Funding for Iron Dome Approved
The House of Representatives approved funding for an additional one billion dollars for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. This past May, Palestinian terror groups launched 4,300 rockets toward Israel within eleven days. The Iron Dome intercepted ninety percent of the rockets heading toward civilian centers. Most of the funding will replenish the rocket interceptors. “Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed his gratitude to Congress for its ‘overwhelming commitment to Israel’s security and for passing the critical security package—including the replenishment of the life-saving Iron Dome.’”
Please pray for Israel’s peace and safety from those who wish to kill and destroy.
President Herzog Visits President Erdogan in Turkey
Israel and Turkey have had a troubled relationship for more than a decade. Last week, Turkish President Erdogan welcomed Israel’s President Herzog in Turkey’s capital, Ankara. His is the first visit by an Israeli official in fourteen years. A military guard was present. Musicians played the Israeli national anthem. The two leaders then talked privately. Afterward, President Herzog went to Istanbul to meet with local Jewish leaders. One of Herzog and Erdogan’s main talking points was the need to diversify sources of energy in the European markets. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe has wanted to decrease reliance on Russian natural gas. Turkey is proposing that gas and oil from Israel’s off-shore Tamar oil refinery be piped underwater to Turkey. From there, it could be dispersed across Europe.
Turkey and Israel used to be close allies. However, tensions rose under Erdogan. He strongly criticizes Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Israel was also angry that Erdogan supported Hamas. This militant group controls the Gaza Strip. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group. In 2010, both countries withdrew their ambassadors after Israeli forces stormed a ship carrying humanitarian aid for the Palestinians in Gaza that broke an Israeli naval blockade. Nine Turkish activists died in the incident. Relations broke down again in 2018. Turkey was angry that the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem and, in response, recalled its ambassador from Israel. This action prompted Jerusalem to recall its envoy also. Since then, the two countries have not reappointed ambassadors.
Please pray for Israel and Turkey’s strategic relationship to be rebuilt.
Unusual Israeli Weather
Israel is experiencing unseasonably cold temperatures. The cold could even bring late-season snow for Purim this week! Jerusalem and other high-elevation centers are bracing for freezing temperatures and possible snow with a light accumulation. Israel is not used to dealing with snow. So, many schools and workplaces are already calling for early dismissals. Recent heavy rainfall has caused the Sea of Galilee to rise almost one inch over the weekend. Right now, the Sea of Galilee is only about twenty-nine inches below the upper red line. Reaching this mark would require the dams to be open so that the Sea of Galilee would not overflow into nearby fields.
Praise God for all the much-needed rain that fell this past winter.
Purim: A Day to Celebrate!
This week, Jewish people worldwide will be celebrating Purim. This holiday is about the redemption of the Jewish people by Queen Esther after hearing that Haman plotted to have them all killed. It is a joyful and fun day. People celebrate with candies and parties. Children will dress up as superheroes, princesses, animals, celebrities, and more. The children wait all year long for this one day to dress up.
This year, many Ukrainian children newly arrived in Israel will also celebrate. For example, in just one day, Israel received 600 new Jewish immigrants, as they arrive in a new land to celebrate their freedom. Chosen People Ministries in Israel is working with individuals to help them get settled and feel safe. Nationally, there are big programs set up to assist them, but many of our staff know people who need love and care. We are providing that for them. There is much to do, and the need is great. We cherish your prayers as we care for each person who reaches out to us. With the children, we celebrate the freedom and joy that we have in the Lord!
Please pray for our work among new immigrants from Ukraine in Israel.