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Which country could be next to normalize ties with Israel?

October 29, 2020

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12 NIV

I hope you find great encouragement in the words of the verse above. No matter what we are experiencing or what is happening in our world, because of what Jesus has done for each one of us, we can “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Again this week there is much to share on countries seeking to normalize ties with Israel. There are further developments with both Sudan and Saudi Arabia as well as Oman being back in the news regarding a potential agreement. And United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel are moving forward with multiple agreements that deepen their ties. 

The latest on the coronavirus in Israel is still good news. The positive virus test rate hit a new low early this week. In addition, the number of patients in serious condition has fallen below 500 for the first time in about six weeks. 

In news closer to home, as the U.S. elections approach, we have a three-part series of our A Jew and a Gentile Discuss podcast where Carly and Ezra talk about the elections. The first episode, airing the week before the elections, has Carly and Ezra discussing important issues to consider as you go to the polls. The week of the election, they will follow up on what the results mean going forward. And then the week following the election, they will discuss any further developments and impact from the election results. Be sure and check out these episodes wherever you listen to your podcasts or at 

Please read the stories below for greater detail and thank you for your faithfulness in prayer for Israel and the Jewish people. 

Sudan moving forward with normalizing ties with Israel 

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry reported that Sudanese and Israeli officials will meet in coming weeks to discuss a package of cooperation deals to “achieve the mutual interests of the two peoples.” 

The ministry’s statement came three days after U.S. President Donald Trump made the announcement that Sudan would begin normalizing ties with Israel. Trump pledged to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism as part of the deal to normalize ties with Israel. 

Sudan has agreed to designate Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organization, a senior U.S. official said. This is something Israel has long desired from its neighbors and other countries. 

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was “sending $5 million worth of wheat immediately to our new friends” in Sudan, according to The Times of Israel. 

In addition, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said the U.S. would work with its international partners to relieve the country’s foreign debt, which is in excess of $60 billion. Both the U.S. and Israel would also help Sudan “consolidate its democracy, enhance food security … and fight terrorism,” the ministry said. 

Could Saudi Arabia announce desire to normalize ties with Israel after U.S. election? 

In closed conversations, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen said a normalization announcement between Israel and Saudi Arabia is close and major developments could follow the U.S. presidential election, depending on who wins, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Mossad is Israel’s national intelligence agency. 

It’s reported that the normalization deal would also involve an arms agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, Cohen said. 

According to recent polls, normalizing ties is something many in Saudi Arabia and Israel desire. A poll by Zogby Research Services found nearly 80% of Saudis are in favor of working toward normalizing ties within the next five years. In a poll published by Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, Saudi Arabia is the country with which most Israelis would like to establish ties. 

Oman could be next to normalize ties with Israel 

Citing Israeli sources, N12 news reported that U.S.-mediated normalization talks between Israel and Oman are close to achieving a breakthrough. 

These sources believe Oman is the country most likely to be next to normalize ties, according to The Jerusalem Post. 

Israel and UAE agree to new, deeper ties 

Last Tuesday diplomats from the UAE made their first official trip to Israel since the countries normalized relations in August. 

The two countries signed pacts deepening their ties. This included allowing their citizens to travel from one country to the other without visas – a first for Israel with an Arab state, reported The New York Times. 

“Today we are making history,” Netanyahu said. “The enthusiasm for this peace agreement among our peoples is enormous, it’s real, it’s broad, it’s deep.” 

The UAE delegation also made a formal request to establish an embassy in Tel Aviv. Israel is expected to do the same in Abu Dhabi. 

Another signed agreement paves the way for direct flights between the two countries. 

Modernizing the checkpoints for the approximately 2.7 million Palestinians living in the West Bank is another project being discussed. 

Israel and UAE open talks about oil pipeline 

Talks have begun between Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE) over a top-secret oil pipeline that links the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. 

Europe Asia Pipeline Co. (EAPC), controlled by Israel’s government, and UAE-based MED-RED Land Bridge Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding, according to an EAPC statement. The two companies have agreed to collaborate on the transportation of crude and oil products between the Persian Gulf and Western markets, according to Bloomberg online news. 

Coronavirus restrictions extended by a week 

On Sunday the coronavirus cabinet extended virus health regulations until next week.  

“If morbidity goes down, then the restrictions will also gradually come down. If morbidity goes up, there will be no choice but to reimpose the restrictions,” Netanyahu said. 

The cabinet reportedly agreed to a proposal to allow students and teachers to gather outdoors in informal groups of up to 15, even as schools remain closed, according to The Times of Israel. This is effective immediately. 

No decision could be agreed upon by the cabinet regarding reopening open-air markets. 

The government plan to ease restrictions has been broken down into nine distinct stages by the Health Ministry. Netanyahu expressed interest in condensing the plan to five stages, but this could cause infections to rise dramatically, health officials warned. 

Grades 1-4 to go back to school next week 

On Sunday the coronavirus cabinet voted to reopen schools for kids in 1st-4th grade early next week. This will only be implemented if virus cases remain low. 

According to the approved plan, children in 3rd and 4th grade will be divided into pods and resume attending school five days a week. 1st and 2nd grade students will be split into two groups and alternate days, going to school only three times a week. Remote learning will continue for children in 5th grade and above. 

Human trials to begin November 1 for Israeli coronavirus vaccine 

The Defense Ministry announced that the first human trials of its coronavirus vaccine will begin Sunday, November 1. The trials will continue through next spring before it can receive approval for use. 

The trials will be conducted by the Israel Institute for Biological Research starting with two initial participants, increasing to 80 through November. If they respond well to the vaccine and develop antibodies against the virus, beginning in December the testing will expand to 960 participants. If this larger group responds well, the vaccine will then be given to some 30,000 people in April or May 2021. 

If there are no significant side effects and the vaccine works well, it will then be approved for full use in the general population. 

The first stage of testing will use healthy participants, aged 18-55. The second stage will use healthy participants 18 and older, and the third stage will have no limitation on the age or medical condition of the participants, according to The Times of Israel. 

Let us pray together 

Please pray with me for:  

  • Continued progress on potential normalization between Israel and Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Oman  

  • The coronavirus infection rate to continue the current trend of going down in Israel 

  • Wisdom and protection for the people of Israel as the government has begun lifting coronavirus restrictions and younger children are attending school 

  • Continued success of clinical trials to produce an effective vaccine, in particular, that the human trials for the Israeli vaccine would go well 

  • Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah 

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