VFI News December 22, 2020

Pence Gets COVID Vaccine as US Deaths Top 3,000 for Third Straight Day

US Vice President Mike Pence received his COVID-19 vaccine live on television on Friday, seeking to shore up public support for vaccinations after US deaths from the coronavirus topped 3,000 for a third straight day.

Pence, his wife Karen Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams each rolled up their sleeves and took injections from medical staff in white coats, becoming the highest-profile recipients to receive the vaccine publicly.

"I didn't feel a thing. Well done," said Pence, the leader of the White House coronavirus task force.

They were injected with the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE that the Food and Drug Administration authorized for emergency use a week ago.

The FDA on Friday was expected to approve a second vaccine for emergency use, this one from Moderna Inc. (JPost / VFI News)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

And now, an important message from Barry and Batya:

Facebook Removes Israeli Anti-Vaccine 'Fake News' Groups, Posts

Facebook has taken down content that spread lies in Israel against coronavirus vaccinations as the government seeks to drum up support for the program, the Justice Ministry said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday became the first person to be vaccinated in Israel. Opinion polls show some two-thirds of the public want to follow suit.

The Justice Ministry said that, at its request, Facebook took down four groups at the weekend that had disseminated texts, photographs, and videos with "deliberately mendacious content designed to mislead about coronavirus vaccines".

Such "fake news" included arguments that vaccines would be used to plant government tracking chips in recipients' bodies, to poison them and thus cull the population, or to subject them to medical experimentation, the ministry said in a statement.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that four Hebrew-language groups had been taken down as part of the company's policy against "spreading misinformation regarding the vaccines". (JPost / VFI News)

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. - Proverbs 12:22

No Visitors from UK, Denmark, and South Africa

The Coronavirus Cabinet on Sunday approved new restrictions barring non-citizens from traveling to Israel from the United Kingdom, Denmark, and South Africa following the outbreak of a new and more contagious strain of the coronavirus in those countries.

In addition, citizens returning from those countries will be required to enter isolation at specially designated coronavirus hotels.

During the meeting of the Coronavirus Cabinet, an argument broke out between Transportation Minister Miri Regev, who sought to prevent a full ban on air travel, and Coronavirus Czar Prof. Nachman Ash.

Regev expressed strong opposition to the move of declaring all countries of the world red, which in practical terms would mean closing the skies, due to its implications for the aviation industry.

Following Regev's remarks, Netanyahu said, "It is necessary to close the sky - the cost is negligible, it is almost zero." (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you heal the world of this pandemic, so that travel can resume safely as soon as possible.”

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IAEA Chief: There Have Been Too Many Breaches of Iran Deal

Reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal under US President-elect Joe Biden would require a new agreement setting out how Iran’s breaches should be reversed, the head of the UN’s atomic watchdog said on Thursday.

In an interview with Reuters, Rafael Grossi, who heads the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said there had been too many breaches for the agreement to simply fall back into place.

“I cannot imagine that they are going simply to say, ‘We are back to square one’ because square one is no longer there,” he said.

“There is more (nuclear) material, ... there is more activity, there are more centrifuges, and more are being announced. So what happens with all this? This is the question for them at the political level to decide,” added Grossi.

Asked if that meant there would have to be a “deal within the deal”, he replied, “Oh yes, oh yes. Undoubtedly.”

“It is clear that there will have to be a protocol or an agreement or an understanding or some ancillary document which will stipulate clearly what we do,” continued Grossi. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you keep us all safe from the threat of nuclear war.”

Over 50,000 Israelis Have Already Visited the UAE Since Peace Deal Signing

Over 50,000 Israelis have visited the United Arab Emirates since the recent normalization pact between Israel and the UAE, according to a report this week.

That number is the result of only two weeks of open commercial flights between the countries, which agreed to open the diplomatic and tourism floodgates in a historic agreement signed in August. Tens of thousands more were expected to visit during the Hanukkah holiday.

The report also said that the Jewish community center in Dubai, the UAE capital, is increasing its staff from five to “about 30” employees and that nearly 150 restaurants have begun serving kosher food. The center is planning to build a mikvah “befitting Dubai’s luxury standards.” (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to foster peace within the region.”

Tunisia Works to Preserve its Jewish Heritage

Tunisia is struggling to protect North Africa's Jewish heritage, threatened by vandalism, looting, and the smuggling of valuable artifacts bearing witness to the long history of the region's Jews.

While many of Tunisia's own synagogues and Jewish graveyards lie neglected, the country has also become a conduit for antiques pillaged in lawless neighboring Libya.

"A huge number of antiques have been looted in Libya, and people are trying to smuggle them to Europe," said Habib Kazdaghli, a historian at Tunisia's Manouba University.

Kazdaghli is campaigning for the creation of a museum of the country's Jewish heritage -- a sensitive subject given public opposition to Israel.

Jews have lived in North Africa for over 2,000 years, a community strengthened by multiple waves of immigration, notably an influx of refugees expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century and the arrival of Italian Jews in the 17th. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to protect and support Jews throughout the world.”

Hamas Bans Muslims from Attending Christmas Celebrations in Gaza

Hamas has decided to “limit interaction” with Christmas celebrations in the Gaza Strip, drawing sharp criticism from many Palestinians, especially Christians living in the Gaza Strip.

The restriction, which is not connected to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, was included in an internal document issued on December 15 by Dr. Walid Owaidah, Director-General of the General Authority of Preaching and Guidance in the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Wakf and Religious Affairs.

The document addressed to Dr. Abdel Hadi al-Agha, Deputy Minister of the Wakf and Religious Affairs, is titled: “The Activities of the General Authority of Preaching and Guidance to Limit Interaction with Christmas.”

Hamas defended the decision and claimed that it applies only to Muslims who attend non-Muslim celebrations. (JPost / VFI News)

Will the Biblical Star of Bethlehem Appear in the Sky Ahead of Christmas?

In a few days, our solar system's two biggest planets - Jupiter and Saturn - will come within close proximity of one another in what is known as a great conjunction, a rare event that may resemble the biblical Star of Bethlehem, also known as the Christmas Star, according to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The term "conjunction" in astronomy is used to refer to the meeting point of celestial objects in space. A great conjunction refers to the rare moments in our solar system's history when its two largest planets have come close together.

Jupiter and Saturn have been traveling together all year. But over the first three weeks of December, they have gradually come closer together. This form of celestial teasing will culminate on Monday, December 21, when it might seem like the two planets have completely integrated into one massive star. (JPost / VFI News)

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. - Genesis 1:14-15