Aid for the civilian war victims

The lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been turned upside down. They are heartbroken and displaced in their own country without knowing if they can ever go back home or even to their home communities. Any help gives them hope to survive today’s challenges.

We have brought loads of emergency supplies to thousands of displaced Israelis now living in Netanya, the Dead Sea area hotels and other small communities providing housing to them. The items we bring include clothing, baby items, toys, toiletries, and hygiene products. For the Magen David Adom, we have provided meals as they receive blood donations. In the darkness, the love and kindness they receive prove that light always overcomes darkness. Thank you for praying for Israel and standing with us in these difficult days in the Lord’s land. (Pray Psalm 125 over Israel).

Israeli authorities have notified each family (or relatives) about the family members who were kidnapped and taken to Gaza. The current account is 240 hostages as only four Israelis have so far been released, and one rescued by the IDF. Among the hostages are tens of children from tiny babies to young teenagers. Their location and well-being are unknown.

Bring them home!
“Had it not been the LORD who was on our side,”
let Israel now say, “Had it not been the LORD who
was on our side when men rose up against us.
Then they would have swallowed us alive,
when their anger was kindled against us.
Then the waters would have engulfed us,
the stream would have swept over our soul.
Then the raging waters would have
swept over our soul.
Blessed be the LORD who has not given us to
be torn by their teeth. Our soul has escaped
as a bird out of the snare of the trapper.
The snare is broken and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD
who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 124:1−8

Standing with Israel’s defenders

Israel is pressured by all sides to agree to a ceasefire. The world does not want to see Israel winning against Hamas. The world does not even want to see the Jewish hostages being released. The same world is running with Hamas. However, there are still Christians who are supporting the Jewish people. Ministries like Christian Friends of Israel have set up a Global Prayer Watch for Israel to pray daily for the hostages, those who have lost family members, the IDF, and the Israeli military and political leadership.

Our office in North Carolina has committed funds to provide practical assistance to the surviving family members, first responders and the soldiers. With those funds the CFI Jerusalem team has already delivered tactical shirts and other much-needed supplies to army bases along Israel’s northern border.

CFI team delivering supplies to a base in northern Israel

Many Israelis had no life after the Black Shabbat on October 7, 2023. An estimated 3,000 Hamas terrorists killed 1,400 and injured about 5,300 Israelis living along the Gaza border in southern Israel. Jewish communities as Nir Oz (see the location in the Gaza map)─lost over half of their population in the attack. Since the end of the Holocaust, not so many Jews have been murdered in one single day. In the attack, Hamas terrorists damaged or destroyed 28 Jewish communities along the Gaza border.

Then, about a week later, the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon opened fire, hitting Israel’s northern communities with rockets. Also, a few Hezbollah terrorists entered Israel only to be eliminated. In the coming days, the Israeli government ordered close to one hundred Jewish communities near the Gaza and Lebanon borders to be evacuated. About 300,000 Israelis are now internally displaced. Many had already left voluntarily and moved temporarily to other parts of the country.

An estimated 470 of the Hamas rockets have so far misfired and landed in the Gaza Strip, killing and injuring their people. When one of the misfired rockets hit a hospital’s parking lot in Gaza, the Arab world and many Western capitals (including New York) erupted with riots, blaming Israel for the attack.

Hamas’ rockets from Gaza have reached many of Israel’s population centers, such as Sderot, Ashkelon, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Eilat, and even Jerusalem. Hardly any location in the country is out of the reach of the rockets, especially when the fire comes from the north over the Lebanon border.

First Responders at work (above) and a scene from Kibbutz Be’eri after Hamas had destroyed it (right)

As Israel has responded to the daily rocket fire, Hamas is crying for the difficulties they claim that Gazans are now experiencing─at the hands of their own government. It has been reported that the people lack food, water and electricity; however, they still have plenty of rockets and mortars. As Israel has urged Gazans from the northern part of the Strip to move to the south, Hamas has opposed it, not allowing the Gazans to withdraw safely. In addition, the leaders of Jordan and Egypt are refusing to accept any of the Gazan Palestinians to their countries!

As Israel has responded to the daily rocket fire, Hamas is crying for the difficulties they claim that Gazans are now experiencing─at the hands of their own government. It has been reported that the people lack food, water and electricity; however, they still have plenty of rockets and mortars. As Israel has urged Gazans from the northern part of the Strip to move to the south, Hamas has opposed it, not allowing the Gazans to withdraw safely. In addition, the leaders of Jordan and Egypt are refusing to accept any of the Gazan Palestinians to their countries!

Gaza Beach

From Canaanite settlement to Hamas entity

For thousands of years, Gaza has been ruled, destroyed and repopulated by various dynasties, empires and peoples. Originally a Canaanite settlement, it came under the control of the ancient Egyptians for hundreds of years before being conquered and becoming one of the Philistines’ principal cities. During the Iron Age, Philistines emigrated from the Aegean Sea region and settled on the south coast of Canaan in 1170 B.C.

In the coming centuries, Gaza became part of the Assyrian Empire; Alexander the Great besieged and captured the city of Gaza; Bedouins settled there, and the area changed hands regularly between ancient Syria and Egypt, until it was besieged and taken by the Hasmoneans in 96 B.C. Muslims conquered Gaza in 637 A.D. when most of the population adopted Islam. In 1917, the British captured the city, extending the rule of the Mandatory Palestine over the area. Then once again, Egyptians ruled over Gaza, until it was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. In the days of the First Intifada against Israel (1987−1993), Gaza was the center of political activism and riots.

In the 1993 Oslo Accords, Gaza was assigned to be under the direct control of the newly established Palestinian Authority (PA). In 2005, when Ariel Sharon was Israel’s premier, Israel unilaterally withdrew from twenty-one Gazan Jewish communities. Then, in 2006, Gazans voted for the Hamas terrorist entity as the winner in the Palestinian elections. A year later, Hamas gained victory over another Gazan terror group called Fatah. Ever since, the Gaza City and the wider Gaza Strip have been under Hamas’ violent authority. For the coming sixteen years, the political changes in the Gaza Strip resulted in almost daily rocket attacks on southern Israel, causing deaths, injuries, and destruction.

Map of Gaza Strip and southern Israel with Jewish communities along the Gaza border

Assisting the war victims

Israel truly needs our help! The overwhelming need is to assist the victims of the Saturday, October 7, sudden attacks in several peaceful communities, in southern Israel. Terrorists from Gaza killed and wounded thousands of civilians and soldiers. Israel has now evacuated many of those communities, and the survivors were brought to the cities such as Jerusalem.
We, the CFI ministry, assist in the care of the victims by providing bullet-proof vests, water, food, helmets, and other needs for soldiers and first responders, as well as equipment and body bags to municipalities hit by the rockets; repurposed rooms arranged in our Distribution Center for displaced families; use of CFI’s transport vehicle to move people to sanctuary places; and offering other help as various needs arise.
The war with Hamas is expected to continue as terrorists in Lebanon have also wired rockets and have entered northern Israel. Please pray for the tens of Israeli (and American) hostages kidnapped and taken to Gaza, families who have lost beloved ones, and for the Israeli soldiers and the leadership to win this war.

Destruction in Ashkelon by rockets from Gaza

We thank you for partnering with us at this time of crisis in the Land. (Psalm 121:1−2).

Jewish life in Ukraine can be traced back to the ninth century A.D. Much of it has been littered with cases of trauma and hardship. In the twentieth century, devastating events that affected Ukrainian Jews included pogroms carried out by Ukrainian nationalist forces after World War 1, as well as the brutal acts of the Holocaust carried out on Ukrainian territory─most famously the murder of more than 33,000 Jews at Babi Yar, Ukraine in 1941.

Despite this turbulent history, Ukraine has been for centuries, the birthplace of important Jewish writers and poets. Also, Ukraine was a major center of the modern Zionist movement.

The history of the Ukrainian Jewish emigration provides context to the current exodus. One of the events in that history was the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and occupation of eastern Ukraine. Large

Numbers of Jews from Ukraine and Russia immigrated to Israel, and also, to the U.S. and Germany. The February 24, 2022, Russian invasion of Ukraine caused an influx of Ukrainian Jews to Israel and the neighboring European countries.

Because of the mass immigration, the Jewish population in Ukraine has greatly declined over the last thirty years. Therefore, the estimated number of Jews in Ukraine before 2022 (close to 250,000) may have been too high.

Israel’s “Law of Return” was launched to help Jewish immigrants originating in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus to find a new home in Israel. According to Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, more than 40,000 Jews from the mentioned countries have immigrated to Israel since February 2022. Those who have temporarily relocated to other countries, face an unknown future with hopes that they may one day return home in Ukraine.

Window of the Synagogue in Kyiv, reflecting the Babi Yar dramatic events

 (References: Jewish Policy Research and online news posts)

Jewish refugees arrive in Ben Gurion, Israel Ukrainian Jews at the CFI Distribution Center Celebrating their

Ukrainian Jews at the CFI Distribution Center Celebrating their first Chanukah in Israel Please pray

Celebrating their first Chanukah in Israel

Please pray for the Ukrainian Jews and their future in Israel.

October 31, 2023

The Museum Mile continues

The Bloomfield Science Museum (1992) was established to encourage all visitors to question, think, experiment, and explore science.

The Bible Lands Museum (1992) is the only museum in the world dedicated to the history of the Ancient Near East from a Biblical perspective,

The Israel Museum (1965) is one of the world’s leading museums in archaeology, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jewish art and culture. (Online resources)

Ray Sanders going home.

It is with great personal sorrow that we |
announce that Christian Friends of Israel’s
beloved Co-Founder, Ray Sanders (77),
has passed on to glory following a
long illness. Ray’s suffering on this
Earth has come to an end, and he is
now on the other side with his Beloved.
May he rest in peace.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife
Sharon, and their family.

Ray and Sharon Sanders a few years ago in Jerusalem where Sharon continues residing.

The National Library of Israel reopens in Jerusalem.

Israel’s National Library was established in 1892 in the neighborhood of the modern Knesset in Givat Ram of Jerusalem. For years, the plans for a new building and the entire setting of the library were in process. Located in the same neighborhood, on the “Museum Mile,” the new building is the national story center for Israelis and international visitors alike.

Inside the impressive building, visitors find the most significant, most important cultural treasures of Israeli society and the Jewish people. There are over four million books and rare recordings of cultural ceremonies never before seen in public, but there are also maps, antique manuscripts, photographs, digital books, and more.

The historical roots of the library were birthed in Basel during the 1897 First Zionist Congress. Envisioning a library for the dreamed-up Jewish state, the early Zionists began sending books to Jerusalem as they knew that the Jewish people would one day make their way to the Jewish homeland, and they did not want to leave their books behind in Europe.

The National Library is designed for all age groups and welcomes visitors to view treasures through time, such as a thousand-year-old Bible in the Treasury of Words Exhibition. The reopening of the National Library of Israel is scheduled for the late fall of 2023. (Reference: The Times of Israel online news, Sept. 13, 2023)

The location of the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem

Ministering with compassion

This project exists due to the vast number of civilians, soldiers, and police officers who suffer from ongoing trauma/PTSD due to the never-ending war and terror attacks perpetrated on them by their enemies. Working with terror victims and victims of trauma, we see no magical recovery formula or time period for recovery. Many struggle for years to overcome the trauma of attacks.

Thousands of Israelis have suffered injuries and trauma of multiple terrorist attacks in recent years. Our Jerusalem team visits them in hospitals and homes, bringing needed assistance and sharing the Word of Comfort. Please pray for continued connections and friendship with these families so that God would renew and restore what was lost (reference to Joel 2:25−26). We encourage you for financial support, as well.

Maggie from CFI visiting with terror survivors

Today, Hebron has a population of 215,000 Arabs and a few hundred of Jews, concentrated on the outskirts of its Old City, mainly in Kiryat Arba. Jewish, Islamic, and Christian traditions consider the city holy because of the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Since spring 2022, the Hebron area and most of Judea have seen a rise in Palestinian shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and the IDF troops who patrol in the Palestinian towns and villages. Only southern Judea has remained relatively calm for months. This calm was shattered in late August when two Palestinians opened fire at an Israeli car traveling south of Hebron, killing a 42-year-old woman and seriously wounding the other passenger.

It was noted that as the two terrorists were arrested, Israelis living in the area did not carry out any retaliatory attacks on Palestinians. Military officials still fear that the ongoing escalation of violence could spread to other villages in the Hebron area.

Terror organizations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are responsible for the recent rise of shooting, stabbing and car-ramming attacks that have killed tens of Israelis and wounded many more. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reported stating that “Israel is in the midst of a terrorist onslaught that is being directed and financed by Iran and its proxies.”

In addition, the Israeli Arab communities are amid an unprecedented wave of violence and murder. This year alone, 173 people have been killed for various reasons. Recently, two politicians─one- one Arab Israeli and one Druze- were assassinated. In Nazareth, the anti-crime contender for mayor was injured in a shooting attack. He survived and was hospitalized in a stable condition. As violence in Arab communities spreads, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have rioted along the Israeli border.

(References: The Times of Israel and All Israel News)

One of the Israeli soldiers keeping calm in a
Hebron neighborhood

Islamic prayer gathering outside the Cave of the Patriarchs (above) and a market day in Hebron (right)