Rebuilding Lives Torn Apart by Terror

May 1, 2019

Israeli mothers living on the Gaza border are crying out. For over a year, violent riots, sniper fire, explosive devices, arson kites and Hamas rockets have kept Israelis running for the safety of bomb shelters. Maayan Hendler, a mother from Sderot, poured out her heart in a video released by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “It’s unnatural to explain to a child that it’s healthy…and good to be scared. [We are] running into a safe space with sirens blaring, in a…frenzy and then trying to convince your child there’s no need to be scared.” Karen Halperin, another Gaza border mother, added tearfully, “We’re trying to raise a generation that won’t hate. But how can you love someone who is hurting you?”

Families on the Gaza border have only 15 seconds to find shelter from Hamas rockets. They live in constant tension, wondering when the next attack will come. A shocking 40% of the children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition generally found in soldiers who have faced combat. It takes specialized techniques to treat these children and teach them to handle the stress and adrenaline coursing through their tiny bodies during these attacks.

Over the past months, Israel has experienced unrelenting hatred from Palestinians: the violent murder of a young woman in a Jerusalem forest, barrages of rockets, car rammings, stabbings and shootings. Terror and the ensuing fear, grief and tragedy are part of the harsh reality of daily life. As Palestinian terrorists aim to turn Israel’s roads, street corners and bus stops into battlefields, Israelis in certain areas think twice about trips to the supermarket or dropping kids off at school. Parents tuck their children into bed at night, wondering whether they will awaken to the scream of incoming rockets.

Hamas recently resumed launching long-range rockets into central Israel. The first attempts reached Tel Aviv, a city of over 400,000 inhabitants. The Iron Dome missile defense system prevented casualties, but less than two weeks later, Hamas attacked again. This time the rocket struck a direct hit to the Wolf family home, injuring the seven family members huddled inside and killing two beloved pets. The projectile tore through the roof and detonated on the floor, showering shrapnel everywhere and setting the home ablaze. As survivors, neighbors and rescue workers stood amongst the smoldering ruins, everyone was in agreement: the family’s survival was nothing short of miraculous.

A few moments reduced the Wolf family’s entire existence to rubble. Still, it could have been much worse. Images of the destroyed home show the devastating effect of shrapnel tearing through a baby crib. The Wolf’s five-month-old baby suffered from shrapnel embedded in her head but is expected to make a full recovery. “The most important thing is that we’re okay,” said father Daniel from his hospital bed. “There were a lot of miracles.”

PM Netanyahu visits Rabbi Ahiad’s family.

Not all terror attacks end in miracles. Shortly after 10:00 on an ordinary Monday morning, a Palestinian terrorist armed with a knife snuck up on Sgt. Gal Keidan, 19, who was standing guard at a bus station. The terrorist stabbed him repeatedly, snatched his weapon and shot him point-blank before training the weapon on passing traffic. Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, 47, was driving home when he was caught in the terror attack. Without a thought to his safety, the brave rabbi confronted his attacker, drew his own weapon and fired at the terrorist, causing him to flee rather than continue killing. Rabbi Ahiad paid a heavy price for his heroism. One of the terrorist’s bullets tore through his windshield and lodged in his head. He clung to life for nearly 24 hours, but finally succumbed to his wounds. His newly widowed wife now shoulders the responsibility of raising 12 children by herself.

Rabbi Ahiad’s children took turns eulogizing their father at his funeral. “How could it be that someone who brought so much life into the world is no longer here to live with us,” his eldest daughter lamented. “Every day when you returned from work, you made sure to take aside one of us for a conversation or a Torah (Gen.–Deut.) lesson,” remembered another. “You were on your way home and you went back to save lives,” shared a third. “We will miss you a lot.”

Picking Up the Pieces

Throughout Scripture we see God’s tender compassion for the grief-stricken, mourning and hurting. He identifies as the God who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” (Ps. 147:3). He commits to “comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion,” (Isa. 61:2b–3a) and He promises to console those who grieve (Matt. 5:4). He also calls us to partner with Him in this crucial task. “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” comes the clarion call in Isaiah 40:1–2. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem,” He urges.

We have taken His emphatic call to heart. When terror tears the fabric of everyday life in Israel apart, Bridges for Peace helps pick up the pieces and offers the physical support and comfort needed to rebuild shattered lives. Through our Victims of Terror program, we come alongside the wounded with financial assistance to smooth the slow, painful and expensive path of healing and rehabilitation. We reach out to bereaved widows and orphans with gifts of compassion so they will know they are not alone. We help sponsor an annual retreat for children who have lost a loved one in a terror attack, creating a safe environment for hurting young boys and girls to process the lingering trauma and pain amongst peers. We help build bomb shelters for communities in the line of fire to have safe havens within a 15-second radius when the rockets rain down.

We are able to do this and more only through the generous support of Christians who answer the urgings of a God with a heart for the brokenhearted. He has beckoned us to serve as His hands and feet, bringing comfort to His people in their time of grief and mourning. Will you answer His call? Will you give generously to the Victims of Terror fund so we can help Israel rebuild what terror has torn apart?

Blessings from Israel,

Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO

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

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 banks in Jerusalem and Karmiel together process over three tons of food every working day. 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.

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.

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 50,000 Jews.

    

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.

Karmiel Center

This center was established in 2008 and is our first facility outside of Jerusalem. Food is distributed to northern Israel through our Karmiel food bank. The warehouse also contains over 500 tons of food stored for times of crisis. This means that in case of a war or natural disaster when food supplies become scarce and food prices skyrocket, we would have enough food to continue to feed our recipients for eight months, as well as respond to special requests. Great care is taken to ensure that no food reaches its expiration date before being distributed.

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.

    

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!

    

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.

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 year Zealous8:2 sponsors two tours: one in January and one in June. It is a life-changing experience, and you can help make it happen.

Israel Team Member 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Adopt an Israeli Town

Bridges for Peace sponsors 18 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.

    

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.

Vehicle Fund

We have several vans to help us do our work: for home repair, for pick-up and delivery of food both in Jerusalem and Karmiel, 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.

Greatest Ministry Need

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

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.

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!

Land of the Bible Experience

This developing educational center is located in Jerusalem at our International Headquarters. Our desire is to promote a Hebraic understanding of biblical culture to visiting tour groups. Our teaching room is designed to look like the inside of a first-century home, and guests are dressed up in first-century costumes. Biblical themes are taught through drama and interactivity, such as building a sukka (booth) in our garden during Feast of Tabernacles.

To learn more, read our Dispatch article, “Reconnecting Christians To Their Hebraic Roots”.

To book a reservation for you or your tour group:

landofthebible@bridgesforpeace.com or call our Jerusalem Headquarters at 972-2-624-5004 (FAX: 972-2-634-6622)

Education Program

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.