VFI News February 23, 2021

COVID-19 Pandemic Ebbs in Israel with Lowest Positive Rate in Almost 2 Months

Israel’s coronavirus infection rate continued to drop Friday, with just 6.2 percent of tests coming back positive Thursday, or some 3,000 cases, the lowest figures seen since the beginning of January. The R-value, the reproduction rate of the virus measuring the average number of people each positive person infects, dropped to 0.79.

Meanwhile, 40% of new serious cases are in the under 60 age groups, likely due to slower vaccine rollout among those under 60, according to the Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center, operating under the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate in cooperation with the Health Ministry,

Currently, 89% of those over 50 are either vaccinated with at least the first Pfizer vaccine dose or recovered from the virus, the report said. (TOI / VFI News)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11

The articles included in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Vision for Israel. We try to provide accurate reporting on news pertinent to Israel, the Middle-East, the diaspora, and Jewish issues around the world—and we hope that you find it both informative and useful for intercessory prayer.

Dead Sea Hotels Designated 'Green Islands,' Allowed to Reopen Sunday

The areas of Ein Bokek and Hamei Zohar in southern Israel were designated as "green islands" by the Ministerial Committee for Coronavirus on Friday afternoon.

Accordingly, hotels and other resorts surrounding the Dead Sea will be allowed to reopen for visitors starting Sunday.

Besides people who have been vaccinated, the hotels will allow people who present a negative coronavirus test from the past 72 hours to make reservations, as well. They will also accept people with proof that they already had coronavirus and healed. (JPost / VFI News)

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. - Jeremiah 33:6

Jerusalem Reopens Culture with Concert Using Green Passport System

The Jerusalem Municipality will reopen cultural events in the city with a concert by singer Miri Mesika on Monday at 8:30 p.m., as the cultural world in Israel returns to operation after months of being shut down by coronavirus restrictions.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion will be present at the event that will take place at the Jerusalem Pais Cultural and Arts Hall in Pisgat Ze'ev. The hall was inaugurated in June, amid strict coronavirus regulations.

This is the first cultural event to take place in the city after the third lockdown and the first to use the green passport system. In order to enter the concert, audience members will need to present a green passport, showing that they were either vaccinated, recovered from the coronavirus, or underwent a negative coronavirus test within 48 hours of the event. (JPost / VFI News)

In Signal to Iran, Israel, US Begin Developing Arrow-4 Missile Defense System

In the face of Iran’s continued development of long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, the Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that it has started developing, alongside the US Missile Defense Agency, a new generation of the advanced Arrow missile defense system.

The new system known as the Arrow-4 will become a major part of Israel’s multilayered missile defense architecture.

The Arrow-3 currently serves as the upper layer of Israel’s multi-tier missile defense array, designed to protect Israel from long-range missiles particularly those produced in Iran. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you protect the people of Israel from all who would harm them.”

Escaping from Kristallnacht: Pessy’s Story

Pessy grew up in Leipzig and quickly bore witness to unspeakable atrocities acted upon her family and the other Jews of Europe. Her harrowing tale of escape, heroism, and redemption serves as an example—both of the inhuman treatment inflicted by the Nazis and the powerful perseverance of the faithful.

US Threatens to Ban Israeli Planes Landing in America

If American planes are not allowed to operate emergency flights to Israel, Israeli planes will not be allowed to land in the US.

The Biden administration accused Israel of violating the freedoms of the air and creating a crisis with the new administration following the Israeli border closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The administration then demanded that planes from the US be allowed to land in Israel.

A source in the Foreign Ministry denied the report and said that they were not aware of any threats. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to foster cooperation between Israel and her allies.”

In Israel, Muslim Nurse Says Last Prayer with Jewish Patient

A religious Jew hospitalized with coronavirus at Ha'emek Medical Center in northern Israel said his final prayers with the help of a Muslim nurse by his side. The patient had been waiting for his family to arrive at his side, but because of the snowstorm, his family was trapped in traffic jams.

Maheer Ibrahim, the head nurse in Ha'emek's coronavirus ward, decided to take the initiative and read the "Shema Yisrael" prayer together with the patient, helping him through his last moments. Ibrahim noted, "It may sound touching, but I thought that this was what needed to be done for him."

He added: "His daughter called me the day after his death and said that my act was the only thing that gave her comfort… It warmed my heart to know that it did good for her," he concluded, noting that he had seen tears in her eyes after he told her of the event. "We need to be there as people before we're there as healthcare providers." (INN / VFI News)

“God, we thank You for the powerful ways that You continue to show Yourself to the world and for acts of kindness from unexpected places.”

Equatorial Guinea to Relocate Embassy to Jerusalem

Equatorial Guinea plans to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the first such pledge of its kind under the new administration of US President Joe Biden.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the matter with Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo on Friday, after which his office put out an announcement on the matter.

Netanyahu said he welcomed this trend in which countries relocate their embassies to Jerusalem, but he noted in particular that this pledge was part of Israel's growing ties with Africa. (JPost / VFI News)

Google Gives Israeli Non-Profit Lender $1M Impact Loan to Help Small Businesses

Not-for-profit lender The Ogen Group has received a landmark “impact loan” of $1M from Google towards Ogen’s low-interest loans to small businesses throughout Israel. Google’s funds will provide a vital injection of capital to help underserved small business owners launch, rebuild, or expand their activities in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Google is the first international corporate impact investor to support Ogen in this way.

The announcement, made public by Google on February 17, follows a commitment made in 2020 to invest $200 million in NGOs and financial institutions around the world to help provide small businesses with access to capital.

In 2020, Ogen lent almost $50 million to small businesses, low-income households and nonprofits – $20M of which was directed to small businesses. Ogen intends to lend an additional $30M to small businesses in 2021. (i365 / VFI News)

Do not exact from him advance or accrued interest, but fear your God. Let him live by your side as your kinsman. - Leviticus 25:36