VFI News October 16, 2020

Ben Gurion Airport Opens Oct 15th

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Transportation Minister Miri Regev have agreed to return to the "open skies" outline starting Oct 15th.

The Attorney General clarified in the internal discussions that there is a problem in the continued closure of Ben Gurion Airport because the airlines are threatening lawsuits following the damages caused to them.

From the beginning of the closure, there has been a restriction on flights from Ben Gurion Airport and only passengers who purchased a ticket before the closure took effect have been allowed to fly.

Transportation Minister Miri Regev yesterday called on ministers to open Ben Gurion airport as early as Thursday, even if another easing of restrictions only take effect on Sunday. (INN / VFI News)

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. - Mark 16:15

Israeli Tourism Decimated due to COVID-19

The Israeli tourism industry has lost NIS 12.1 billion (USD 3.6 billion) since the start of 2020 due to COVID-19 health regulations that have kept visitors out of the country and events and other tourist attractions closed, the Tourism Ministry reported Wednesday.

September alone saw a 96% drop in the number of tourists entering the country – 15,100 vs 405,000 the year before.

The ministry warned that the crisis in the tourism industry is ongoing.

Newly-appointed Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said that “tourism isn’t just nice to have,” and that reopening the industry quickly could be part of a solution to the current economic and emotional challenges.

Farkash-Hacohen said she is working to implement two reforms. The first would allow domestic and international tourists to enter selected cities in Israel, such as Eilat. The second would reopen family-operated guest houses, which serve smaller audiences and at which visitors are less likely to be infected in comparison to larger chain hotels. (JPost / VFI News)

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. - Psalm 121:8

Israel Deficit: NIS 14.9 Billion Compared to 1.9 Last September

The Finance Ministry released information about the current budget, the deficit, and the expenses of the current government during the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday.

The deficit for September was NIS 14.9 billion; in September 2019 it was NIS 1.9 billion.

The state reports a loss of income from collected taxes and an increase in its spending. Hence the rapid growth of the deficit which is 9.1% of the GDP (NIS 123.5 b.) when calculated based on the previous 12 months.

The state spent NIS 336.1 b. from the beginning of 2020, of which NIS 42.9 b. (12.8%) was spent by various ministries to deal with COVID-19. Only 74% of the state’s authorized COVID-19 total sum of NIS 57.9 b. was spent.

While civic ministries and offices reported a 21.6% increase in spending, Israeli security-related expenses decreased by 0.5%.

Israel is making less money from taxes – minus 9.9% compared to 2019 – and reported an income of NIS 230 b. since the beginning of 2020. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bless Israel—that you would help them recover quickly from this terrible pandemic.”

Iranian Economy Collapsing Due to Pandemic, American Sanctions

The Islamic Republic has seen a surge in coronavirus infections; its Health Ministry puts the death toll at more than 29,000, making Iran the hardest-hit country in the Middle East.

Even before the health crisis, the Iranian economy had been battered by low oil prices and crippling US sanctions reimposed by Washington.

Iran’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed in 2020, and on Monday, its rial currency plunged to its lowest point ever against the US dollar, having losing more than 60% of its value in two years. Consumer prices have risen by 37% in 2020.

The fragile economy has also been battered by a temporary shutdown designed to contain the pandemic, border closures, and a halt in non-oil exports. (JPost / VFI News)

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. - Amos 5:24

Erdan Slams UN Human Rights Council after Russia, China, Pakistan, Cuba Elected

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan assailed the international body on Tuesday after its members elected several countries widely criticized for their human rights records to the premier UN body tasked with defending human rights.

China, Russia, Cuba, and Pakistan were among the 15 countries that won seats in a secret-ballot vote carried out by the 193-member General Assembly. Saudi Arabia failed to make the cut.

“Today’s Human Rights Council elections prove once again that this council has nothing to do with protecting human rights and everything to do with violating them,” Erdan said in a video statement.

Last month, the UN envoy penned an op-ed in which he claimed the international body was at risk of “losing its right to exist” over its unfair treatment of the Jewish state and predicted it could be defunct by the end of the century. (TOI / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you impart your wisdom upon these people—and that the struggle for human rights is recognized globally.”

Israeli Company Brings Optical Aid to Portuguese Nursing Homes

The Israeli consulate in Portugal and optics company "Shamir" decided to pool their resources. The result? A mobile lab test van, designated specifically for nursing homes in Portugal.

According to Rafi Gamzu, Israel's ambassador to Portugal, the van is expected to reach hundreds of old-age homes.

"Old-age home residents are the most at-risk population group right now," he said. The van would provide checkups, appointments, and glasses – all for free.

It premiered on October 8, which was World Sight Day.

"The quarantines and lockdowns have been a continuous policy for nursing homes since the outbreak of the pandemic, and they've since been presented with unprecedented challenges, ones that make their lives extremely difficult," Gamzu added. "What we're doing with Shamir will provide much-needed attention and, hopefully, a solution." (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to bless those who show your love to the world.”

72 Georgian Immigrants Fulfill Dream; Make Aliyah

Seventy-two new immigrants from Georgia fulfilled their dream of making aliyah after landing in Israel this week. They arrived on the first flight from Georgia arranged by the Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Since the beginning of the High Holy Days lockdown, more than 800 olim have landed in Israel coming from more than 25 different countries per coronavirus regulations.

"Immigration to Israel has never stopped and it continues now, even in the shadow of the coronavirus. The Jewish Agency works to bring olim under the global constraints of the coronavirus, and helps them fulfill their Zionist dream," Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said in a statement.

Among the olim were singles, young families and 17 children. Among them are doctors, engineers, scientists, teachers, and students. About a third of the immigrants requested to live in the city of Bat Yam and the rest in other locations throughout the country, from Eilat to Nahariya. (JPost / VFI News)

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. - Isaiah 35:10

“God, we ask that you bless these dear souls and that you bring them prosperity in their new home.”

Ancient Two-Shekel Weight Discovered Near Western Wall

An ancient limestone-made weight, dating to the Iron age – the First Temple period, was discovered in an archaeological excavation conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in conjunction with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation beneath Wilson’s Arch.

Adjacent to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The weight, corresponding to the known measurement unit of two shekalim, was retrieved during the sifting of earthen fills by the City of David sifting project.

The excavation is nearing its completion, unearthing fascinating discoveries soon to be included in the tour of the Western Wall Tunnels.

Mordechai (Suli) Eliav, director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation responded to the discovery, saying: “How exciting, in the month of Tishrei, whose symbol is the scales of justice, to find a souvenir from the First Temple period. (INN / VFI News)