“O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is mercy, And with Him there is abundant redemption.  And He shall redeem Israel, from all his iniquities” (Ps 130:7-8)

“Praise the LORD for the LORD is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.  For the LORD himself has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure.” (Ps. 135:3-4)

Dear Intercessors for Israel:

Greetings from the Global Outpouring Ministry Center (aka: ETH&S Ministries) in Jasper, Arkansas.  I begin this prayer letter with two precious quotes from Psalms.  The first two verses are taken from Psalms 130, a song of ascent sung by worshipers as they ascended to Jerusalem to attend the three pilgrimage festivals required by the LORD (Deut 16:16).  The Levite singers also proclaimed these verses as they ascended the fifteen steps into the Temple.  The second scripture, I have highlighted comes from Psalms 135, and has been described as a “mosaic” of verses assembled from other Psalms.  Each portion of the Psalms I have selected gives glory to God and ministers to our souls.  Sing these scriptures and pray for Israel and the Jewish people while you are worshiping this week.  Declare, Israel, they find “hope in the LORD” and deliverance from this pandemic.  Let all Israel know that the LORD is good, and that He “has chosen Jacob for himself “and “Israel for His special treasure.”

The COVID Pandemic

The nation of Israel is still in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic.  Over two weeks ago, a second nationwide “lockdown” was instituted by the government in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.  This isolation was imposed throughout the Succot (Feast of Tabernacles) holidays.  The good news is the “Virus Cabinet” has partially lifted the lockdown this week, permitting visits to parks and allowing some restaurants to open for “takeout orders” only.  Even so, the once robust economy in Israel is in free-fall.  Shopkeepers in Tel-Aviv protested the lack of business this week, by “burning” their goods in the street.  The religious sector is also not co-operating with the governmental restrictions on assemblies and yeshiva schools.

A wedding last week which held in a private home, in Givat Ze’ev, a community north of Jerusalem, was raided by police and border patrol officers.  This raid lead to bottle throwing and angry confrontations.  Apparently, according to COVID regulations, it was an illegal assembly of more than twenty people (Shades of the wedding scene in Fiddler on the Roof).  P.M. Netanyahu after hearing complaints by Haredi members of the Knesset (Shas and United Torah Judaism) parties has called for an investigation. One religious MK Yisrael Eichael outraged at the incident accused the government of sending “storm troopers to brutalize Jewish children” (www.jpost.com ).  In response Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman on Thursday Oct. 15th, criticized Haredi politicians, noting that “When representatives of the Haredi sector in the Knesset express themselves like this, it is no wonder that [COVID-19] infection rates in the State of Israel go up.” (www.jpost.com)  In the United States, the same problems are also present, between our basic constitutional freedoms to assemble and worship, and the government’s mandate to protect its citizens from a pandemic. 

The Prime Minister though has again reminded the nation that “if the number of virus cases increases, he will again lock the country down.”  The country’s principle airport, Ben Gurion is once again open for travelers leaving the country.  Until this 16th of October, the purchase of airline tickets to leave the nation was banned.  Individual travelers who arrive in Israel from “red countries” (such as the U.S.) are still required to enter into a mandatory 14-day quarantine.  The country is still closed to tourists.

Maritime Border Negotiations

Israel and Lebanon are currently in the initial stages of negotiations between the two nations, to determine their sea borders.  Until oil and gas reserves were discovered under the ocean some years ago, neither nation was terribly concerned delineating the exact line of determination.  Now that untold riches lay just underneath the waters, Lebanon wants to lay claim to it also.  Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed that these “talks” could eventually lead to peace between the two nations.  Speaking before the Knesset, which was meeting to approve of the landmark peace treaty with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Netanyahu quickly added that with the terrorist group Hezbollah in power, there could be “no peace with this country.” (www.i24news/tv.com).  Still the P.M. declared that “these tentative negotiations between in over 30 years represent enormous potential and economic importance, for them and for us.”

Case 3000 Dismissed

Prime Minister Netanyahu has been under indictment for corruption, bribery, and illegal profiteering from sales of stock, related to the purchase of German submarines for the Israeli Navy.  This past week, the Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit moved to dismiss the charges concerning illegal profiteering from these investments, citing there was no proof that their sales was connected to the government contract regarding the Submarines purchase.  The other two stronger cases against Netanyahu have already gone forward, with witnesses due to be called in January.

Several top aides of Netanyahu are expected though to be indicted for bribery and fraud in what has been called Case 3000 for skimming off the top of a deal between Israel and the German company Thyssenkrupp. But there was no evidence at the time that the prime minister received any benefit from the deal or knew of the bribery scheme.

The Harpaz Affair

The Attorney General though was himself indicted in an earlier case called the Harpaz affair, a military scandal.  Past recordings released this week, showed Mandelblit complaining that the former-state attorney Shai Nizan “has his hands around my throat,”(www.jpost.com). Likud chairman Miki Zohar promptly called for Mandelblit’s resignation, saying there are more incriminating recordings yet to be released, if he didn’t resign and withdraw charges against Netanyahu (www.timesofisrael.com ).  This threat, was promptly condemned by both Netanyahu and by Mandelblit himself.

The case against Mandelblit was closed in 2015, without saying if the charges were groundless or based on lack of evidence.   Mandelblit’s office responded by stating that, “there are no connection between what was said [in his private telephone conversation] and the professionally based decisions [regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] that were made.”  (www.jpost.com )  What is clear, the Jerusalem Post noted is that “whether observers will see a connection between Nitzan’s decision on the Harpaz Affair and Mandelblit’s decision regarding Netanyahu will likely depend on each person’s politics.

 

Ethiopian Aliyah (Return to Zion)

In a partial victory for Israel’s first-ever cabinet member of Ethiopian descent, Immigration Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, the government was set this past week to approve funds to bring 2,000 more Ethiopians Jews to Israel by year’s end.  Tamano-Shata has been pressing the government to rescue as many people from the Jewish community as possible in light of reports that up to 14,000 Ethiopians waiting to immigrate to Israel are facing a coronavirus-related humanitarian disaster and must be brought to the Jewish state as soon as possible. (www.timesofisrael.com )  More than 135,000 Israelis of Ethiopian origin currently live in Israel. About 85,900 were born in Ethiopia while 49,600 were born in Israel. These Jewish brethren (from the lost tribe) add a vibrant part to the culture of Israel, although discrimination exists, in jobs and housing.  Approximately 8,000 Ethiopian Jews or Falash Mura as they are called there, are still waiting to make Aliyah, and about 4,500 of them have immediate family in Israel (www.jewishvirtuallibary.org ).  We rejoice for the LORD is fulfilling His promises to His people that He would bring them back from the North, the South, the East and the West (Is. 43:5-6, Jer.23:3 and many others).

Ancient Two Shekel Weight Discovered

Israel has been called an “antiquities paradise,” for the hidden treasures which lie just beneath the soil.  The ground here hold many secrets, just waiting for the right person or archaeological team to make the find.  Archaeologists working on an excavation project in Jerusalem’s Old City recently discovered a 2,700-year old limestone weight, which approximately correlated to the known weight of two shekels.

The weight which derives from the Iron Age and coincides with the First Temple period was retrieved during sifting of earthen fills from the City of David; conducted under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority and in conjunction with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation beneath Wilson’s Arch.  Using accurate weights was important for business during the First Temple period as coins were still not in use. At busy times of the year, such as the three pilgrim festivals (Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot) when Jerusalem would be full of people, being able to rely on an exact weight ensured that a system of barter and exchange continued to function.(www.algemeiner.com)

The finding of these ancient relics verifies the existence of  Solomon’s Temple and lends archaeological proof to presence of ancient Jewish culture.  The keepers of Islam’s Dome of the Rock, adamantly deny that a Jewish Temple was once present on their site.  History and archaeology discoveries in Eretz Israel though continually prove their arguments and reasonings are false.

Shabbat Shalom,                                                  

Gene and Marylois/House of Peace