September is traditionally a time when we celebrate new beginnings — we anticipate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar; families begin a new year of routine as children return to school and begin new extracurricular activities; the weather slowly begins to cool. While we will welcome all these this coming month, they will be under the shadow of the coronavirus. Israel continues to be hit with a very high infection rate, and despite the relatively low death toll due to the virus, we are still a “closed” country. Tourists are still forbidden from entering the country, which continues to destroy this vital part of Israel’s economy. But we will not give up hope! We know that our future is not in our hands, but in the Almighty’s. He has always been faithful and will continue to be!
PLEASE JOIN US IN INTERCEDING ON BEHALF OF ISRAEL FOR:
Jewish High Holy Days
Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) begins at sundown on September 18th. This will be a very different holiday for us in Israel, as strict lockdowns are anticipated (as they were for Passover in April). This is traditionally the Jewish New Year, and we hope that this year, it will remind us of the promise of renewal in the Lord for all of Israel. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, will also be very different this year since, most likely, synagogues and houses of prayer will either be closed or severely limited to a small number of worshippers. Please pray for Israel as we collectively remember God's faithfulness to us throughout the millennia, and observe His feasts, which he commanded us to do in the Scriptures. Please pray for protection from terror attacks during this special season, as well as miraculous provision for families struggling to meet basic needs in this tough economic situation. Lastly, please pray that those seeking the LORD in this season will find Him!
Back to School
As of this writing, all children are set to return to school September 1st. This school year will be different because of the coronavirus, especially since children will be required to wear masks at all times and study in groups no larger than 18 students. Junior high and High school students will study a few days a week at school, with the remaining days at home via distance learning. The average class size in Israel is 40 students, so the added load on teachers will be great. The Ministry of Education has hired more staff to offset this load, but there will definitely be unseen challenges as a result of this new reality. Please cover Israel in prayer as we embark on this new season where so much uncertainty surrounds students, teachers, school administrators, and parents alike. Israel is no stranger to uncertainty, but this is a very different situation and children, especially, are having to deal with a new kind of unknown. Please also pray for health for all children, and school staff, and for protection from infection.
Peace in the Middle East
Following the historical peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Israel is pursuing similar deals with additional Arab countries. U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has been instrumental in seeing these possible agreements make progress. The last week of August, he made a special trip to various countries in the Middle East seeking possible peace partners for Israel. One country, Bahrain, has made it clear that while it is interested in peace with Israel, it is conditional on a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state in accordance to the Arab Peace Initiative. The Arab Peace Initiative, a brief platform endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, sets the return to the pre-1967 (i.e. 1949) borders as a condition for peace and full normalization of ties between Israel and 57 Arab and Muslim states. This is a problematic condition for Israel for many reasons, the main one being that such borders render Israel indefensible. Please continue to pray for wisdom for Israel's leaders, and for courage to either say “yes” any deal that would be in Israel's best interest, and reject any that would harm Israel’s security, regardless of international pressure. Please also pray for those countries that have already made peace with Israel to encourage other countries to do so, citing the great benefits that can come from it.
Israel, Hamas & Hezbollah
Tensions between Israel and Hamas in the south, and between Israel and Hezbollah in the north, are very high. In the south, Hamas has sent hundreds of incendiary balloons into Israel, causing dozens of intense fires that have caused millions of shekels of damage. The terror group has also fired rockets into Israel, terrorizing the citizens of southern Israel. Hamas claims it will not stop until Israel meets a long list of demands. Israel's citizens are fed up and are demanding a viable solution to over 15 years of Hamas terror, since Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip. In the north, the Lebanese terror group, Hezbollah, has provoked Israel numerous times with various actions. The IDF is on high alert in the north, and Israel’s citizens in that area are on edge, anticipating a possible provocation at any time. Please pray for viable, lasting solutions to these difficult situations. Please also pray for Israeli citizens in the south who have suffered greatly as a result of Hamas’ terror for so long, and for those in the north who are living in an increasingly uncertain security situation.
Coronavirus in Israel
The daily infection rate has again risen to 2,000 in Israel, which is quite high for a country of 9 million people. While the vast majority of people infected heal without hospital treatment, there are more people requiring medial attention or ventilators. The economy continues to suffer, especially since the country remains closed to tourists. Just like in other countries around the world, there is fear that the upcoming flu & cold season will worsen the infection rate of coronavirus in Israel. Please continue to pray for a miracle as we enter this month, for healing for all infected, and for wisdom for Israel’s public health leaders as they continually face tough decisions regarding slowing the spread of the virus.
FOLLOWING ARE SOME MINISTRY REQUESTS FOR HOPE FOR ISRAEL:
Moran & Family
Moran is grateful for the time he has had this summer to be in the office more, and consult the various projects that we have been spearheading. He continues to face challenging decisions regarding the ministry and the tour operations, so please keep praying for wisdom, discernment, peace, and patience for him! Please also pray for his children as they return to school on September 1st.
Please pray 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.
Our staff continues to work from the office in Jerusalem and will do so as long as government restrictions allow. Please pray for their health and protection from infection. Please pray for our staff as we continue to adjust to the ever-changing reality in Israel, especially as the new school year begins. Please also keep our staff and their families covered in prayer, especially as we continue to face the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel.
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 where so many people in Israel have lost their jobs and businesses. 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.
Operation Hesed: Rosh Hashanah Edition
We are providing grocery vouchers to families this month to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. This is especially crucial this year due to the dire economic condition many Israeli families are in. Please pray for significant financial provision so that we can bless more families than ever! Please also pray that we will be able to meet every request and not have to turn anyone away due to limited resources. Lastly, please pray for an outpouring of God’s blessing on those who receive grocery vouchers from Hope for Israel, that they will see His hand of blessing in their lives. If you would like to partner with us in providing practical hope to Israeli families, please click here.
NerYah Youth Group
This month, the believing youth group is set to launch its program for the 2020/2021 academic year! Hellen & Eliashiv are doing an amazing job of planning the year for the believing youth while honoring the current government restrictions on gatherings. It is a constant game of adjusting last-minute due to the fluid situation in the country. Please continue to pray for Hellen & Eliashiv, and for the other young adult volunteers that they will receive wisdom, encouragement, and clear direction in this time. Please also pray that the opening of this school year will be strong! Lastly, please continue to pray for health and protection from infection for the youth.
Believing Soldiers Groups
Efrat & Judi are hard at work planning meetings for believing soldiers this month. They hope to have in-person meetings as the government restrictions allow. Please continue to pray that these meetings will take place and that all will go smoothly, and that no additional restrictions will limit the meetings. 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 in these tough times. Please also pray for the believing lone soldiers that are enlisting this month, for a tremendous blessing on them as they enter this new season of life. 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!
Students in Israel begin the new academic year only in October, after the High Holy Days are finished. Many students are writing extended seminar papers, or their final theses, all of which are due by September 30. Please pray for the believing students who receive financial & moral support from us, that they would be able to finish these important papers in peace and wisdom. Due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus, the scholarship committee has yet to meet to determine how to award scholarships to students for the upcoming academic year; we hope to do that this month. Please pray for wisdom for the committee, as well as an abundant financial provision for us to award scholarships that will impact Israel’s believing students.
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. We have the book printed in Hebrew, English, Russian, & Spanish.
The cancellation of our tours for 2020 have significantly impacted the ministry's financial situation. Hope for Israel’s tours generate income for the ministry, which goes to cover our overhead, thus allowing a higher percentage of donations to go to our projects (click here to learn more). We are hopeful that we will be able to resume tour operations in 2021, but everything is very uncertain right now. Please join us in praying for wisdom for Moran as he faces some tough decisions regarding the tour operations. Pray for peace, wisdom, and unity among the leadership team of the tours as they continue to face tough challenges in light of the pandemic. Lastly, please pray for the Lord’s continuous provision for the ministry despite the lack of income from the tours!
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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