Pray with Us! – July 2024

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Shalom from Jerusalem,

Summer 2024 is projected to be the hottest summer recorded in the last century, according to researchers. It's undoubtedly hot here in Israel! With the heat of summer comes a two-month summer vacation for all school-aged children until school resumes September 1st; this year, sadly, it will be under the shadow of war.

Israeli families tend to travel during the summer months. While many will still brave traveling abroad, the truth is that it is not safe for Israelis in many places throughout the world. Not only has the sharp rise in antisemitism given way to threats of violence, but also anti-Israel sentiment threatens all who hold Israeli passports. People forget that Israel is a diverse country, with multiple ethnic groups calling Israel home. There have been multiple incidents of discrimination and physical violence against Israeli nationals in many countries around the world; Jews and Arabs alike have been victims of hostile discrimination in hotels, resorts, airports, and even at passport control where they’ve been accused of wanting to perpetrate “genocide” in the country they’re trying to enter.

Then there is the problem of thousands of families still living as refugees in hotel rooms throughout the country. Can you imagine what it would be like to share one hotel room with five or six family members for the better part of a year? So many families do not have the resources to flee the country, and even if they did, where would they go? It is a terribly difficult time for all Israel and most families are forced to choose between bad and worse.

There is an expectation that war with Lebanon is imminent and an intense fear of what that will look like. Many wonder how we will manage the thousands of rockets that Hezbollah will launch toward the cities of Israel. Also, Israel continues to face a difficult war against Hamas in Gaza, while 120 hostages still remain in captivity for almost 9 months now.

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 July.

PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR:

Summer Vacation
The next two months will be a very different summer vacation than we had all hoped for. No one could have foreseen that the war would continue for as long as it has. Summer vacation is always challenging but it will be more so this year, as parents juggle working while sending their children to day camp or leaving older kids at home, while worrying that they are safe from war. Many families travel during this time of year to get a break from the intensity of life in Israel. Sadly, many Israelis are fearful of traveling or simply do not have the resources to travel due to the costly war.
Please pray for:

  • An extra measure of grace and patience for parents during this time
  • Activities for children that will keep them safe and busy
  • Protection from depression and anxiety; many children are suffering from these due to the war
  • An overall safe summer for all families in Israel

"Swords of Iron" – A Multidimensional War
On July 9th, Israel will mark nine months since the beginning of the war. Israel has been fighting a war of attrition imposed upon it by Iranian-backed Hamas. The greatest disaster in the history of modern Israel left us no choice but to wage an all-out war against the terrorist organization. While the IDF's operations in the Gaza Strip are carried out with the utmost care to avoid harming innocent people, the countries of the world listen to the voices of the terrorist organizations and their supporters and condemn the State of Israel.

Gaza Strip
The war in Gaza continues to be complex and challenging, with widespread impacts on the security, political, and humanitarian situation in the region. The fighting is challenging and takes place under incredibly difficult conditions; the terrorists are entrenched in civilian areas - hospitals, schools, medical clinics, and densely populated neighborhoods. Many challenges still face the IDF in its goal to eradicate Hamas from controlling the Strip.

IDF divisions continue to dismantle Hamas infrastructure used for smuggling weapons and command centers. The goal is to dismantle the Hamas Rafah Brigade and eliminate its operatives to stop their attacks on Israel. These operations rely on precise intelligence. The IDF division in Rafah has neutralized over five hundred terrorists and gained control of the Philadelphi Route. Numerous launch pits, tunnel shafts, and weapons were found. Since the operation began, about a hundred shafts and two tunnels over a kilometer long have been destroyed by engineering forces. Many of these tunnels crossed into Egypt, revealing a smuggling route for weapons that Egypt has turned a blind eye to, at best, or has been actively participating in. Diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt are strained as a result of what Israel has discovered in Rafah.

Northern Israel
Hezbollah continues to escalate its attacks on Israel since October 7. In recent months, thousands of rockets, missiles, and drones have been launched at the State of Israel from Lebanon, a sovereign state that lacks the ability to restrain the terrorist organization Hezbollah, which has settled in southern Lebanon with the aim of annihilating Israel. Following the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah violated UN resolutions and has escalated the security situation in the region. Israel cannot stand idly by for much longer; the damage to property and loss of life cannot continue. Israel must do everything possible to restore stability and peace to the northern region.

Numerous soldiers have been killed or seriously wounded this past month because of deadly Hezbollah drone strikes. The drones somehow evade Israel’s detection system, and often attack without any warning. This is a serious situation that must be rectified immediately!

While Israel has the support of the United States regarding an intensified military campaign, this will be an undeniably painful war for Israel and for Lebanese civilians. We all pray for a diplomatic solution, but also know that it may not be realistic this time around.

Watch what Moran has to say about the situation in northern Israel here.

Please pray for:

  • The protection of IDF soldiers who are carrying out their duties in the field.
  • Refreshment for all of Israel’s soldiers and protection from mental, physical, & emotional exhaustion.
  • The security forces' leaders to continue to receive wisdom to win the war and eradicate terrorist activities, and to disarm terrorist groups.
  • Strength & hope for entire families who have lived in hotel rooms for nine months.
  • The political echelon to manage the war with prudence and wisdom.
  • The reserve soldiers, many of whom are now returning to another round of fighting and protecting their families.
  • Wisdom for IDF & Shin Bet (Secret Service) leaders as they plan how the war will move forward, especially as they fight a war against an enemy that hides among civilians, further complicating matters.
  • Protection against any additional missile and terror attack that may still occur anywhere in the country.

Hostages 
Over the past month, Israeli security forces, including the General Security Service, a special police unit, and the IDF, successfully rescued four abductees from the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza. The rescued were taken to a hospital, where they reunited with their families and received medical care for internal injuries, malnutrition, and severe psychological trauma.

The IDF and the General Security Service continue to work tirelessly to locate and rescue other abductees whose conditions and whereabouts remain unknown. The terrorist organization currently holds a one-year-old baby, a four-year-old child, numerous young women, and both young and older men. Despite efforts and negotiations proposed by Israel and U.S. President Biden, progress remains stalled since Hamas continues to reject all the deal proposals put before it.

Please pray for:

  • Please pray for the immediate release of all captives in Gaza!  May they receive God’s strength to survive until their release.
  • Please pray for the families who are suffering from the absence of their loved ones that they may receive strength to continue the struggle and find comfort and peace.
  • The IDF will receive additional and high-quality intelligence on the location of the remain hostages.
  • Please pray for the men, women, and children who have been released from captivity for deep healing from the trauma they have experienced.

UN vs. Israel
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has added the State of Israel to the blacklist of countries and organizations that harm children in conflict zones. The State of Israel, whose army carefully plans its operations to avoid harming innocent civilians and, indeed, children, has been unjustly included in the blacklist along with terrorist organizations such as ISIS, the Taliban, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. In response to this despicable act, the Israeli ambassador stated that the distorted report will only cause more significant harm to children around the world, as it legitimizes terrorists to use children and teenagers for their terrorist purposes. The ambassador called for the UN Secretary-General to resign and labeled the decision to include Israel in the blacklist as anti-Semitic.
Please pray for:

  • Israel’s ability to better present what we are doing to facilitate humanitarian aid for Gaza and to be more successful in explaining to the world about our purposes in fighting this war.
  • Please pray that the UN Secretary-General will reconsider his puzzling decision and remove Israel from the blacklist.

Surge in Antisemitism
There is a sharp increase in the hatred of Jews all around the world. In the middle of June, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko made an anti-Semitic remark during a government meeting, suggesting a link between Jews and theft in a corruption scandal involving his former aide. He stated over half the people involved were Jews and questioned if they had "special rights" to steal. This statement aired on state TV but was omitted from the presidential website press release. Lukashenko has a history of anti-Semitic comments, previously claiming Jews turned a city into a "pigsty" and that the world bows to Jews after the Holocaust.

In another case Maccabi Haifa, an Israeli football team, announced that they had received permission to play at the LKS Stadium in Łódź, Poland with the help of the Football Association. However, the Polish club denied claims that the Israeli team had been granted authorization to use their facilities. This led to a backlash from the Polish public, with some making anti-Semitic remarks such as: "We don't want Jews in Łódź" and "They should take their Jewish money elsewhere. Why host Jews where they are not wanted?"

A 12-year-old Jewish girl was allegedly raped by three boys aged 12-14 in Paris. The attack appeared motivated by antisemitism, as the boys reportedly beat her while shouting antisemitic slurs about her religion before raping her. Evidence found on one suspect's phone included antisemitic content and a burnt Israeli flag. The girl's ex-boyfriend had accused her of concealing her Jewish identity from him. One of the boys claimed the girl spoke against Palestinians. The three face charges of aggravated rape, sexual assault, and potentially making death threats
Please pray for:

  • Protection for Jews around the world.
  • Protection from radical Islam that seeks to influence public opinion in Western countries, especially on university campuses.
  • Wisdom for the leaders of nations to find ways to prevent antisemitism in their countries.
  • Students and young people in the U.S. to open their eyes to the actual situation in Israel.

    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!

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

    He also continues to oversee the ministry's Israel advocacy & information project, as people must receive reliable information from Israel. His personal social media platforms continue to be bombarded with hatred and anti-Israel propaganda attacks, which can be exhausting to confront.
    Moran will be traveling to the US this month (unless war breaks out). He will be speaking at various venues about the war in Israel and hold a board meeting with the ministry’s board.
    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 or he and his family 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:

    • Wisdom & prayerful guidance for the board before they convene for the annual board meeting this month.
    • For a blessed & fruitful board meeting.
    • 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 U.S. representative, Bill Katz, drives and flies thousands of miles weekly to speak on behalf of Hope for Israel, for health & traveling mercies, for 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 antisemitism continues to grow throughout the world.

    Threefold Vision for Empowering the Future Generation of Believers

    NerYah
    Last month, we held an end-of-year party. We had a great time together and saw many friends who had difficulty attending meetings this year. It was very exciting for all of us, and the youth are now looking forward to next school year.

    We have come to the end of a year full of changes, but the youth are feeling very proud of themselves for how they navigated through the year. We will host numerous activities throughout the summer and hope the war will not keep us from gathering together.
    Please pray for:

    • Summer activities - that we can be accessible and available to the youth during the vacation and know how to prepare suitable activities.
    • Additional coordinator—We would appreciate prayers that the Lord will send a coordinator who has a heart for the youth and wants to serve and guide the youth.
    • More young adult volunteers to assist leading the youth group meetings
    • We would appreciate prayers for Roi, the NerYah Manager, for physical and mental protection during his reserve duty service.

    Believing Soldiers
    This past month, we started a new project in which we asked believing soldiers to send us videos from the field in which they encourage each other. The soldiers were excited to participate in this effort and were really encouraged by it because they felt a connection and empathy with the soldiers who sent the videos. It “hit the mark” and was precisely what they needed.
    Please pray for:

    • Male and female counselors who see the significance of this service and are willing invest their time in it.
    • All the soldiers, those in the rear and on the front lines, during this challenging period during the war. The security threat is very high and they need many prayers and peace.
    • Wisdom and guidance in encouraging the soldiers and giving them what they need.
    • The mental state of the soldiers, some of whom are reaching burnout and are significantly challenged and struggling to find joy and draw closer to God.
    • The monthly meetings - that the soldiers will come and that it will be a blessed time.

    Students, Released Soldiers, and Reservists:
    The university students are now finishing the second semester and entering the exam period. In June, we opened registration for applications for tuition scholarships and living stipends for the next academic year. This month, we will also hold the fourth and final training meeting for this year, where we will summarize the current year that has ended as well.
    Please pray for:

    • Training meeting #4, that the students will enjoy and be blessed with an enriching and instructive time and make good connections with their fellow students.
    • For the exam period to pass peacefully and successfully
    • For more ideas for meetings that can refresh our reservists and students.

    HFI Media Projects
    During a period when Israel is fighting not only a physical war but also diplomatic and public pressures and fake news, we see our work in the media as doubly important! Thank you for your continued support of our work in this area and your continued prayers! If you aren’t already receiving our regular updates about the war and the ministry, you can subscribe here.

    We are still in great need of a suitable candidate to be a content writer. Staffing changes during this time of war are incredibly challenging, and we would appreciate your prayers that the right individuals will join our team! Inquiries and resumes can be sent to info@hope4israel.org (we will also consider candidates who live outside of Israel and can work as freelancers)
    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 & exciting 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 September 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. 
    We have opened registration for our ISRAEL SOLIDARITY TOUR in September! Please email info@hope4israel.org for more information. Please pray for:

    • Continued wisdom for Moran & Melissa as they face challenging decisions regarding the tour operations in light of the current war.
    • Open doors for "Footsteps of the Apostle Paul" tours to other countries of the Mediterranean region (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, etc.)
    • A full Solidarity Tour in September!

    Ministry Finances
    God has faithfully provided 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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