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THE WEEK AHEAD: Passover and Holy Week begin amid deadly terror wave and security alert

Here are the stories we are watching...

Christian worshippers hold palm branches as they walk in a procession on Palm Sunday, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City, April 10, 2022. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

·       Muslim Ramadan, Jewish Passover, Christian Holy Week coincide  

·       Israel’s security cabinet is set to convene following terror wave  

·       World Food Festival connects Jerusalem to world cultures

·       Israel’s Central Bank could raise interest rate

TODAY IS PALM SUNDAY FOR PROTESTANTS, CATHOLICS

Once every 10 years, the Jewish Passover coincides with the Muslim Ramadan and the Christian holiday of Easter. That is happening this April. Christian worshippers will celebrate Palm Sunday – the first day of the Holy Week leading up to Easter – to mark Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem to the adoration of the masses.

“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, crying out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’” John 12:13

PASSOVER BEGINS FRIDAY NIGHT

Jews in Israel and around the world will celebrate Passover on Friday evening to commemorate the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt with the traditional Seder meal. During the seven days of the holiday, observing Jews refrain from eating or holding leavened foods, known as chametz (grains like wheat, rye, barley and spelt). The custom is a reminder that when the Israelites fled Egypt, they left with unrisen dough in their packs.

A ceremony at the Jordan River crossing on Monday will mark the Israelites’ entering into the land of Israel following their 40-year-long journey through the desert from Egypt. It will be held at a popular pilgrimage site known as, Qasr al-Yahud, located about 10 kilometers east of Jericho. Christians believe that this is the area on the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized.

KOSHER FOOD FESTIVAL IN JERUSALEM

A culinary festival in Jerusalem’s Old City will offer international dishes by top Israeli restaurants and celebrity chefs, such as Eyal Shani, Shaul Ben Aderet and Guy Gazmo. The World Tasting Food Festival will be held in the holy city for the second time with events and flavors that connect Jerusalem to world cultures.

The culinary abundance will be kosher and combine products from Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market and Tel Aviv’s Carmel market. The initiative of the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage is produced by the East Jerusalem Development Company.

BENNETT TO CONVENE SECURITY CABINET     

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will convene his security cabinet on Sunday to discuss the wave of terrorism and growing tensions between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank. The meeting comes following a recent shooting attack in central Tel Aviv on Thursday, in which three people were killed and others were critically injured. The Cabinet will meet for the first time in over a month, as it held its last meeting in late February.

WILL MEASURES TO EASE RESTRICTIONS FOR PALESTINIANS BE REVOKED?

Last week, Defense Minister Benny Gantz promised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel would expand civilian measures to help Palestinians celebrate Ramadan peacefully. In their phone call on Tuesday, Gantz warned that the steps will only be enforced if Israel’s security is maintained. The measures, which were to be applied this week, included expansion of prayer and worship hours on the Temple Mount, opening the border crossing between Israel and the West Bank for longer hours and allowing families from the West Bank to visit Israel. In light of the recent deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv, Israel’s purported gestures are now in question.

Abbas condemned the Dizengoff terror attack in Tel Aviv, saying: “The killing of a Palestinian and Israeli civilians only leads to a further deterioration of the situation, as we are all striving for stability, especially during the holy month of Ramadan and the upcoming Christian and Jewish holidays."

ISRAEL EXPECTED TO RAISE INTEREST RATES

The Bank of Israel is expected to make a decision on the country’s interest rates on Monday. For the first time since 2018, economic experts foresee an increase in interest rates, which currently stands at 0.1%. The likely hike could be more than 0.15%, according to Israeli experts. The unemployment rate in Israel has decreased to 4.7%, which is the lowest number since the beginning of the COVID crisis.

NEW DOCUMENTARY ON LEBANON'S CRISIS

A new documentary about Lebanon’s economic crisis will be released this week and screened publicly for the first time on Saturday in Beirut. ‘Enough! Lebanon’s darkest hour’ offers an independent introspection into “how Lebanon has ended up in a state of complete catastrophe, exposing the country's dark underbelly.” You can watch the movie here.

Last week, Lebanon's Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh al-Shami declared that "the state has gone bankrupt as did the Banque du Liban." The Lebanese Central Bank denied his claim, but al-Shami vowed to "seek to reduce losses for the people." Pope Francis is expected to visit the country in June.

This week we are also keeping an eye on these developing stories:

·       ...Could Foreign Minister Yair Lapid become Israel’s next prime minister, following a bombshell resignation of a coalition member?

·       Will the Israeli government fall, limp to the finish line or pave the way for the return of Netanyahu?

·       ...Will the U.S. Congress get to vote on the pending Iran nuclear deal, as pressure mounts on the administration from both Republicans and Democrats lawmakers?

 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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