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(Jerusalem, Israel) — First things first: I want to congratulate Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper — an evangelical Christian and a strong friend of Israel — and his conservative party for winning a big election this week. Harper, in my view, is actually the most pro-Israel national leader on the planet. His minority government recently lost a no confidence vote in parliament, but the opposition’s tactics misfired. Harper and his team are back stronger than ever for the next four years, having won an outright majority of seats. Let’s be praying for Harper to continue being a strong and principled voice for the safety and security of the Jewish State and a strong opponent of the mullahs in Iran, while also showing compassion to the Palestinian people.
That said, Israel is suddenly facing a strange new crisis: the country’s jet fuel supply has been found to be contaminated in a way that could lead to jet engines to clog, stall and planes to crash. Once this was discovered on Thursday, all flights in and out of the country were halted as officials scrambled to figure out where the problem was coming from and how to fix it. As the day progressed, airport officials began allowing new flights to arrive, but all inbound planes are now required to land first in Cyprus and top off their tanks with uncontaminated fuel so that they can then depart the country with a full load of passengers and have enough fuel to get to their intended destinations. At the moment, thousands of tourists are stranded at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv awaiting flights that cannot take off because their isn’t enough safe jet fuel.
By God’s grace, a Joshua Fund colleague and I flew into Israel at 9:30 Thursday morning without incident — that is, without landing in Cyprus — but apparently we got in just under the wire before the problem was detected and the new orders were issued. We’re preparing for hundreds of Joshua Fund supporters from all over the world to arrive late next week for the 2011 Epicenter Conference and our subsequent “prayer & vision tour” of the Land. Please pray that the fuel problem would be resolved quickly for their sake and the sake of all Israelis and tourists needing to fly in the coming days and weeks.
“Dozens of flights scheduled to depart from the Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday were halted until further notice due to contamination discovered in airport’s jet fuel supply,” Ynet News reported Thursday. “Airport management has ordered to suspend all aircraft fueling. As a result thousands of passengers are stranded at the airport. Within a short while it was realized that Israel’s minor airports were also affected by the contamination — including the airfields in Eilat and Haifa.”
“An airline official, who asked to remain anonymous, said that ‘The chaos that confronts us now is colossal. All flights landing in Israel will have to stop in Larnaca, so they have fuel to take off later. That means that the entire takeoffs and landings’ schedule has to be altered in Cyprus, as well as Israel. This will disrupt the entire system and create massive delays… If this problem isn’t solved immediately, chaos will rule.'”
In other news:
- Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh condemns killing of Osama bin Laden as an Arab holy warrior: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”
- German Chancellor Merkel is warning the Palestinians not to unilaterally declare their own state but to engage in negotiations with Israel
- Egypt is reportedly planning to double the price of natural gas it sells to Israel
- Prime Minister Netanyahu has been invited to meet President Obama at the White House on May 20 but says Israel won’t negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas because Hamas is an al Qaeda-like terrorist organization.
- Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood honors Osama bin Laden