This Week in Israel — March 15, 2018

Traffic, happiness, and Israeli economy
In recent reports from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) & IMF (International Monetary Fund), Israel ranked the worst of all developed nations in traffic congestion issues (when compared with 35 developed nations in the OECD report and 189 nations in the IMF report). This problem isn’t all bad as one reason for the congestion is a growing number of citizens owning and using cars (a sign of a thriving economy). Nonetheless, the current political leaders responsible for addressing issues of traffic congestion are unlikely to make any significant reforms in the foreseeable future. Current estimations place the money wasted in Israel’s economy as a result of the traffic congestion at around $10.2 billion/year. In the OECD report, it was shown that Israel has twice as much traffic congestion (about 1,700 vehicles per mile of road) as the next most congested developed nation in the report (standing at 800 vehicles per mile of road). In this same report, in spite of the stress of overcrowded streets, it was also reported that Israel is the world’s 11th happiest country, ranking 12th in the happiest immigrants. Not too shabby considering the constant threat of terrorism and both natural and economic burdens facing the nation.

Further developments have come about this past week in the on-going saga regarding the anticipated deportation of African assylum seekers who are currently residing illegally in Israel. While some reports have indicated that those seeking the deportation of the assylum seekers are anticipating the deportation of some 600 assylum seekers per month, a High Court decision this past week led to a temporary freeze in the plan until it can be verified that those being deported will definitely be cared for in their destination countries. Those in danger of being deported include some 38,000 people, about 72% from Eritrea and about 20% from Sudan. As mentioned in previous updates, another consideration is that of discerning which of the assylum seekers are truly refugees and which are simply looking to enjoy Israel’s thriving economy without any other motive for illegally entering the country. Please pray for the judges, policy makers, and assylum seekers moving forward.

Americans and Israel
A Gallup poll was released this past Tuesday that shows that 64% of Americans are sympathetic towards Israel. That’s huge considering the negative attention Israel gets in much of the media! Thank you for standing with Israel and please continue praying with us that God will make His heart for the land and people of Israel known in all the world!

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