AFTER THE ELECTIONS, THE KNESSET IS SWORN IN The one hundred twenty members of the twenty-first Israeli Knesset were recently sworn in, declaring their readiness to serve their country in Jerusalem. Following the April 9th elections, forty-nine brand new Knesset members were elected. At the swearing-in ceremony, President Reuvin Rivlin addressed them, along with the seventy-one returning members of Knesset, and reminded them of their duty to put aside their differences. Rivlin said, “We’ve slammed others and got slammed ourselves. Enough now. We must rise above, put our swords aside and clean the dirt. Political strategy can no longer be the only the sole compass.” Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and needs to be able to represent each citizen fairly and work for Israel’s greater good. Read more YNET Please pray for wisdom for the Knesset, as they govern Israel. ISRAEL REMEMBERS THOSE WHO PERISHED IN THE HOLOCAUST Israel recently celebrated Holocaust Remembrance Day by stopping for two minutes of silence. Pedestrians stopped and stood in place—cars, buses, and taxis pulled over while their passengers stood on the road in silence. Restaurants, cafés, and stores closed in the late afternoon and the radio only played sad songs. The television broadcast documentaries about the Holocaust and interviews with survivors. Ceremonies were held throughout the country to remember those who perished. Over a third of the world’s Jewish population was annihilated during World War II at the hands of the Nazis. Throughout the day, each name was read at the Knesset, although there are many names that remain unknown. Read more YNET Holocaust Memorial in Berlin Please pray for those who still carry the awful memories with them, that they would be comforted, and for their families, as they care for their elderly loved ones. ROCKETS SENT FROM GAZA TO SOUTHERN ISRAEL More than seven hundred rockets over the past three days have been fired from Gaza into Israel’s civilian areas, causing tensions to rise between Israel and Hamas. Israel’s aerial defense system, the Iron Dome, has intercepted and shot down numerous rockets deemed too close to civilian centers, although most of the missiles fell in open areas. The southern cities of Israel, such as Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Beersheva, all canceled school and work, and most families slept in their bomb shelters. The Israeli Air Force responded by attacking enemy targets in the crowded city of Gaza, where they found another terror tunnel built from within Gaza and reaching into a civilian area in Israel. Read more Times of Israel Please pray for Israel’s peace, safety, and wisdom in dealing with Hamas. WHY THE ROCKET FIRE NOW? Though it may be speculation, the timing of the escalation of hostility from Hamas is certainly curious and may, in fact, ultimately be financially driven. With the recent election of a new government, Israel’s Independence Day rapidly approaching, and especially because of the much-anticipated Eurovision Song Contest, it would be in Israel’s best interest to maintain a peaceful environment. Israel won the Eurovision contest last year and the rights to host this year. Despite calls to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS), the contest is still taking place May 14–18, 2019 and the world will be watching. Israel will swell with tourists. With the pressure on for Israel to provide a safe and quiet venue, to not scare away the tourists (and their money), and to allow the newly-elected government to prosper, Hamas has decided to turn up the heat. It is reported that a cease fire is dependent on the flow of money from Qatar to Hamas. With over seven hundred rockets fired in three days, Israel Defense Forces are showing much restraint while Israeli civilians are being pummeled. Hamas is basically extorting Israel’s need for calm and safety. Read more Times of Israel Please pray for Israel’s peace and safety for its civilians and tourists visiting the country.