Israeli Nurses Strike
Israeli nurses went on strike last Monday over manpower shortages leading to difficult and strenuous situations and an inability to properly care for patients. While the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the effects of decreased staff numbers, some of these issues have been ongoing since last summer. There are many nurses who are currently quarantined and unable to work after coming in contact with virus patients. The National Nurses Union and the Finance Ministry quickly came to an agreement regarding hiring additional staff, although the numbers are only temporary. Permanent recommendations for increased staffing will be decided over the next thirty days. In addition, a “capsule” system will be implemented for those on the same shifts to stay working together. This system is intended to decrease cross infections to workers on other shifts. The agreement also included the purchase of more medical equipment and an increase in testing capabilities. According to the arrangement, new positions will include 2,000 nurses, 400 doctors, and additional security personnel at sensitive locations.
Please pray for the doctors and nurses who continue to diligently and selflessly care for those needing medical care, even during these exceptional times. Pray that they would sense the hand of God on their lives and turn to Him for help and comfort as they care for others.
Israel in Negotiations to Purchase Vaccines
Israel is negotiating the purchase of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine that has been performing well in clinical trials on healthy human patients. It promotes antibody and T-cell immune responses. While there have been minor side effects, the majority of these have been manageable with acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol®. The pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has been working with scientists from Oxford University to develop this vaccine. Large-scale production of the vaccine will begin with at least a million doses available in September and widespread availability by the end of the year. Israel also signed a deal with Moderna in May, a major United States pharmaceutical company, to purchase vaccine doses once available. Israel realized that in order to receive enough of the vaccine against COVID-19, one company would not be able to provide enough. Since all of these vaccines are still in testing, availability will depend on the success of late-stage clinical trials.
Please pray that scientists find the safest treatment to combat COVID-19 and for the continued success of vaccine testing.
Israel’s North Borders on Alert
The situation in Israel’s northern borders became a bit rocky after Hezbollah in south Lebanon vowed to seek revenge for the death of one of its fighters by an Israeli airstrike in Syria. Israel has increased its presence in the north by reinforcing its troops, artillery, and field intelligence. Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz also approved more Iron Dome missile defense systems to be deployed, and the Air Force is ready to respond. In the meantime, residents, agriculture, and tourism are allowed to continue as normal.
Please pray for Israel’s northern border to remain calm and peaceful.
Israel’s Watermelon Industry
In Israel, people like to eat crunchy watermelon seeds and, while most watermelons have less seeds and more refreshing sweet fruit, the Malali watermelon is the opposite. It is mainly seed and 97 percent of the fruit is thrown out after the 2,800 tons of seeds are harvested each year. The watermelon is named after the village in central Israel, Kfar Malal, where it was cultivated. Now, Israeli scientists have discovered that the waste of the watermelon, accumulating up to 56,000 tons per year, produces 8,200 tons of carbon dioxide per year while it breaks down. It was also discovered that, with proper treatment, this wastage could be used to make biological fuel! Ethanol is a by-product when sugars break down. As these watermelons are not watered towards the end of their growth, their sugars are very high. Israel does not currently have an ethanol industry, so using the waste from watermelons and letting nature take its course allows for the reduction of waste and greenhouse gases and gives Israel some extra biofuels.
Praise God for the ability to be wise with our environment and to help reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Isaiah 53 Explained!
We have been able to follow up with many conversations by phone, email, and WhatsApp as a result of our online advertisements for people to receive the free Isaiah 53 Explained book in Hebrew. People have had great questions and conversations with us. Someone even said, “I read it twice and was looking forward to talking with you!” Just recently, a few of our staff have met outside with people who wanted to talk, read, and pray together. And YES, a couple have accepted Jesus as their Messiah! It is truly remarkable.
Please pray for more opportunities to share the gospel and for the growth and discipleship of those who recently became believers!