(Jerusalem, Israel) — After three national elections and a political crisis that left the country without a duly-elected government for nearly 18 months, Israel finally has a national unity government.
The Knesset voted 73 to 46 to establishment the new government, and its members were officially sworn in today.
- Benjamin Netanyahu will be Prime Minister for the fifth time. However, he will only serve until November 17, 2021.
- Benny Gantz, the former IDF chief of staff, will serve first as Defense Minister while also holding the title of “Alternate Prime Minister.” On November 17, 2021, he will then switch with Netanyahu and becomes the nation’s full Prime Minister.
I’ll provide analysis of the new government in the days and weeks ahead.
For now, however, there is more good news.
Please join me in thanking the Lord that the COVID-19 crisis hasn’t been as deadly here as in other countries. Because Israel was one of the first countries to go into lock-down mode, the virus was impressively contained — and the country is beginning to reopen.
- As of this weekend, we have had nearly 17,000 cases, yet only 265 people have died.
- While each of those deaths is very sad, compare that number to Belgium which has roughly the same population as Israel yet as of this morning has experienced 8,903 deaths.
- Or compare with the State of Georgia in the U.S., which also has a similar population to Israel but as of this morning has had 1,517 deaths.
- Very few new cases have been reported in Israel in the past few weeks, so the country is beginning to re-open.
- Almost all schools re-opened today Sunday.
- Beaches will re-open on Wednesday.
- Malls and many stores are re-opening, as are factories and other businesses. And airlines are beginning to schedule more flights to and from Israel.
The government is phasing everything in, and monitoring closely to make sure there aren’t significant spikes in new infections. It’s not clear when church congregations can begin meeting again — our congregation has been webcasting sermons and having social times via Zoom for the past few months — but overall we are feeling cautiously optimistic over here. We even invited some dear family friends over for a barbeque this week, the first family we’ve had in our home in months.
What’s more, modern Israel turned 72 last week — a modern miracle.
Please continue praying for all Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones during this pandemic, for those who are still sick and for the many who have lost their jobs or their businesses. And please pray for our leaders to have wisdom to know how to proceed from this point forward. Thanks so much.
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