Archives For Middle East Updates

After a recent suspected Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz, Syria launched a missile Thursday morning which landed 185 miles to the south, almost reaching the Jewish state’s top-secret nuclear reactor in the Negev desert.

Air-raid sirens sounded near Dimona, where the Israeli facility is located, and explosions were heard throughout Israel, possibly the result of the air-defense system deployment. It is not clear whether the missile’s intended target was an Israeli jet, which was on a mission to strike Iranian military assets in Syria, or if it was intended for Dimona.

Historically, Israel neither confirms nor denies that it has a nuclear arsenal, and the facility at Dimona is thought to be the centerpiece of the program.

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Avner Boskey, a Messianic leader in Israel, as well as a respected worship leader and theologian, wrote an op-ed in Israel Today last week, trying to separate myth from fact surrounding Israel’s vaccination campaign.

The “news” coming out of a small part of Israel’s Messianic community is filled with dire and apocalyptic predictions about the “true” nature of the nation’s efforts to vaccinate as many Israelis as possible. Their conspiracy theories and videos have circled the globe, as they label the program as “diabolical,” “evil,” and on par with the Nazi holocaust. Boskey waded into the controversy, hoping to shed some light on the dark forecasts.

“There is a traditional Yiddish proverb, ‘Two Jews, three opinions.’ We Jewish people are known for the richness of our expressions…in Israel, everyone has a strong opinion about nearly everything, and sometimes it may seem that everyone is right. Messianic Jews in Israel also have intense opinions about many issues, especially about perspectives concerning the coronavirus pandemic and its ramifications.”

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Israel’s nationwide outdoor mask mandate was lifted Sunday, and school children returned to the classroom for the first time in almost a year. Officials attribute the easing of the safety measures to the high rate of immunizations among the country’s 9.3 million people. Nearly 80 percent of the nation’s five million adults are reported to have been vaccinated. Daily COVID-19 cases have plummeted from a high of 12,000 a day on January 27th to only a couple hundred new cases a day currently.

The seven-day average goes down nearly every day. Over the past seven days: 202, 180, 160, 167, 159, 154, 136. And all this, while businesses and schools are open again. By all accounts, the vaccine is effective and safe, at least in the short term.

“The rate of infection in Israel is very low thanks to the successful vaccine campaign in Israel, and therefore it is possible to ease (restrictions),” according to Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Health Minister.

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Should it surprise anyone that Israel is on the forefront of finding treatments for the COVID-19 virus? Check this out! The “cytokine storm” that can be fatal in some patients with COVID-19 could be calmed with molecules found in kefir, according to a team of researchers in Israel.

A study published recently in the peer-reviewed journal, Microbiome, shares the findings of the pre-clinical research being done at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) into the usefulness of kefir in treating inflammatory responses.

Kefir is a fermented, probiotic, yogurt-type drink made from goat or cow’s milk and good micro-organisms such as bacteria or yeast. Professor Raz Jelinek, Vice President and Dean for Research and Development at BGU, and Ph.D. student Orit Malka identified molecules in the kefir yogurt that had impressive antibacterial and anti-inflammatory attributes.

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Tests and vaccines will be required, but tourists in organized groups will start to flow back into the Holy Land once again at the end of May, according to an announcement Tuesday from Israel’s Health and Tourism Ministries.

“It is time that Israel’s unique advantage as a safe and healthy country starts to assist it in recovering from the economic crisis,” Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said in the joint statement.

Tourism, which fuels a large portion of Israel’s economy, suffered an 81 percent drop in the number of visitors in 2020 than the previous year.

Elana and I cannot wait to host a group of Israel-loving believers, as we have done for years. We are already planning our next tour, trying to get dates from the tour operator with whom we work. We are moving cautiously, as we don’t want people to make plans that they cannot keep. Hopefully, we can do something this fall.

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