Inside Israel

Israel Marks Six Months since October 7

Disaster Victim Identification after 2023 Hamas attack on Israel (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Spokesperson Unit of ZAKA)

As Israel marks six months since October 7, it has released updated statistics for the world to read and consider the atrocities Hamas committed on the people of Israel—both civilians and soldiers. More than 9,100 rockets have been launched into Israel from Hamas in Gaza and 3,100 missiles from Hezbollah in Lebanon in the north. So far, 604 soldiers have been killed in combat, and 3,188 have been injured—some with life-altering injuries and amputations. Of the 250 people Hamas took hostage on October 7, 134 people, not all alive now, are still hostages. Hamas brutally murdered 1,200 civilians. Many thousands are still displaced, unable to return to their homes near Gaza or Lebanon. Israel has killed 12,000 Hamas terrorists and launched 32,000 targeted airstrikes in Gaza.

President Herzog said, “We mark six months since the cruel terror attack and horrific massacre. Half a year since this crime against our sisters and brothers, against our state, this crime against humanity. Six months of a bloody and difficult war.”

Please pray for the release of all hostages and for healing—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post . . .

Israel Destroys Three More Massive Hamas Tunnels

This still, from a video released by the IDF on April 6, 2024, shows a Hamas tunnel being demolished in the Khan Younis area in southern Gaza. (Source: Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Defense Forces recently eliminated three major tunnels in Khan Younis, Gaza. One of the tunnels extended more than 600 feet into Israeli territory, even though Israel previously kept their knowledge of this tunnel a secret. Since its discovery in Israel in 2019, while building the border fence, Israel kept it under constant surveillance with sensors and cameras. Hamas’ vast tunnel network far exceeded Israel’s expectations as 5,700 shafts around Gaza led to a layered and massive network costing tens of millions of dollars to build. Estimates suggest the 350–400 miles of tunnels required 6,000 tons of concrete and 1,800 tons of steel. During this war, Israel has been systematically destroying the tunnels.

Please pray for Israel’s success in dismantling Hamas so they can never again attack Israel, oppress their own people, or target other nations.

Read more at The Times of Israel . . .

Israel Tightens Security Measures after Threat from Iran

General Mohammad Reza Zahedi (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Ali Khara)

Last week, a drone strike in Damascus, Syria, where top generals from Iran were meeting, was attributed to Israel. The pinpointed aerial attack destroyed the building and killed Iran’s top Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander in Syria, General Mohammad Reza Zahedi. Iran has vowed to retaliate, causing Israeli forces to tighten security measures even further. Israel canceled any weekend leave for combat troops, called up reserve soldiers involved in aerial defense systems (even if they were recently released after extended service), and asked those in intelligence and home front command to report to their bases. Israel’s cybersecurity forces have disrupted navigational apps to divert targeted strikes using GPS. For instance, digital maps of those living in central Israel may show them in Beirut.

Please pray for Israel’s safety from any Iranian threats.

Read more at YNet News . . .

The Holy Spirit Works in the Lives of Israeli Soldiers

Israel Defense Forces soldiers (Source: Unsplash/Levi Meir Clancy)

This past Sunday, April 7, marked six months since Hamas terror operatives stormed into Israel, brutally massacred 1,200 men, women, children, babies, and elderly, seized more than 240 hostages, and bombarded major civilian areas with rockets. Today, 134 hostages remain in Hamas’ hands, and the widespread rocket barrage has lessened at times—but never ceased.

The rest of the world seems to forget the atrocities, rewrite the narratives, swallow Hamas’ lies, and circulate the mantras demonizing Israeli soldiers. May we remember their blood, sweat, and tears these past six months of putting their lives on the line so their homeland and hostages—and even the people of Gaza—might be free from Hamas.

Here are two soldier stories to encourage you.

A Soldier Saved—and Saved!

Oren* first connected with our staff on social media late last summer—several weeks before October 7. Although he grew up in an atheist family in the city of Sderot in southern Israel, he found himself increasingly questioning his beliefs about whether God exists. After starting his mandatory military service duty, he began reading the Tanakh (Old Testament) he received in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). He specifically mentioned reading the prophet Isaiah, and chapter 53 deeply touched his heart. He asked to meet with us and learn more about how this chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in the life of Jesus.

One of our staff happily arranged to meet with Oren at the Tel Aviv Messianic Center. During the conversation, his face changed as he learned how the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus. He took notes and expressed delight when our staff member gave him a Hebrew copy of the book Isaiah 53 Explained by Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries.

We met a few more times, and then October 7 happened. We lost contact with Oren for several weeks and were unaware of what was happening in his life. We prayed the tragedy of October 7 would not shake his new desire for faith in God, but instead, he would search the Scriptures, be filled with God’s light, and then pass along what he is reading to inspire other young people in the military during this difficult time. Little did we know how perfectly God would answer our prayers.

At the beginning of November, Oren reached out again. He explained how, due to recent events and his military service, he was unable to stay in touch. He also told us about how—somehow—during the initial days of the terrorist attack in southern Israel, he miraculously survived. Because he was saved from the attack while so many others were killed, despite the challenging circumstances afterward, his hunger for the truth about God continued to grow. He made an effort to read from the Bible, pray, and talk about what he read with the other young soldiers in the IDF with him. When the situation in southern Israel improved, he asked to resume meeting once a week or have regular phone conversations to deepen his understanding. We were happy to say yes!

During one of our meetings, we read together from John chapter 3. When he reached verse 16, Oren—according to his own words—realized the depth of Yeshua’s love for him. He asked our staff to pray with him to confess his belief in Jesus as his Savior. Soon, he began regularly attending our Messianic congregation in Tel Aviv. Now, Oren has expressed his desire to undergo water baptism, and we prayerfully plan to arrange it on his first day off from the IDF.

A Saved Soldier Saved

All our staff in Israel have several—if not many—personal friends who serve in various units of the Israeli Defense Forces. At one point, nearly 800 believing soldiers had been called to active duty during this war with Hamas. The current number rests around 600.

Over the past six months, we have been working closely with these soldiers to help provide the basic supplies their units lacked and the prayer support they needed. We also invite them to our Messianic center on their time off to rest, pray, sit back, talk, have coffee, take a nap, or whatever.

Gabi* recently came to visit some of his other believing soldier friends at our young adult Bible study in the Tel Aviv Messianic Center. A leader in his unit, respected for his integrity as a soldier and believer in Jesus, he has always been genuine and bold in talking with other soldiers about his faith.

He told us how, early in the war, the soldiers in his unit carefully watched how he reacted to the news when his younger brother was critically injured by Hamas in the north. Prayer and the Scriptures constantly gave him strength and wisdom.

Then, a few weeks ago, Gabi was sent home for a short visit with family—for which he was grateful. While he was gone, his commander and best friend was killed in a strike by Hamas. If he had not been sent home, he would have been right next to his commander like normal and would have died too.

On one hand, as a good soldier, he feels both grief and a sense of guilt for escaping death while his friend did not, and yet he also recognizes the Lord must have further work for him to do both as a leader in his unit and as a believer and ambassador for Messiah. Gabi asked for prayer now more than ever to lead wisely and to represent Jesus well.

Prayer Points

Amid these challenging times, pray for the Lord to empower believing soldiers to be:

  • ready for battle (Psalm 144:1–2)
  • prepared to give an answer for the hope within them (1 Peter 3:15)
  • strong in the Lord and in the power of His might; armed in His truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10–19)

Pray also for the Lord to enable our staff to:

  • uphold these soldiers’ witness with prayer and encouragement (Colossians 1:9–12)
  • wisely follow up with more Israelis opening up to the gospel than ever before (Romans 10:14–15)
  • disciple well-trained leaders for future ministry in Israel (2 Timothy 2:1–3)

*Name changed for privacy