“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
Shalom, my friend.
I am so encouraged and blessed by you and your partnership with Jewish Voice. Together, we are standing with and praying for Israel and the Jewish people
As you will see in this week’s news stories below, there is much to pray for – including the tenuous ceasefire with Hamas; Iran and the potential nuclear deal; and the resurgence of COVID-19 in Israel due to the highly contagious Delta variant.
In addition, I’m sure you heard about the tragic condo tower collapse in Florida. As of today, 18 people were confirmed dead and more than 145 still missing. Many who lived in that building are Jewish, which led to Israel Defense Forces coming to help with the rescue and recovery efforts. Please pray for all involved at the scene as well as the many families affected by this heartbreaking tragedy.
One more news item we can be praying for – there have been reports that a meeting is in the works between U.S. President Joe Biden and new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for next month in Washington, D.C. Let’s lift up these two leaders and this time they will have together, that Israel and the United States will continue to have a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.
TRUCE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS STILL FRAGILE
The United Nations’ senior Middle East representative told the UN Security Council that the truce between Israel and Hamas remains very shaky. This was days after the Palestinians warned that violence in Gaza could start again, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“I urge all sides to refrain from unilateral steps and provocations, take steps to reduce tensions, and allow these efforts to succeed,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland told the UN Security Council.
“Everyone must do their part to facilitate ongoing discussions to stabilize the situation on the ground and avoid another devastating escalation in Gaza,” Wennesland said.
“The UN is working closely with all concerned parties and partners, including Egypt, to solidify a ceasefire, allow the entry of urgent humanitarian assistance and stabilize the situation in Gaza,” Wennesland added.
U.S. TARGETS IRAN-BACKED MILITIA GROUPS WITH AIRSTRIKES
On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that it had carried out targeted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, The Times of Israel reported.
“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
“Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the president directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks,” Kirby said.
There have been more than 40 attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq since the beginning of the year. More than 2,500 American troops are deployed in Iraq as part of an international coalition to fight the jihadist Islamic State group.
NEW PRIME MINISTER HINTS AT ISRAEL’S INVOLVEMENT IN ATTACK ON IRAN NUCLEAR SITE
During a graduation ceremony speech for Israeli Air Force pilots last Thursday, Prime Minister Bennett seemed to hint at Israel’s role in a recent attack on an Iranian nuclear site. He spoke just a day after an Iranian centrifuge production facility outside Tehran was struck by an alleged drone attack.
“Our enemies know — not from statements, but from actions — that we are much more determined and much more clever, and that we do not hesitate to act when it is needed,” Bennett said, according to The Times of Israel.
The prime minister referenced Israel’s strike on Iraq’s nuclear reactor nearly 40 years ago. He said Israel’s prime ministers have always had a “sacred responsibility not to allow an existential threat to the State of Israel. Then it was Iraq, today it is Iran.”
BENNETT AND GANTZ TALK ABOUT DESIRE TO WORK WITH U.S. REGARDING IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL
In the same speech, Bennett seemed to be breaking from the policy of his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, regarding working with the United States concerning the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.
The previous government refused to discuss the JCPOA with the U.S. except to share its disapproval of any continued conversations with Iran about the agreement.
Bennett and Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who also spoke at the graduation, said Israel is cooperating with the U.S. on the Iranian nuclear issue. At the same time, both said Israel would ultimately defend itself if necessary.
CORONAVIRUS CABINET DECIDES AGAINST MAJOR NEW RESTRICTIONS BUT REIMPOSES INDOOR MASK REQUIREMENT
For the first time since Israel’s new government was sworn in, a renewed coronavirus cabinet met because of a COVID-19 resurgence resulting from the highly contagious Delta variant.
The cabinet discussed increased testing, enforcement on Israel’s borders and boosting the effort to vaccinate teenagers. The indoor mask requirement was reintroduced on Friday, but the cabinet did not add any major new restrictions, according to The Times of Israel.
It was decided to conduct full genetic sequencing of COVID variants detected in anyone arriving in Israel. And earlier in the day, ministers in the full cabinet declared that anyone who travels to countries forbidden by the Israeli government due to their high COVID mortality rates will be fined $1,500.
Prime Minister Bennett said, “Our approach is simple: Maximum protection for the citizens of Israel with minimum disruption to routine and the economy in Israel. Masks instead of restrictions. Vaccinations instead of lockdowns. The Delta variant, as it has been said, infects 50 percent more but we know that the vaccine works. It simply works.”
ISRAEL POSTPONES REOPENING OF BORDERS TO VACCINATED TOURISTS UNTIL AUGUST
Last Wednesday, Israel’s government voted to delay the planned reopening of the country’s borders to vaccinated tourists. This decision was made due to concerns about new COVID strains, including the current Delta variant that was first identified in India.
A statement issued by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett postponed the reopening from July 1 until August. Bennett’s office also said all Israelis will now have to sign a declaration before flying abroad that promised they will not travel to several countries designated “high risk” by Israel’s Health Ministry, The Times of Israel reported.
Let us pray together
Please pray with me for:
- The ceasefire to hold between Israel and Hamas
- Wisdom for the leaders of Israel and the U.S. in dealing with Iran
- Protection for Israel from Iran, Hamas and other terror groups
- The citizens of Israel to be protected from the COVID-19 Delta variant and other new strains of the virus
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah