“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem— “May those who love you be at peace!’”

Psalm 122:6 (TLV)

Shalom, my friend. 

Peace can seem so far away. Our world is rife with animosity and anger, confusion and uncertainty and even fear of the unknown.

That’s why God commands us in the Scriptures to pray. It’s to His glory – and our greatest good – that we lay our burdens at His feet. 

This week, I encourage you to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. But I also encourage you to pray for peace in your own heart. And may God grant you security in your mind and body so that you may experience His presence and blessings in a special way. 

And as you pray, please continue to pray for Jewish Voice and the work we’re doing together for the Jewish people in Israel and around the world.   

U.S. HOUSE-SENATE LAWMAKERS LAUNCH ABRAHAM ACCORDS CAUCUS

Jewish Insider reported that 8 U.S. lawmakers from both the House and the Senate met this week to launch an Abraham Accords Caucus focused on supporting and promoting the normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states.

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a supporter of the Caucus, told Jewish Insider that “The bipartisan, bicameral Abraham Accords Caucus will provide a unique opportunity for world leaders to come together in our common pursuit of creating a better, safer and more prosperous world for our children and grandchildren.”

Senator Jacky Rosen, a co-chair of the Caucus, shared with reporters that “In just one year, the Abraham Accords have already transformed the Middle East by contributing to regional peace and stability, promoting U.S. interests, and enhancing Israel’s security. The Abraham Accords Caucus will build on that success by providing bipartisan leadership to strengthen existing partnerships and widen the circle of peace to new countries.” 

Since the signing of the Accords, Sudan and Morocco have also normalized relations with Israel.

According to Jewish Insider, the group has not yet sketched out any specific projects or initiatives that it plans to pursue but has confirmed the group has discussed trips to and conferences with the signatory countries.

“ISRAEL WILL MAINTAIN UNLIMITED FREEDOM TO ACT,” ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER

The Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee earlier this week that Israel will not be constrained by any agreement reached between world powers and Iran in Vienna.

“It’s important for me to unequivocally clarify: Israel is not a side to the agreements, Israel is not obligated to what is written in these agreements if they are signed, and Israel will continue to maintain full freedom of action at any time or any place, without limitations,” Prime Minister Bennet said, adding that Israel is concerned about the talks.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post, the Prime Minister also said that Iran is at the top of the list of Israel’s challenges, calling the Islamic Republic “the head of an octopus that constantly sends rivals and proxies and its tentacles.” 

“We are making a change to an approach of constant offense and not [just] constant defense,” the Prime Minister stated.

Bennett’s remarks came as the eighth round of negotiations for Iran and the U.S. to rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) continue in Vienna.

 The JCPOA, signed in 2015, limited Tehran’s nuclear program, while gradually lifting sanctions. Iran continued its JCPOA violations even during its talks in Vienna, which were renewed on November 29, by launching advanced centrifuges.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Israel has expressed concerns in recent months that the U.S. would reach an interim agreement that would lift most or all the sanctions on the Islamic Republic without significantly rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, which has reached 60%-enriched uranium. Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90%.

And while The Jerusalem Post indicates some progress in the discussions, western parties – France, Germany, the U.K. directly and the U.S. indirectly – have repeatedly questioned the Islamic Republic’s seriousness in engaging in them, saying that they will not allow the talks to drag on.

COVID: ISRAEL NIXES RED LIST AND OPENS DOORS TO FOREIGN TRAVEL

At the end of November 2021, Israel closed its borders to foreign nationals to hold off the Omicron variant. In addition, Israeli officials drew up a list of countries with high COVID morbidity that Israelis were prohibited to visit. 

At one point, 70 countries were on the red list, including the United States and most of Europe and Africa.

The Times of Israel reports that Israel ended the so-called red list of countries with high-infection rates late last week, as coronavirus rates in the country spiked to record levels, making the impact of the travel bans negligible.

All countries were removed from the list, reopening the skies to dozens of destinations where travel had been severely curtailed in a bid to slow the Omicron variant from infiltrating the country.

The move comes two days before Israel was already set to reopen to vaccinated international travelers.

Among the places where two-way travel will resume are the US, Britain and Turkey.

In recent days, according to The Times of Israel, coronavirus case numbers have soared past 16,000 a day, and officials now view the travel ban, credited with giving Israel time to prepare for the larger outbreak, as obsolete.

Israeli Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash told reporters at a press briefing that the data shows less than five percent of the 72,000 active coronavirus cases in the country came from abroad.

“We still recommend avoiding unnecessary flights. Morbidity is high worldwide and these transitions are a risk factor for infection,” Ash said.

Ash also predicted that in three days there will be 30,000 daily cases in Israel and within a week, the number will hit 50,000.

Let Us Pray Together

Please pray with me for:

  • God to move in the hearts of world leaders and give wisdom to address the global threat of a nuclear Iran 
  • God’s protection to be upon His people in Israel who are constantly facing threats and violence from surrounding enemies
  • God to give insight in how to address, protect and move ahead as the Jewish people, Israel and the world continue to feel the impact of COVID-19. 
  • 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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