“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of His heart through all generations.”
(Psalm 33:11 NIV)
I am thankful that no matter what is happening in the world, we know “the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,” as stated in Psalm 33. Our God is at work to accomplish His plan for His glory.
As you already know, it was announced that Joe Biden is the president-elect for the United States. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his congratulations and pointed to his “long and warm personal relationship” with Mr. Biden. He also tweeted his thanks to President Trump in a separate message.
In other news, last week the United Nations passed an update to its annual resolution regarding Israel's status as an “occupying force” in “Palestinian territory” including East Jerusalem. Although this is not a new resolution, this new version goes as far as only referencing the Temple Mount by its Muslim name.
Among the countries which voted in favor of the resolution were United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan. Apparently, the changing political climate provided by the Abraham Accords did not extend as far as their votes in the UN.
In coronavirus news, Israel continues to lift restrictions to try and help the economy even while the Health Ministry objects due to concerns about the infection rate rising. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to get access to the Pfizer vaccine that’s showing early clinical trial success.
You’ll find more details in the news stories below.
Huge majority backs anti-Israel resolutions at UN assembly – including UAE, Bahrain and Sudan
Last week, a committee at the United Nations General Assembly passed a series of resolutions critical of Israel by overwhelming majorities.
The motions are passed each year by the UN’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee, with minimum adjustments. In December, they are ratified by member states.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s new ambassador to the UN, took part in the debate before the vote. According to The Times of Israel, he passionately pleaded for the countries to reject the motions but was unsuccessful.
“What is the point of these resolutions? Just to pave the way for future resolutions?” he asked. “By supporting these resolutions, you are not only wasting UN resources, you are also sabotaging any chances of future peace.”
The UAE, Bahrain and Sudan – the three Arab countries that recently signed normalization agreements with Israel – did not alter their traditional voting pattern and supported all resolutions critical of Israel.
United Nations only uses Muslim name to reference Temple Mount
During last week’s meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee, 138 UN countries approved a draft resolution that referred to the Temple Mount only by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif.
The resolution, titled “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” was one of seven pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel resolutions the committee passed.
Nine countries voted against the resolution: Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Hungary, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and the United States. Sixteen countries abstained from the vote this year, compared to 13 last year.
The resolution did mention the connection between Jerusalem and three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But the reference to the Temple Mount, the location of the ancient Jewish Temple and the most holy site in Judaism, by only its Muslim name is viewed as an attempt by UN member states to delegitimize and erase that well known history, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Other countries have promised to move their embassies to Jerusalem
Passage of the UN resolutions took place as the Trump administration has led efforts to call attention to Israel’s link to Jerusalem, the capital of the modern State of Israel. This has included encouraging UN states to relocate their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
To date, the U.S. and Guatemala have moved their embassies to Jerusalem. According to The Jerusalem Post, a number of other countries have promised to, including Brazil, the Czech Republic, Honduras, Malawi, Kosovo and Serbia.
Netanyahu hails Pfizer vaccine breakthrough, says in talks to bring it to Israel
On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the promising results of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine trial and vowed to bring it to Israel, according to The Times of Israel.
Pfizer said early data on the vaccine suggests the shots may be a surprisingly robust 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. That puts the U.S. pharmaceutical company on track to apply for emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration later this month.
Chezy Levy, the director-general of Israel’s Health Ministry, later confirmed that Israel is in talks to acquire the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
More restrictions rolled back while coronavirus coordinator issues warning about rise in infection rate
Late last week, Ronni Gamzu, Israel’s coronavirus coordinator, warned the public about a renewed rise in COVID-19’s basic reproduction number. He said this could make it difficult to continue easing restrictions at the planned pace.
Nonetheless, the government gave final approval to reopening street stores – which began last Sunday. There is a limit of four customers at a time per store. Vacation cottage businesses were also allowed to begin operating again, with some restrictions.
Health officials objected to the decision, urging a more gradual reopening of the economy, schools and more, The Times of Israel reported.
“Even with the Health Ministry persisting with its objection to any easing, we had to enable some level of commerce in Israel,” Gamzu explained. “We need to strike a balance and prevent the collapse of many commercial sectors.”
Gamzu said mass testing and quickly isolating cases is the only way other than a lockdown to stop infections. He repeated his request for Israelis to get tested even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms since most infections are caused while carriers are asymptomatic.
Let us pray together
Please pray with me for:
- Peace throughout the U.S. in this post-election week
- More countries to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
- Wisdom and protection for the people of Israel as coronavirus restrictions continue to be lifted
- Continued success of clinical trials to produce an effective vaccine, including the Pfizer vaccine that is showing positive early results
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah