The month of January was filled with continued political turmoil and controversy, as a new government took the helm. The issues at stake include judicial reform, immigration law, and the criminal records of government officials. The proposed judicial reform specifically has galvanized nation-wide protests involving hundreds of thousands of Israelis.
On the international stage, Israel continues to face attack and slander. The UN voted at the end of December to request an advisory opinion on the legality of Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria. Israel responded by sanctioning the Palestinian Authority and received international condemnation for this step.
Three lone-wolf terror attacks occurred, in which seven innocent civilians were murdered and six more moderately to seriously injured. One of the attacks, which occurred outside a synagogue after Shabbat prayers, was the deadliest single attack that Israel has seen in ten years. Israel’s borders to the north and with Gaza remain quiet; the IDF continues nightly arrests of suspected terrorists in Judea and Samaria.
January also saw the transfer of power from IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, who has led the Israeli military for the last four years to incoming Chief of Staff Hertzi HaLevi. HaLevi will face numerous challenges during his term in the top command including the growing threat posed by Iran and its proxies, continued guerilla warfare with Palestinian militants, and internal change in the IDF itself.
It has been a very dramatic month, and as always, there is much to be in prayer for. We ask that you intercede on behalf of Israel and Hope for Israel throughout the month of February.
PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR:
Throughout the month of January, Israelis got a taste of the new government’s priorities and policy proposals. Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich froze millions designated for the Palestinian Authority in response to their appeal to the ICJ, triggering international ire. Much of this cash was re-allocated as reparations to the families of terror victims.
Justice Minister Yariv Levin proposed massive changes to the Israeli court system, including allowing a Knesset majority to override Supreme Court rulings. This proposed legislation has been met by massive blowback from the Israeli public, resulting in continued protests in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and a few other cities.
Another issue in the spotlight is the high court’s ruling on the legality of Aryeh Deri holding ministerial positions in the government. Deri has twice been convicted of tax-related crimes, and the court ruled the last week of January that he is unfit for office. This will likely have political consequences but it is unclear what they will be.
Please continue to pray for:
- Respect for the rule of law from all sides of the political aisle.
- National unity in the face of many divisive issues.
- Economic recovery following the pandemic, including provision for the thousands of Israelis who lost their jobs because of COVID, and a lowered cost of living.
- Continued social, religious, and judicial liberty.
The IDF continued its nightly raids in conjunction with police and Shin Bet on the homes of known or suspected terrorists in Judea and Samaria, making dozens of arrests and confiscating illegal firearms.
Leadership of the IDF changed hands towards the end of January. New Chief of Staff Hertzi haLevi drafted nearly forty years ago to the paratroopers, and he was nominated for the position by previous prime minister Yair Lapid in September.
The last Shabbat of the month was rocked by two consecutive but unconnected shootings in Jerusalem, one of which killed seven civilians, making it the deadliest attack Israel has seen in a decade. An additional six people were injured collectively, some severely. Both terrorists were shot by bystanders with sidearms. These tragic attacks follow another incident earlier in the month where a lone wolf terrorist stabbed a Samarian Jewish rancher. None of the attacks seem to be connected directly to Hamas, but they emphasize a concerning increase in illegal arms trading in Judea and Samaria.
In connection to Iran: in an anonymous media tip January 29, a US official linked an unidentified drone strike on Iranian weapons facilities to the Mossad. Israel has not commented, and the purpose of the attack is unclear. Although Iran’s state media reported initially that all three drones involved in the strike were destroyed and that no casualties or serious damage resulted, more recent reports show that this is most likely a pretense. The attack, coming just days after a major joint drill between the US and Israel, sends a message to Tehran not to test the two nations.
Please pray for:
- Comfort and healing to the bereaved and the injured.
- A de-escalation of the tense security situation.
- Accurate military intelligence on terror cells in Judea and Samaria and on weapons trading.
- Protection and alertness for Israel's security forces as they seek to execute justice through arrests, arms seizures, and day-to-day guarding duties.
- A smooth transition of military leadership.
- Continued wisdom for Israeli leadership in facing the Iranian threat.
Israel on the International Stage
Israel has been the object of UN condemnations four times since the end of December. It has also received individual criticism from even its closest allies. National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount at the beginning of January garnered a public rebuke from the White House.
Additionally, in January the UN voted to request an advisory opinion on Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, a move to which Israel responded by placing heavy sanctions on the Palestinian Authority. These sanctions also provoked international censure, with over 90 countries condemning the reprisal.
Please pray for:
- Wisdom on the behalf of Israeli leaders and diplomats to negotiate between Israel’s domestic and international interests.
- Cooperation between Israel and its allies, and the ability to focus on what unites rather than what divides, including unity and cooperation against Iranian terror.
- For an accurate and unbiased legal assessment of the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria by the Hague commission.
January has been an exceptionally dry month in comparison with last year’s heavy rainfall. Since Israel is still largely reliant on rainfall for its fresh water supply, a sunny winter means droughts in the summer, and all the attendant risks.
Please pray for:
- A renewal of rainfall.
- Safety on the roads.
HFI Prayer requests:
We continue to prayerfully seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance to implement a renewed vision. Please join us in praying for:
Moran has a very busy month ahead. He will be splitting his time between the office and teaching in the field. He is looking forward to welcoming three groups this month, including the HFI “Experience Israel” Tour that arrives February 26th! As the ministry’s flagship tour, Moran will be teaching and leading the tour full-time, which requires health, strength, and wisdom. Please pray for:
- wisdom regarding all areas of the ministry, that he would receive clear direction in making important decisions.
- sustenance for studying & writing his weekly Scripture commentaries.
- A renewed anointing over him as he prepares teachings for the Experience Israel Tour.
- health & adequate rest during this busy season.
- protection, peace,& health for his family while he is away.
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.
- Sapir who is returning from maternity leave and will be entering a managerial role, that she will have a smooth transition and feel supported in her new role.
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.
- More volunteer counselors for this year’s program.
NerYah Youth Group:
The weekly meetings continue to see many youth from all over the Jerusalem area! As the year progresses, the leaders are encouraged by the way that they are able to support the youth and build mutual trust. We have received multiple testimonies from youth about the importance of NerYah in their lives, including from one teen who lives over an hour away by bus, and yet continues to come to NerYah meetings.
Please pray for:
- The forging of a deeper team spirit among our high school juniors and seniors.
- New strength and motivation for our counselors and leaders.
- The continued building of the youth’s personal relationships with the Lord.
- Guidance and peace for our older youth as they prepare for the army.
We held a meeting for newly released soldiers at the end of January, whose aim was to help them process their service and also prepare for the next stage in their lives. We emphasized that we will continue to provide support for them, even though they have now finished their army service.
We are blessed by a wonderful team behind our soldier program. They have a heart to support the soldiers and have invested a lot of thought and time into them this year.
Please pray for:
- Continued guidance on how best to serve and support the believing soldiers, especially to plan meetings that are relevant and exciting for them.
- Spiritual protection over the faith of believing soldiers, as well as physical protection for soldiers serving in combat units or in contentious parts of the country.
- For believing soldiers to have courage in their identity.
- That God will encourage the soldiers and speak to them even while they are at the base detached from any believing framework.
- A strengthening of the relationship between the soldiers and the leaders.
Post-Military & University Students
We were encouraged by two successful meetings that we sponsored this month for post-military young adults, one for recently released soldiers beginning their new life, and the second, a soft skills workshop led by Tigist for our students. Both meetings were productive, pleasant, and well-received.
Our new project matching university students receiving financial aid from the ministry to high school students who need tutoring is still largely going well! We are excited for this new project and its potential to benefit Israeli youth and strengthen ties between different age groups of young Israeli believers.
Please pray for:
- The tutoring program to continue to grow and be able to impact more youth!
- Strength and endurance for the university students as they enter the end of semester grind of exams.
- Wisdom for our team as they continue to provide counseling and career advice to newly released soldiers, many of whom are overwhelmed and confused by the new stage in their life and the new challenges and responsibilities it poses.
HFI Media Projects
Our various media projects keep people connected to HFI and help educate people about Israel's spiritual and historical significance. In a day and age where many people oppose Israel, we see advocating for both Israel and what the Word of God says about Israel as top priorities. Please pray for:
- wisdom for Elad, Sarah, Moran, Nate, Lior, & Melissa as they seek to produce innovative and creative material for social media and the website.
- increased engagement with our target audience on various social media platforms.
- increased engagement & greater exposure for videos, especially our "Beyond the Headlines" project.
- 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 spiritual development.
- updating our website and messaging.
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. Please pray for:
- wisdom for Moran as he continues to make challenging decisions regarding the tour operations.
- BJ & Beverly for wisdom, flexibility, and patience as they handle the complex coordination of these tours from the USA.
- a successful and meaningful experience for all who join the Experience Israel Tour at the end of the month.
- a strong candidate to fill the position of Tour Coordinator in our Israel office.
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!
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