Pray with Us! – April 2024

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Shalom from Jerusalem,

It has been half a year since Hamas initiated a brutal and deadly attack on Israel, and for half a year, 134 Israelis, including men, women, children, and infants, have been held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. Israel has been engaged in a war against a terrorist organization that has mastered the art of manipulating Western opinion. They have learned how to portray Israel, the victim of their crimes, as the ruthless aggressor in the eyes of the world while they, the actual cruel attackers, are seen as the victims. This is a war that no one desires, but those who value life must emerge victorious against the bloodthirsty enemy that seeks to annihilate us.

As we approach the (Pesach)Passover holiday, also known as the Festival of Freedom (Chag Ha'kherut), we remember God’s faithfulness to redeem the children of Israel from intense suffering and slavery in Egypt, a beautiful picture of what He would do 1,500 years later in Messiah Yeshua.

Please join us in praying that this festival of freedom will bring about the release of the captives held by Hamas in Gaza, as well as the liberation of the people of Gaza from their enslavement to the terrorist organization Hamas. May all peoples come to know the freedom that is found in Messiah!

PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR:

Passover 2024:

“On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord ’s Passover.”
Leviticus 23:5

In Israel today, Passover is considered one of the most important holidays. The multitudes of the House of Israel prepare weeks in advance, planning where to hold the 'Seder' and with whom. People thoroughly clean their homes to remove any chametz (leaven), and there is always an atmosphere of excitement leading up to the holiday. This year, however, we will be observing the Lord’s Passover in the shadow of war and complex internal struggles. There will be many empty seats at family tables throughout the country, left vacant by either missing or deceased loved ones. This will be an especially difficult Passover, so we would be very grateful for your prayers.
Please pray for:

  • Protection of all those celebrating before the holiday and during the holiday itself.
  • The people of Israel to come to see Yeshua the ultimate Passover Lamb as promised in the Scriptures.
  • A joyful holiday despite ongoing challenges
  • “Operation Hesed” – Hope for Israel’s initiative twice a year to provide substantial vouchers to purchase groceries ahead of Passover & Rosh Hashanah, that we will make a tangible impact in the lives of Israeli families!

“Sword of Iron” – Civilians:

Protests Against the Government

About a month and a half ago, protests against the government resumed. The demonstrations had subsided after the outbreak of the war on October 7th. Until the war, Israel had experienced an unprecedented year of protests and demonstrations against the government and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.

In recent weeks, the protests have escalated in terms of the number of participants, the number of demonstrations throughout the country, and the instances of violence and anger. The protests are taking place throughout the country, but primarily concentrated in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Most of the families of the hostages have also joined the anti-government protesters, demanding the immediate return of their loved ones.

Protesters are blocking roads and lighting bonfires on the streets. They are calling for early elections and the dissolution of the Knesset. They broke through the last barrier before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's home. A protester threw a burning torch at a mounted police officer in Jerusalem. The torch hit the horse and went out. The police are using various means to disperse the demonstrations, including water cannons.

Following the stormy protests that took place outside Netanyahu's home in Jerusalem, the head of the Shin Bet security service arrived at the scene. He said: "The violent discourse on the internet and some of the sights we have seen in the city go beyond the accepted rules of protest, harm the ability to maintain public order, and may lead to violent friction with security forces, disrupt their ability to fulfill their duties, and even harm protected individuals. There is a clear line between legitimate protest and violent, illegal protest. This is a worrying trend that could lead to dangerous places that must not be reached.
Please pray for:

  • The demonstrations to be peaceful and without violence, and for wisdom for the police as they face difficult decisions in the heat of the moment.
  • The safety and well-being of the protesters and the security forces, while at the same time demonstrating restraint.
  • Unity among Israelis despite our differences.

Displaced Israelis
Israel has a massive refugee problem that the international media ignores. Since the beginning of the war, 130,000 residents of Israel in the north and south have been uprooted from their homes and housed in hotels throughout the country. Entire families are living in one hotel room for almost 6 months now. Only five thousand of the evacuees have been allowed to return to their homes or have found permanent housing. All the other evacuees, 125,000 in total, have been asked to stay in hotels and guest houses at the state's expense until the end of the year.The conditions for the evacuees are not easy, even if they are in hotels. There is great difficulty in living as a family of 4-5 people on average in one room, outside of their normal daily routine. Many children have had to start over in new schools in the city in which the hotel is located; at the same time, working parents are either commuting long hours or are unemployed altogether.
Please pray for:

  • Patience and endurance for all displaced people, and that they will be able to return home soon.
  • The Lord to minister to them in this terribly difficult situation and that they would feel His comfort & hope in their lives.
  • Supernatural provision for all their financial needs.

 “Sword of Iron” – Hostages:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord , And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord , that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61: 1-3

As mentioned, half a year ago, the terrorist organization Hamas, in a despicable and satanic act, murdered, raped, looted, and kidnapped 253 Israeli civilians, including 42 children, young and older women, and young and older men. In November, 112 women and children were released from Hamas captivity, in a deal with Hamas and through several military operations by the IDF. 134 Israelis, including a 4-year-old child and a one-year-old infant, are still being held captive by Hamas in Gaza. Since the release of the women and children, many testimonies have been given about the conditions of captivity and the abuse that the captives endured. The likelihood that those who are still in captivity are experiencing the same kind of perpetual abuse is high.

Numerous testimonies have been released both in Israeli and international news sources about the horrific abuse that women, especially, endure in captivity. There have been numerous instances of rape and other kinds of sexual abuse. One survivor said that every girl held captive by Hamas experiences some form of sexual harassment or abuse. Aviva Segal, a 62-year-old woman, recounts: "One of the girls came back from the bathroom, and I saw on her face that she was distraught, so I got up and hugged her... and I see that she's shutting down and quiet, and she's not the same person she was before... There was another case of one [young woman] who they thought was a soldier, an officer in the army, and they tortured her in front of me, covered her with a blanket, and beat her with their weapons."

All the women and children who returned from captivity testified that the food was scarce, receiving a quarter of a pita bread in the morning for the entire day. Often, when they were thirsty and asked for a drink, the terrorists would deny them and mock them.

The abductees who have returned may have been physically freed from captivity, but the nightmare they experienced is a trauma that may stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Please pray for:

  • The immediate release of ALL the hostages held by Hamas and for supernatural protection over them in captivity.
  • International pressure on Hamas to unconditionally release all hostages.
  • For the physical and emotional full recovery of the released hostages. Pray for their inner and physical healing. May they come to know the peace that only Messiah can give.

“Swords of Iron” – Soldiers and Security

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.”
Psalm 144:1

“He looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
2 Kings 6:17

Terrorist Attacks in Israel

In the last three months, dozens of terrorist attacks have occurred in various places throughout Israel. Almost every day, terrorists originating from Judea and Samaria attempt to attack, and some even succeed, either by shooting at civilians, ramming vehicles, or stabbing with knives. Thanks to the high state of alert in Israel and the readiness of the security forces, and thanks to your prayers, many attacks have been prevented. However, unfortunately, dozens of Israelis have been seriously to moderately injured, and over ten Israelis, including Israeli Arabs, have been killed in the last three months.

Northern Front

Israel is on high alert in anticipation of the outbreak of war against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. This is the front that very few international media outlets are talking about. Hezbollah operating in Lebanon has been attacking Israel since October 7th! Yet, there is no outrage from the world. Lebanon, a sovereign country, is attacking another sovereign country, Israel, and not even as much as a mention of it at the UN since Israel reportedly warned the UN Security Council of it in late November 2023. The Hezbollah organization is gradually increasing the number of missiles it fires at Israel. Hundreds of rockets have been fired recently, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have penetrated Israel. In recent months, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been responding in a targeted manner only towards the sources of fire or launch bases, which, thanks to intelligence, the IDF has managed to strike before Hezbollah fighters could launch the missiles.
Please pray for:

  • Security forces, that they will succeed in thwarting the attacks that the terrorists seek to carry out.
  • Protection for the residents in the northern towns.
  • Wisdom for the Israeli government in making decisions regarding the Israeli response to the repeated provocations from Hezbollah.

“Swords of Iron” – Leaders and Government

“A king’s heart is like water in the hand of the LORD.” – Proverbs 21:1
The growing frustration with Israel’s government is concerning. According to many surveys conducted in recent months, most Israelis believe that the government is to blame for the failures of October 7th and that it should be replaced. Cabinet member and chairman of the National Unity Party, Benny Gantz, called for early elections as soon as this coming September, and there is some support from political figures within the government. Minister Gantz argues that setting an election date will allow the continuation of the war without repeatedly dealing with the issue of early elections. "This will leave us time to continue the security effort, allow the citizens of Israel to know that we will soon renew the trust between us, and prevent the rift in the nation," he said, "I hope that if we agree on this, all responsible and Zionist public leaders will join the emergency government. Such a move will increase trust and unity among the people and our fighters and give us the enormous international backing necessary."
Please pray for:

  • Wisdom for Israel’s military and political leaders during this complex and difficult time.
  • Unity within the government and a united vision to finish this war as quickly as possible while accomplishing the important mission to destroy Hamas.
  • That the LORD would work through Israel’s leaders during this time.

“Swords of Iron” – International Front

“The kings of earth set themselves up and rulers conspire together against the LORD and against His Anointed One.” Psalms 2:1

The Killing of Aid Workers in Gaza

Last week, a tragic event occurred in which seven workers from the international aid organization "World Central Kitchen" were killed, including six foreign nationals. Israel received widespread condemnation from around the world, including a strong rebuke from the United States. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is investing significant efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid. This terrible tragedy was not carried out with malicious intent, and no entity in Israel had the desire or intention to cause the deaths of these civilians. The IDF took full responsibility for the incident, and the Prime Minister, President, and Minister of Defense expressed the State of Israel's apology for what happened.

Such an event harms the State of Israel and puts us even more under diplomatic attack. It strengthens the many conspiracies spread by pro-Palestinians and anti-Semites around the world.

Renewal of World Countries' Support for UNRWA

About a week ago, France announced that it would provide support of 30 million euros to UNRWA in 2024 after suspending funding following the IDF's exposure that some of the agency's employees participated in the massacre on October 7.  

With its decision, France joins Ireland, which never suspended aid, and Norway, which transferred its annual allocation of $26 million to UNRWA in February. The Norwegians are also very active in attempts to persuade other Western countries to resume assistance to the organization, many of whose employees are members and supporters of Hamas. Japan has also canceled the suspension of funding for UNRWA, making it the sixth-largest donor to the agency.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini claimed to be "horrified" by the evidence provided by Israel about the terrorists working for UNRWA and demanded that they be brought to justice. The dismissal of these employees provided a sufficient alibi for many countries to renew their support for the organization.

As a reminder, UNRWA employees were accused of assisting Hamas in the attack against Israel, in which about 1,200 civilians were murdered and killed, and about 240 more were kidnapped to the Gaza Strip, either during or in the days following the attack. During the war, the IDF and other organizations exposed how Hamas uses UNRWA clinics, schools, and equipment for terrorist purposes. In addition, it was revealed how UNRWA teachers celebrated the massacre against Israel on Telegram.
Please pray for:

  • Continued international support of Israel, including continued grassroots support.
  • Continued diplomatic and military support of the war from Israel’s allies abroad.
  • God’s protection and blessing over the many individuals working to defend Israel internationally.
  • The world’s eyes to be opened to the truth of who Hamas is.

The Growth of Anti-Semitism

“I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!” – Romans 11:1

Since the outbreak of the "Iron Swords" war, there has been a sharp rise in antisemitism worldwide. From October 2023 to December 2023, there was a sixfold increase in the number of antisemitic incidents, with 43% occurring in the United States and 35% in Europe. Most hate speech takes place on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok, where young people are exposed to antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments. Posts calling for violence against Jews, Israelis, and Zionists saw a staggering 1,200% increase.

According to some reports, 2023 began with a moderate rise in antisemitic events worldwide, up to 10% compared to 2022. This trend continued throughout the year's first nine months (January-September). However, in the wake of the October 7th events and the escalation of the war, there was a dramatic increase in antisemitism worldwide, echoing pre-WWII Nazi Germany. From October to December, there was a six-fold increase in antisemitic incidents compared to January-September. Overall, 2023 ended with a 235% increase in antisemitic incidents compared to 2022, with 43% occurring in the United States and 35% in Europe.

Regarding antisemitism on college campuses, the biggest challenge is researchers and professors who promote anti-Israel views and actively call for the erasure of the State of Israel. Many universities have turned a blind eye to antisemitic protests on campus calling for the destruction of Israel and harm to Jewish people.
Please pray for:

  • Protection for Jews around the world against those who hate Israel.
  • Wisdom for the leaders of nations to find ways to prevent antisemitism in their countries.
  • Wisdom for the Body of Messiah in Israel and worldwide on how to expose the evil of antisemitism and reach as many people as possible on this issue, especially the younger generation.

HFI Prayer Requests:
We continue to prayerfully seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance to implement a renewed vision amid a tragic and costly war.

Please join us in praying for:

Moran
Moran continues to be completely devoted to the ministry’s emergency response efforts since the war broke out. He continues to work in the field, providing support for those we have evacuated from the north & south of Israel; ensuring that the evacuated families have what they need; bringing meals every day to injured soldiers & providing support for their families; and delivering aid to anyone who is in need.

He also continues to oversee the ministry’s Israel advocacy & information project, as it is crucial for people to receive reliable information out of Israel right now. His personal social media platforms are constantly bombarded with hatred and anti-Israel propaganda attacks, which can be exhausting to confront.
Please continue to pray for:

  • Wisdom regarding the various aspects of the ministry that he oversees.
  • Strength & wisdom as he provides support for friends & families who have lost their loved ones in the war, all the while dealing with personal loss related to the war.
  • Strength, wisdom, protection & health during this intense time.
  • Guidance and inspiration as he writes his weekly Scripture commentaries.
  • Peace during this difficult season.

HFI Staff & Board Members
Please pray for:

  • Blessing over our staff & board members who devote time and energy to executing our vision for the ministry.
  • Protection over their families while they serve.
  • Wisdom for the board members as they make decisions that impact the ministry in tangible ways.
  • Our US representative Bill Katz as he drives and flies thousands of miles every week to speak on behalf of Hope for Israel, for health & traveling mercies, protection over his wife and daughter while he is traveling, and for fruitful meetings and speaking engagements. Please pray for protection over Bill during this period as anti-Semitism continues to grow throughout the world.

Threefold Vision for Empowering the Future Generation of Believers
NerYah 2023-2024

This month, we learned about healthy relationships between friends, genuine connection, love for others, and the value of respect. The topic was very relevant to the youth because of their age; it is a daily challenge for them. Roi, the director of NerYah, returned after a long period of reserve duty, and we are all happy that he is with us now. Thank you for remembering him in your prayers; the Lord kept and protected him.
Please pray:

  • that the topics we discuss will change the youth and lead to growth in their lives of faith.
  • for protection for the youth who come to NerYah on Thursdays on their way to and from the meetings amid heightened security tensions.
  • for us to have the wisdom to encourage and accompany the youth who cannot come due to the situation.
  • We seek a male counselor to join our team and mentor our male youth.

Believing Soldiers

We continue to be a constant source of support for our believing soldiers. This has been an intense and exhausting season for them because of the war. We are in regular contact with each soldier, sending encouraging text messages, phone calls, and care packages. We also host in-person meetings for the soldiers when possible, to give them a space to share and decompress what they’re going through.
Please pray for:

  • male and female counselors who understand the importance of this service this service and are willing to invest their time in it. Many times, the soldiers can be challenging, and it feels like not many people have this in their hearts. So, we would simply appreciate prayer for more people who are willing to give of themselves for this very important service.
  • this challenging time during the war for all the soldiers, both in the rear and front lines. Those who have lost close and distant friends know that God will strengthen them and give them the strength to continue to move forward and hold on to Him.
  • prayer for wisdom and guidance in encouraging the soldiers and giving them what they need.

Students, Discharged Believing Soldiers, and Reservists:

The discharged soldiers' meeting was held mid-March. It was a good meeting; we discussed issues that challenge discharged soldiers, such as dealings with the National Insurance Institute, the Tax Authority, etc. A training meeting for students was held at the end of March where we provided tools for soft skills, such as thinking outside the box, time management, functioning under pressure, priorities, and more.
Please pray for:

  • the students and discharged soldiers who are still serving in the reserves in the war and guarding the country's borders.
  • an easy return to routine for all the reservists who have returned home.
  • the last exam period for all those taking second-chance exams.
  • the discharged soldiers' department staff, for wisdom and guidance during this challenging time.

HFI Media Projects
During a period when Israel is not only fighting a physical war but diplomatic and public pressures and fake news as well, we see our work in media to be doubly important! Thank you for your continued support of our work in this area and your continued prayers! If you are not already subscribed to our mailing list, you can do so here.

We are still seeking a suitable candidate for a content writer. During this time of war, staffing changes are incredibly challenging, and we would appreciate your prayers that the right individuals will join our team!
Please pray for:

  • A content writer.
  • Wisdom to manage attacks against our platforms and content and for the cessation of such attacks.
  • Strength and wisdom for our media team as they continue to produce new content for our website, email, and social media, especially during the current war.
  • Insight and wisdom are needed to offer fact-based and Scripture-based answers to those who oppose Israel; God would use our content to change peoples’ hearts and minds!
  • We need a video crew in Israel to work with to generate new content.
  • Creating a grassroots movement of Israel advocacy via YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Informative & interesting articles and other original material that will educate our audience and encourage their support of Israel now and always.
  • prayer for spiritual protection
  • Insight and efficiency in updating our website and messaging; God would provide the right website designer.

Tours
One of the main objectives of our tour operation is to cover ministry overhead, so that a higher percentage of donations can go to projects. Due to the war, all our groups through November have either cancelled or rescheduled for 2025, leaving the tour operation without any income for the foreseeable future. This has been a very challenging and, at times, stressful logistical operation. Please pray for:

  • wisdom for Moran & Melissa as they face challenging decisions regarding the tour operations in light of the current war.
  • open doors for “Foosteps of the Apostle Paul” tours to other countries of the Mediterranean region (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, etc.)

Ministry Finances
God has been so faithful in providing for the ministry's operating and project costs! We ask that you pray that He will continue to do so, and that we will be able to bless more Israelis than ever!

In His Service,

The Hope for Israel Prayer Team

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