Israel War Update from the President
October 13, 2023
Dear friend of Israel and Chosen People Ministries,
Shalom in His grace. This beautiful Hebrew word for peace, shalom, means more now than ever! I know you are praying for the peace of Jerusalem, as am I. When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we are praying for the entire nation of Israel and perhaps even Jewish people everywhere, but we are also praying for peace for all those who live in the Holy Land. It is a disastrous time for Israelis and the innocent Palestinian victims of Hamas.
Our communications team asked me to provide an update to you, our dear ministry partners, to bring you up to speed regarding the Israeli response to the atrocities experienced on October 7, the retaliation and defensive measures taken by the Israeli army, and the work Your Mission to the Jewish People is doing to try to bring God’s love and comfort to those who are suffering.
Let me begin with an overview of what has transpired since Saturday morning, October 7, at 6:30 am Israel time.
Day by day and hour by hour, we receive gruesome reports of how Hamas terrorists treated the Israelis irrespective of age or gender. Most of those killed were civilians, but even now, the number of soldiers serving in the Israeli Defense Forces who have died is approximately 300.
In other words, the Hamas terrorists murdered almost 1,000 Israeli civilians, including babies, children and the elderly. We have heard many stories of inhuman behavior, where aside from simply shooting Israelis, the Hamas terrorists raped and maimed their victims before killing them.
We also know the terrorists abducted between 100 to 200 Israelis and took them as hostages to Gaza, where reports say the captors are torturing them, using them as human shields, and many have already been murdered.
The terrorists slaughtered at least 260 people attending a music festival in the dessert. Those killed were primarily younger people who participated in this event. The young people who attended the event were enjoying the good weather, music, food, and the company of like-minded Israelis, many of whom recently completed their Army service. They were in their early to late twenties, and we understand some were still in their tents when the terrorists came upon them after landing gliders in the fields near the concert. They then went tent to tent, throwing hand grenades, pouring gasoline onto the tents, igniting them with a match, and shooting those dying in the flames. They used tractors to pile the bodies.
We also now have forensic evidence showing Hamas terrorists massacred more than 100 civilians in the southern kibbutz (collective farm) of Kfar Aza. They murdered and decapitated some, including babies.
Also, dear friend, it is very difficult for me to write these words and send this letter to you. Still, I feel I must . . . the Gaza attackers killed some of the elderly Holocaust survivors among whom we ministered and who we loved deeply. Let me share the exact report from Maxim, one of our missionaries working among these elderly and beautiful people.
Today it was a very hard day for us. Ofakim city was clear today from terrorists and we found out that five Holocaust survivors we worked with were killed! There is a suspicion that a sixth was killed but we cannot find the body, so this elderly Holocaust survivor may have been abducted and taken to Gaza. It is so difficult to think, after all they went through when they were children at the hands of the Nazis and then moved to Israel where they could be free to live, their lives ended in such a horrible way. It is so unfair, and my heart is broken.
Also, one of the Russian immigrant kids who was part of our camping programs died in battle!
Our Jerusalem center is providing shelter for about a dozen children whose parents fled the border town of Sderot, where we have ministered for two decades. The parents had to work, and schools were shut down again. We brought them to Jerusalem as it is a little safer and created programs for them to have fun and learn more about the Lord.
We also provide everyday staples of food, water, clothing, and toiletries needed by the soldiers and families of those whose husbands and fathers left for the battlefield. The stores are quickly running out of what is needed as well. One of our staff sent me this report,
I received a call from a soldier who was in our camping program when he was a kid, and he told me they were short of food (there was only dry food). I was able to contact and talk with the unit commander, ask him about his needs, and provide them with 300 sandwiches and drinks.
Another of our staff writes,
Today, we delivered supplies to the bases in the north. While the army provides most of their needs, the sudden call-up of 360,000 civilians meant many of them lacked essential items. In some areas, soldiers are on the front lines and cannot access daily necessities like showers. We purchased t-shirts, underwear, socks, and sleeping bags based on requests from base commanders. On our way north, we met friends who contributed more supplies, and we traveled with three vehicles. As we approached the border, the atmosphere grew increasingly tense. The soldiers, many of them very young, had serious expressions. We saw numerous tanks and police in combat vehicles. When we reached the designated location, we connected with an officer. Soldiers from the bases came out to collect the items. They were very happy to receive them, and we conveyed how Christian friends of Israel are praying and supporting the Jewish state during this difficult time. Some soldiers shared stories about their children and wives back home.
The trip was stressful, but we are grateful for the opportunity to serve our people in this challenging time.
There is so much more to say. Soon, we expect a ground war in Gaza and possibly in the north against a more powerful and well-armed Hezbollah. This second front would seriously increase the scope of the conflict as the terrorists in Lebanon have far more powerful missiles. If launched and missed by the Iron Dome, they could wreak incredible destruction inside Israel. We are holding our breath and praying this will not happen, and the international community and the Lord will restrain those who seek the destruction of Israel!
I hope this gives you some idea of what is happening on day six of the war. We will keep you updated as we are able. We invite you ask God to guide you, as we need a lot of prayer and help now. Our thirty-plus staff members are concerned for their own safety and the safety of their families, but they also know God has placed them in this position to use them for His glory and the benefit and blessing of others. It would be wonderful to know you are praying for them.