Increase in Tourism and Israeli Travel
During the recent Passover holiday in Israel, over 1.1 million travelers passed through Ben Gurion Airport, both Israelis and tourists. This is a marked increase of 13% from last year. The top destinations for Israelis were Italy, France, the Greek Islands and the United States. The busiest airline was Turkish Airlines but only for quick layovers in transit to other destinations. Although it might be the cheapest way to travel, Israelis have been warned not to stay in Turkey because of threats towards Israeli tourists.
Please pray for continued safety for Israelis traveling abroad and for the tight security at Ben Gurion Airport.
Israel Will Never Leave the Golan
Prime Minister Netanyahu recently declared that the Golan Heights would forever remain under Israel’s sovereign control. In a recent visit to Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Putin and Netanyahu discussed the Golan Heights and Netanyahu explained that it was crucial for Israel’s security for it to remain in Israeli hands. Syrian fighting has brought Hezbollah close to Israel’s borders with heavy weaponry and Israel does not want another war with Hezbollah, who fired hundreds of rockets on Israeli civilians a few years ago. Part of the Golan Heights is shared with Syria, a close neighbor to Israel. Often, because of Syria’s civil war, stray mortars or airplanes have entered Israeli space.
Please pray for Israeli’s safety along its border shared with Syria.
Holocaust Survivors Living in Poverty Receive Budget Surplus
A new study recently published showed that 45,000 Holocaust survivors live in poverty and are worried about their finances. They are also lonely and in poor health. On May 5, Israel remembered the six million Jews that were killed in the Holocaust by observing a moment of silence throughout the country. Cars, buses, business, schools and people came to a stop for a minute while listening to the sirens blasting. There are 190,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel, of whom two-thirds are women. The average age is 80 and 13% are over 90 years old. In addition, 13% of them die each year. As a result of this recent study, the Knesset Finance Committee transferred one million shekels from a 2015 budget surplus to help these dear Holocaust survivors.
Please pray for these dear Holocaust survivors to be healthy and happy with a sound mind and heart.
Israelis Fly to Canada to Help with Forest Fire
An Israeli-based non-profit and non-governmental organization has sent volunteers to provide primarily psycho-social interventions in order to deal with the needs and responses of the evacuees who are staying in temporary shelters. Mostly, the volunteers are sent to developing countries and this will be the first time they are sent to Canada. Israel is a leader in dealing with helping people through stressful relief situations; and once the fire is put out, they will send in other teams to help clean up the debris.
Please pray for this fire to be put out and the devastation to be cleaned up fast so peoples’ lives can be put back in order.
Israel Celebrates 68 Years!
As Israel celebrates its 68th modern birthday, its population has grown by 2.2% in the last year to 8.5 million. Over 195,000 babies were born and 36,000 people made Aliyah (Jews immigrating from another country to live in Israel). The Jewish population is 74.8% and the Arab population is 20.8%. In 1948, Israel’s population was 806,000 and its only city of 100,000 people was Tel Aviv/Jaffa. Now Israel has 14 cities of more than 100,000. Israel is a leader in the world among high-tech innovation and medical advances and research. Israelis celebrated Independence Day with BBQs, picnics, hikes, fireworks and airshows. It was a joyous day throughout the country!
Praise God for 68 years of the rebirth of Israel!
Israelis Vote on “Most Israeli” Fruit and Vegetable
Over Independence Day, a poll was conducted to find which fruit and vegetable was the most “Israeli.” The citizens voted the tomato the most Israeli and that they like to eat it diced in a salad. The “Israeli Salad” is made up of cucumber, tomatoes and onions with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and a sprinkle of vinegar. The citrus fruit was voted the most “Israeli fruit.” Israelis are known to consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. The tomato is excellent in anti-oxidants, lycopene and alpha and beta carotene. The citrus is an excellent source of vitamin C. This might contribute to Israeli’s high level of fitness and general good health.
Please pray for the farmers and farmland to remain healthy and able to bear fruit.
Serving the Holocaust Survivors
Right before Holocaust Remembrance Day, a group of Chinese Christians who were visiting the country stopped their touring and helped Chosen People Ministries to unload a food delivery truck, package food parcels and get them ready to be handed out to Holocaust survivors. Chosen People Ministries in Israel has a vibrant work among this dear population of people. Many of them are poor and this extra supply of food is helpful to their finances. They were happy to receive the food parcels, especially from visitors who had traveled so far!