Yet now hear O Jacob my servant and Israel whom I have chosen: Thus saith the LORD that made thee and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee. Fear not, O Jacob, my servant, and thou, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring (Is.44:1-3)
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
President Trump announced this week, a breakthrough in Middle East diplomacy. Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to “normalize relations’ between the two countries. Trump stated in a news conference that “Everybody said this would be impossible, but after 49 years, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will exchange embassies and ambassadors and begin cooperation across the border.” The White House called these signed documents: “The Abraham Accords.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu also announced this historic breakthrough by saying: “The agreement includes full diplomatic relations, the establishment of embassies; the exchange of ambassadors; broad investments which will greatly benefit the Israeli economy, especially now during the coronavirus crisis, but also in general; tourism and direct flights between Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi.” “The United Arab Emirates will be investing in Israel a very significant sum towards the development of a coronavirus vaccine.” www.israelnationalnews.com
Of course, in any agreement, the details of it matter. The UAE announced that this agreement was “a bold step to secure a two-state solution”, something which the U.N., the E.U. the U.K. and Russia want, but the Palestinian Authority rejects and Israel is wary of. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also said the “agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories,” but Palestinian leadership strongly rejected this premise. The P.A. immediately condemned this agreement, labeling the UAE’s leaders “dogs” and promptly recalled its ambassador to Abu-Dhabi. The leadership of the P.A. also stated that these Accords were “a treacherous and poisonous stab in the back, a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause,” (www.jpost.com ) Nabil Abu Rudeinah, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called the agreement a “blow to the Arab Peace Initiative and an aggression against the Palestinian people” in a statement which was broadcast on Palestine TV. (www.newsweek.com)
As a part of “Abraham Accords”, Israel has stated that it will “freeze its sovereignty plan for Judea and Samaria.” This plan under the Trump Administration would have permitted Israel to declare sovereignty over 30% of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), including the Jordan Valley, Ma’alah Adumin, and Gush Zion block. The P.A. would then be given 70% of the remaining territory, to form its nation. Trump’s “Deal of the Century” though is looking like it may be consigned to the dustbin of history, and rightfully so for the LORD God declares “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me.” (Lev.25:23). The LORD also reveals in Joel that the nations will be judged for dividing it (Joel 3:2).
Hamas, an Iranian sponsored terrorist group which controls the Gaza Strip, a narrow piece of land between Egypt and Israel, is again trying to stir up trouble with its neighbor Israel. They have launched dozens of incendiary balloons which have landed in Israel, causing over 60 fires destroying wheat fields and scorching nature preserves. Israel in turn, closed its entry crossings with Gaza, stopped fuel deliveries and reduced the fishing zone outside of Gaza. Israel responded with the Israel Air Force (IAF) hitting a number of Hamas targets such as solitary observation posts and empty bunkers, thereby causing no causalities, but getting the message across: STOP! An IDF military spokesman stressed that Israel “will not hold back on any action necessary for stemming assaults on its citizens and territory. Hamas is held fully responsible for such assaults and will bear the consequences.” (www.debka.com ).
“To the Skies”
Israel’s premier airline is called “El Al” and means in Hebrew “To the skies.” This financially strapped airline may be flying soon, as well as Israir, a private company, if the Israeli government finalizes agreements with “green nations” (low COVID virus rates). This week, the Coronavirus Cabinet decided that Israeli citizens will be able to fly to Greece, Croatia, and Bulgaria, without the obligation of entering isolation when they land back in Israel. The Cabinet will examine adding Cyprus and Hungary to the list in the future. These countries will limit Israeli tourists to 600 a week. Those flying to these nations will need to be tested for COVID upon arriving at Ben-Gurion and then again when they deplane and are placed in isolation at their destination for 48 hours.
The ministers also confirmed that Israelis with European passports will not be required to isolate upon returning from some countries, including Hong Kong, Germany, Britain, Italy, Lithuania, New Zealand, Canada, Denmark and Austria – all of which are considered green countries. Israel is considered by the EU as a country at risk – ‘red’ – and therefore most countries still refuse to accept Israeli tourists into their territory. Israel’s borders are still closed to the United States,
The nation is still struggling against the Corona virus, with infections spiking and the death rate climbing to 651 deaths since March. There are some 24,425 COVID positive active cases. (98% are in mild condition, with 371 in serious condition) A report by www.worldometer.info/coronavirus/country/israel reveals that 64,746 Israelis or 99% have recovered so far with a 1% nationwide fatality rate. The government recently issued a one-time COVID financial relief package ranging from 750 NIS ($218) for individuals to 2000-3000 NIS ($583-$875) for families. Israelis like many others in the world are struggling during this pandemic. There are some 850,000 people out of work and the unemployment rate is over 21 percent. The tourist industry, including hotels, restaurants, tour agencies, guides and bus companies have been the hardest hit.
The terrible ammonium nitrate explosion in Lebanon, last week essentially destroyed downtown Beirut (where most of its Christian community is located), killed over 200 people and left over 300,000 homeless. (www.BBC.com 8/10/2020) Israel immediately offered medical and emergency supplies but was refused. Hezbollah, Israel’s Iranian sponsored enemy which controls the government, then in turn threatened to destroy Tel-Aviv with their missiles.
An Open Door
Even so an open door to help those whose lives have been ravaged came our way. Good friends of ours in Jerusalem are in contact with a Christian ministry in Beirut that is able to distribute financial help to those who need it the most. The House of Peace, was able to make an offering to assist these Christians who are in desperate need.
Thank you for your on-going support of the House of Peace. Marylois and I are not there, but we can still help minister. Our Wednesday prayer team still meets faithfully at the House of Peace. Please continue to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem! And LORD, pour out your Spirit on this land and people as you promised in Isaiah: “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring (Is.44:1-3)
Gene and Marylois/House of Peace