“The LORD gives strength to His people; the LORD blesses His people with peace.”
Psalm 29:11 (NIV)

Shalom, my friend. 

As I write to you today, my attention is turned towards the words of the Psalmist who acknowledges the reality of God strengthening His people — and blessing them with peace. 

There’s an underlying tension in the above verse. We will face circumstances that will require a supernatural measure of strength to endure and overcome. But in the midst of it all we’ll experience the blessing of peace.

I pray over you now that God would give you strength and peace, no matter what you’re facing today. And as Israel and the Jewish people continue to face the threats and uncertainty of the future of Iran, I also ask that you join with me and everyone at Jewish Voice as we pray for God’s strength over His people – and His blessing of peace. 

ISRAEL, U.S. DISCUSS “PLAN B” FOR IRANIAN NUCLEAR THREAT

The Washington Post reported late last week that U.S. and Israeli officials are exploring a “Plan B” for dealing with Iran if the Islamic Republic does not return to negotiations to salvage the languishing 2015 nuclear deal.

According to The Washington Post, details of any other options were not publicly released, though there are a wide range of non-diplomatic options that could be considered – ranging from stepped up sanctions to covert or military actions. But The Washington Post did report that a Biden administration priority has been to revive the deal, and abandoning that goal would be a blow to its foreign policy objectives.

At a joint news conference at the State Department, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated that the window for Iran to return to the agreement is closing but again declined to give a date at which it would be too late. “Time is running short,” he said. “We are prepared to turn to other options if Iran doesn’t change course, and these consultations with our allies and partners are part of it.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, according to The Washington Post, was much more blunt – raising anew Israel’s warnings that it will act, with military force if necessary, to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

“There are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil,” he said. “If a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon we must act. We must make clear that the civilized world won’t allow it. If the Iranians don’t believe the world is serious about stopping them, they will race to the bomb.”
 
The Washington Post further reported that those concerns appear to have struck a chord within the Biden administration, which is loath to appear less than supportive of Israel. 

Before Blinken and Lapid spoke, the administration’s special envoy for Iran negotiations, Robert Malley, made similar comments about exploring paths beyond diplomacy with Iran.

“We have to prepare for a world where Iran doesn’t have constraints on its nuclear program and we have to consider options for dealing with that,” Malley said. “We will be prepared to adjust to a different reality in which we have to deal with all options to address Iran’s nuclear program if it’s not prepared to come back,” he said. “There is every possibility that Iran will choose a different path, and we need to coordinate with Israel and other partners in the region.”

IRAN’S U.N. AMBASSADOR WARNS ISRAEL AGAINST THREATENING IRAN

The Jerusalem Post reported last week that Majid Takht Ravanchi, the Iranian ambassador to the U.N., slammed Israel, claiming that “over the past months, the number and intensity of Israeli regime provocative and adventurous threats has steadily increased to alarming levels.” 

According to The Jerusalem Post, Ravanchi has slammed Israel in the past. 

Several weeks ago, he complained about Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s speech, claiming it was “full of lies.” Bennett said that Iran was trying to dominate the region. “Iran-phobia runs rampant at the U.N. The Israeli regime PM’s speech was full of lies on Iran,” Ravanchi said.  

Now Iran is angry about comments reported from Israel. The Jerusalem Post reports that the quote that has Iran up in arms was the warning from Israel’s IDF Chief of Staff – “Operations to destroy Iran's capabilities in various fields will continue at any time.”

Iran says there are explicit systematic threats by the Israeli “regime”, and that this constitutes a violation of international law. This coming from the same country whose leaders often threaten to destroy Israel. 

The Jerusalem Post comments that Iran, in this sense, is playing the victim, which is interesting. It basically admits it has a dangerous nuclear program, but at the same time wants that program to be protected – which shows that Iran is concerned about Israel’s recent comments and actions.

“PEACE IS THE VICTORY OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN US”

Last week a Knesset event was held to commemorate the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords. 

According to Hamodia, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, is quoted as saying, “The Abraham Accords will go down in history as one of the moments when people chose life. The new government in Israel not only accepted and embraced the Abraham Accords, but it also moved them forward. It made them a lever of a new reality: economic, security and political.”

In addition to words of gratitude for former Israeli Prime Minister and current Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and former U.S. President Donald Trump for leading the agreements, Lapid called on other countries to join the accords, notably the Palestinian Authority. 

“I take this opportunity to call on the Palestinians, as well as the citizens of every Arab nation, to turn to peace. The people of Israel have not returned to their ancient homeland to fight, but to build a life of prosperity and good neighborliness here.

“I call upon the Palestinians, and every Arab nation that is listening: We seek peace. Peace is not a compromise or a weakness but rather an embodiment of the human spirit. Those living in the Middle East are welcome to look around and see which countries are in a better position – those who seek peace, or those who seek war.

“If you decide to join the Abraham Accords, to bring prosperity, jobs, a culture of progress and success to your peoples – our hand is extended to you. Let’s do it together.

COVID: ISRAEL TO GIVE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE TO THOSE AFFECTED BY PFIZER

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel will start offering the option of receiving the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine starting this week.

The vaccine will be available with a specific medical referral, which will be given to those who cannot receive an mRNA vaccine for medical reasons, those who have experienced significant side effects after Pfizer or those who have other special circumstances.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the vaccine by AstraZeneca is based on a different technology than Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, which are both messenger RNA vaccines. AstraZeneca uses a weakened animal virus as a viral vector. It contains the coronavirus spike protein so that the body’s cells will be able to recognize it and produce antibodies.

Individuals who receive two AstraZeneca shots or get a shot of AstraZeneca after receiving one Pfizer vaccination will be considered fully protected 14 days after the second shot.

Individuals who receive a booster shot of AstraZeneca will also be considered inoculated after two weeks (for Pfizer it is after seven days).

As of Monday, 6.2 million Israelis have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, 5.7 million at least two and 3.8 million have been inoculated also with a booster.

On Monday, Israel was expected to pass 8,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. In the morning, the death toll stood at 7,999.

In the past month, on average, 15 people succumbed to the virus every day. Since the beginning of October, 213 people have died of COVID in Israel. 


Let Us Pray Together

Please pray with me for:

  • God to bless the efforts and the intention of the Abraham Accords – bringing peace and prosperity to regions rife with turmoil and violence 
  • God to give wisdom and insight to Israeli and global leaders as they continue to navigate the nuclear threat from Iran 
  • Peace in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel and their enemies
  • Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah

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