“These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews – nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.”

Esther 9:28 (NIV)

Happy Purim!

Let’s rejoice together as we recall how God rescued His People and provided for and protected them in Esther’s day, throughout history and still today. And let’s celebrate how He has ultimately extended His grace and power to redeem us eternally in our Messiah Jesus. The greatest blessing is found in our relationship with our Lord and Savior!

As my family celebrates Purim, we remember all of our blessings – and that includes you! We celebrate all God has done and thank Him for how He provides for the ministry of Jewish Voice through you and your partnership. Your commitment to stand with Israel and the Jewish people means so much!

This past week, COVID-19 news out of Israel continues to be good news – the country is seeing its lowest infection rate since early January. The vaccine is also showing strong results in preventing deaths from the virus. And the government has eased even more lockdown restrictions. Most definitely many reasons to rejoice as we continue to pray for Israel and the Jewish people.

Unfortunately, not all of the news is good. Iran is back at it, boasting about their ability to increase uranium enrichment and produce nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, President Biden has said he is willing to reengage with Iran regarding the nuclear deal.

Here are this week’s news updates for you to read and pray over.

 

Vaccine Prevents 98.9% of COVID-19 Deaths According to Israel Health Ministry Data

The coronavirus vaccines are “dramatically” effective – preventing death caused by COVID-19 at a rate of 98.9%. That’s what the latest data from Israel’s Health Ministry shows.

“The vaccine dramatically reduces serious illness and death, and you can see this influence in our morbidity statistics,” said Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy.

According to the data released by the ministry, the vaccine is also 99.2% protective against serious illness, reduces morbidity by 95.8% and decreases the chance of hospitalization by 98.9%.

This data represents Israelis who have received both doses of the vaccine – 14 days after their second dose – versus people who have not received any vaccine, The Times of Israel reported.

To date, 4,250,643 have received at least one dose, while 2,881,825 have received both shots out of the country’s population of about 9 million. Around 3 million Israelis are not currently eligible to be vaccinated, including those younger than 16 and people who have recovered from COVID-19.

“Thanks to Israel’s strong health system that has allowed us to vaccinate an unprecedented wide percentage of the population, and our epidemiological tracking facilities, we are the first country in the world that can show the effect of the vaccine in the real clinical world,” said Levy.

Israeli Government Launches “Green Pass” for People Who Have Been Vaccinated

Last Thursday, Israel’s Health Ministry launched the “Green Pass” certificate. It enables those who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 to take part in various activities that others cannot. The Green Pass is QR code secured.

The ministry warned that there will be serious legal penalties for anyone who falsifies the passes.

On Sunday stores, gyms, hotels and other venues were allowed to open in a major easing of lockdown measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Street-front shops, malls, markets, museums and libraries will be open to all Israelis. But only those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will be able to use gyms and pools, attend sporting and culture events and stay at hotels.

To be allowed to open, relevant businesses must scan people for the pass and only accept those carrying it.

In addition, the government will now allow outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people and indoor gatherings of up to 10, according to The Times of Israel.

Also, for schools, grades 5-6 and 11-12 were allowed to resume in-person classes in low-infection cities or medium-infection cities with high rates of vaccination. Kindergartens and grades 1-4 have previously opened in cities designated as low-infection “green” and “yellow” in the government’s color-coding system for morbidity rates. Grades 7-10 around the country are expected to continue remote learning for at least another two weeks.

 

Israel to Vaccinate 100,000 Palestinian Workers

Last Friday the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry announced it had struck a deal with the Israeli Health Ministry to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The agreement was announced after a meeting between senior officials from both country’s health ministries to evaluate the COVID-19 situation in the West Bank.

The Palestinians and Israelis have also agreed to continue cooperation to limit the spread of new strains of the coronavirus, according to the Palestinian Authority.

Biden Says U.S. Ready to Reengage with Iran on Nuclear Deal

Addressing the Munich Security Conference last Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden indicated he is ready to reengage with Iran on the 2015 nuclear accord. The Trump administration abandoned the deal in 2018 and since that time Iran has been breaching the agreement.

“We’re prepared to reengage in negotiations with the P5+1 on Iran’s nuclear program,” Biden said, The Times of Israel reported. The P5+1 countries are the six world powers that negotiated the deal with Iran — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

“We must also address Iran’s destabilizing activities across the Middle East, and we’re going to work in close cooperation with our European and other partners as we proceed,” Biden said.

Iran has demanded that the U.S. lift sanctions before it returns to talks. It has also rejected discussing other issues, such as its regional activities.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Says Country Could Increase Uranium Enrichment to 60%

On Monday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the Islamic Republic could increase its uranium enrichment to 60 percent, according to Iranian media reports.

The country is currently enriching uranium to 20%. That is just a technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%, The Times of Israel reported.

Khamenei said no country, including Israel, could prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The supreme leader also says Iran must make good on its pledge to end international inspections at its nuclear facilities. Months ago, the country’s conservative-dominated parliament passed a law stipulating that if the U.S. does not lift sanctions by this Sunday, Iran will suspend some International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections.

Let Us Pray Together

Please pray with me for:

  • A joyous Purim celebration for all – focusing on the victory God has given us and His protection and provision
  • Protection for Israelis as lockdown restrictions are eased even more, especially during Purim gatherings
  • Coronavirus infection rates to keep trending down in Israel
  • Wisdom for all involved regarding Iran, especially President Biden and his administration
  • Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah, the God who provides for them and protects them

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