Ceasefire Established between Israel and Gaza
After eleven days of fighting, Israel and Palestinian terror groups (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) in Gaza settled on a ceasefire that went into effect at 2 am on Friday, May 21. Israel’s Knesset approved the ceasefire in a unanimous vote. Only ten minutes before the deadline, the terror groups were still sending rockets toward Israeli communities near Gaza. Egypt brokered the deal as both parties agreed that it would be “mutual and simultaneous.” United States President Joe Biden worked behind the scenes during his first foreign crisis, as he and his senior aides held more than eighty phone calls or in-person meetings to help quell the situation. After much diplomacy, President Biden reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself and expressed condolences for those who died on both sides.
Here are some of the numbers from the fighting. There were more than 4,340 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel. The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted 90 percent of the incoming rockets, even during times when it was dealing with hundreds of rockets being sent at nearly the same time. Out of the total number of missiles, 640 rockets launched from Gaza never reached the Israel border and exploded in Gaza. Israel destroyed 430 rocket launchers, including many that were underground. Israel’s air force conducted 570 airstrikes on these mobile missile launchers. In addition, targets included buildings used for terrorists’ operations, rocket launchers, and many miles of the “Metro”—the underground tunnel system used by terrorists to move around undetected and to store weapons.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, 225 terrorists were killed, including 25 senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders. Meanwhile, Hamas rockets sent millions of people to bomb shelters and caused mayhem and panic with and without sirens wailing day and night. Hamas used a new rocket with a range of 155 miles and sent it south toward Ramon Airport in Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat. Ben Gurion Airport was closed most of the week. Hamas used new suicide drones and boasted that many of their new weapons were from Iran. Hamas, sadly, reported 227 Gazan civilians were killed in the crossfires of the war. Twelve people in Israel were killed from the rockets sent from Gaza.
Please pray for the suffering and hardships felt by the civilians on both sides. May there be peace.
Israeli Children and School during the War
During the recent conflict with Gaza, Operation Guardian of the Walls, all Israeli students in eleventh and twelfth grade had to take their maths matriculation exams (like the SATs) in bomb shelters and protected spaces. During their exam, which began in the classroom, sirens went off in some southern cities sending students and teachers to the shelters. All students were given thirty additional minutes to complete the exam. One principal said, “These are students who have spent nights and days studying in order to succeed. It is obviously inhumanly hard to concentrate and succeed in the given situation.”
Meanwhile, after the ceasefire, 2.4 million children returned in person to school and kindergarten, with the first few days to be dedicated to emotional and social support. The children had returned to remote learning during the crises, with school days starting a bit later since many children had been up during the night because of the sirens and needed to seek shelter.
Please pray for the emotional well-being of Israel’s children as well as their young neighbors across the fragile border.
Kidney Donated from Jew to Arab
Sadly, the body of Yigal Yehoshua was buried a few days ago. Unfortunately, this Jewish man got caught in a riot and was struck in the head by a rock as he tried to make his way home in the city of Lod. Lod and other Arab/Israeli towns in Israel that usually live in peaceful co-existence saw an unprecedented rise in rioting and chaos, resulting in much destruction, arrests, injuries, and curfews. Doctors fought for his life, but he passed away.
Yehoshua was an organ donor, though, and one of his kidneys went to an Arab Israeli woman who had been waiting for nine years and now has a new lease on life. The woman’s family thanked Yehoshua’s family and said, “We are so grateful to the Yehoshua family…. There is no such thing as Arabs and Jews. Rather, we’re just people, and we need to live together.”
Please pray for Yigal Yehoshua’s family as they mourn their loss, and please pray for the Arab Israeli women’s body to accept the kidney transplant so she can continue living a healthy life.
The incredible response to last week’s Inside Israel was overwhelming. Your generosity has enabled Chosen People Ministries—Israel to help those who were suffering in Israel’s border communities in unprecedented ways. We started to get calls from friends and from friends of friends asking for help. In the end, we were able to move seventeen people out of towns under constant bombardment and give them shelter in our ministry facility in Jerusalem. These were mainly women and young children. A couple of the women were pregnant, one of whom was in her ninth month. While in a safe place in Jerusalem, she learned that a rocket had fallen just a few buildings away from hers, causing a lot of damage.
We praise God with her for sparing her and her unborn child the stress and anxiety that would surely have come had she been at home. We were so blessed to help this small group of believers and not-yet-believers! We also delivered portable fans to many people with whom we have relationships to encourage them. It may not seem like much, but when you are stuck in a bomb shelter almost continuously—and many of the bomb shelters have no air conditioning or ventilation—a fan was a welcomed gift! We also plan to continue to help the Holocaust survivors we minister to in Sderot, Ashkelon, and Ashdod (border towns near Gaza) with a delivery of hot, nutritious food that should brighten their day…and their stomachs! They could certainly use some comfort food after these past eleven days!
Writer’s Note: Please know how much you mean to Chosen People Ministries workers in Israel! We cherish your prayers, especially this past week. Thank the Lord for His protection as He established YOU as His watchmen on the walls! We are quickly moving on from the conflict. The streets, which had sounded like a quiet Sabbath every day with no cars, are quickly sounding busy again. The playgrounds have filled up with laughing children, and the ambulance sirens have returned to their normal wail. Thank you for praying for peace in our lives and the peace that only Jesus can give.
Please pray that people see and understand the peace that Jesus can give to them.