Prayer Letter — September 2018

Dear Prayer Partners,

This month, children throughout the land of Israel begin their school year in a month that is full of more vacation to celebrate the High Holy Days. This is both a month for celebration (for Rosh HaShanah / the Feast of Trumpets & Sukkot) and a time of solemn reflection (for Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement). This month is also the month that we typically begin to see increasing rainfall in Israel. The olives are nearly ready to harvest, the fig season is over, pomegranates are still growing in abundance, and the grape harvest will continue into the next month along with a number of other kinds of fruit and vegetable produce. God has abundantly blessed this land in spite of the water shortages and we are thankful to Him for His goodness and His faithfulness to the people of Israel even in our day.


Please join us in interceding on behalf of Israel for:

Back to School
As the school year begins, Israel tends to be a bit in disarray. As there are no “school buses” for most kids in Israel, it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that their children get to school, no matter how hard or time consuming that may be. Further complicating the first month back to school is that the High Holy Days mean that a routine is not possible for the first month and some wisdom is required to juggle the different needs on school days versus holidays. By now, most parents will have purchased all the books and school supplies their children may need, but things often get overlooked in the rush to prepare for the school year. Please pray for grace for the parents to persevere in assisting their children to begin their school year successfully. Please pray also for the children to start strong and to get as much as possible out of their education in the coming year.

High Holy Days
We are entering a very special month of High Holy Days in Israel. This time of the year has been sacred to the people of Israel since Biblical times and continues to be central in Israel even in the modern day. It’s a time to reflect on our choices in the past year and ask if we’ve forgotten to look to God for forgiveness and restoration. For believers, it’s a time to remember that God has atoned for our sins in the free gift of His son, our Messiah Yeshua. It is also a time to be reminded of the wedding feast that is coming when our Messiah will return and reign from Jerusalem, the holy city from which God has chosen to make His name known. Please pray as we observe the High Holy Days in Israel that God will make Himself known to all through a revelation of His Son. Pray that for those of us who already put our faith in Yeshua that God will renew our understanding of the gift of salvation and the joy that lies ahead!

Water
It is this month that all of us in Israel begin looking forward to increasing rains in the Land. It is this month that many throughout Israel will recite prayers to God having to do with His faithfulness in times past to provide water in this Land. It is this month that we are reminded that it is He who gives us living water so that we do not have to thirst. We are believing God for a miracle since a multi-year drought here in Israel is now the worst in over a hundred years. Israel’s deficit of natural water resources now stands at about 2.5 billion cubic meters (660.4 billion gallons). If Israel weren’t in the worst drought of the century, it would have 2.5 billion cubic meters more of water just sitting around in its streams, lakes, aquifers and water reservoirs. Israel currently relies especially on 4 desalination plants (in Ashkelon, Palmachim, Hadera, and Sorek) for more than 70% of the country’s drinking water! The current solution is to encourage Israelis to conserve water as much as possible while preparing to build 2 more water desalination plants. However, the new desalination plants will likely take at least 5 years to complete. Additionally, one of the four primary desalination plants currently in use is in need of about $55 million in repairs, an issue that testifies to the cost and complexity of providing desalinated water in the midst of an intense drought in Israel. Please pray for Israel’s policy makers and for all work on the desalination plants to continue to meet the needs of the people of Israel and to be an example to the rest of the world as to how to persevere even in the most daunting of circumstances. Pray also for a total restoration of Israel’s water resources in a way that demonstrates the love of God for the people of Israel. One especially encouraging reality is that throughout this summer (even in the last few days of August) we have seen occasional rain, which is not normal for Israel. May this be a sign of a coming blessing of rain even though weather reports indicate that only average rainfall is expected in the coming year.

Peace Plan?
At this point, the US has cut its funding to UNRWA by $300 million. There is a great deal of speculation about what is to happen with this money. Some believe that it is a maneuver that is aimed at pressuring the organization to formulate a strategy that actually works for the people rather than merely prolonging their pain. Others believe that the US aims to eradicate UNRWA once and for all in preference of a peace plan that would see everyone in homes and outside of the refugee camps sooner than later. Until this point, UNRWA has promoted the false hope that those they define as “Palestinian refugees” will one day return to the home they lost in the Six Day War in which Israel recaptured Jerusalem (its capital), as well as Judea and Samaria (referred to by the anti-Israel camp as “the West Bank”). The problem with this view is that these “refugees” are unlike any other refugees in the world. They get fed and given a temporary home until a state that has never existed will be created in Judea and Samaria, at which point they expect to be integrated into this new state and given a home. The reality is, Israelis want them to have a home and to stop living on the handouts of UNRWA, but this cannot hinge on them creating a new nation that has never before existed. It is disheartening, especially for those in Israel, to see how UNRWA has perpetuated a destructive lifestyle of false hope and poverty for over half a century now. No other refugees in the world have been so abused by an organization that had so much money to help and that could’ve seen them in a much better position decades ago. Israel offers the right of return, also to those defined as “Palestinian refugees”, however, many don’t want to live outside of the refugee camps because of the corrupt Palestinian Authority and Hamas who currently control Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza. Israel has offered Hamas a seaport in Cyprus and an airport near Eilat under Israeli supervision, as well as an airline flying to Qatar, according to Mahmoud al-Aloul. Aloul is a potential successor to ailing PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who believes that a truce would be favored by the PA in the Gaza Strip. According to Aloul, the Israeli offers are part of US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East, and has asserted: “I doubt this plan will succeed.” Senior Hamas leader Saleh Arouri seems more favorable towards the recent developments. Aloul is skeptical of the plan. The agreement is believed to call for the establishment of a financial and economic fund comprising Arab countries, the US and the EU to rebuild the Gaza Strip according to a detailed plan. With the $300 million that the US is now withholding from UNRWA, it may be that this money will be reinvested into these plans along with the EU’s and Arab nations’ money. Please join us in praying for the situation in Judea and Samaria, as well as for those living Gaza that the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the terrorism of Hamas will no longer discourage “refugees” from leaving the camps and integrating into an existing state. Pray also for healing from the trauma of now fully 3 generations of false hope sown in the hearts of a large population of people. Pray for innovative solutions, and that whatever will happen with the $300 million that the US is withholding from UNRWA, that the money will be better used to address the real issues in the region. Please also pray for wisdom among Israel’s leadership, as any land concessions are likely to lead to increased conflict in the region and judgment on Israel (as indicated in Joel 3 and as seen in the after effect of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005).


Following are some ministry requests for Hope for Israel:

Moran
Please pray for Moran as he will split this coming month between the office and having quality family time for the upcoming High Holy Days. He will also be preparing for the upcoming Israel-Greece Tour, as he will be the primary teacher on the tour. Please also pray for wisdom as he continues to lead the ministry, that he will gain clear direction from the LORD. Lastly, please continue to pray for health, rest, renewal, and refreshment from the LORD in every area so that he will not grow weary.

HFI Board
Please continue to pray for wisdom for our board members as they make important decisions in every area of the ministry. Please pray for protection over them and their families, that the Lord would shield them from illness and spiritual warfare.

HFI Staff
Please cover our staff in your prayers! Some are experiencing health challenges, and others are experiencing some challenges at home. Please pray for wisdom, healing, strength, and humility for us all, that we will continue to serve the Lord in our every day work. Also, we are currently praying into hiring someone full time to assist us with social media. We would like to offer more original content and fresh perspectives that are easy to engage with through social media. We believe that God is going to bring someone to our team who is good at connecting with people both online and in person (as the job will eventually require interviewing people on the ground here in Israel). Please pray that God will bring the right person for this job and that God will equip that person for the work involved in effective use of social media.

NerYah Youth Group
This year’s curriculum for NerYah has been prepared and this month the youth resume their weekly gatherings as they also begin the school year. Please pray for all of the staff and volunteers to connect well with the youth and for the youth to be truly blessed as they engage in the weekly gatherings and enjoy the youth center after school each day.

Soldiers’ Group
Please pray for all the young men and women who recently entered their compulsory military service. Please also pray for those soldiers continuing their service. Please also pray for a renewed sense of purpose in the Lord, and for them to be truly encouraged in our Believing Soldiers’ group, which meets monthly.

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. Please also continue to pray that the current project to translate the book to Spanish will be blessed and bring forth a fruitful harvest among our Spanish-speaking brethren.

“Israel Beyond the Headlines” Video Project
We began this special project in January in honor of Israel’s 70th year of independence (click here to check it out). This is a video project where we produce short videos highlighting a different aspect of Israeli innovation that is making a difference in the world. This project is a means of Israel advocacy, 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, Yoel, Moran, Nate, & Melissa. Please pray for His protection over us all and for the truth about Israel to reach to the ends of the earth!

Tours
Please join us in praying for each and every one of our tours to be a blessing both to those who join and a blessing to the work of Hope for Israel! Our Israel-Greece Tour is coming up (October) and we ask for prayer for that tour even now. We host three tours per year: Experience Israel Tour, Israel-Greece Tour, & the Pastors’ Solidarity Tour (www.hope4israel.org/tours). 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.

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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