“I will bless those who bless you [Israel] . . .”
Genesis 12:3 (NIV)

Shalom, my friend. 

Thank you for your love and compassion for Israel and the Jewish people. I’m so grateful that you are willing to stand with her through your ongoing prayers and financial support. And I pray God’s richest blessing on you for your faithfulness for His people. 

As you pray please keep in mind the news from Israel: new COVID-19 rules and restrictions, two historic diplomatic announcements in Israel, and updates on Iran. Thank you again for praying with us.  

ISRAELI “GREEN PASS” RULES IN EFFECT AS SERIOUS CORONAVIRUS CASES IN ISRAEL CONTINUE TO RISE

Late last week The Jerusalem Post reported that the “Green Pass” (a vaccine certificate) rules were now in effect — through August 8, 2021 — because of the increase in serious COVID-19 cases in Israel.

The effects of the “Green Pass” rules and restrictions are aimed at making certain events only available to people who are vaccinated, recovered or who can present a negative coronavirus test result.

These rules and 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.

In addition to the “Green Pass,” the “Happy Badge” system announced by the Israeli government in the middle of July is still in effect. The “Happy Badge” is an outline for how to safely hold events with more than 100 people. According to The Jerusalem Post, the “Happy Badge” only applies to weddings and other large celebratory events involving food and mingling, and it requires eventgoers to present a negative coronavirus test.

ISRAEL’S PRIME MINISTER ENCOURAGES ISRAELI SENIORS OVER AGE 60 TO GET THIRD COVID-19 VACCINE DOSE

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made an announcement late last week concerning the official rollout of a third COVID vaccine dose for those over 60. In addition, he urged all eligible Israelis to schedule appointments starting early this week.

The Times of Israel reported that the booster doses of the COVID vaccine will be given starting this week to those over age 60 who received their second shot more than five months ago.  

“The reality has proven that the vaccines protect against serious cases and against death,” said Bennett. “And just like you need to get a new flu shot every year, here, too, the vaccine requires a refresh.”

The Times of Israel also reported that one local poll, published at the time of last week’s announcement, showed that 72 percent of Israelis over age 60 intend to receive a third COVID-19 vaccine dose when it becomes available, 9% say they won’t get it, and the rest say they are undecided. 

AFTER 30 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS, AZERBAIJAN OPENS TRADE OFFICE IN TEL AVIV

Thirty years after establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, Azerbaijan inaugurated its Trade and Tourism office in Tel Aviv last week.

The Jerusalem Post reported that trade between the countries was about $200 million in 2020, excluding oil supplies. Israeli companies are represented in Azerbaijan in a variety of fields, from road construction to telecom and medicine.

In addition, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov is reported to have said “Relations between Israel and Azerbaijan are of a strategic nature and are based on trust and mutual respect. Over the past three decades, we have witnessed many breakthroughs in relations between the two countries, but the opening of the official Trade and Tourism Representation is another historic event.”

The Jerusalem Post also reported that this “historic” event is a preliminary step to the opening of the Azeri Embassy.

HISTORIC DIPLOMATIC MISSION TO MOROCCO ANNOUNCED

Last week, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced to The Times of Israel that he will be traveling to Morocco for an official visit on August 11 to 12.

As The Times of Israel reported, the upcoming trip will be the first for an Israeli foreign minister.

The announcement came days after the commencement of the first direct commercial flights between Israel and Morocco, and a mere seven months after the countries normalized diplomatic relations in a U.S.-brokered deal.

For over a decade, official ties with Morocco had been suspended due to the Palestinian uprising in Israel in 2000 — the outbreak of the Second Intifada. But these ties have been renewed, amid a wave of normalization agreements between Jerusalem and Arab countries, since late last year.

Earlier this week, an Israeli diplomatic source told The Times of Israel that the ties with the North African kingdom “will turn into full diplomatic relations.”

LEAKED IRANIAN DOCUMENTS POTENTIALLY EXPOSE PLANS FOR CIVILIAN CYBER STRIKES

Early last week, Sky News reported that classified Iranian documents, allegedly by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, had been uncovered that detail how cyberattacks could cause damage to the West.

The alleged documents, which are indicated to be five different reports, contain worrying information, including details on how cyberattacks could be used against civilian infrastructure and systems, such as cargo ships, air filtration systems and gas station fueling systems.

More investigation is being undertaken to determine the authenticity of the of uncovered documents — including the veracity of the threat they pose.

EBRAHIM RAISI, NEW IRANIAN PRESIDENT, TAKES OFFICE THIS WEEK

New President, Ebrahim Raisi, took office this week in Iran, replacing Hassan Rouhani.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post, his ascension to power has brought nuclear negotiations between Iran, the U.S. and the world powers to a standstill for over two months — with no clear end in sight.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, remains the final word in the country, especially on major strategic issues like the nuclear negotiations.

But it has been reported that Khamenei both lined up support for Raisi to be elected president and that Raisi is expected to be his choice as his successor, given that he is 82 and has had health problems in recent years.

What this means for the future of nuclear talks and negotiations remains unclear. 

Let us pray together

Please pray with me for:

  • Protection of Israelis from the Delta coronavirus variant
  • God’s fruitful blessing as Israel seeks greater diplomatic relationships with Azerbaijan and Morocco
  • Peace and safety amidst the unknowns with Iran — especially now with Ebrahim Raisi taking power
  • Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah
     

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