Israel is finally on the cusp of swearing in its new government. Most of December the country has been embroiled in intense political debate as incoming PM Benjamin Netanyahu presides over coalition talks with the different right-wing parties whose leaders will hold ministerial positions in the new government. While many Israelis were hopeful that this election cycle would bring stability to the nation, so far it has done nothing but fuel controversy.
The rainy season seems to have begun now in earnest, bringing furious storms as far south as the Northern Negev and the first snow to the slopes of Mt. Hermon. Israel has already issued flash flood warnings and a spate of deadly car accidents occurred over the Christmas weekend due to severe weather conditions.
Operation Breaking Waves (an anti-terror operation in Judea & Samaria which began in March of 2022) continues, with frequent arrests and clashes between terror cells and IDF and security forces. The Shin Bet released information that they have uncovered a terror ring in Judea and Samaria which received direction and funding from Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas. This terror ring was planning to carry out a large-scale bombing attack soon, but they do not appear to be connected to the deadly double bombing that took place in Jerusalem at the end of November. Captured militants and handlers have been in questioning already for several weeks.
There is always much to be in prayer for, and we ask that you intercede on behalf of Israel and Hope for Israel this coming month.
PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR:
Netanyahu announced the third week of December that he has successfully formed a coalition government. While on the one hand this is a positive development, hopefully leading to more political stability in the country, many Israelis are concerned about religious right-wing extremism in the government, and December has been filled with fierce debate, not just between politicians, but also between Israelis, with some of the most central issues being judicial reform, the status of Judea and Samaria, minority rights, and amendments to the Law of Return. While there is certainly reason for concern, it is yet to be seen how many new laws will actually go into effect, and how they would impact day-to-day life.
Please continue to pray for:
- A smooth transition of power and the building of a stable government that prioritizes the safety and well-being of Israelis.
- Economic recovery following the pandemic, including provision for the thousands of Israelis who lost their jobs because of COVID.
- A national budget and economic policy to be approved that benefits Israelis and works to lower the cost of living and curb inflation.
- Continued social, religious, and judicial liberty.
Throughout the month of December, the IDF in conjunction with police and Shin Bet have conducted numerous raids on the homes of known or suspected terrorists in Judea and Samaria, making several arrests and confiscating illegal firearms.
As far-right parties take control of the Knesset and directorship of operations in the territories, many Israelis are concerned that extremist politicians will incite further violence by their out-spoken support of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.
Hamas, the terror organization based in Gaza, remains relatively quiet, but as always, this could change in a moment.
Israel remains concerned about Iran, who has announced its intent to proceed in enriching uranium to 60%, a clear violation of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran’s growing alliance with Russia is also concerning to Israel.
Please pray for:
- the Lord's wisdom for Israeli military officials to know when, if, and how to take military action.
- Discernment and tact for Israeli political leaders to prioritize the safety of Israeli civilians without compromising the belief that Israel’s heartland belongs to Israel’s people.
- A continued respite from terror attacks.
- Continued success for Israeli security forces in capturing terror cells and preventing further loss of life.
- Continued protection over Israel's security forces who protect God's Land and people every single day.
- Revival in the hearts of all Israel's enemies, that they would see they are fighting the God of Israel and come to know Him through Messiah Yeshua.
Israel on the International Stage
Israel’s controversial new government has led some of its allies including the US to publicly question the wisdom of Netanyahu’s alliances and even to state that that they would be unwilling to work directly with the more extreme new ministers such as Smotrich and Ben Gvir. While the advisability of appointing these right-wing firebrands to positions of power is arguable, the reality is that it is an internal Israeli issue. Additionally, it is critical to present a united front to Israel’s enemies, both those who attack at the UN and those who foster terror networks, especially at a time when Israel is still facing a possible criminal investigation at the Hague.
Please pray for:
- Cooperation between Israel and its allies, and the ability to focus on what unites rather than what divides.
- A firm American stance on Iran, which includes supporting Israel if it deems an attack on Iran necessary
- The collapse of the case against Israel at the UN, which has led in recent weeks to the proposal to open a file on Israeli “war crimes” at the Hague.
Israel’s rains seem to have started in earnest over Hannukah with heavy storms across central and northern Israel and snowfall on Mt. Hermon. This is good news for the Land, which needs rain! But it also poses seasonal hazards that Israel is never ready for.
Please pray for:
- An abundant rainy season.
- Cities to ready their drainage systems to avert flooding.
- Safety on the roads.
Safety for those travelling in the desert in the coming months.
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 enjoyed some time off with his family last month during the Hanukkah vacation. This month, he will welcome some tour groups to Israel! He will continue writing his weekly commentaries on the Scripture portions, as well as prepare for the HFI Experience Israel tour that arrives next month. He is overseeing some staff transitions in the Jerusalem office this month, as well as in the tour operation. Please pray for:
- Wisdom regarding all areas of the ministry, that he would receive clear direction in making important decisions.
- Sustenance & wisdom as he studies & writes his weekly Scripture commentaries.
- Health for him and his family in these winter months.
- Protection and peace over his family.
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.
- Bill Katz, our U.S. representative, for health & traveling mercies; for he and his family as they adjust after a big move; protection over his wife and daughter while he is traveling; 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 deeper connection that they are building with the youth. Thank you for your prayers!
Please pray for:
- One of the youth who drafted at the end of December to the IDF! Please pray that God would guide her and that she would be able to hold on to Him every step of the way as she faces new challenges in the army.
- The developing relationships between the youth and the Lord, that they would discover a new and deeper connection with Him this year.
- For the counselors and leaders, to have wisdom and insight in choosing topics of study and discussion that are relevant and engaging for the youth.
We recently had a successful and encouraging soldiers meeting, which many soldiers from all over the Jerusalem area attended. This helped give our staff direction on how best to support soldiers over the coming months and was a good opportunity to connect with and hear from the soldiers directly.
Please pray for:
- Continued guidance on how best to serve and support the believing soldiers.
- Wisdom to plan and implement monthly soldiers’ meetings.
- 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
Post-Military & University Students:
One of the services offered to released soldiers is personal counseling and career advice, and we recently had a successful meeting with a released soldier. We are thankful for the success of this project! In addition, we received this month a very encouraging testimony from a doctoral student thanking Moran and all the Hope for Israel Today staff for their support, both financial and emotional/spiritual.
Our new project matching university students receiving financial aid from the ministry to high school students who need tutoring is 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.
- That we would be able to bless more recently released soldiers through personal counseling.
- For building productive and cooperative relationships between the youth and the students that will help the project to benefit both parties.
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 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
- the two tours arriving in January, for safe travels and a life-changing experience for all involved!
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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