“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”
Nahum 1:7(NIV)

Shalom, my friend. 

We know how much God cares for us. It is such a blessing to know how much you care for Israel and the Jewish people. I am grateful that you stand strong in your support and desire to know what is going on in Israel so you can pray for her people and even speak out on their behalf.

This week’s news stories include responses to the boycott announcement by Ben & Jerry’s, possible positive news regarding next steps in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and COVID-19 updates. As always, your prayers are greatly appreciated.

BEN & JERRY’S BOYCOTT ANNOUNCEMENT PROVOKES REACTIONS FROM ISRAEL AND U.S.

Last week, Ben & Jerry’s drew worldwide attention when the company announced it would not renew its license agreement with the Israel-based company that manufactures and distributes its ice cream once the agreement expires next year.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said he spoke with Alan Jope, chief executive of Ben & Jerry's parent company Unilever, and raised concerns about what he called a “clearly anti-Israel step.” He said the move would have “serious consequences, legal and otherwise,” and Israel “will act aggressively against all boycott actions directed against its citizens.”

This is the latest in Israel’s long-time fight against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, a Palestinian-led campaign focused on boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli businesses, cultural institutions and universities.

When asked about the decision of ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s to boycott West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said, “I don’t have a reaction to offer regarding the actions of a private company… But more broadly, what I will say is that we firmly reject the BDS movement, which unfairly singles out Israel.”

U.S. STATES THREATEN SANCTIONS AGAINST BEN & JERRY’S AFTER ISRAEL BOYCOTT ANNOUNCEMENT

Florida and Texas have both threatened sanctions against Ben & Jerry’s following the ice cream company’s announcement of an upcoming boycott that will stop sales of its product within Israel’s occupied Palestinian territories.

The states’ actions came in response to a public call by Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., asking 35 states with anti-BDS laws to take action against Ben & Jerry’s.

U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin of New York also spoke out against the boycott. He said, “The decision by Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s to target hundreds of thousands of Jewish customers abroad with this discriminatory boycott is a disgrace and a direct embrace of the anti-Israel BDS movement.” He called on the state of New York to take action.

In addition, several grocery stores that are Jewish-owned or in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods in the U.S. and Australia have started pulling the ice cream brand from their shelves.

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY OFFICIAL SPEAKS ABOUT NEXT STEPS FOR PEACE PROCESS WITH ISRAEL

Last week, Hussein Al-Sheikh, civil affairs minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), spoke in an exclusive interview about the next steps in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the U.S. role, among other topics, The Jerusalem Post reported. 

Al-Sheikh is one of the closest advisers to the president of the PA and the point person in security matters. He also serves as the chair for conversations between the Palestinian government and the U.S. administration.

The civil affairs minister was asked about how President Biden’s appointment of Hady Amr as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs for the U.S. State Department has made a difference.

“Mr. Hady Amr is playing a very positive role in his constant contact between himself and the Israeli government. We agreed in principle that we need first to change the atmosphere between us and Israel,” Al-Sheikh said. “We agreed to start with what are called CBMs – confidence-building measures – between us and the new administration [U.S.] and between us and Israel.”

Al-Sheikh continued, “The second stage is to find the framework for the nature of conflict resolution between Israel and the Palestinians, which is or should be focused mainly on international legitimacy and legal decisions that refer to two states for two peoples living in peace and security in a stable, cooperative and prosperous environment between the two states. A Palestinian state and an Israeli state. This is the plan that we agreed on with the new administration and we are working on it right now.”

RISE IN SERIOUS CORONAVIRUS CASES IN ISRAEL IS HIGHEST SINCE MARCH

Renewed restrictions, including reimposing the “Green Pass,” (a vaccine certificate) begin on July 29 because of the increase in serious COVID-19 cases in Israel, The Times of Israel reported.

The restrictions apply to both indoor and outdoor events with over 100 participants. The requirement to present proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test from the past 72 hours only applies to people older than 12. Under that age, there are no restrictions.

Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash said, “We hope the Green Pass will help reduce morbidity, but the number of serious cases is very troubling.”

CDC IN U.S. CHANGES TRAVEL HEALTH NOTICE FOR ISRAEL DUE TO SPIKE IN COVID-19 CASES

With the number of positive cases of the coronavirus reaching the highest number in several months, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised its travel health notice for Israel to “Level 3: High.”

The notice had been lowered to “Level 1: Low” in June. The Level 3 rating says unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to Israel.

On Sunday, nearly 1,400 new COVID-19 cases were identified in Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.

ISRAEL ADDS TWO MORE TO LIST OF PROHIBITED COUNTRIES FOR TRAVEL

Spain and Kyrgyzstan have been added to the list of countries that Israelis are not allowed to visit. This was approved by the government’s Constitutional Committee on Monday, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Already on the list are Uzbekistan, Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Russia.

Georgia, Turkey, Cyprus and the United Kingdom were under consideration, but the committee decided not to add them to the list of prohibited countries at this time.

Let us pray together

Please pray with me for:

  • Support for Israel regarding the Ben & Jerry’s boycott and any other actions by the BDS movement
  • Wisdom for leaders in Israel, the U.S. and the PA concerning next steps in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process
  • Protection of Israelis from the Delta coronavirus variant
  • Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah

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