Following very heated debate, the Israeli government will implement a nationwide lockdown beginning the eve of Rosh HaShanah, the civil New Year, which begins Friday. The lockdown will commence at 2:00 pm on that day, to be lifted on October 9.
The debate was multi-pronged. Just as in America, factions of government cannot come to consensus whether or not locking down the country is a good idea. On the one hand, some argue it is needed to “flatten the curve” so medical facilities are not overwhelmed during this second wave of the virus. Others contend that shutting down the nation will cause more financial and social harm than the virus.
The other conflict is the timing of the shutdown. It happens to coincide with the fall feasts of Israel, also known as High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot). The Heredim, Orthodox Jews who stick very closely to Jewish law and traditions, are up in arms because it limits synagogues to only 20 persons at a time for those holy fall feasts. Their argument is that it is unfair to limit them while protesters are allowed to gather in large groups. (Good point!) Unfortunately, the Minister of Justice doesn’t see it that way.
So, what does this mean for Israel? It is an effort to halt the second wave that is proving to be far worse than the first. There are mixed reports regarding hospitals’ abilities to handle the rising number of cases, and some experts are concerned that rising numbers going into winter will create huge problems.
Just as in the US, there is polarized disagreement. So what are we, as Christians, to do? We are to stand as prayer warriors for the nation of Israel. We are to fight for them in the heavenly realms, just as we fight for our own Godly causes. It is hard to know whether or not the Israeli government is overdoing it or not, but it is not for us to judge a country in which we are not citizens.
The Bible teaches us that Israel is to bless all the families of the earth. Israel is not a perfect place (or even close), yet Israel is God’s chosen! Part of our responsibility as followers of the Jewish Messiah (Jesus), is to bless Israel with our prayers (Psalm 122, Isaiah 62 and other places).
Let’s be faithful to pray for Israel, as we pray for America. Both nations need the mercy and grace poured out by a good God, and each nation needs to turn to God for salvation. We’ve got work to do, my friends, and it happens on our knees!