In the modern State of Israel’s seventy-two years, there have been only two Arab nations to enter into formal diplomatic arrangements with Israel: Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. This past week, Israel signed normalization and peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the White House lawn. The documents were also signed by President Trump, who brokered the deals. Three separate agreements were entered into. The first and most elaborate was between Israel and the UAE, since the two nations have had the longest time to work out details. The second document was signed by Israel and Bahrain. The final document was a trilateral agreement between Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE. These agreements have been called the “Abraham Accords” after the patriarch of the world’s three major monotheistic religions. Since the Abraham Accords did not end any active wars, they cannot be considered peace agreements. However, they do pave the way for the potential for more Arab states to follow suit and create a region of peace and stability.
Please pray that this major event establishing peace and normalizing relationships would cause more of Israel’s neighbors to follow suit and the region would bear peace.
Rockets Fired from Gaza
While the Abraham Accords were being signed by Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain in Washington, D.C., rockets were being fired on southern Israel. Hamas in Gaza launched thirteen rockets, eight of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome with the rest falling in open fields. Two Israelis were seriously injured. The Israeli Air Force hit ten targets in Gaza including a weapons and explosives manufacturing factory, a compound used by Hamas for training and rocket experiments, and an underground tunnel.
Please pray for the citizens of the towns near Gaza, that they would be able to live in peace and safety.
Three-Week Lockdown in Israel
With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out of the country to sign the Abraham Accords, President Reuvin Rivlin addressed the nation ahead of the nationwide lockdown that went into effect Friday, September 19, at 2:00 pm, the eve of Rosh Hashanah. The lockdown is slated to last three weeks, encompassing Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, with citizens only able to go one kilometer from their home and refraining from meeting in groups. President Rivlin apologized on behalf of the government for its failure in handling the crisis. “I know that we have not done enough as a leadership to be worthy of your attention. You trusted us and we let you down. You, the citizens of Israel, deserve a safety net that the country gives you. Decision-makers, government ministries, policy implementers must work for you and only for you. To save lives, to reduce infection, to rescue the economy. I understand the feeling that none of these were done satisfactorily.” Netanyahu arrived back in Israel in time to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and start the lockdown.
Please pray for those who are battling the virus, that they would recover well and please pray that Israel’s number of positive cases would decrease quickly.
Israel’s Annual Population Records
Israel’s population grew again from this time last year at Rosh Hashanah. Standing at 9,246,000 people, it grew 1.6 percent with an addition of 150,000 more people. Only 25,000 people immigrated to Israel, down from last year’s 38,000 immigrants. There were 170,000 births and 44,000 deaths. The previous year, population growth was at 2.1 percent. Within the population, 74 percent are Jewish, 21 percent are Arab, and 4 percent are considered other, which is the same ratio as in previous years. Israel also ranks very high for life expectancy, one of the highest in the world. Women live an average of 84.7 years, and men live to age 81.
Please pray for Israel’s growth and productivity as it continues to be a beacon of advancement in health, technology and business around the world.
Happy New Year!
As Israel enters its second national lockdown, many people are sad, anxious, worried, frustrated, and scared. Chosen People Ministries—Israel workers feel the same, yet we have hope that is in Jesus the Messiah. As we share this message with others during the Jewish high holidays, please pray that people would be encouraged and be lifted up in spirits. As we dip our apples into honey and wish each other a Happy New Year, as is the tradition at Rosh Hashanah, we also acknowledge our Lord and King is the Maker of all and is in control. As we look upon the past year and gaze into the next, we pray for all those who are seeking answers and finding them in the Scriptures and as we share our lives and testimonies with them live or on social media platforms. May this encourage you too, during these hard times!
Please pray for the high number of positive cases to decrease, for people to have enough food to eat and money to pay the bills, and for the health and safety of our families and others.