Israel’s Knesset Dissolves after One Year
After a year in power, Israel’s twenty-fourth Knesset will dissolve this week following the loss of its slim majority. The government, led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, was cobbled together with eight political parties across the spectrum, including religious and non-religious Jews, as well as Islamist Arabs. Yair Lapid’s party, Yesh Atid (“There is a Future”), won the most seats in the last election but not enough to form a government. So, he had to form a coalition government. He agreed with Naftali Bennett, the leader of another party, that Bennett would take first rotation as Israel’s prime minister.
Yair Lapid was to become prime minister in a year and a half. After the coalition dissolves, Lapid will become interim prime minister. The fall election will hopefully form a new government. This election will be Israel’s fifth in four years. Current polls predict another stalemate. Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, Likud, is trying to make a big comeback.
Please pray for Israel’s political system and leadership as Israel once again enters the rough waters of elections and political instability.
Israeli Teachers Strike
The Israel Teachers Union had been threatening to strike over wage increases for some time. During the second-to-last week of school, they followed through on their threats. For four days, the teachers went on strike for the first two hours of each school day to put pressure on the Finance Ministry. Suddenly, parents were left with children at home. Many people’s jobs start mid-morning. As the pressure did not seem to work, 1.5 million children had to remain at home all day last Wednesday as the teachers went a step further and called for full-day strikes.
Teachers are striking for increased wages, smaller class sizes, and to maintain the power of the Teachers’ Union. Israel is in desperate need of new teachers, but they cannot live on the small salary and handle more than thirty kids in a class. Even with the dissolution of the government, the Finance Ministry plans to continue negotiations. The school year is set to finish on June 30.
Please pray for safe and healthy learning and working conditions for Israel’s children and teachers.
Iranian Operatives in Turkey Hunt Israelis
Last week, the Mossad (Israel’s intelligence agency) evacuated several Israeli tourists in Turkey moments before Iranian terrorists came to kidnap or kill them. These Israelis had to leave their belongings at their hotel, as the Mossad immediately put them on private jets back to Israel. Turkish intelligence and local police have arrested ten suspects since. The Iranian operatives were impersonating students, businessmen, and tourists to lure the Israeli tourists. Israeli officials think three Iranian cells are still working in Turkey. Iran would love to capture Israelis as a show of force and power in the ongoing tension with Israel.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, “I call on all Israelis in Turkey to obey the instructions of the security forces. Israel is working to thwart Iranian attempts to carry out an attack and is preparing to respond forcefully to any attack on Israeli citizens—anywhere.” Officials told Israelis in Turkey to lock themselves in their hotel rooms and be wary of opening the doors, even for service staff and delivery people.
Please pray for the security of Israelis in Turkey.
Adventures in Northern Israel
We know that young adults in the Tel Aviv area often do not have cars yet really want to get out and explore Israel. What better way than to rent a bus and plan an all-day adventure in the Golan, the northern part of Israel! Our Tel Aviv ministry center team planned a day of kayaking and touring—with the intent to weave in Scripture with what we saw. The sign-up list was full within hours, and people were ready.
Spending the day out together and building memories made for a light and easy way to talk about what we were seeing, sharing our own stories, and answering questions. This trip was a great way to strengthen existing friendships and make new ones—quite a few people brought a friend. We thank God for Israel’s beauty, especially up north, and for the opportunities He creates to share about Him. We will have another touring adventure in July and will keep you posted!