“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
In the midst of the difficulties we’ve experienced in the U.S. already this year, I wish you peace – the peace of God that transcends all understanding.
I want to start right off by encouraging you to pray for peace. Peace in your own heart and peace in our nation.
As Believers we know that no matter what is going on in our country and our world, when we seek the Lord, He guards our hearts and our minds. He gives us His peace.
Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll read about in this week’s email:
Israel’s president is seeing last week’s attack at the U.S. Capitol as a wake-up call for his country and is calling for citizens to not only adhere to the latest lockdown regulations, but to come together despite their differences and protect their democracy.
Israel is still on a record-setting pace with its coronavirus vaccination campaign. And thanks to a new agreement with Pfizer to supply more vaccines more quickly, the prime minister has made a promise to have everyone vaccinated by Passover in late March.
You’ll also read encouraging updates regarding Abraham Accord countries. Thank you for caring about and praying for Israel and her people.
After Situation at U.S. Capitol, Israeli President Urges Citizens to Protect Their Democracy
In response to last week’s violence and arrests at the U.S. Capitol, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin called on Israelis to not fall victim to internal divisions.
“Over recent years, with all of the election campaigns that we have had, and the painful questions that have been on the Israeli public agenda, the distance between us has grown perhaps greater than ever. But we must ensure that even if the gaps are deep, our democracy will protect us as a people, as a society and as a state,” he said.
“The pictures of the disturbances from Capitol Hill are shocking. They remind us all that democracy, even when it is strong and deeply rooted, is not to be taken for granted,” Rivlin said.
“I call on all public leaders — in all towns, from all segments of society, political leaders and spiritual leaders, mayors, heads of civil society organizations — please do your duty and stop the threat of anarchy. The lockdown, with all its restrictions as decided by the government, applies to us all,” he said.
The lockdown began again last Friday with existing restrictions tightened and enforced and schools and nonessential businesses closed for two weeks, in accordance with a vote by cabinet ministers on Tuesday night, according to The Times of Israel.
In a video released to the public, Rivlin explained the reason for the new restrictions: “We are going into lockdown because the coronavirus wards and the hospital ICUs are close to overload. We are going into lockdown to protect our children. We, all of us and without exceptions, must follow its rules. All segments of society: Jews and Arabs, secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox.”
Rivlin hailed the success of the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in Israel as a way for the country to get back to more normal times.
“There will be better days. We have gone through bad times in the past and overcome them. The effect of the vaccine is close at hand, and we will return to normality. Until then, we must be patient and disciplined, and do everything we can to minimize infection. God bless you all, my dear ones,” Rivlin said.
Netanyahu Promises Israel Will Have Enough Vaccines to Beat COVID-19 by End of March
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last week that Israel will be the first country in the world to vaccinate all of its citizens over the age of 16. He also said it will be done by the end of March, reported The Times of Israel.
Netanyahu said Pfizer has agreed to send millions of additional doses to Israel. The Health Ministry announced it had signed an agreement with the pharmaceutical company to advance vaccine shipments that were not slated to arrive for another month.
Israel will serve as a “model country” for Pfizer, offering statistical data on the vaccine’s effectiveness, Netanyahu said. By sharing its data on the vaccine’s effectiveness, Israel would assist in the formulation of a “global strategy” to beat the pandemic.
The prime minister said this “model country” status was possible because of the success of Israel’s vaccination drive to date, enabled by the country’s superb healthcare service.
As of early this week, Israel had vaccinated nearly 1,900,000 people as reported by Israel’s Health Ministry, according to The Jerusalem Post. A recent Our World Data report said the country is leading the world in vaccinations.
“On the next Passover Eve, if there are no surprises, Israelis will be able to celebrate with their extended families,” Netanyahu said. Passover eve is on March 27 this year.
Abraham Accords Signed by Sudan With U.s., Paving the Way to Normalize Ties With Israel
Last week, Sudan’s Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari signed the Abraham Accords with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The agreement indicates Sudan’s intention to move forward with normalization. It did not officially establish diplomatic ties between Sudan and Israel, but that is expected to happen in the near future.
The deals are called the Abraham Accords after the biblical patriarch who is revered by both Jews and Muslims.
Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, The Times of Israel reported. The county is now ruled by a joint military and civilian government that desire improved ties with Washington and the West.
In December, the Trump administration finalized the removal of Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. This move was a key incentive for the Sudanese government to normalize relations with Israel.
Israel Appoints Former Ambassador to Reopen Liaison Office in Morocco
Earlier this month, in a call with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI said the opening of embassies would be the “natural next step” of the peace process, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel were re-established in December within the framework of the Abraham Accords.
So far, Israel and Morocco have only committed to reopening the liaison offices. On Monday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced that former ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, will head to Morocco in the coming weeks to reopen Israel’s liaison office in Rabat, the capital city. Govrin will serve as Israel’s temporary charge d’affaires in Morocco.
Diplomatic relations between Israel and Morocco were first forged in 1994. The two countries had unofficial relations decades before that. Morocco broke ties with Israel for political reasons. Now the countries plan to move toward full diplomatic relations.
Let Us Pray Together
Please pray with me for:
- Wisdom for the leaders and people of the U.S. during this time of transition and also for the leaders and people of Israel during this latest pandemic lockdown and as the country moves toward another election
- Continued progress between Israel and the countries that have signed the Abraham Accords to normalize diplomatic ties
- Continued success in rolling out the coronavirus vaccine across Israel and its effectiveness in combatting the virus
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah – the only true source of peace in our world