“For sin’s payment is death, but God’s gracious gift is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 (TLV)
Thank you for your love for Israel and your desire to stay informed and partner with our ministry to the Jewish people, both through prayer and financial support. You are a great blessing to me, to Jewish Voice and to the Jewish people!
We are just a little over a week away from Passover, one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays. In these days leading up to Passover, I encourage you to read Exodus chapter 12 to further dig into what we commemorate during this celebration. And to also understand how God gave us a picture at Passover of what was to come when Yeshua (Jesus) shed His blood to save us from our sin and give us eternal life. Our risen Messiah is the greatest reason to celebrate!
This week, we also have news worthy of celebrating – from no increase in coronavirus cases due to Purim gatherings to the possibility that Israel will allow larger groups to gather to celebrate Passover. The country is also opening up the airport to flights from all over the world.
In addition, Kosovo opened its embassy to Israel – in Jerusalem rather than Tel Aviv. They are only the third country to take this bold step in support of the Jewish State.
But the country is still facing challenges this week. Terror groups have threatened Israel in response to the deaths of three fishermen from Gaza. Hamas believes their deaths are due to an Israeli drone that exploded when it was being removed from their fishing nets. Israel has denied any involvement.
As we get our hearts and minds ready for Passover over this next week, I hope you will both rejoice with me and pray with me for Israel and the Jewish people.
Thankfully “Purim Effect” Didn’t Happen
Israeli officials are starting to sigh with relief. It’s more than two weeks after Purim and the dreaded spike in the COVID-19 infection rate has not occurred despite numerous illegal gatherings during the celebration, The Jerusalem Post reported.
In fact, numbers in Israel continue to decline in new coronavirus cases, active cases and serious cases. The numbers released on Sunday showed active cases dropping below 30,000 for the first time since September, according to The Times of Israel.
Considering the country’s successful vaccination campaign, the positive trend is not surprising. More than five million people have received at least one vaccine dose and four million have both doses.
Health Ministry Could Be Preparing to End Outdoor Mask Mandate by April
On Sunday, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the Health Ministry is preparing to end rules requiring Israelis to wear face masks while outdoors.
The end of outdoor mask-wearing could happen as soon as April, according to the report, following the continued drop in COVID-19 morbidity rates in Israel, The Times of Israel reported.
Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy declined to respond regarding the mask mandate report. But he said that it’s possible the current limits on private gatherings (20 people indoors and 50 people outdoors) could be expanded – perhaps even before the start of Passover.
This year the holiday begins the evening of Saturday, March 27.
“We have two more weeks; it’s possible we’ll change the restrictions for the better ahead of the evening of the Seder; we may allow more people to be together,” Levy said. “I can’t make promises, but I very much hope so. It’s up to us.”
Israel Gives Okay for Flights From All Destinations
On Tuesday, Israel began allowing flights from all destinations in the world. This change is expected to encourage the return of Israelis from abroad who want to vote in the upcoming March 23 elections.
The limit of 3,000 passengers entering the country per day will remain, and the Health Ministry retains the authority to cancel a specific flight if it is believed to endanger public health, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Kosovo Establishes Its Embassy in Jerusalem
On Sunday, Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry formally opened its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, according to The Times of Israel.
A statement reported the move was made after the establishment of diplomatic ties with Israel on February 1 and a Kosovo-Serbia summit held at the White House in September.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora announces that the Kosovo Embassy in the State of Israel, with headquarters in Jerusalem, officially has been opened,” said the statement.
Kosovo is the first European country and Muslim-majority one to establish its embassy in Jerusalem. It joins the U.S. and Guatemala.
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.
Terror Group Hamas Blames Israel for Death of Three Gazan Fishermen, Vows Revenge
Last Thursday, the Hamas terror group blamed Israel for an explosion that killed three fishermen off the coast of Gaza earlier in the week. This led to several armed factions in Gaza vowing revenge.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) did not immediately provide a response to requests for comments on Hamas’ claim. Though the IDF did deny involvement, saying there had been “no Israeli fire” toward Gaza and “This is an internal Gaza incident.”
Hamas Interior Ministry spokesperson Iyad al-Bozm said that the three fishermen were killed by an explosion caused by a toppled Israeli drone that had been caught in their net, The Times of Israel reported.
“The three fishermen from the Al-Lahham family were killed due to the detonation of an explosive device installed on a quadcopter belonging to the Israeli occupation, which got stuck in their nets and exploded while they were extracting it,” al-Bozm said.
Following Thursday’s announcement by Hamas, Islamic Jihad vowed revenge against Israel saying the country was responsible for the fishermen’s deaths.
Let Us Pray Together
Please pray with me for:
- For COVID-19 cases to keep trending down, so families can gather to celebrate Passover
- More countries to establish diplomatic ties with Israel and open their embassies in Jerusalem – just as Kosovo did earlier this week
- Protection for Israel, and that terror groups would not “seek revenge” for the deaths of the Gazan fishermen
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah