Israel Forms Emergency Unity Government
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has struck a deal with his political rival, Benny Gantz, to form an emergency national unity government. The unity agreement will see Gantz’s National Unity party, which is more centrist, join Netanyahu’s far-right coalition. The war management cabinet, overseeing Operation Iron Swords, comprises Netanyahu, Gantz (who was a military chief of staff), and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Two others will join as observers: Gadi Eisenkot, a former army chief of staff, and Ron Dermer, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States.
The war management cabinet will make all decisions related to the war with Hamas. All other political bills will be shelved for the duration of the conflict. Knesset member Matan Kahana, who is part of the National Unity Party, said, “A unified emergency government is what is needed now to lead to victory in the war. With God’s help, we will do it and we will succeed.”
Please pray Israel’s leadership will face their very hard decisions with wisdom and compassion.
Hospital in Haifa Prepares for Possible Move Underground
Over thirty-six hours last week, staff and military set up the Sammy Ofer Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital. It is in the parking garage under Rambam Hospital in Haifa. The three-level parking garage can normally house 1,500 vehicles but now has 2,000 beds and can house 8,000 people in an emergency. If tensions with Hezbollah escalate in northern Israel, the hospital can evacuate their patients to the underground facility within eight to ten hours. In case of chemical warfare, the fortified hospital can be self-sufficient for three days. It is the only major hospital in northern Israel offering level-one trauma care.
In 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, sixty rockets landed within a half-mile radius of the hospital. After the war, work began on the emergency wartime hospital, which was completed in 2014. Since then, staff have conducted regular drills to ensure everyone is able and ready to move patients to the fortified facility.
Please pray for the safety of all staff and patients at the Rambam Hospital and the Sammy Ofer Fortified Hospital.
Israeli Reservists Scramble to Return to Israel from Abroad
The Israeli Defense Forces have called up 360,000 reservists. Those traveling or residing abroad when the crisis began have been trying to return to Israel. Soldiers and emergency and security personnel are arriving at international airports to get on the first plane home to Israel. Most foreign airlines, however, have canceled flights in and out of Israel. For the first time in forty-one years, El Al, Israel’s national carrier, will fly on the Sabbath (Saturday). These rescue flights are vital and considered part of an important Jewish legal principle according to which saving a life is more important than nearly any other religious requirement. Israeli soldiers in New York City and Bangkok will be able to board El Al flights free of charge.
Please pray for these soldiers and emergency personnel who will be training and preparing to serve their country during a time of war.
Serving Those Who Evacuated Their Homes
Last week, Chosen People Ministries—Israel staff took sixty people who evacuated Ashkelon, which many missiles hit, to a Dead Sea hotel. This group included families with a lot of kids. It took three hours for them to drive to the hotel. A tank had to escort their bus out of the city. More people came than we invited; the hotel was so full! People slept on mattresses in the hallways. The staff of the hotel was so nice to us and gave us three additional rooms. As a result, we were able to accommodate everyone for at least a few days and give them a haven from the threat of missiles. Also, a friend from Jerusalem helped us purchase 100 power banks and seventy flashlights for Israeli soldiers.
Please pray for those who have had to evacuate their homes due to the war in Israel.