Inside Israel

Israel Announces New National Day of Remembrance

Empty classroom exhibition at Ashdod city hall in December 2023 (Source: Wikimedia Commons/מקף־עברי)

The Israeli Knesset unanimously voted in favor of making the twenty-fourth day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei a national day of remembrance for the tragedies, horrors, and deaths occurring on October 7, 2023. This date will change on the Gregorian calendar each year as the Hebrew calendar has fewer months. For this year only, there will also be ceremonies on October 7 at 11 am in memory of fallen soldiers and another ceremony at 1 pm in memory of civilians who were killed. Israel already observes a memorial day for soldiers and a memorial day for Holocaust survivors, both falling in the spring. This new memorial day will allow people to specifically mourn for and remember those who were murdered on October 7 and those who were killed during the war it sparked trying to protect the nation of Israel.

Please pray those who are mourning the death of loved ones and the destruction of their homes and livelihoods will find comfort and hope.

Read more at YNet News . . .

Eilat’s Sea Port Struggles Due to Houthi Attacks

Aerial view of Eilat (Source: Unsplash/Et Yan)

Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat lies on the Red Sea and has an important port, receiving shipments from the Far East and Australia for distribution all over Israel and the West Bank. Since October 7, the Iranian-backed Houthi group based in Yemen has used its location at the Bab el-Mandeb straight to attack by missile and drone any ship trying to come through these international waters. Sailors have died, fifteen boats have been damaged, and one ship was lost. The Israeli port of Eilat has received no imports or exports since the Houthis began these attacks. This port supports 170 employees and is vital to Eilat’s economy.

Previously, the port was receiving and processing around twelve or thirteen ships each month, mostly carrying cars. Israel also exported products, including livestock and potash (a major source of potassium) from the Dead Sea, through Eilat to places like India and China. Now, these ships must depart from Haifa and Ashkelon, sail the Mediterranean, and travel around the Cape of Good Hope at South Africa’s tip. This journey is much longer and more expensive.

Please pray the Houthis will stop their aggression and even come to faith in Jesus. Pray workers at the Eilat port will be able to meet their needs given the port’s financial woes.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post . . .

Israel Agrees to Compensate Engaged Widow(er)s of Fallen Soldiers

The Israeli Knesset recently passed a law to compensate fiancé(e)s of Israeli soldiers, terror victims, police officers, jailers, and those in the Mossad and Shin Bet who were killed in the war starting on October 7. These bereaved men and women will receive five years of monthly compensation of 10,000 shekels (roughly $2,750) as well as funding for medical treatment and psychological support. The government will also include tuition for a bachelor’s degree.

These widow(er)s need to show proof of their engagement—intent to marry—and will receive the same benefits as any married person who lost a spouse. Ofir Katz of the Likud Party introduced the bill in the Knesset and said, “This is the least we can do for women who lost the love of their lives and all their dreams of a life together were cut short in one moment. It is important to recognize their pain and give them tools that will allow them to recover and hopefully rebuild their lives.”

Please keep these grieving fiancé(e)s and spouses in your prayers as they mourn their loss and try to rebuild their lives.

Read more at YNet News . . .

Children Celebrate Purim at our Tel Aviv Ministry Center

A past Purim party at our Tel Aviv center

This past weekend marked the holiday of Purim—the celebration of the story of Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai, who bravely saved their Jewish people from annihilation at the hands of Haman in Persia. In Israel, we celebrate with joyous songs and eating cookies called Oznei-Haman (“Haman’s ears”) in Hebrew or Hamantaschen (“Haman’s pockets”) in Yiddish. These cookies are shaped like triangles and filled with chocolate, figs, dates, or apricot jam. Children (and adults!) dress up in fun costumes.

Our Tel Aviv Ministry Center hosted a children’s Purim party. More than forty children came dressed as princesses, explorers, athletes, soldiers, and superheroes. We were also thrilled to welcome their parents, many of whom were not-yet-believers. Everyone heard the Purim story, marveling at the hand of God who loves us and takes care of us (we can see this even though His name was not written in the biblical account of Esther). Our staff had wonderful conversations during the party, and the kids were treated to a fun, welcoming, and safe event. Even in trying times, we know the Lord is always with us.

Please pray for the children and parents to remember God’s faithfulness daily!