Last month was incredibly difficult for Israel. After a long year of multiple lockdowns due to the Coronavirus, Israel was left with no choice but to enter a military conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It was a terribly tense situation, and tragically, civilians in both Israel and Gaza died due to the fighting. The Muslim month of Ramadan saw numerous violent clashes, mainly in East Jerusalem and the Old City of Jerusalem. Then, Hamas fired rockets towards Jerusalem, which began the military conflict. Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment has risen sharply in the past few weeks; Jewish people throughout the world are being attacked at a rate we haven't seen for decades. We are all the more convinced that Israel must exist for the safety of the Jewish people, and we know God will not slumber or sleep "for Zion's sake." (Isaiah 62:1)
PLEASE JOIN US IN INTERCEDING ON BEHALF OF ISRAEL FOR:
War with Hamas
Israel's 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls was an incredibly difficult time for both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. Hamas attacked Israel and Israel responded with a strong military operation. While the world condemned Israel for its defensive measures, civilians suffered on both sides. Israel was drawn into a war that it had no desire to fight, but Israel was able to significantly set Hamas back and destroyed much (but not all) of its rocket arsenal. Within Israel, tensions between Jewish and Arab Israelis reached a boiling point, and there were numerous violent and bloody clashes between the two groups. The slander against Israel throughout the world during this specific conflict was unlike anything we've seen in recent memory, and many Jewish people are feeling afraid simply because they're Jewish. Please continue to pray for Israel's protection from terror groups that constantly seek our total destruction. Please also pray for wisdom for our military leaders, that they would have the ability to stop attacks before they happen. Please also pray that the Lord would give opportunity to foster understanding and peace between Jew and Arab, alike. Lastly, please pray for wisdom for Israeli and Palestinian leadership as they attempt to navigate through this crisis.
Tensions High on Northern Border
Hezbollah (another Iranian proxy) has been provoking Israel on the northern border. The group fired rockets into Israel's northern territory during Israel's military campaign against Hamas. Miraculously, no Israeli lives were lost as a result, but Israel has issued a stern warning to Lebanon and the Hezbollah terror group. Israel's Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, released a statement the last week of May saying "If Hezbollah acts against Israel, Lebanon will tremble and the houses where they hide their weapons cache will become nothing but ruins. The state of Lebanon will be responsible for any aggression that comes from it..." Please pray that the northern border will remain quiet, and that Israel will not be drawn into another military conflict with Lebanon. Please pray for a revival in these areas, that the Spirit of the Lord will move powerfully among the people there! Please also pray for safety for Israel's citizens who live in communities bordering Lebanon and Syria. Lastly, please pray that the plans of Israel's enemies will be absolutely frustrated and that all will see the mighty hand of God move to defend Israel, the apple of His eye!
As soon as Yamina leader Naftali Bennett announced that he would be joining centrist leader Yair Lapid in his effort to form a government, the so-called ''coalition for change'' rushed to finalize the agreement that could see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ousted from the premiership after 12 years. While there is no final agreement at the time of writing, it is very likely it will happen. Lapid has until Wednesday, June 2nd, at midnight, to submit a final proposal in order to establish a new government. But Netanyahu's not finished quite yet. There are still steps he could take to frustrate the final agreement of the "coalition for change". Israelis are waiting with baited breath to see what will happen, especially in light of the high division between Israelis of all walks of life. If Lapid's coalition succeeds, it would end the four years of political instability that Israel has undergone. Please pray that the Lord's hand would be over this situation. Please also pray that Israel would not trust in our Prime Minister- whoever that will be -but in our God who reigns over all situations. Lastly, please pray for healing between Israelis as we are increasingly divided over political issues.
Coronavirus in Israel
Israeli health experts recently reported that Israel has reached herd immunity. With new daily cases down to single digits, and the number of seriously ill patients sharply declining, Israel continues to successfully emerge from the pandemic. Israel is also set to vaccinate youth ages 12-15, but due to herd immunity, many experts say it is unnecessary. Israel continues to lift restrictions, and as of June 1, Israel will reportedly remove all remaining "green pass" restrictions, making all services and events open to all - vaccinated and non-vaccinated alike. Israel's economy is gradually opening up more and more, and people are going back to work as the paid leave program enacted last year expires in June. Please continue to pray that Israel will see more and more breakthroughs in our fight against the virus. Please also pray for full healing for all who are sick, and for protection for those who have not yet been infected. Lastly, please continue to pray for those struggling due to the virus's devastating effect on Israel's economy. May the Lord continue to supernaturally provide for them and may we continue to see Israelis helping one another as we recover.
Beginning of Summer
June marks the end of the academic year! With Israel's students from all levels having studied via Zoom this past year, and only returning to the classroom in April, students are ready for a much-needed break. Elementary students will finish school June 30th, while the rest of the students finish June 20th. University students are in the throes of final papers, projects, and preparing for exams. Israelis tend to enjoy traveling abroad, but due to the COVID situation in many countries still raging, it looks like many families are opting to stay in Israel again this summer. Please pray that we will have a quiet summer and get the rest and refreshment so many of us desire! Please also pray for those who will be traveling, for safety all around, and for protection from hostilities abroad. Lastly, please pray that students will finish this academic year as strongly as possible, despite all the challenges they faced in 2020/2021.
FOLLOWING ARE SOME MINISTRY REQUESTS FOR HOPE FOR ISRAEL:
Moran & Family
Moran continues to seek wisdom from the Lord about the ever-changing nature of the ministry in these times. The ministry's in-person activities have resumed, which has been a great joy! Last month, he traveled to the States for the first time in a year and a half, and it was a fruitful time of teaching & discipleship. He still faces challenging decisions regarding the tour operations, so please keep praying for wisdom, discernment, peace, and patience for him! Please also pray for his family, for health, patience, flexibility, and grace as they continue to navigate these unprecedented times. Please especially pray for protection over their children's health, and that they will finish this school year strong.
Please pray for wisdom 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.
We have a few staff members who are moving on to other projects in their lives and we are so grateful for how they've poured into the ministry while they were with us. We will be welcoming three new staff members in the coming month, as well, which we're excited about! Please pray for our outgoing staff, for grace and joy as they continue their journey, and for our new staff as they join the ministry. Please pray for a smooth transition period during the next month. Please also keep our staff and their families covered in prayer, especially as we continue to face unique challenges.
NerYah Youth Group
We are back to full in-person meetings! Israel has eased restrictions on group meetings to the point that we can have the full amount of youth present at one time. It's been so encouraging for the youth to get to see one another and spend time together once a week. We are closing out the school year this month, and are busy planning the year-end party, where we'll say goodbye to our 12th grade graduates! Please continue to praythat the youth will be hungry for God's word, and continue to participate in meetings and ask questions. Please also continue to pray for Tigist, Hellen & Eliashiv, and for the other young adult volunteers that they will receive wisdom, encouragement, and clear direction in this time, and for unity among the team. Lastly, please continue to pray for health for the youth.
Believing Soldiers Groups
Many of the graduating 12th graders from NerYah will be enlisting in the next few months. Please pray for our new young soldiers to enter this phase of their lives with confidence in the Lord and strength to withstand the challenges they will inevitably face. Please continue to pray for the believing soldiers with whom Efrat and Judi are working, that they would be strengthened by God's grace and peace. Please also continue to pray for the soldiers' emotional and physical health, and for those newly released, for wisdom for their next steps. Pray that they will seek excellence in their service and be a strong witness of Yeshua to their peers, not just in word, but mostly in deed. Please also pray for more young adult volunteers to join in the coming year. Lastly, please continue to pray that our outreach will be a constant encouragement and reminder that God is in control, and that He cares for them!
June is the last month of the academic year. This month, in addition to classes wrapping up, students work on final projects and papers, and study for exams that will take place in July. Please continue to pray for the believing students who receive financial & mentorship support from us, that they would be able to focus on their studies and achieve excellence. Please pray for Tigist as she leads this specific program and mentors the students in various areas. Please also pray for wisdom, patience, peace, and clear guidance as she also manages the staff who work with the students. Please pray for her as she plans a summer program as well as next year's activities, that the workshops and meetings will be helpful and a blessing to the students. Lastly, please continue to pray for an abundant financial provision for us to continue to award scholarships that will impact Israel's believing students for years to come.
Beyond the Headlines Project
Over three years ago, we initiated a project advocating for Israel, its importance in the Middle East, and to show how Israel blesses the world through innovation. We were very active in responding to the plethora of lies and misinformation that circulated during this last war with Hamas. We also realized how crucial it is for people to know the facts of Israel's history, the complexity of the situation, and to help others answer those who spread lies about Israel. We are working on new videos and articles that advocate for Israel, while accurately portraying Israel's complex history, and declaring that God is NOT DONE WITH ISRAEL. This project is incredibly important in these times! Please pray for the entire process of writing, filming, editing, and distributing the videos. Please also pray for a fruitful distribution of the videos and a wide reception of them. Lastly, please pray for the necessary funds in order to keep this project going strong! To watch our latest video, please click here.
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 of economic recovery from the pandemic. Please pray that, as much as possible, we will have a financial blessing to continue with our current projects to bless the people of Israel, and really help those in need in this season.
We decided to postpone our Experience Israel Tour to a later date this year. These tours generate income for the ministry, which goes to cover our overhead, thus allowing a higher percentage of donations to go to our projects. The closure of the tourism sector in Israel for an entire year has significantly impacted the overall financial situation of HFI. We are still hopeful to resume tour operations in 2021, but things continue to change daily and it is very difficult to plan anything with any kind of certainty. Please join us in praying for wisdom for Moran as he continues to make tough decisions regarding the tour operations. Please pray for Judi & BJ for wisdom and flexibility in working with all those involved in rescheduling tours from 2020. There are still many details "up in the air" due to ever-changing local rules and global regulations, not only specific to sites in Israel, but also individual to the airlines, hotels and other players.
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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