Compassion

Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, March 13, 2020

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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 intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

 

Israel Further Tightens Restrictions as WHO Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic

by Kate Norman

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The coronavirus has quickly become a global pandemic.

Thursday, 12 March 2020 | Israel’s Health Ministry rolled out more restrictions yesterday as the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the COVID-19 coronavirus a pandemic. By Thursday afternoon, health officials confirmed the 100th case of the virus within Israel.

In order to halt the spread of the virus within Israel, the Health Ministry encouraged strict personal hygiene and urged people to “avoid large gatherings and crowds,” banning gatherings of 100 people or more.

This is touching every aspect of everyday life in Israel. Worship services, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs (religious coming-of-age ceremonies) and other events will either be limited or postponed—effectively slowing life in Israel to a halt, or at least a trickle.

Though spring is blooming in the Promised Land, Jerusalem’s streets are devoid of the normally teeming tourists and people enjoying the sun and warmer weather this time each year. Soccer games and other sporting events that would have bleachers full of cheering fans are now being played in empty stadiums by order of the Health Ministry.

The government is urging businesses to allow their employees who are able to work from home to do so. Universities are preparing to conduct online classes for the start of the upcoming semester, though schools are remaining open for now.

The WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic on Wednesday out of concern “both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.”

“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” the WHO director-general said at a press conference. “It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”

This is the first time a global pandemic has been caused by a coronavirus, the WHO chief added. A coronavirus is a virus spread from animals to people, and COVID-19 is the name of the illness caused by the current global coronavirus.

At a special press conference with Israel’s top Health Ministry officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out that Israel’s status is “better than in most countries,” as the Jewish state has “taken measures that many countries have not.”

Netanyahu called on Israelis to rally and “change your routines in order to deal with an external threat.”

He noted that preventing the spread of the virus will require people to refrain from behaviors “that Israelis love to do.”

“We love to embrace. We love to shake hands. We love to kiss. No more,” the prime minister said, urging people to refrain from physical contact, to wash their hands thoroughly and often and to sneeze and cough into disposable tissues.

Netanyahu also urged people to limit gatherings. “If there is no need for conferences or events, do not hold them and do not go to them.”

He noted that young people who are in good health and are unafraid of contracting the virus should be wary of visiting older relatives or people with health issues who are at higher risk.

“I am asking you to do this in order to safeguard your father, your grandfather and your grandmother.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in Israel continues to rise each day. Most of the cases have been traced back to international travel or contact with an infected person. However, the Health Ministry has not been able to trace the origin of two cases, sparking fears of infection within Israel. As the number of infected and quarantined rises each day, the Health Ministry continues to enact new restrictions each day to prevent the spread of the illness.

More than 31,000 people are currently self-quarantined, the Jerusalem Post reported, including more than 5,000 children. The Health Ministry on Monday began requiring anyone arriving in Israel from abroad to enter into 14-day home isolation. Israel will begin banning anyone from entry unless they can prove they are able to self-quarantine for two weeks.

“I can tell you that it will be harder before it gets easier,” Netanyahu declared. “This happens, this develops. But I believe that we can overcome this crisis.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 12, 2020)

Photo Credit: pasja1000/pixabay.com

Photo License: pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for Israel’s Health Ministry as well as government officials tasked with making decisions about Israel’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Ask the Lord to give them wisdom, pray that there would be unity among all healthcare professionals and a singleness of purpose to do everything possible to contain the spread of this virus.

Scripture

With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding. With Him are strength and prudence.


- Job 12:13, 16a

Rivlin to Expedite Coalition Talks under the Cloud of Coronavirus

by Kate Norman

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 | The State of Israel is being put through the ringer amid a storm of election woes and fear of the global spread of the coronavirus. The storm hovers over every aspect of daily life—even looming over Israel’s attempt to break the political deadlock and form a fully functioning government.

President Reuven Rivlin will condense the normally two-day process into just one day of listening to party representatives recommend a candidate to take on the task of putting together a majority coalition in order to speed things along. He will appoint a candidate on Tuesday, March 17 in Israel’s third attempt to achieve a fully functioning government in the span of a year.

“The State of Israel is facing a double crisis—political and health,” a spokesman for the president said in a statement on Monday. “These circumstances require the consultations to be held swiftly and with limits on the number of participants and administration.”

Rivlin will meet with representatives from political parties at his residence on Sunday to hear their recommendations. Each party will be given a shorter than normal amount of time to make their pitch, with fewer—if not just one—members allowed to meet with the president, according to Harel Tubi, the director-general of the President’s Residence.

The press will also not be allowed to enter the President’s Residence, “in accordance with the instructions and recommendations of the Ministry of Health,” Tubi said. But the meetings won’t be kept under wraps from the public.

“I would like to emphasize that, in order to strengthen public confidence and to promote the value of transparency in Israeli democracy, the consultations of party representatives with the president will be again broadcast live for Israelis,” the spokesman added.

In the final results of Israel’s elections last Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc came up short of the majority, only landing 58 seats. His rival, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party, walked away with 33 seats and the Joint List of Arab parties with 15 seats.

Avigdor Liberman, who has been dubbed the “king maker,” heads the Yisrael Beiteinu party, which holds 7 seats and appears to be leaning toward Gantz in an attempt to oust Netanyahu.

Whoever Rivlin appoints next Tuesday will be tasked with forming a majority coalition of 61 seats out of the 120-seat Knesset (Parliament). All signs point to the president tapping Netanyahu for the first attempt, followed by Gantz in the event that Netanyahu fails to coax a majority.

Though spring has arrived in Israel and the flowers bloom and the sun shines, a dark cloud of uncertainty and fear hovers over the Jewish state as Israelis brace themselves against the spreading coronavirus and the fear of heading to a fourth round of elections in an attempt to break the political deadlock.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 10, 2020)

Photo Credit: Sharon Farmer/Brookings Institution/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for a government that will have leaders after His heart. Pray that President Rivlin will be empowered with wisdom and understanding from the Lord as he selects the candidate who will be tasked with forming a majority coalition (or unity government).

Scripture

And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.


- Jeremiah 3:15

The Connection between Iran’s Nuclear Bid and Regional Aggression

by Ron Ben Yishai

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An Iranian rocket (illustrative)

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 | Iran has stockpiled low-grade enriched uranium that could be used to produce a nuclear weapon, according to a confidential International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report submitted to its 171 members last week.

According to the report, since US President Donald Trump announced he [was] withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear (JCPOA) agreement in May 2018, Iran had accumulated more than 1,000 kilograms [2,204 lbs] of low-grade enriched uranium.

The IAEA considers Iran’s moves to increase its enriched uranium production to be part of a pressure campaign to entice the US back to the JCPOA, but the Islamic Republic would need months and perhaps even years before it would have a prototype that could be used to make a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on any of its locally made missiles, including projectiles able to travel up to 2,000 kilometers [1,243 mi].

Iran still insists it has no intention of producing a nuclear bomb.

Israeli intelligence officials say that the Islamic Republic’s intentions are to pressure Trump to rejoin the nuclear pact on one hand, while continuing to inch towards nuclear capability.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said his inspectors were barred from entering three important sites in which, according to Western intelligence agencies, Tehran was attempting to produce nuclear warheads. Iran claims it is not obliged to allow inspection of those sites under the 2015 JCPOA.

This could be seen as an affirmation that the Iranians are proceeding with their plans to obtain nuclear capabilities, and demands of Israel and the United States to begin coordinating their response should Iran succeed in reaching a breakout period, [which] could be achieved this year, according to the IAEA report.

The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] must prepare for conflict with Iran itself, as well as its proxies to the north who are continuing their entrenchment efforts along the Syrian–Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

Using facilities belonging to [Syrian President] Assad’s forces, Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps personnel; local militias are preparing intelligence-gathering positions, as well as sniper positions that will enable attacks on Israeli troops and civilians. One such attack was foiled last week when the IDF struck Iranian-backed militia forces in the Quneitra province in southern Syria three times.

The Iranian efforts to transport advanced missiles and technology by air to Syria and Lebanon continues as well, with Syrian military airbases used as drop-off points.

Iran is also working to produce chemical weapons to replenish Syria’s stockpile and arm Hezbollah in Lebanon. An attack attributed to Israel last week near the city of Homs was reported to have targeted a chemical warfare facility and considered by foreign sources to be a warning to the Assad regime that Israel is aware of these efforts.

Israeli officials now believe the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ abilities were not affected by the assassination of its top commander, Qassem Soleimani, by the US [in] January, despite hopes that his death would hinder Iran’s expansionist efforts in the region.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on March 8, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Bring Israel’s intelligence-gathering forces before the Lord, asking that they will receive information about Iran’s activities in a timely manner and will know how to act on each piece of information. Pray that Israel’s undercover agents will remain protected and able to provide accurate information regarding the plans of the enemy.

Scripture

He [God] gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.


- Daniel 2:21b, 22

Chag Purim Sameach (Happy Purim) from Israel

by Ilse Strauss

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Members of the Zealous Israel Project at Bridges for Peace celebrating Purim

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 | The promise of springtime in Israel—as in any other nation—comes with the promise of new life, growth, warmer weather and sunshine. In the Jewish state, the end of winter brings an added delight. When the days grow balmier and filled with sunshine, a carnival atmosphere wraps around the Land of Promise. City streets, classrooms and offices teem with Supermen and Catwomen, cowboys and mermaids. When they appear—along with other costumed children and adults—it means the Jewish nation is gearing up to celebrate Purim (Feast of Esther).

Sundown last night signaled the start of this happy holiday. Purim is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in Israel. Young and old join the joyous celebration with street musicians, dancing, singing and dress-up parties stretching into the small hours.

The reason for the merriment is a good one. Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people living in the ancient Persian Empire from the evil Haman, who hatched what seemed like the perfect plot “…to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day…” (Esther 3:13).

We find the story in the book of EstherThe events behind Purim played out in the fourth century BC, when the Jewish people lived in exile as subjects of the Persian Empire. Through a series of twists and turns, the mighty ruler, King Ahasuerus, stripped his wife of her crown for insubordination. An empire-wide search was then launched to find a new queen. A young Jewish beauty named Hadassah beat the staggering odds to win the king’s heart—and the crown. Yet on her Uncle Mordechai’s instruction, Hadassah remained mum about her Jewish identity and rather went by her Persian name, Esther.

Meanwhile, the evil Haman with an anti-Semitic heart yearning for power and destruction was appointed prime minister. In line with his might and position, Haman insisted that all the subjects of the Persian Empire prostrate themselves in his presence. Mordechai’s refusal to bow down to Haman thwarted his delusions of grandeur and set in motion a plan of evil and malice. Haman persuaded the king to issue a decree, ordering the extermination of all Jews. The day of mass murder was planned for the twelfth biblical month, the month of Adar.

Haman’s plan spelled sure annihilation for the Jews, yet the God of Israel had placed Mordechai and Esther in the perfect position to help. At first, Esther had her trepidations about appealing to her husband on behalf of her people—and for good reason. The mere action of going before the king without his summons equaled a death sentence—and Esther had not received such a summons in 30 days. She tried explaining her precarious position to her uncle, but Mordechai remained relentless: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews,” he warned Esther. “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish” (Esther 4:13–14). Then came the words that stirred his niece—and helped save a nation: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (v. 14).

At Esther’s request, Mordechai rallied the Jews to join her in fasting and prayer for three days, after which she appealed to the king on behalf of her people. Esther received his favor—and his ear. The evil Haman was executed, and a new decree was issued, which allowed the Jews to defend themselves and fight back against those who came to slaughter them.

The story had a happy ending. “On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them” (Esther 9:1).

To ensure that future generations would remember the miraculous deliverance, Mordechai declared a festival. The holiday of Purim, he told his people, should be an occasion of merriment and feasting. Friends should exchange presents. The poor should receive gifts.

Today, thousands of years later, the descendants of Mordechai and Esther celebrate Purim as per Mordechai’s directions—in the streets of Israel and all over the world. Neighbors and friends send each other baskets of candy. Gifts of money go to the poor. The young—and young at heart—dress up to join public parades winding through city streets. People gather in synagogues and family rooms to read the book of Esther. The sound of noise makers echoes from countless windows in playful attempts to drown out the sound of Haman’s name every time it is mentioned during the reading.

This year, the looming cloud of the coronavirus has, however, dampened the exuberant merriment. Some 50 Israelis have tested positive for the virus and following a government directive to curb the spread of the disease that all citizens returning from abroad enter a 14-day period of home quarantine, more than 80,000 Israelis spent the holiday behind closed doors in seclusion. Moreover, the Ministry of Health has forbidden gatherings larger than 5,000 people, which nixed public parades and parties.

However, as the uncertainty of a spreading disease with no cure continues to hold large parts of the world in its grip, Purim reminds us of the delight of a destiny turned from destruction and annihilation to great victory. It highlights the God of Israel’s care and foresight and demonstrates His absolute might and power over insecurity, writes retired ambassador Yoram Ettinger in Purim Guide for the Perplexed 2016. Moreover, it reassures “faith in mankind’s capabilities, as long as faith in God is sustained.”

With that, Bridges for Peace wishes our readers a chag Purim sameach (happy Purim) from Jerusalem.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 10, 2020)

Photo Credit: Michio Nagata/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the recent observance of Purim, a time when the Lord saved His people from a mortal enemy, will remain in the minds and hearts of Israelis as they are facing a different type of enemy—coronavirus. Pray that the nation will be courageous and face the virus together in the strength of unity.

Scripture

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.


- Psalm 31:24

Israeli Police Foil Attempted Terror Attack Near Jerusalem’s Old City

by Janet Aslin

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The Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City is a flashpoint for terror attacks.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 | Damascus Gate, one of the main entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City, was closed to traffic for a period of time on Tuesday after yet another attempted terror attack at that location.

The would-be terrorist approached the police checkpoint and pulled a knife, threatening the border police who were stationed there. They were able to wrest the knife from his hands and subdue him before anyone was hurt. The attacker, reportedly a resident of an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem, has been taken in for questioning.

Sadly, violent attacks at the busy Damascus Gate area are not uncommon. It has been a flashpoint for violence for a number of years. One of the saddest attacks at Damascus Gate resulted in the tragic shooting death of 19-year-old border policewoman, Hadar Cohen, in early February 2016.

The border police, a division of Israel’s police force whose members receive special training, are stationed in areas that are considered at greater risk for riots, violence and terror attacks. The Old City of Jerusalem is one of the locations where the border police vigilantly maintain Israel’s security.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 11, 2020)

Photo Credit: Lawrence OP/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the men and women of Israel who defend this country and protect her citizens from danger—the border police, soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces and the police. Ask the Lord to be their shield of defense and their ever present help in time of trouble.

Scripture

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.


- Psalm 46:1

Netanyahu Unveils NIS 10 Billion Coronavirus Relief Plan

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Shekel coins

Thursday, 12 March 2020 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the government will allocate NIS 10 billion (US $2.8 billion) to help combat the economic consequences caused by the growing coronavirus threat in Israel.

“The coronavirus has an impact on the economy of the entire world, us included,” said Netanyahu.

“The state of the Israeli economy is better than most world economies. The financial system is strong, and unemployment is low. These are big advantages in entering this crisis, our goal is to keep the economy going with an initial help package of NIS 10 billion.”

Netanyahu said that while the first priority is to equip hospitals and reinforce the healthcare system, “there will be a separate help package provided to airlines beyond the NIS 10 billion.”

He called the airline industry “Israel’s lifeline.”

The aid package includes NIS 1 billion [US $276,273,700] to bolster the healthcare system, and an additional NIS 1 billion for “dedicated needs” (such as special needs care).

Another NIS 8 billion [US $2,210,189,600] will be devoted to business loans through a “national small and medium business loan fund,” although the terms for the loans have yet to be revealed.

“What we are seeing is a global event,” said Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who took the podium in Jerusalem after Netanyahu.

“The high financial growth is a tremendous boon for us. We in the ministry hold regular meetings with the Bank of Israel, and are keeping a close eye on events,” he said.

“We along with the entire economy are going through a difficult time, but still we are in complete control and intend to reinforce the healthcare system as much as we can.”

Governor of the Bank of Israel Amir Yaron said: “The Bank of Israel will do everything in its power to protect the economy from the ravages of coronavirus. Our end goal is to support the continued activity of Israel’s economy while creating a safety net to ensure it will overcome this difficult time.”

He added: “The prime minister, finance minister and I are all working in full cooperation in order to promote and ensure both the growth and support of the economy.”

Yaron said that at this stage, airlines will not be offered handouts, only loans.

“All airlines are in constant communication with us; we will provide them with aid to ensure they withstand this crisis. We are not talking about grants and compensation, we are talking about providing them with a stable cash flow in order to help them through the crisis.”

Earlier Wednesday, El Al Airlines announced it will place some 4,000 of its employees—around 80% of its entire workforce—on unpaid leave from next week.

Israel’s flag carrier has seen a massive decrease in revenue amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a filing to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, El Al said the extension of self-quarantine requirements to all individuals arriving in Israel was expected to have a “fundamentally adverse effect” on the company’s operations.

The Issta Lines tourism company has announced the closure of all 42 of its branches in Israel by April 15, following the company’s “drop-in operations to zero,” along with unpaid leave for most of the company’s 530 employees.

Yossi Fatal, the chairman of the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association, which represents those working in the tourism industry, said in response that he believes “giving financial priority to the airline industry is a mistake.”

“Without us to bring tourists into Israel, the plan to support the aviation industry is fundamentally incomplete,” said Fatal. “We should be among the first to receive aid, without us there will be no tourists in hotels nor on the planes.”

Fatal said that the inbound tourism industry was the sixth largest in the country, and constitutes 4% of Israel’s GDP [gross domestic product].

“We are talking about vital infrastructure that supplies jobs for thousands of people, mostly in the periphery,” said Fatal.

“We demand that the prime minister allocates a special budget to support the inbound tourism industry, or he is risking a loss of 3.5 million tourists this year due to the coronavirus.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on March 11, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ri_Ya/pixabay.com

Photo License: pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Cry out on behalf of those in Israel (and around the world) who are facing economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pray that the promises of God will be an encouragement and that they will trust in Him.

Scripture

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.


- Proverbs 3:5–6

Iran and Hezbollah: How the Coronavirus Affects Israel’s Enemies

by Ilse Strauss

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Hezbollah officials have been placed in isolation after being exposed to the coronavirus. (Illustrative)

Thursday, 12 March 2020 | In what the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled a “pandemic,” the coronavirus has been sweeping through Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the US, sowing infection, confusion, panic and death in its wake. As Israel clamps down to curb the spread of the COVID-19, the enemies of the Jewish state are also bearing the brunt of the disease.

Earlier this month, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Israel’s archenemy, the Islamic Republic of Iran, dismissed the coronavirus as “not that big a deal.” In fact, Khamenei boasted that the “tragedy will turn into a blessing.”

To date, the “blessing” has infected 9,000 Iranians, making it the country with the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases outside China. Over the past 24 hours alone, a staggering 1,075 cases have been confirmed.

Moreover, according to the Fars semiofficial news agency, the “blessing” has now also claimed the lives of 354 Iranians, making it the country with the highest coronavirus-related mortality rate in the world, fluctuating between 8 and 18% daily. In comparison, China’s mortality rate was 3%.

The devastation comes after Iran vehemently denied that the disease had ravaged the country and its people. Iran was the first Middle Eastern country to suffer coronavirus fatalities when two deaths were reported in the city of Qum on February 19. Five days later, Health Ministry officials announced that there were already 64 infected in the country and that 12 people had already perished. A member of parliament from Qum sought to rectify the announcement, saying that as many as 50 people had already died.

The official response to the claim was stoic denial. In a press conference in late February, the deputy minister of health, Iraj Harirchi, vowed that Tehran had “almost stabilized” the outbreak. He even staked his career on it, saying: “I will resign if the numbers are even half or a quarter of this.”

A day later, Harirchi was tested positive for the coronavirus. Iran’s façade of health and wellbeing seems to have unraveled after that to where it is now considered a “new epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak,” the New Yorker reports.

Harirchi wasn’t the only high-ranking Iranian government official to fall prey to the virus. Days later, Iranian vice president Masoumeh Ebtekar announced that she too had become infected. The next in line were two members of parliament, the mayor of a district in Tehran and a senior official who had served as Iran’s ambassador to the Vatican, who later passed away.

This week, Fars speculated as to the latest high-ranking officials infected, the Minister of Culture, Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism, the Minister of Industry, Mines and Business and Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri.

All other Iranian news outlets remained mum as to the country’s rapidly growing list of infected lawmakers.

As the virus continues to spread like a wildfire across the Iranian population and the international media decries Tehran’s “botched job” of contamination, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, board member of the “Harvard International Review” and the president of the International American Council on the Middle East speculates that the rapid spread might be ascribed to something more sinister than a “botched job.”

“The Iranian leaders’ cover-up and lies are some of the underlying reasons behind the spread of coronavirus to other nations. By calling the coronavirus a “blessing”, Iran’s Supreme Leader seems to suggest that his objective is to spread the virus to other countries, particularly Israel and the West,” Rafizadeh writes for Gatestone Institute.

In the meantime, Iran’s terror proxies are also feeling the effect of the disease. Hezbollah, the terror organization perched on Israel’s northern border, has reportedly placed a number of its high-ranking officials in isolation, fearing that they might have become infected with the virus during a meeting with their Iranian terror puppet masters in Beirut last week, the Saudi-based Al Arabiya news channel reports. Some of the Iranians have since tested positive for coronavirus. As a precautionary measure, the head of Hezbollah, Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, has also been placed in isolation.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 12, 2020)

Photo Credit: Paul Keller/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
We pray that the coronavirus pandemic with its resulting infections and death count in their countries will be a wake-up call for the leaders of Iran and Hezbollah. Pray that a genuine fear of the Lord would come upon them.

Scripture

And to man He said, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.”


- Job 28:28

Wet Winter Brought Excess Rainfall, Floods to Israel

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Israeli police rescuing people from the floodwaters

Friday, 6 March 2020 | Heavy rainfall across Israel over the winter exceeded the annual average by 105%, according to a report published this week by the head of the Israel Meteorologist Service’s Climate Department, Dr. Amos Porat.

During the rainy season (primarily December and January), areas in the north, such as the Carmel Coast, Hula Valley and Menashe Heights, all experienced large amounts of rain that exceeded the seasonal average by more than 120%.

Nahariya, also in the north, topped the charts with approximately 140% more than the average rainfall for the time of year.

The infrastructure in many cities was unable to cope with the sudden, heavy downpours, leaving multiple urban [areas] across the country massively flooded, including Tel Aviv, Nahariya and Ashdod.

A number of people drowned in the floods, including a couple trapped in a Tel Aviv elevator as floodwater poured in and a man in his 30s who was swept away while trying to rescue people from an overturned car in Nahariya.

An Israel Air Force base in southern Israel also flooded, damaging several fighter jets and other equipment, causing millions of dollars in damage.

In the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], the amount of rainfall for the season also surpassed the average, albeit by a slightly lower 110–130%.

The northern Negev, which has suffered a deficit of rainwater in recent years, saw rainfall return to the expected average for the south and for the season.

While December and January were rainier than average, February was a little drier, with just 60–80% of the expected amount of rainfall in northern Israel, the Jordan Valley and the coastal plain.

In the Galilee and the northern Golan Heights, 120–150 mm [4.7–5.9 in] of rainwater fell, which constitutes 70–80% of the monthly average for February.

The Sea of Galilee also saw lower than average rainfall in February, reaching only 60–70% of the average, while the Jordan Valley saw 50–80% of its expected rainfall.

Even so, the lake had a very successful winter in terms of replenishing its levels and now stands at 209.61 meters [687.7 ft] below sea level and less than a meter [3.3 ft] below full capacity.

In contrast, the southern and central regions saw an increase in rainfall that surpassed the average for the usually drier February.

In the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, the amount of rainfall exceeded the average, reaching 120–140% of the predicted monthly amount.

In areas close to the Gaza border, the amount of rainfall exceeded the average by 110–150%, while in the Negev and the Arava, the amount of rainfall reached 30–50mm [1.2–1.9 in], quantities that exceed the monthly average by a considerable amount

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on March 5, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Police/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that any remaining rainfall that comes this year will be a gentle, soaking rain rather than torrential downpours that cause flooding. Ask the Lord to comfort those who lost family members in tragic accidents over the past winter, specifically those who died in floods.

Scripture

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.


- Psalm 23:4

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