.; A compilation of news reports from the past week for the information of those committed to .praying.for Israel
David’s Comment: We Need to Adapt Quickly to the New Reality – Failing to Prepare is Preparation to Fail
It is April 3rd and the first 3 months of 2020 are now behind us, but my oh my how the world has changed over the last 4 weeks. News of the coronavirus began to appear in the media in December as it began to spread in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Can you remember what you were thinking as you watched the reports as the number of infections in Wuhan and other nearby cities began to accelerate ? What were we thinking when we began to see these Chinese cities with very large populations begin to shut down as the people were quarantined to their homes. The huge Chinese companies in these cities that were producing many of the items that we all purchase to make our lives comfortable were forced to close down due to lack of workers. Soon we heard that the same virus began to spread in Japan and South Korea, but life in most of the rest of the world went on as usual.
Most of us enjoyed the Hanukah and Christmas season and the New Year celebrations oblivious of what was invisibly getting closer to our nations. Throughout January we heard more and more reports of rapidly increasing infection numbers and the growing death toll in the 3 Asian nations, but life continued as normal in the rest of the world. Mid February brought news of a large number of infections and deaths in Iran and then it began to grow in Italy on February 21st with 16 infections. The first infected person in Israel was also February 21, a person who returned home from the Diamond Princess cruise liner. Since that time the virus has spread, slowly at first, but increasing daily across Europe, Scandanavia, the Middle East, North and South America, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific.
As we enter into April the statistics in many of our nations are at a level we could not have imagined a month ago. Many of us are confined to our homes except food shopping and medical purposes.
Here in Israel we are not supposed to be more than 100 meters from our homes except of the above 2 reasons. All education facilili ties and religious meetings are shut down, and most businesses are closed, placing multitudes of people on the unemployment lists. International travel is almost non-existent and internal travel is also majorly restricted. Our governments have finally recognised that social isolation is the only current way of slowing down and hopefully stopping the virus – but for many nations who blindly delayed these restrictions, it may be too late, and outside of a miracle, the horrendous reports coming out of Italy and Spain, will be the pattern in many nations that moved too slowly. Not to mention the enormous damage being done to the economy of our nations.
The current reality is that there is no proven vaccine to prevent or heal the COVID-19 virus. Some good news is that if the improving statistics coming out of China are true, the virus can be beaten, but China moved quickly and drastically, and the people stayed at home like they were told to. Some reports are saying that Italy may have reached a peak and the turn around has begun, but until a pattern becomes clear in several countries, we have no way of knowing when the isolation orders can be relaxed and hopefully life can begin to return to the way it was in early March. However that make take several months at the best.
We need to prepare for the reality that we are going to have to live in this current state of social isolation, no church meetings and financial chaos for the foreseeable future. Here is what we are doing in Israel to adapt to the new reality of life with coronavirus …..
1. PRAY as NEVER before – for yourself, your family, friends, neighbours and your nation. Don’t forget to apply Genesis 12:3 and pray for Israel first.
2. Obey the government regulations of staying home except for food and medical supplies – be as quick as you can
3. When you do go out wear a good quality mouth and nose mask and keep your eyes covered with goggles or a clear plastic shield
4. Keep 2 metres or 6 feet apart from other people – wear gloves and touch as little as possible
5. Follow hand washing instructions as we are being shown by the media.
6. Wipe down all fruit, vegetables, cans and packets that you bring home, then wash your hands well.
7. Do not panic buy, but slowly build up 2 – 4 week supply of staple food and medical supplies.
We may well be restricted in our homes for weeks if not months, and even if the virus goes away, it could back come again If we believe the Bible and we really are in the Last Days, more plagues and pestilences will surely follow COVID-19. I repeat … Failing to prepare is preparation to fail. Hopefully our governments will be much better prepared for the next crisis, and we and our family and social network need to be personally prepared to react much faster in the future. For now lets follow the 7 suggestions above, especially the first one.
In times of social distancing it is important to stay in touch with the people we love. If you do not already have a smartphone, buy one as soon as possible and get set up with high speed WIFI to enable you to communiciate with family and friends. Download Zoom (www.zoom.com) and set us prayer groups. Watch your church meetings on the internet if they are live streaming worship and sermons, as most are now that public meetings are banned.
Josie and I will do our best to keep you updated through the Carmel Alert. We are also looking to connect to prayer groups in the nations, so that we can pray for you from Mt. Carmel, and you can pray for us. We use Zoom for these meetings. Please write back to me if you would like to set up a time for a Zoom prayer meeting. Be blessed and may the LORD keep you and your family in perfect health.
The LORD bless you as you bless Israel by standing in defense of her right to exist on all of the land given to the Jewish people by the GOD of Israel. Please pray that all Israel will turn back to their GOD. Do not be silent, but share this with your fellow Christians, share it with your pastors, and with anyone you have a chance to speak to. Lets also pray for a breakthrough to the Muslims, and please remember to pray Divine protection for all of the soldiers in the IDF.
Shabbat Shalom ….. David & Josie
This Week’s News Items
1. Israel Responds to Gaza Rockets in Midst of Virus Crisis World Israel News March 29th
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into the country?s south. There were no reports of casualties or damage. In response, Israeli tanks and aircraft struck three sites belonging to the Hamas terror group. The Israeli military described the targets as ?infrastructure used for underground activity.? The fire shattered weeks of a rare total calm along the often-volatile frontier between Israel and Gaza, a coastal territory ruled by Hamas. No group has claimed responsibility for the launching but Israel usually blames Hamas for any attack originating from the enclave it controls.
The calm had prevailed as Gaza and Israel struggle to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Nine cases of the virus have been confirmed in the Gaza Strip amid fears that its under-resourced health system will not be able to handle an outbreak. Pray that Hamas is ejected from Gaza by regular citizens who want to live a better life than they have under the terror organisation.
2. Right Wing Parties Threaten to Topple the Unity Government World Israel News March 30th
As Israel?s Likud and Blue and White parties continue their efforts to cobble together a national unity government, many in the right-wing bloc expressed concerns about the large number of portfolios Blue and White leader Benny Gantz is expected to secure for his faction. Netanyahu ?sold everything that is important to the ideological right to Blue and White, and the Justice Ministry will probably go to [MK Avi] Nissenkorn, which is a disaster for the right given that he is very left-wing,? one Yamina (Right) official said. ?He sold the defense, economy and communications portfolio to the left,? he continued. ?Netanyahu is basically forming a left-wing government. He made sure the haredim [ultra-Orthodox] get what they want, but he didn?t even think about giving the interior, health or religious affairs portfolios to Blue and White.? Pray that all Israeli politicians will stop their selfish bickering and begin to work to work together for the good of the nation.
3. Israel Increases Restrictions World Israel News March 31st
PM Netanyahu addressed the nation last Monday evening to announce the tightening of restrictions on movement to stem the exponential growth of coronavirus contagion in Israel. Speaking from quarantine in his own home after one of his staff members tested positive for the virus, PM Netanyahu said the government was imposing additional restrictions, including a ban on meetings of more than two people who are not in the same immediate family. The restrictions also prohibit guests from outside the immediate family at weddings and limit the number of people attending funerals to 20. At all meetings and events, people must maintain the two-meter (six-foot) safety distance to reduce the chances of being infected. In response to media reports showing police breaking up gatherings, Netanyahu said there are still religious and secular groups who have not been complying with health regulations and were therefore ?endangering the lives of others.? ?I instructed the security forces to act immediately in areas and neighborhoods that violate our clear guidelines against the corona epidemic,? the prime minister said. Shortly after the address, veteran Israeli political reporter Barak Ravid tweeted that the prime minister?s test for coronavirus had come back negative. Immediately after Netanyahu spoke, Israel’s Finance Minister gave a televised press conference from his office announcing a $23 billion economic package to help all sectors of Israel?s society and economy, including $2 billion to be reserved for all those not covered in the different programs he described. Israel?s economy has taken a massive hit with unemployment exploding as more than 650,000 people registered for unemployment benefits in the past few weeks. Israel?s population is 9.2 million. The economic package includes massive aid for both salaried and self-employed workers, loans and grants for small, medium and large businesses, and an immediate $2.8 billion for the Ministry of Health which is facing tremendous pressures as the number of Israelis infected by the epidemic doubles every three days. Pray for an immediate turn around in the spread of the virus and that the sick people and the economy will be healed.
4. 900 Jews Immigrate to Israel in March Despite the Coronavirus Jerusalem Post March 31st
Some 900 new immigrants have arrived in Israel since the beginning of March 2020, despite the coronavirus crisis the Jewish Agency has said, with 1,000 expected in total before Passover. The new olim have come from across the globe, including Russia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Argentina, the USA, Canada, Brazil, France, the UK, South Africa, Australia and India. The Jewish Agency has continued to bring new olim into the country in conjunction with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration. And in coordination with the Health Ministry, the Jewish Agency has implemented a comprehensive emergency procedure for the arrival of the new immigrants to Israel to safely absorb them in Israel. Practically, this means that every immigrant arriving for direct absorption is required to sign a commitment, prior to immigrating, that they will go into immediate quarantine for 14 days at a fixed location. During this period, the Jewish Agency, the Aliyah Ministry and local authorities are maintaining contact with the immigrants remotely to provide ongoing assistance. The Jewish Agency has also set up an immigration hotline based in Jerusalem but linked to several dozen location worldwide and staffed by multilingual professionals who are providing guidance and assistance to every immigrant, even before arrival in Israel.
5. Israeli Ranked Number 1 in World for Virus Protection & Prevention Deep Knowledge Group March 31
The Deep Knowledge group put Israel in first place among countries around the world when it comes to promoting safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Deep Knowledge Group is ?an investment fund focused on AI and DeepTech, which values knowledge above profit,? its website says. PM Netanyahu announced severe new restrictions Monday night in an effort to curtail the spread of the virus. To date, 17 Israelis have succumbed to the disease, During the announcement, the prime minister Netanyahu mentioned that he was addressing Israelis from isolation, as he had been in contact with another person confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 ? his aide, Rivka Paluch. The only other person in the room was the cameraman, who was six meters away, he said. He added that he had done his own hair and makeup before the broadcast, quipping that was why he looked like he did. Test results showed that PM Netanyahu, 70, is not infected with the virus. Israel has been a world leader in taking steps to protect its citizens since the start of the pandemic in Israel at the beginning of March, and was one of the first countries to close its borders and send its population to home isolation. Pray that other nations will look to Israel for guidance in dealing with the virus outbreak.
6. Arab Pastor Helping Jews to Celebrate Passover Israel Today News March 30th
An Arab Christian from Nazareth has organized his church to deliver food packets to elderly and needy families during the coronavirus lockdown. What surprised the local mayor was when the church also delivered crates of matzot to ensure the Jewish families could properly celebrate Passover. Israel Today spoke with Salim, the Arab pastor who loves Israel and the Jewish people. ?When I called Mayor Ronen Plot at 7:30 in the morning he was just as surprised as I was that he answered the phone,? Salim said. Mayor Plot of Nof HaGalil, the Jewish community of Upper Nazareth, was shocked to hear that an Arab was interested in helping Jewish families. Even more unheard of was the fact that Pastor Salim?s church wanted to help the mayor?s Jewish residents celebrate Passover during this challenging time. ?We are bringing cases of food goods, unleavened bread and wine for our Jewish neighbors to celebrate the holiday,? the Arab pastor told Mayor Plot. ?When I told the mayor about our plans, he wanted to meet me personally to learn more about our church community,? Salim said. The pastor explained to the mayor that his church loves the Jewish people. ?I used to hate the Jews,? Salim explained. ?They crucified my Savior!? he said. Salim went on to explain how his faith in the Jewish Messiah changed him and taught him to love the Jews. He now sees the Jewish people as his ?older brother.? Pray that all Arab Christians have the same attitude towards the Jewish people.
7. What is Essential ? In UK its Alcohol; In USA its Guns; Israel Votes Prayer AP / World Israel News March 29
The coronavirus pandemic is defining for the globe what?s ?essential? and what things we really can?t do without, even though we might not need them for survival. Attempting to slow the spread of the virus, authorities in many places are determining what shops and services can remain open. They?re also restricting citizens from leaving their homes. Stay-at-home orders or guidance are affecting more than one-fifth of the world?s population. This has left many contemplating an existential question: What, really, is essential? Some lists of exempted activities reflect a national identity, or the efforts of lobbyists. In some U.S. states, golf, guns and ganja have been ruled essential. In many places, booze is on the list of essentials. The UK at first kept liquor stores off its list of businesses allowed to remain open, but after reports of supermarkets running out of beer, wine and spirits, the government quickly added them. Several states where marijuana is legal, such as California and Washington, deemed pot shops and workers in the market?s supply chain essential. For some, the emphasis is on medicinal uses, not enabling cooped-up people to get stoned. In a nod to Israel?s vibrant religious life, people can gather for outdoor prayers ? with a maximum of 10 worshipers standing 2 meters (2 yards) apart. Demonstrations ? also allowed ? have occurred outside parliament and the Supreme Court, with participants maintaining social distance. Pray that people everywhere reassess their priorities to make prayer (to the GOD of Israel) their priority.