Inside Israel

Israeli Forces Rescue Four Hostages from Hamas’ Grasp

Noa Argamani is embraced by her father, Yaakov, at Sheba Medical Center after being rescued from Hamas captivity, June 8, 2024. (Source: Times of Israel/IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

This weekend, Israel rejoiced to hear four Israeli hostages, whom Hamas kidnapped on October 7, were successfully brought home. On Saturday, Israeli forces carried out a detailed, risky, and complex operation in broad daylight in the heart of a civilian neighborhood in Gaza. The hostages were living in apartments, guarded by the families living there and Hamas terrorists. Noa Argamani (twenty-six) was held on the first floor of one building. Almog Meir Jan (twenty-one), Andrey Kozlov (twenty-seven), and Shlomi Ziv (forty-one) were held about 650 feet away in another apartment building. Hamas kept the three men together for the whole eight months in four different Gazan family’s homes.

Israeli forces decided to carry out the mission in daylight to surprise the Hamas guards. They also chose to enter both buildings simultaneously so Hamas’ guards would not kill the hostages when they heard Israeli forces in the area. The elite rescue squads practiced for days to foresee all scenarios. Argamani’s release went smoothly, but the troops attempting to rescue the three men were met with intense gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades. The car transporting the freed hostages got stuck, but secret Israeli ground forces and a targeted airstrike safely got them and their rescuers to the assigned helipad location. A helicopter then took everyone to Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan where the hostages were found to be in good condition and joyfully reunited with their families.

One brave solider, chief inspector of the Yamam unit Arnon Zmora, was killed in the gunfight to extract the three men. The successful operation (originally called “Seeds of Summer”) was renamed “Operation Arnon” in his honor. He leaves behind a widow and two small children.

Please pray for Noa, Andrey, Almog, and Shlomi as their families and country welcome them back to Israel. Pray for their physical, mental, social, and spiritual healing. Also pray for the family of Arnon Zmora as their mourn his loss.

Read more at The Times of Israel . . .

Forest Fires Burn in Northern Israel

Fires in the north after Hezbollah launches (Source: Eitan Nissim/ Nature and Parks Authority)

Hezbollah continues to launch rockets into northern Israel. Some have started hard-to-stop forest fires, burning large areas. The land is turning dry and arid as the weather is becoming hot, and the rains will not return until late fall. As a result, 2,500 acres of land in one area were ablaze. Some of it will take years to recover. Firefighters worked for hours to gain control of the wildfire despite the assistance of six planes equipped for firefighting. The fires came close to the cities of Kiryat Shemona and Katzrin.

Making matters worse, the rockets are reaching deeper into Israel and widening their effects on civilian residents in cities like Acre, Nahariyah, and Katzrin. Acre has not heard a siren for four months, and Nahariyah has not for five months. This past week, however, residents of Nahariya had to run to safe shelters three times in one day. One resident of Katzrin said,

We feel the north is in trouble. It’s closing on us, and we feel there’s no real answer or response to this situation. We feel it’s getting worse. The north is somewhat neglected and abandoned. Although we are strong people, we love our country, love our land, and love each other, we want to feel someone has our backs.

Please pray for the safety of Israeli civilians living under extended potential rocket fire. Pray for de-escalation of Hezbollah’s aggression on Israel’s northern border.

Read more at YNet News . . .

Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day

Israeli kids with flags in Jerusalem (Source: Kristoffer Trolle/ Flickr)

Every year on Jerusalem Day, Israelis celebrate the city’s reunification as a result of the Six Day War in 1967. This year, amid the war with Hamas, which started on October 7, 2023, the Jerusalem Flag Day march is more subdued. The traditional route, like in other years, will lead from central Jerusalem to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. It winds its way through the all the quarters of the Old City even though its time in the Arab quarter is controversial.

Each year, there are scuffles and threats of violence between Arab and Jewish people. Thousands of police officers were deployed, their purpose being “to maintain the routine life as much as possible and to allow the parade participants, as well as other pedestrians and worshippers of all religions to reach their destinations safely and securely. The police will work to prevent any friction or violence of any kind.”

Please pray for tensions in the Old City to simmer down. Praise God for the reunification of Jerusalem!

Read more at The Jerusalem Post . . .

Fruit from the Frontlines

When one person says something, it may not seem so significant, but if you hear something similar from two or three different people in a short span of time, it stands out. As Paul noted, “Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (2 Corinthians 13:1). We have been hearing more stories more frequently of Israelis recognizing God—or seeking Him out—in the details of their lives.

God for the Fainthearted

Recently, one of our missionaries spoke with a couple of different ladies who came to our ministry events. Both women said they had been to our ministry center in the past but stopped coming when the pandemic hit and never came back—until after October 7. Each woman sensed a compelling need to return to regular fellowship with believers. We are encouraged to see the Spirit of God working in their hearts and drawing them back to Himself—because only in Him and through the Risen Messiah do we have hope for the future.

Please pray for them and for people around Israel struggling with disillusionment and wondering where God is in all the recent woes. Pray for us and other believers to boldly and humbly engage them so they may know the surety of God’s eternal love.

God in the Apartment Business

Three different ladies recently asked for prayer regarding their search for a new apartment. The housing shortage due to the hundreds of thousands of displaced Israelis fleeing rocket bombardment from the north and south has caused housing prices in the center of the country to soar.

  • One lady named Hilla* had to leave a bad housing situation and was praying and searching for the right apartment. The only options she found were so far from where she works and serves. She felt she should wait, fully trusting the Lord to have just the right place for her. Recently, Hilla, beaming with joy, entered one of our meetings to tell us the Lord’s answer to her prayer—an apartment with another believing lady, near her work, with air conditioning and other amenities to meet all her needs! Rejoice together with us and Hilla for this amazing answer to our prayers!
  • Another young lady named Keren* asked for wisdom in discerning the Lord’s leading about a wonderful apartment she has found, yet the owner is involved in the occult. Please pray with us for Keren as she decides what to do.
  • A third woman, named Golda,* asked for prayer. She needs to find a place to live, but since the war, she feels very unclear about where to live or in which central city she should choose to reside. Please join us in praying for Golda.

God at the Bus Stop

Our English-language Bible study for women has just finished a series on Jesus’ seven “I Am” statements in the Gospel of John. On the evening when we studied what it means for Yeshua (Jesus) to be the way and the truth and the life, one of our young ladies named Yuval* was waiting at a bus stop on her way home when she saw a man get hit by a car right in front of her. As an eyewitness, she immediately called for an ambulance, which thankfully came right away. She wrote to us within ten minutes of the accident to tell how the topic of the Bible study had come into perfect clarity at this life-and-death moment.

Please pray with us for the man’s healing, and for Yuval’s spiritual journey as well.

God on a Road Trip

A week ago, our ministry team went on a trip, split into several vehicles with random drivers who do not believe in Jesus. During the trip, we each had a conversation with our drivers. One driver named Avi* talked with us about general topics—about his daughters and his wife, about God, and even about Jesus. He told us he read the Bible and the New Testament in the past, and we felt he was very open.

Prayerfully, one of our missionaries asked him the classic question in Israel nowadays: “Where were you on October 7?” The story he told was extraordinary—he lived with his family in a settlement on the Gaza border, and his story of survival sounded like a miracle of God. We all had chills going through our bodies! At the end of the trip, one of our missionaries asked for his phone number, which he happily gave. Last week, Avi arranged to meet with Mitch Glaser (president of Chosen People Ministries) and one of our missionaries. Avi even took them to his settlement and told them his family’s story of the seventh of October.

Please pray God will reveal to Avi and his family how miraculously He saved them this day, and still wants to save them forever.


*Name changed.