September is a month of new beginnings in Israel. This month, we celebrate the High Holy Days - Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Succot (Feast of Tabernacles). All of these feasts are appointed by God in the Torah and hold significant prophetic meaning. This month is also back-to-school for Israeli students! Children from preschool to 12th grade will return to the classroom on September 1st. While there was some hesitation about returning to frontal studies because of the 4th wave of the Coronavirus, Israeli officials decided to move forward with the plan. Israel also continues to fight fronts on its border with Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria. There is much to intercede for!
PLEASE JOIN US IN INTERCEDING ON BEHALF OF ISRAEL FOR:
Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) begins sundown on September 6th; Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) begins sundown on September 15th; and Succot (Feast of Tabernacles) begins sundown on September 20th. These feasts are some of the most significant holidays for Jewish Israelis, as well as Jewish people throughout the world. In Israel, the speed of life slows down during this season, as it is a time of deep reflection and repentance before God. For followers of Messiah, we look forward to how His return is foretold in these holidays, especially as the spring holidays of Passover, First Fruits, and Shavuot were fulfilled in His first coming. Sadly, this can also be a time of vulnerability for Israel in terms of security. Israel's enemies have historically taken advantage of this season for attacking. Please pray for security for all of Israel during the High Holy Day season. Please also pray for God's Spirit to fall upon Israel as the Jewish people seek renewal and restoration during this time, and that many will come to see Yeshua as the promised Messiah. Lastly, please pray for peaceful and meaningful gatherings with family and friends in these holidays.
4th Wave of Coronavirus
The Delta variant entered Israel in late June and thus began the fourth wave of the pandemic. The last day of August, Israel reported its highest single-day coronavirus caseload since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, with nearly 11,000 people testing positive. The previous record was in mid-January, when Israel reported just over 10,000 new cases of the virus. Israel has been pushing a booster campaign for the Pfizer vaccine, which is now applicable to anyone over 12 who has had at least 5 months pass since receiving the second shot. While this booster campaign is controversial for a few reasons, it has been quite successful in seeing a decrease in infections among adults aged 60 and over. While it seems we have avoided another lockdown during the High Holy Days, there is always a possibility that we could face another one in the near future. There have been numerous promising studies conducted in Israel about existing medications that have effectively treated Coronavirus in many seriously ill patients, but further studies are required before these treatments can be widely used. Please continue to pray for Israel in this time of uncertainty. 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.
Iran & Its Proxies
Tensions between Israel and Iran are at an all-time high. Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced at the end of August that Iran is two months away from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Israel has vowed to do whatever it can to prevent this from happening. Iran has made it clear that any tampering with its program will be seen as an act of war and will respond. Iranian proxies have also been actively provoking Israel. Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group, has been most active in provoking Israel on Israel's northern border. In August, Hezbollah and other Palestinian factions operating in Lebanon fired rockets into Israel. While an all-out war did not break out, thankfully, Israel responded strongly and sent a warning to not provoke Israel further. Please pray for wisdom for Israeli military officials in the situation with Iran, and that we will not be drawn into a war with Iran. Please pray that the northern border will remain quiet. Please pray for a revival in these areas, that the Spirit of the Lord will move powerfully among the people there! Please also pray for safety for Israel's citizens who live in communities bordering Lebanon and Syria. Lastly, please pray that the plans of Israel's enemies will be absolutely frustrated and that all will see the mighty hand of God move to defend Israel, the apple of His eye!
Tensions Along Gaza-Israel Border
Militants from Gaza continue to send incendiary devices - many which are also rigged with explosives - into southern Israel. Violent Palestinian rioters have also caused much damage to the border area. One Palestinian militant killed a 21-year-old Israeli border officer when he shot the officer at point-blank range through a hole in the border wall. Numerous wildfires started as a result of the devices, destroying thousands of acres of vital crops. Israel treats these provocations as acts of war, and responds decisively with air strikes every time. However, Israel is caught between a rock and a hard place in responding to the incendiary devices since being accused of war crimes in its May 2021 military conflict with Hamas. Please pray for wisdom for Israel's military officials as they continue to face impossible decisions in this situation. Please also pray for Israelis living along the border with Gaza, for protection from attacks, and for reparations for property destroyed by the fires. Please also pray for the family of the slain Israeli soldier, for comfort in their grief. Lastly, please continue to pray for a breakthrough in the situation with Hamas, for a miracle of peace in the near future, or that Hamas will be thrown out of power.
FOLLOWING ARE SOME MINISTRY REQUESTS FOR HOPE FOR ISRAEL:
Moran & Family
Moran continues to seek wisdom from the Lord about the ever-changing nature of the ministry in these times. He is also considering if and when he should travel next. He still 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 as they head back to school this month.
Please pray for wisdom 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.
This month, we welcome back Sapir as our new Office Manager in our Jerusalem offices! Sapir has been with us off and on since she was 14 years old and we are so happy to welcome her back to the staff, especially as a new mother. Please pray for Sapir as she transitions back to work after spending the last year at home with her baby. We also ask for prayer for Bill Katz, our U.S. representative who has a very full travel schedule this month, speaking at 13 congregations, mostly throughout Montana. 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 a healthy and peaceful return to school.
NerYah Youth Group
The believing youth group's schedule coincides with the academic year. However, due to the numerous holidays this month, the group will begin its regular meetings in October. Preparations are underway for this coming year and we are very excited to welcome new youth who will be joining and welcome back those from the previous year! Please continue to pray that the youth will be hungry for God's word, and continue to 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 more young adult volunteers to join the youth group leadership. Lastly, please continue to pray for health for the youth and protection from infection from the surging coronavirus.
Believing Soldiers Groups
We sent out care packages at the end of August ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday to the soldiers. These are a great source of encouragement and love for our believing soldiers! Also, many youth from the NerYah group enlisted in the Israeli military over the summer. Please pray for our new young soldiers to enter this phase of their lives with confidence in the Lord and strength to withstand the challenges they will inevitably face. 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 difficult 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 will be meeting this month to award scholarships to the students who have applied. The university academic year begins in October, so students have this month off to enjoy the holidays with their family and friends. Please continue to pray for the believing students who receive financial & mentorship support from us, that they would enjoy this time of rest. 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 manages the staff who work with the students and as she plans 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
Over three 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 were very active in responding to the plethora of lies and misinformation that circulated during this last war with Hamas. 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 propaganda 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, as well as 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 in this season.
As of now, Israel remains mostly closed to tour groups. We are hopeful to resume group travel in the near future, but no one really knows when this will happen. Please join us in praying for wisdom for Moran as he continues to make tough decisions regarding the tour operations. Please pray for BJ for wisdom and flexibility in working with all those involved in rescheduling tours from 2020. There are still many details "up in the air" due to ever-changing local rules and global regulations, not only specific to sites in Israel, but also individual to the airlines, hotels and other players.
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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