It's hard to believe that 2021 is almost over! This month, Ethiopian Jewish Israelis will observe Sigd (pronounced sig-ed), which is an ancient holiday held 50 days after Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It centers on the idea of embracing the Torah and longing for Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple. Many observant Ethiopian Jews fast on this day, and break the fast with a festive meal with family and friends. This month, Jewish Israelis will light the first candle of Hanukkah at sundown on Sunday, November 28th. Hanukkah comes early this year (it usually happens in December). We are all hoping these holidays will be joyful and festive especially in light of all we've been through in 2021!
PLEASE JOIN US IN INTERCEDING ON BEHALF OF ISRAEL FOR:
Knesset Facing Budget Challenge
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is facing a huge hurdle in getting a budget passed. If he succeeds, it will be the first budget to pass in three years. The Knesset House Committee approved the budget, as did the Knesset Finance Committee at the end of October. Now, the budget moves on to be debated by the Members of the Knesset. They must vote to pass the budget by November 14th to prevent the government from failing and new elections being held. Of course, a lot of politics goes into this process and the opposition, of which former Prime Minster Netanyahu is head, is working overtime to see that it does not pass. If the budget does not pass, by law, the current government will be dissolved and Israelis will face another round of elections. Please pray for wisdom for Israel's leaders as they debate the budget. Please also pray that Israel will not be forced into yet another election round. Lastly, please pray that the budget will pass for the good of all of Israel's citizens, Jew and Gentile alike.
4th Wave of Coronavirus
Israel continues to see a decline in new Coronavirus cases since the peak of the outbreak in August. In late October, only 650 or so new daily cases were reported, versus 11,000 at the peak of the outbreak in August. Israeli officials accredit this drop to the booster shot, and many health professionals estimate that Israel is close to reaching herd immunity. Israeli researchers continue to look for more promising ways to treat infections, especially as recent studies have shown many existing medications to effectively treat COVID-19. Please continue to pray for Israel in this time, especially that we will not enter yet another wave of infections. Please also pray for a full recovery for all infected by the virus. Lastly, please pray that Israel will discover more effective treatments for the virus so that we do not solely rely on vaccines.
Rise in Crime in Israeli-Arab Communities
Crime in the Arab communities of Israel continues to rise. While it is a deeply complex situation, the reality is that many Arab Israelis do not feel safe in their own neighborhoods due to the violence happening on their streets. Last month, two men in Jaffa were shot & killed in daylight on separate occasions; both incidents were linked to organized crime. Other than the obvious problem of Israeli citizens, regardless of ethnicity, not feeling safe in their neighborhoods, there is the added concern that this violence will spill into other areas of the country. Please continue to pray for viable solutions to end the rampant violence in Israeli Arab communities. Please also pray that Israeli officials will work together with leaders of these communities to make them more secure and better the quality of life of within the communities. Lastly, please pray that Arab citizens of Israel will feel recognized and appreciated for all that they contribute to the country.
Tensions Between Israel & Iran
Iran continues to be a tough enemy for Israel. Just last month, Iranian hackers leaked personal information of many Israeli combat soldiers including their residences and family information. Pictures of Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz were also leaked. Iranian proxies continue to ramp up their antagonistic activity against Israel all around Israel's borders. In the north, Hezbollah are constantly provoking Israel along the Lebanese border; in Syria, Iranian troops are establishing a stronger presence while setting up rocket launchers towards Israel; in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to re-arm in the event that Israel has an all-out war with Iran. Of course, the primary concern for Israel at this time is Iran's inching towards a nuclear weapon. Israel has attacked Iranian interests throughout the past few months in order to send a strong message to Iran. Israeli officials have also made it clear Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon on its watch. Please pray for this situation with Iran! Please pray that Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon, which would be devastating for the Middle East. Please also pray for protection over Israeli citizens and our soldiers as well. Lastly, please continue to pray for wisdom for Israeli military and government officials as they are constantly faced with difficult decisions in this situation.
Israel is at the beginning of its rainy season. Due to God's mercy, we are no longer in a desperate drought, but there is always concern that the rainy season will not yield enough water to replenish what has been consumed or evaporated over the hot summer months. Israel already received some rain, but it has been a fairly dry start to the rainy season. Please pray for an abundant rainy season for Israel this year! Please also pray that people will be wise about their water consumption and not waste any of Israel's precious water.
FOLLOWING ARE SOME MINISTRY REQUESTS FOR HOPE FOR ISRAEL:
Moran & Family
Moran had two very fruitful and encouraging trips to the States last month, as well as hosted our first tour group in over 18 months! It was a very special group of people who were very determined to get to Israel despite the many obstacles. He will be traveling one more time in November. He continues to seek wisdom from the Lord about the ever-changing nature of the ministry in these times. He also 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 while he travels, and that they can keep to their routine as much as possible.
The board will meet this month for its yearly meeting. Please pray for wisdom for the board as they continue to make important decisions that affect the future of the ministry. Please also be praying for the upcoming meeting, as there will be many crucial items on the agenda that need to be decided. Please also 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.
Please continue to keep our staff in prayer this month, especially for health as the winter flu season approaches. We also ask for prayer for Bill Katz, our U.S. representative who continues to travel to new congregations throughout the States. Please cover his family in prayer while he travels, as well as guidance from the Holy Spirit as he teaches, and open hearts to receive his messages. Please pray for new doors with congregations to partner with HFI, as well as a strengthening of current partnerships. Please pray for all our staff who have small children, for health and protection.
NerYah Youth Group
The believing youth group began its regular meetings last month! The meetings have been well attended and there's a renewed excitement about NerYah this year. The staff faces challenges with the government's cap on in-person meetings, but are really excited to implement the plans they've been working on. Please pray that the program will continue to run strong and that the youth will be hungry for God's word, participate in meetings, and ask questions. Please also continue to pray for Tigist, Emunah, & Ro'i, that they will receive wisdom, encouragement, and clear direction, and for unity among the team. Please pray for a blessing on the young adult volunteers who give so generously of their time and resources to the youth. Please continue to pray for health for the youth and protection from infection from the coronavirus and flu. Please also pray for the youth as they enter their first exam season this month!
Believing Soldiers Groups
Please continue to pray for the believing soldiers with whom our team is working, for emotional and physical health, especially as numerous soldiers have been ill or struggled with chronic medical conditions. Please also pray for our believing lone soldiers, for strength, encouragement, and protection from loneliness as they navigate this challenging time. Pray that they will seek excellence in their service and be a strong witness of Yeshua to their peers, not just in word, but also in deed. Please also pray for more young adult volunteers to join in the coming year. Lastly, please continue to pray that the soldiers will be reminded that God is in control, and that He cares for them!
We were so excited to host our first in-person meeting with the students in our mentorship program last month! This year, we have 27 students who have received scholarships and are participating in the mentorship program. The academic year opened strong and the students have renewed motivation to strive for excellence in their studies. Please continue to pray for the believing students who receive financial & mentorship support from us, that they would be encouraged this academic year. 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 works with Sapir in implementing the upcoming year's activities. 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
Israel is under daily attack in the foreign press. A few 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 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 pray for our team who has to constantly sift through disturbing and hateful anti-Israel hatred on a regular basis on our various social media sites. 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! You can find all our videos on our YouTube channel, or follow the Facebook page for this specific project.
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.
Israel will continue to slowly reopen to tour groups! We are hoping to host another tour at the end of November and we are praying they will be able to come as planned. We also opened registration for two of our flagship tours for 2022: Experience Israel Study Tour and Pastors' Solidarity Tour. Please pray that these tours will fill up! Please also join us in praying for wisdom for Moran as he continues to make challenging decisions regarding the tour operations. Please pray for BJ for wisdom and flexibility in working with all those involved in rescheduling tours from 2020. Lastly, please pray that we will find a strong candidate to fill the position of Tour Coordinator in our Israel office as soon as possible.
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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