“Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears”

(Psalm 34:3-4 NKJV)

Let us share with you just a tidbit of what you’ll hear in the special podcast we’ve put together for you this week. As we are all in this time of waiting because of COVID-19, I encourage you to really consider how you are spending this time and how you think of this season.

Right now, especially, whatever we are focusing on is going to be magnified in our lives. If you are watching the news constantly, fear and worry will be magnified. In Psalm 34, David calls us to “magnify the Lord” and to seek Him – then He will hear us and deliver us from all our fears. What a cause to rejoice!

In this difficult time, let’s magnify the Lord and wait expectantly for what He will do in our lives and in our world. God will bring good out of this – in fact we have all seen how He already has. Make that your focus today.

Here are a few new stories about some positive changes happening in Israel related to COVID-19 – including a decrease in restrictions and the formation of a unity government. And then, below, you will find a link to the encouraging podcast featuring interviews with both a rabbi and a pastor about this season we are in and how it connects to significant periods of time for both the Jewish and Christian faiths.

ISRAELI GOVERNMENT APPROVES REOPENING OF SOME ESTABLISHMENTS

Early this week, initial steps to restore the Israeli economy began. Stores in the public sphere opened, as well as hairdressers and beauty salons. Restaurants and cafés opened for pickup and takeaway orders. And caregivers returned to work.

These new regulations are valid through May 3. The Prime Minister’s Office said measures to further ease restrictions after that date would be evaluated based on the level of infection.

A formal set of criteria has been established to determine next steps. If the current trend continues, restrictions will decrease. But if the number of patients per day in Israel increases to more than 300 or the number of infected people doubles in a period of 10 days, restrictions will increase, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The businesses that have been allowed to reopen must adhere to several restrictions depending on the type of business. These include set numbers of people allowed in at one time, taking of temperatures, wearing of masks and gloves, disinfecting surfaces frequently and more.

In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered officials to create a plan to gradually reopen open-air markets, which have been closed due to fears of crowding as part of the COVID-19 restrictions.

MAY 3 REOPENING OF SOME SCHOOLS PROPOSED BY EDUCATION MINISTRY

Earlier this week, Netanyahu was set to discuss plans to gradually reopen the education system.

According to the proposed plan, preschools and kindergartens will reopen on May 3 and children will attend in groups of 15. Groups of children will attend for half of each week to limit the spread of COVID-19.

First through third grade students would also return to school in groups of 15 and have staggered recesses to keep from overcrowding playgrounds.

Students in fourth grade through high school would continue remote learning programs.

With most Israeli households having both parents working full time, a solution for younger children who cannot be left unsupervised at home is needed. Allowing preschoolers through third graders to return to school will help parents return to work.

The decision is to be made on Friday, pending the continued decline of infection rates.

ISRAELI PARLIAMENT GIVES INITIAL APPROVAL FOR A GANTZ/NETANYAHU PRIME MINISTER ROTATION

Last Thursday, the Knesset gave preliminary approval to legislation to anchor in law a deal between Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz to rotate the premiership as part of the unity government announced last week.

The bill is meant to make the terms of the shared premiership binding, including Netanyahu being forced to step down in October 2021 and be replaced by Gantz for 18 months. Until then, Gantz will serve as defense minister and have veto power over most legislative and policy matters.

The unity government deal ended over a year of political deadlock during which Israel had no permanent government. Gantz defended his decision, saying joining Netanyahu was the responsible thing to do given the pandemic sweeping the globe, according to The Times of Israel.

SPECIAL PODCAST: WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN FAITHS ABOUT THIS TIME OF WAITING DUE TO COVID-19

In this timely podcast, Jewish Voice staff members Ezra Benjamin and Carly Berna speak with Rabbi Joshua Brumbach and Pastor Mike Maiden about the significance of the period we are in right now and how it is not a coincidence that it connects to both a time of waiting before the Jewish holiday of Shavuot and the Christian celebration of Pentecost.

Be inspired to view this unexpected time of waiting we are all in with faith, not fear. And with hope and expectation of what God is and will do through the challenges COVID-19 has brought to all of our lives. 

LET US PRAY TOGETHER

Join us in exalting the name of Jesus our Messiah and seeking Him with our whole hearts, knowing He hears us. Please pray with us for:

  • The easing of restrictions in Israel to be successful in stimulating the economy and for the virus to be contained, especially among children who will likely return to school next week
  • Continued advancements in treatment of the virus and development of a vaccine
  • The new unity government to be able to move forward and do what is best for the people of Israel as it relates to COVID-19 and other issues facing the country
  • Jewish people to seek their Messiah Jesus during this difficult time – so that they can discover that He will deliver them from all of their fears

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