VFI News Jan 21, 2022

Will Israel Cancel Green Pass & Texas Synagogue Gunman Drama Unfolds

Israel contemplating canceling green pass & fourth covid vaccine not effective against Omicron and more! Join Barry to get the latest and most reliable news!

#texas #synagogue #iran #greenpass #israelcovid #nuclearweapon #nuclear #drones #hezbollah #missiles #vaccine #messianicworship #omicron #nasa #austronaut #antisemitic

  • 00:45 - Texas synagogue gunman already had a criminal record
  • 02:12 - 30% of Antisemitic incidents worldwide occur in the US
  • 03:42 - Iran sees new ties with Russia
  • 05:53 - Explosive boom shakes Western Iran (edited)
  • 06:14 - Fourth Covid vaccine not effective against Omicron
  • 08:17 - 180 Mayors call to end quarantine for children
  • 09:54 - Jewish American Astronaut Jessica Meir may be the first woman on the moon.

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Terrorist’s Brother Blames Shooter’s Actions on Mental Health

The family of a 44-year-old British Muslim man who was shot dead by police in Texas after launching a terror attack on a synagogue on Saturday, January 16, demanded to know how he was allowed into America despite a long criminal record.

Malik Faisal Akram, from Blackburn, died in a hail of bullets after a 10-hour stand-off on Saturday in which four people were held hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, 27 miles from Dallas.

Akram had apparently flown to America two weeks ago, lived in homeless shelters, and bought a gun on the street, according to US President Joe Biden.

He was described by his family as suffering 'mental health issues' but concerns over a wider plot grew last night as two teenagers were arrested over the incident by anti-terror officers in south Manchester. The pair, both believed to be under 18, cannot be identified for legal reasons. They were still in custody overnight, Greater Manchester Police said.

However, the FBI's field office in Dallas had earlier said there was 'no indication' that anyone else was involved in what President Biden called 'an act of terror'.

Malik's brother Gulbar issued a statement on behalf of the family last night in which he told of their 'devastation' and revealed how relatives had been in contact with Malik during his attack at the police's request but could not convince him to surrender.

But speaking to Sky News he also demanded to know how the incident had been allowed to unfold. 'He's known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?', he said.

It remained unclear why Akram flew to Texas, 4,700 miles away from his Lancashire home, to carry out his attack.

He was shot dead at around 9 pm local time (3 pm GMT) by the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team after holding four hostages, including the rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker for ten hours.

The incident began when Akram entered the building as it was livestreaming a service, shouting that he had weapons and 'backpacks of explosives' on him.

He demanded the release of jailed female terrorist Aafia Siddiqu–known as Lady Al Qaeda. He referred to her as his 'sister' during the attack but the pair are not related. She is being held in jail about 20 miles from Colleyville. (DailyMail / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you comfort those who were held hostage at the synagogue and protect the Jewish people from antisemitism and hate crimes.”

The articles included in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Vision for Israel. We try to provide accurate reporting on news pertinent to Israel, the Middle East, the diaspora, and Jewish issues around the world—and we hope that you find it both informative and useful for intercessory prayer.

30% of Antisemitic Incidents Worldwide Occur in the US

Roughly 30% of all anti-Semitic incidents reported worldwide in 2021 occurred in the US, according to data published by Israel Hayom from a new report by the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization.

The US had the second-largest number of anti-Semitic incidents reported last year, after Europe.

Broken down by state, New York had the largest number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2021, followed by California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Texas, where a gunman held four people hostage at a synagogue last Saturday, ranked number six.

The figures tended to correlate with the size of local Jewish populations in absolute terms.

New York, California, and Florida, which ranked first, second, and third in terms of anti-Semitic incidents, are also home to the first, second, and third largest Jewish populations in the US.

Massachusetts has the seventh largest Jewish population in the US, Pennsylvania the fifth, and Texas the ninth.

The US, which accounted for some 30% of anti-Semitic incidents reported worldwide, is home to roughly 40% of the entire Jewish population.

More troubling, however, was the report’s finding that anti-Semitic incidents in the US were more likely to be physical, rather than verbal. Outside of the US, anti-Semitic incidents were more likely to take the form of vandalism, with both physical violence and verbal assaults less common.

Anti-Semitism rose substantially on college campuses in the US in 2021, in particular during the month of May, during Israel’s Operation Guardian of the Walls, conducted against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza. (INN / VFI News)

I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” - Genesis 12:3

Iran Sees Ties with Russia as 'New Middle East'

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was in Moscow on Wednesday, January 19, to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is happening as the US is concerned about a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has backed Tehran at the Vienna nuclear talks with the West. This comes as Russia might also take part in another naval drill with Iran and China.

These are important talks. Russia is calling on the US to not supply weapons to Ukraine, and Turkey is offering to host Russia-Ukraine talks. This means that Iran’s visit is part of a larger Russian policy that stretches from Europe to the Middle East. Tehran sees Moscow as a key partner along with Beijing in its quest for more power.

“The visit may become a turning point in political, economic and trade relations between Iran and Russia, and it may also be effective in ensuring security, economic and trade relations in the region,” the Iranian president said at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport. “This trip is conducted at the invitation of Mr. Putin, and during this visit efforts will be made to promote the policy of good-neighborliness in the region.

Former ambassador of Iran in Moscow Mahmoud Reza Sajjad said, “Interaction between Iran and Russia in the region will, undoubtedly, ensure security and prevent unilateralism. We and Russia are members of many economic and political organizations in the region, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and Russia plays an important role in these organizations.”

What he means is that Iran is now shifting back to focus on Russia rather than the West. Tehran sees economic ties as important with Moscow. This new Middle East will include closer work with China and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as cooperation with Russia, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. These were key points in the Fars News discussion. (JPost / VFI News)

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. - 1 Peter 5:8

Explosive Boom Shakes Western Iran, Officials Blame Lightning 10 Hours Later

Residents throughout a large area in western Iran reported hearing loud explosions strong enough to shake windows on Saturday night, January 15, with Iranian state media reporting hours after the incident that it was caused by lightning.

Some of the cities where the blasts were heard are located over 100 miles away from each other.

Earlier, Saeed Ketabi, governor of the city of Asadabad, had told Iranian media that the possibility that the explosion was the sound of thunderstorms had been ruled out. Additional statements made earlier in the evening by local officials added that the cause of the explosion was unclear.

The Tasnim News Agency, associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, reported on Sunday morning that the explosion sound was caused by lightning and that it had "nothing to do with the activities of the armed forces or the testing of defense systems."

Deputy Interior Minister Majid Mirahmadi also told Iran's Fars News Agency that the explosion was caused by lightning.

Additionally, Aboulghasem Jalali, a deputy head at Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, told the Iranian ILNA News Agency on Sunday morning that flights in western Iran had been grounded due to "unfavorable weather conditions," adding that the grounding of flights "is not related to anything else."

The blasting sound which remained unexplained for over 10 hours initially sparked speculation about an unannounced air defense drill taking place in the country. Last month, multiple blasts which were not preceded by any warnings or announcements were later explained by Iranian officials as military drills. (JPost/VFI News)

“God, we ask that you halt Iran’s violence and deceit, and keep Your children safe from war.”

2021 Year in a Glance

Join Barry and Batya as they review the year and all that VFI did in 2021.

Fourth COVID Vaccine Still Doesn’t Stop Omicron, New Israeli Study Shows

Even a fourth shot of a COVID-19 vaccine is “not good enough” to prevent Omicron, according to a preliminary study in Israel.

Sheba Hospital last month tested a fourth shot given to more than 270 medical workers, with 154 getting the Pfizer jab and 120 receiving Moderna.

The researchers revealed Monday, January 17, that both groups showed a “slightly higher” increase in antibodies than after the third shot — but still not enough to prevent Omicron, the latest variant responsible for the vast majority of infections around the world.

“Despite increased antibody levels, the fourth vaccine only offers a partial defense against the virus,” said Dr. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the hospital’s infection disease unit leading the study.

The study saw “many infected with Omicron who received the fourth dose,” she said. “Granted, a bit less than in the control group, but still a lot of infections.”

“The vaccines, which were more effective against previous variants, offer less protection versus Omicron,” Regev-Yochay said, adding that the vaccines are “not good enough” to prevent the less-severe new variant.

The findings have not yet been published and do not reveal specific data. (NYPost/ VFI News)

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. - 3 John 1:2

US Warns Against Travel to Israel due to Surging Omicron Infections

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against traveling to Israel on Tuesday, January 18, due to surging COVID-19 infections.

The CDC placed Israel in its highest risk assessment category, a “Level 4” designation meaning “very high” COVID-19 risk.

The agency added 22 countries to the list on Tuesday, including Israel, Australia, Egypt, Albania, Argentina, and Uruguay. Around 100 countries are currently in the Level 4 category.

The agency says to avoid travel to such destinations if possible and to make sure vaccinations are up-to-date if travel is necessary.

Omicron has caused a staggering number of infections in Israel in recent weeks.

Daily infections have repeatedly broken pandemic records including on Sunday and Monday, which saw over 60,000 new confirmed cases each.

Close to 500 Israelis are hospitalized in serious condition. (TOI / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bring an end to the pandemic and health to all.”

180 Mayors Call to End of Quarantine for Children

On Tuesday, January 18, 180 mayors and local council heads from all over Israel addressed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz demanding that the quarantine obligation for children who have been exposed to coronavirus carriers be rescinded, Channel 12 News reported.

The letter sent by the Association of Israel's Self-Government Cities and Federation of Local Authorities in Israel states that "it is clear to all that children are not among the groups at risk from the Omicron strain and [from the coronavirus] in general, it is our duty to ensure continuity of studies and routine for students and staff to ensure their safety and health."

"Returning a sense of security along with ensuring the safety and health of students and staff is essential, and will be further validated with the application of an orderly testing outline based on the 'Shield of Education' program. For the purpose of operating the testing outline, a regular institutional testing outline must be contained within the schools, or by distributing kits to students and staff for the purpose of a set of regular home tests," the mayors added.

According to them, "The government's decision regarding shortening isolations stems from a decision-making process that included many components while weighing the chances and risks. The consequences of decisions on the education system must be considered and the work completed in light of the hard data."

At the same time, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said he would work against the continuation of the green pass policy. "There is no medical and epidemiological logic in the green pass, and many experts agree."

"What this does is cause direct damage to the economy, daily functioning and in addition a significant contribution to panic in the public. I will work with all parties to eliminate the green pass and maintain a normal life routine for all of us," Liberman wrote on Twitter. (TOI / VFI News)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. - Psalm 127:3

Jewish-American Astronaut Jessica Meir may be First Woman on the Moon

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir is a candidate to be the first woman to land on the Moon as part of the Artemis lunar mission, which would see the first woman, Jew and Swedish citizen to step foot on the lunar surface, and the first person to do so since Eugene Cernan on December 12, 1972.

The child of a Swedish mother and Israeli Sephardi father, Meir is no stranger to space, having made history in 2019 for being part of the first all-female spacewalk. She has also always kept her Jewish and Israeli roots close to her heart, having brought an Israeli flag, Star of David socks, and other related items with her into space.

Now she is hoping to make her mark on the lunar surface.

The announcement comes as part of NASA’s Artemis program, a series of missions named after the Greek goddess of the same name who was the twin sister of Apollo, the namesake of NASA’s lunar missions in the 1960s and 1970s.

Female astronauts have flown for years, with Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova being the first woman in space in 1963. However, they are still a minority among astronauts.

In fact, the only people to ever land on the Moon have been white men.

However, NASA made a pledge in April 2021 that it would put a woman and a person of color on the Moon, a promise in line with US President Joe Biden’s aims of advancing equality. (JPost / VFI News)

The suggestions, opinions, and scripture references made by VFI News writers and editors are based on the best information received.

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