“When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and He will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.” Ex. 12:23
2020 PASSOVER GREETINGS: Passover, the seven-day commemoration of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, begins this year at sunset Wed. 8 April and concludes at nightfall on Wed. 15 April (in Israel). In most years, families and friends across the country gather for Pesach in homes, halls, and hotels to celebrate the annual Seder meal. Together the nation recalls in song and story the biblical deliverance, under the leadership of Moses, from the slave pits of Egypt, the ten plagues preceding it, and escapes from death because of the blood of the Passover lamb. This year, many people in Israel, especially the elderly will not be joining family and friends due to the coronavirus restrictions placed on the nation’s residents. Please remember those who will be alone on one of the most important nights and holidays of the year. Pray that the Lord will draw near to them.
ISRAEL: NO BENEFITS OR STIPENDS BEFORE PASSOVER: Israel’s National Insurance Institute is overloaded by the massive surge in claims brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and will be unable to transfer unemployment benefits and emergency stipends before the upcoming Passover holiday, its director-general announced last weekend. “Unfortunately and despite great efforts, we will not be able to meet the schedule and deliver the unemployment benefits,” Meir Spiegler told media sources, adding that while he hoped that emergency stipends for children may be processed before the holiday this week, those for the elderly definitely won’t be. “We usually handle 17,000 unemployment benefit-requests every month, but we now have more than a million. The systems are not built for more than that,” he said. Almost a quarter of Israel’s workforce – 24.9 percent – is now jobless, including some 160,000 people who had been unemployed before the crisis. (Times of Israel)
ISRAEL PREPARES FOR INCREASED ALIYAH WHEN CORONA PLAGUE ENDS: The Diaspora Ministry said last weekend that Jewish communities are facing new challenges that were not present in previous decades. “Many are encountering a wave of the coronavirus plague that is afflicting large numbers of their elderly. It is our duty as the members of Israel’s government to exercise full cooperation with agencies helping our brothers at this difficult time.” The Diaspora Ministry has inaugurated the “Community Resilience” project, intended to assist community leaders in dealing with the crisis. A training course is currently taking place with the participation of community leaders from the USA, Spain, Germany, the UK, and France. Diaspora Ministry head, Tzipi Hotoveli, also said: “The corona crisis requires preparations for increased Aliya when the crisis has ended, and a program for meeting the needs of every group of immigrants. Even now, Aliyah to Israel continues and the State of Israel will always remain open to all Jews of the world.” Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said: “Jewish communities around the world are currently facing a huge crisis that, apart from the Holocaust, we have not seen in a hundred years. The Jewish Agency, together with the Israeli government and other administrations are working to help distressed communities; some in near collapse. We are constantly in touch with communities around the world, trying to understand the needs of each and every one of them. At the same time, we are preparing for increased Aliyah once the crisis is over, and continuation of the Jewish Agency’s work around the world in a new and challenging time,” he added. (VFI News)
ISRAEL TESTING PROTECTIVE STICKERS FOR MEDICAL MASKS: Israel’s Health Ministry is adopting a new unique sticker that can be attached to a standard medical mask to make it a stronger shield against the virus. Researchers have created the sticker using a 3D printer. It is composed of nanoscale fibers coated with disinfectants that can defend the wearer against viruses. The Ministry of Health has given its initial approval of the sticker and medical professionals at the Galilee Medical Center began testing the sticker on 1 April 2020. “The solution at hand is accessible, fast, and uses advanced technology. We hope that the success of this pilot will lead to the implementation of this sticker in additional hospitals across the country,” said Prof. Samer Srouji of the Galilee Medical Center. (VFI News)
CANADIAN JEWISH NEWSPAPER SAYS FAREWELL: The Canadian Jewish News, became a coronavirus casualty after it announced that its 9 April 2020 issue would be the last after 60 years. “Unfortunately, we too have become a victim of COVID-19,” president Elizabeth Wolfe said last week. “Already struggling, we are not able to sustain the enterprise in an environment of an almost complete economic shutdown.” Bernie Faber, the former CEO of the Canadian Jewish News added, “There is no other paper. This was it.” So, along with everything else that’s going on right now, this just adds another layer of sadness.” There will be no print or internet edition. The staff was informed of the newspaper’s demise via video-conference call. Its circulation at its demise was about 32,000. (VFI News)
PLANNED PARENTHOOD REFUSES TO SHARE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT: The image of courageous and self-sacrificing healthcare workers draped in garbage bags at Mount Sinai West hospital in midtown Manhattan because of a shortage of personal protective-equipment is a horrifying picture of the coronavirus crisis. Despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s assurances that all is well, nurses report that the dire lack of equipment puts their lives at risk and a national call to action has been sent out, asking for donations of lifesaving gear. One organization not answering the call is Planned Parenthood, which seems to insist that keeping its personal protective equipment to end lives without interruption is more important than contributing to those trying to save lives at the risk of their own. Meera Shah, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood in the New York City suburbs of Long Island, Westchester, and Rockland, said the clinics wouldn’t close because according to them, “Pregnancy-related care, especially abortion care, is essential and life-affirming.” (Washington Examiner)
SEA OF GALILEE ALMOST, BUT NOT QUITE FULL: The Kinneret is currently at the highest level it has been since 2004 and rose by another centimeter between Friday and Sunday 3-5 April 2020. It now stands a mere 34 cm below the upper red line. Earlier this month, the Water Authority announced that the dam was not expected to open this year, even though the last two years have had high amounts of rainfall. In March 2020, the Israel Water Authority had said it would open the dam at the southern end of the lake near Kibbutz Deganya if the lake reached 20 centimeters below its maximum level. But despite heavy rains this winter, the Kinneret has fallen slightly short of the mark. All parts of Israel have had more than their average annual rainfall for the entire season. The past two winters and a dramatic decrease in pumping have brought the lake from being dangerously near the black line threshold, which would indicate a severe ecological danger. (VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff