Iranian Athlete Dedicates Medal to Israel at the Olympics
Iranian defector Saeid Mollaei recently won a silver medal in judo for the Mongolian team at the Tokyo Olympics. During the 2019 world championships, the Iranian judo union pressured him to deliberately lose in the semi-finals to avoid facing an Israeli athlete, Sagi Muki, in the finals. In response to this incident, the International Judo Federation barred Iran from international competition until the country demonstrates willingness to compete with Israeli athletes.
Mollaei himself fled to Germany and later settled in Mongolia. He has since fostered a great friendship with Sagi Muki, who congratulated him after winning the silver medal in this year’s Olympics. During a press conference, Saeid Mollaei dedicated the medal to Israel, saying todah “thank you” for their support and that he hopes Israel appreciates this achievement.
Praise God for Mollaei’s bold move and the international display of this special friendship that transcends borders and politics!
Update on Israel at the Olympics
Many of Israel’s athletes are achieving personal bests in times and scores. Several have come close to the quarter- or semi-finals in their respective sports.
- The Israeli baseball team played a close game with South Korea but ultimately lost 6–5 in a suspenseful tenth inning. Despite the loss, Israel proved their skill in a sport that is not common in the country. Israel’s team lost again to the United States in an 8–1 blowout on Friday. They have one more chance to advance in their next game this week.
- Meanwhile, Israel’s first archer to compete in the Olympics, Itay Shannay, scored fifth in Friday’s ranking and will advance to the final sixteen competitors. He placed sixtieth out of sixty-four in initial rankings.
- Israel also qualified for the final rounds in the long jump and 5,000-meter running. Long jumper Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko and runner Selamawit Teferi broke previous Israeli records as they competed!
Pray for the safety and well-being of all Olympic athletes.
Dealing with the Delta Variant in Israel
Israel is the first country to begin giving a third coronavirus vaccination to those age sixty and older. Most of these people had already received the Pfizer vaccination more than six months ago. Prime Minister Bennett explained that the decision was based on considerable research and analysis as well as the “rise and risk of the Delta variant wave. Israel has already vaccinated 2,000 immunosuppressed people with a third dose with no severe adverse events. Now, we are rolling out the national third-dose campaign. We will share all the information we have with the rest of the global community as we make progress.”
Preliminary research shows that this third Pfizer vaccination is only 16 percent effective against the Delta variant for those who received the shot six months ago. Furthermore, the vaccination’s effectiveness in preventing serious illness in those sixty and older has dropped from 97 percent to 81 percent.
Israel is seeing a large spike in coronavirus cases with 2,177 people recently diagnosed and a positivity rate of 2.36 percent. There are now 151 coronavirus patients in serious condition; this number has doubled in the last week alone. At the beginning of June, before the Delta variant swept in, there were less than twenty serious cases. A number of hospitals have recently reopened their coronavirus wards. In addition, the Green Pass system was reinstated, meaning that everyone twelve and older needs to present proof of vaccination, a certificate of recovery, or a negative coronavirus test taken within the past seventy-two hours to enter events with one hundred people or more
Please pray that Israel can gain control of the variant before the high holidays arrive and school starts. As Israel leads the world in research and analytical data, please pray that they would share their insight with the world and help others.
Following Up with Young Israelis
Since so many Israelis have decided not to travel this summer, there is a golden opportunity to continue follow-up with young people who met Chosen People Ministries staff while traveling in India, New Zealand, Australia, or Brazil. The Mission has vibrant ministries that reach out to the Israeli backpackers who visit these countries. Our workers in Israel are taking the time to call, message, and meet with these people, primarily young adults, who are “stuck” in Israel due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic.
Israelis are avid travellers, and many take a gap year between finishing their mandatory army service and starting their university studies. We are finding that many like to get together and reminisce about their adventures. These young Israelis are also open to discussing their questions about the Lord and spiritual issues they are grappling with. It has been an exciting season of meeting and engaging in spiritual conversation!
Please pray these young people remain open and honest regarding their thoughts about Jesus and that we can share with them the truths of the Messiah!