(Washington, D.C.) — As the global death toll from the coronavirus climbs, the Israeli government is taking absolutely unprecedented measures in the history of the country — of any country — to protect its 9 million citizens and make sure that Israelis are not banned from entering or doing business with the rest of the world.
- Israel on Monday became the first country on the planet to essentially ban all in-coming travel from all countries to prevent the virus from engulfing Israel.
- Effective immediately, by the decision of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Cabinet, all Israeli citizens who arrive back home are required to go immediately into quarantine for 14 days.
- Effective Thursday, no non-Israelis who arrive will be allowed to enter Israel unless they can prove they have a place to go into quarantine for 14 days.
- Most tourists, pilgrims and business executives are, therefore, not going to come to Israel in March, one of the busiest tourist seasons, involving Passover and Easter.
- What’s more, all tourists are being urged by the government to leave Israel “in an orderly manner in the coming days.”
- Israelis are also being urged by the government not to travel overseas unless absolutely necessary.
- Flights to Israel from all over the world are being canceled.
- At the same time, the West Bank is shut down — Bethlehem is under a full quarantine.
- This is going to be devastating for both the Israeli and Palestinian tourism, travel and hospitality sectors, and for many other sectors of both economies.
- “The Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association called the quarantine decision a ‘death blow’ to the tourism industry,”Channel 12 and the Times of Israel reported.
“After a day of complex discussions, we have made a decision,” Netanyahu told the nation on Monday evening, reported The . “Whoever arrives in Israel from abroad will enter quarantine for 14 days. This is a difficult decision but it is essential to maintaining public health, which takes precedence over everything.”
Please pray for both Israelis and Palestinians as we combat the virus.
Please pray for world leaders and health authorities to have the wisdom — and God’s mercy — to save lives and quickly and effectively stop this virus before it becomes a worst-case scenario.
Please pray that the Lord would be gracious to those whose jobs and businesses are being adversely affected by the virus.
Finally, I would encourage Evangelical Christians to continue planning to come to Israel later in the year on tours, pilgrimages, study opportunities, prayer trips, volunteer opportunities, and so forth. Israel is a very safe country. Officials are taking the challenge very seriously. And it would be a real blessing for Evangelicals to stand with Israelis and Palestinians, pray for us, and help the Israeli and Palestinian economies by visiting at this time. Our ministry, The Joshua Fund, has a tour to Israel and Egypt in October. See below for more information. I would encourage you to register. We’ll certainly let you know if the trip doesn’t happen, but we expect everything to be fine by then.
Thanks so much, and I’ll keep you posted on these and other developments on this blog and on Twitter.
- To pre-order my next thriller, THE JERUSALEM ASSASSIN, which releases on March 17th, please click here.
- Announcing 9-city book tour — click here to learn more and register to attend one of the events.
- To buy copies of THE PERSIAN GAMBLE in paperback, please click here.
- To buy copies of THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY in paperback, please click here.
- Give your family a trip to Israel & Egypt in 2020! Join Lynn and me on The Joshua Fund’s “Prayer & Vision Trip” next October. Here are all the details and prices. Register today.
- Would you like to make a secure, tax deductible donation to The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.net)? Come help us educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, strengthen the Church in the Epicenter, preach the Good News of God’s love, teach the Word of God, care for the poor and needy in Israel (both Jews and Arabs) with food and other humanitarian relief, care for Holocaust survivors, and care for Syrian and Iraqi refugees and others. The Joshua Fund is a member in good standing of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Please click here to learn more. Thanks.