Israel Leads the World in Days Spent in Lockdown and in Vaccinations
Israel is in the middle of its third national lockdown, which was just extended until February 5. The airport is closed, as well as malls, schools, businesses that see customers, etc. Since the start of the pandemic, Israel has been in lockdown more than any other country in the world, with more than 140 days. To compare, Germany has been in lockdown for 88 days, the United Kingdom for 79 days, and Spain for 67 days. Israel has also just vaccinated its 3 millionth person with the first dose and has administered the second dose to 1.8 million people. Despite the implementation of the vaccine, Israel still has incredibly high infection rates, with 71,303 cases per million people. The United States has 76,874 cases per million people, and England has 54,880.
Please pray for those who are alone and struggling, whose businesses are suffering, and those who are sick and in need healing.
In Israel, Vaccines Are Very Efficient
Pfizer said that in clinical trials, the vaccine was 95 percent efficient ten days after the second dose was administered. Israel’s health care providers have announced that 31 people out of 163,000 were diagnosed with COVID-19 after the second dose, representing a protection rate of 92 percent, which confirms within acceptable variance what Pfizer had reported. Doctors around the world are pleased to hear the news that the results of the clinical trials are close to what they are seeing in actual vaccine administration to Israel’s population. Additionally, those who did catch the virus after the second dose had very mild symptoms and none of them were hospitalized.
Praise God for Israel’s efficient rollout of the vaccination program and that Israelis may be able to resume some normalcy soon.
World Holocaust Survivors Remembrance Day
Last week, Israel and the world marked Holocaust Memorial Day, which commemorates the day on which Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-held Poland, January 27, 1945. Ceremonies are normally held in person at Holocaust memorials, museums, and some of the death camps, though this year, they were all held online. Last year marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and one of the world’s last large gatherings before pandemic cancellations swept the world. Currently, there are 179,600 Holocaust survivors in Israel, with 850 people who are 100 years of age or older. Since the beginning of the pandemic, some 3,500 Holocaust survivors have contracted the virus and 900 of them have died. Israel defines a Holocaust survivor as someone who survived the Nazi regime, including those who lived in countries conquered by Nazi Germany or were under direct Nazi influence from 1933–1945, as well as refugees who fled those areas due to the spread of the Third Reich.
Please pray for these precious people who are alone and scared during these hard times. Please pray that they find peace and joy, as well as the hope that can only be found in the Messiah!
Spring Flowers in Israel
In Israel, the almond trees are starting to blossom. It is a sign of the coming spring and of God’s promise to us that He will never leave us or forsake us. Usually, during the winter, there are beautiful purple, red, and white wildflowers that spring up all over Israel’s nature paths and forests. It is a stark contrast to the hot and dry summer that leaves the ground brown and dead. It is a wonderful reminder that the Lord is present with us in good times and in hard times. As the wildflowers bring encouragement for the coming warmth, the Chosen People Ministries—Israel team was able to call and encourage many Holocaust survivors this week. We shared with them verses of hope and joy and listened to them and prayed with them. We also conducted an online meeting with Holocaust survivors from across the country. Since the best way to prevent something like the Holocaust from happening again is education, we held an online seminar for the teenagers who attend our camps. We taught about the causes and consequences of the Holocaust. With Purim coming later this month, it was also a wonderful opportunity to teach about antisemitism from the book of Esther. All of the staff look forward to the day when we can resume “normal” ministry. Yet, the work He has placed in front of us this past year has been extraordinary! We praise God for all He has done in and through us and, even when we are able to meet face to face again, we will still carry on with the tools and creativity that kept us going this past year. May you have a wonderful week experiencing God’s promises and joys found in nature, through family and friends, and the joy we have in Him!
Please pray for the Holocaust survivors and for the Chosen People Ministries Israel staff who are ministering to them.