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Weekly Update: Confusion

18 March 2021

A lot can be said about the Corona “pandemic. But one thing is clear: it is creating a lot of confusion.

Israel has taken a leading role, purchasing large amounts of vaccines and rolling them out in world record tempo. That in itself is remarkable.

Some – in Israel and outside – accuse the Israeli government of doing too much. They believe the government is forcing the vaccines on its citizens. We even hear accusations that this is the “mark of the Beast”. Johannes Gerloff – who lives in Israel – agrees that “a whole range of measures against the corona pandemic may be pointless and may have cause unnecessary suffering”, but argues for a more nuanced approach. “Nobody in Israel is being forced to get vaccinated, any more than anybody is being forced to get a driver’s license.”

On the other hand, Israel is also accused of not doing enough – of failing to provide vaccines to the Israeli Arab population and the Palestinians in the “occupied” territories. In a recent briefing, the International Legal Forum explains that this is based on false assumptions. Under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is responsible for healthcare (including vaccines) in these areas. Moreover, Israel is doing more than it is required to do.

In this time of confusion, we need to make sure that fear does not take control, and that the Enemy does not sow seeds of division. Criticism is acceptable and important. But extreme accusations are just as likely to cause anxiety and distrust.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” (Colossians 3:15)

The Editorial team

Israel & Christians Today

Johannes Gerloff, writing from Israel, says there is a lot of discussion, and many people are opposed to the vaccinations. But: “Nobody in Israel is being forced to get vaccinated, any more than anybody is being forced to get a driver’s license…. Anyone who compares the situation here in Israel with Germany at the time of the Nazis either has no idea who the Nazis were or has no idea of the reality in today’s Israel – or is maliciously anti-Israel. In my opinion, the same applies to those who suspect the “mark of the beast” (Revelation 13:16-17) behind Netanyahu’s ambitions or claim that the Antichrist must come from the Jewish people.” Read more..

In response to allegations that Israel is neglecting its humanitarian obligations, ILF reports: “According to the Oslo Accords, the PA is responsible for the health care of Palestinians, including vaccines. Israel is not authorized to extend its health care to Palestinian civilian areas and such a move would certainly violate the Oslo Agreements. Israel does not occupy Gaza and therefore is not responsible for the health of Gaza residents. However, Israel has acted above and beyond its legal obligations and provided humanitarian relief and medical equipment to Palestinian residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The PA has taken a number of steps that hurt its own residents in protest of Israeli actions.” Read more..

In fact, after a long delay, the PA has started to import vaccines. Aaron Boxerman reports in Times of Israel: “Allocated through UN-backed COVAX initiative for poor countries, the vaccines arrive in Ramallah via Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport.” Read more..

There are signs that the restrictions in Israel will ease up soon. CBN reports that Israel may begin to allow vaccinated tourists into the country from mid-April: Read more..

Scripture for the week: Colossians 3:1-17

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.