I wish we could say that Israel’s troubles are over, but it is not true. Israel is still at war. Terror strikes in the streets of Israeli cities, as hostile Palestinians attempt to drive the Jewish people out of the Land and reclaim it for Islam. Their terror tactics are accompanied by duplicitous diplomatic maneuvering, causing the nations of the world to pressure Israel into making costly land concessions in order to meet their insatiable demands.
As we look around us, we see many casualties of this war. Since September of 2000, 1,063 Israelis have lost their lives, and 7,376 have been wounded. The figures are staggering when viewed in relation to the total population of the Jewish community of Israel, which is right at 5 million.
The latest victims are the Jewish people who were formerly residents of Gush Katif (Jewish Gaza) and were recently “disengaged” from their homes in order to appease the Palestinian people and Western leaders. We all wept as we saw these courageous, God-fearing civilians removed forcibly from their homes. They were farmers and Torah (first five books of the Bible) scholars, not fighters. Now, they are the new poor of Israel. Most of them lost their livelihoods, have no homes, and have no idea where they will live or how they will provide for their families. Many of the families are large, with eight or more children.
I met with Rachel at a Jerusalem hotel, where the Israeli government had placed her along with 30 other families. As we sat in the lobby, children and young people of all ages talked, played, and ran around the lobby. Their tired mothers watched them through tear-stained eyes. Fathers, with worried looks on their faces, spoke in hushed tones to other men.
“We lost everything,” said Rachel as she spoke with Richard Bristol, our Israel Operations Director, and me. I asked her why they did nothing to prepare for the day they would have to leave Gush Katif; after all, the government had talked about it for months. In answer, she spoke to me of the miracles they had experienced. Although under constant barrage from their hostile neighbors, who shot missiles, ambushed cars, bombed school buses, and shot into the communities, very few were killed. In fact, the cemetery—to be moved—only contains 43 people, which includes deaths from all reasons, not just terror.
“We were living with miracles, so we were sure there would be another miracle,” Rachel said. “If God saves you for so long, if you know there is going to be a miracle, then you don’t have to run away.” Sadly, she asked me, “What do we tell our children now?” They have many questions and very few answers.
Some are living in tents, others in run-down hotels, with large families existing in tiny rooms. Only a few have been put into homes, most of them small caravans (modular pre-fab constructions). They have not received their compensation checks from the government for their homes, which have been bulldozed. In any case, the amounts they receive will not be large, as any mortgage they owed will be deducted from the final amount.
The people have no money in their pockets and are not receiving salaries. Rachel started collecting small sums of money from concerned Israelis and parceling it out in small amounts, sharing equally with all the residents of her hotel. Imagine, not even being able to buy a glass of milk for your children. While staying in the hotels, they are only receiving two meals a day. How do you tell your child, “There won’t be lunch today, and I can’t afford to buy you anything to eat”?
The families are scattered throughout the country, all experiencing the same terrible loss, not knowing where to turn. Emotionally devastated, they are calling out to God for help, for answers.
God will answer! He is bigger than all their circumstances. He is stronger than all the nations who pressure Israel into unwise concessions. He is able to deliver. He is mighty to save.
He is not pleased that His land is being turned over to Israel’s enemies. Remember, the areas of Gush Katif were given to the tribe of Judah. The Lord impressed a Scripture on one of our intercessors, for this time:
“This shall be a sign to you. You shall eat this year such as grows of itself, and in the second year what springs up from the same; also in the third year you shall sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah, shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward” (2 Kings 19:30, NKJ).
It seems clear that the people will have a rough time and need sustenance for some time to come. Over 8,500 people are now unable to provide for themselves. They will survive and be strong and self¬-sufficient again, but it will take time. In the meantime, they are looking to God for help. I believe He is calling us to be His hand extended to them and others in Israel who are victimized by ongoing terror attacks.
They all need His love and care. With the largest food bank in Israel, Bridges for Peace has the infrastructure in place to feed many families. With our home repair team, we can assist with renovations to run-down properties. With our caring staff, we can minister God’s love to the people. We can give a glass of cold water to the thirsty in tent camps in the desert. We can minister Christian love during this time of trauma.
Will you join us in ministering God’s grace and mercy to the hurting? Please send your donation today. Let us be your hands of blessing to the traumatized children of Israel.
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Blessings from Jerusalem,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International Executive Director (CEO)
Bridges for Peace – Jerusalem
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