Eco-Terrorism from Iran on Israel’s Coast
After a tar spill polluted miles and miles of Israel’s coastline and caused severe damage to the marine and coastal wildlife, Israel wanted answers. A two-week investigation of thirty-five ships in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea near Israel followed, involving not only the Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry but also the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from the United States and the European Maritime Safety Agency. Samples of the tar taken from Israel’s beaches showed that it came from crude oil, which reduced the number of possible ships under investigation to just four. Two were too far away at the time of the spill, and another ship was inspected and ruled out. Israel has announced that the ship responsible for the spill, The Emerald, is a Libyan-owned tanker that was sailing from Iran to Syria. The ship’s automatic identification system (AIS), which transmits its location to other ships in the area, was strategically turned off at various points on its journey, suggesting that the time it spent pouring oil into the water was intentional. The Emerald was a little more than six miles from Israel’s shores, which is Israeli territorial waters, for nearly a day, spilling large amounts of oil on February 1–2 with its AIS off. The tanker is currently docked in Iran. Although the Environmental Protection Minister has placed the blame on Iran, Israel’s Defense Ministry leadership have diplomatically said it is too early to pinpoint Iran, but the evidence seems to point in their direction.
Please pray for Israel’s cleanup of her beaches and marine ecosystems, and that the true instigator of this environmental disaster is identified.
Israel Slowly Opening Up
The Israeli government is slowly reopening the country, beginning with the airport on Sunday, which has been closed since January 25 with few exceptions to arrivals and departures. For the first few days, 1,000 Israelis will be allowed into the country each day with that number increasing to 3,000 within a few days without prior approval for travel. Those without the vaccination who need to quarantine will now be able to do so at home rather than in a quarantine hotel. Everyone with a “Green Pass” or “green passport,” which are given to those who have had two Pfizer doses or test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, can fly in and out of Israel with ease. Additionally, student in grades seven through ten can attend in-person school for the first time in about a year, though the smaller class size requirement will mean that students will only attend in person two days a week. Finally, restaurants can now be open for sit-down service with up to 100 people with the Green Passport. Those without the pass can sit and enjoy outside seating. Event halls, concerts, sport games, hotel dining, universities, and some other venues can open to the public as long as they have a Green Passport. According to Professor Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute, at this point, an estimated 87 percent of all eligible Israelis aged sixteen and up who are not ultra-Orthodox or Arab have either recovered from COVID-19 or received at least one vaccine dose. Vaccination acceptance in Arab and Haredi communities are low, despite media announcements. The equivalent figure for the ultra-Orthodox community was 72 percent, while the lowest immunization rate, 64 percent, has been observed among Arab Israelis.
Please pray for Israel’s continued reopening and that the vaccinations would continue to prove effective. Also pray for a quick recovery to those who are sick with the virus.
Please pray for Israel’s leadership as they make hard decisions impacting people’s mental, physical, and financial livelihoods.
Six Israeli University Programs Rank in the Top 100 Worldwide
Spring Has Sprung in Israel
Spring is in the air! You can feel it and see it. Green grass is sprouting in fields where it is usually brown and dry. Wildflowers are popping up everywhere. As Israel is cautiously opening up many places that have been closed for months and months, we pray that the people feel a sense of freedom. Spiritual freedom, though, only comes from the Messiah, Jesus, and we pray that our staff in Israel can impact those around us and share this message of joy with them. These many months certainly have not stopped us from reaching out in so many creative ways. Now, we will just continue with the varieties of ministry before us.
Please pray for Chosen People Ministries—Israel as we adapt and grow in our ministry to the lost around us with this message of freedom!