Israeli Children Start School
School in Israel started on Sunday, September 1. This year, there will be approximately 2.3 million students returning to classes. This includes 168,000 first graders who will be starting their education and 132,000 twelfth grade students who will complete high school and look toward military service next year. There will be more than 200,000 teachers working with these children in an expanding number of school buildings. According to the Education Minister, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, “We want to create a moral, human-loving society here that raises on its banner the value of mutual responsibility, and so the central theme I chose for the year is Mutual Responsibility.” There will be an emphasis this year on connecting Israeli students with other Jewish students around the world. Please pray for the safety and education of these children.
New Immigrants to Israel
Among the first-time students in the school system are 2,000 children from 37 countries who immigrated to Israel this summer. These families moved from their home countries with the assistance of the Jewish Agency, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Jewish people around the world develop and settle in Israel. The countries with the greatest numbers of new immigrants are Russia, the United States, France, and Ukraine. Other children came from lesser-known countries with smaller Jewish communities, such as Panama, India, China, Armenia, and Cyprus. The organization also conducted covert operations this summer in certain countries hostile to Israel and facilitated the emigration of Jewish families out of those nations to the Holy Land. 31 children from those families started school this week. The names of those locations must remain confidential for the safety of the families. Please pray for these children as they learn a new language and culture, settling into their new homes.
Rockets (again) from Gaza
Heightened tensions on the Gaza/Israeli border and the increased attacks from Hamas have sent hundreds of people running for shelters over the past months. Last week, Hamas launched three rockets toward Sderot, where a music festival was under way, resulting in the sirens wailing and people scrambling for a protected space. The Iron Dome intercepted two of the missiles, no damage or injuries were reported. Most recently, in Netiv Ha’Asara, a moshav near Sderot, children were enjoying a nighttime, end-of-summer swim party and had to run for shelter as the air raid sirens warned of missiles from Hamas in Gaza. Eighty children had to cram into the shelter, leaving many visibly shaken. Netiv Ha’Asara is a community on the northern border of Gaza and Israel, about forty miles south of Tel Aviv. Please pray for peace along the Gaza/Israeli border as tensions are high.
Our Ministries Along Hostile Borders
Beit Sar Shalom (Chosen People Ministries—Israel) has a vibrant work among Holocaust survivors and people in need in Sderot in southern Israel. We are able to distribute food parcels, meet and pray with people, and often have lively gatherings to celebrate the Jewish holidays with food, fun, and an encouraging message. In Nahariyah in the north, we have a welcoming congregation that meets regularly to pray, be fed by the Word, and host other gatherings of fellowship and encouragement. Both of these communities face danger and hostile borders with Hamas and Hezbollah. Please pray for their protection, peace of mind and heart and the ability to share with others the peace they have because of Jesus the Messiah.