Inside Israel

Israeli Military Discovers Tunnels in almost Every Home in Rafah

IDF soldiers Shabura neighborhood in Gaza, June 18, 2024. (Source: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

More than forty days have passed since the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) entered Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, which borders Egypt. The IDF allowed journalists into Rafah to meet with Nahal Brigade Commander Colonel Yair Zuckerman to talk about the situation. He said, “Rafah is chock-filled with tunnels. During the last days alone, I found 17 tunnels. There is almost no home without a tunnel.” Israeli forces have discovered so many tunnels connecting various homes in the area it was like “one vast labyrinth.” They also found evidence of how Hamas broke holes through the walls to connect tunnels in different homes.

Zuckerman showed the journalists a picture of the inside of a closet where there was a hole in a concrete wall. The IDF need time to complete their mission to demilitarize the area—especially after finding caches of weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, and long-range rockets. The IDF are painstakingly trying to make the area safe. Yet Hamas has boobytrapped buildings to detonate them from a distance. Last week, Hamas killed four soldiers by triggering explosives in a home the IDF thought was clear of these devices.

Please pray for the safety of Israeli soldiers operating in dangerous areas.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post. . .

Difficult School Year in Israel Comes to a Close

This year, 110,000 Israeli students are graduating from high school. Many of these students finished their school career away from their homes, normal schools, and classmates. A number of these youth had to evacuate their towns for safer places away from the northern or southern borders. Ella Mozes, who serves as director of secondary education in the Education Ministry overseeing Israel’s middle and high schools, said, “Most of them are moving towards the future. [The war] didn’t break their faith; we see the teens volunteering, working, wanting to serve in the IDF . . . in the end, the kids need to become adults and be ready for what is expected of them.”

The school year began on September 1, followed by weeks of Jewish high holidays. After October 7, schools across the country closed as rockets fell on civilian centers, thousands of families relocated, and the call-up of 350,000 reserve soldiers left many schools without enough teachers. As a result of the call-up of reservists, many schools had to shift their schedules, subjects, and add in psychological and counseling services. Most schools quickly changed to distance learning, building on tools these schools used in the pandemic. Finally, administrators found students were inadequately prepared for their matriculation exams in the spring, so they were delayed or revised.

Please pray for the children in Israel to have an enjoyable summer after the challenges of the school year  Also pray for the recent high school graduates, who will soon be drafted into the IDF. 

Read more at The Times of Israel . . .

Number of Hezbollah Aerial Strikes since October 7 Reaches 20,000

A Hezbollah drone is seen being shot down by air defenses over northern Israel, June 23, 2024. (Source: Israel Defense Forces)

Since the war began, Hezbollah has launched 20,000 drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and rockets from southern Lebanon where Hezbollah is entrenched. They are very difficult for sensors to detect because of the north’s mountainous terrain, which is quite different from Gaza’s flat terrain. Adding to the challenge is the short distance between Hezbollah’s operations and civilian areas in northern Israel. Erring on the side of caution, Israeli forces have calibrated their drone alert system to be very sensitive. Thus, it sometimes mistakes birds with certain flight angles for small drones.

Israel carried out the first drone interception from Gaza in 2021 during Operation Guardian of the Walls, when the Iron Dome had initially not been designed to spot and take down drones. Since then, it has been adapted for quicker early detection and spotting smaller targets. A small drone from Hezbollah with a camera attached to it recently recorded sensitive sites and civilian neighborhoods in Haifa. The high-definition color video upset the public, which was Hezbollah’s intention—to wage psychological warfare.

Please pray for the success of the Iron Dome and other methods Israel needs to stop drones and UAVs from attacking civilian centers, soldiers, and military bases.

Read more at YNet News. . .

Special Prayer Request for Israeli Children as School Year Ends

As the school year in Israel comes to a close on June 30, please pray for Israel’s children as they start their summer vacation. Please pray for safety and protection as they enjoy the time off school. Especially pray for children who are recovering from the trauma and fears they have experienced because of October 7 and the war. Please also pray for the children who are still displaced from their homes. Many of our staff in Israel have children. We cherish your prayers for their spiritual growth and for opportunities for them to grow in their faith and talk about Jesus!