Memorial Day and Independence Day in Israel
Wednesday, April 13 was Israel’s Memorial Day, Yom HaZikaron, when Israel remembers and mourns its fallen soldiers and civilian victims of terror. The following day, Israelis turned from mourning to dancing as they celebrated Independence Day, Yom HaAtzma’ut. Before celebrations began, the whole country was quiet, solemn, and sad as Israel remembered 23,928 people who perished. For sixty seconds, sirens blared, and all activity came to a halt throughout the land, much as it did on Holocaust Memorial Day. Over the past twelve months, forty-three soldiers and civilians lost their lives either in the line of duty or as victims of terror. While any number is too many, the number this year was low compared to previous years, mainly because of the pandemic. After the moments of commemoration, the nation celebrated its seventy-third birthday. The country rejoiced together with fireworks, picnics, and barbecues. An airshow flew over the land, showing off Israel’s top planes and helicopters.
Please pray for those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.
Albert Bourla Honored at Independence Day Ceremonies
During the celebrations of Israel’s seventy-third Independence Day, the nation honored Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla for his partnership with Israel that allowed the country to advance one of the world’s most effective coronavirus vaccination campaigns. As a result, Israel was dramatically able to overcome strict lockdowns and reduce death rates from COVID-19. Israel organized and paid for millions of Pfizer vaccinations, and, in exchange, agreed to continue sharing medical data with Pfizer. Bourla said in a recorded message, “Together we are demonstrating that through mass vaccination we can defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and save lives.” Bourla is the son of Holocaust survivors from Greece.
Please pray for Israel’s road to recovery as the country slowly opens up.
Israel by the Numbers on Independence Day
Independence Day is a great opportunity to reflect back on the previous year. Israel is the twelfth happiest nation in the world based on the United Nations’ World Happiness Report, which is published annually. The report considers the nation’s productivity per capita, life expectancy, and resident opinions. Economically, despite a global recession because of COVID-19, the Israeli high-tech industry, in which more than 10 percent of the population are employed, was able to keep working. As a result, Israel’s gross domestic product fell by only 2.5 percent, which was a lower drop than the European Union (6.6 percent) and the United States (3.5 percent). Israel also sees the highest birth rate among countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Twenty-eight percent of the country are aged 0–14, and 12 percent are 65 or older. Not surprisingly, the number of road miles is higher than ever before, due in part to more Israelis owning cars and roads being widened to incorporate more lanes. The number of flights has also increased, doubling in the last six years—Israelis love to travel! Finally, the cost of living continues to increase. Today, it would take an Israeli earning an average salary eleven-and-a-half years to save a down payment for an apartment.
Please pray for Israel’s ever-growing and flourishing economy, arts, business, and science!
Getting Out into Nature to Hear the Gospel
Israelis love to hike and get away into nature. Spring is a beautiful time in the year to discover the Land and admire its beauty. One of our Israeli staff members has dreams to develop touring opportunities for Israelis to see the Land and to learn about its biblical importance. Recently, one of our Bible groups finished studying one of the Gospels; so the whole group—along with some guests—went to the Galilee to see, hear, and touch the places that were mentioned in the Scriptures! What a wonderful way to experience the Bible and learn more about Jesus.
Please pray for more people to join the groups and more hearts to open to the saving message of Messiah!