President Biden’s Call with Prime Minister Netanyahu
Four weeks after President Joe Biden took office, he called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss affairs regarding Israel and the Middle East. President Biden has already spoken with eleven other world leaders, though Netanyahu was the first Middle Eastern leader to be called. The long wait had many in the Knesset wondering if there was going to be a change in policy in the Biden White House regarding their Middle Eastern ally. However, the conversation between the president and the prime minister was reportedly warm and friendly and lasted about an hour. The two leaders discussed strengthening ties between the United States and Israel and continuing the progress toward further normalization agreements with Israel’s neighbors that were initiated during the Trump administration. They also spoke about safety and security, which included the threat of Iran’s nuclear advancement. Biden congratulated Netanyahu on his world-leading vaccination efforts. According to the White House, President Biden “underscored the importance of working to advance peace throughout the region.”
Please pray that the United States and Israel will continue to build on their strong strategic relationship.
Dr. Fauci Wins Israeli Award
The Israeli-based Dan David Foundation recently awarded Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, a one-million-dollar prize for “defending science” in the worldwide fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The Foundation said he had earned the recognition over a lifetime of leadership on HIV research and AIDS relief, as well as his advocacy for the vaccines against COVID-19. Fauci, 80, has served seven presidents and has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. The Dan David Foundation awards $1 million prizes in three categories each year for contributions addressing the past, present, and future. Fauci won the prize this year for his achievement in the field of public health. Past recipients of the Dan David Prize include former United States Vice President Al Gore and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Dan David Prize, which is headquartered in Tel Aviv, began in 2001, and “recognizes and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary research…to promote scientific, technological and humanistic achievements that advance and improve our lives and knowledge of the world.”
Please pray for Dr. Fauci—and others like him—for their voice, innovation, and ability to help humanity strive toward greater health as a whole. Please pray that he turns to the Lord for help and guidance.
Snowstorms in Israel
A massive storm spread all over Israel last week bringing high winds, lots of rain…and snow! Jerusalem and the surrounding hilltop areas received snow for the first time since 2013. The city was prepared with ice trucks, plows, and emergency, medical, and rescue services on alert. The Golan Heights and many northern, higher elevation towns received six inches or more of snow, transforming the normally arid and hot area into a winter wonderland. People were urged to stay home and not drive. However, families took advantage of the opportunity and were seen making snowmen and playing in the special white powder! Jerusalem saw two to five inches of snowfall, but it did not last long as the snow turned to icy rain during the day. The Sea of Galilee water levels rose by another three inches as well.
Thank God for the beautiful and unique snow and much-needed water in Israel.
Tar Spill on Israel’s Coast
After Israel’s cold and rainy weather system passed through, the National Parks Authority was shocked to find Israel’s Mediterranean coastline from Haifa to Ashdod covered in a tar/oil spill. Volunteers showed up on Saturday to help clean up the beaches, but many of them were hospitalized after inhaling the toxic tar fumes. The tar has stuck to reefs and rocks that are exposed at low tide as well as marine life. The National Parks manager, Dudi Weiner, said that it will take years to clean up this disaster. An investigation has been launched as to what caused the spill.
Please pray for a quick and safe clean up of the tar and for protection and rejuvenation of the marine and human life that has been threatened.
This week in Israel, many businesses, hotels, and recreation centers can open up as long as people show proof of double vaccination. In light of this, Chosen People Ministries—Israel has started the discussion of when and how we can resume some of our in-person activities. We are not eager to jump in full throttle because everyone’s health is at stake! Instead, we will prayerfully seek the Lord for guidance, listen to the government, and continue the amazing work that has taken place throughout these months. God is good! Meanwhile, the end of this week is Purim and a wonderful way to celebrate God’s deliverance of the Jewish people in the story of Esther and Mordechai. Although we are not ready to gather in person yet, we will have an online Purim party for kids as well as other great celebrations.
Please continue to pray for our work and for those to whom we are ministering!