“Because he has devoted his love to Me, I will deliver him.
I will set him securely on high, because he knows My Name.
When he calls on Me, I will answer him.
I will be with him in trouble, rescue him, and honor him.”
Psalm 91:14-15 (TLV)
It’s such a blessing for me to take just a few moments each week to gather these thoughts to share them with you, one of our most trusted friends.
Thank you for joining with me on this ministry journey and for investing a few minutes to read these words.
Purim is just two weeks away. Although not one of the biblical Feasts commanded by the Lord, the book of Esther proclaims Purim as a celebration to be observed throughout all Jewish generations. And with good cause – Purim marks another point in Jewish history when God intervened to save His people from utter destruction.
I’ll share more about Purim in the weeks to come, but I encourage you to read the book of Esther as we look forward to this celebration. This week, we’re also offering a book you’ll find helpful and interesting about Purim and the upcoming Spring Feasts.
Each week as I share news updates with you, whether we interpret them as “good” or “bad” news, I see God working in and through Israel and His people. I hope you do, too.
This week we have more coronavirus news as well as an update on how President Biden is responding regarding Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. Also, a story with very good news about the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Thank you for your love and concern for Israel and the Jewish people.
Third Pandemic Lockdown Eased Sunday
Last weekend, after more than a month, Israel eased the restrictions of their third nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. At the same time, the country continues to have thousands of daily new cases and the death toll is now over 5,000, The Times of Israel reported.
Restrictions on travel and businesses that don’t serve the public were removed. Businesses with individual interactions, such as hairdressers and cosmeticians, were allowed to open. But many businesses and shops remain closed, as well as schools and preschools.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Ministry officials issued warnings of the potentially devastating consequences of reopening schools with coronavirus morbidity remaining high and variants of the virus hitting children harder than previous strains.
More Than 2 Million Israelis Have Received Both Vaccine Doses
Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination program with the Pfizer/BioNtech shot is ongoing. Nearly 3.5 million people have received the first dose and over 2 million of them have also received the second dose.
Health Ministry data from Sunday shows 92.8% of people ages 60 and over have either received at least one vaccine dose or have been infected and recovered from COVID-19.
Israel Expands Vaccination Drive to Anyone Over the Age of 16
Everyone over 16 is now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine, said Israel’s Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, according to U.S. News & World Report.
“From this morning anyone over the age of 16 can get vaccinated. Take advantage of the opportunity that almost no country in the world has,” he announced on Facebook last week. “Come in droves, this is the only way we will beat coronavirus – together!”
Israel has had the world’s most rapid vaccination campaign. More than one-third of the population have received at least one dose. But the rate of vaccinations has slowed down in recent days. Healthcare providers are finding it more difficult to get people to come in to receive the vaccination.
More Accurate, Cheaper Mass COVID Test Developed
Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a new single-stage test using a combinatorial pooling method for COVID-19 diagnostic testing. It can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by identifying people who are infected sooner and at a lower cost.
BGU’s Professor Tomer Hertz explained that the method used to create this test “is the only process now available to deliver the level of mass testing that countries are currently aiming for in order to control outbreaks.”
The test successfully identified all positive patients and asymptomatic carriers in a single round of testing, The Jerusalem Post reported. It was developed in a collaboration between BGU, Soroka University Medical Center, The Open University of Israel and Clalit Health Services in Israel.
U.S. Senate Votes 97 to 3 to Keep Embassy in Jerusalem
Last week the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to keep the United States Embassy in Jerusalem permanently, The Times of Israel reported.
In May 2018, then-President Donald Trump’s administration moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the holy city as Israel’s capital.
President Joe Biden is expected to take a more balanced approach concerning Israel and the Palestinians. But he has said he doesn’t plan to move the embassy.
President Biden Says U.S. Will Not Lift Iran Sanctions Until it Stops Enriching Uranium
The U.S will not lift sanctions on Iran to get the country back to the negotiations table President Biden said on Sunday.
During an interview on “Face the Nation” on CBS, he was also asked if Iran must stop enriching uranium first. The President nodded his head yes.
On Friday, Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, said the U.S. approach would be “to ensure that we are consulting and coordinating very closely with first and foremost our allies, but also our partners, and of course, with members of Congress” about Iran.
Before the interview on CBS, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran’s “final and irreversible” decision was to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal only if the U.S. lifts sanctions. This was reported on Iranian state TV, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The nuclear deal known as the JCPOA and was signed during the Obama administration. The U.S. withdrew from the deal in 2018 under the Trump administration.
Let Us Pray Together
Please pray with me for:
- More success with COVID-19 testing options like the one developed by Ben-Gurion University
- President Biden and his administration to make wise decisions regarding Israel – especially in regard to the Palestinians and Iran
- The easing of restrictions to have a positive effect on the Israeli people and the economy while keeping down the virus infection rate
- Wisdom for Israel’s leaders regarding the opening of schools
- Continued success in rolling out coronavirus vaccines in Israel and around the world
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah