Prayer Letter – December 2023

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Dear Prayer Partners,

At this time of year over two thousand years ago, Jewish forces in Israel fought for their independence and freedom of worship against overwhelming forces arrayed against them. By God’s provision, they won that war, and today, Jewish people all over the world celebrate the eight-day holiday of Hannukah by lighting candles in recognition of this victory.

There are many parallels between the story of Hannukah and the current war, where Israel is fighting not only against Hamas but also against diplomatic pressure, hatred, ignorance and overwhelming indifference. Yet like in the story of Hannukah, we know that ultimately the forces of evil cannot triumph against God’s people and His plan. Even in the darkest of times, light can shine forth.

When you join us in prayer for Israel, you are fighting God’s fight with His people and helping to shine His light.

PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR:

“Swords of Iron” – Civilians

Given that the war has now resumed, the Israeli civilian population will once again be under rocket fire from Hamas. This of course injures and kills Israelis, and also inflicts significant psychological pressure on the general population. It also limits the extent to which Israelis can conduct normal daily routines, such as going to work and school.

Under the ceasefire, Hamas released 113 hostages, including Israelis and those with foreign citizenship. 137 people remain in captivity, including a baby. For those who were released, their process of recovery is just beginning.

The family members of several hostages have shared some of their loved ones’ experiences, which include starvation, beatings, and being forced to watch footage of Hamas’ atrocities. One little girl will not speak above a whisper due to enforced silence during her captivity.

Five Israelis, a soldier and four civilians, have also been murdered in two cold-blooded terror attacks this month and around fifteen more wounded. Sadly, one of the Israelis was killed by friendly fire. Their families join the growing list of those who have tragically lost loved ones due to Hamas’ brutality.

Additionally, tens of thousands of Israelis are still on unpaid leave, worsening the financial situation on the home front.

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” – Isaiah 61:1

Please pray for:

  • The release of ALL the hostages held by Hamas.
  • The physical and emotional recovery of the released hostages.
  • Stability and endurance for Israel’s economy
  • Displaced Israelis as they deal with a wide range of challenges from PTSD to financial instability.
  • Those suffering from PTSD, either from the October 7th massacre and current conflict or from Israel’s previous wars.
  • Comfort for the families of Israel's fallen and hope for those whose loved ones are among those taken hostage by Hamas.

“Swords of Iron” – Soldiers and Security

Israel’s soldiers and their families have paid a heavy price during this war. 395 soldiers have tragically fallen in defense of their homeland since the beginning of the war, as well as over 50 police officers. Each of these men and women has a family and a story. Many were reservists, who left behind wives and children.

Hundreds of soldiers have also been wounded in the fighting, some seriously. Hundreds more are dealing with extreme PTSD from the fighting. These young men also gave their lives for their country, although in a different sense, and have long months and years of recovery ahead of them.

Winter is also beginning in Israel and this is a hard time for soldiers in the field, who must deal with wet gear, rations and sleeping bags; mud; and compromised fighting conditions in addition to the cold.

“A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” – Psalm 91:7

“They who wait for the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar up with wings as eagles.” – Isaiah 40:31

Please pray for:

  • Protection over Israel's security forces in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, as well as on Israel’s northern and southern fronts.
  • Practical encouragement and provision for tired, hungry and wet soldiers.
  • The success of Israel’s current military objectives in Gaza and beyond
  • Healing for injured soldiers and soldiers suffering from PTSD
  • For Iran, Hizballah and the Houthis to stay outside the conflict and for stability and calm in Judea and Samaria
  • A long-term solution to terrorism in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and Lebanon
  • Revival in Iran and in all the Middle East, that people would come to know the God of Israel!

“Swords of Iron” – Leaders and Government

Israel currently has a unity government composed of members of the former coalition and former opposition. On the one hand this presents a unified front and gives the government more power to act regarding the war. On the other hand, there are still serious disagreements between various members of the Knesset. Military leaders also face a reality filled with difficult decisions.

Please pray for:

  • Wisdom for Israel’s military and political leaders during this complex and difficult time.
  • Unity within the government.

The International Front of “Swords of Iron”

Israel continues to face significant international pressures as well as skepticism and misinformation. For example, the Prime Minister of Ireland recently wrote that one of the released hostages – a nine-year-old girl – was “lost” in Gaza without mentioning Hamas or the fact that she had been kidnapped. The Red Cross also apparently ignored the hostages’ continued captivity in Gaza almost until their release while putting significant pressure on Israel regarding Gazan civilians.

However, there are many who continue to stand for Israel, including the leaders of the US, Great Britain, France, and Germany as well as hundreds of thousands of ordinary people. Notably, Jewish-American actress Amy Schumer has also steadfastly supported Israel since October 7th.

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

The speed and intensity with which anti-Semitism has gained steam since October 7th is frightening.

This month, Spain appointed an openly pro-Hamas minister of “Children and Youth Affairs” in Spain. The appointee has also accused Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza. The fact that these views are now considered mainstream enough that someone who openly expresses them can be appointed to a prominent government position is extremely concerning.

Additionally, incidents of anti-Semitism on college campuses and of violent anti-Semitic pro-Palestinian protests also continue to multiply all over the world. Numerous lawsuits have recently been filed against universities for enabling anti-Semitic atmospheres on campus.

Please pray for:

  • For protection over Israelis and Jews throughout the world
  • For peoples’ eyes to be opened to the real and serious threat posed by anti-Semitism
  • For a wave of Aliyah to Israel in the face of growing anti-Semitism
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 is busy each day in the field, overseeing the evacuation of over 150 men, women, & children from the north & south; ensuring that the evacuated families have what they need; visiting 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. Various social media outlets have been blocking Moran’s video posts and are threatening to permanently close his account.

Please continue to pray for:

  • Wisdom regarding the various aspects of the ministry that he oversees.
  • Strength, wisdom, protection & health during this intense time of war.
  • 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

Please pray for:

  • Wisdom for the staff as they continue this year’s program.
  • Unity in the hearts of the team

NerYah Youth Group:
Over the last month, we’ve had several believing teens come to NerYah from southern Israel where Hamas’ rocket attacks are felt most acutely. They have told us how much NerYah means to them during this challenging time and also how much it helps them to spend time with believers in general. We have also gone back to meeting in person with an unlimited number of youth and we have seen how much this has encouraged the believing youth.

We have also seen several volunteer counselors join our leadership team for NerYah which is a real answer to prayer!

Please pray for/that:

  • Wisdom for the leadership staff in knowing how to support the youth through the war and its accompanying challenges and fears.
  • Protection over the believing youth who must return home at night in public transport after NerYah.
  • Protection over one of our youth coordinators, Ro’i, who is currently serving in IDF reserve duty.

Believing Soldiers:
We have started distributing Hannukah care packages to the believing soldiers. One told us after receiving the package: “Wow this was exactly what I needed! You hit the nail on the head. Thank you!”

Additionally, we invited two soldiers to the office for cake and coffee this month, one of whom has lost several friends in the war and a second who is a combat fighter in southern Israel. They didn’t want to leave and thanked us for encouraging them during this time.

Please pray for:

  • Protection over all our soldiers, especially those on the front lines but also those who work in support positions, as well as peace. Please pray that God would touch them during this time and give them strength and comfort.
  • For leaders, male and female, who truly care and believe in the importance of investing in soldiers during their service.
  • That the soldiers, each of whom has their own struggles and challenges during their service in general, and even more so now, would know that we are here for them.

Post-Military & University Students:
We have been able to donate gear and food to many of our students who are still serving in IDF reserve duty! Those who are not serving are also appreciative of the practical and emotional support we continue to provide them during this difficult time, which includes grocery shopping, rides, and more!

For students, please pray for:

  • Protection over all of those who were called up to reserve duty.
  • A smooth return to university for the students who are beginning this month and for direction for the released soldiers who are looking for work.
  • For the families where husbands/fathers were called to reserve duty leaving a wife and children at home.
  • For the war to end and for peace in Israel.

For released soldiers please pray for:

  • God’s peace and protection during this difficult time.
  • Protection over all those who are serving in Israel’s reserves right now.
  • Wisdom for us as we call them to offer encouragement and for openness with us from the side of the soldiers.

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!

We have also dealt this month with numerous attacks on our content and platforms. These include an incident where pro-Palestinian hackers took down our website and more recently, an administrative threat to delete Moran’s personal Instagram account for not “complying” with community guidelines. Facebook has also significantly limited our post visibility, meaning that fewer people are exposed to the truth!

Please pray for:

  • A new social media manager.
  • 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 to offer fact-based and  Scripture-based answers to those who oppose Israel; that God would use our content to change peoples’ hearts and minds!
  • A video crew that we can work with in Israel 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.
  • Insight and efficiency in updating our website and messaging; that 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. Sadly, due to the war, all our groups through January have either canceled or rescheduled for later in 2024, leaving the tour operation without any income for the foreseeable future. This has been a very challenging logistical operation, and at times stressful.

Please continue to pray for:

  • wisdom for Moran & Melissa as they face challenging decisions regarding the tour operations in light of the current war.
  • the 2024 EXPERIENCE ISRAEL TOUR – for wisdom regarding the timing of the tour and patience for all involved in planning the tour.
  • For God to place it on peoples’ hearts to book a tour of Israel even during war.

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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