VFI News January 26, 2021

Government Approves Extension of Lockdown through End of January

The Cabinet unanimously approved Prime Minister Netanyahu's request to extend the current lockdown by a further ten days until the end of January.

The government also approved aviation regulations that require every passenger entering Israel to have a coronavirus text 72 hours before taking off for Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in his opening remarks at the start of the meeting: "We must decide immediately on extending the lockdown. Many European countries are extending their lockdowns until March, even until April. If we open up now, it will cost us human lives." (INN / VFI News)

“Lord, we pray that you will bring a swift end to this pandemic so normal life in Israel can resume.”

Police to Set up Roughly 200 Roadblocks to Enforce COVID-19 Lockdown

Police operated roughly 200 roadblocks over the past weekend, especially on intercity roads, to deter Israelis from taking advantage of the sunny days and travel in violation of the COVID-19 lockdown, N12 reported on Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government recently extended the lockdown by another ten days. While essential workers are able to travel for work and political protests are allowed to continue, most Israelis are encouraged to remain indoors.

In addition to the roadblocks, police means to send officers on patrols to prevent mass gatherings and claimed that the existing regulations will be enforced to the full measure of the law. (JPost / VFI News)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7

While COVID-19 Surges, Israel Has Zero Cases of Influenza, RSV

There are zero cases of influenza or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in Israel, according to Dr. Galia Barkai, director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center.

“It is not just that we have much less influenza, we don’t see it at all,” Barkai told The Jerusalem Post. “We have zero positive tests for influenza or RSV,” a virus that causes severe respiratory distress in infants and children.

Flu season in Israel usually starts in November.

“This is really, really special,” Barkai said. But she noted that it is also “understandable.” (JPost / VFI News)

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases. - Psalm 103:2-3

About Two Million Israelis Live Below the Poverty Line – Report

Bituach Leumi (National Insurance) published a short and overdue report from past data on poverty and inequality in Israel, due to a delay in the arrival of data from the Central Bureau of Statistics on which the report is usually based, given the general chaos in the last two years of political-governmental paralysis.

Nevertheless, the data from this year's report also show that alongside the socio-economic crisis of the past year, the one that preceded it, 2019, was characterized by a social deterioration without a functioning government in Israel (recall that the political crisis began with the dissolution of the 20th Knesset exactly two years ago).

According to the report, 1,980,309 Israelis live below the poverty line, as of last year, according to Bituach Leumi. This is 23% of Israeli citizens and 31.7% of Israeli children. In the Arab sector, 702,832 are poor, with 346,397 of this population being children. In the Jewish population, the proportion of the poor is 17.7%, but in the ultra-Orthodox sector alone, it is 49%. (JPost / VFI News)

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. - Proverbs 19:17

“Lord, we pray that you will heal the land of Israel from poverty. Provide food and clothing for the hungry and use us in being the answer to the cry of the poor.”

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British Jews Feel More Welcome, Optimistic in 1st Major Poll After Corbyn Replacement

In an annual survey of British Jewish adults, two-thirds said Jews have a future in the United Kingdom — the highest level of confidence since 2015.

And the portion of British Jews who said they felt “unwelcome” in the United Kingdom fell from 53% last year to 18% in 2020.

The “Antisemitism Barometer” survey, conducted in November and December by King’s College London for the Campaign Against Antisemitism watchdog group, shows that British Jews are “back from the brink” following the replacement as the head of Labour of the far-left politician Jeremy Corbyn, whom many British Jews believe is anti-Semitic, the campaign said in a statement about the report published Sunday. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to address the roots of antisemitism throughout the world.”

American Airlines to Launch New Direct New York-Israel Flights

American Airlines is set to launch a new direct flight between New York and Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport, the airline announced in a statement.

The flights are set to begin on May 6 and will take place daily throughout the year between Ben-Gurion Airport and JFK in New York. Customers will be able to pre-order kosher meals on every flight, and kosher wine will be available for everyone regardless of which class their seat is in. WiFi will also be available on every flight.

The flights are part of a new strategic partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue, creating the biggest flight network in the northeastern US as the companies rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bless the relationship between Israel and the US—increasing our friendship and partnership.”

City of Jerusalem Starts Light Project to Illuminate Historic Buildings

The City of Jerusalem has announced a new plan to illuminate historic buildings throughout the city, according to a press release Thursday.

The plan, initiated by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, will illuminate prominent buildings, including the YMCA, the Tomb of David, Talita Kumi, the Great Synagogue, the Tower of David, Augusta Victoria, the Church of the Holy Trinity, the Monastery of San Salvador and the Monastery of the Valley of the Cross.

The project is expected to be completed by June 2021 and will cost about NIS 6 million. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to inspire people to uphold your laws and traditions—keeping You and Your acts of justice and mercy alive for future generations to appreciate."

Arab Squatters Cause Damage to Archeological Site in Samaria

Near Hermesh in northern Samaria lies a registered archeological site called 'Khirbet Parsin', which preserves the biblical name 'Peresh' (descendants of Menashe) and the Talmudic name 'Kfar Parshai'.

The remains of a large Iron Age settlement were discovered at this site, including a mikveh (ritual bath), burial caves, and complex underground systems from the Second Temple period, as well as impressive buildings from the Ottoman period. Sadly, these important finds have joined the list of antiquities sites suffering from damage and destruction.

About two and a half months ago, an Arab began sheltering in the site and moved into one of the buildings with his family, carrying out construction work and damaging the ancient finds that bear testimony to thousands of years of history. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you protect both the historical records of Your presence and the real human needs of those suffering for lack of basic needs in the land.”