Kehila News, Featured Blog by Jackie Santoro, March 24, 2020
As I write this, the rains are continuing in Israel and we are having a hard time getting consistent warm weather. In the last couple of weeks, we have had only a few clear, sunny days. The weather forecast is for another several days of sometimes very heavy rain this week and again next week. It’s been quite a winter and it feels like nothing is the same as it has been. I am comforted though as I look at the budding trees in my garden and know that the long winter is actually a promise of an unusually beautiful spring, soon to be in full bloom, with color and light that will fill the heart with joy. It may be later than we thought, but it is coming. God’s promises never fail and His faithfulness is the shield around us. We shall not fear!
I want to thank those of you who prayed for me as I traveled to the USA. My days in Florida were blessed and I felt so very loved and cared for by family and friends. I was so happy to be able to go to the Congregation Shoresh David in Tampa where Eddie preached his last message. I was also very encouraged to be able to share for a few minutes about that event and the things that have transpired since then.
As the days went on, the news of the spread of the corona virus was like a heavy cloud over each day and especially from Israel as the government was enacting increasingly strong measures to try and stop the spread of the virus. After two weeks, early on Saturday morning, I spoke with my son, Evan and he said that if I didn’t want to be in quarantine upon my return, I needed to come home immediately! I felt the leading of the Spirit coming from his heart and I was on the plane heading back that evening. Although I wanted to avoid quarantine, it was still hard to cancel my last week in VA Beach. It would have been the exact week that Eddie and I had been there two years ago and my hosts had been announcing and planning a special meeting in their home with me as the honored guest and speaker.
I returned to Israel on Sunday afternoon with the news that the government would soon be implementing the quarantine order for everyone who was returning from a foreign country. The official announcement was scheduled for Monday evening and I held my breath as PM Netanyahu began to speak and said this restriction was going into effect but that it was not retroactive! I missed it by one day! I was so grateful and humbled that the Lord had heard the cry of my heart and through all my emotions and indecision, He led me! I couldn’t imagine going into quarantine and not being able to see my family especially or leave my house for two weeks!
These last ten days since my return have felt like a tidal wave going through this nation. Each night I listen to the news and hear what new restrictions are being implemented as the numbers of infected continue to increase at a rapid rate. There aren’t any schools, many people are unemployed because of the closures, no one is coming into the country. The tourism industry is on halt, there is economic crisis and no one can predict the end of this thing. As of last night, everyone is asked to stay at home, except to buy food, medicine or emergency situations. Only a small percentage of the population is going to work and only if there are less than 10 people in the office. Hotels that are now empty are being turned into “hospitals” in preparation for a great influx of patients. The wonderful news is that to date, no one has died. We pray this would continue!
In addition to all this- Israel still doesn’t have a government. Netanyahu is only Prime Minister of the interim government and there is no way to enact bills or approve budgets etc. There is talk of putting together an emergency government but to date there is no progress.