Many Israeli Arabs are working on the front line of the fight against Covid-19 in Israel. They make up a fifth of the population in Israel, but have a high level of representation in the medical community with half of the country’s pharmacists, a quarter of its nurses and just under a fifth of its doctors. Israel is dependent on their care at this critical time, particularly to treat the outbreak of the virus among the country’s Jewish ultra-orthodox communities.
Dear Lord, we thank you for the selfless professionalism of the medical staff who put their own lives at risk to help treat all those suffering from the Covid-19 virus, no matter their race or religion. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
This week’s Kumi Now initiative looks at the work of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, (DSPR). It is an ecumenical group run by the Middle East Council of Churches which was originally set up in 1948 as a result of the Nakba [the Palestinian catastrophe when 750,000 Palestinians were displaced and dispossessed of their homes and property following Israel's Declaration of Independence in the 1948-49 war]. The DSPR focuses on the chronic level of unemployment suffered by young Palestinians, especially those from refugee camps, due to discrimination and economic deprivation. They offer vocational training and start-up loans to empower young people and to enable them to earn an income.
Dear Lord, we seek to serve you through the work of our hands and yet so many young people born in poverty are deprived of the dignity of work. Thank you for the work of the DSPR as they seek to support young people through vocational training and support. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
On Tuesday, the 14th of April, the Israeli police raided a Covid-19 clinic which had been set up by Palestinians in Silwan, East Jerusalem. Israeli government rules mean that the Palestinian Authority are prevented from doing anything to support communities in occupied East Jerusalem. The overcrowded living conditions in this area make it particularly susceptible to the rapid spread of the virus.
Oh Lord, we pray that the Israeli government would work with the Palestinian Authority to help Palestinians test those in need of treatment and to help them access hospitals equipped to treat those suffering with the deadly virus. Lord, in your mercy..,hear our prayer.
The occupied and besieged populations of Palestine and Gaza are seen as extremely vulnerable by the World Health Organization of a serious outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, as well as from the effects of the economic fallout. The NGO Who Profits? have released a new report which is monitoring and analyzing the Covid-19 crisis in occupied Palestine. Palestinians are experiencing a lack of testing kits, protective clothing and availability of intensive care beds. There are also serious concerns about the authorization of heightened surveillance and the introduction of further repressive measures under the guise of ‘a state of emergency’.
Lord, we pray for those who are trying to survive under the occupation and we pray for those ‘writers who keep writing oppression’( Is10:1), that they would turn again and stop their harsh treatment of those in need. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
On Wednesday, the 15th of April, Jewish settlers assaulted Palestinian shepherds as they grazed their sheep, east of Yatta, near Hebron. Under heavy military protection from the Israeli army, the settlers seriously injured one of the shepherds. Across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank there are between 500,000 and 600,000 Israeli settlers in illegal settlements, in violation of international law.
Dear Lord, we pray for those Palestinians living in the West Bank who have had to endure frequent violent attacks, damage to their land and property, including the uprooting of many olive trees. We pray for a cessation of these hate crimes and for the risk of spreading the contagious virus through the attacks. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
On the evening of Thursday, the 23rd of April, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins and ends on a month later with Eid al-Fitr. During this month Muslims will be fasting during daylight hours from dawn to sunset. This year will be especially difficult with restrictions preventing prayer in Mosques and no groups allowed to gather in homes for the evening iftar meal.
We pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine as they start fasting for Ramadan. Many of them will be experiencing worry over lack of work, income and food, as well as concerns and grief over those close to them who are affected by the virus. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Lord in your mercy...hear our prayer.
Third Sunday of Easter (Year A)
Meet us, Lord, on the Emmaus road.
Guide us on the path toward our destination,
and renew our strength as we continue to walk with you.
Open our eyes, so we see the signs of your presence around us
despite occupation and fear;
Open our hearts, so we may receive your peace and love;
and empower us to pass on to others
the grace you have shared with us so freely.