Prayer Letter — June 2023

Dear Prayer Partners,

The month of June is here and summer is finally beginning for real here in Israel, after a rainy spring. Between May 10th and May 15th, Israel experienced its fiercest round of fighting since 2021 in Operation Shield and Arrow, during which the Israeli Air Force downed six senior terror operatives in the Gaza Strip and over 1,100 rockets were fired at Israeli cities and villages. It is hoped that this round of fighting will restore deterrence in Gaza over the coming months.

On the home front, the controversy surrounding judicial reform has quieted somewhat, as Israel focused on spring holidays, military operations took over the headlines, and the Knesset concentrated on passing a budget for fiscal year 2023-2024. However, now that these items have passed, the judicial reform will likely return to the front page.

A terrorist attack killed one Israeli man at the end of May.

Other complications looking forward to the summer months could come from Iran, which continues to increase its military posturing towards Israel.

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 June.


Israeli Government and Judicial Reform
As the government returns to full-time work on the judicial reform, Israelis are waiting with bated breath to see what result, if any, came from the much-touted compromise discussions. If the resulting agreement does not meet with the approval of the Israeli public, it is possible that Israel will return to serious civil demonstrations on a weekly basis.  

Over the last month, Israel successfully passed a government budget for the coming fiscal year at the end of May. Some of the controversial elements include increased funding for ultra-Orthodox schools, which teach only Torah and not core subjects such as reading and math. However, on a positive note, the existence of a state budget is a step forward after several years of governmental instability.

Another main issue that the budget proports to address is the cost of living in Israel. Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich, a staunch capitalist, promised to reduce costs with the passing of the budget. It remains to be seen how this will play out.

Please continue to pray for:

  • A successful, good-faith conclusion to the judicial reform compromise discussions taking place between government and opposition.
  • Peace and stability in the country, that Israel will not return to the chaos of the beginning of the year
  • Successfully lowering the cost of living for the average Israeli.

Israeli Security and Terror
On May 2, a Palestinian terror leader died in Israeli custody after an 86-day long hunger strike. His death was widely hailed in the Arab world as an Israeli “assassination” and was met by a barrage of rockets from Gaza as well as unprecedented rocket fire from Syria and Lebanon. Israel responded with military action, but not severely.

Israel waited a week before launching a major aerial reprisal in the Gaza Strip titled “Operation Shield and Arrow” which began with the targeted killings of senior terrorist operatives. This initiated five days of intense fighting between May 10-15, during which over 1,100 rockets were fired at Israeli civilians. One Israeli woman was killed in a direct rocket strike in the Israeli city of Rehovot. Operation Shield and Arrow marked the most serious round of conflict since 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls. Hamas, the ruling terror organization in Gaza, did not get involved. Israel hopes that this operation will temporarily restore deterrence against the terror factions in Gaza.

Hizballah, the Iranian terror proxy based in Syria and Lebanon, is also flexing its muscles. Towards the end of May, the group held a rare press event in southern Lebanon where they displayed war games and symbolically blew up Israeli flags. This event was likely staged in response to Israel’s Jerusalem Day, which celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish rule during the Six-Day War, and which always draws Arab threats of “retaliation.”

Iran itself has already enriched uranium to 84%, an increase that puts it on the cusp of making a bomb. Israel’s Chief of Staff has said that while Israel does not seek conflict, they may be forced to strike Iranian facilities if Tehran continues in its current trajectory.

Finally, sadly a shooting attack in northern Samaria at the end of the month of May resulted in the death of a 32-year-old Israeli husband and father of two. Local authorities blamed the attack on recently relaxed security measures in the area. IDF forces are still searching for the terrorist.

Please pray for:

  • Comfort and recovery to those who lost loved ones or property in Operation Shield and Arrow, as well as for the wife, children and family of the terror victim.
  • A de-escalation of the tense security situation
  • Protection and alertness for Israel's security forces as they seek to execute justice and protect Israeli civilians through arrests, arms seizures, and day-to-day guarding duties.
  • Wisdom for leaders and IDF top brass in responding to multi-front threats to Israel’s security.
  • Revival in Iran and in all the Middle East, that people would come to know the God of Israel.

Middle East Politics
Over the last month, following the normalization of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, numerous speculations have circulated about the affect of this deal on the Abraham Accords. In an interview towards the end of May, the IDF Chief of Staff stated that he is not concerned about the development and that he still sees Saudi Arab as a potential partner for peace.

Another step towards peace between Arab nations has also draw much speculation. Syria was reinstated into the Arab League during May for the first time since the outbreak of its violent and inconclusive civil war in 2011.  The consequences of this development are still unclear.

The most concernment development in the Middle East of course comes from Iran, which has again threatened to up the ante in its nuclear program, drawing some Israeli officials to say that a strike might be imminent. Iranian officials warned that such a move would spark a large-scale war in the Middle East. When and how such an Israeli strike would occur is unclear, but if clues can be taken from Operation Shield and Arrow, most likely it would take the whole world by surprise.

Please pray for:

  • Continued wisdom for Israeli leadership as they pursue a policy of deterrence against the Iranian threat,
  • International cooperation against Iran
  • Wisdom for Israeli military leadership on when and how to respond to Iran
  • Wisdom to counter Iranian proxies on Israel’s northern border, such as Hizballah
  • Wisdom to handle the tricky political situation in the Middle East as many long-alienated Arab states seek reconciliation.

International Anti-Semitism
Three high-profile anti-Israel, and even openly anti-Semitic, events occurred last month on the international front. US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib sponsored a “Nakhba Day” event for members of Congress in May, during which she presented a highly distorted picture of the Israeli War of Independence and Israeli treatment of Palestinians. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy proved himself a true friend of Israel by vetoing this event in the halls of Congress. Although Tlaib eventually found a way around his veto, McCarthy is a powerful voice in Israel’s defense.

A similar “Nakhba Day” event was held in the halls of the United Nations shortly after Tlaib’s event, the first ever for the UN. During this event, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas again presented a distorted and inaccurate version of historical events in Israel to the attending nations. Many delegates did boycott the event, including the US and many European nations.

A third anti-Semitic event occurred in Berlin of all places. Well-known former bassist for Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, performed at Berlin’s Mercedes Benz arena. During his concert, he made use of several anti-Semitic tropes such as pigs and “puppeteering.” He also appeared on stage in the uniform of an SS officer with a pretend machine gun. The undisguised anti-Semitism is quite shocking at this large of an event.

Additionally, the Jewish State is still facing an appraisal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of their presence in Judea and Samaria according to international law.

The concurrence of these events highlights the growth of anti-Semitism in the last decade and its return to mainstream thought.

Please pray for:

  • Definitive American policy which actively supports Israel on the international stage and not just behind closed doors
  • An accurate and unbiased legal assessment of the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria by the Hague commission
  • Accountability for people like Rashida Tlaib and Roger Waters
  • People to seek accurate historical sources regarding Israel, the Holocaust and other subjects, rather than taking the biased word of activists.
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 had the privilege of hosting a great group of people from Texas last month. He was also investing time with the staff in our Jerusalem office, overseeing the various ministry activities. This month he will be mostly overseeing the ministry, spending most of his days in the office and having various meetings throughout the country. He has some big decisions facing him, so please pray for wisdom and clarity of thought. He and his family will be moving this month, so please pray for grace, peace, and patience through the entire moving process! The family will also be taking a 10-day holiday the last week of June, which they are all looking forward to very much.

Please continue to pray for:

  • Wisdom regarding the various aspects of the ministry that he oversees.
  • Guidance and inspiration as he writes his weekly Scripture commentaries.
  • A time of refreshment as a family during their vacation. Also, for safe travels and a fruitful time reconnecting with one another away from work & school obligations.
  • A smooth and low-stress move for Moran and 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
  • 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

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
  • A new staff member to support our ministry to Jerusalem’s believing young people.

NerYah Youth Group:
We continue to see incredible growth and progress in our relationships as leaders with the believing youth! The youth’s desire to pursue the Lord is exciting to see. As part of the international fast and prayer taking place leading up to the day of Shavuot, we invited the youth to participate in a special group of fasting, prayer and daily study, and we were excited by their readiness to join. We also hosted a fun day of activities in the local park on May 9th, a day that the youth had off school. Everyone had a great time!

Please pray for:

  • Our end of year party on June 22, which will require extensive preparation and time from our dedicated team. Please pray for strength for the team and that the party would go smoothly and successfully.
  • For wisdom and strength for the believing youth as they finish end of year and matriculation exams.
  • God’s guidance for our counselors as they consider plans for the coming year, and especially that God would lead the right believing young adults to become a part of our volunteer team next year.

Believing Soldiers:
We are firstly thankful to God for His protection over the believing soldiers during the last month’s tense security situation. We were able to host a successful and encouraging meeting for our soldiers, with a good time of fellowship, learning and a shared meal. Additionally, Ro’i, our soldier coordinator, randomly ran into a believing soldier who we haven’t seen in a long time. They were able to go out to eat together and have an honest and encouraging conversation about the challenges the soldier is facing.

Please pray for:

  • Unity, efficiency and new strength for our team of leaders
  • Continued spiritual, physical and mental strengthening for the believing soldiers as they fulfill their various jobs. Please pray that they would see God work in their lives even when they are detached from any believing framework. Please pray also for their confidence in their place as God’s children, and that difficulties in their services would not raise questions about their identity as believers.
  • Attendance of the soldiers’ meetings. We typically only see a few soldiers come to each meeting, and while we understand the physical and emotional stresses they are under day-to-day, we also believe in the importance of what we offer. Please pray that God will awaken them to the need for fellowship!

Post-Military & University Students:
This month we were able to visit several of our students who are studying in Beer Sheva and in Jerusalem and encourage them in person. Both visits were productive and the students were happy to see us. Additionally, we held a bi-annual meeting with all our students at the beginning of May, which was very successful!

Please pray for:

  • Our first meeting for released soldiers. We would appreciate prayer that the meeting would be informative and productive and that many soldiers would be able to participate.
  • Continued visits to the students at their universities. Please pray that we would be able to schedule dates that are convenient for all!

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 Israel, and for what the Word of God says about Israel, as top priorities.

Please pray for:

  • 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
  • Insight and efficiency in updating our website and messaging; that God would provide the right website designer
  • Insight and wisdom to offer Scripture-based answers to those who oppose Israel; that God would use our content to change peoples’ hearts and minds!

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. We are so grateful that tours have returned robustly after the two years of no tours during the COVID restrictions in Israel! The tour operation is experiencing some “growing pains”, which is a blessing and a challenge at the same time. Please pray for:

  • wisdom for Moran as he continues to make challenging decisions regarding the tour operations.
  • a strong candidate to fill the position of Tour Coordinator in our Israel office.
  • wisdom as we consider a wonderful opportunity to partner with a good friend of the ministry to run the US-side of the tour operations
  • the 2024 EXPERIENCE ISRAEL TOUR to fill up; we already have quite a few sign-ups, which is encouraging!
  • for a fruitful Cyprus-Greece Tour this coming September.

Ministry Finances
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!

In His Service,
The Hope for Israel Prayer Team

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