Iron Dome Systems Purchased by United States
Military trucks from the United States were delivered to Israel last week to be fitted with Iron Dome missile defense systems. The short-range air defense solution will be largely employed in Europe, where the threat of ballistic and other aerial attacks against American troops has been growing. The United States military purchased two Iron Dome units in 2019 for 373 million dollars, which includes twelve launchers, two sensors, two hundred forty interceptors, and two battlement management centers. Delivery was scheduled for 2020. In addition to the units purchased, an arrangement has also been reached to begin building an Iron Dome Weapon System manufacturing plant in the United States. While the location of the facility has yet to be determined, the site is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
Please pray that these units never need to be used and that peace and security prevail.
International Students Will Be Allowed into Israel
Israel will be letting in 17,000 international students to study in yeshivas and universities. The COVID-19 committee leader, Ronni Gamzu, gave a warning that they must adhere to the quarantine rules upon arrival and, if they disobey, they could be deported. Currently, any arrival in Israel must quarantine for two weeks, and only Israeli citizens are being allowed into the country. These international students must quarantine in groups of six, and only institutions who receive the Ministry of Health approval will be able to host. Gamzu had expressed his opposition to the plan earlier, but in a statement released by the Health Ministry, Gamzu indicated the need for “a balance between safeguarding public health and safeguarding the values of the country and the connection with world Jewry.” This sparked some contention in the Knesset, where some members of Knesset noted that non-citizen relatives of Israelis are not yet allowed in the country. Those in favor of allowing the students in were accused of “killing their community,” while those opposed to allowing these Jewish students to come and study were called antisemitic.
Please pray for these students who are coming to Israel, that they might learn and make a positive impact on those around them and the world.
El Al Airlines Closer to a Solution
The Israeli government has approved a 75-million-dollar offer in which 44.9 percent of Israel’s national airline, El Al, would be purchased by Eli Rozenberg. The deal would give a controlling interest to the United States businessman, who is both a resident and citizen of Israel. El Al, which has been hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, now has to make a choice. The airline can either sell to Rozenberg or accept the Israeli government’s bailout offer. The government solution includes a government-backed loan and a stock offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. With the government bailout, the state would hold 61 percent control of the airline, leading to its nationalization. El Al has been a privately-owned company since 2004.
Please pray for wisdom to choose what is best for Israel’s national airline, as thousands of jobs are also at stake.
Israel’s Good-Will Gesture to Beirut
After the massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Israel immediately offered medical assistance through diplomatic channels. There was talk of inviting injured patients into Israeli hospitals though Israel and Lebanon currently have no formal ties. President Reuven Rivlin, in tweets in English, Arabic, and Hebrew wrote: “We share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer our aid at this difficult time.” Tel Aviv’s Municipality building lit up its façade with the Lebanese flag in solidarity. However, many Lebanese blasted the gesture saying, “We don’t want you.” They replied to the image of Tel Aviv’s City Hall by posting images from the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah. Others wrote sentiments such as, “How big you are, Israel. Thank you for your humanity, despite the controversy.” Israel has fought a number of wars in Lebanon, home of the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, which is sworn to the Jewish state’s destruction and is part of the Lebanese government. From 1982 to 2000, Israel occupied a portion of southern Lebanon to push out Palestinian groups, and in 2006 fought a devastating war against Hezbollah in the country.
Please pray for Beirut, which is experiencing tremendous hardship, grief, and uncertainty after the blast that tore through half the city. Please pray for those who are hurt and suffering.
Children and the Hot Summer Fun
We are at the height of 100-degree summer vacation time. Most summer day camps have finished, children are at home, and parents need to find flexible ways to care for their kids. School is scheduled to start September 1 with varying plans for safety measures and distancing. Children in grades four and under will be in school and all other students will be primarily by distance learning. Our Beit Sar Shalom workers with families are caring for their kids right now, and often spending time—with distance and masks—with neighbors and school friends. It is a perfect opportunity to deepen relationships and share about the love and hope found in Messiah. In these unique times, we try our best to follow the Lord’s leading and to be flexible and ready to give an answer for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15).
Please pray for the children’s safety as routines are different, more travel on the roads for day trips, and more stress for the parents to care for their children in hot and strenuous circumstances.