Prayer Letter — June 2020

This past month, we celebrated the reunification of Israel’s eternal capital now fully 53 years since the Six Day War. We also celebrated Shavuot (also known as Pentecost), a day that tradition says the people of Israel received the Torah and a day that we as believers remember the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit some 2,000 years ago. As we enter the month of June, we are thankful for God’s continued faithfulness to Israel and praying for breakthrough in some key areas.


Coronavirus Infections Rebounding
The last week of May, there was a surge in Coronavirus infections in Israel. This was, in part, due to complacency in adhering to the Ministry of Health's guidelines regarding wearing masks and maintaining social distancing as the lockdown restrictions were loosened in mid-May. In many areas throughout the country, people can be seen gathering without masks and are not keeping the recommended 2-meter distance between them. Children also returned to schools in mid-May and we are seeing a rise in infections among middle school and high school aged youth. Other than the obvious health risks associated with the virus, this surge in infections could also potentially push back the date that Israel will reopen its borders to visitors from abroad. This will have very difficult consequences for our already struggling economy, as tourism makes up a large percentage of Israel's economy. Please pray for protection from further infection by the Coronavirus. Please also pray that people in Israel will see the value in adhering to the Health Ministry's guidelines, and consider others above self during these times. Lastly, please pray for complete healing for all who have been infected with the virus in the last month, especially those who have underlying health conditions. 

Partnerships Abroad
As we press on in light of new realities created by the Coronavirus, one thing that will prove especially critical in restoring economies is effective networking. Israel’s tech industry is proving especially promising in helping to build relationships between Israel and other nations as a number of Israeli tech developers are working to combat the Coronavirus. Partnerships with the US are the most prominent at present with Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arizona joining alongside New York and California in increasingly fruitful partnerships that will play a key role in boosting Israel’s economy while spreading Israeli innovation that will assist in combatting the Coronavirus. Pray with us for all efforts in the international community to be a blessing to Israel. Pray also with us for God’s blessing on those partnering with Israel during these times.

Annexation of the Jordan Valley
PM Netanyahu has promised to annex the Jordan Valley and parts of Judea & Samaria, where Jewish settlements are currently located. The deadline for this to happen is July 1st. The Palestinian Authority has already threatened a third intifada (violent uprising) if this goes forward, but despite that, there is strong support for it in the Israeli governing body. Israelis are mixed about this, and many fear that there hasn't been enough time to adequately prepare for the possible fallout from such a move. The international body - except for the Trump administration - has strongly condemned the proposed annexation, and moving forward with it will likely jeopardize Israel's relationship with many foreign countries. Please pray for wisdom for Israel's leaders and military as they prepare for this potential historical move. Please also pray for protection over Israeli soldiers and civilians from terror attacks that will inevitably result from such a move.

According to the health ministry in Israel, there are about 1,900 homeless people, living in the streets who are receiving some level of assistance from the government in their time of need and about 400 other homeless people who could receive help but who have refused help from the government and depend wholly on the kindness of strangers. An additional 23,000 homeless people in Israel don’t meet the criteria for receiving any government assistance. During this time, there are fewer people than usual who are caring for those who fall between the cracks. Some of the homeless of Israel not only go without eating for days, but also go without water for an entire day or more. Furthermore, the homeless of Israel rely on nonprofits to assist them in finding shelter and rehabilitation from trauma and drug use and the minimal assistance from the government puts much of the weight of this effort on the nonprofits. The social services ministry does normally direct homeless people to any available assistance from nonprofits if they are open to it, but since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Israel, this service has been temporarily suspended leaving many to fend for themselves or rely on kind strangers to help them find shelter at this critical time. Additionally, many of the homeless of Israel have compromised immune systems which further puts them at risk at this time. One final issue is that the hit to Israel’s economy is likely to be followed by an increase of homelessness in Israel. Pray with us for God’s protection over all who are struggling at this time in Israel to find food, water, and shelter. Pray with us especially for the most vulnerable populations to not only receive the essential things they need and protection from the virus, but also a revelation of God’s heart for them and the strength to enter into new life through our Messiah.

Corruption Trials
This past month marked the first time in the history of Israel that a standing political leader in Israel has had to face trial. Other famous trials in history took place after a leader stepped down from his position, but as Israel’s current prime minister continues to maintain his innocence, he has insisted on maintaining his role as prime minister even as trials proceed. In last month’s hour-long proceeding, Netanyahu’s defense lawyer, Micha Fetman, requested time to go over things since he has only just recently joined the defense. Proceedings are expected to resume on July 19th, but it could be still months before the actual prosecution “opens”. In Israel, even a politician found guilty of corruption could spend years in legal appeals before ever having to officially serve time or pay the price for their crimes (as was the case with Ehud Olmert, a previous prime minister of Israel, who went on trial in 2009 but only served time in 2016). We pray that as Israel continues to pursue freedom and democracy, that corruption will have no place in the government. Pray with us that those who have abused their power will be stopped from doing so again. Pray that laws will be put in place to prevent any further abuses of power. Pray also for those who are being targeted with accusations of corruption if they are actually innocent. Pray also for Netanyahu specifically as he faces his accusers in coming months. If he is guilty, we pray that he will be convicted and fairly tried for his crimes. If he is innocent, we pray that his name would be cleared.


Moran & Family
Moran and the staff have returned to the office full-time while continuing to be mindful of the "new" reality of the Coronavirus. Moran is grateful that he has the time to commit to pour into the staff, especially the new staff that have joined us since the lockdown lifted. He continues to study, write, and prepare teachings, while enjoying the slower pace of post-quarantine life and being able to meet with people throughout the country. His wife and children are also enjoying the slower pace of post-quarantine life. The children finish the school year this month, and then enter the summer vacation period of July & August. This will be a very different summer than what their family has been used to as it will be the first summer in many years that they are not traveling to the States. Melissa will be finishing up her MA program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is a bittersweet prospect for her. She's enjoyed her studies so much, but will also be grateful for more time for family and ministry. Please pray for wisdom, patience, clarity, and discernment for Moran as he continues to face challenging decisions with the new reality of the ministry. Please also pray for a season of rest and refreshment for him during this slower time. Lastly, please pray for Moran's family's physical protection, for their health, and for wisdom as they seek what to be busy with and how to bless others during this time.

HFI Board
Please pray 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
Our staff is back in the office full time! Please pray for our staff's health and protection from infection. Please pray for our staff as we continue to adjust to “normal” and also during restructuring within the ministry. Please also keep our staff and their families covered in prayer, especially as we continue to face the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel.

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 where so many people in Israel have lost their jobs and businesses. Please pray that, as much as possible, we will have a financial blessing to continue with our current projects that have such an impact on the people of Israel!

NerYah Youth Group
Even though restrictions have been lifted, there are still limits on how many people can gather at one time. They must also wear masks. We have not yet felt released to have the youth group meet in person, so for now, they continue to meet every Thursday evening virtually. This is tough, especially since the kids really miss the in-person fellowship, but they still enjoy worship, teaching, and time for everyone to share how they're coping with the challenges. Zechariah, Efrat, and the other adult volunteers have each taken a small group of youth under their wings and are conducting weekly zoom bible studies until the end of June. Helen joined the staff of NerYah this month and she's already making such a wonderful contribution to the youth! At the end of June, Zechariah will leave to pursue his undergraduate studies, so please pray for him as we send him off with a blessing! Please pray for Efrat, Helen, Rachel, Gabriel, and Hodaya as they reach out to the youth in the Jerusalem area, and that they will receive wisdom, encouragement, and clear direction in this time.

Soldiers’ & Lone Soldiers' Groups
In late May, Efrat, Judi, Rachel, Helen, & Zechariah organized 51 care packages to hand deliver to believing soldiers (and lone soldiers) in the Jerusalem area for the Shavuot holiday. It's really so heartwarming to see the smiles of these special young people when they receive their packages. Efrat & Judi continue to encourage the soldiers via text messages, hosting zoom meetings, and providing practical tips to pass this time spiritually & mentally! Please continue to pray especially for the believing soldiers with whom Efrat and Judi are working, to encourage them and pray with them from a distance at this time. Please also pray that our outreach to them will be a constant encouragement and reminder that God is in control, and that He cares for them!

University Students
The semester finishes at the end of this month, and universities continue to operate mostly online. There are some exceptions to this, but most large lecture classes are still meeting virtually. The students are receiving constant encouragement and practical tips in how to manage all their various responsibilities from Tigist, the coordinator of this aspect of our Threefold Vision. She is in constant touch with the students, online and via the phone, sending encouraging words, praying with them, and providing tools to sustain this challenging time. Please pray for the students, for their successful studies this last semester of the academic year, and for Tigist, for wisdom, strength, guidance, and encouragement! Please pray for significant financial provision for scholarship funds that we can award in the coming academic year; we are already beginning to raise funds for this specific project.

Foundations of the Faith Book
Please continue to pray that every copy of this discipleship resource will have a personal impact on those who read it and draw many into an increasingly deeper relationship with God! Please pray for a wider distribution of the book, that it will reach many people and that they will be strengthened and challenged. We have the book printed in Hebrew, English, Russian, & Spanish.

“Israel Beyond the Headlines” Video Project
This project highlights the incredible ways Israel blesses the world (click here to check it out). We produce short videos highlighting Israeli organizations & innovations that make a positive difference in our lives every single day. This project also advocates for Israel, which is an important part of our call as the Body of Messiah throughout the world. But of course, this is also a threat to the enemy and we have experienced some warfare in this area. Please pray for us as we continue to produce powerful & effective videos, and for all involved in this project: Lior, Moran, Nate, Elad, & Melissa. Please pray for His protection over us all and that He will bless our efforts to advocate for Israel, the apple of His eye. Please also pray that the Lord will provide the necessary funding to continue with this important project.

Our tours have all either been cancelled or rescheduled for later this year because of the pandemic. Please join us in praying for wisdom for Moran as he faces some tough decisions regarding the tour operations. Hope for Israel’s tours generate income for the ministry, which goes to cover our overhead, thus allowing a higher percentage of donations to go to our projects (click here to learn more). Pray for peace, wisdom, and unity among the leadership team of the tours as they continue to face tough challenges in light of the pandemic.

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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