Hope for Israel Intercessors Letter – August 2014

Dear Prayer Partners,

Shalom!  We write this with heavy hearts as Israel has been at war with Hamas in Gaza for almost one month now.  At the time of writing, over 52 Israeli soldiers have given their lives protecting Israel from the virulent enemy Hamas, who has heavily armed itself in hopes of annihilating Israel and “liberating ‘Palestine’”.  While this is the third military campaign that Israel has undertaken against Hamas since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it has revealed that Hamas is a powerful terrorist group that will stop at nothing to achieve its goal. Israel has discovered an extensive underground network of tunnels that Hamas has spent millions of dollars building in order to carry out various terror attacks on Israelis.  At least three times over the last month, Hamas terrorists entered Israeli communities, intent on killing Israeli soldiers and civilians.  They murdered 5 soldiers and injured many others as a result. All the while, Hamas continues to assault Israel with rockets daily, causing damage and injuring Israelis.  Recently, there was a direct hit on a home not far from the Gaza strip, wounding a young man.  This is nothing to say of the intense mental stress and shock that the majority of Israelis are suffering on a daily basis. No one knows when this will end and we are in constant prayer for God’s wisdom for Israel’s leaders as they make very difficult decisions that affect so many.

Please join us in interceding on behalf of Israel for:

Operation Protective EdgePlease continue to pray for Israel in this dark hour.  Please pray first and foremost, for protection over our brave soldiers who are fighting a very dangerous and bloodthirsty enemy, in a guerilla-style war.  They are in danger every moment of the day, and we are grateful for their protection over the State of Israel.  Please also pray for the Palestinian civilians who are held captive by Hamas and forced into being human shields, and forbidden from fleeing areas that Israel is warning to leave before an attack.  Hamas is working overtime to increase civilian casualties in order to turn the world against Israel and it seems to be working.  Israel is fighting a physical and PR battle and while the first is working in Israel’s favor so far, the latter is being lost.  Many nations (the USA included) are heavily pressuring Israel into an immediate, unconditional ceasefire, which would be a huge victory for Hamas.  There are still an untold number of tunnels left to be destroyed, and Hamas is still a force to be reckoned with. Please also pray for Israel’s men, women, and children, who are also paying a heavy price; thousands of civilians have fled their homes, millions are under rocket fire, and countless people are suffering from stress and anxiety related disorders as a result of this war. Lastly, please pray for those families who have lost their beloved husbands and sons in this war; please pray for the Prince of Peace to bring comfort to their weary souls.

Israel’s Neighbors Watching – Both friendly and hostile neighbors alike are paying close attention to how Israel is dealing with Hamas in this conflict.  If Israel plays its cards right, they will send a strong and clear message to enemies such as Hizbullah, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, who are just waiting to open additional fronts on Israel’s borders.  If Israel is not a strong enough responder to Hamas’ provocations, Israel could very well find itself in other wars with Lebanon and Syria.  So far, Jordan and Egypt have been strong partners with Israel to squash Hamas, as they both understand what it means to have their governments overrun by these extremists.  We are hopeful that support will remain, as it is very important for Israel’s political position in the Middle East. Please pray that Israel will seek the LORD’s perfect wisdom in this current conflict, and that Israel’s leadership will make wise decisions that will not only bring a decisive victory, but also will deter her other enemies.  Please also pray for a blessing over Jordan and Egypt for their strong stance with Israel.

Turkey – If Israel’s political relationship with Turkey was in trouble before this military conflict began, it is now in the toilet, so to speak.  Turkey has been very vocal in its condemnation of Israel’s military campaign, and has even gone so far as to compare Israel to Hitler, a puzzling comparison at best. Turkey has sent a great deal of humanitarian aid to Gaza through Israel, but the most recent shipment contained metal marbles that can be used in bombs to make them more deadly.  Israeli customs is investigating for what these were actually intended and whether or not to confiscate them.  Turkey is also planning to send a flotilla to Gaza to break the Israeli naval blockade as a sign of “solidarity” with the Palestinians.  This could lead to yet another military conflict, which is perhaps what Turkey is looking for as it still seeks to become a strong force in the Muslim world.  Please continue to pray for Israel’s protection from wolves in sheep’s clothing, such as Turkey.  While the two countries are supposed political allies, the reality is that they will most likely become enemies sooner than later.  This is also foretold in Scripture!  Please pray for a strong backbone for Israel’s leadership and that they will not be swayed by those who do not have Israel’s best interest at heart.

Iran– While Iran has not made an official statement regarding the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, the fact that Hamas is firing long-range Iranian missiles deep into Israel speaks for itself.  Iran has been re-arming Hamas in the two years since the last military operation in November 2012.  They are also funding Hamas, along with Qatar.  All this while continuing to develop its nuclear arsenal, which they have declared they will use to “wipe Israel off the map.” Please continue to pray for Israel’s protection from Iran in these troubling times.  Please pray that the world will clearly see Iran’s military nuclear ambitions and not allow Iran to pull the wool over their eye, so to speak.  Lastly, please pray for our brothers and sisters in Iran who suffer greatly at the hands of the oppressive government, many of whom are in great danger for their lives.

Anti-Semitism Rising – If Jewish people in Europe felt unsafe before this operation began, they certainly are feeling the hostility now. From the anti-Israel demonstrators to the neo-Nazi parties to the pro-Palestinian lobby, the anti-Semitism is palpable throughout all of Europe.  North and South America are not immune to this anti-Semitism either.  Bolivia just declared Israel a “Terrorist State”!  The Scripture continues to unfold before our eyes.  It is growing clearer and clearer that the rise in anti-Semitism will most likely be the vehicle by which the LORD brings the Jewish people to Israel, our historic and covenant homeland. Israel’s existence and sustenance are more important than ever! Please pray for the safety and protection of Jews and Israelis wherever they are throughout the world, especially in these times. Please also pray for those who hate the Jewish people, that the Holy Spirit will convict and change their hearts to understand why God has called Israel the “apple of His eye”, and how it pertains to salvation for the entire world through His Son, Yeshua.  Lastly, please pray that as we see more and more Jewish people return to Israel, that Israel will welcome them with open arms and support them in their successful acclimation to life here.

Following are some ministry requests for Hope for Israel:

Moran – Moran has been extremely busy with the ministry’s “Operation: Restoration” project, with a two-week trip in the States at the beginning of July, and now in the field here in Israel.  He is heading the coordination of a very large endeavor, having relocated over 300 people from two communities bordering the Gaza Strip, which are totally inhabitable at the moment. He is also spending time with wounded soldiers and families who have lost their sons in the war.  It’s a different experience when you put a face to the names of those wounded or fallen! Our team in Israel has been working overtime to make this happen as well!  He is not only very tired from a busy but productive trip, but also juggling the responsibilities of his family and the war, which is no easy feat. Please pray for health, strength, wisdom, and discernment for Moran, especially during this stressful and intense time in Israel.  Please pray that God would put His hedge of protection around the family and give Moran and Melissa great wisdom as they raise their three young children, especially in these troubling times.

Operation: Restoration – This is an on-going project within the ministry, for all who have been affected by any of Israel’s wars or terror attacks.  With the renewal of fighting between Israel and Hamas, we received numerous requests to assist people living in two communities bordering Gaza, and for essentials for other people affected by the conflict throughout the country.  Hope for Israel has provided room and board at quality hotels for these displaced people – most of whom are mothers and fathers with young children.  While it is terribly difficult for them to be away from home for so long, they are so grateful their children can enjoy some “fun” time at the pool and in various summer activities in a relatively quiet area near Jerusalem.  While the area does get fired upon by Hamas at times, and there continue to be occasional air raid sirens, it is nothing compared to what they would suffer in their homes near Gaza! Please pray that the LORD will continue to provide the funds for this project, as it is a very expensive undertaking.  Please also pray that through this act of love and mercy, many will seek Him and find Him in this difficult time.  Lastly, please pray that they will be able to return home SOON and that their homes will be in good condition, against all odds.

HFI BoardPlease continue to pray for the Board as they have plenty of important decisions before them regarding the current situation.  Please also keep their families in your prayers as well, that the arrows of the enemy will not penetrate, but that the LORD will shield them.

HFI Staff – As written above, the staff has been absolutely amazing during this time!  They have been putting their hearts and souls into the Operation: Restoration project, and personally interacting with the displaced people, to encourage them and minister to them.  Please continue to intercede for our staff members, board members, and ministry partners & their loved ones; please pray that we will walk in the victory that Yeshua has given us over illness and disease.  Please continue to pray for His protection over our children’s hearts & minds as well.  Please also pray for the entire staff in our work, that the LORD would inspire and work through us to bring Himself glory in Israel.

New Media Director to Join Our Staff – We are so pleased to announce that Tara will be joining our staff as our new Media Director this month!  She is a perfect fit for the position and we are so confident that she will fit beautifully with our HFI family in Israel.  Please pray for a smooth and easy transition for her into her position, and that she will feel right at home in her new job.  Please also pray that the LORD will open the door for her in her new position to bring new, innovative ideas to the ministry, and that she will know God’s tremendous blessing on her life!

Ner Yah Youth Group – The group is now in its summer break, where many of the youth will attend various camps in Israel. Please continue to pray that the youth will be rooted in the Lord through a deep relationship with Yeshua during the summer months.  Additionally, continue to pray for David and Sappir, the two main leaders, as they are now married!  Please pray for Sappir, who will not continue her position with Ner Yah after the summer, that the LORD will lead her to a new line of work, and for a great blessing in her and David’s marriage. Lastly, please pray for God to prepare those who will be entering the army and strengthen them for the time ahead.

Ner Yah Leaders We are seeking Sapir’s replacement and are waiting on the LORD to bring a young woman who can lead the females in the youth group.  Please pray that God will bring us someone to fill this position, and who will have a passion for His will for the youth.  Please also pray that God would give David wisdom in his planning of the next year of Ner Yah.

Believing Soldiers’ Outreach – This outreach is more important than ever! We are in constant touch with our soldiers who are fighting this war on the front lines, and praying for them without ceasing. We have many believing soldiers inside Gaza at the moment, and we are of course concerned for their safety.. Please pray for Sara who is leading this outreach, that she will walk in God’s anointing and wisdom for this new ministry opportunity.  Please also pray that she will have a deep sensitivity to what the soldiers need, and plan the meetings accordingly.  Lastly, please pray that this group will be a wonderful blessing to our soldiers to keep strong in their faith, and be fruitful wherever the Lord has put them, especially in this time of war.

Tour Department – ISRAEL NEEDS THE SUPPORT OF TOURISTS NOW!  While many are canceling their trips to Israel due to the military conflict, we are strongly supporting those who decide to come despite the danger to show their support for the Israeli people.  This is especially important to our witness to those who do not yet know Yeshua! Please continue to pray that the LORD will bless this aspect of the ministry and that He would bring more and more people to witness of His love on these tours, and to be a strong supportive voice for Israel.

Lastly, please continue to pray for the salvation of Israel & the Jewish people throughout the world; we long for the day when all Israel will recognize her Messiah and bless Him… this is the key to unlocking the great spiritual blessing for the entire human race: “For if their rejection [of Yeshua] is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” Romans 11:15

In His Service,

The Hope for Israel Prayer Team

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