VFI News March 27, 2020

New Brain Cancer Treatment Available In Israel

"All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations." Ps. 22:27-28

A new groundbreaking cancer treatment developed by Israeli scientists, which fights malignant brain tumors using electric pulses, has become available to patients in Israel. This FDA-approved treatment comes in the form of a device that delivers Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) for glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive form of brain cancer. TTF Fields use alternating electric fields specifically tuned to target cancer cells. Once electric fields enter the cancerous cell, they attract and repel charged proteins during the division process of the hostile cell, preventing the tumor's growth while causing minimal harm to nearby healthy cells. The device, a helmet-like object called Optune, is designed for adult patients who were recently diagnosed with GBM and is administered to brain cancer sufferers going through chemotherapy treatments. Optune was developed by Israeli biotech company Novocure. According to Novocure, TTF is approved in certain countries in Europe and in Canada for treating adults with glioblastoma and in the USA for mesothelioma, two of the most difficult cancer types to treat. (VFI News/Ynet)

Kinneret Water Levels Reach 16-Year High

The Sea of Galilee, located in northern Israel, is the Jewish state’s largest source of freshwater. The lake’s water levels are measured daily, and according to officials, reached a record high of 686.6 feet this week. This marks the highest level recorded at the lake since July 2004, nearly 16 years ago. The lake’s water levels may see a further increase, due to melting snow from mountains in the Golan Heights. This could create a major flood risk for the surrounding communities, in which case, authorities plan to open an emergency dam that will divert water from the Sea of Galilee to the Jordan River. This development comes as a surprise after years of dangerously low water levels in the lake. One Water Authority official said, “We get less and less rain on average in recent years, and before last year there were five years of severe drought, mainly in the north and the Sea of Galilee.” In 2018, Israel's Water Authority was concerned about the Sea of Galilee’s perilously low water levels. At that time, the lake was near the “black line,” the level at which low quality, silty water begins. (VFI News)

Israel's Coronavirus Count Reaches 2030

Some 2030 people had tested positive for coronavirus by Wed. 25 March 2020. The death toll from the virus had reached five.  37 Israelis were in serious condition as of Wednesday and over 54 were in moderate condition. An additional 63,164 Israelis are in quarantine after they were exposed to the virus. At the same time, Israel has raised the number of coronavirus tests conducted every day to 5,000. The large number of new cases in part reflects increased testing, with drive-through testing stations. (VFI News)

"Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. "Jer. 17:14

Olympics Delayed, A Third Of The World On Lockdown

Despite warnings from the USA and Europe that the unparalleled lockdown on more than a third of the world's population is pushing the world economy toward collapse, more governments are opting to stop virus carriers from venturing out of their homes. Japan this week announced that the coronavirus epidemic has forced the country to postpone the Olympics. Just as China began to loosen some restrictions, neighboring India ordered its 1.3 billion people, the world's second-largest population, to stay at home. (VFI News)

Coronavirus Victimizes Both Rich and Poor Across Mideast

The new coronavirus is continuing its spread across some of the most vulnerable nations of the Middle East. The International Monetary Fund warns that a lack of medical supplies in Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen could lead to a dangerous surge in prices. The worst outbreak in the Mideast is unfolding in Iran with the number of deaths mounting daily. This week, the Islamic Republic imposed a closure on major shopping malls and centers across the country to further prevent the spreading of the virus. While most recover from the COVID-19 illness, bottoming crude oil prices have put additional strain on even the wealthiest countries of the region.  

In Egypt, tourist cancellations have reached 80%, while retail and hospitality sectors have also been hard-hit in countries like the United Arab Emirates where tourism is a pillar of the economy, according to the IMF. The arrival of the global pandemic in Syria, as well as two cases in the Gaza Strip, has raised concerns the virus could run rampant in some of the most vulnerable areas in the Middle East. Lines have formed outside grocery stores, banks and gas stations across the Syrian capital, Damascus, as people brace for wider closures. The government has already shut down restaurants, cafes, and other businesses, and has halted public transportation. This week, in Jordan, authorities have begun distributing food packages to civilians under lockdown because of the Corona crisis. (VFI News/ABC)

Please continue to pray for the swift development of a coronavirus vaccine in Israel - or in other nations such as the USA - where scientists are working day and night to find ways to combat this disease. Intercede also for the full recovery of those who have been infected and for effective measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Pompeo: Iranian Officials Pocketing Coronavirus Funds

Iran's health ministry said this week that a person is dying of coronavirus every ten minutes as caseloads continue to rise and hospitals reach a breaking point. After weeks of skewed numbers and accusations of downplaying or covering up the coronavirus prevalence in Iran, the Tehran government is finally voicing the horrifying extent of the problem in its borders. Meanwhile, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Iranian regime officials have pocketed more than $1 billion in humanitarian funds meant to be used to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus. European countries intended for more than $1 billion cash for medical supplies to go to the Iranian people, who have been ravaged by the virus. But American officials say regime leaders instead pocketed the money and are now using it to protect themselves from the virus as it spreads throughout the population. Iran has been among the hardest hit by the virus, and its government's response has drawn international criticism, especially from the Trump administration. Secretary of State Pompeo accused Iran of mass corruption as the regime continues to spread propaganda, including accusations that the USA manufactured the coronavirus and is using its tough global sanctions campaign to prevent Iran from accessing medicine and humanitarian aid. Pompeo this week issued a series of new allegations about Tehran's mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak. "Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's fabrications regarding the Wuhan virus are dangerous and they put Iranians and people around the world at greater risk," Pompeo said. (VFI News)

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Eph: 6:12

Natan Sharansky: Surviving Isolation

 

Natan Sharansky, a former deputy prime minister, and cabinet minister served as Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel from 2009 to 2018. He is a recipient of the USA Congressional Gold Medal (1986) and the USA Presidential Medal of Freedom (2006) - the highest civilian awards in the United States, as well as the 2018 Israel Prize for his lifetime achievements. Sharansky has this to say about getting through Coronavirus isolation: "My name is Natan Sharansky. I was born in the Soviet Union and at the age of 29, I was arrested for my Zionist activity. I spent 9 years in prison, half of it in solitary confinement and 405 days in a punishment cell. So, I have some experience of spending time in solitary confinement and I want to give you 5 tips to get through the quarantine. Tip 1: In prison, I always had to remind myself I am part of a huge, global battle. You also should remind yourself that we are at war with a very dangerous, though invisible, enemy. And whether we will succeed in the battle depends also on your behavior.

Tip 2: In prison, I didn't know when I will be released or if I will be released at all. Don't build your future plans based on the hope that in the next few days, or the next few weeks, it all will be finished. It does not depend on you. So try to build plans which fully depend on you. Tip 3: Never give up your sense of humor. I remember how in prison I enjoyed telling anti-Soviet jokes to my prison guards. Tip 4: Don't give up on your hobbies. I knew how to play chess without the board and in the punishment cell, I could play thousands of games in my head. You can enjoy singing, playing music, drawing, or whatever you like to do. Tip 5: Feel your connection. Remember that you are not alone. Jews, for thousands of years, were scattered all over the world. But we always had this feeling that we are part of a great people, with our mutual past, with our mutual future, and with our mutual mission. Think about it. Feel your connection. Together we will succeed". (VFI News) 

"For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock." Ps. 27:5

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