“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.””
James 1:5 NIV
Wisdom. God wants to give it to us if we will ask. Let us not only ask for ourselves, but for leaders and decision-makers around the world. We need wisdom in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Israel’s leaders need wisdom to do what is best for their people. And, let’s pray specifically for the people of Lebanon as they need great wisdom to move forward after last week’s shocking tragedy.
In the wake of that devastating explosion in Beirut, massive protests took place against the Lebanese government and against Hezbollah. The country’s economy has been in dire straits for a long time and for many, this incident was the last straw. On Monday, the prime minister and the entire Lebanese Cabinet resigned. We’ll all be watching closely to see what happens next and praying for God to raise up the right people to lead Lebanon forward.
Here is more detailed news about the latest developments regarding Lebanon and the coronavirus in Israel.
Entire Lebanese Cabinet resigns amidst public outcry after Beirut explosion
On Monday, after a weekend full of protests and anger directed at the country’s ruling elite over last week’s devastating blast in Beirut, Lebanon’s government resigned.
The government has been accused of corruption, incompetence and mismanagement for months. Since October there have been mass demonstrations demanding the leadership’s departure.
“Lets hope a new government will be formed quickly,” Public Works Minister Michel Najjar told reporters. “An effective government is the least we need to get out of this crisis.”
The blast is believed to have been caused by a fire that set off a 2,750-ton stockpile of explosive ammonium nitrate. It had been stored at the port since 2013 with few precautions despite warnings of the danger.
World leaders and international organizations pledged nearly $300 million in emergency humanitarian aid to Beirut in the wake of the explosion. But Lebanese authorities must commit themselves to the political and economic reforms demanded by the people before money for rebuilding the capital would be made available, according to The Times of Israel.
Israeli hospitals, government offer help to Lebanese
Doctors in Israel fear many lives will be needlessly lost if people who were wounded in last week’s port explosion in Beirut aren’t allowed to go to Israel for treatment.
“It will mean unnecessary suffering and death,” Anthony Luder, a senior doctor at Ziv Medical Center in Safed, told The Times of Israel.
Luder said that if Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Iran-backed terror group that is also part of the Lebanese government, blocks the treatment, “these people will be the victims of Hezbollah terror, no less than people who are shot by the group.”
“The number of people killed in Beirut indicates there are thousands facing health issues, and they just don’t have the facilities to treat them, while other neighbors aren’t in a good situation to help them,” Luder explained.
In addition to Israeli hospitals offering treatment, the Israeli government offered humanitarian help to Lebanon last week. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We distinguish between the regimes and the people.”
Israeli government working to ensure its citizens can receive Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s available
Biotech company Moderna, working with the National Institutes of Health in the U.S., has started the third and final stage of the clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccination.
The company’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Tal Zaks, said, “As a former Israeli I'm glad to know that the Israeli government has indeed seen fit to make sure the vaccination will be available to its population.” Zaks confirmed that Israel is one of the countries that has already ordered the vaccine, according to YNet News.
Moderna and the National Institutes of Health are starting mass human trials with 30,000 participants – half will receive the vaccination and the other half a placebo.
There is currently no concrete timeline as to when the vaccination will be made available to the general public.
"We assume that around November-December we will know if the vaccination works," said Zaks.
New plan to battle coronavirus praised by top health experts
Just over two weeks into his appointment to lead Israel’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Ronni Gamzu got his strategic plan passed by the coronavirus cabinet last week.
This victory means at least two weeks without a country-wide lockdown. Gamzu’s plan received top scores from three medical experts.
The Jerusalem Post asked for input from: Cyrille Cohen, head of the immunotherapy laboratory at Bar-Ilan University, Hadassah Medical Center head Zeev Rotstein and Arnon Afek, deputy director-general of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
Cohen said Gamzu avoided what would have been an ineffective and unwarranted lockdown.
“I hear a lot of people saying put lockdown in effect now and end” [the spread of the virus], said Cohen. But if nothing else changes within two weeks of lifting the lockdown, Israel would be back where it started concerning the infection rate and the economy will be worse off than before, he explained.
He added that if we look closely at the data, it is correct that “we are seeing a kind of flattening of the curve.” He said Gamzu is looking not only at the total number of new patients, but the number of critical patients.
Rostein said the number of severe patients and total number of patients is on the decline.
“Under this observation, no more restrictions are needed,” Rostein said, with emphasis on “more,” meaning he would not advise lifting any of the remaining restrictions.
Afek said, “We are trying to recreate an agreement with the public about the importance of doing all the right things to prevent this lockdown. I hope the public understands the need to cooperate to prevent a lockdown.”
Next Week on the Middle East Update
We are learning today that Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have just agreed to the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country in the past 25 years, according to The Jerusalem Post. The peace treaty was decided on in a phone call between U.S. President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed. Next week, we will present full coverage on the topic.
Let us pray together
As we ask God for wisdom for ourselves and others, please pray with me for:
Leaders in Lebanon to do what is best for their people as the country works to recover from the devastating explosion in Beirut, including making sure those who are injured get the medical care they need
Israel’s government to work together in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus
- The approval and advancement of effective new technologies to help fight the pandemic and save lives, including development of mass testing systems and successful clinical trials for vaccines under development
- Protection from terrorist groups like Hezbollah and others who seek to harm Israel and the Jewish people
- The citizens of Beirut as they continue to deal with the aftermath of the massive explosion in their city that left many dead, injured and homeless
- The peace agreement between Israel and the UAE to cause more Jewish people to seek their Messiah Jesus and put their faith in the Him
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