Lethal Violence Rises in Israel’s Arab Communities
Many Arab Israelis in different parts of the country have faced unprecedented crime in their communities this past year. As of August 23, 2023, more than 150 people in Arab areas have been murdered since the beginning of this year. In 2022, the homicide count was 106. Many of these murders involved criminal organizations.
In response to the killing of city manager Abed al Rahman Kashu last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu initiated a new committee to fight crime in the Arab sector by having Shin Bet (Israel’s security agency) work alongside the Israeli police. Some criticize the Israeli government for not doing more to fight the increased violence. In protest, the Israeli Arab sector’s schools and educational institutions will strike on September 1, the first day of the new school year. A statement from the national committee of Arab local council heads says, “It is not right that students will go to school in constant fear.”
Please pray for peace and safety for Israel’s Arab community.
Israel Increases Export of Natural Gas to Egypt
The Tamar natural gas reservoir, Israel’s second-largest, is located fifty-five miles offshore from Haifa. This natural gas field holds 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and started pumping in 2013. Israel’s largest natural gas field, the Leviathan, holds around 20 trillion cubic feet and started pumping in 2019. Together, they are helping Israel move toward energy independence. Israel does not have to rely much on outside sources for natural energy. The country’s natural gas resource protected Israel from the energy crisis the Russian war on Ukraine caused.
Since 2017, Israel has been exporting natural gas to Jordan from the Tamar field. In 2020, Israel started supplying Egypt with gas from the Leviathan field. Israel recently agreed to increase the export of gas from the Tamar reservoir to Egypt. This increase is an additional 3.5 billion cubic meters annually for the next eleven years. Both Israel and Egypt have become regional gas exporters to Europe, which wants to become independent from Russian gas imports. Europe will now receive Israeli gas via Egypt’s liquefied natural gas plants.
Praise God, this discovery of natural gas off the coast of Haifa enables Israel to provide for the country and sell to neighboring countries. Please pray for a smooth and easy process to deliver the natural gas.
Israelis Win Athletic Medals
In the final part of the race, Israeli long-distance runner Maru Teferi passed his opponents and won a silver medal in the men’s marathon. It was Israel’s first time winning a medal in distance running at the World Athletics Championships. With a personal best, his running time of 2:09:12 was nineteen seconds behind the gold medal run.
The Israeli women’s rhythmic gymnastics team won a gold medal at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship. They surpassed China and Spain in the all-around group category. It was Israel’s first gold medal in the sport in an international competition. The team will likely be a high contender at the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Please pray for the salvation of these athletes.
Chosen People Ministries Baptizes in the Upper Galilee
We often report on Chosen People Ministries’ work in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. However, this week, please pray especially for our extensive outreaches and thriving congregations in several other parts of the Holy Land. For example, one staff member leads a flourishing congregation in the Upper Galilee at the northern tip of Israel. He told us this encouraging and humorous story:
The past few months in Nahariyya have been exciting and invigorating. Since our congregation, Kehilat Or Hagalil (Congregation of the Light of Galilee), has a new website and social media presence, more people find us. Danielle* is one example.
Danielle and her family immigrated to Israel about twenty-five years ago. As new immigrants, they developed their professional careers and became part of the Israel experience.
When a personal crisis hit her family, Danielle turned to faith for strength and solace. She found peace in the Messiah Yeshua, and even after the crisis, she resolved to continue to seek the Lord.
When Danielle first met with us, she said, “I want to be baptized!” I said I would be willing to baptize her, but we would first need to meet and confirm her faith. Danielle prayed to receive Yeshua as Messiah and recognized baptism was not a rejection of Jewishness but an acknowledgment of faith (Romans 6:4).
For her baptism, my co-pastor Pierre and I met up with Danielle, her husband, and ten other family members. I had never led a baptism service where most people attending were not followers of Yeshua! Yet they came to support their mother, sister, and aunt in this important step of faith.
Once in the Mediterranean, the tide started to come in, and the offshore breeze caused significant winds and waves. Getting Danielle baptized was not the problem, but I got knocked down by a strong wave and floundered around in the sea, trying to get up. After a few awkward moments, Pierre reached out with a strong arm and yanked me out like he just caught a fish!
The three of us emerged from the sea, full of smiles and an overwhelming joy of the Lord. We pray for Danielle to grow in her faith and have a strong testimony and for her husband and others in her family to love the Messiah Yeshua.
*Names changed for privacy
Israel—from between a Rock and a Sea
The need for adequate water supplies and reserves has plagued Israel and her neighbors since the beginning of history. Although Israel is not technically a desert, it sits on the western edge of two dominant deserts: the Syrian Desert to the northeast and the Arabian Desert to the southeast. Plus, Israel shares the Dead Sea (which you can visit on our April 2024 tour!) with Jordan, making drinkable water scarce in the Middle East.
The problem with rainfall in Israel is the prevailing desert conditions mean a short rainy season from November until March (making about 70 percent of the average rainfall). Historically and geographically, the lack of perennial rivers and a limited number of aquifers throughout the land of Israel exacerbated the problem. When the psalmist reflected upon his spiritual needs, he likened himself to a deer seeking water during the dry summer months:
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1–2)
Like ancient Israel, the modern State of Israel depends upon the winter rains. This factor has been constant in history . . .