Israelis, wearing face masks for fear of the coronavirus, shop for grocery at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on September 14, 2020. A three-week nationwide lockdown will begin on Friday and last at least three weeks. 

Fellowship to provide $4.4 million to Israelis hit hardest by economics due to COVID

As the number of Israeli families reaching out for financial support from welfare departments and aid organizations increases dramatically, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is redoubling its efforts to help vulnerable citizens ahead of the High Holidays.

The Fellowship has allocated as much as $4.4 million (NIS 15 million), which will be used to provide food and clothing for 33,000 families, the elderly, schoolchildren and lone soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.

The Fellowship is also helping thousands of middle-class families who have fallen into a state of poverty and distress due to coronavirus restrictions.

The campaign includes more than 12,000 food coupons, worth $150 and usable in Shufersal grocery markets, which will be distributed to single-parent homes, families living in public housing and families whose children are cared for in the Ministry of Welfare’s multipurpose dormitories.

More than 8,000 clothing coupons — worth $75 each and usable in FOX retail-clothing stores — will be provided for children living in welfare boarding schools and abused women in shelters. And nearly 5,000 grants for food and clothing worth $150 each will be given to needy soldiers and lone soldiers who have been discharged in the past six months.

Some 5,400 grants worth $200 each will be given to families who have lost their livelihoods and fallen into poverty due to the restrictions and lockdowns put into place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Emergency grants totaling $383,000 will be transferred to dozens of eateries to assist with food packages for thousands of seniors and families.

Israeli business leaders visit UAE to promote ties, trade

A delegation of dozens of senior Israeli businesspeople led by Bank Leumi chairman Samer Haj-Yehia and CEO Hanan Friedman is currently in Dubai to promote business ties and meet with United Arab Emirates business people, Israeli business daily Globes reported on Sept. 14.

The delegation included leaders from companies such as Harel, Fox, Israir Airlines and Shikun & Binui.

Apparently, there was high demand to join the delegation and not enough room for all those that wanted to visit, noted the report.

Meetings will also be held with senior economic and government figures in the

Gulf Arab state.

All members of the delegation visiting UAE were tested for coronavirus before traveling.

Israeli prime minister arrives in Washington to sign UAE, Bahrain peace agreements

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14, where he and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are to formally establish diplomatic relations on Sept. 15.

Immediately upon arrival, Netanyahu held a conference call with Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat and others on the preparations for the three-week lockdown set to go into effect in Israel on Friday, according to a statement from his office.

At a press briefing on Sunday evening, the Israeli prime minister called his trip “historic.”

“Citizens of Israel. Tonight I set out on your behalf, on a historic mission. To meet with the U.S. president and representatives of the UAE and Bahrain. I go to bring ‘peace for peace,’ peace from strength — two peace agreements in one month. This is a new era of peace, for which I have been working for 25 years,” he said.

He went on to say that the agreements were a union of political and economic peace and would inject “billions of dollars” into the Israeli economy. While always a good thing, he said, this aspect of the agreements was of particular importance amid the current coronavirus pandemic.

Mossad director Yossi Cohen told reporters on the tarmac before boarding the flight to Washington that he “very much” hoped additional countries would agree to normalize relations with the Jewish state.

“We’re working on additional countries. It depends on them, and also us,” said Cohen.

The mission to Washington is “a very exciting matter,” said the Mossad chief.

“A lot of very good people worked on this for a great many years. It didn’t start yesterday,” he added.

The UAE and Bahrain will be only the third and fourth Arab states to normalize relations with the Jewish state after Egypt and Jordan. Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, and Jordan followed suit in 1994. JN

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