Israeli Athletes at the Paralympics in Japan
The Tokyo Paralympics opened last week with roughly 4,400 athletes from 162 countries. Israel sent thirty-three athletes to compete in eleven different sports, including swimming, rowing, wheelchair tennis, goalball, badminton, and powerlifting. So far, Israel has won five medals and smashed a world record. Mark Malyar, who has cerebral palsy, won a gold medal in swimming and set a world record in the 200-meter medley swim.
Other notable achievements by Israeli athletes at the Paralympics include Moran Samuel’s silver medal in rowing, Ami Dadaon’s silver medal in swimming, and Iyad Shalabi’s gold medal in swimming. Shalabi is Israel’s first Arab-Israeli athlete to win a medal at any Olympics or Paralympics. Prime Minister Bennett, opposition leader Netanyahu, and President Herzog all called or tweeted their congratulations to these athletes for their tremendous efforts, training, and determination in the face of obstacles.
Please pray for the health and well-being of these athletes.
Prime Minister Bennett Says All Goals Were Achieved in Washington
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was supposed to meet President Biden this past Thursday, but due to the bomb blast at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, President Biden had to push their meeting to Friday. Bennett and Biden had a very productive one-on-one meeting, after which they both made remarks to the press. Together, they agreed on strategic efforts to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Speaking to Israeli journalists, Prime Minister Bennett said that “President Biden as well as I are determined to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons. I’m glad we’re in agreement. We’ll work in the coming days, weeks and months to develop our cooperation channels. There isn’t much time and this issue is urgent.” The two also talked about issues with Hamas and the American freeze on providing visas to Israelis until summer 2022.
Praise God for this wonderful meeting between these two important leaders. Please pray for wisdom and understanding as they govern their lands.
Impromptu Sabbath in the United States
Since Prime Minister Bennett’s meeting with President Biden was delayed until Friday, he could not return to Israel before the Sabbath. Bennett is a modern orthodox Jewish man—the first Israeli prime minister to wear a yarmulke and not travel on the Sabbath. Thus, he and his whole delegation had to wait until sundown on Saturday night to fly home. By choice, they were also following strict COVID-19 isolation protocols and would not leave their hotel. So, with some very fast planning, they managed to procure challah (braided bread special for the Sabbath), kosher Sabbath wine, and a full kosher dinner.
They also set up a synagogue in the hotel suite, complete with a Torah scroll. The local Jewish community helped to bring in these items, but only Bennett’s delegation could attend. This included his security detail, the journalists traveling with him, and his working committees. Together, they observed a Sabbath service, celebrated an intimate Sabbath meal, engaged in conversation, and got to know the prime minister on a deeper level.
Please pray for this delegation and their counterparts in the United States to continue the work that is set before them, for the peace and well-being of both countries and the world.
Back to School in Israel
This week, all the children in Israel will return to school. Please pray for their protection against the coronavirus as well as their teachers and administration. Israel is still in the midst of a large surge of coronavirus cases. Most kids will be tested before the start of school, and masks are still required. Many parents are desperate to make sure their kids can go to school and partake in the social dynamics, learning, and routine that school brings. Many on our Israeli staff will be sending their children back to school too.
In addition, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts on the evening of September 6, so we want to wish you a Happy New Year! May this new year be filled with God’s blessing, grace, and sustenance.
Please pray for these dear children as they start a new year, that they will remain healthy and learn well.