“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving. 
Let us shout joyfully to Him with songs.” 

(Psalm 95:2 TLV) 

I love Thanksgiving in the U.S., and not just because of the meal with family or the whole week of leftovers. I love it because it gives us a scheduled opportunity to pause and reflect on the blessings God has given us. 

This year, especially with the pandemic, economic uncertainty, the U.S. election, and plenty of other challenges, we need to remind ourselves of God’s blessings in our lives. That way, as the Psalm says, we can be filled with thanksgiving and joyful song. 

One of those many blessings in my life that I am so thankful for is you and your heart for the Jewish people. Your partnership is not just a blessing to me, but to Jewish people and their neighbors around the world. 

Thank you. 

I pray that this week and for the rest of the year, as you bless others, God would pour extra blessings on you and your family.  

Now, let’s look at a few things in the news to be thankful for this week, and a few things that need our continued prayer.  

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Israel last week was seen as a blessing for a number of reasons. During his first visit to the Golan Heights, he spoke out concerning Israel’s sovereignty in the area. He also declared the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to be anti-Semitic. 

Another significant news item is the first-ever known meeting between leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia. 

And coronavirus numbers are starting to rise again in Israel even as restrictions from the second lockdown continue to be lifted. With holiday travel and celebrations, the rise in cases is expected to continue. 

Here are the news stories with more information for you. Thank you for your love for the Jewish people and your prayers. 

Israel has right to defend its sovereignty, says Pompeo in first visit to Golan Heights 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made his first visit to the Golan Heights last Thursday.  

While standing on Mount Bental, where the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria intersect, Pompeo spoke of choosing to go there to “tell the world that the U.S. has it right, that Israel has it right, that each nation has the right to defend its sovereignty.” 

He added, “We will make sure Israel has what it needs to do just that. We will honor the right to defend your people.” 

During his visit, Pompeo also made a point of traveling to other significant locations, including a Jewish settlement in the West Bank and the City of David in Jerusalem’s Old City, according to The Jerusalem Post. He also visited Qasr el-Yahud in the Jordan Valley, the site of Jesus’ baptism and where the Jewish people crossed the Jordan River into Israel 40 years after the Exodus from Egypt. 

Pompeo says U.S. to designate anti-Israel boycott movement as “anti-Semitic” 

Last week during his visit to Israel, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo announced that the United States government will formally designate the anti-Israel boycott movement “anti-Semitic” and will start cracking down on groups affiliated with it immediately. 

“Today I want to make one announcement with respect to a decision by the State Department that we will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic,” Pompeo said during a joint statement to the press with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to The Times of Israel. 

“Look,” Pompeo continued, “we want to stand with all other nations that recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is. And we’re committed to combating it. Our record speaks for itself. During the Trump administration, America stands with Israel like never before.” 

BDS, which stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, is a term for a worldwide movement of pro-Palestinian activists who embrace economic sanctions against Israel as the best nonviolent means to fight what they consider unjust policies of the government in Jerusalem. 

BDS movement calls for boycott of countries normalizing ties with Israel 

The BDS movement is now calling for boycotts against anyone involved in normalizing ties with Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported. 

The BDS National Committee published on the official BDS website that its members and supporters are now called on to refrain from “displaying or promoting the works or products of those who their involvement in normalization practices are proven, until such involvement is ended in a convincing manner and in public, including a declaration of commitment to anti-normalization and cultural boycott.” 

This announcement comes after persistent criticisms directed at the three countries that have recently normalized ties with Israel: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan. 

Saudi crown prince meets with Israeli prime minister 

On Sunday night, Prime Minister Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia to take part in talks with Riyadh’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This is the first known meeting between Israeli and Saudi leaders, according to The Times of Israel. 

The trip was confirmed by two Saudi government advisers. One source said the meetings were focused on Iran and the establishment of diplomatic ties between Riyadh and Jerusalem. No substantial agreements were reached, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

Israel’s Education Minister Yoav Gallant also confirmed the trip, calling it “an amazing achievement.” 

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo and Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency chief Yossi Cohen also attended the meeting.  

Coronavirus rate in Israel continues to inch upward 

On Monday, the daily average number of coronavirus cases reached the highest level in nearly a month. This could be the latest indication that the spread of the virus is accelerating again, The Times of Israel reported. 

At the same time, the government is pushing ahead with plans to exit the country’s second lockdown, including more schoolchildren returning to class this week. 

This second lockdown began on September 18 and succeeded in bringing down surging infection rates. But it also paralyzed a great deal of the economy and public life and shut down the entire education system. Restrictions have gradually begun lifting, but as the drop in infection rates slowed and then reversed, health officials have spoken up. They have warned a third lockdown could happen if the rate of daily diagnosed cases doesn’t drop back down. 

The good news on the coronavirus front is that Israeli officials have been negotiating deals for vaccines with three different pharmaceutical companies: Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. 

Let us pray together 

Please pray with me for:  

  • Continued strong support for Israel from the U.S., like we witnessed during U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo’s visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia last week 

  • More progress toward Saudi Arabia normalizing ties with Israel  

  • Wisdom and protection for the people of Israel as coronavirus restrictions continue to be lifted, even while some numbers are starting to go up 

  • Continued success of clinical trials to produce effective vaccines, and for Israel to get access to the necessary vaccines when they are available 

  • Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah 

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