VFI News December 29, 2020

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Virus Crisis Drives 41% Rise in Number of At-Risk Youth Seeking Help

There has been a sharp increase in substance abuse, emotional distress, and violence among at-risk youths during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, according to a report published Sunday by a nonprofit welfare organization.

During September-November, the organization had been contacted by 6,517 youths, an increase of 41% over the same period in 2019.

Depression, anxiety, self-harm, violence, and alcohol and drug abuse all increased compared to the year before. In addition, 1,989 youths said they are using drugs—2.7 times the figure in 2019 and 1.5 times the number in June-August.

Reports of self-harm went up to 426, 1.8 times higher than the year before, and the number of eating disorders doubled. (TOI / VFI News)

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” - Mark 9:37

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Coronavirus: Lockdown Likely to Last At Least Four Weeks

Before the lockdown has even started, Israelis were informed by health officials on Thursday that the latest lockdown was likely to last longer than two weeks.

“I do not believe that two weeks will be enough [to stop the spread of the virus],” coronavirus commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash said in an interview with the Hebrew website Ynet.

He said the government determined that it would evaluate the state of morbidity after two weeks to see if the country could reopen. If the number of new daily cases dropped to 1,000 or less, the lockdown would be lifted. If not, it will be extended another two weeks.

Originally, the Health Ministry proposed a 25-day lockdown. (JPost / VFI News)

For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. - Psalm 18:28

“God, we ask that you remain with the people of Israel, and see them through this dark time.”

Iran to Import COVID-19 Vaccines, Despite US Sanctions – Report

Despite US sanctions, Iran has still been able to import coronavirus vaccines from foreign companies, according to Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri.

“Of course, sanctions and pressures have posed obstacles [to Iran's trade] in all fields, including supplying coronavirus vaccine, but fortunately, the country’s management power can defuse the sanctions,” Jahangiri said.

Abdolnasser Hemmati, governor of the Central Bank of Iran, said Thursday that nearly 200 million euros were allocated to purchase 16.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The news comes after claims by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the US has been sabotaging Tehran's attempts at securing a vaccine abroad, though the country does have an active effort at producing its own vaccine product. (JPost / VFI News)

Iron Dome Intercepts Two Rockets Fired from Gaza

Red Color sirens were heard on Friday evening, around 8:00 p.m., in the Ashkelon area and in communities located near the Gaza Strip. Residents of the area reported hearing explosions, likely as a result of the Iron Dome intercepting rockets.

The IDF confirmed that that two rockets were fired from Gaza towards southern Israel and were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. There were no reports of damages. One woman who suffered from shock was treated at Barzilai Hospital.

Last month, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in the Ashkelon area. The rocket hit a factory and caused damage. There were no reports of physical injuries.

In retaliation, IDF fighter jets and helicopters attacked two sites for the production of rockets, underground infrastructure, and a military training complex belonging to Hamas’ naval force. (INN / VFI News)

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord. - Isaiah 54:17

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IDF Strikes Gaza in Response to Earlier Rocket Attacks

The IDF struck targets belonging to Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip late Friday night in response to rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory earlier in the night.

During the IDF operation, a rocket weapon production site was targeted, in addition to underground infrastructure and a Hamas military post.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said after the strike that “the IDF condemns any kind of terror attacks against Israel, and it is ready and prepared to act in determinations against attempts to harm Israeli citizens and against Israeli sovereignty.”

Two Palestinians were reportedly lightly injured as a result of the attack. A source in Gaza said that the shrapnel caused by the bombing hit a hospital for children and a center for disabled persons situated in the coastal enclave. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bless and protect the people of Israel and the innocent lives in Gaza strip—particularly children and vulnerable adults.”

Erdogan Says Turkey Interested in Improving Relations with Israel

Turkey would like better ties with Israel, but claims its policy towards the Palestinians remains “unacceptable,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, adding that talks at the intelligence level are continuing between the two sides.

Turkey has been condemned by the US for hosting senior Hamas terrorists twice this year, and Ankara’s ruling party often compares Israel to Nazi Germany.

Turkey and Israel, once allies, have had a bitter falling out in recent years. Ankara, which illegally occupies northern Syria and persecutes Kurds, has repeatedly condemned Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians. (JPost / VFI News)

When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. - Proverbs 16:7

Moroccan Officials to Land in Israel at Start of Week, PM Invites King

A delegation of Moroccan officials is due to visit Israel as early as Sunday to prepare for the opening of a liaison office, now that ties between the two countries have been resumed after 20 years.

They are also expected to speak with Israelis about opening an embassy, a move that would upgrade the ties to that of full diplomatic relations.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally invited King Mohammed VI of Morocco to visit Israel, during a phone call.

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” Netanyahu told the king, as he borrowed the famous last line of the well-known Humphrey Bogart movie Casablanca that was set in Morocco. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to bless Israel with peaceful relations throughout the region and the world.”

Jewish Leaders Respond to Antisemitic Cyberattack on NY Jewish School

New Yorkers remain on edge following the antisemitic cyberattack that took place at a Jewish high school in Great Neck on December 14. As the FBI continues its investigation, Jewish leaders are speaking out about proactive ways to mitigate further incidents.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in my hometown. I’ve never experienced antisemitism before,” Dina Silberstein told The Jerusalem Post. Silberstein, 37, is an alumna of North Shore Hebrew Academy, a Modern Orthodox yeshiva in Nassau County. On the fifth night of Hanukkah, the academy’s website was hacked, compromising students’ private information and targeting the community with antisemitic threats and slurs.

On the school’s homepage, the North Shore logo was replaced with a swastika, the background image was changed to a Nazi concentration camp, and the school’s name was modified to “North Shore Hebrew Concentration Camp.” Its address was changed to that of Auschwitz-Birkenau. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you root out and eradicate antisemitism at its source.”