Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at email@example.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.
UAE Opens New Embassy in Tel Aviv
by Kate Norman
Thursday, 15 July 2021 | Yesterday marked another fruitful step forward in ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates when the UAE became the first Gulf state to open an embassy in the Jewish state.
The UAE ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Al Khaja, opened the embassy yesterday in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building, the heart of the “Start-Up Nation,” as Israel is known. The embassy marks “a new paradigm for peace and a model for a new collaborative approach for conflict resolution,” the Emirati ambassador said.
Al Khaja met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog outside the building Wednesday, and the two greeted each other warmly. The UAE ambassador then hoisted the Emirati flag alongside the Israeli flag outside the building as the kingdom’s national anthem played.
In his speech, Khaja noted what a “great honor” it was to open the embassy.
“Ten months ago our two countries signed the Abraham Accords with a vision of dignity, prosperity and peace for the two peoples,” the ambassador continued.
“This is just the beginning,” he added. “Both countries are innovative nations and we will harness these new approaches for the prosperity of the countries.”
President Herzog in his speech noted that opening the embassy “is an important milestone on our path to peace, prosperity and security in the Middle East.”
“Seeing the Emirati flag flying proudly in Tel Aviv might have seemed like a far-fetched dream about a year ago,” Herzog added. “In many ways, nothing could be more natural and normal,” pointing out the countries’ shared values and cultural similarities.
Israel and the UAE are both flourishing, bustling nations rising out of the Middle Eastern sands. Since signing the Abraham Accords last year, the two nations have joined hands to cooperate in multiple fields, including technology, agriculture, tourism, battling the pandemic and multiple other fields.
Last month, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid traveled to the UAE to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in the capital of Abu Dhabi as well as a consulate in Dubai. Lapid was unable to attend the opening in Tel Aviv yesterday, however, having entered quarantine Tuesday night after one of his staff tested positive for COVID-19.
The foreign minister nonetheless voiced his enthusiasm over the significant step forward in its burgeoning relationship with the kingdom, calling it a “historic day” and asserting that Israel will “continue to expand the circles of peace and normalization.”
Shortly after the US-brokered Abraham Accords were announced last August, the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain joined the peace circle and signed the accords alongside the UAE and Israel on the White House lawn. Morocco and Sudan later followed suit and normalized ties with the Jewish state.
The Israeli and Emirati delegations opened the embassy with shared enthusiasm, with President Herzog and Ambassador Khaja cutting a ceremonial ribbon and joining with their delegations to ring the bell and open the stock exchange for the day.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former President Donald Trump, who were instrumental in negotiating the landmark Abraham Accords, said at the time that talks were underway with more nations to make peace with Israel.
No other nations have yet done so, but President Herzog said in his address: “In my recent telephone conversations with leaders of the region, I again understand that we have more partners and allies in this mission than we thought.”
The Israeli and Emirati flags waving proudly in the bustling skyline of Tel Aviv truly signal a new era of peace between the Jewish state and her Arab neighbors.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 15, 2021)
Photo Credit: Yaniv Morozovsky/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Pray that the dream of peace, prosperity and security expressed by these leaders will indeed become reality. Ask the Lord to bless both nations as they work together toward that goal, and pray that all involved will recognize that it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob alone that truly brings peace.
The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.
Lapid Meets Egyptian FM, Top EU Diplomat in Brussels
by Kate Norman
Monday, 12 July 2021 | While visiting Brussels for the European Union Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with his Egyptian counterpart as well as the EU’s top diplomat. Lapid is slated to address the 26-member EU council and meet with more of his European counterparts today.
Lapid’s Sunday night meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry focused on “various security and political issues,” according to the Israeli foreign minister’s Twitter.
“I raised the issue of prisoners and missing persons in the Gaza Strip and discussed ways to strengthen the security of the State of Israel in the face of terrorist threats and a number of options regarding humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip,” Lapid tweeted.
The prisoners and missing persons he mentioned are two Israeli soldiers who were killed in 2014 Operation Protective Edge and whose bodies were captured and brought into Gaza, where they have since remained. Terrorists in the enclave are also holding two Israeli prisoners, both described as mentally ill, who wandered into Gaza in 2014 and 2015.
The Jewish state has made the return of the two soldiers’ remains and the two prisoners the focus of negotiations for a long-term cease-fire with Hamas, the terrorist group in charge of Gaza.
Egypt has been acting as the mediator to negotiate an agreement between Israel and Hamas since a volatile 11-day conflict in May that saw over 4,000 rockets fired toward Israel, killing 13 people. Israel responded with Operation Guardian of the Walls, striking over 1,000 terrorist targets and eliminating about 200 terrorists.
The fighting ended with a tentative cease-fire whose long-term details are yet to be ironed out. Regional and international players have debated how to restore financial and humanitarian aid to the Strip while ensuring no goods or money ends up in Hamas hands.
Later on Sunday, Lapid met with Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs. They discussed “the importance of relations between Israel and the European Union, and especially in the economic aspect,” Lapid tweeted.
Today Lapid is giving an address to the EU Foreign Affairs Council. He will be the first Israeli to address the council, comprised of 26 EU foreign ministers, since Tzipi Livni in 2008.
The foreign minister will meet more of his European counterparts today. He is also scheduled to meet privately with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general.
Foreign Minister Lapid has had a busy schedule, amid a flurry of meetings with his counterparts around the world. Last month, Lapid made a historic visit to the United Arab Emirates to meet with his Emirati counterpart and inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai.
Last week, Lapid met with his Jordanian counterpart to ink an agreement to increase Israel’s water export to the Hashemite kingdom and increase Jordanian exports into Israel.
Lapid seems eager to shake as many hands and hold as many meetings around the world as possible to increase the Jewish state’s international standing.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 12, 2021)
Photo Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Pray for Foreign Minister Lapid as he travels the world, working to increase the Jewish state’s international standing. Pray for God’s wisdom to guide him as he enters into agreements with nations on a variety of issues, and ask the Lord to grant him supernatural discernment and clarity of thought in every meeting, discussion and negotiation.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
New Israeli Technology Restores Sense of Touch to Damaged Nerves
by Nicky Blackburn ~ Israel21c via JNS
Wednesday, 14 July 2021 | A groundbreaking technology that can restore the sense of touch to nerves damaged as a result of amputation or injury has been developed by a team of scientists in Israel.
The technology, developed at Tel Aviv University and tested so far only on animals, involves a tiny sensor implanted in the nerve of the injured limb and connected directly to a healthy nerve.
Every time the limb touches an object, the sensor—which does not require electricity, wires or batteries—is activated and conducts an electric current to the functioning nerve, recreating the sense of touch.
“Loss of sensation can result from a very wide range of injuries, from minor wounds—like someone chopping a salad and accidentally cutting himself with the knife—to very serious injuries,” said Ben Maoz of the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, one of the leaders of the research.
Work on the sensor began after a chance meeting between Maoz and a surgeon, Dr. Amir Arami, from the Sackler School of Medicine and the Microsurgery Unit in the Department of Hand Surgery at Sheba Medical Center.
“We were talking about the challenges we face in our work and Dr. Arami shared with me the difficulty he experiences in treating people who have lost tactile sensation in one organ or another as a result of injury,” said Maoz.
“Even if the wound can be healed and the injured nerve can be sutured, in many cases the sense of touch remains damaged. People lacking tactile sensation cannot feel if their finger is being crushed, burned or frozen,” he said.
“We decided to tackle this challenge together, and find a solution that will restore tactile sensation to those who have lost it,” he added.
The researchers, working with a team of five other scientists, developed a sensor that can be implanted on a damaged nerve under the tip of the finger and connected to another nerve that functions properly.
The device consists of two tiny plates less than half a centimeter by half a centimeter in area [0.2 in x 0.2 in]. When these plates come into contact with each other, they release an electric charge that is transmitted to the undamaged nerve.
A Normal Sensation of Touch
When the injured finger touches something, the touch releases tension corresponding to the pressure applied to the device—weak tension for a weak touch and strong tension for a strong touch—just like in a normal sense of touch.
Unlike existing technologies that use sensors to replace damaged nerves, batteries and electricity are not required to power the new sensor, the scientists explained, as it works on frictional force.
The device can be implanted in a simple process anywhere in the body where tactile sensation needs to be restored, and bypasses damaged sensory organs. It is made of biocompatible material that is safe to use in the human body, does not require maintenance and is not visible externally.
“We tested our device on animal models, and the results were very encouraging,” said Maoz, adding that the team will continue animal trials before they move to clinical trials.
“At a later stage [we will] implant our sensors in the fingers of people who have lost the ability to sense touch. Restoring this ability can significantly improve people’s functioning and quality of life, and more importantly, protect them from danger.”
The study was published in the journal ACS Nano.
Other scientists involved in the sensor development include Iftach Shlomy, Shay Divald, and Yael Leichtmann-Bardoogo from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, and Keshet Tadmor from the Sagol School of Neuroscience.
Source: (This article was originally published by Israel21c and republished by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 13, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Tel Aviv University/jns.org
Praise the Lord for this incredible technology and pray that it will be used by doctors the world over for patients who have lost tactile sensation. As Israel continues to lead in developments like this that make the world a better, healthier place, pray that the nations will recognize the blessing of the God of Israel and His loving-kindness toward His creation.
“I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles.
IDF Busts Huge Lebanon Gun Smuggling Effort Likely Destined for Terrorism
by Joshua Spurlock
Monday, 12 July 2021 | The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and Israeli Police on Friday intercepted a Lebanese gun smuggling attempt that sought to sneak into Israel dozens of weapons worth 2.7 million shekels (more than [US] $825,000)—and the bust likely thwarted terrorism as well.
The Israeli Kan news channel reported that in Israel it is estimated that the 43 guns confiscated were originally intended for use in terrorism. While the official IDF Twitter feed noted that the “possibility of Hezbollah’s involvement” was still being investigated, the Kan Hebrew news report—translated by Google—said the assumption in Israel is that Hezbollah was behind the effort as a covert form of terrorism against Israel. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett referenced the foiled smuggling while saying [Israel] “will continue to monitor the situation” in Lebanon.
“Lebanon is on the verge of collapse, like all countries that Iran takes over, and this time, the citizens of Lebanon are paying the price,” said Bennett in comments published by his office. “It must be understood that the citizens of Lebanon are paying a heavy price because of the Iranian takeover of the country. We are closely monitoring what is happening there, both the defense minister and the foreign minister, and we will continue to be prepared.”
Bennett said the smuggling intercept is “only one of many examples” of Israel’s preparedness efforts. That’s good news for Israel, because Lebanon terrorists are thought by Israel’s defense establishment to have already succeeded in some smuggling efforts, according to the Kan report.
The IDF Hebrew Twitter feed, meanwhile, highlighted Israel’s fight against the Lebanese plots. “IDF forces monitor everything that is happening along the border, and are working extensively against the phenomenon of drug smuggling and weapons from the Lebanese border,” said the post, which was translated by Google.
The IDF English Twitter post called Friday’s busted gun-running effort “the largest smuggling attempt in the last few years on the Lebanon–Israel border.”
The sizable monetary value of the guns is especially stark when put into Lebanese currency.
Avichay Adaree, the IDF Arabic spokesperson, in a post on Twitter translated by Google, said: “How many liters of milk for children, how many diapers, how many liters of petrol, and how much medicine could have been bought for Lebanese citizens with the money?”
As for Israel’s success in stopping the smuggling attempt, Adaree celebrated the female IDF troops that intercepted the guns in a separate Twitter post. Said Adaree in Arabic, as translated by Google, “These are the heroines of the week! Their caution, their performance and their fulfillment of their duty contributed to thwarting the largest smuggling operation in a while of weapons from Lebanon.”
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Mideast Update on July 11, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
Thank the Lord that Israel was able to intercept this smuggling attempt, and ask Him to strengthen and protect those who guard the border with Lebanon. Pray that no illegal drugs or weapons will enter Israel and cry out to Him for the people of Lebanon as the situation in that country continues to deteriorate.
Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
UN Recognizes Anti-Semitism as Cause of Terrorism for First Time in Planning Review
Thursday, 15 July 2021 | The UN General Assembly acknowledged a link between terrorism [and] anti-Semitism in its recently passed Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) for the first time—a move that has been applauded by pro-Israel and Jewish organizations.
The GCTS, which lays out the world body’s strategy for combating terrorism, is required to be reviewed and passed every two years.
The latest version, passed on June 30, “Recognizes with deep concern the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence, regardless of the actors, directed against members of religious and other communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianophobia and prejudice against persons of any other religion or belief.”
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan pointed out the condemnation of anti-Semitism in a speech to the General Assembly on July 6.
“For Israel, the adoption of the GCTS is, unfortunately, not a theoretical or academic exercise,” he said. “During the weeks we sat here debating this resolution, Israeli civilians from our capital in Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and Ashkelon, sat in bomb shelters because of Hamas’s relentless terror attacks.”
The addition is the first time that GCTS has officially recognized the existence of anti-Semitic terrorism.
“We welcome the GCTS’ acknowledgment of the upswing in hate speech and terrorist attacks targeting religious and ethnic communities, which included an explicit condemnation of anti-Semitism, in line with the findings of the Secretary General’s report on global terrorism,” he said. “We have all witnessed anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish communities around the world, including here in the streets of New York, in recent weeks. It is critical that the international community take a clear stance against these attacks and develop additional tools to combat such appalling assaults against Jewish and other groups.”
The resolution also censured the use of Internet tools to encourage and recruit terrorists, and called for online companies to take responsibility for the misuse of their technology—something, according to a news release, Erdan has worked for since his time as Israel’s minister of public security and at the United Nations.
It further condemned the failure by Hamas in Gaza to take feasible precautions to protect civilian populations and buildings, such as schools and hospitals, and using them for launching attacks and storing weapons. It also strongly condemned the use of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks.
“Israel was glad to see the important language condemning the use of human shields retained in the resolution. Terrorists must not be allowed to use schools, homes and hospitals to shield their murderous activities,” said Erdan in his speech. “The use of such horrific tactics epitomizes the flagrant disregard for international law and human life that characterizes groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. These tactics also pose great challenges for law-abiding states trying to defend their own citizens. The unambiguous stance on this issue adopted by the international community underlines the challenges posed by modern, asymmetric warfare in which democratic states face off against terrorist organizations.”
The passage of the resolution was also commended by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, whose leaders issued a joint statement on Tuesday.
“Amidst a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the United States and around the world, it is imperative that the international community calls out this disturbing trend in the cause of terrorism,” said Chair Dianne Lob, CEO William Daroff and Vice Chair Malcolm Hoenlein.
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 14, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Natalie Maguire/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
Praise God for this unprecedented move by the UN to condemn anti-Semitism in all forms, but particularly anti-Semitic terrorism. Thank Him that Hamas has finally been condemned for its use of people and buildings to shield its military objectives. Pray that the GCTS will help to counter anti-Israel rhetoric and public opinion in the nations and actually have a meaningful impact on Hamas’s terrorist activities.
In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
New Israeli President Isaac Herzog Breaks Ice with Turkish President Erdoğan
by Kate Norman
Tuesday, 13 July 2021 | Israel’s new president, Isaac Herzog, spoke on the phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday, indicating potentially warming ties between the two nations.
Erdoğan is well-known for his vocal anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments, including accusing the Jewish state of “terrorism” against the Palestinian people and calling Israelis “murderers.”
The tone was reportedly more subdued during last night’s 40-minute phone call, however, with Erdoğan congratulating Herzog on his recent inauguration. Herzog was sworn in last week as Israel’s 11th president, replacing former President Reuven Rivlin, whose seven-year term ended on July 7.
The new president’s office said the phone conversation focused on increasing good relations between Israel and Turkey, including increasing trade and cooperation in tourism, technology and energy.
“The presidents see great importance to the continuation of contacts and dialogue, despite all the disagreements in order to promote positive steps to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict that will also contribute to the improvement of Israeli–Turkish relations,” President Herzog’s office said in a statement.
Erdoğan’s office issued a statement with similar sentiments, which included a safeguard from things getting too friendly: “Erdoğan told Herzog that the international community expects a complete, permanent and comprehensive two-state solution to the Palestinian–Israeli conflict per UN resolutions.”
In fact, just a few days before the phone call, Erdoğan hosted Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Istanbul to reiterate Turkey’s devotion to the Palestinian cause.
“Peace and stability in the region will not be possible as long as the Israeli occupation continues, Erdoğan stressed, saying Turkey did not and will not remain silent about Israel’s atrocities in Palestine,” Turkish Anadolu Agency reported on the meeting.
Nonetheless, Ankara and Jerusalem maintain open ties and cooperate on trade and tourism. There is currently no Turkish ambassador to Israel, however. When the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and dismissed the Jewish state’s ambassador in Ankara.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrapped up a two-day visit to Brussels, Belgium, where he met with multiple foreign ministers and addressed the European Union Foreign Affairs Council on Monday.
In an attempt to warm ties with the historically anti-Israel EU, Lapid lauded Israel’s new broad coalition government. “The key message is that different people, with different opinions, can have a dialogue and work together without resorting to a zero-sum game.”
Lapid mentioned the threats the Jewish state faces, particularly Iran, “the number one exporter of terrorism in the world” and a “country that has never given up its ambition to acquire nuclear weapons and has never hidden what the target of this weapon is: us. Israel.”
Lapid mentioned his historic visit last month to the United Arab Emirates, which normalized ties with Israel in the landmark Abraham Accords last year, to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in the capital of Abu Dhabi. Lapid also met last week with his Jordanian counterpart to ink water and trade agreements. The night before addressing the council, Lapid met with the Egyptian foreign minister.
“Something good is happening between us and the moderates in the Arab world,” Lapid pointed out. “I want to expand the circle of peace to more countries.”
The foreign minister said the circle should “eventually include Palestinians.”
“It is no secret that I support a two-state solution,” Lapid said. “Unfortunately, there is no current plan for this.”
To achieve a Palestinian state, Lapid said, “it must be a peace-loving democracy. We [Israel] cannot take part in the building of another threat to our lives.”
The new government, with its broad variety of political and ideological leanings, seems to be broadening the Jewish state’s horizons—or at least trying.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 13, 2021)
Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Pray for the relationship between Israel and Turkey. Pray that open ties and cooperation will continue but beseech the Lord that Israel’s leaders will proceed with wisdom and caution, always putting the security of God’s chosen Land first.
You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.
Israel Becomes First Country to Offer Third Vaccine Jab to Its Citizens
by Janet Aslin
Tuesday, 13 July 2021 | Israel continues its proactive approach in the fight against coronavirus by becoming the first nation in the world to offer a third Pfizer vaccination shot to its citizens whose immune systems are compromised. Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced on Sunday that the new directive would go into effect immediately.
Israel’s move comes ahead of regulatory approval for a third booster shot. Pfizer has requested this approval from the US and Europe, but it has not yet been granted. Israeli health officials believe there is a particular segment of the population which is at-risk and can be more fully protected by a booster shot of the vaccine.
Dr. Emilia Anis, head of the Health Ministry’s epidemiological unit, said, “There is accumulating evidence that patients with immunosuppression do not develop a satisfactory antibody response after two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and some of them may develop antibodies after a third dose,” according to the Times of Israel.
Recipients of organ transplants, for example, fall into the group for which a third shot has been authorized. Health care providers will determine those to whom the shot will be administered.
In an interview with the Times of Israel, Prof. Jonathan Gershoni, a biochemist and vaccine researcher from Tel Aviv University, was supportive of the health directive for those with weakened immune systems. However, he was also quick to note that the general population should not “read between the lines and think that we all need booster shots.”
The coronavirus cabinet is set to meet today to consider Israel’s ongoing response to the recent upsurge in active cases, primarily due to the highly contagious Delta variant.
Although the number of active cases are nearing 4,000, the number of serious cases remains low. In early June there were only 23 serious cases, having dropped from 260 just two months before. In comparison, after several weeks of climbing active case numbers, there are just 47 people hospitalized with the virus.
The coronavirus cabinet is considering reinstating the green pass (granted to vaccinated or fully recovered adults) for large events. Logistical problems, such as how to enforce the requirement, may make this unrealistic.
A weak area in Israel’s efforts to control the spread of the virus has been at the airport. That is being remedied. The Ministry of Defense, in conjunction with the ministries of health and transportation, has completed the new testing complex at Ben Gurion Airport. It should be operational very soon and will relieve overcrowding and long lines as each arriving passenger is required to get a COVID test before leaving the airport.
Finally, Israel continues to work on the development of a locally produced vaccine. The program is being spearheaded by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), run by Israel’s Defense Ministry. On Monday the Times of Israel reported that “the IIBR had inked a memorandum of understanding with the Nasdaq-traded NRx Pharmaceuticals to complete the clinical trials of its homegrown COVID-19 vaccine.”
Israel’s approach to the fight against coronavirus reflects a balance between protection of those at risk while encouraging as normal an environment as possible. It is a good example for the world to emulate.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 13, 2021)
Photo Credit: Arne Müseler / www.arne-mueseler.com/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Thank the Lord for the positive impact Israel’s vaccination program has had on the spread of the disease. Pray that those with weakened immune systems who are in need of an additional shot will receive it, and pray that the numbers of new cases will continue to remain low. Thank the Lord for His promise to be Israel’s shield and protector, even from COVID19 and its effects on the nation.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
After Aliyah Comes the Challenge of Absorption
by Janet Aslin
Friday, 9 July 2021 | The decision to make aliyah (immigration to Israel) is just the beginning of the Jewish journey back to the land promised to their patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What happens once they’ve arrived? The challenge of being planted in the Land, klita or absorption, begins.
Since the inception of the modern State of Israel, welcoming members of the Diaspora (Jewish population outside of Israel) has been one of its foundational principles. In the early years this meant temporary camps to house the olim (new immigrants) and food rationing as the nation’s population grew exponentially. The situation has become easier in the intervening years, but new immigrants still face significant hurdles, such as learning a new language and finding employment.
One step toward easing the difficulty of absorption is the newly established Institute for Aliyah Policy and Strategy. The Institute is the brainchild of Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that has been helping Jews from North America make aliyah for the past twenty years. One of its goals is to make sure there are systems in place to ensure the new olim’s efficient integration into Israeli society. This may require policy changes in some cases.
Michal Cotler-Wunsh, a former MK (member of Knesset/Parliament) from the Blue and White party, has been tapped to head this new endeavor. In addition to her governmental experience, where she chaired the Subcommittee on Israel–Diaspora Relations, she has firsthand experience in the challenges of melding two cultures. Born in Jerusalem, she moved with her mother to Canada when she was eight years old. She returned to Israel as a lone soldier and later returned to Canada for a period of time. For the past 11 years, she has been back in Israel.
In an interview with the Jewish News Syndicate, Cotler-Wunsch said she looks forward to advocating for change in “shaping policy around professional licensure, certification and academic equivalency.” This will open doors for new immigrants and give them “opportunities for advancement and sharing their skills with their new homeland.”
Representing Christians from around the world, Bridges for Peace also shares this desire to help new immigrants become firmly and successfully established in Israel. Our Adoption Program enables families as well as single students who are here without a support network to receive food, a monthly bus pass for a year and other needed supplies. We are also ready with a word of encouragement or a hug for those on our program when the challenges seem overwhelming.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 9, 2021)
Photo Credit: Michael Freund/Shavei Israel
Pray for the success of this new endeavor to assist those making aliyah with the often-daunting process of absorption. Pray that Cotler-Wunsh will make great headway in shaping policy that will allow new immigrants to move quickly through bureaucratic requirements, enabling them to work in their chosen professions and bless the nation of Israel with their skills and abilities. Also pray for Bridges for Peace and the generosity of Christians worldwide as we work to help new olim be successful in their new homeland.
For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob.
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