Palestinian Muslims have erupted in a spree of rage-filled violence in Israel. Brutal stabbings, riots in the streets, vehicular homicide and shooting sprees have been daily fare. One father and mother were shot to death in front of their four young children. Wives have become widows, and children orphans. Many remain in hospital, some in critical condition. Not since the terrible days of the second intifada have we seen such levels of terrorism in our streets and on our buses. Most of the attackers have been teens armed with all manner of knives including axes and machetes.
During wartime we have contended with missiles, but we have an early warning siren system which at least gives people a chance to run to shelters. One Israeli mother cried out this week, “Stabbings have no warning siren; how do I protect my children from such random attacksI can’t lock them up in a shelter.” Her feelings are echoed on the faces of Israelis all around us.
Bridges for Peace team members sobbed after hearing the news of the attack of bus 78 in which two were killed and eight remain in hospital from their stab and gunshot wounds. Many on our team ride the 78 bus twice a day to and from work. The streets are strangely silent today, the buses half empty as people fear the next attack. The government is in emergency meetings to discuss ways to deal with this new threat. Many soldiers have been called to help the police, metal detectors have been placed at entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem, and the security and police are on high alert.
At the same time our borders with Syria and Lebanon in the north, Egypt in the south and Gaza in the west have heated up. The mayor of Karmiel has let us know that they expect the next attacks to be from the north and fierce. He wants to know that our food stored in Karmiel will be available in such times. Of course we assured him that we are here to show love and support every day of the year but especially in the hard times.
At Bridges for Peace we understand that this is the time to stand firmly with the Jewish people in their time of pain and confusion. “‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God” (Isa. 40:1). No one on our team has run away. We of course, are taking extra precautions to protect our team members—ensuring that no one has to ride on public transportation during this time. We are prepared to show love now, in the hard times. One hundred people are here with us for a Solidarity Mission. Our message to Israel and the Jewish people is resolute—You are Not Alone.
Our team is preparing and giving food to emergency workers this weekend. We are preparing baskets for grieving families sitting shiva (seven day period of mourning). In the days to come we will be meeting the needs of the widows, orphans and wounded.
Your financial gifts to our Victims of War fund will enable us to reach out in comfort and love to the people of Israel. Your gift to Food will help us to store more food in our bulk storage facility in Karmiel in preparation for war. Your prayers are vital at this time. Thank you for standing with Bridges for Peace, our staff and the people of Israel as together we face this onslaught of evil and rage.
Blessings from Israel,
International President and CEO
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