Israeli Boy Killed by Rocket Just Before Shabbat

On Shabbat, over 80 rockets slammed into Israel's south and central regions - even activating the sirens at Ben Gurion Airport.  The Iron Dome intercepted many rockets that were headed towards civilian areas, and the rest fell in open spaces. Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders have been invited back to Cairo to continue talks regarding another cease-fire. Sadly, on Friday before the Sabbath began, a young Israeli boy was killed by a rocket as he didn't make it to the safe room in time. The missile was fired from a Palestinian Authority school that provides shelter for refugees in the Gaza Strip.

 

Hamas Renews Attacks After Five-Day Ceasefire

Late Tuesday evening, Hamas broke the five-day ceasefire and launched a barrage of rockets into the South, Central and coastal areas of Israel. This included Beersheva, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. More than 230 rockets have been fired from Gaza since Tuesday; 37 were intercepted by the Iron Dome and 16 failed to pass the border defense and have fallen in Gaza.

Israelis were caught off guard, disappointed and disturbed by these renewed attacks. Many spent the night in their bomb shelters and safe rooms, as they had for most of July. In response, the Israeli Air Force hit dozens of terror targets in Gaza overnight, killing several high-ranking Hamas officials.

Please continue to pray, especially now as Hamas has said: "Israel will pay a heavy price for the assassination of senior commanders."

New Ceasefire Begins After Rocket Barrage

After an early-morning rocket barrage from Hamas that caused sirens to sound in a dozen Israeli towns, an Egyptian-brokered 72-hour truce began at 8 AM on Tuesday. just a Although Israeli ground forces have begun to leave Gaza, Israel is prepared for the possibility that Hamas will not honor the cease-fire.

Police killed a Palestinian man in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon, moments after he commandeered a construction excavator, mowing down and killing a pedestrian, and then overturning a bus in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Shmuel Hanavi.

As the list of the dead and injured grows, please pray for True Peace in Jerusalem. Pray for the Israelis, pray for the Palestinians, pray for the Lord to touch the hearts of members of Hamas. We have hope that the terrorists would come to know Jesus - we know of those that this has happened to before!

Attacks by Hamas Ruin Humanitarian Ceasefire

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has now lasted nearly a month. A 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire, which was agreed upon by both Israel and the Palestinians, collapsed within less than two hours on Friday after Hamas militants infiltrated Israeli territory through underground tunnels. Once they entered Israel, they detonated a suicide vest, killing two Israeli soldiers. The militants also captured a third soldier, Hadar Goldin (23), dragging him back into Gaza through the tunnels and holding him captive in Rafah, a city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The United Nations has condemned both the attack and the abduction.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says Israel has destroyed thousands of terror targets. Once the ceasefire collapsed, Israel continued to dismantle all the Palestinian tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel. Israel expects to announce the destruction of all known tunnels within the next day. Israel was aware of 31 tunnels when the operation began and has discovered more tunnels during the course of the operation. Netanyahu reiterates the purpose for the operation is to restore security. Once Israel destroys the tunnels, they intend to withdraw from Gaza and redeploy the troops at staging areas.

The actions taken by the Hamas militants when they infiltrated Israeli territory, breaching the terms of the ceasefire, jeopardizes any hope of an end to the conflict and the possibility for peace. Hamas maintains that they will only abide by any agreement if Israel is willing to agree entirely to their demands, indicating that they are not willing to make any concessions or compromises. Egypt has attempted to function as a mediator of a peace agreement, but Hamas is unwilling to talk and Israel is not interested in capitulating to any agreement that threatens its citizens.

A Blessing to Israeli Soldiers

A report from Eugene - Chosen People Ministries staff in Israel

We were able to bless the Israel Defense Forces with some much-needed supplies such as clothing and personal items. I found a store selling excellent-quality cotton T-shirts, underwear and socks that were permitted for the use in the army – and the store manager even gave us a 50% discount so the total price exactly matched the amount of funds we had available!

After our van was filled with boxes, Michael and I went all the way down to Beer Sheva to the major center where the donations for the soldiers were distributed. When we came, we had to wait in line in order to drop off our donation. It was very touching to see an elderly Russian Jewish woman, definitely a pensioner, who brought a full shopping cart of some goods – whatever she could find in her household as well as in homes of her friends – that could be of some use to our soldiers.

When we mentioned that we brought 200 t-shirts, 200 pairs of underwear and 400 pairs of socks, the guy who was in charge of the distribution center literally jumped up almost to the celling. He said that these items were probably the most important ones in the current situation. In combat conditions, having fresh clothing is essential to prevent skin diseases. When we were about to leave the room, a convoy of army tracks came to pick up the things to bring them to our soldiers in Gaza.

War is ugly. It is terrible to know that there are people on this planet who enjoy war due to different reasons. But it is even more terrible that people who want to live in peace must put on their uniforms, pick up rifles and risk their lives in order to keep lovers of violence away from our families, cities, and country. It was such an honor for us to be able to put our little droplet into a huge sea of support for the IDF. We keep praying for the safety of our soldiers and that there will be one day when both Jews and Arabs will find peace in the only Savior – Jesus the Messiah!

Report from our Worker in Arad

Last week, Israeli intelligence picked up information of an imminent attack. Terrorists were seen running towards a tunnel entrance which would have led them to a kibbutz on the Israeli side of the border. So, after a truce that was only honored by Hamas for five hours, Israel opened up a ground defensive to locate and destroy the many well-constructed tunnels into Israel which terrorists have somehow managed to build over the years.

Many wounded soldiers are coming into Soroka Hospital in Beersheva - the capital of the Negev (desert). It seems that not a day goes by that a siren is not sounded in Beersheva. Here in Arad, the sirens went off once more since I last wrote and we all headed to our bomb shelters. But we are relatively safe here in Arad; it is a small town in the desert and not a target. However, we are not that far from Demona - where a nuclear reactor is located - most definitely a "hot spot". Fortunately, the town of Demona has an Iron Dome to protect it.

Despite the war, many Jews are still coming to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel. In the past week French Jews have been coming in droves due to anti-Semitism in France. This week American and European carriers decided to halt flights to Israel Tuesday after a rocket landed near Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv. So if you are planning a trip to Israel soon, please check the news in the U.S. as well as the Jerusalem Post to get updates on breaking news.

Holocaust Survivors in Danger in Southern Israel

The Holocaust survivors we work with in Sderot are under extreme stress at the moment. When a siren is sounded to warn of a rocket attack, they have only seconds to get to their secure rooms - and as they are elderly, this is very stressful for them or even impossible.

They are so close to Gaza that the Iron Dome defense system does not have time to respond, so the rockets are not shot down but instead fall close to and in the city - the residents can only wait and pray the rockets do not hit their homes. They are afraid for themselves and even more so for their children and grandchildren.

The Holocaust survivors took up a collection to send some care packages to the Israel soldiers who are fighting in Gaza. These people have so little themselves, and are living in constant danger and stress - and still can think of, and care for, others.

We appreciate your prayers for protection.

Chosen People Ministries' Work in Sderot and Ashdod

Sderot is on the border with Gaza and in the last two weeks there have been rocket attacks there many times during the day and night, often one after another. The residents in Sderot have only a few seconds to get to their secure rooms (like a bomb shelter that is part of the house or apartment). The people of Sderot have lived with rocket attacks from Gaza for the last 15 years, but they say that it has never been this bad and that they are more afraid than they have been before.

Ashdod is a little farther away from Gaza but it is also under rocket attacks several times a day. The residents say that this is a lot worse than they have experienced before with barrages of rockets being fired at the city during the day and night.

1. We are continuing to operate our food distribution centers in Sderot and Ashdod. Around 10% fewer people than usual are coming to collect their food packages, as people are afraid to leave their houses - and instead of staying around to talk as they usually do, people are in a hurry to get back home. There have been a few opportunities to talk to people about spiritual matters, including sharing with them about Biblical prophecies.

2. Our staff members are in daily phone contact with some of the Holocaust survivors in Sderot. We are planning to take 30 Holocaust survivors from Sderot to Poland for 10 days at the beginning of August. This will get them away from the constant stress of the rocket attacks. In Poland they will have opportunities for rest and relaxation, and our staff will give daily Bible teachings and will pray with those who ask for prayer.

3. We are organizing taking supplies (personal items and toiletries) to soldiers serving in the south of Israel and in Gaza. We will be making our first delivery later this week.

Casualties Mount

Over sixty Israeli soldiers and officers have died since Operation Protective Edge began four weeks ago.

These numbers continue to escalate as Hamas appears to intentionally store and fire weapons in close proximity to civilians, including schools and hospitals. In the last four days, the IDF (Israel Defense Force) has identified 13 tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel. Hamas uses these tunnels to infiltrate Israeli territory and launch terrorist attacks against Israel.

Palestinians have fired thousands of rockets into Israel over the past four weeks. The IDF reports it apprehended many Palestinian militants who were attempting to infiltrate Israel in northern part of the Gaza Strip through the tunnels. While some rockets have landed, the Iron Dome has intercepted most of the rockets, preventing significant damage and casualties in Israel. With tensions rising, protestors have gathered in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem, many of these growing violent.

Please continue to pray for peace. Pray for the hundreds of families mourning the loss of their loved ones, including the families of the 25 Israeli soldiers who have died since this conflict began.

Israel Begins Ground Incursion Into Gaza

Late month, Israel began a ground incursion of Gaza. The purpose for sending Israeli troops into Gaza is to identify and remove the tunnels Hamas has been digging from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.

The IDF apprehended  Hamas terrorists, who were plotting a significant attack on an Israeli kibbutz, trying to enter Israel through one of these tunnels on Thursday morning. Since ground forces entered Gaza, the IDF has identified 10 different tunnels from Palestinian territory into Israel, destroyed Palestinian rocket launchers and have arrested persons of interest.

One Israeli soldier has been killed, although the IDF has not yet identified whether it was the result of friendly fire. This conflict has had tragic consequences for both sides. As of Friday afternoon, 270 Palestinians have died.

While Israeli casualties are not as high, thousands of Israeli lives are threatened with every Palestinian rocket barrage on Israel. Fortunately, the Iron Dome has effectively limited the number of casualties in this war. We know that the loss of human life is tragic; whether it is Israeli or Palestinian, God mourns the death of his creation.

Please pray for a quick end and resolution to this conflict. Pray for all families affected by continued hostilities. Pray that God would protect the Israeli soldiers as they enter Gaza, and comfort their families. Pray for the Chosen People Ministries staff in Israel, both for their safety and wisdom as they seek to comfort those in their ministry context. Please particularly pray for the safety and health of the Holocaust survivors, to whom we have been serving, living in close proximity to this conflict.

The Conflict Continues

As the current conflict nears the four-week mark, hostilities continue between Israel and the Palestinians. Although Egypt has proposed a revised ceasefire, there does not appear to be much progress in reaching an agreement between the two sides. While Israel has reportedly agreed to the terms presented by the Egyptians, Hamas has rejected the proposal and has been unwilling to meet with Israeli delegates in Egypt.

On late Thursday afternoon, following a brief five-hour pause requested by the UN and agreed upon by both sides to provide humanitarian relief in Gaza, Hamas sent a barrage of thousands of rockets into Israel, including the hills surrounding Jerusalem and the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Leading up to the start of the UN requested cease-fire, terrorists launched a shower of rockets from the Palestinian territory into the region surrounding Tel Aviv and other communities in southern Israel. Reports indicate Israel is gearing up to send ground troops into Gaza in order to put an end to the ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks.

Israel has reported that the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) prevented a significant terrorist attack on Israeli soil. The IDF caught 13 Palestinian militants attempting to enter Israel through a tunnel from the Gaza strip early Thursday morning. Reports indicate these militants were planning an attack against an Israeli kibbutz, which likely would have included both shootings and abductions. Fortunately the IDF foiled this intended terrorist attack, saving many innocent lives.

The recent deaths of four young children, who were killed by Israeli naval attack while they were playing on the beach in Gaza, has garnered international attention. Israel’s president has said this was a tragic accident. Israel maintains that the IDF never targets innocent civilians, particularly children, and that if a pilot sees a single child in the area they are not to carry out any air strike.

Israel reports they were targeting a significant concentration of weapons in the area, although the Palestinians claim there was no such collection present. On Thursday afternoon, representatives from UNRWA, which is the UN agency assigned to care for Palestinian refugees, discovered approximately twenty rockets hidden in a vacant school in Gaza, providing evidence to show how the militants have used civilian infrastructure to shield their rockets.

Hamas Launches 100+ Missiles into Israel

Rocket fire has been plaguing Israel's south for the past few days. The Iron Dome has intercepted rockets – including two headed for Tel Aviv and several that were about to fall on Israel's largest city in the South, Beersheva. Sirens have also rang in Jerusalem and as far north as Caesarea. During the barrage, over 30 missiles were launched within 30 minutes, causing fear and panic for the civilians who have been instructed to stay in or near bomb shelters. (Click here to view a map of how long people in various parts of Israel have to reach a shelter).

Please pray for an immediate STOP to the rocket attacks on Israel's civilians.

Pray for Safety from Missile Strikes in Real Time

There is a free iPhone app that will alert you every single time a rocket is fired against Israel in real time. Why not stop and pray right there, right then? You can download the app here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/red-alert-israel/id873642097?mt=8

Israeli Home Front Command Warns Citizens

The Israeli Home Front Command has issued new warnings for over one million citizens living in Israel's south for the first time since 2012 during Operation Pillar of Defense. Summer children's camps, kindergartens, special learning centers, university exams and gatherings of more than 300 people cannot take place within a 40-kilometer radius from Gaza (in towns such as Ashdod, Askelon, Beersheva and Sderot). All public bomb shelters are open and must be prepared to receive people. (Ynet)

Please pray for the Lord to comfort these civilians, who are living in fear due to the rocket attacks.

Operation Protective Edge

Netanyahu's security cabinet has decided to step up air strikes against military targets in Gaza, and has given a green light to preparations for a ground offensive. Operation Protective Edge has pledged to restore safety and tranquility for the residents of southern Israel. Netanyahu said, "The situation in the south has become unbearable; we cannot allow over a million citizens to be held hostage in bomb shelters." (Jpost)

Please pray for a swift resolution to the flare-up of violence.

Misleading Pictures Spreading on Social Media

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) recently reported that there are numerous graphic photos being used on social media claiming to show destruction, injury and death caused by the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza. However, tese photos are not from Israel's campaign to stop Hamas' rockets from being launched – instead, many are from Iraq and Syria, some of them dating back to 2009. (Israel National News)

Please pray for the media and the population to be savvy and alert to truths and untruths.

Bodies of Three Missing Israeli Boys Found

In June, three teenage Israeli boys were kidnapped, with no news of their whereabouts for two weeks. The Israeli Defense Forces mounted a large-scale search for them in the West Bank region around Hebron, and it was an agonizing wait for the families. The entire country came together in thought, prayer rallies, concern and even a massive gathering in Tel Aviv where thousands attended in support and love for the families, calling for the return of their sons. The next day, the boys' bodies were found in a field near Hebron, having apparently been murdered immediately upon their kidnapping. There are three suspects from Hamas.

Please pray for the boys' families as they grieve and mourn this tremendous loss.

Arab Boy Killed in Possible Retaliation

A day after the three Israeli boys' bodies were found, an Arab boy aged 16 was found murdered near his home in the West Bank. This may be a retaliation for the killing of the three Israeli teenagers; Netanyahu calls this murder "abhorrent" and the six Jewish suspects in custody, if convicted, will receive the full measure of law. The nation is horrified that fellow Jews would do this and as a result, there has been incredibly increased tensions in East Jerusalem and neighboring Arab villages. Riots, throwing of rocks, and destruction of property have taken place, especially during the boys' funeral.

Please pray for the family of this Arab boy, who was murdered by Jewish extremists.

Arab and Jewish Families Take Comfort in Each Other

The family of one of the Jewish boys killed and the family of the Arab boy killed have spoken to each other on the phone, giving each other solace and comfort through their pain. The Israeli dad said, "The life of an Arab is equally as precious as that of a Jew. Blood is blood and murder is murder, whether that murder is Jewish or Arab." There have also been Palestinian visitors to the home of one of the Jewish boys during the mourning period, to pay respects and to talk about peace.

Please pray for peace, not vengeance. Pray for comfort, not hatred.