By Shira Sorko-Ram
Sgt. O. was seriously wounded on the fourth day of Israel’s ground operation in Gaza. It was in the hospital that this soldier and many others began to describe the horror they had just been through.
On July 17, Israel Defense Forces were sent into Gaza to begin the daunting task of ferreting out the enemy and its weapons hidden among the 1.8 million Gazans.
The particular mission of Sgt. O.’s platoon was exclusively to destroy tunnels. Sgt. O. recounts how his unit entered areas where no civilians were present, apparently having evacuated after receiving constant warnings from the IDF to leave the combat zones. However, in many of the homes the soldiers entered they found large stockpiles of weapons, explosives and booby traps.
THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD WAS A TERRORIST BASE
“It was very difficult to see how in Gaza there is an entire generation being raised on the values of hatred and violence against Israel,” says Sgt. O. “In every house we found magazines, newspapers and other media for anti-Israel propaganda. We even found some documents containing plans to conquer Israel and to build a Palestinian state over all the land of Israel.”
Still worse than the brainwashing was witnessing how Hamas had converted the neighborhood’s civilian buildings into a terrorist infrastructure. “The most worrying thing was the inconceivable amount of weaponry they had in their homes,” he says. “We even found explosives in nurseries. The whole neighborhood was practically a terrorist base.”
HAMAS STEALS FROM THE PEOPLE OF GAZA
“It was shocking to see how ordinary people live in poor conditions in empty houses while Hamas operatives - from those working in the tunnels to senior officials - live in big houses full of luxuries,” Sgt. O. said. “Not to mention all the money Hamas embezzled in constructing tunnels and smuggling weapons.”
Sgt. O. explains how his experience inside Gaza taught him that Hamas has no value for human life. “They do not want peace,” he says. “Hamas terrorists saw an IDF ground operation as an opportunity to kill as many soldiers as possible before dying themselves. Kill and die. That was their mission.”
Sgt. O. was shot by terrorists as his unit was ambushed by a Hamas cell emerging from a tunnel. The Israelis then came under fire from another group of terrorists who fired from the windows of surrounding homes in the neighborhood. Sgt. O.’s entire team was injured in the ambush, and one was killed, but they fought on, destroying a number of terrorist nests during the battle. (www.idfblog.com)
In all, the IDF found and destroyed 32 tunnels, some two kilometers long, estimated to cost the Palestinians one hundred million dollars. One of the several tunnels dug under the border of Israel ended next to a Kibbutz dining room and another at a kindergarten.
The soldiers found a stockpile of weapons equivalent to the armaments of an entire battalion. In another tunnel, detailed plans for a shock invasion of several hundred terrorists who planned to attack Israel through the tunnels this coming Rosh Hashanah. The realization of the strategic danger of these tunnels brought the people of Israel into a unity it has rarely known. The Jewish people understood that all tunnels had to be found and destroyed, and that could be done only by ground troops.
WIN/WIN FOR HAMAS
Many stories are circulating in Israeli media as hospitalized soldiers report what they encountered - Hamas gunmen literally charging at them while holding babies, and young children sent out with guns to attack or even wearing suicide belts, which could be detonated by Hamas operatives’ cell phones.
One parent recounted that terrorists had run at IDF soldiers with a gun in one hand and a baby in the other, apparently in hopes the soldiers would see the child and hold their fire long enough to be killed. If Israeli soldiers did fire, the parent added, the child’s death could be used as propaganda against Israel. The soldiers exclaimed in their pain that they had not been trained to kill children. (www.israelnationalnews.com, 22July2014)
But this news was barely, if ever, reported on BBC, CNN, France 24, MSNBC and other international media programs. They essentially reported the same content as al Jazeera, the TV station owned by Qatar, which, together with Iran, are the top financial patrons of terror in the world.
Night and day, western media flooded the world with wounded Palestinian women and Palestinian crying children. That was 90% of the stories presented on TV, and Internet and newspapers. (The one exception we saw was Fox News.)
One of the big stories in the news for days was the allegation that Israel had bombed a hospital. The hospital was hit, as well as a beach area near by. The Hamas health officer said ten children were killed at Shati Beach. Heads of states were outraged and thousands of European citizens protested in the streets - led by Muslim citizens.
But the IDF published an official statement asserting that it wasn’t Israel at all that had hit the hospital: “A short while ago Al-Shifa hospital was struck by a failed rocket attack launched by Gaza terror organizations. A barrage of three rockets aimed toward Israel, struck the hospital. At the time of the incident there was no Israeli military activity in the area surrounding the hospital whatsoever.”
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman, rubbished the claims as “ridiculous:” “The IDF did not carry out any strikes in that area. Shifa Hospital was not a target, nor was the Shati Beach camp. Both of those locations were struck by terrorist rockets that were launched towards Israel and fell short.”
In fact, more than 400 Hamas and Jihad rockets fell short of Israel, landing and destroying properties throughout Gaza.
Of course, Hamas strongly denied it was responsible for the strike: “The story being put forth by the “Occupation” that resistance rockets fell in Shifa Hospital and at the Children’s Park in the Al-Shati Refugee camp is a failed attempt to escape from this crime and its fears that this crime will be exposed and held judicially accountable,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.
He added, “Israeli shrapnel has been collected as evidence from these scenes.”
News Networks and media reported Hamas’ “information.” It was sometime later that newscasters, after they had left Gaza, reported the truth.
Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati tweeted, “Out of Gaza far from Hamas retaliation: Misfired rocket killed children in Shati.”
Barbati then confirmed that it was not an Israeli rocket that misfired in Shati killing children near a Gaza hospital: “@IDFSpokesperson said truth in communiqué released yesterday about Shati camp massacre. It was not Israel behind it.”
But with the BBC and virtually all the networks presenting hour by hour, 24 hours a day, wounded children and repeating Hamas’ count of “dead citizens, mostly women and children,” the damage to Israel was done.
DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE
I could give you dozens of such examples, but I am convinced that it wouldn’t make any difference at all.
Yes, Hamas uses human shields as core deterrent against Israel , including at times journalists who tried to leave Gaza.
Yes, Israel uses the most sophisticated technology and methods to avoid civilian casualties - telephoning people in neighborhoods about to be struck because of the terrorist tunnel exits, ammunition and command centers known to be in their buildings.
Yes, Israel sends automated messages on the phone, sends SMS’s and drops leaflets in the neighborhoods.
Yes, it is true that Hamas demands people stay in their homes which are to be targeted - martyrs make great media coverage, especially if they are women and children.
Yes, Hamas continually launches rockets from homes, hospitals and schools.
Yes, Hamas stored ammunition discovered in three UN buildings. In one case, when the missiles were found, the UN official ordered Hamas to take them away.
Yes, Hamas refuses to let journalists photograph even one Hamas operative - only women and children and old men.
Yes, it is true that the reason Israel will not freely open the crossings into Israel and give Hamas a port and an airport, is so that the terrorist organization will not have access to “duty-free” weapons and war materials.
Yes, it is true for anyone who cares to take a minute to google “Hamas Covenant” he or she will find that the sole reason that Hamas exists is to destroy the “Nazi Zionist enemy.”
Yes, it is true that thousands of Israeli children are suffering trauma from 11,000 rockets exploding in Israel over the last 10 years.
Yes, the leaders of Hamas use hospitals and schools as their command centers among thousands of civilians.
Yes, it is true that when asked, the New York Times explained it doesn’t ever show pictures of Hamas operatives because it simply doesn’t have any.
Besides, what they do so well is start their articles like the one today on their front page: “Tiny sandals are scattered on the doormat of a lawyer’s office above downtown Gaza City’s main street: The tiny feet belong to the children who are living in a temporary dental laboratory,” etc., etc., etc. (International New York Times, 19Aug2014)
No explanation whatsoever why these children were displaced…
But why repeat all these facts - that journalists in Gaza know, that the BBC knows, that the New York Times knows, that MSNBC knows, and all the major media outlets know. I have come to the conclusion that the truth no longer matters to them.
In an age of “everything is relative” reporters knew what they were to report before they ever arrived in Gaza. They arrived in the war zone with the fundamental belief that Israel is an illegal, illegitimate malignancy occupying - as Hamas and Muslims everywhere say - the historic land of Palestine which belongs exclusively to the Arab people.
That is why the United Nations Security Council condemned Israel’s right to defend herself. Out of 47 votes, only the United States rejected the resolution. European nations “abstained!” Whatever.
That is why William Schabas has been selected to open up a UN tribunal to investigate war crimes - of guess who? ISIS? Taliban? al-Qaida? Hezbollah? Are you serious? No, it is a tribunal to investigate the war crimes of Israel.
The man select by the UNHRC to be the leading judge is William Schabas - selected because he is one of the most blatant antiSemites they could find. He has publicly said that if he could pick someone to prosecute for war crimes, his first pick would be Benjamin Netanyahu.
But let us end on a light note. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called for an investigation of war crimes committed by Israel. One of the reasons, she said, is that Israel had not shared their Iron Dome missile system with Hamas. Yes, in what may be one of the most ridiculous accusations yet against Israel, the Jewish nation was “deliberately defying International Law” as could be seen by Israel’s refusal to share its Iron Dome ballistic missile defense shield with the “governing authority” of Gaza. (www.israelnationalnews.com 8Aug2014)
So by now, I’m sure you get it. There is no reasonable moral cause for the nations of the world coming against Israel. Who wants to support terrorists? Democratic nations or even the UN don’t back most other terrorist organizations like ISIS and the Taliban. So why Israel? Only Israel?
The Bible says it all. The world is coming against Israel because the god of this world is directing world events. Only born-again, Bible-believing Jews and Christians understand the purpose of Israel’s existence - to usher in the Messiah of the World who will come first to the Mount of Olives in the Jewish city of Jerusalem.
Our job together as believers is to bring deliverance to the people of Israel - and to the Arabs. Only Messiah Yeshua will ever bring an end to this conflict. Yes, it is when the people of the world have an opportunity to know the loving God of Israel, multitudes will choose abundant life and Life Everlasting. Let’s double our efforts.
Hamas firing rockets inside a building
OPERATION PROTECTIVE EDGE
BY THE NUMBERS
The IDF initiated Operation Protective Edge to put an end to the terror attacks emanating from Gaza. In the three weeks leading up to July 8, terrorists fired 250 rockets capable of reaching Israel’s largest population centers and endangering 3.5 million Israeli lives. More than half a million Israelis had less than 60 seconds to find shelter after hearing a rocket siren. Tens of thousands had only 15 seconds.
THE ROCKET THREAT
The IDF initiated Operation Protective Edge in response to incessant, indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza directed at Israeli civilians.
Between July 8 and August 6:
Terrorists in Gaza fired 3,360 rockets at Israel.
2,303 rockets hit Israel.
115 rockets hit populated areas in Israel.
584 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome [at a cost of $50,000 each].
475 rockets landed within the Gaza Strip [causing extensive damage].
119 rocket launches failed.
Before the operation, IDF intelligence assessed that terrorists in Gaza held approximately 10,000 rockets. 1/3 of these rockets were fired at Israel, and an additional 1/3 were destroyed by IDF forces.
THE TUNNEL THREAT
On July 17, IDF ground troops were moved into Gaza to locate and destroy the underground tunnel network used by Hamas to infiltrate and attack Israel.
Between July 17 and August 5:
IDF forces neutralized 32 terror tunnels.
14 of these tunnels crossed into Israel.
2 tunnels had access points located 300m-500m from Israel.
HAMAS EXPLOITED CIVILIAN INFRASTRUCTURE
Hamas abuses the civilians and civilian infrastructure of Gaza for terrorist purposes. These abuses constitute severe violations of international law.
Between July 8 and August 5:
Terrorists fired 597 rockets from civilian facilities in Gaza.
Approximately 260 rockets were fired from schools.
Approximately 160 rockets were fired from religious sites, including mosques.
Approximately 127 rockets were fired from cemeteries.
Approximately 50 rockets were fired from hospitals.
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SENIOR INFANTRY OFFICER DESCRIBES DIVINE PROTECTION IN GAZA
By Shira Sorko-Ram
Commander Ofer Winter made headlines over an official dispatch he sent to his battalion on July 9, asking God to prosper the way of his soldiers in their mission to “defeat an enemy which blasphemes and curses the God of Israel’s (defense) forces.”
In the missive he called upon “the God of Israel” to “make our path successful as we go and stand to fight for the sake of your people of Israel against a foe which curses your name.”
As expected, the letter drew harsh criticism from atheists and seculars, claiming he was defining the war as a religious one. Winter defended the message he sent to the troops, saying that in combat situations everyone finds God.
“Anyone who attacked me for the letter apparently has only seen weapons in pictures, was never in combat, and doesn’t know what fighting spirit is,” he said and revealed that before going into action his custom was to recite the blessing with which the ancient Israelite priests would bless the army before it went to war.
“When a person is in a life-threatening situation he connects with his deepest internal truths, and when that happens, even the biggest atheist meets God,” he said, claiming that soldiers see so many miracles that “it is hard not to believe [in God].”
Indeed, during the war, Winter claimed to have witnessed a miraculous occurrence, the likes of which he had never seen before during his military career.
He said that a predawn raid that was intended to make use of the dark as concealment was delayed, forcing the soldiers to move toward their objective as the sun was about to rise. The soldiers were in danger of being revealed in the light but, Winter recalled, a heavy fog descended to cover their movements until the objective was achieved.
“Suddenly a cloud protected us,” he said, making a reference to the clouds that the Bible says protected the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. “Clouds of glory.”
Only when the soldiers were in a secure position did the fog dissipate, he said.
“It really was a fulfillment of the verse ‘For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to give you victory,’” he said, quoting a passage from Deuteronomy.
9 July 2014
Combat Commander’s Letter [translation]
For Operation “Protective Edge”
Dear Commanders and Fighters,
It has been our great privilege to command and serve in the Givati Brigade at this time. History has chosen us to be at the spearhead of the warfare against the terrorist enemy from Gaza, which curses, reviles and blasphemes the God of Israel’s battles. We have trained and prepared for this time and we take upon ourselves the mission with full humility, and being willing to endanger ourselves and give our lives to protect our families, our nation and our homeland.
We will work together with resolve and strength, with initiative, and with wise counsel and aim for contact with the enemy. We will do everything to live up to the mission and destroy the enemy and remove the threat from the people of Israel. We will not return without accomplishment.
We will do everything to return our boys safely. Using all means at our disposal and with all required force.
I trust you, each and every one of you, to act in this spirit, in the spirit of Israeli warriors who are on the frontline leading the camp. The spirit of Givati (Brigade). I lift my eyes to the heavens and proclaim together with you, “Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God is One Lord.” Lord God of Israel, make our path successful, as we are about to fight for your people Israel, against an enemy who defames your Name. In the name of the IDF fighters and specifically, the fighters and commanders from this Brigade, may it be with us as it is written, “For the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” And we will answer, Amen.
Together and only together we will win.
Ofer Winter, Colonel
Commander of the Givati Brigade
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MESSIANIC IDF FIGHTING FORCE FOR ISRAEL
By David Lazarus
Staff Sgt. Shai Kushnir of the 188th Armored Brigade was
killed in Gaza along with four fellow soldiers by a mortar
shell. A Messianic Jew, he was a member of Ohalei Rahamim
(Tents of Mercy) congregation in Kiryat Yam. His
sister Shirel (pictured here) and her family are members
of congregation Tiferet Yeshua, Tel Aviv.
A lone guitar chord echoes across the room as over a hundred Israeli soldiers rise to their feet to ask for help. With outstretched hands they reach toward the heavens and like David the warrior Psalmist they cry, “We are surrounded by enemies, but you Lord are able to deliver us. With you O Lord, I can be a brave soldier.”
For these 18-24 year old Messianic Jewish soldiers fighting for Israel, Yeshua the Messiah is a source of comfort and strength. “I wouldn’t be able to last one more day in the army without Yeshua in my life,” says Oren, a commander in an elite naval unit. “The pressure is so intense,” he admits. “These times of worship and prayer are like a breath of fresh air for me.”
Just a few years ago this would have been unimaginable. It was not that long ago a Messianic Jew in Israel could not get a job or rent an apartment without hiding his or her faith. Messianic Jews were considered a security risk by authorities and were prohibited from serving in sensitive army units. They certainly were not allowed to command elite troops in the Israeli army.
Now we have a younger, savvier generation of native-born Messianic Jews and all has changed. Messianics are now serving as commanders, high-ranking officers and fighter-jet pilots in every branch of the Israeli military including intelligence, which requires the highest level of security checks. The IDF in coordination with the Prime Minister’s office have given a green light for Messianic Jewish soldiers to help lead the battle for the defense of Israel.
MESSIANIC JEWISH SOLDIERS:
A FIGHTING FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
A large percentage of Messianic Jews choose to serve in elite fighting units and there are growing numbers of Messianic officers and commanders volunteering to serve in specialized units. Messianic Jewish youth in Israel are highly motivated to serve in the IDF, and together with strong family and congregational support they are increasingly being recognized as excellent soldiers for Israel’s army.
Orly, a 19-year-old Messianic Jewess serves in a highly secretive intelligence unit where she instructs soldiers in the use of high-tech surveillance equipment. “The soldiers I teach are responsible for the lives of millions of people,” she says. “It gets really intense and it helps me a lot to be able to pour out my heart before the Lord and share with my Messianic friends,” she says.
When 18-year-old Elisha, a Messianic Jewish Sabra (Israeli born) completed his basic training, he joined the hundreds of soldiers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel, and receive his machine gun and Hebrew Old Testament given to all new recruits. During the ceremony, Elisha raised his hand above the battalion shouting to the commander, “Sir, may I use my Brit Hadasha (New Testament) with the Tanakh (Hebrew scriptures) to pledge allegiance with?” The officer shouted back, “Yes, you may, Elisha!” And so Elisha joined the growing numbers of hundreds openly Messianic Jewish soldiers serving in the IDF.
Elisha was chosen to serve in the highly sophisticated Iron Dome Anti-Missile unit so effectively protecting Israel’s citizens from the thousands of Hamas rockets coming out of Gaza. Like most young Messianic Jews in Israel, Elisha, who has been promoted to First Sergeant, says he is proud to serve his country. He affirms his faith in the Messiah Yeshua gives him an even greater desire to serve the nation of Israel. In his own words... “I feel like I am doing something really important. This is something I am prepared to do for my people. I am glad that I can be here for such a time as this.”
“LOOK AT ME AND DO AS I DO”
That is the commandment Gideon gave his troops as he led them into battle (Judges 7:17). It is also the motto of Joshua, a Messianic Jewish IDF Captain and Platoon Commander who today trains and leads the troops protecting the borders around Jerusalem.
His teams of young soldiers face a tense and complicated situation daily. Defending the capital of Israel from armed terror groups is both dangerous and frustrating. “For me, this is a really important job,” says the Messianic Captain. “We are dealing with a huge problem here, and nobody knows how to fix it. Not many soldiers want to do this job. A big part of my job is keeping my soldiers motivated. Everyday I need to remind them about how important their job is. I’ve come to realize that we don’t live in a world where everything goes the way you want,” the experienced Captain says. “Serving here wakes us up to the harsh realities of life in Israel and just how complicated it can be.”
Messianic Officer Joshua talked about his role in training and leading his soldiers during these troubled times as Israel is again experiencing heightened tensions after a series of high profile kidnappings, torture, murder and terror attacks leading to the all-out war that broke out with Hamas in Gaza this summer.
“People in Israel are angry about the constant terror attacks on our people and some IDF soldiers are calling for revenge against Arabs. So I called an emergency meeting with all of our soldiers and explained to them that this kind of behavior is illegal. As soldiers in the IDF they cannot take these matters into their own hands. The IDF has a clear code of ethics and guidelines requiring restraint in order to preserve innocent lives, Arab and Jewish. There is absolutely no place for any anti-Arab behavior in the IDF,” the Messianic Captain emphasized.
The Officer explained that soldiers who have been caught calling for revenge against Arabs were immediately put in prison. “I warned all of my soldiers that they cannot make these types of statements. Not on Facebook, not on the internet or even in conversations. It is absolutely forbidden, by law, for an IDF soldier to make these kinds of statements,” the Captain told his troops.
“I told them that if they take revenge on the Palestinians they are no better than the terrorists, who teach their children to hate and kill the Jews. I told my soldiers that in Israel and in the IDF we will not allow our soldiers to fall into that dark hell,” Captain Joshua warned his troops.
“I explain to them that we cannot do whatever we want just because we are angry. This is a civilized country with very high moral standards. We will do whatever we can to protect our country, but we also insist that our soldiers do not take matters into their own hands,” he told his soldiers.
SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAEL
Because of his strong regard for high moral standards coupled with his experience and personal example in the field, the Messianic Captain was chosen to be a spokesman for IDF. The Israeli army asked Officer Joshua to help explain Israel’s dilemma to the world and demonstrate the exemplary moral values he requires of Israeli soldiers. While Palestinians obsessively complain about the so-called “atrocities suffered at the hands of Israel,” Captain Joshua tells the real story in a number of short video clips produced by the IDF. Here is a sample: http://goo.gl/XYNnLy
A brief survey of social media will reveal that young Messianic Jews the world over have become an important source of support for Israel battling against the torrents of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli bias in the media.
GOD OF THE ARMIES OF ISRAEL
There are many hundreds of Messianic Jewish soldiers now joined in the battle for Israel. These young Messianic soldiers are a unique generation having watched their parents stand on God’s promises in the face of wars, terror, persecutions and even hatred because of their faith, sometimes standing alone, yet never losing hope in the One they trust. These Messianic Jewish fighters are eyewitnesses to the faithfulness of the God of Israel, His provision and protection.
Growing up in this faith crucible of persecutions and conflict, standing together for the right to be followers of Yeshua in their own land, amongst their own people, this vibrant young generation of Messianic military officers, fighters, doctors, nurses, lawyers, professors, school teachers, artisans, business men and women are having a huge impact on Israel and on attitudes towards Jesus and Messianic Jewish faith in every sector of Israeli society.
Seeing their love for the people of Israel, their desire to please God and their commitment to the Jewish nation, this young generation fills my heart with faith and hope for our future - Israel’s future. Watching them run to the battle ready to serve our people, full of faith and confidence, ready to give their lives for God, and for their nation, I am brought to my knees in tears of gratitude to the God of the armies of Israel.
David Lazarus is pastor of the Messianic congregation Beit Immanuel in Jaffa-Tel Aviv.
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HELPING ISRAELIS AFFECTED BY THE WAR
The poor, the elderly, single parent families and Holocaust survivors in cities bombarded with Hamas missiles and rockets. They came in small groups to receive $120 food certificates donated by contributors of istandwithisrael.com.
Dear Istandwithisrael Friends,
Last month was one of the most challenging times we have ever experienced here in Ashdod (southern Israel). The stress and the intensity of continuous and unceasing rocket fire, with sirens going off several times an hour, and having to locate and run to the nearest bomb shelter, was emotionally and physically overwhelming.
As difficult as this sounds, one of the biggest challenges during this time has been our economy. Many businesses were forced to close during this month of war, and factories and organizations suffered substantial financial hardship.
Since it was the summer holidays, kids were home from school, but the summer activities and camps were all cancelled, and many mothers were forced to stay home with their children because of the rockets, thus losing a month’s salary.
It’s safe to say this situation affected everyone - especially low-income families and people who were already living in need and below the poverty line.
We have been able to reach out and bring comfort and support to our neighborhoods that were under fire.
We visited people at home, visited children in bomb shelters (some of them spent their summer camps there), and brought them special wartime relief packages. With the generous donations IstandwithIsrael provided, we were able to distribute 400 shekel food coupons ($120) to 303 families in 5 difference cities in the South who experienced the heaviest rocket fire. For many, this would supply food for a month!
Because of the security situation, we couldn’t bring together a large number of people. So instead, we organized bringing small groups of people together and distributed among them the aid.
Through IstandwithIsrael 97 households in Kiryat Gat, 128 households in Ashdod, 43 in Ashkelon, 15 in Sderot and 20 in Gan Yavne - 303 families, holocaust survivors, elderly, handicapped, and single mothers who couldn’t work at all this month were blessed!
For some of the older people, and some of our war veterans, the situation was even more stressful and traumatic, having already endured so much trauma in their lives.
One older gentleman was extremely moved by the fact that Israel has friends such as IstandwithIsrael and said, “In times of trouble - you are there!” The sheer care and support meant as much as the needed help itself!
Your gifts of love, care, food and supplies were accepted everywhere we went with enormous gratitude and we are thankful to Maoz and IstandwithIsrael friends who have made it possible for so many people in need during such a difficult time.
Israel is Senior Pastor of Beit Hallel Congregation and founded Voice of Judah Israel Ministry. www.vojisrael.org
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LONE SOLDIER FROM CALIFORNIA
A lone soldier is a young person who leaves his native country without family, to move to Israel and serve in the IDF. They have a very special place in the hearts of the Israeli people. When Max Steinberg, who served in the Golani Brigade, was killed in action in Gaza, 30,000 Israelis attended his funeral.
Knesset Member Dov Lipman, himself an oleh (immigrant) from the US, gave the eulogy. Here is a portion:
“What could motivate a young American to leave the comforts and security of a loving home with a more familiar future ahead of him, to move to a land where he had no family, no friends, could not speak the language, was in greater danger, and had an uncertain future?
“I think the answer can be found in words that Max’s mother related to the press in the United States - ‘He felt that if this was his calling, that being on the sidelines, or even in the backseat, was just not going to work,’ - Max heeded the call of Moses as we read in this past week’s Torah portion: ‘Will your brothers go to war while you remain here?’
“And to understand this decision one step deeper, we need to look no further back than the last words which Max shared with his mother:
“He reached her at 4 a.m. - early Saturday morning - after coming out of Gaza for a brief refreshing break - and he said, ‘Mom I’m not scared at all for me, I’m scared for you. I’m fine, I’m going back in.’
“Those last words say it all - concern for his mother but not for himself. Worry for his beloved state, but not for himself. Fear for the well-being of his Jewish brothers and sisters, but not for his own. This describes the ultimate giver - the person who doesn’t ask what most people ask - what can I do for myself - but the person who asks what he can do for others, even if that means personal risk and harm.
“Max Steinberg, is the newly found hero to hundreds of thousands of young Israelis, and to millions of young Jews around the world. Max is causing young people to refocus on what is important in life. Look around you. Look at the masses of people who have come to pay respect to their new hero.
“Max - now it is time to say goodbye - but before we do so I turn to you as a representative of Knesset, and on behalf of the citizens of Israel and Jews around the world to say thank you. Thank you for protecting our children, thank you for protecting our state, thank you for protecting the Jewish people, and thank you for showing us that a regular American boy from California can raise himself to the level of Jewish and Israeli hero.”
Dear Ari, Shira and MAOZ,
On behalf of the JIJ Team, I'd like to thank you for your very generous donation to our campaign to "Father the Fatherless" during Operation Protective Edge. We gave some of the kits to the Lone Soldiers of Jerusalem at an erev Shabbat dinner Friday night and we will continue to give them as the soldiers come and go from the front lines and their bases. Others were given to units in Armored Tank units and Navy Seals.
They were glad to receive the special kit prepared for them which included; t-shirt, socks, boxers, large towel, mosquito repellent, high quality ear phones, and a good battery charger for their phones with multiple adapters for various kinds of phones.
Thank you again for partnering iwth the Jerusalem Institute of Justice to bless Israel's Lone Soldiers!
Many blessings and Praying for Peace,
Lydia Morgan CAO
Jerusalem Institute of Justice
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YESHUA IS STILL ALIVE
AND WORKING IN ISRAEL!
By Ron Cantor
Every year millions of Christians make pilgrimage to Israel. They enjoy the deep history of ancient Israel, they marvel as they touch the very waters of the Jordan where Yeshua was immersed, and envision the Messiah teaching in the Galilee and in the Temple courts in Jerusalem.
This is awesome!
However, these tours are lacking in one aspect. YESHUA IS NOT DEAD!
He is still here in Israel and moving mightily in the more than 150 Messianic congregations and home fellowships. One could say, not only can you walk in His footsteps, but you can witness the fresh imprints of His feet today here in the local body of believers.
At Congregation Tiferet Yeshua (the Glory of Yeshua) in Tel Aviv, we are enjoying a wonderful season of growth.
Recently a young orthodox Jew gave his life to Yeshua. He can’t wait to get immersed in water on his physical birthday. He is devouring the New Covenant!
Another young man was confused for months, after coming to faith, by professional anti-Messianic orthodox Jews. He has finally told them to get lost and he has returned to the congregation.
M and S came to faith about a year and a half ago and they are now leading our young adults group. I visited last night and was amazed at the depth of maturity and focus that they displayed. I love being around them because they challenge and push me to not settle for anything less than what we see in the Bible. Sometimes leaders are intimidated by zealous young believers, but we want more! We don’t want to pour water on their fire, but to teach them wisdom.
We recently look about 80 congregants to what we call in Hebrew, a Yom Gibush. It means a time to build friendships and unity. We rented two buses and went to a place called Sachne, a natural pool and one of the most beautiful places in Israel. The best part was that a year ago we did something similar and hardly anyone came. It was a testimony of how over the past year, we have come together as a congregation. At the end of the day, it was obvious that everyone was blessed. At our weekly staff meeting the next day, the whole team just wanted to share stories from the Yom Gibush.
One of the most exciting things that happened recently came through a young immigrant from Brazil. Before making Aliyah (moving to Israel) she, her brother and her mother served the poor in São Paulo, ministering with music and love in some of the most dangerous slums in Brazil. Despite being immensely talented, she has sought to serve in any way needed and has never even asked to sing.
Two weeks ago, we finally asked her to sing a song at the end of the service. Within minutes, the whole congregation was dancing as the Spirit of God fell on us. It was one of the most amazing visitations in the spirit that I have had since moving here in 2003. And I was not alone. When she was done, the congregation shouted, Ode, Ode! More! More!
What was so wonderful about her offering of praise is that she combined cultural Israeli music with worship. It has put a hunger in me to help invest in our young musicians to create a new sound of worship that will attract native born Israelis.
Having once tasted a lasting revival in another land, in another language, that is the goal here! Revival or bust! The prophets speak of the Jewish people coming to the waters of salvation en mass in the end times (Ez. 36:25, Hos. 3:4-5, Zech. 12:10). Paul talks about a revival in which he prophesied, “all Israel will be saved.”
Please agree with us in prayer for this move of God to come. We need the prayers of believers around the world. Together, we will see Revival in Tel Aviv! Thank you for standing with us.
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Once again, this year we are pleased to offer our partners a beautiful 16-month Hebrew calendar, beginning September 2014, for your gift of $35 or more while supplies last. (Online offer available in US only please!)
The calendar features stunning photographs of Israel (suitable for framing) along with scriptures of blessing. And, of course, all major Jewish and Israeli Holidays are marked and explained, as well as Sabbath times.
This year, the calendar also highlights the rare and significant Blood Moons and accompanying Solar Eclipse. Supply limited so send your gift TODAY and request your calendar!
For your gift of $50 or more, we will send you TWO calendars, if requested.
Dear Maoz Partner,
As we write you, we find ourselves in the middle of another war which the world will not permit Israel to win. And so, to our sorrow, though there may be pauses here and there, very likely a war of attrition will continue. The simple reason is that Hamas exists to destroy Israel.
During this time, the generosity of our Maoz partners is beyond anything we could have imagined. We have already given to four separate ministries a total of $54,000 for Israelis in great need because of the war, and for soldiers on the frontlines.
Not only this, but we have already received over $60,000 for Syrian refugees, of which every cent will be used to bring help and needed food, diapers, and other essential supplies to the refugees. This is far more than any of us dreamed!
As more funds continue to come in, the Israeli humanitarian team - with whom we are partnering - is also planning a trip to Irbil in Kurdistan, where the atrocities against those people are horrific. The team will be working with the Evangelical churches there that are aiding thousands of refugees fleeing from ISIS. We already have enough to send at least $10,000 with the team to bring jackets and blankets and basic necessities for the refugees there as winter will soon be upon them.
As the world explodes with needs in Kurdistan, Jordan, Syria and across the Middle East, we are thinking of the greatest crisis of all - ETERNITY. Our hearts are heavy with the great need to preach, publish, and broadcast the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah. Yeshua is the Answer! THE ONLY answer. We feel compelled to give Israelis the opportunity to hear what God says about salvation, about repentance, about His Son who came to save those who are lost.
We must always remember, the greatest need for humanity is salvation. When crisis comes, we want to be the ones who bring the Good News!
One of the most important ways to touch lives is through the Local Body - the local congregations throughout the country. Only through congregations can new believers find a community, become accountable, grow in their faith, and be taught the Word of God by men and women who have been tried and tested.
We believe that Congregation Tiferet Yeshua, which we founded, and which now is in the able hands of Asher and Betty Intrater, together with Ron and Elana Cantor and a team of elders, is part of God’s plan to train up this new generation of believers in Tel Aviv.
We ask you to help us bring the Good News of Salvation to downtown Tel Aviv - reaching the lost, the rich and the poor, the seekers, and those who are asking the questions about the meaning and purpose for their lives.
Help us this month to reach, train and mentor the people of Israel’s “sin city” who so desperately need God.
For Israel’s salvation,
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. This month on the eve of the 24th is Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the High Holidays. Be sure to ask for your Jewish calendar when you give your gift for the people of Israel. Happy Jewish New Year!
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