I turn my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot give way; Your guardian will not slumber; see, the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps! The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your protection at your right hand. By day the sun will not strike you, nor the moon by night. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep”, The Lord will guard you from all harm; He will guard your life. The Lord will guard your going and coming now and forever. Psalm 121 (Hebrew-English translation)

Dear Friends of Israel:

Israel is still in the grip of the Corona virus pandemic, with the cities and people confined to their homes.  The Rabbi have been praying Psalm 121, and asking God to deliver Israel from this plague. The government is discussing ways to “re-open” the economy but with strong measures ensuring the safety of the people.  Everyone is required to wear a mask outside, travel only to essential business and restaurants can only do home delivery service.  The small businessmen are hurting.  A 56-year-old man named Yuvel Carmi of Ashdod who sells falafels in Ashdod was interviewed by the Times of Israel.  He was in tears, forbidden by the government to even do “take out” orders.  He said he was $18,000 in debt and “I’m embarrassed, from my children, to tell them I have nothing I can buy for you. I have nothing to give them. I have nothing to give them to eat.  “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do,” he said, crying and then apologizing for his tears.”

The phone lines to the T.V. stations were flooded with people wanting to give donations, but Carmi refused. He said he was not looking for handouts, but merely wanted to earn an “honorable living.” (www.timesofisrael.com ).  Since that interview, Carmi has been overwhelmed with delivery orders as Israelis, known for their solidarity, have rushed to support his business. The response was heartwarming. (www.jpost.com ).  It still takes a lot of effort to deliver warm falafels which cost a pittance via your car to homes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday also spoke on the phone with Yuval Carmi,  “You touched my heart” the P.M.  said.  He told Carmi Monday. “And I’ll help you. We’re going to help everyone. You have reached deep into my heart and the hearts of Israeli citizens.” 

Israel now has over one million of its citizens unemployed, the highest rate ever.  Netanyahu as former finance minister could easily see how this one story of hardship has symbolized the country’s woes,  Carmi is a Likud member, and Netanyahu seeing his political support weakening among the people, signed a unity government agreement with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz.

Pray for this man, and many other Israeli’s like him who have no way to make a living.

Jerusalem Houses of Prayer

I also know, many prayers to deliver Israel from COVID-19 are also being offered by believers in homes, via Zoom and face-time.  Currently all churches, and mosques are closed for meetings.  This week the Muslim month of fasting begins: Ramadan, April 23rd to May 23rd, 2020. 

Israel has over one million followers of Islam, who are citizens or have residence cards.  Pray that during the month of Ramadan, that they will see Jesus in dreams and visions and come to faith.  Pray that their eyes would be opened to the truth of the Gospel. 

Israel’s New Unity Government

Israel’s 35th Government began to solidify on Monday (4/20/20) with the signing of a coalition agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz.  After weeks of thrashing out a “deal” everyone could live with a 14-page agreement was signed.  The agreement sets the government’s lifespan at 36 months, and divides it into two parts: a six-month “emergency period” and a longer “unity period” to follow.  With each side forming “blocs” and having the right to veto the other, it is going to be a difficult time to approve anything.  The new government will be “bloated” with 52 ministers and deputy ministers holding positions.  . 

The Israel Times in an op-ed had this to say about Israel’s 35th Government.  “It is being billed by Likud and Blue and White as a “unity government,” but it is more likely to be defined by its disunity, and to be overwhelmed from the start by the mutual suspicion and petty politicking that drove the past year’s political deadlock” (www.timesofisrael.com )

Danish Bible Omits Israel

The Danish Bible Society released a new translation of the Word this week in a project called Bible 2020.  It’ s modern translation has already caused a furor; The Society chose to omit dozens of f references to Israel from its version of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.  Defending the deletions, the society said these omissions prevent confusion with the modern-State of  Israel. 

Jan Frost, a Bible enthusiast and supporter of Israel from Denmark, drew the media’s attention to the omissions on You Tube and other social networks. He counted 59 omissions out of 60 references to Israel in the Greek origin for New Testament texts. References to “the People of Israel” were replaced with “Jews,” while “Land of Israel” became “the land of Jews.” In other places, references to Israel were translated as referencing all readers or all of humanity.

The Song of Ascents from the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible, a popular Shabbat hymn for Jews, originally states that “He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” In the new translation, Israel is replaced by the word “us.” (www.timesofIsrael.com )

This is another example of “Replacement theology, running wild.”  Replacement theology believes that the church has replaced Israel.  It also believes that all the promises for Israel are now replaced as belonging to the church.

EL-AL in Financial Straits

Israel’s premier Airline is facing bankruptcy, due to the decline of the travelers because of the Corona virus. The Israeli government this week declined the airline’s request for a $400 million dollar loan.  The Finance Ministry wants reduction in employees an d guarantees that foreign banks which  have finances new aircraft purchases would not take steps to re-possess them, if the  State of Israel approves this loan. The Ministry also wants El-Al to cut 30 per-cent of its employees.  Th e Israeli Unions are now pressuring Prime Minister Netanyahu to intervene, citing his past election promises  that he would not let El-Al collapse.  The airline has already laid off 80% of its work force. (www.timesofisrael.com  )

Please hold El-Al and its employees up in prayer.

Wild Life Returns

The nationwide quarantine in Israel and the World has given the animal world, a break.  Israelis have been  surprised to see jackals, opposingly  wandering through Tel-Aviv’s Ha Yarkon Park, Ibex walking down Eilat’s beach promenade, wild boars in the city streets of Haifa, and foxes running through Ashkelon’s park.  The Lake of Galilee is also full, a blessing but without people, the beaches are deserted

British ornithologist David Lindo, who is known as the “Urban Birder”, has some advice for people “locked in.  He has been live streaming birds he spots from the roof of the building in Spain where he has been quarantined.  “The sky is a great arena, anything can fly past and, at the very least, it will give you peace. My message is simple: keep looking up,” he said. (www.ynetnews.com )

 Look Up, Your redemption is near!

Marylois and my message is also simple.  Jesus tells his followers that “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads for  your redemption draws near.” (Lk. 21:28)

Shabbat Shalom

Gene and Marylois /House of Peace