War Costs Israel $600 Million a Week
The Swords of Iron War is starting to have massive ramifications on Israel’s economy. One study from the Bank of Israel estimates the war is costing the country $600 million dollars per week. Thousands of workers are missing from their jobs as more than 300,000 reservists have been activated. In addition, more than 200,000 people have evacuated from their homes in the north and south. The school system is also limited and often meets over Zoom, causing parents to need to remain at home to monitor their children. This calculation of $600 million does not consider the many workers who have been furloughed or the total damage and costs to the labor market due to the decrease in demand and consumption because of the war. The Bank of Israel based its analysis of the economic costs on the absence of workers, not the loss of product.
Please pray for small businesses, freelance workers, and farmers to keep up during these difficult times. Pray for Israel’s economy to stand strong.
Israeli Farmers in Dire Need of Workers
The Israeli agriculture sector is in serious jeopardy. Crops are ready for harvesting, but farmers do not have enough workers. Most of Israel’s farms are in the south and north, many in dangerous areas near the borders with Gaza and Lebanon. Farmers are finding their crops close to rotting in the greenhouses and fields. Numerous workers either evacuated these areas, were called up to serve in the military, or even died in the October 7 massacre. Many foreign workers have fled the country. Before the war, Israel had 30,000 foreign farm workers, mainly from Thailand. On October 7, thirty-two Thai farm workers were murdered, and twenty-three were kidnapped into Gaza.
Grassroots campaigns of volunteers have sprung up throughout the country to help save the crops, but this is not a long-term solution. Israel has 2,000 farms. Those near Gaza grow 75 percent of the country’s produce. The government is offering extra pay for Israelis to take up farm jobs. Farmers whose property is within a few miles of Gaza or Lebanon will receive full government compensation for the loss of crops. This need for farm workers is the worst labor crisis the country has seen since the establishment of the State of Israel.
Please pray for farmers as they seek to save their crops and provide the nation with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Cowboys Arrive in Israel
A group of American Christian cowboys recently traveled to Israel to support the country during this difficult time. Their outfits—complete with boots, wide-brimmed hats, denim shirts, and leather belts with large buckles emblazoned with stars of David—stirred the curiosity of many Israelis. These cowboys want to use the skills they learned growing up on farms to support Israel. This group of fifteen cowboys comes from Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, and Montana. They will work in the West Bank to help install security roads, build warehouses, and provide guard duty against thieves and terrorists. They love the Lord and want to serve the land of Israel in practical ways. One of them said he was not scared of being in a country during a war because “God has my back.”
Please pray for these cowboys who came to serve Israel and show their love for the Lord to others.
Shining the Light of Jesus in Dark Times
This past weekend, one of the soldiers we know personally from a believing family was injured in Gaza, requiring the amputation of both of his legs. Please pray for him and his family. About one thousand other believers are also serving in the Israel Defense Forces—and quite a few of the younger soldiers grew up attending summer camps led by our staff. They have been a tremendous witness in their units. Pray for divine appointments, for divine fruit, and for divine protection for all the soldiers.
Our ministries to Israeli soldiers are ongoing, daily, and critical. We are also actively and consistently involved in another critical area—ministering to children. Across Israel, children are suffering emotional and mental trauma and wounds from the October 7 massacre and the constant danger of incoming rocket barrages from Hamas and Hezbollah. Our hearts are broken for the children, and we pray for healing and restoration to come to the hearts of these children and their families through the love of Yeshua (Jesus) penetrating through their pain. We thank the Lord for helping us reach them and their parents. Here are three short examples:
- We go with our children to playgrounds (near a bomb shelter, of course!) to have conversations with other parents so our kids can play with other kids and have some sense of normalcy. Many good discussions have sprung up this way, and we have planted many seeds.
- We serve evacuee families daily. Most are low-income families, so when the war reached their towns, they fled with almost nothing. Due to the war, kids attend school on Zoom. Although each family has multiple children, most families only have one phone, forcing parents to choose which child can use the phone for class while the others miss learning. Plus, it is hard to see small numbers or writing on a chalkboard on a tiny phone screen. We recognized the need for basic tablets so school-aged children do not miss classes or drain the battery of their family’s only communication device in case of further emergency. Therefore, we first went to a school supply store and purchased pencils, paper, notebooks, calculators, and other useful items for homework. Then, we went to a store to buy basic tablets for the children’s Zoom classes, but we found only three. Customer service located ten more in stock, but we needed a total of forty. Before ringing up the transaction for the original thirteen, the customer service agent received a phone call and notified us they found another box with exactly twenty-seven more—the perfect number needed—and on sale! “This is truly a blessing!” one mother told us, and others echoed her sentiments. “This will make my son’s studies so much easier.” God is good!
- We house displaced families at our Jerusalem Messianic Center—including eleven children ages three to fifteen. Last week, we organized some fun for the children with time at the pool, a yummy pizza lunch, and a trip to the movie theater to see Paw Patrol. Our hearts burst with joy to see them smiling and happy again. Their parents were also so grateful, and now they read the Bible with us and ask us more spiritual questions than ever.
Last but not least, this week, we remind you to please keep praying for the 242 infants, children, teens, women, men, and Holocaust survivors whom Hamas seized as hostages on October 7. Pray for divine provision and protection for them, for comfort and strength for their families, for public pressure from other governments on Hamas, and for the Lord to supernaturally aid in their rescue.