Ukrainian President Zelensky Addresses Knesset
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Israel’s Knesset via Zoom on Sunday. The Knesset tech personnel made sure there were no cyberattacks during the call. Many feared Russian hackers would try to disrupt the call. Zelensky’s speech was broadcast live on television and on screens to more than one thousand people in one of Tel Aviv’s popular plazas. Calling from his bunker, Zelensky paraphrased the Ukrainian-born Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth prime minister, saying, “We want to live alongside our neighbors, they want to see us dead, so that doesn’t leave a lot of room for compromise.”
During his speech, he urged Israel to help his country. He asked Israel to provide military assistance and establish sanctions against Russia and its oligarchs. Israel walks a difficult tightrope—trying to keep dialogue open with Russia while also helping Ukraine. Zelensky shared his concern at hearing the Kremlin and its state television speak of a “final solution” and employing other terms that the Nazi party used about eighty years ago. He asked for Israel to “never forget” its Ukrainian and Jewish friends who are fleeing, wounded, and displaced.
Please pray for strength, wisdom, and protection for President Zelensky.
Israel Sets Up Field Hospital in Ukraine
Israel is setting up a field hospital called Kohav Meir (Shining Star) in Ukraine. More than sixty medical staff—all civilian—will join. The hospital should open early this week. It will operate for at least a month. Depending on how long it is open, this hospital will cost at least 6.5 million dollars. There will be an emergency ward, maternity ward, and several other departments to treat refugees of all ages. Israel has sent a cargo plane to Poland loaded with seventeen tons of supplies for the hospital.
In addition, the Israeli police force is sending a delegation of fifteen Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking officers to help at the border with Poland. They will help provide first aid and transportation. This team will also coordinate between various organizations to assist Jewish refugees traveling to Israel. The police force is also sending officers to Ben Gurion Airport to help with the influx of refugees. Many of the new arrivals do not speak Hebrew and need help understanding entry requirements.
Please pray for these Israeli staff as they help Ukrainians facing tremendous hardships.
Massive Funeral Closes Down Much of Greater Tel Aviv
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky was a highly influential leader of the non-Hasidic Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community with hundreds of thousands of followers. He died recently at the age of ninety-four. His funeral was in Bnei Barak, a condensed neighborhood of mainly ultra-Orthodox people. There was a legitimate fear of “crowd crush” similar to what happened during a religious festival last year when forty-five people died.
More than 3,000 police were deployed with rescue helicopters and horses. There were many road closures. One of Israel’s main highways was closed in both directions for many hours, starting early in the morning. No traffic was allowed in or out of Bnei Barak. Many schools and workplaces in the greater Tel Aviv area closed since workers were not able to travel. Estimates say between 500,000 and 750,000 people attended the funeral.
Please pray for those who are mourning, that they will see that the Word and Life of the Jewish people is the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.
Israel Ninth Happiest Country
In this year’s World Happiness Report, Israel moved up to ninth place, beating New Zealand. Israel scored one point behind Norway. Two years ago, Israel ranked fourteenth. In 2021, Israel moved to eleventh place. Once again, Nordic countries rounded out the top eight places with Finland coming in first for the fifth year. Afghanistan came in last place. The report measures several different factors. Criteria include gross domestic product, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and corruption in the society.
Please pray for countries like Afghanistan that are struggling to provide basic needs to its citizens.