One day an immigrant from the former Soviet Union said to me, “In Russia we had money to buy bread but there was no bread. In Israel, bread is everywhere but we have no money.”
Elie Wiesel, the well-known author and Holocaust survivor, described hunger in his book Night, saying, “Bread, soup—these were my whole life. I was a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starved stomach. The stomach alone was aware of the passage of time.”
In Israel today, 25% of the population lives in poverty. Many of them are working poor who have minimum wage jobs and just barely eke out a meager living. These families are the fortunate poor, but, even they often reach the third week of the month not knowing how they will feed their family for the final week. Then there are the 400,000 who live in dire poverty, not knowing how they will eat tomorrow.
Working through Israel’s social services network, soup kitchens and charities, as well as direct distribution, Bridges for Peace is giving 70 tons of food each month, providing more than 28,000 hungry people with life-sustaining food. Reaching out with Christian love, we touch the lives of people in 52 communities across Israel.
Dimona is a city in southern Israel where many live in poverty. Ela and her eight children live there. The youngest is only 8 months old and the oldest child, 15. Life was never easy for the large family existing on limited means. But recently, Ela’s husband left her. That’s when things got desperate. She asked her parents for help, but they had nothing to give. Imagine Ela’s pain as she looked into the eyes of her hungry children. Things were very bad. Then she found help from the Heart to Heart organization in Dimona. They provided her with clothing for the children, but, even more importantly, with food—food provided by Bridges for Peace. It was literally life saving. When she found out the food was from Christians from around the world who care about the well-being of Jewish families in Israel, she was overwhelmed with amazement and gratitude. Now she has hope for a better future and the satisfaction of knowing that her children have food to eat.
It is clear that God cares about the needy, about widows and the orphans, about those without hope. James says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (1:27). Psalm 68:5 describes God’s caring character, “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.” God says that He will come to their aid, “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns” (Ps. 12:5).
This issue is so important to God that, in the end, He will judge the nations for how they treated those in need, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’” (Matt. 25:31-40). The passage goes on to say that those who did not care for the needy will face eternal judgment. God is serious about caring for those in need!
At Bridges for Peace, we feel privileged to be called by God to minister to the needy among the Jewish people. When I think of the pain in Ela’s eyes as she looked at her hungry children, I realize that Yeshua (Jesus) also looks with pain at the hungry eyes of His earthly family. He is moved with compassion.
Are our hearts beating with His? Are we moved with compassion for the people of Israel? Are we willing to practice pure and undefiled religion? The answer is “YES!” We are ready to feed the hungry of Israel.
At this very moment, our Christian staff is preparing food bags, our trucks are delivering food to immigrants, widows, children, and Holocaust survivors all over Israel. Today, 28,000 of them are eating because Bridges for Peace is here distributing food donated by caring Christians. Will you join us as we meet their needs and show them God’s love? As we minister to their needs, we believe that Yeshua’s words will be fulfilled, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). I urge you to give generously as unto the Lord.
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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