VFI News September 8, 2020

Bahrain: Israel-UAE Flights Allowed to Cross Airspace

The Bahraini government announced on Thursday that it had accepted a request from the government of the United Arab Emirates to allow flights between the UAE and Israel to cross its airspace.

An official source at the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications quoted by the Bahrain News Agency said the country would allow all flights coming to and departing from the United Arab Emirates to all countries to cross its airspace.

The source said that the Civil Aviation Affairs at the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry had approved the request it had received from the General Civil Aviation Authority in the United Arab Emirates in this regard.

The announcement comes a day after Saudi Arabia agreed to allow United Arab Emirates flights to "all countries" to overfly the kingdom.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia permitted the historic first flight from Israel to the UAE to cross its airspace.

Bahrain’s announcement follows reports that it is expected to announce the normalization of ties with Israel very soon, perhaps following the official signing of Israel’s agreement with the United Arab Emirates. (INN / VFI News)

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. —Hebrews 12:14

Abbas: Arabs Must Stick to Arab Peace Initiative

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called on the Arab countries to abide by the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and refrain from normalizing their relations with Israel.

Noting that the initiative calls for the Arabs to normalize their relations with Israel after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, Abbas said: “The Arabs must abide by their decisions. The Arab Peace Initiative was presented by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and since then it has been endorsed by the Arabs and the United Nations Security Council. The Arabs must reiterate their commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative during the upcoming meeting of the Arab League, which will be chaired by Palestine.”

Abbas, who was speaking during a videoconference meeting of leaders of all Palestinian factions in Ramallah and Beirut, said that the Palestinians did not and will not mandate anyone to speak on their behalf.

In an implicit reference to the recent normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Abbas, who was speaking from his presidential Mukata compound in Ramallah, said: “Normalization schemes with the occupation are used as a poisonous dagger to stab our people.” (JPost / VFI News)

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. —Psalm 34:14

Israel Leads the World in New COVID Cases Per Capita

Israel’s coronavirus Cabinet on Thursday approved lockdowns in 30 cities and towns categorized as “red zones,” meaning they have particularly high coronavirus infection and morbidity rates.

According to per capita tabulations made by two Israeli TV news outlets, Israel’s rate of new infections is the highest in the world. Using data from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, the reports said the Jewish state averaged 199.3 new cases a day per 1 million population during the seven-day period ending on September 2.

The lockdowns will start on Monday, a day after National Coronavirus Project Coordinator Ronni Gamzu’s “traffic light” plan takes effect, using red for the most severe restrictions and green for the least severe.

The coronavirus death count for the 27 countries of the Middle East and North Africa region stood at 61,259 as of Friday, with 2,441,801 confirmed cases. More than 2,068,000 people have recovered. There are currently some 312,000 active cases.

The hardest-hit Middle Eastern country remains Iran, with 380,746 cases and 21,926 deaths. (JPost / VFI News)

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. —James 5:14-15

Israel’s Deficit Reaches All-Time High of 26 Billion USD

The Treasury published a report of deficit spending since January, showing that the deficit has reached an all-time high of NIS 87.5 billion. The deficit is currently 8.1% of Israel’s GDP. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you help your people in Israel—that you would bring them healing, and continue to provide for them, that they never go hungry.”

Once in a Lifetime Discovery: Davidic Dynasty Symbol Found

A “once in a lifetime” find is how the City of David described three immaculately preserved 2,700-year-old decorated column heads, or capitals, from the First Temple period that indicate a connection to the Davidic Dynasty.

Archaeologists from the City of David did not expect to find anything this special when they began digging near what is now the Armon Hanatziv Promenade.

“I’m still excited,” said Yaakov Billig, an archaeologist with the City of David who began exploring the Armon Hanatziv area about 30 years ago.

He was working at the site when the sound of a spade scraping a stone slab surprised him. After careful excavation, archaeologists at the site uncovered the capital, whose style is found in royal and official buildings in the kingdoms of Israel and Judea during the First Temple period.

“I thought, ‘Yaakov, maybe you’ve been in the sun too long.’ But I looked again, and it was still there,” Billig told The Jerusalem Post. (JPost / VFI News)

Sea of Galilee at Highest Level in 27 Years

Israel's Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) has reached its highest peak in 27 years, according to a Tuesday report.

The report noted that a contributing factor to the precipitous rise has been heavy rainfalls over the past two years, contributing to a revitalization of the freshwater lake's ecosystem.

A water level rise of this type has not been seen since 2003. Since the end of winter, the Kinneret's water level has dropped by 64 centimeters, well above the previous year’s average when measured during the same time of year.

Meanwhile, Israelis have been visiting the Kinneret in droves throughout the summer, due to ongoing travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, the Kinneret Urban Union announced that the 15 beaches which comprise the Kinneret Union reached full capacity, with an estimated 35,000 people, crowding the area. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that this be received as a sign of your divine providence. That you are here to quench the thirst of a nation that strives for peace and plenty.”

Brain Disease Breakthrough from Israel’s Technion

In a groundbreaking discovery, researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), found out how to rescue functional and structural connectivity, and reduce cognitive impairments of brain diseases with drug treatment.

The researchers, Prof. Itamar Kahn of the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine in Israel and Prof. Nancy Ratner of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), claimed that such a breakthrough demonstrates a potential new treatment for cognitive damages in the brain white matter, the areas of the central nervous system.

The brain white matter, contains millions of nerve fibers, or axons, that connect other parts of the brain and spinal cord and signal your nerves to talk to one another. A fatty material called myelin protects the fibers and gives white matter its color. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bless this research—that it may help preserve cognition and quality of life for the thousands of children each year who are affected by terrible afflictions of the brain.”

Thousands of Israeli Kids Too Poor for School

Among the two million pupils who began their school year this week, from kindergarten to high school seniors, every third student faces poverty, according to a report published on Thursday. 52,830 first graders are suffering from poverty.

The study found that 36% of respondents confessed that their children are skipping meals to help parents survive financially, and 26% say their children are sent to school without a packed lunch or a sandwich. Some 69% acknowledge that their children lack basic school books and 75% think they won’t be able to afford all the fees the school requires.

Poverty caused by COVID-19, combined with a struggling educational program that demands families to provide computers for their children, creates a pincer effect that damages families from both sides.

Lacking computers, children are being cut off from the normative society. Their chance of gaining work skills and eventually taking part in the workforce is almost zero. This will have lasting effects on Israel’s poverty down the road. (JPost / VFI News)

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. —Isaiah 54:13

“God, you look over us all as your children. We ask that you pay particular attention to the struggling kids in Israel—that you would provide them with nourishment, for the body and the soul.”