Israel’s Visit to Bahrain
On Sunday, the first passenger flight between Israel and Bahrain left Ben Gurion Airport with a delegation that included representatives from Israel and the United States government and headed to Bahrain to formally advance the peace agreement signed in Washington, D.C. last month. Once there, they will sign economic and peace deals to set in motion years of mutual respect and peace. During the actual signing of the documents, which will be behind closed doors, the press will be given a tour of the city’s historic synagogue and meet with the leader of Bahrain’s Center for Peaceful Coexistence, a think tank promoting pluralism and religious tolerance. It is expected that documents will be signed detailing cooperation between the two countries in the areas of aviation, tourism, science and technology, and many others. The establishment of formal diplomatic relations will be accomplished through the signing of a Joint Communiqué, which will provide for embassies, visa regimes, and agreements on peace.
Please pray that these diplomatic ties will take hold with strong alliances with the Gulf states.
The second national lockdown began a month ago on the night when Rosh Hashanah began. At that time, Israel was seeing 7,000–9,000 COVID-19 positive cases a day. The contagion rate was 11–14 percent. After a month of no school, no work for most people, and being restricted to only one kilometer—just a little more than a half mile—from home, Israel is beginning Phase 1 of reopening after seeing the infection rate fall to less than 2,000 positive COVID-19 cases per day. Businesses that do not see customers can reopen, kindergartens will resume, and restaurants can offer carry-out service. The national parks and beaches will reopen for visitors, and religious sites including the Western Wall plaza and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem will begin admitting tourists and worshipers with certain restrictions. Some cities that still have a high infection rate have been classified as “red zones” and have been declared restricted areas. These cities and neighborhoods will not be permitted to reopen. The number of positive cases will be reviewed again later this week to see if the lockdown can be eased in these areas. Nationally, the rate of infection will be monitored closely, and if there is a spike, the restrictions will be put back into place. Phase II, which would allow children in early grades to return to school, larger groups of people to be able to meet, and other restrictions eased, may come a few weeks from now.
Please pray for the infection rate to continue to drop and for more normalcy to return to Israel.
New Flights Available
Tomorrow, October 20, 2020, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will sign a deal allowing twenty-eight weekly commercial flights between Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. The agreement will also allow unlimited charter flights to Eilat and ten cargo flights. The new air routes will begin within weeks according to the Transportation Ministry, and Prime Minister Netanyahu is looking forward to new opportunities with business and travel. Prior to the Abraham Accords, which were signed last month, the UAE and Israel had no formal ties, and no business connections or travel were allowed. Once the treaty was signed normalizing diplomatic connections, a boost in Israel’s economy was expected. Transportation Minister Miri Regev said, “This is a historic and exciting day for Israel, which is starting to experience the economic bloom with new markets and flight destinations.” Israelis love to travel, and once the lockdown will allow for international travel, this opportunity to visit new places will attract many Israeli tourists.
Please pray for this developing relationship with Israel’s Gulf neighbors.
Pray for Rain
It is the time of the year when Israel expects the autumn rains to begin. Israel has not seen rain since April, and the ground is parched. Usually, the autumn rains are strong and harsh, which breaks up the arid soil and readies the ground to start producing crops again. Instead, it has still been very hot and dry throughout the country, and everyone is waiting. It is not advisable to walk around in the cities during the first rains as all the muck and dirt built up over seven months will wash over the sidewalks. It is a metaphor for what happens in our lives as well: The Lord can wash away all our dirt and grime. As Israelis all yearn for the rains and what they mean—a fresh start and new growth—our workers in Israel are able to use this same understanding and share about Jesus!
Please pray that people’s hearts and lives would be cleansed and new life can grow as He washes away their sins and gives them life everlasting!