VFI News February 5, 2021

Israel Nears Five Million COVID Vaccinations

Nearly five million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Israel as of now, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) announced Tuesday morning.

Thus far, a total of 4,989,925 doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered since Israel’s mass vaccination campaign was launched in December.

Of those, 3,165,000 doses were given as a first dose, with 1,824,525 Israelis having received both doses of the two-dose vaccine.

Edelstein announced that nearly 117,000 doses were administered Monday.

"Almost 5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered thus far."

"We will defeat the virus because we have the best vaccination program anywhere - but the mutations have forced us to extend the lockdown for a little longer. I know this is not easy but we must do it," he stated.

A total of 34.35% of Israelis have received the first dose of the vaccine, with 19.80% having received the first and second doses. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to spread healing throughout the land of Israel.”

Coronavirus: Businesses Losing Hope as Israel's 3rd Lockdown Continues

As Israel’s third lockdown continues in its second month, anger has turned into a sense of hopelessness for small businesses.

“At this point, I just don’t know what to do,” said Jan Elazar Refoua, who owns the Ora gift shop in Jerusalem’s city center. “They tell us to close; they tell us to open. We can’t go on like this. We have been here for 40 years, and we have always worked with tourists. But now there are no tourists. Other than a few people calling to place orders, there’s nothing.”

“We have gotten some help from government grants, and they helped, but they aren’t enough,” he said. “If we open in the next week, we can keep the business going. But we don’t want to sit at home getting grants. We want to work.” (JPost / VFI News)

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” - Psalm 91:14-15

Israel, Kosovo Establish Diplomatic Ties Over Zoom

Israel and Kosovo officially established diplomatic relations in a ceremony held via Zoom video conference on Monday.

It likely was the first ceremony of its kind in the world, the Foreign Ministry said. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi signed three agreements, which the ministry scanned and sent to his Kosovar counterpart, Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, to sign.

Before the ceremony, Haradinaj-Stublla submitted a formal request to open an embassy in Jerusalem, which Ashkenazi accepted.

“I hope to open the embassy soon with you,” Ashkenazi said. He later presented a plaque to be installed on the future Kosovar Embassy in Jerusalem, which is expected to open in March.

Ashkenazi touted the “warm and friendly relationship” between Kosovo and Israel. Kosovo is another Muslim-majority country that has established relations with Israel in the past year, he said. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to build Israel’s peaceful partnerships in the region.”

Biden Orders USS Nimitz Aircraft Carrier Home

The United States aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, known for anchoring US power in the Middle East, has been ordered back home, US Naval Institute News said citing American officials.

The move was seen as a possible signal to Iran to deescalate tensions amid efforts by the Biden administration to open negotiations on a new nuclear deal.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin instructed the carrier and the 5,000 sailors and Marines of its strike group to return home after being deployed for over 240 days. (JPost / VFI News)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” - Matthew 5:9

Iran Deepens Breach of Nuclear Deal at Underground Enrichment Site

Iran has deepened a key breach of its 2015 nuclear deal, enriching uranium with a larger number of advanced centrifuge machines in an underground plant as it faces off with the new US administration on salvaging the accord.

Tehran has recently accelerated its breaches of the deal, raising pressure on US President Joe Biden as both sides say they are willing to come back into compliance with the badly eroded agreement if the other side moves first.

Iran began its breaches in 2019 in response to Washington's withdrawal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump and the reimposition of US economic sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the deal. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you protect us all from the threat of nuclear war.”

Oscars: Israeli Team Wins Academy Award for Film Technology

An Israeli team won an Academy Award in the Scientific & Engineering category for 2021.

The winners were announced on Tuesday night, and Prof. Meir Feder of the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering at Tel Aviv University and his former student and co-founding partner of the start-up Amimon, Dr. Zvi Reznic, shared the award with Amimon’s senior executives, Guy Dorman and Ron Yogev.

Every year, in addition to the winners of the traditional Oscars, the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces winners in various scientific and technical categories, honored for the impact their work has had on the global film industry. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to celebrate the ingenuity of those You have blessed with Your wisdom.”

World's Oldest ‘Emojis’ Unearthed at Prehistoric Site in Israel

Did ancient humans communicate with prehistoric “emojis” over 120,000 years ago, before any form of written language was developed? According to new research by Israeli and French scholars, the answer is yes.

Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Haifa, alongside a team from the Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France, identified six subparallel incisions on a bone fragment uncovered in an open-air Middle Paleolithic site near Ramle. Dating back 120,000 years ago, the fragment represents one of the oldest pieces of evidence of the use of symbols.

The results of the study were recently published in the Quaternary International journal. (JPost / VFI News)

Israeli Archaeologists Reveal 'Glory' of King Herod's Palace after Decade of Conservation

A decade of archaeological conservation and restoration has revealed a wealth of new information and sites at the ancient palace of Herodium. Built by Herod the Great on top of the highest peak in the Judaean Desert between 22 and 15 BC, the fortress-palace was abandoned at least 100 years later. Herod's palace sits today in the West Bank, about 7.5 miles south of Jerusalem and 3.1 miles south of Bethlehem.

Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Civil Administration, and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority have been working on the site for 10 years now.

Their incredible work has restored an ancient theatre - one of the first theatres built in Israel - the Royal Guest House and an archway leading to the palace's "monumental staircase".

The IAA said: "Come experience the glory of Herod's creation from 2,000 years ago."

King Herod built the palace-fortress and small town at Herodium and is believed to have been buried there. (Exp / VFI News)