VFI News May 15, 2020

Iran Sinks One of its Own Warships

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him." Ps.37:7

An Iranian warship early this week accidentally struck a sister ship with a missile during an exercise, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15 others. The incident took place during training in the Gulf of Oman, a sensitive waterway that connects to the Strait of Hormuz through which about a fifth of the world's oil passes. Iran regularly conducts exercises in the area. The Konarak, a support ship, which was taking part in the exercise, was too close to a target during an exercise on Sunday 10 May 2020 when the incident happened. The vessel had been putting targets out for other ships to target. The incident took place near the port of Jask, some 790 miles southeast of Tehran, in the Gulf of Oman. A local hospital admitted 12 sailors and treated another three with slight wounds. Iranian media said the Konarak had been overhauled in 2018 and was able to launch sea and anti-ship missiles. Iranian media rarely report on mishaps during its exercises, signaling the severity of the incident. (VFI News)

Israel: Just A Few Coronavirus Cases After Lockdown Eased

Last weekend hundreds of thousands of Israelis visited beaches, parks, and the countryside after the lockdown was eased significantly. The Ministry of Health reported Monday morning 11 May that there were 16,458 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Israel, representing a rise of just 14 since the previous morning. The number of people in Israel who have recovered from the disease is 11,384. Fatalities now number 248, with one additional fatality in the past twenty-four hours. Out of 4,826 current cases, 74 are severely ill, 65 of them on ventilators, and 52 are moderately ill with the remainder having only mild symptoms. The Ministry of Health, which had wanted a slower loosening of the lockdown, will be closely monitoring whether the end of lockdown will result in a spike in new cases in the next week or two. (VFI News)

Continue to pray that the Land of Israel will be cleansed from coronavirus and that those still ill with it will be healed. Pray also that things will not just return to "life as usual" but that lessons learned and prayers prayed during this time of crisis will be remembered and adhered to.

No Chips Inserted into My Child, Mr. Netanyahu

Cyber experts slammed PM Netanyahu for his proposal to "microchip" children who return to schools and kindergartens as the coronavirus lockdown is lifted. "If the information with the kids' location is uploaded to the internet, a pedophile with some cyber knowledge may invade the system and stalk them," cyber expert Einat Meron said. While speaking at a press conference this week Netanyahu suggested the Health Ministry use new technology to help Israel adjust to its new routine as the state is lifting the coronavirus lockdown. "That is, a technology that has not been used before and is allowed under the legislation we shall enact," he clarified. "I spoke with our heads of technology in order to find measures Israel is good at, such as sensors. For instance, every person, every kid – I want it on kids first – would have a sensor that would sound an alarm when you get too close, like the ones on cars," the prime minister said. "It will be hard to do it to more than a million schoolchildren who return to their educational institutions in order to ensure one student sits at a distance of two meters from another. It is fictional and dangerous," cyber resilience expert said Einat Meron. Similar to Meron's concerns many fear the state would make use of the information available from the sensors.

Intercede that there will be no more talk of microchipping any man, woman, or child in Israel. For many residents, if microchipping became mandatory it would mean anarchy or a quick, permanent exodus from Israel.

Jewish Losses High in French Coronavirus Outbreak

The number of French Jews who have died thus far of coronavirus is noticeably higher than their representation in the general population. Jews make up about 5% of the Covid-19 fatalities recorded in France, a death toll six times larger than their share of the population. France is home to Europe's largest Jewish community and has an estimated 500,000 members. French Jewish organizations have reported that approximately 1,500-2,000 Jews died of coronavirus, including some who were not brought to hospitals and died in nursing homes and other nursing centers. Hundreds have been flown to be buried in Israel. One reason suggested for the high rate of fatality among the French Jewish community is that most French Jews live in Paris or Strasbourg, where the rate of infection has been highest. (VFI News)

Pray for the Jewish community in France and for the healing of those with coronavirus. Intercede that those in danger of the virus there will adhere to safety measures such as social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding close gathering of large groups of people. Such rules are hard to follow among close small communities but their importance is essential in fighting this plague.

Fatah Gunmen Threaten Local Banks

Masked gunmen this week have taken to the streets of several Palestinian cities and neighborhoods to rally against a decision by a number of banks to close the accounts of Palestinian security prisoners held in Israeli prisons. The bank’s decision came in response to new IDF legislation, which went into effect on Saturday 9 May 2020 and which declares that “any person who conducts any transaction with assets, including money, in order to facilitate, further, fund or reward a person for carrying out terror-related offenses is himself committing an offense punishable with 10 years in prison and a substantial fine.” The closure of the prisoners’ accounts has sparked a wave of protests by many Palestinians, including political activists, families of the prisoners, and various Palestinian factions from across the political spectrum. In the areas of Jenin and Nablus, masked gunmen took to the streets to join the protests, firing shots into the air and threatening bank managers to backtrack on their decision.

Palestinian sources said the gunmen belonged to al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah ruling faction, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the European Union, Canada, and the USA. In one town several masked gunmen carrying M-16 rifles arrived at the entrance to the branch of Bank of Jordan. After firing several warning shots in the air, one of the gunmen read from a written statement: “We will strike with an iron fist, and everyone should know that our rifles will reach all those who comply with the Israeli move. It’s disgraceful to say that we that can’t support our [terrorist] prisoners and martyrs.” (VFI News)

Anti-Semitic Acts in USA Reach Record High in 2019.

The American Jewish community experienced the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents in 2019 since tracking began in 1979, with 2,107 acts of assault, vandalism, and harassment reported across the USA. The 2019 ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents issued Tue.12 May 2020, found that the total number of incidents in 2019 increased 12% over the previous year, with a 56% increase in assaults. Five fatalities were directly linked to anti-Semitic violence, and another 91 individuals targeted in physical assaults. Incidents were reported in every one of the 48 contiguous United States and Washington, D.C. More than half of the assaults nationwide took place in the five boroughs of New York City, including 25 in Brooklyn alone. The surge was marked by deadly attacks on a California synagogue, a Jewish grocery store in New Jersey and a rabbi's New York home, the Anti-Defamation League reported. (VFI News)

"May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, 'The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.'” Ps. 35: 26-27

Coin Issued During Bar Kochba Revolt Found In Jerusalem

The Israel Antiquities Authority on Mon.11 May 2020 revealed a coin issued during the Bar Kochba revolt, an uprising against Roman rule in Judea in 132-135 A.D. The coin was discovered near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. It includes the words "Year Two of the Freedom of Israel" and "Jerusalem." Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s coin department, said of the thousands of coins found in the area of the Old City, only four have been from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt, though many more have been discovered elsewhere in the country. (VFI News)

No matter what part of the land in which you might find yourself, Israel will unfold evidence of her ancient past and innovative future. “For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, and show favor to her dust.” Ps. 102:14

Hardship Hurts on All Levels

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