Many of the issues Israel has faced since the beginning of the year continue to excite concern. The nation experienced severe internal unrest over the last month and continues to face serious threats from beyond its borders.
The controversial judicial reform bill continues apace, despite weekly protests drawing tens of thousands of Israelis. Leaders on both sides of the debate still refuse to make concessions.
Israel authorized additional Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, drawing a Security Council condemnation supported by the Biden administration.
Seven Israelis were murdered in terror attacks, including two little boys, ages 6 and 8.
Lastly, a nuclear watchdog reported mid-February that Iran is only 6% short of the 90% enrichment required to achieve a bomb. Israel is reportedly preparing to take decisive military action on the issue.
On a positive front, March brings the joyous holiday of Purim! Purim celebrates the miraculous salvation of the Jewish people from annihilation as told in the Biblical book of Esther.
Overall, it has been a difficult month for Israelis, and 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 March.
PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR:
Upon his appointment as Justice Minister, Yariv Levin proposed massive changes to the Israeli court system, including a clause which would allow a Knesset majority to override Supreme Court rulings. This proposed legislation was met with massive blowback from the Israeli public, resulting in continued protests in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and a few other cities.
The protests have grown to include hundreds of thousands of Israelis from all over Israel, who have come together weekly in Jerusalem and other centers to demand a cessation of the judicial legislation.
While the protests have been relatively peaceful, the rhetoric of leaders and politicians has become increasingly inflammatory, with explicit calls for civil disobedience and dire predictions of civil war and the destruction of democracy.
While some of the concerns about the reform are legitimate, the bigger issue is the growing cultural fissure in Israeli society between religious and secular, right and left. Each side claims to represent the “true” Israeli spirit.
Please continue to pray for:
- Respect for the rule of law, the distribution of power, and basic government institutions from all sides of the political aisle.
- Compromise between Government and Knesset Opposition.
- National unity and dialogue, based on humility and a desire to understand different perspectives.
- Continued social, religious, and judicial liberty.
Israeli Security and Terror
The IDF continued its nightly raids on the homes of Palestinian terror suspects throughout February, in conjunction with police and Shin Bet in Judea and Samaria, making dozens of arrests and confiscating illegal firearms.
Despite their tireless efforts, February have been deadly for Israeli civilians. 2 little boys, brothers, ages 6 and 8, were murdered in a car ramming attack at a Jerusalem bus stop, along with a young man who was married only two months before. A separate stabbing attack took the life of an Arab Border Police officer. These tragedies are added to the recent terror attacks at the end of January which claimed 7 innocent lives. Most recently, two brothers from a nearby settlement, ages 20 and 22, were murdered in a shooting in Samaria. A final shooting near Jericho claimed the life of an American.
Following the murders of the settler brothers, a group of angry locals gathered in the village of the Palestinian terrorist and staged a violent riot, burning cars and at least one apartment. Palestinian residents responded by burning tires and throwing rocks. The IDF eventually sent reinforcements to calm the inflammatory situation. Several Israeli settlers and over 100 Palestinians were injured in the chaos.
The IDF remains on high alert following this escalation, especially as Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, is set to begin the third week of March. Ramadan traditionally brings with it increased violence between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
Please pray for:
- Comfort and healing to the victims of terror and their families.
- 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.
- A calm and peaceful Ramadan.
Iranian Nuclear Ambitions
An international nuclear watchdog announced that Iran has reached 84% uranium enrichment, marking a significant increase from the last noted 60%, and leaving only a small jump to a full capacity for nuclear weapons production. Iran remains deadlocked with Western powers over a renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, while Israel calls on the US and other allies to cancel the deal and apply sanctions to Iran, who is clearly not complying with the terms of the deal.
Israeli leaders remain seriously concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, as well as their army of proxy terror groups, such as Hizballah, in the region. Several political and military leaders have made direct references to an Israeli airstrike against Iran, and the question has become not if, but when, they will strike. Israel warned the US and France that even if the West is unwilling to act decisively against Iran, Israel will not hesitate.
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 strike Iran.
- Wisdom to counter Iranian proxies on Israel’s northern border, such as Hizballah.
US-Israel and UN-Israel Relations
Tensions between the Biden Administration and the new Netanyahu government have been increasingly apparent throughout January and February. The US has made their disapproval of the new government clear, issuing condemnations of the Israeli judicial reform among other issues. In a notable interview, the American ambassador to Israel condescendingly compared the Israeli government to his children.
Further exacerbating the disagreement, Israel authorized 9 new Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria this month, as well as 10,000 new housing units. This move triggered a Palestinian-Authority led, US sponsored Security Council statement condemning Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria. This development is fairly concerning and marks a departure from past US policy which has always shielded Israel at the UN.
The US has simultaneously insisted that they will continue to support Israel in matters of national security and defense.
This American ambiguity comes at a bad time for Israel; the Jewish State is currently facing an appraisal by the ICJ on the legality of their presence in Judea and Samaria according to international law.
Please pray for:
- Wisdom on the behalf of Israeli leaders and diplomats to negotiate between Israel’s domestic and international interests.
- Definitive American policy which actively supports Israel on the international stage and not just behind closed doors.
- For an accurate and unbiased legal assessment of the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria by the Hague commission.
The Jewish Festival of Purim
The holiday of Purim is coming up! Purim is celebrated the 14th of Adar (this year, the 7th of March) and celebrates the defeat of Haman by Queen Esther as told in the book of Esther. Jewish families all around the world celebrate by reading the book of Esther together, usually in a community setting; by dressing up in costumes (Esther’s Jewish identity was hidden from the king), by sending gift baskets to friends, relatives and the poor; and by eating triangular cookies called in Yiddish “hamantaschen” or in Hebrew “oznei Haman.”
The holiday has become in Israel an opportunity for street parties; although this instills a fun and festive atmosphere, it brings its own hazards – especially since many rabbis recommend drinking heavily during the festivities.
Please pray for:
- Safety for all during festivities, especially as the security situation remains tenuous.
- A happy and joyous occasion that brings glory to God for the salvation of his people; may this be an encouragement to us now as Israel faces a difficult time politically and in terms of security.
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 is excited to host the ministry’s flagship tour “Experience Israel” in March! The tour is an opportunity for people to explore the beautiful country of Israel while receiving Moran’s teaching at biblical sites throughout. He had a very full month last month, so please pray for strength, a refreshed spirit & body, and health as he enters the month of March.
Please also pray for:
- Wisdom regarding the various aspects of the ministry that he oversees.
- Fresh anointing as he teaches throughout the tour, and for hearts willing to receive his messages.
- Guidance and inspiration as he writes his weekly Scripture commentaries.
- Health throughout the entire two weeks of the tour.
- Protection over his family while he is away.
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.
NerYah Youth Group:
The weekly meetings continue to see many believing youth from all over the Jerusalem area! We held a prayer and worship meeting for the believing youth during February and the response was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.
We have also seen a number of encouraging personal testimonies this month from the young believers, and we are learning how to meet them where they are, through one-on-one meetings and supporting their various extra-curricular events, including musical recitals and a Bible quiz competition.
Please pray for:
- Mental acuity and emotional strength for the youth as they begin a difficult season of schoolwork and matriculation exams.
- The Lord’s blessing and guidance for the military service of our believing high school juniors and seniors.
- Strength and motivation for two of our leaders who are university students and who are entering their season of finals.
Two soldiers finished their IDF service this last month and sent us heartfelt messages of thanks for the support they received during their service. We are always encouraged to hear positive feedback. We continue to be blessed by a wonderful team behind our believing soldier program. They have a heart to support the soldiers and have invested a lot of thought and time into them this year.
Please pray for:
- The building of deeper and more meaningful connections between the soldiers and leaders.
- The building and delivery of care packages to the soldiers towards the end of March in honor of Pesach (Passover). Please pray that the process would be smooth and efficient, and that the packages would encourage and support the soldiers.
- 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.
- Strength and wisdom for Ro’i, our soldiers’ coordinator, who has a week of IDF reserve duty at the end of March.
Post-Military & University Students:
Our students are entering their time of final projects and exams, which requires determination, focus and time. We are receiving more requests for support and assistance from released soldiers and look forward to growing our post-military counselling program. Our project matching university students receiving financial aid from the ministry to high school students who need tutoring continues to strengthen ties between different age groups of young Israeli believers.
Please pray for:
- Our mandatory bi-annual meeting which is scheduled for March 3. Please pray that the meeting is blessed and productive.
- The tutoring program to continue to grow and be able to impact more youth!
- Strength and endurance for the university students as they continue their end of semester exams.
- Wisdom for our team as they continue to provide counseling and career advice to newly released soldiers, many of whom are overwhelmed and confused by the new stage in their life and the new challenges and responsibilities it poses.
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, insight and creativity for our media team.
- Increased engagement with our target audience on social media platforms, especially on our new “Beyond the Headlines” Instagram page.
- 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.
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.
- a successful and meaningful experience for all on the Experience Israel Tour.
- a strong candidate to fill the position of Tour Coordinator in our Israel office.
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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