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Zohar: You Are Not Alone!

April 30, 2024

Chaim’s heart pounded as he exited the gates of Zohar and steered his pickup cautiously along the familiar road. As the head of security for the tiny community near the Gaza border, he and his deputy would serve as a makeshift barrier between the attacking hordes and the families in Zohar. They drove, weapons loaded and ready, as hundreds of missiles, fired from Gaza into Israel, streaked through the air while the Red Alert siren blared.

It was early morning October 7, and from the moment the attack started at 6:29 a.m., Chaim knew it wasn’t just missiles. Together with his deputy, he went on the offensive, taking the fight out of the community.

A public bomb shelter in Zohar

Chaim was well aware of just how vulnerable the people in Zohar would be to a full-scale attack. Although the community is located only 3 miles [5 km.] from Gaza, it lacked a security team, with Chaim and his deputy the only armed defenders. Moreover, because most of Zohar’s homes were built in the 1970s during a time of terrible poverty, none of the residences had safe rooms. As a result, when missile attacks came, the 600 residents of Zohar would rush from their homes to the twelve public bomb shelters located around the community—all old structures with no lights, air conditioning or bathrooms.

These public shelters were all constructed similarly: a doorway leading to a narrow flight of stairs descending into the square, cement safe room underground, with the last person in shutting the steel door. However, because the shelters were designed as a place of safety from rockets, not terrorists, the steel doors had no locks.

During rocket attacks in the past, the people of Zohar would crowd into the shelters, leaving little room to move. They would then wait 10–20 minutes before returning home. But October 7 was different. This time, the missiles didn’t stop. Barrage after barrage rained down as terrified families with screaming children huddled in utter darkness for hours.

Meanwhile, Chaim and his deputy were outside Zohar’s gates, ready for the terrorists coming in the wake of the rockets. They came as a horde of 80 heavily armed Hamas terrorists zooming in on the tiny community. Chaim identified them as an Iranian-trained, Hamas Nakba unit, trained to fan out in an attempt to flank the Israeli security pickup truck coming towards them. Chaim slammed on the brakes and turned the truck at a 45-degree angle. Zohar’s security team of two leapt out of the truck as the terrorists began firing rapidly at them and sought shelter behind the vehicle. They began returning fire, knowing that if they were killed, the people of Zohar would be slaughtered.

Miraculously, Chaim and his deputy survived. Intimidated and demoralized by the two Israeli warriors defending the road to Zohar, the terrorists retreated, leaving behind a dozen of their dead. Chaim and his deputy praised God for their lives, but the day was far from over.

Throughout the day and into the night, Chaim fought terrorists along the Gaza periphery, encountering hundreds of burned cars and the bodies of young Israelis everywhere, many gunned down or burned alive in their vehicles as they tried to flee. Among them, he discovered the body of his brother-in-law riddled with bullets and hanging partially out of his car. In the backseat, he found his best friend and his best friend’s fiancée, a beautiful young woman named Shir Yaron, slumped forward and lifeless. Thanks to the bravery of Chaim and his deputy, Zohar had not been infiltrated and destroyed, but six of its residents were murdered on the road outside the community.

Yaniv showing us the map of the Zohar community

Bridges for Peace had the privilege of meeting Chaim through a community leader named Yaniv, who loves the people of Zohar. We heard Chaim’s heroic story firsthand as he showed us the awful video footage of that day. Yaniv walked us through the community, pointing out dilapidated homes surrounded by sidewalks encroached by weeds and decay. We stood silently before a memorial to the murdered victims in the village’s community center, paying our respects, our hearts shattered as we saw the pictures of the beautiful individuals who were murdered simply for being Jewish. Finally, we witnessed the terrible conditions of the bomb shelters.

We now know the extent of October 7. Over 1,300 Israelis murdered, hundreds kidnapped into Gaza and thousands wounded. Zohar was part of that terrible day. The community survived because the Lord God of Israel filled Chaim and his deputy with courage and strength to defend the helpless. At the same time, Zohar is in deep mourning for those who never made it home.

As we, the Christians of Bridges for Peace stood in Zohar, offering our help, Yaniv shared, “When people come here and talk about dreams, it gives me hope.” He hugged me, praising God that we had come. We told him and other Zohar residents about Christians from around the world who stand with Israel, pray for Israel and seek to love what God loves. More times than I can recall, Yaniv replied “Amen” or “Baruch HaShem” (Blessed is the Name) as I informed him that Bridges for Peace would like to support Zohar. After we departed, Yaniv called me in tears, saying that once we had left, the Zohar residents started praising God, rejoicing, “Finally people see us! Finally they care! We’re not alone!”

Bridges for Peace wants to lift this community up from poverty and trauma to demonstrate the love of God to them through our partnership. Our desire is to repair a clubhouse for the youth, upgrade the bomb shelters, invest in the education of Zohar’s children and assist with gardening and community projects so that the people of Zohar experience Christian love like never before. Our plan starts now! Together, let’s leave our mark on this beautiful community in the south of Israel near the Gaza Strip. Let’s remind them that they are not alone. Please partner with Bridges for Peace to help the people of Zohar.

With hope and expectation,

Rev. Peter Fast

Photo Credit: Click on photo to see credit

Bridges for Peace is committed to blessing the people of Israel in a variety of ways.

Greatest Ministry Need

Your contribution to this fund will be used to support the educational and operational costs of running Bridges for Peace.

Greatest Israel Need

This fund gives us the flexibility to meet needs not covered by our regular projects and to respond quickly to urgent needs.

Food Project

“If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness…” (Isa. 58:10)

The BFP food bank in Jerusalem oversees the distribution of over nine tons of food every week. The food is heading to the homes of Israel’s needy. Purchased in Israel, the food meets the kosher requirements and contributes to the GDP.

New immigrants benefit, as well as those who have been here for a longer time. Holocaust survivors, poor children—both in the Jewish and Arab sectors—orphanages, and Jewish community centers are all on our list of recipients. Let us turn your contribution into much-needed food.

Adoption Program

Through our Adoption Program, you have an opportunity to sponsor a Jewish family or individual in Israel for a year, helping them through a critical time in their lives. We provide much needed emotional support as well as a large food package (fruits, vegetables, chicken, milk products, canned goods, and paper products), bus tickets, and financial assistance for special needs.

Those who benefit from the program are new immigrants to Israel; native Israeli families suffering from terror attacks, major medical crises, or loss of a job; Holocaust survivors; and college students who are alone in Israel. We are friends helping friends get on their feet, so they can live productive lives.

Sponsors receive a picture and a profile about the person/s they sponsor, and close relationships are established through letters, which our staff translates for both parties. As you change a life, you too will be changed!


Feed a Child

Thousands of Israeli school children live below the poverty line and cannot afford to buy lunch, even at a subsidized cost. Your sponsorship for a one-year commitment will provide the following: a hot lunch every day at school, gifts on their birthday and holidays, help to purchase school books, a backpack filled with supplies, and funds for special needs during the summer.


Project Rescue

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when men will no longer say, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,” but they will say, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where He had banished them.” For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers. But now I will send for many fishermen,’ declares the Lord, ‘and they will catch them’” (Jer. 16:14–16a, NIV)

Many of the neediest Jews in the countries of the former Soviet Union are unable to come to Israel because they simply cannot afford the cost of passports, exit visas, ground transportation, and lodging for their trip home. We send “fishermen” who search for hopeless Jews who long to go home to Israel. Without help, they cannot move to Israel.

With your assistance, we can literally rescue our Jewish brothers and help them fulfill God’s Word. Thus far, we have helped rescue over 80,000 Jews.


Education and Advocacy Fund

Our educational programs enable us to fulfill our God-given mandate.  Helping the Church understand Christianity’s Hebraic roots, modern Israel’s prophetic significance, historic and current events is critical to building a worldwide network of Christians who love and support Israel. Donations will facilitate the creation and implementation of programs globally.

Adopt an Israeli Town

Bridges for Peace sponsors 23 Israeli towns—from the Galilee to the Negev—that are experiencing severe economic hardship. Working through the mayor’s office and the social welfare network, we give food to needy families, many of them new immigrants. Sponsors give a monthly donation (for a one-year commitment) and receive a frameable, full-color biographical sketch of the community they “adopt.” We arrange visits to the communities for sponsoring church groups visiting Israel.


Project Tikvah (Hope)

This project reaches out to many Jewish people in the former Soviet Union who either will not or cannot immigrate to Israel. Many are elderly or in poor health. Most are destitute; many are Holocaust survivors.

Increasingly, we are finding Jewish people who are starving and don’t have heat in the winter. Some have died from exposure. We have established soup kitchens to feed them, so they receive one hot, nourishing meal each day. We also purchase heaters and meet other needs as possible.

Widows and Orphans Fund

In Matthew 25 Jesus (Yeshua) says we will be judged according to how we treated the “least” of His brothers (v. 40, 45). God’s heart of compassion to care for the vulnerable is a consistent theme in the Bible. In fact, Deuteronomy 10:18 describes God as the champion of the “fatherless and the widow.” Moreover, He invites us to partner with Him to “defend the fatherless” and to “plead for the widow” (Isa. 1:17).

Our Widows and Orphans Fund helps care for those who are often unable to care for themselves. Our food parcels help make ends meet and put food on empty tables. Will you join us to partner with God in defending the fatherless and caring for the widows in Israel?

International Headquarters Fund

Our International Headquarters is the hub where we work to connect the Church to Israel and Israel to the Church. Located in the heart of Jerusalem, it serves as the base for our education and international outreach initiatives and resources, including our publications, marketing, video and media departments. Your generous gift to this fund enables us to spread the message of what God is doing in and through Israel to the nations of the world.

Holocaust Survivors

A quarter of the nearly 200,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel live in poverty, which means that many of the precious elderly men and women who lived through some of the worst atrocities in recent history now spend their final years facing bare cupboards, lack and often loneliness. Bridges for Peace reaches out a hand of love to these survivors, who receive regular food gifts and visits from our Christian volunteers. However, what we do is about so much more than the food. Many Holocaust survivors believe the atrocities they experienced were perpetrated by Christians. Now, after the hurt, it is our privilege as Christians to carry sunshine with our food parcels into their meager apartments to bring unconditional love, comfort and companionship. Will you give generously today to ensure that we can continue to fill these precious Holocaust survivors’ final years with provision, light, love and joy?

Immigrant Welcome Gifts

Bless a new immigrant family and let them know that they are welcomed in Israel by Christians who believe God’s promise to bring His people back to His Land.

We give a generous gift package: a copy of the Tanach (Gen.–Mal.) in Hebrew alongside Russian or Spanish, blankets, school kits for the children, and a set of new pots and pans, utensils, and a cutting board.

This one-time gift is a great help to immigrants who most often come from their home countries with very little.

New Immigrant Fund

This fund enables us to meet needs of new immigrants as they come to the land of Israel in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Those needs vary greatly as each person has unique challenges.

Cheer Basket

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…” (Isa. 61:1)

Our cheer basket is filled with delicious cookies, candies, dried fruit, nuts, flavored teas, and several other items that are specifically selected to bring hope and encouragement to Israel’s shut-ins, elderly, and anyone else who is discouraged and needs a tangible expression of God’s love.

A cheer basket is also given to immigrants on the Adoption Program for birthdays, including special ones for the children. This is often the only birthday present many receive.

School Starter Kit

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name, welcomes Me.”(Matthew 18:5)

This kit contains many needed school items, including pens, pencils, sharpener, glue, scissors, markers, a carrying case, and more. We not only distribute these to new immigrant children but make them a part of the school supplies we give to our Feed a Child students.

Home Repair

“Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.” (Isa. 58:12)

God has blessed us with skilled construction workers. Teams are busy renovating homes of the poor and elderly; some of them are Holocaust survivors. Many of these homes are one-room hovels in buildings over 100 years old. We fix leaky plumbing, replace broken windows, paint, plaster, rewire, repair or install cabinets, put on new roofs, and do general fix-up work.

Some of our workers have told us that this is the best job they have ever had in their lives. They get many hugs, plus a lot of tea, coffee, and cake from very appreciative Jerusalemites. Your gifts supply the raw materials to get the job done.

Victims of Terror

“He has sent me…to comfort all who mourn…” (Isa. 61:1–2)

We minister to anyone touched by war or terrorism, delivering special cheer baskets to the wounded in hospitals after a suicide bombing and to the bereaved. Special needs, such as wheelchairs, food vouchers, and financial assistance for medical bills are provided for those in long-term rehabilitation.

Dental/Medical Aid

Israeli health insurance does not cover dental, 100% of the cost of prescription medications, or medical apparatuses such as wheelchairs. Often the needy, many of them immigrants, must choose between vital health needs and food. We can bring a smile to the faces of those who suffer.

Crisis Assistance Fund

Crisis Assistance Fund: Your gifts enable us to respond quickly to crisis situations. These may include critical needs, such as bomb shelters, ambulances or to extend help for emergency situations such as terror arson attacks, and more.

Arab Family Assistance

There are many needs in the Christian Arab community. This community is becoming smaller as many choose to reside in the West rather than being a small minority in the predominantly Muslim Arab communities. Increasingly, they face persecution from their Muslim neighbors. Your gift helps us to minister the love of the Lord as we give them food.

Zealous8:2 Scholarship Fund

Are you zealous for Israel? Pass the fire to the next generation (ages 18–30)! Help them catch the vision by bringing them to Israel on tour! Each summer Zealous8:2 hosts a tour. It is a life-changing experience, and you can help make it happen. 

Volunteer Support

Living in Israel can be very expensive. With additional funding, our team members are enabled to continue their work in Israel. We also draw from this fund to subsidize special activities from time to time for our volunteer staff. This is your opportunity to bless those who have sacrificed much to live and work far from home.

You can also support a specific team member through this fund. When you do so, your donation is passed on to that person to meet their particular needs.

National Office Support

Bridges for Peace has national offices in eight countries that are staffed by sincere and dedicated individuals working selflessly on behalf of Israel. By reaching out to the Church with information and educational opportunities, building relationships with local Jewish communities, advocating for the nation of Israel, and raising the funds necessary for us to continue our projects in the Land, our national offices are the hands and feet of Bridges for Peace the world over.

Often working on a shoestring, their efforts are foundational to our ongoing work of building bridges to the Jewish people through practical expressions of Christian love. Your gift to the national office of your choice helps to insure that their work of blessing Israel and the Church, at home and in the Land, can continue.

Vehicle Fund

We have several vans to help us do our work: for home repair, for pick-up and delivery of food both food in Jerusalem and around the country, and for postal pick up and other administrative needs. When they wear out, we draw from this fund to purchase or lease new ones, which is very expensive in Israel.

Save An Israeli Life

Our newest project partners with Magen David Adom National Blood Services to save Israelis in need, whether during surgery or hurt in a car accident, terrorist attack, or war. Your gift helps keep the hearts of this beloved nation beating. Save a life today!

Bnei Menashe

The Bnei Menashe (literally “Sons of Menashe”) are descendants of one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel living in northeastern India and have steadily been fulfilling their dream of many generations to return to the Land from which they were exiled more than 27 centuries ago. Bridges for Peace helps the Bnei Menashe turn this dream into reality. We offer financial support for the preparation and the journey from the land of their birth to the Land of their promise, and once in Israel, we help them through the challenging period of settling into a new country and culture, learning the language and finding a job. The Bnei Menashe have come to know Bridges for Peace as the people who help and will turn to us in times of crisis.

By supporting the Bnei Menashe, you can tell these new immigrants who returned to Israel in fulfillment of God’s prophecies that they are not alone, that Christians around the world stand with them.