“Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 (TLV)
Thank you for your love and concern for Israel and the Jewish people. Your partnership to “transform lives and see all Israel saved” is such a blessing to me and to the ministry of Jewish Voice.
Because you believe in the work God has called us to, I know you understand and are thankful for the “bigger picture” view. Sometimes, with all that is happening in our lives and in our world, it can be easy to only focus on what’s right in front of us. That’s when we need to turn to Scripture, be encouraged by Romans 8:28 because we know “all things work together for good for those who love God…”
As you read through this week’s news updates, please pray with me for the Jewish people to see God working through all that is going on – whether we view it as good or bad news – and for them to turn to our Messiah, Jesus, who works all things together for good for those who love Him.
Five Million Israelis Vaccinated, New Cases and Deaths From COVID-19 Continue to Decline
On Monday, Israel vaccinated its five millionth citizen against the coronavirus. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted the entire adult population would be inoculated by the end of April. He said authorities are working to secure tens of millions more vaccine doses for the country with the goal of keeping the economy open and no further lockdowns.
“We can now open up nearly everything, the economy, culture, sport, leisure, tourism,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said, referring to lockdown restrictions which were already significantly rolled back on Sunday.
Of the five million who have now had the first vaccine dose, 3,789,118 have also had the second, according to Health Ministry figures released Monday, according to The Times of Israel.
Infections and new COVID-19 deaths in Israel continue to decline from highs in January. The number of seriously ill patients has dropped to its lowest point since last year.
Israel Enters Vaccine Development Agreement With Austria and Denmark
Last week, the leaders of Israel, Austria and Denmark announced an alliance for joint research and development of drugs to fight future pandemics and also a joint investment on production of coronavirus vaccines.
At a press conference alongside Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederickson and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said the three countries will launch “a research and development fund” to enable the “joint efforts for common production of future vaccines.”
Netanyahu said that “together we’re starting here something that I think will galvanize the imagination of the world… other countries have already called me and they’ve said, ‘We want to be part of this effort.’ ”
Frederiksen said the three countries “have been working very closely together” since the start of the pandemic and that “all have promising research that could pave the way for [a] next-generation platform.”
The countries share a vision for the future that “timely access to vaccines will be critical for our societies in the years to come,” she said, adding that Denmark and Austria are “very inspired by Israel’s ability to roll out the vaccines” for the coronavirus so efficiently, The Times of Israel reported.
Netanyahu Vows to Fight Against ICC Decision to Launch War Crimes Probe Targeting Israel
Prime Minister Netanyahu says Israel will fight against the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes, according to The Jerusalem Post.
These alleged war crimes are regarding Israeli and Palestinian actions in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza since June 13, 2014.
“I think this is an outrageous decision,” Netanyahu said on Fox News. “It goes against the one democracy in the Middle East. They don’t put on [trial] Syria… or Iran. This is pure anti-Semitism… This is an affront for all democracies.”
The prime minister lamented that the ICC, which was established to “prevent the horrors of the Holocaust,” now says “if we build a house in Jerusalem, that’s a war crime. I’m going to fight for the truth, fight against this perversion of justice until it is null and void,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli diplomats have been in contact with their U.S. counterparts regarding this development.
“The United States firmly opposes and is deeply disappointed by this decision,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “The ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel.”
Blinken also said the Palestinians don’t qualify as a sovereign state and therefore cannot participate in the ICC.
American B-52s Escorted by Israeli Jets in Show of Force to Iran
On Sunday, Israeli F-15 fighter jets escorted two American B-52 bombers through Israeli airspace. Amid rising tensions in the region, this is a new show of force by the U.S. against Iran – with an Israeli element.
Over the past few weeks there have been multiple attacks on U.S. military bases in Iraq by Iran-linked militias and also an attack on an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman that Israel has blamed on Iran. Late last month, the U.S. responded to the rocket attacks on its bases with an airstrike in Syria on Iran-linked militia, The Times of Israel reported.
According to the U.S. military, the flight of the B-52s was meant to “deter aggression and reassure partners and allies of the U.S. military’s commitment to security in the region.”
Aircraft from Saudi Arabia and Qatar escorted the B-52 bombers as they flew through their respective airspaces.
Israel’s Underground Wall Surrounding Gaza Completed
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) completed a sophisticated, new underground barrier after four years of work, The Times of Israel reported. The wall, on the Gaza border, is used to detect and prevent tunnel-digging by terror groups into Israeli territory.
The barrier is basically a thick concrete wall that goes dozens of yards underground and is lined with sensors designed to pick up any digging activity.
In October, the wall stopped its first tunnel, according to the military. The tunnel had gone dozens of yards into Israeli territory but remained on the Gazan side of the barrier around the Gaza Strip. It was the 20th tunnel attempt by Gaza terrorists that has been stopped since the 2014 Gaza war. During that war, the IDF destroyed approximately 30 tunnels that had reached into Israel, according to a military spokesperson.
Israel Names Vessel That Caused Oil Spill on Israel’s Coastline
A Libyan-owned ship named Emerald has been named by Israel as the cause of a huge oil spill that has severely damaged the coastline. It’s being described as an act of “eco-terrorism.”
The Emerald took on an estimated 112,000 tons of crude oil in Iran before encircling the Persian Gulf and entering Egyptian waters and then passing through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean.
The ship was seen anchored off Iran’s Kharg Island on January 17, according to photographs released by the Environmental Protection Ministry last week, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Significant damage was done to the coastline, wildlife habitats and marine life by the tar from the spillage on February 17.
Let Us Pray Together
Please pray with me for:
- Continued success in Israel’s vaccination campaign
- Protection for Israelis as pandemic restrictions continue to be lifted
- Great success to come out of the new agreement between Israel, Austria and Denmark in dealing with future pandemics
- Justice to be done regarding the ICC war crimes probe
- A strong partnership to develop between Israel’s leaders and U.S. President Biden and his administration
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah