Rivlin Gives the Mandate to Form a Government to PM Netanyahu
It is always the responsibility of Israel’s president to task a candidate to assemble a coalition. Despite the fact the results of the March 23 election revealed no clear winner and seemingly no easy way to form a majority, President Rivlin reluctantly asked Likud’s leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to try to form a coalition. President Rivlin was hesitant to give Netanyahu the mandate to form a government because of uncertainty as to whether anyone could form a viable government, given the stalemates of the last three elections in the past two years. Rivlin also cited Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial. He urged lawmakers to embrace coexistence for the national good so that a fifth election could be avoided. Prime Minister Netanyahu has a set amount of time to try to form a majority coalition. Meanwhile, Israel has sworn in its twenty-fourth Knesset since the nation was founded in 1948.
Please pray for Israel’s lawmakers as they try to form a stable government that represents all the people.
UAE Flight to Israel
The first direct flight from the United Arab Emirates on its national carrier, Etihad Airways, landed in Israel last week. As diplomatic relations between the two countries continue to blossom, the commercial airline will fly to Israel twice a week. Tourists from both countries will not need to quarantine upon arrival. UAE Ambassador to Israel, Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah, said, “As our countries recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have much to look forward to in commercial, diplomatic, technological, health, and tourism exchanges.”
Please pray for the strengthening of bonds between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Holocaust Memorial Day
Last week, Israelis observed Holocaust Memorial Day with small ceremonies and times of remembrance for the six million Jews who were killed by the Nazis during World War II. For two minutes across the country, sirens wailed, and all foot traffic, work, places of business, and schools stopped and stood still. Buses, trains, and all traffic on the roads and highways also stopped. There are currently 174,500 Holocaust survivors living in Israel. During the past year, 900 Holocaust survivors died of COVID-19. Half of the remaining survivors rely heavily on the State for help with food, and many need more help to purchase glasses and hearing aids. The number of those needing assistance has increased over the last couple of years, and the State has a healthy budget to be able to help them.
Please pray for these dear people to continue to live life to the fullest and with dignity.
Prince Philip’s Israel Connections
With the recent passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Israel remembers his visit in 1994 when he became the first British royal to visit, breaking the royal palace’s unofficial boycott. Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Greece, was named by Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, as “Righteous Among the Nations.” She had hidden three Jews in her palace for thirteen months during World War II when Greece was under Nazi occupation. She was honored and buried on the Mount of Olives. While on his visit, Prince Philip met the family whom his mother saved. During WWII, Prince Philip joined the allied war effort and had nothing to do with his three sisters’ husbands, who were Nazis. His support of pro-Israel and Jewish causes ran deep.
Please pray for Queen Elizabeth II and her family as they mourn the passing of her husband.