Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
Israel needs our prayers now…more than ever before!
On April 9, 2019, Israel will hold elections and decide which party will represent the country. Additionally, whichever party is able to build a coalition in the Knesset (Parliament) earns the right to name the next prime minister.
The Bible commands us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6) and James tells us, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). I believe it is crucial for believers in Jesus the Messiah to pray for the upcoming elections in Israel!
The elections are important to us as we have twenty workers in the Holy Land. The leadership of the country can limit religious freedom and therefore negatively impact evangelistic efforts. Some Christians believe that evangelism is illegal in Israel. This is not true. Israelis are free to preach the gospel, as Israel cherishes religious freedom, which was a fundamental value of Israel’s founders. In general, the freedom to preach the gospel in Israel is always a sensitive issue among the Jewish people.
Yet, God is moving powerfully today in Israel!
Here are some examples of the kind of work that our dedicated staff in Israel is doing that may be affected by the elections.
A few weeks ago, we held a concert at our Ramat Gan Center with two musical groups. The members of the second group, who we met through mutual friends, were not believers in Yeshua (Jesus). One of them asked a lot of questions, and the other seemed very open. We would like to ask you to pray for these two men. About fifty of their friends who do not know Yeshua as Messiah came to the concert. One visitor took an Isaiah 53 Explained book. After looking through it, he spoke about how interesting the topic was to him. So please pray for him to find the Lord in biblical prophecy.
And here is one of Robin’s experiences:
I want to tell you about Rivka* and ask you to pray for her. She is an Israeli who grew up in a secular family. While visiting family in California, she met a friend of the family who is a Jewish believer. She feels drawn to Jesus and the things she is hearing about redemption and forgiveness. We sat together for hours one afternoon. We went through some of her biblical questions. Then we talked about her concerns about being able to continue to seek Jesus in Israel, and we prayed together. Rivka and I will be meeting back in Israel. We will study the Bible and I will walk alongside her in this journey. It is amazing how God leads us to these kinds of connections for His purposes and glory.
Maxim shares this story about caring for Holocaust survivors:
Recently, we held an event for Holocaust survivors in S’derot. After a lot of prayer, we have acquired a meeting hall where we can have many different events and start a small congregation. The last time we had a meeting there, most of the people who came struggled with getting to the location. As they get older, various illnesses and disabilities make it hard for them to get around. In spite of all of that, they long for fellowship, and we provide the opportunities for them to get together, and to see and hear about the love of the Messiah.
Please pray that religious freedom continues to be a hallmark of the modern State of Israel so that we can continue the work God calls us to do in the Holy Land.
Pray with Understanding
In order to pray effectively we need to better understand the complexities of Israeli politics.
April 9 will be a hotly-contested election. There are many crucial issues at stake that will impact the lives of Israeli citizens, whether they are Jewish (religious and secular), Christian, Muslim, or Druze.
The possible indictment charges facing current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only increase the difficulties Israelis are facing during this election season.
Let me list a few additional key factors to keep in mind as you pray for this election. Eighty percent of the voters are Jewish, and 15 percent are Arab. The highest percentage among the remaining 5 percent are Druze, with a population of 135,000 citizens.
The 120 members of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) are elected as representatives of political parties. Additionally, the president of the Knesset asks the party that garners the most votes to form a new government consisting of at least 61 elected members. They in turn will appoint a prime minister from among their ranks.
Unlike America, where there are only two major parties, Israel has at least thirty-four competing in the general elections.
The Critical Concerns within Israel
Security concerns are of course paramount, and most of the major parties have candidates with impressive military credentials. Threats from Iran, Hezbollah, and Muslim extremists are clearly recognized by the major candidates as important to the average Israeli. Each party has a way of handling these never-ending conflicts and promises to provide Israelis with the military and political security they need.
There is also uneasiness among secular Israelis concerning the role of the growing ultra-Orthodox community and their place in society. Affordable housing for the burgeoning number of young Israeli families is critical to the next generation of Israelis. Deep concern for improving what Israelis view as an expensive and ineffective health care system is also an election variable. And the ever-present issue of a Palestinian homeland within the current borders of Israel is the proverbial elephant in the room.
According to Efraim G., one of our Israeli staff members,
The two-state solution (Israel and Palestine) has not yet become an election issue because no political party has a clear and viable solution to this gravest situation.
Maintaining a good relationship with America is also a serious issue for many Israelis as the United States provides considerable military aid to Israel while the rest of the world is becoming far less supportive than in previous decades.
As the elections in Israel rapidly approach, many Israelis no longer recognize Prime Minister Netanyahu as the “obvious” choice. In particular, those under the age of forty believe there are stronger candidates that can lead the nation through these turbulent times.
The main opposition to Prime Minister Netanyahu is the “Blue and White” party led by three former top-level commanders of the Israeli Defense Forces: Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, Moshe Ya’alon, and Gabriel (Gabi) Ashkenazi.
The current ruling coalition of right-wing, nationalist, and religious parties must reach the 61-seat majority for Likud to emerge as the group with the greatest percentage of Knesset seats. If this happens again, then Netanyahu will remain the prime minister. If not, he will be succeeded by another individual and Likud would no longer be at the core of the next governing coalition in Israel.
This would mean that the United States and other western countries would need to build a bridge with new leaders. This could cause further disruption during this season of general instability in the Middle East, with ongoing war in Syria and a growing nuclear threat emanating from Iran!
Ultimately, we pray for the Lord’s will in Israel, and for the Holy One to guide Israelis as they vote. We believe that God will grant the elected officials great wisdom and peacemaking skills both on the international stage and at home. Finally, we pray that both Israelis and non-Israelis will remain free to preach the good news of the Messiah within Israel and that the expanding national body of believers in the Holy Land will continue to grow in maturity, boldness, and faith.
Please pray for the work of Chosen People Ministries in Israel! Your prayers and financial support keep us going in Israel and around the globe as we reach Jewish people for the Messiah. The Jewish community all over the world is unsettled today because of the growth of antisemitism and fear that Israel might be weakened in the upcoming elections.
I recently returned from a visit to Israel and spent a few days meeting with our staff and sharing the good news with Israelis. We live in exciting days that remind us the coming of the Lord and the repentance of Israel is near (Romans 11:25ff)!
I am hoping God will provide a minimum of $125,000 in the next month through you and others reading this letter. Your generous contribution will help pay for the expenses of our ever-growing work in the Holy Land among Holocaust survivors, young adults, children’s camps, and the general costs needed for our Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv Centers! Thank you for caring and standing with us throughout our 125th-anniversary year.
Join me in praying for Israel today!
P.S. We have provided a summary of the political parties in Israel that you can use while you pray for the upcoming election. Please feel free to make copies and share with your church or congregation, small group, and prayer partners.
The major Israeli political parties in 2019 are as follows:
Led by Benjamin Netanyahu and represents conservatism and Zionism. It holds thirty-one seats in Parliament.
Led by Benjamin “Benny” Gantz. This is a new party, and does not currently hold any Knesset seats.
United Torah Judaism
Led by Yaakov Litzman and represents the ultra-Orthodox community, particularly the Ashkenazi (western European) and Haredi interests. It holds six seats.
Led by Yair Lapid and represents liberal Zionism, secularism, and centrism. It holds eleven seats.
Blue and White Coalition
The result of a merger between Israel Resilience, Yesh Atid, and a third party, Telem (Moshe Ya’alon).
Led by Aryeh Deri and represents issues of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews. It holds seven seats.
Led by Avi Gabbay and represents social liberalism, social democracy, and progressivism. It has nineteen seats.
Led by Moshe Kahlon and focuses upon cost-of-living and economic issues, promoting social liberalism and liberal Zionism. It holds ten seats.
Led by Tamar Zandberg and represents social democracy and green politics. It has five seats.
Led by Rafi Peretz and focuses upon the basic tenants of Zionism, the people of Israel (especially those in the West Bank), and the land of Israel, strongly opposing a two-state solution. It has five members in the Knesset.
Led by Ayman Odeh and represents Israeli Arab interests and anti-Zionism. It has twelve seats.