President Biden Visits Israel
United States President Joe Biden is set to land in Israel for two days, July 13–14. During Biden’s tenth visit to Israel, he will tour Israeli security systems with Defense Minister Benjamin “Benny” Gantz, including the Iron Dome. The United States gave Israel a $500 million grant to replace the Iron Dome missiles after last year’s war with Gaza. Biden will also see Israel’s newest Iron Beam technology, which uses lasers for aerial defense. Next, he will visit Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. Following this, Biden will hold a press conference with Prime Minister Yair Lapid, a meeting which Israel’s previous prime minister, Naftali Bennett, will also join.
Biden will also meet with President Herzog, where he will receive the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor “in recognition of his friendship with Israel and contributions to US-Israel relationship, as well as his fight against anti-Israel hatred and antisemitism.” He will also have a short visit with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu so that it does not seem like the United States is picking sides ahead of Israel’s November 1 elections. Biden will finish the day by speaking at the opening ceremonies of the Maccabiah Jewish Olympic Games along with Lapid and Herzog. The next day, he will visit a hospital in East Jerusalem. Next, Biden will travel to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, where the US president will announce steps to help strengthen Abbas’ organization, including economically. After, he will head to the airport and make a rare direct flight to Saudi Arabia to attend a summit with a number of other Gulf states.
Please pray for a safe and productive visit to Israel for US President Joe Biden and his team.
Israel Sends Condolences to Japan
Israeli leaders expressed shock and condolences over the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, “On behalf of the government and people of Israel, I send my condolences to the Japanese people and their government on the tragic death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe. Abe was one of the most important leaders of modern Japan, and a true friend of Israel who brought about flourishing and prosperous relations between Israel and Japan. . . . His heinous murder will not change his distinguished legacy. Today, Israel bows its head and mourns the loss of Abe together with the people of Japan.” Abe died on Friday after he was shot from behind while giving a speech. He was airlifted to a hospital but died upon arrival.
Please pray for Shinzo Abe’s family and for peace in Japan.
Israel Prepares for the Maccabiah Games
An event that occurs every four years, the twenty-first Maccabiah Games are taking place in Israel July 12–26. The “Jewish Olympics” will bring 10,000 athletes from 80 countries for 42 different events taking place in Jerusalem, Haifa, and Netanya. In comparison, there were 11,000 athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. The Israeli delegation has 3,000 athletes, the United States delegation has 1,400 athletes, and Argentina has 800. There are a few smaller delegations, even from places like Cuba, Venezuela, and Ukraine. Most of the athletes are not professional but just enjoy playing their sport in a Jewish environment. The games have been around for ninety years.
Please pray for great sportsmanship, health, and safety for all the athletes.
Israeli Supply of Hummus Decreases
Israelis and much of the Arab world love hummus and falafel, staples in Middle Eastern diets because of their healthy and cheap fiber and protein. This year, the supply of chickpeas (the main ingredient in these dishes) will likely decrease by twenty percent for several reasons. Ukraine supplies a large quantity, and the war has disrupted its production (by more than fifty tons).
Poor weather and transportation issues are also affecting chickpea supply. American farmers did not plant as much chickpeas as they normally do because of bad spring weather. Finally, global sanctions have crippled Russia’s chickpea exports. Chickpea prices are already 17 percent higher than before the pandemic.
Please pray that the countries who have food supply issues will be able to feed their people.
Recent Gathering of Young Israeli Believers
We recently gathered some young Israeli believers for a weekend of teaching and fellowship. It was a wonderful opportunity to make connections, pray, and worship together. Most importantly, we spent many hours studying the Word together and hearing testimonies of ways that God has been opening doors for ministry. Each young adult who came is involved in their congregation and local ministry to young people, soldiers, children, and students. It was extraordinary to hear all that was happening throughout the land in honor and service to the Lord. You would be overjoyed to hear as well!
Praise God and please keep these young people in your prayers as they grow in strength and service to Him!