement. “Our company is privileged to follow the lead and share resources and expertise with Rafael and IAI for such a significant cause.” Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi have been increasingly cooperating after years of rumored back-channel discussions between them over their mutual enmity toward Iran.
Please pray for these warming ties and for allies within the Middle East.
Israel Develops a 30-Minute COVID-19 Test
An Israeli start-up company called NanoScent has developed a COVID-19 test kit that can provide results within 30 minutes with a 90 percent success rate. It uses a nano-scale, sensor-based smell test designed to detect the pathogen in its early stages. The company had help from the Ministry of Health and the Israeli Innovation Authority, who funded the project. The test kit contains both Israeli and South Korean components. It is not meant to replace the more accurate nasal swab tests at drive-in clinics, but it will help test people outside businesses, airports, cultural venues, and educational institutes. The NanoScent test “absorbs the vapors of the decomposition processes that occurs when the COVID-19 contagion penetrates the host’s nose or pharynx – this means that the kit is also capable of detecting non-symptomatic coronavirus carriers as early as four days after initial infection.”
Please pray for more research and development to fight and kill off this highly contagious and potentially deadly virus.
Small Group of Beit Sar Shalom Workers—Big Provisions for the Needy!
Last week, a small group of Chosen People Ministries-Israel workers gathered in Sderot to help package food parcels for the needy. Sderot is a small city just a few miles from the Gaza border, which has often been bombarded with Hamas rockets from Gaza. Sderot is home to many Holocaust survivors, to whom most of these much-needed food parcels were delivered. Filled with staples like oil, tuna, jam, rice, and pasta, this one bag tremendously helps these wonderful, yet vulnerable people. The past few months have been very hard, and often, these Holocaust survivors pass along some of their provisions to their children, who have been out of work. Our small group packaged many bags and prayed for the Lord’s comfort and provision to be shared among those who receive them, and that His gift of salvation would be accepted!
Please join us in praying for God’s comfort and provision for the Holocaust survivors, and that they will find true comfort in Jesus!