Displaying items by tag: israel
Ahead of the March elections, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is repeating promises he made nine years ago to control crime rates in Arab towns and villages. A recent firefight broke out on 1 February, when the police tried to stop men from shooting at a house. The Arab gang started shooting at the police with automatic weapons. When it was over, two young people were dead. One was suspected of firing at the house, but the other, Ahmed Hijazi, was a nursing student who happened to be in the vicinity but was not involved in the incident. The next day, thousands from local Arab towns and villages took to the street to protest Hijazi’s death and the police's inability to rein in crime in Arab society. Over the weekend, thousands more marched against escalating crime rates. Netanyahu has spent the last few weeks visiting Arab towns and villages and holding Zoom meetings with Arab mayors to discuss crime and violence in their towns.
One For Israel (OFI), the world’s only Hebrew Bible college, is challenging the rabbis, in a way they cannot limit,v by posting a series of videos backing Yeshua’s messianic claims on the internet. OFI’s president said, ‘We have seen how ready many hearts are to receive Him, once they hear in a relevant and understandable way. This awakening has largely been brought about by Covid. People forced to stay home are bored and are confronted with a dangerous disease that makes them think about eternity. Revival has started among the Jews in Israel. This is only the tip of the iceberg.’ OFI are also hosting discipleship videos for those still too shy to join a local congregation as Messianic Jews.
The Gaza Strip recently took advantage of the latest technologies used to produce drinkable distilled water, thanks to Israeli cooperation. Damour for Community Development, a nongovernmental organisation based in Ramallah in the West Bank, brought into the besieged enclave two atmospheric water generators that turn air into water using solar power. The machines are produced by an Israeli branch of a US company that obtained the patent for this device. Arava Institute for Environmental Research in Israel also donated a third generator for drinking water at a specialised hospital for children in the Gaza Strip. The generators are three months into a six-month trial phase to assess their operation and quality. They will not solve Gaza’s water crisis but will raise residents’ awareness of this technology, which can be the solution to clean water. The suppliers of the generators managed to work without dealing with the Hamas-controlled government institutions which do not coordinate with the Israeli side.
On 2 December. the 23rd Knesset came one key step closer to being dispersed, but it must still pass three more readings before a new national vote is called. Opposition leader Yair Lapid said, ‘I call upon the Knesset to vote in favour of this bill, to disperse and let the people of Israel choose a government that genuinely cares about them.’ Lapid said his bill was not intended to be ‘just another round of 'anyone but Bibi,’ aimed at defeating Netanyahu. He said the bill was being presented ‘because it's time to end that focus and ‘the anger and the hatred and the terrible mismanagement and the politics that are destroying our country and won't end as long as he's there’. Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz said that Netanyahu needed to leave office due to his criminal cases, and he would have already left had Blue and White listened to his office and not joined the government.
The kings of Jordan and Bahrain flew to Abu Dhabi for an important meeting with crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as Bahrain’s foreign minister Abdullatif al-Zayani was in Israel meeting his Israeli and American counterparts. These important and unprecedented meetings illustrate the tectonic changes emerging in the Middle East. The tone was different in Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi. A Gulf Air flight which arrived in Tel Aviv, with Zayani and US envoy Avi Berkowitz on board, was the first of its kind; very likely Gulf Air will soon join Flydubai and Etihad, which have announced regular flights to Israel. Meetings about peace and the brave new world illustrates how Israel and the Gulf States are moving toward. This area improvement has been midwifed by the USA.
Israel’s government is considering halting the gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions, with some senior officials now weighing new prohibitions. A new report cited health ministry officials who warned that a third nationwide lockdown might be imposed during the upcoming Hanukkah festival, which begins in December. ‘The idea that we may need to impose a third lockdown during Hanukkah is not unfounded,’ the sources were quoted as saying. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked experts to draw up plans for new restrictions, including nightly curfews which could be imposed across Israel. Under the current exit strategy, Israel was to have entered the third stage of the gradual reduction of lockdown restrictions next week, with shopping malls and markets reopening, along with studies resuming for students in grades 11 and 12.
The Azeri-Turkey offensive is worsening, with cluster bombs falling on innocent civilians even as they sheltered in churches. There is justifiable concern among Armenian Christians of a rising threat of ethnic cleansing from their historic Christian land. On 1 November the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that the indiscriminate attacks on densely populated areas with associated loss of civilian life and destruction of infrastructure ‘contravenes international humanitarian law’ and ‘could be a war crime’. Recent reports indicate that large supplies of Israeli-built weapons, including devastating ‘kamikaze drones’ and unmanned aerial vehicles have been supplied to Azerbaijan and deployed against Christian civilians. Since September 90,000 Armenians, over half the region’s population of 144,000, have fled the conflict to take refuge in Armenia. Pray that the supply of military weapons to Azerbaijan will cease immediately and for guarantees that Israeli technology, including lethal drone strikes, will not be used in the conflict.
The continuing trend of peace initiatives between Israel and its Arab neighbours are creating an upheaval of the Middle Eastern order. Please continue to pray for the people of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian territories as their leaders seek a stable footing in this season of realignment. Pray for a just and swift end to the Syrian civil war through the peace process that includes the Syrian regime, rebel and Kurdish factions. Pray that the Lord will continue to expose the duplicity and danger of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and that the Lebanese people will continue to turn against terrorist groups and unite together in the formation of a new government. We pray for a shield of divine protection around the state of Israel, that the schemes of her enemies will be thwarted.
Haredi Jews are more conservative and reclusive than modern orthodox Jews. Some Haredi are ignoring lockdown laws and embarrassing their peers who are socially distancing and wearing masks. Recently Rabbi Mordechai Leifer died of Covid-19 complications. Ashdod, his city, is one of the ‘red’ cities where infection is especially high. However neither the rampant virus spread that led to the nationwide lockdown, nor the fact that the virus was spreading especially quickly through Ashdod’s Haredi community prevented thousands of them from crowding together for his funeral, ignoring coronavirus restrictions and violating the law. A handful of police tried to hold the crowd at bay, but the mourners formed a tight-knit ring beyond the reach of the officers. When the funeral dispersed, some mourners resisted police efforts to scatter the crowd and even began rioting. Haredi make up 12% of the population but their morbidity rates are four times those of the general population.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, runs from 18 to 20 September. Hasidic Jews travel to Ukraine every Jewish New Year in their tens of thousands to worship at Rabbi Nahman's tomb. But Ukraine is keen to avoid a spike in coronavirus infections, and Kyiv has closed its borders to foreigners until late September. However, Ukraine has accused Belarus of encouraging more Jewish pilgrims to go to their shared border, as 2,000 (including children) are camped out at the border of the two countries, where charities and pilgrims are running out of food and medical supplies. ‘We are stuck here with no money, no roof, no food or drink’, said Haim Weitshandler. He urged the Israeli government to resolve what he called a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’. Ukraine said that Belarus was ‘exacerbating tensions’ by claiming that the pilgrims will be able to cross the border.