New Knesset elections May the Lord lead you in prayer

Gideon Sa’ar

The fourth Israeli elections in two years are scheduled for March 23, 2021. The current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is running, however, new parties with rising leaders have been formed to oust Mr. Netanyahu. Tel Aviv’s Mayor Ron Huldai announced at the end of December 2020, about a new left-leaning political party named The Israelis. Also, a former Likud member, Gideon Sa’ar, has formed his New Hope Party to challenge Netanyahu in the prime ministerial race. Supporters joining him are hailing Sa’ar as the next prime minister of Israel. The Blue and White Party, led by Benny Gantz, seemed to have collapsed. Mr. Gantz was to rise to power after Netanyahu ends his 18-month term.
The March elections will end the planned rotating premiership.

Rising poverty numbers

One of the Israeli non-profit organizations, Latet, reported at the end of 2020, that some 268,000 families (about 3%) have found themselves in a situation of “extreme poverty” due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The organization provides welfare and meal services throughout Israel. “The surge in poverty rates confirms the most pessimistic economic forecasts, and highlights the weaknesses of the ecosystem in Israel,” said Latet founder Gilles Darmon. The rising number of bankrupted businesses and struggling families has caused nationwide demonstrations for months as Israelis accuse PM Netanyahu for their difficulties.

CFI volunteers at work helping an Israeli family

 May the Lord lead you in prayer

 Vaccination in Israel 

Over 1.2 million Israelis have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, leading the statistics. Please pray that these little tested vaccines will protect Israelis and all the people receiving it in other world countries, as well. 

Attacks and immigration 

World Israel News (WIN) reported at the end of December 2020, that four synagogues in Brooklyn had been vandalized. Graffiti was drawn on each synagogue’s walls, and one was also burglarized. “We are going to see a continued targeting, blaming and scapegoating of the Jewish people in the U.S. and around the world,” said a security services’ representative in Brooklyn. Meditate and pray Zephaniah 3:20 for the Jewish people’s return to their own land, in this time of history: “At that time I will bring you in, even at the time when I gather you together. Indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth.” 

A wedding celebration in the Land of their Fathers

Who will lead the Jewish State? 

As the March 23rd Knesset elections draw near, please pray that God will establish a new government and install the next prime minister. Consider Romans 13:1: “Let every person be in subjection to the government authorities. For there is no authority except God, and those which exist are established by God.” 

 For the children’s sake 

Approximately 8% of Israeli children cope with functional challenges or chronic diseases that require constant medical and/or non-medical care. Israel provides a variety of services to children and adults with special physical and mental needs. However, many essential needs are yet to be covered. Among many other laws, Israel passed in 1988 the Special Education Law that covers children and youth with specific needs. An integration of special-needs children into regular schools has taken its first steps. To help to improve the quality of their lives, overseas Christian and Jewish organizations are also critically important. Playtime helps child development, despite their challenges. We work with designated Israeli organizations to provide support for special-needs children. 

The list of greatest needs includes renovated classrooms, day-camp programs, surveillance cameras, and other improved security, renovated playgrounds, youth centers, and development new Biblical experiences for these children. All the improvements are being worked on in the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Join us so that we may assist the youngest ones on their way to a productive and blessed life. 

Play time helps child development despite their challenges

 Hopeful new immigrants continue coming home 

Immigration to Israel still remains consistent, with new immigrants (olim) starting their new lives during a global pandemic. The Jewish Agency for Israel estimates that it assisted more than 20,000 new immigrants who made aliyah (moved) from 70 different countries by the end of 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Aliyah and Integration Ministry and the Interior Ministry helped in the effort the Jewish Agency reported. According to the Agency, making aliyah was a challenge for Jewish families worldwide all through the year. 

About 10,200 people arrived from the Commonwealth of Independent States in the former Soviet Union; 3,120 from Western Europe, including 2,220 from France; 2,850 from North America, including 2,550 from the US; 1,500 from Latin America; 280 from South Africa; and 90 from Australia and New Zealand. The total number of Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia was 1,200 in 2020. 

“A wonderful thing happened to us: Twenty thousand Jewish immigrants arrived in the State of Israel during this pandemic year,” said the Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog in a meeting with children who immigrated to Israel from a variety of countries. Twenty thousand peoplewho were ready to leave everything behind in the challenging period of the global turmoilcame to build a new life in Israel. 

immigrant children

 The immigration numbers for the year coincided with a sharp increase in people showing interest in moving to Israel. Since January 2020, the Jewish Agency received some 160,000 immigration inquiries, and about 41,000 new applications, including 28,000 from Western countries, which is twice the number of 2019. There was also an increase of 41% of applications from western countries’ young adults, ages 1835. 

The Jewish Agency estimates that Israel may expect an influx of about 250,000 new immigrants over the next three to five years, assuming that the government implements a national plan for such a large wave of newcomers and is able to absorb them. 

“These new immigrants landed straight into two-week isolation in a new country, unknown to everyone. There is nothing more exciting than seeing these wonderful children who made aliyah during this difficult year. I hope COVID-19 will soon be over for them and their friends; and that we will see the great wave of immigration that we are anticipating from all over the world; and that all the new immigrants will have a smooth integration and be received with much love,” said Isaac Herzog. 

In accordance with health regulations, thousands of immigrants were housed immediately in quarantine hotels set up for this purpose. The Jewish Agency has also instituted an emergency plan to breathe hope into Jewish communities worldwide, including interest-free loans created in partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and Keren Hayesod in Israel. (Jerusalem Post online, Dec. 28, 2020) 

 “They will walk after the Lord, He will roar like a lion. Indeed He will roar, and His sons will come trembling from the West” (Hosea 11:10). 

January 31, 2021

For seventy-two years

 Africa-Middle East map of new friends and old enemies of Israel 

 On the road of the U.S. Middle East policy’s failure and success 

 Since 1948, the U.S. presidents and other diplomats have sought ways to make peace between Israel and the Arab world. For all those decades, most peace efforts have failed. The true peace treaties were signed only with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994. With the Palestinians, the past 25 years of multiple peace summits, accords, and negotiations have not brought normal peaceful relations between the PA and Israel. The main reason for it is the fact that the Palestinian leaders never honored the agreements they had signed. 

Speaking at the Brookings Institution in 2016, John Kerry (Secretary of State during the Obama Administration) declared that, “There will be no advanced and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality.” Now, after four advanced and separate occasions of normalized ties with Arab countries, the former Secretary of State has been proven utterly wrong, as were many other U.S. and other international peacemakers before Mr. Kerry. (Photo: Rabat in Morocco) 

 On December 10, 2020, the White House announced that Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to normalize ties between the countries. Morocco is the fourth Arab country to do so just in four months, following the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan. 

As part of the agreement, the United States agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara, where there has been a decades-old territorial dispute with Morocco pitted against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front. As a historic detail, Morocco recognized the United States in 1777. 

Under the agreement, Morocco will establish full diplomatic relations and resume official contacts with Israel, grant overflights, and also direct flights to and from Israel for all Israelis. Both nations will open embassies, one in Rabat and the other in Tel Aviv. Morocco is also building on its longstanding bond with the Jewish community in the country. 

Much of the momentum behind the deal-making has been to present a united front against Iran and roll back its regional influence. Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia are expected to be the next countries to agree for full ties with Israel. 

Time will tell how the four friendly Arab states will defend themselves and build peace together for their peoples and their region, regardless of who is in the White House, or in any other place of high power.  (Reference to Jerusalem Post, HaAretz and other online news.) 

 Understanding the times 

Today together with our Distribution Center in Jerusalem, your prayers, and your kind donations from afar, the Streams of Blessing Project has paid sensitive care to the needs of the Jewish people during this season of scarcity and famine. We have helped parents to clothe newborn babies, Children ready to attend Gan (Kindergarten) and School, as some parents had decided not to enroll them for a new year of studies due to the lack of funds. We have been honored to understand their need, as we keep believing in God’s provision; and moreover, we have had the privilege to clothe them properly for the occasion, as we also pray that God holds their future in His hands. It is time for unity and cares for one another, regardless of their religious creeds or cultural backgrounds. Report by Streams of Blessing Project Supervisor Karen Tohon, CFI Jerusalem. Thank you, Karen!) 

“No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84: 11). 

Mother and her children with new toys from the ministry

Visitors to receive assistance in the Distribution Center

 The fourth election in two years? 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on December 1, 2020, that efforts are being made constantly to keep the current government together. However, the government’s dispersal bill which Yair Lapid (the opposition leader) had introduced for the Knesset passed in the reading on December 2. The Prime Minister called upon Benny Gantz, who shares the premiership with Netanyahu, not to fail the 23rd government. Other ministers informed Benjamin Netanyahu that they are ready for a new election during the first months of 2021. 

The writing on the wall 

Israel’s COVIS-19 infections are steadily rising. It appears that a third lockdown will take place. On December 1, 2020, the Jerusalem Post online news said that “The writing is on the wall, and everywhere you care to look.” Through a combination of inconsistent government policy, disregard of regulations among segments of the population, and the outcome of opening more of the country, the situation is rapidly worsening. 

Country of innovations 

Six Israeli products on the TIME magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2020Innovations Changing How We Live” were listed as inventions “making the world better, smarter and even a bit more fun.” One of the best innovations is a folding electric car, a two-seater that is still in the prototype phase. It was chosen for its ability to retract its wheels by pulling them closer to achieve a one-meter width for narrow city streets and small parking spaces. (World Israel Online News) 

New folding electric car reaches speed up to 55 miles per hour

 Dedicate yourself to prayer 

Scientists as the force behind what they call Iran’s covert push for nuclear weapons. 

Dedicate time to pray for Israel that the old Haman will not succeed in attacking the Jewish state. (Psalm 125:15) 

Ties with Arab countries 

Sudan is the third Arab country to express willingness to normalize ties with Israel. In addition to agriculture, trade, and aviation, migration is reported to be part of the talks. There are about 6,000 Sudanese asylum seekers currently in Israel. Israel has plans to send back any of the refugees who want to return to Sudan. The fourth Arab nation to normalize ties with Israel will be the Kingdom of Morocco. 

Sincerely pray that the new ties with Arab countries will become a blessing to each party. (Psalm 134:13) 

Forming one nation 

New immigrants are still arriving in Israel. They feel safer in a Jewish state than remaining in countries with increasing anti-Semitism. Ezekiel 37:2122 speaks beautifully of God’s plans: 

“Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and will gather them from every side, and bring them into their own land; and will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms.’” Support their arrival with your daily prayers. 

December 29, 2020

Politics of borders

 “November 29” 

The date is annually commemorated for the UN Partition Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947, recommending a partition of Mandatory Palestine at the end of the British Mandate. It endorsed the creation of independent Jewish and Arab states and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem. The plan, which was estimate to take only a few months to implement, was accepted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Arab leaders and governments rejected it and indicated an unwillingness to accept any form of territorial division. Immediately after the adoption of the resolution by the UN General Assembly, a civil war broke out in Palestine and the plan was discarded. 

It is said that “November 29” never ends because the issue of Israel’s existence is still contested, especially at the UN. In 2012, the UN raised the status of the Palestinian Authority to a non-member observer, creating for the first time a de facto state without borders. Ironically, if the Arabs had accepted the original UN partition, they would today have a legally recognized state with borders. 

Every November 29, the UN commemorates its historic 1947 vote by celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. At least one anti-Israel resolution is also passed to enhance the jubilation. 

The city of Jerusalem commemorates November 29 with a street sign in the Old Katamon neighborhood

 Memories from the Land 

As travelers to Israel are facing some new demands in the era of the current pandemic, tour pictures are now more precious than ever. Tour organizers require a health certificate from a doctor, travel insurance also covering the COVID-19 treatment in Israel; and airlines are expected to accept only customers who have taken the vaccine for the corona virus. 

Leon and Wanda at Peace Vista on the Golan Heights

Bat Ayin, the ancient village of the Temple wine production

Overlook of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus

December 29, 2020

This is Israel!

View of Jerusalem with the King David Hotel

 Historic visits and acknowledgments 

The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel in late November. As the first senior U.S. diplomat ever to do so, he toured the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria; and visited the Golan Heights along the Syrian border in the first official visit since 2019 when the U.S. recognized Israeli sovereignty over the plateau. 

“You cannot stand here and stare out at what is across the border [Syria] and deny the central thing that President Donald Trump recognizedwhat the previous presidents have refused to do. Imagine with [Syrian President Bashar] Assad in control of this place, the risk of the harm to the West and to Israel.” Pompeo said. He was referring to the European leaders and the elite institutions in America who want Israel to return the Israel side of the Golan Height to Syria, which area the Jewish state captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed. 

Secretary Pompeo’s visit came only days after military engineers discovered and disarmed explosives in Israeli territory along the border. The explosives were linked to Iran and Syria. 

On his way to the Golan Heights, Pompeo visited with Israeli officials the Psagot Winery in the Jewish community of Sha’ar Binyamin. The winery had named one of its wines after Pompeo as a salute to his announcement in 2019 that the Trump administration no longer sees Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as contrary to international law. Secretary Pompeo’s visit to the Jewish community and its winery was the first by an American diplomat. During his time in Israel, Pompeo announced another policy, as well. 

 He stated that the U.S. is designating as “anti-Semitic” the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel over its falsely claimed poor treatment of the Palestinians. In 2017, Israel passed a law for banning foreign activists with links to BDS from entering the country. “We want to stand with all other nations that recognize the BDS movement for cancer that it is,” said Pompeo. 

In addition, Secretary Pompeo said, that “All producers within areas where Israel exercises the relevant authority will be required to mark goods as Israel or Made in Israel.” Soon after Secretary Pompeo’s visit, the U.S. State Department confirmed the policy. Secretary Pompeo had no meetings with the Palestinian leaders. They have strongly rejected the Trump Administration’s stand on the decades-old conflict, including the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in 2017, and the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in 2018. (Resources: Online news posts from Israel) 

The Sha’ar Binyamin industrial zone near Psagot in Judea

Assisting the Christian Community

It is wonderful to see how believers in the household of faith in Israel are being helped by CFI with your financial support. One of the recipients of help was a single mother with a chronic lung condition. She received vouchers for food and living expenses which assistance allowed the family to transition into a new home. Then the project offed help to a man from a previous Soviet republic. He had a broken arm, therefore, he needed support while his arm was healing. Finally, he was able to return to work.

 CFI also directs donations to other local support organizations that serve people in need, especially in times of financial hardship. By partnering with a law firm of believers, CFI was able to assist those who needed legal representation. In addition, CFI helped to provide critically needed appliances for a Haifa-based ministry center for their new men’s apartment units. The center serves men with drug and alcohol addiction to heal and find God’s purpose for their lives. (Based on a report in FZS  3rdQ2020 by Mr. Kim Brunson, First Fruits Outreach  Supervisor. Thank you, Kim!)

Your prayers and support are always appreciated. During this year’s Chanukah (December 10-18), many families have to rely on soup kitchens and ministries like CFI to survive. We thank you for your compassion toward our sisters and brothers in the Land. “May the Lord bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 134:3).

Israelis of all walks of life are helped by CFI

Renewed agreements signed

On October 28, 2020, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman signed new versions of three agreements on research cooperation between the two countries. All three agreements were originally formed and signed in the 1970s and had large endowments that provided grants to American and Israeli academics and companies for research and technology. The timing of the agreements was right as the Trump Administration no longer views Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as being illegal, per se. Ambassador Friedman said that removing territorial restrictions in the agreements fits with the spirit of the Abraham Accords as the region is continuously advancing the cause of peace. (Jerusalem Post, October 29, 2020)

Personal ties

For years, CFI-USA has formed friendships with the people of Israel. We have planted trees in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights; assisted communities’ security; and helped to provide care and education for special-needs children. We thank you for partnering with us for Israel’s future.

Planting trees and visiting with the Mayor of Efrat in Judea

Prayer needs for the Lord’s people

Angel-guard for the Netanyahus: Join us to intercede for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara, sons Yair and Avner, and daughter Noa. Rioters and media have attacked the family for months. The recently agreed peace treaties with three Arab countries have not brought him favor among those who oppose the current government’s policies.

Pray Psalm 124 for the rescue and protection of the Netanyahu family.

Terror attacks in Europe: The leader of France’s Jewish community condemned the October 29, 2020 attack in Nice in which an Islamic terrorist slaughtered three people in a Catholic church. Then on November 2, terror attacks took place in six locations in Vienna, Austria, including the main synagogue neighborhood. Four Austrians were killed. No Jewish people were hurt, but the city’s Jewish population was advised to stay home. The attack was a shock since, for the past 75 years, Austria has been a safe home for Jews.

Recite Psalm 130 for the protection and encouragement of the Jewish people in Europe.

In your prayer times, please pray also for:

  • The Household of Faith in Israel
  • Israeli soldiers to be ready for any conflict
  • The country’s borders to be protected
  • Israel to trust only the Lord God Almighty
  • All Israelis to be protected from COVID-19
  • Blessings over CFI’s Headquarters, the leaders, and the staff. Thank you so much.

Prayer service in the men’s section of the Kotel