ISRAEL - Will God Rescue from 4th Covid-19 Wave?

Arno Froese

Faith could be one of the keys to helping Israel successfully ride the fourth COVID-19 wave, if success against the Delta variant is judged by the number of people who die from the virus.

According to a new study conducted by Prof. Uzi Rebhum of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, any 1% increase in the number of residents with a strong religious identity is expected to reduce mortality rates by about a third.

Rebhum, whose study was published in the British journal Migration Letters, examined population characteristics and environmental factors to determine which contribute most to a country’s ability to effectively deal with the pandemic.

Israel was ranked first among OECD countries for managing COVID then, making it a role model for other countries around the world. Rebhum said that although this research was conducted during the first wave, “I interpret and draw conclusions for the current COVID wave.”

The more religious a country was—judged by the percentage of the population that goes to pray at least once per week—the lower its mortality rate was during the first 100 days of the pandemic, Rebhum said.

“The explanation for this would be that people who have strong religious faith have more social and moral support from their community and religious leaders,” he explained. Additionally, “they tend to be more optimistic and believe they can overcome their illness beyond the objective assessment of their doctor or other medical personnel.

“In the first wave, Israel was one of the leading countries in the world in tackling the pandemic,” Rebhum told the Post. “That’s because the first wave was encountered properly by the government, which was not the case in the second and third waves. For this fourth wave, Israel is well-prepared.”

The professor said this is not a political commentary, but one that looks at the facts on the ground: Israel has one of the highest percentages of vaccinated citizens; it is the first country in the world that decided on the booster shot for people over the age of 60; the government has already labeled many large countries red (banned) or orange and is expected to add more to the list; it imposed a quarantine on people who return from abroad—although many Israelis do not adhere to this regulation; and it already rolled out the Green Pass program, which is expected to expand.

-www.jpost.com, 4 August 2021

Arno's Commentary

This research is somewhat surprising, because many in the religious community fight vehemently against obeying medical science instructions and regulations. An excerpt from the New York Times reads:

Ultra-Orthodox Jews failing to comply with government instructions to contain the coronavirus are causing it to spread so quickly that Israeli officials are considering blockading entire communities to protect the wider population.

The virus is mushrooming in ultra-Orthodox communities as much as four to eight times faster than elsewhere in Israel.

Although they make up only 12 percent of Israel’s population, the ultra-Orthodox account for 40 to 60 percent of the coronavirus patients at four major hospitals, hospital officials told Israeli news media. The true dimensions of the epidemic among the ultra-Orthodox can only be estimated because testing is rare.

-www.nytimes.com, 30 March 2020

In other parts of the world, a number of religious groups made headlines by their refusal to obey the government. In Canada, several pastors have been arrested for noncompliance. 

Our take: the coronavirus is dangerous, extremely contagious, and noncompliance endangers the general public. Here 1 Peter 2:13-16: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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