Prayer Letter — August 2021

August is the last month of the summer break, and families are beginning to prepare for Back to School. While many Israelis traditionally travel during August, more and more Israelis are opting to stay put and vacation within the country due to renewed isolation requirements for Israelis returning from abroad, regardless of vaccination status. Israel is also experiencing an uptick in Coronavirus infections, for which the delta variant is responsible. In mid-June, we had new cases in the single digits, and then they gradually began to rise to over 2,000 new daily cases. This is the highest the infection rate has been since March. There is concern this will affect not only the opening of the school year, but also tourism in the country.

Last Month of Summer Vacation
August tends to be a challenging month for parents with young children as the summer camps are finished, and parents are left to find viable childcare. Many families travel during this month, but due to the coronavirus situation, most are opting to stay in the country. It is also a time of preparation for the coming school year - buying books, supplies, school uniforms, etc. Please pray that we will continue to have a quiet summer and get the rest and refreshment so many of us desire! Please also pray for those who will be traveling, for safety all around, and for protection from hostilities abroad. Please pray for financial provision for families for back to school costs. Lastly, please pray for wisdom for the Ministry of Education as they will be setting policy for the opening of the school year on September 1st.

Israel's New Government
PM Bennett has had a busy month as Israel's newest premier. He has been faced with a third wave of Coronavirus infections, the volatile Sheikh Jarrah land dispute, dismantling illegal Jewish settlements in Samaria, and increasing provocations from Israel's enemies, especially Iran. Recently, a PLO spokesperson said the Palestinians would be ready to return to peace negotiations with Israel "under any circumstances and at any time", which puts the ball in Bennett's court, so to speak. This is not an ideal situation for Bennett, but he may be left with no choice considering his government is comprised of a few left-wing parties, as well as an Islamist party. One great achievement, however, is the passing of a budget after two years of not having one due to political impasses. Please pray for our new government and Prime Minister Bennett. Please pray for wisdom, humility, and a heart that seeks after God. Please also pray for extra grace in this season, and for peace between Israelis despite our political differences.

Incendiary Balloons from Gaza
Militants from Gaza continue to send incendiary devices - many which are also rigged with explosives - into southern Israel. Numerous wildfires started as a result of the devices, destroying thousands of acres of vital crops. Israel treats these provocations as acts of war, and responds decisively with air strikes every time. With the recent release of a report from Human Rights Watch, which accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes in the May 2021 military conflict, Israel is caught between a rock and a hard place in responding to the incendiary devices. Please pray for wisdom for Israel's military officials as they continue to face impossible decisions in this situation. Please also pray for Israelis living along the border with Gaza, for protection from attacks, and for reparations for property destroyed by the fires. Lastly, please continue to pray for a breakthrough in the situation with Hamas, for a miracle of peace in the near future.

Tensions Along Israel's Northern Borders
Tensions remain high along Israel's northern borders. Iranian proxy groups, notably Hezbollah in Lebanon, and other groups in Syria, are still of particular concern. Israel has recently engaged in several attacks of Iranian militia operating in Syria. Interestingly, these attacks were intercepted by Russian-backed air defenses. Russia is said to be bolstering Syrian forces, which is quite concerning. There is additional concern that, in Lebanon, Hezbollah may attack Israel as a ploy to draw attention away from the rapidly deteriorating economic situation there. Please pray that the northern border will remain quiet, and that Israel will not be drawn into another military conflict with Lebanon or Syria. Please pray for a revival in these areas, that the Spirit of the LORD will move powerfully among the people there! Please also pray for safety for Israel's citizens who live in communities bordering Lebanon and Syria. Lastly, please pray that the plans of Israel's enemies will be absolutely frustrated and that all will see the mighty hand of God move to defend Israel, the apple of His eye!

BDS & Anti-Israel Sentiment
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream company's announcement in mid-July that it will not renew its contract with its Israeli licensee caused quite an uproar. This was not just in Israel, but also in many other countries, and in particular, the United States. The company's announcement resulted from intense pressure from anti-Israel and BDS supporters (Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions Movement) after Israel's recent military campaign against the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas. This is just another example of the concerning rise in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment that's happening throughout the world. These movements' attempt to delegitimize Israel are dangerous because at the core, they support the notion that Israel should not exist, which only fuels hatred of the Jewish people. Please pray that more and more people will take a firm stand against anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric and behavior! Please also pray that people will see the truth behind the BDS movement, which is really about the total destruction of Israel, and stand fiercely against it!


Moran & Family
Moran continues to enjoy being able to invest his time and energy into the staff as he is not traveling this summer. Moran continues to seek wisdom from the LORD about the ever-changing nature of the ministry in these times. He still faces challenging decisions regarding the tour operations, so please keep praying for wisdom, discernment, peace, and patience for him! Please also pray for his family, for health, patience, flexibility, and grace as they finish their summer vacation and prepare for going back to school.

HFI Board
Please pray for wisdom for the board as they continue to make important decisions that affect the future of the ministry. Please pray for protection over all of HFI’s board members and their families, that the LORD would shield them from illness and spiritual warfare. Please also pray for healing for several of the board members’ spouses from various diseases and for strength during these difficult health challenges.

HFI Staff
Please continue to pray for our new staff and their transition to a new workplace. Please pray for the staff who have small children at home, for a healthy mix of family and work time this month. Please also keep our staff and their families covered in prayer, especially for protection of their health.

U.S. Representative
Please pray for our U.S. representative, Bill Katz, for traveling mercies as he travels around the United States on behalf of HFI. Please pray for open hearts to receive the work of HFI, as well as doors to open at new congregations who are interested in partnering with HFI. Please pray for his family while he is away traveling, for protection, health, and peace.

Operation Hesed
Rosh Hashanah is only about one month away! We are beginning to raise funds for this special project that we initiate twice a year — Rosh Hashanah and Passover. This project helps us feed families of all sizes (many of them single parent families) for the special Rosh Hashanah holiday, the Jewish New Year. Due to the dire economic situation brought on by the pandemic, many families find themselves unable to put food on the table, let alone for the most festive holiday of the Jewish calendar. This initiative is very dear to our hearts and we are hoping it will be a successful effort for many. Please pray for an abundant outpouring of support for this specific project so that we, in turn, can bless many Israeli families this coming month.

NerYah Youth GroupRo'i and Emunah are our new coordinators and they are doing an amazing job! They continue to plan summer activities for the youth, and are busy planning for the coming academic year. Please continue to pray that the youth will be hungry for God's word, and continue to participate in meetings and ask questions. Please also continue to pray for Tigist, Emunah, & Ro'i, that they will receive wisdom, encouragement, and clear direction, and for unity among the team. Please pray for young adult volunteers to join the youth group leadership. Lastly, please continue to pray for health for the youth and protection from infection from the surging coronavirus.

Believing Soldiers Groups
We were excited to host our first in-person meeting for believing soldiers last month! This is such an important part of our work, so we are grateful for the opportunity. There are many youth from the NerYah group who are enlisting in the next few months. Please pray for our new young soldiers to enter this phase of their lives with confidence in the LORD and strength to withstand the challenges they will inevitably face. Please continue to pray for the believing soldiers with whom our team is working, for emotional and physical health, and for those newly released, for wisdom for their next steps. Pray that they will seek excellence in their service and be a strong witness of Yeshua to their peers, not just in word, but also in deed. Please also pray for more young adult volunteers to join in the coming year. Lastly, please continue to pray that the soldiers will be reminded that God is in control, and that He cares for them!

University Students
August and September are vacation periods for university students in Israel. They have completed final exams and submitted their term papers. Please continue to pray for the believing students who receive financial & mentorship support from us, that they would enjoy this time of rest. Please pray for Tigist as she leads this specific program and mentors the students in various areas. Please also pray for wisdom, patience, peace, and clear guidance as she also manages the staff who work with the students. Please pray for her as she plans next year's activities, that the workshops and meetings will be helpful and a blessing to the students. Lastly, please continue to pray for an abundant financial provision for us to continue to award scholarships that will impact Israel's believing students for years to come.

Beyond the Headlines Project
Over three years ago, we initiated a project advocating for Israel, its importance in the Middle East, and to show how Israel blesses the world through innovation. We were very active in responding to the plethora of lies and misinformation that circulated during this last war with Hamas. We also realized how crucial it is for people to know the facts of Israel's history, the complexity of the situation, and to help others answer those who spread lies about Israel. We are working on new videos and articles that advocate for Israel, while accurately portraying Israel's complex history, and declaring that God is NOT DONE WITH ISRAEL. This project is incredibly important in these times! Please pray for the entire process of writing, filming, editing, and distributing the videos. Please also pray for a fruitful distribution of the videos and a wide reception of them. Lastly, please pray for the necessary funds in order to keep this project going strong! You can find all our videos on our YouTube channel, as well as follow the Facebook page for this specific project.

Ministry Finances
We ask for prayer that God will continue to bless the ministry’s finances so that we can continue to pay our staff salaries, our bills, and most importantly, to bless as many people as possible, especially in this season of economic recovery from the pandemic. Please pray that, as much as possible, we will have a financial blessing to continue with our current projects to bless the people of Israel, and really help those in need in this season.

We are still hopeful to resume tour operations in the latter part of 2021, but things continue to change daily and it is very difficult to plan anything with any kind of certainty. Please join us in praying for wisdom for Moran as he continues to make tough decisions regarding the tour operations. Please pray for Judi & BJ for wisdom and flexibility in working with all those involved in rescheduling tours from 2020. There are still many details "up in the air" due to ever-changing local rules and global regulations, not only specific to sites in Israel, but also individual to the airlines, hotels and other players.

Thank you for joining us in prayer for these things! May the LORD bless you!

In His Service,

The Hope for Israel Prayer Team

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