VFI News March 6, 2020

Israel's Election Results are in: What Now?

"Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling." Ps. 2:10-11

The exit polls of Monday's 2 March 2020 elections for the 23rd Knesset show that PM Benjamin Netanyahu obtained a decisive victory and is the leading candidate to form Israel's next government. As of mid-week, he was three seats short of establishing a government of 61 members. Final results will be calculated in the next few days after officials finish counting several hundred thousand votes cast by Israeli soldiers and some 4,000 ballots cast by Israelis confined to home quarantine after possible exposure to the coronavirus. With Netanyahu’s clear personal victory, the options for the next government are still not clear. Though a right-wing government seems to be more realistic, as of now, a minority government, a national unity government, or even a fourth election can’t be ruled out. Netanyahu faces another hurdle on the way towards forming a government: the Israeli judicial system. While half of the country has clearly stated that they want him to continue to serve in the top job despite the fact that he goes on trial on 17 March 2020 for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges, there has already been an appeal to the Supreme Court to stop him from being given the mandate to form a government. Regardless of the final outcome, the election marks a devastating setback for Gantz’s Blue and White party and its allies on the center-left, who had aspirations of toppling Netanyahu after more than a decade in power. (VFI News)

For a year now Israel has been a country unable to carry out important procedures. Senior officials in the various ministries have said that new programs cannot be approved, serious processes cannot be conducted, and long-term plans cannot be adopted. The Ministry of the Economy cannot progress with reforms to lower the cost of living. The Interior Ministry is holding back major projects needed by local authorities. The appointments of senior officials, too – judges, the police chief – are frozen. Everything is on hold until further notice. Please intercede that Israel will be able to form a strong and stable government and that a catastrophic fourth national election will be avoided.

Iran Accused of Lying About its Coronavirus Statistics

On Mon. 2 March 2020 media sources reported that Mohammed Mirmohammadi, a member of the inner circle of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had succumbed to the deadly coronavirus. Other top officials in the country are confirmed to be infected with the illness, according to multiple reports. The Iranian Health Ministry said that the country's known total of those who have been hit with the virus is 2,336. Iran reports 77 deaths so far, the second-highest country number after the virus’s source, China, which reports some 3,000 fatalities. But the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (MEK) a major resistance group said, also on Monday, that the death toll in Iran exceeds 1,000 and that those suffering from the illness are 20 times the official number put out by the government. Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, warned that Iran could become a major conduit for spreading the virus to its neighbors. “The Iranian leadership appears more willing to blame others and sanctions rather than accept any accountability for themselves and so more people will die,” said Rubin.  “It’s just one more way Iran will victimize Iraq, and from Iraq it could spread in a cross-sectarian way throughout the rest of the Middle East.” Iran has closed schools and universities due to COVID-19, but religious Shiite shrines have remained open. The outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran began in Qom the religious city. Last week, Iranians were captured licking some of the shrines located there in defiance of the disease. (VFI News)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Syria Infects at Least 1,000

In a shocking update on Tues. 3 March 2020 Israeli media sources reported that some 1,000 Syrians have been plagued with the COVID-19 as a result of their contact with Iranian citizens who are in Syria. As is the case with Iran, Syria is not reporting all pertinent data related to the disease outbreak in its country. In Iran, 2,336 corona cases have been reported as of Mon. 2 March 2020, including 23 members of the government. (VFI News)

The outbreak of the coronavirus in various nations and the rapid spread of this highly contagious illness is something that must be fought with prayer, co-operation, common sense and the best possible health measures. What must be avoided is fear, far worse, hysteria, which is spreading rapidly across the globe. Take time to be informed about the facts regarding the coronavirus, make it a matter of intercession individually and in groups. Pray for the swift recovery of those who have been afflicted by this disease and for the comforting of those who have lost loved ones to the virus.

Israeli Expert Views Coronavirus

The coronavirus epidemic is having a major impact on the economy, daily life and personal security of much of the world's population, as concern about the virus and the protective measures being taken keep increasing. Everyone who works in the fields of infectious diseases and public health is worried, with some justification, about the possible appearance of a new virulent and dangerous infectious agent that will rapidly spread around the world. With the rise in the number of people infected and who have fallen ill, and with the intensification of research into the disease and the isolation of its viral factor, a clearer picture of its nature and behavior, and especially of its virulence has emerged. The corona family is familiar to us from the two SARS epidemics of 2002 and 2012 that were caused by other viruses from this family. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the mortality rate from the current disease ranges from 0.5 to 2% and is significantly lower than the mortality rate from the 2002 SARS outbreak (9.5%) and much lower than the 2012 SARS outbreak (34.4%). It may even be close to the mortality rate from an ordinary flu outbreak in the USA. There are no grounds to fear a virulent epidemic that threatens the whole world and will cause widespread illness and death. It is quite likely that the current epidemic will behave like a flu epidemic with which we're familiar and will run its course within a few months, even though the infection rate may remain high since the current virus is highly contagious. (Ha'aretz)

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Pet. 5:7

Israeli Schools Prepare For Missile Attacks

On Tue. 3 March 2020 sirens went off in schools across the country as part of the Home Front Command's ongoing program to test preparedness for emergency scenarios, specifically for missile attacks. The exercise was held at 10:05, during recess, in order to test the ability of students to reach a protected space as quickly and efficiently as possible from locations around the school premises, rather than from individual classrooms. It also aimed to highlight the level of preparedness of the teachers in a missile attack scenario and enable an assessment of the suitability of the protected spaces, which are required to be regularly maintained. This particular exercise was preceded by extensive preparations in the various educational institutions, with instructors from the Home Front Command visiting schools in order to give teachers and students guidance on how best to respond in emergencies. A total of 2,354,000 students took part in the exercise. Of these students, 1,831,000 are elementary and high school students and 523,000 are preschoolers. In addition, 201,000 teachers took part in the exercise. The results of the exercise will be collated and then published ranking the local authorities according to their level of preparedness to meet the demands of an emergency situation in their schools. (VFI News)

Pence: Sanders Would be the 'Most Anti-Israel President in History'

Vice President Mike Pence slammed Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the AIPAC Policy Conference on Mon. 2 March 2020.  Pence, who addressed the crowd said, “One of the leading candidates Bernie Sanders smeared Israel at last week’s debate and not a single candidate on that stage stood up to challenge him. But I’ll promise you we will always call out those who try to cloak their animus toward Israel inside a phony mantle of friendship.” Sanders recently accused PM Netanyahu of being a “reactionary racist” and has called Israel’s government “racist” in the past. He said recently that he would consider moving the USA embassy back to Tel Aviv.  Pence made sure to emphasize President, Donald Trump's accomplishments when it comes to the USA's alliance with Israel. At the same time, he said Sanders, despite being Jewish, would be a president who doesn’t side with Israel. “The most pro-Israel president in history must not be replaced by one who would be the most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation,” Pence said to a cheering crowd. “That’s why we need four more years of President Trump in the White House.” (VFI News)

Israeli Medical Center Named World's Ninth Best Hospital

Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, located east of Tel Aviv, has been named the ninth-best hospital in the world by leading USA magazine Newsweek. The hospital is Israel's largest medical facility and cares for approximately 1.6 million people annually. The facility is also home to more than one-quarter of all Israeli clinical research. Tens of thousands of medical professionals were invited to participate in the survey ranking the world's best hospitals, which also took into account results from patient surveys and other medical performance indicators. Sheba Medical Center was tasked with establishing Israel's first facility for the quarantine and treatment of individuals who test positive for the novel coronavirus, and citizens who returned from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. In addition to the hospital's technologically advanced Special Hospitalization Isolated Unit, health authorities have also instructed the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa and the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon to prepare for the arrival of patients with the virus. (VFI News)

Israel is a leader in science, medicine, technology and dozens of other areas to assist our planet and its inhabitants to heal and to prosper. “And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, let your hands be strong.” Zech. 8:13

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