Some GOOD NEWS! This girl was rescued today by the IDF. They entered into the heart of Gaza under gunfire in order to rescue her. She is an Israeli soldier who was captured by Hamas. Pvt. Ori Megidish has now been reunited with her family.
I can't exactly tell you what's going on in Gaza right now. All I can tell you is that while Elana and I were going from house to house delivering computers in Ashkelon today (more on that in a minute), you could feel the earth shake over and over again as one loud boom followed another. It is certainly nothing I ever experienced growing up in Richmond, VA!
We spent most of the morning with Sigal, the principal of one of the local elementary schools, and Cecilia, one of their counselors. Cecilia lives on the moshav, where we have been serving soldiers most evenings by helping to make dinner and just hanging out. She has unlimited energy. She told us about 15 students who are well below the poverty line and could not afford a computer. Their school had been hit by a rocket and is now closed during the war period. They are studying on Zoom.
Some of the kids live in hotels because they have been evacuated from their homes. Others live in impoverished neighborhoods and have no bomb shelter in their house. If they're lucky, they can run to a public one. In most cases, they just go to their stairwell, as they only have about 30 seconds to get to safety.
One of the mothers is Ethiopian. Elana shared how she has spent time working in Ethiopia with children. We talked about how we love injera (Ethiopian bread) and chira, a meal made from chickpeas and spices. She just called us to tell us that she made us a meal, and we’re going over to pick it up. These are some of the poorest families in Israel, but they are givers.
What a joy it was giving away 15 computers that you purchased. We could not be doing any of this without you, our partners worldwide. We will have a video for you of the children in the next day or two.
The Benches and the Strollers
We spent the weekend in Tel Aviv, which was no less hectic than being here in Ashkelon. Three times, we had to run to shelters. The main walking street in Tel Aviv is called Rothschild St. You can't go by a bench without seeing the faces of hostages. It is so important as a society that we don't forget them. There was another area where a bunch of strollers had the faces of children who are being held by Hamas.
While the world defends Hamas, they have children of ours in their possession. That goes against every rule of warfare. But the US college campuses are their biggest defenders.
Rebuilding security teams
The southern communities have been devastated. Most of them relied on civil squads to protect the neighborhoods. In the case of Holit, the entire civilian security squad was shattered. The commander of the squad, Avi Koran, and his wife, along with other members, were brutally murdered. The terrorists stole all of their security equipment, leaving them vulnerable and defenseless.
A group called “Civil Squads of Israel” is seeking to help rebuild security teams for our southern Kibbutzim. They need $25,000 for a package including essential tactical equipment, personal protection gear, and life-saving tools for the new civilian security squad in Holit. They have $15,000, and I told them our generous donors would cover the other $10,000.
Many of our soldiers are stationed on the Lebanese border, protecting Israel from the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Hezbollah took out many of our stationary perimeter protection systems on the border on October 16th. Since then, every observation attempt by our soldiers has been life-threatening.
In just a week, a team of about a dozen volunteers, including scientists, engineers, and technical officers, have been working around the clock to deploy a working solution. Led by Major (res.) Tal Dekel, the team has already delivered six fully operational semi-mobile security observation kits.
One of our friends, Dovev, leads a team of 100 men on the Lebanese border. He's asked me if our donors could provide $5,000 to purchase one of these new kits. Of course, we said yes.
MOB HUNTS JEWISH PEOPLE IN RUSSIA
On Sunday, hundreds of rioters stormed an airport in Russia, hunting for Jewish people and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) while waving Palestinian flags. The rioters converged on the airport in Russia’s Dagestan region (a predominantly Muslim area) after receiving a message through The Telegram platform to swarm the airport and a flight from Israel and “avenge Gaza.” The mob ran through and took over the airport from terminal to tarmac, boarding planes and searching for Jewish people. Below, you can watch some video footage from the terrifying scene.
FORMER ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER FORESAW THE OCT. 7 MASSACRE 7 YEARS AGO
In 2016, Avigdor Liberman, the defense minister for Israel at that time, seemed to foresee the attack and massacre by Hamas on Israel’s southern border on October 7, 2023. In an 11-page document, he warned that the terrorist group planned to break through the border and storm into the communities in the south, killing and kidnapping victims. And even with that warning, Israel failed to prepare properly.
Liberman wrote in the top-secret document: “Hamas intends to take the conflict into Israeli territory by sending a significant number of well-trained forces (like the Nukhba [commandos], for example) into Israel to try and capture an Israeli community (or maybe even several communities) on the Gaza border and take hostages. Beyond the physical harm to the people, this will also lead to significant harm to the morale and feelings of the citizens of Israel.”
“I am convinced that the consequences of such an assault from Hamas would be far-reaching and in some ways even worse than the results of the Yom Kippur War,” Liberman wrote.
His chilling words from seven years ago hang in the air like a knife now. We cannot reverse the clock and do things differently. We are at war now, in a fight for our future, our lives, our families, for those who were murdered, and for the hostages in captivity in Gaza this minute.
FEMALE COMBAT TROOPS WIPE OUT CLOSE TO 100 TERRORISTS
In the aftermath of the overwhelming tragedy of the attack on October 7, a few truly heroic stories are also coming to light. A squad of female IDF combat troops, led by Lt. Col. Or Ben Yehuda, ran into the fray as the horrific scene of the Hamas infiltration was unfolding. Her troops eliminated almost 100 terrorists before the day was over. Here is an interview with Ben Yehuda (a mom of three!) as she recalls that day (there are subtitles in English).
It's only normal that donations drop off. The initial shock of what happened on October 7th is dissipating. But the needs are only growing. I just want to remind you what Israel suffered. There is nobody who doesn't know somebody who lost a loved one. Please pray that the gifts continue to come in so that we can continue to help.
Please pray for the hostages to be released. Don't forget them. Our friends at The Fellowship of Israel-Related Ministries (FIRM) are asking people to write the name of a hostage on their hand and, every time they look at it, to pray. Someone emailed me the other day overjoyed because one of the hostages that was released the other day was written on his hand.
Please pray for the protection of Israeli soldiers. Many are now on the ground in Gaza. Please come against the spirit of vengeance and pray that the soldiers stay focused on the task at hand—to rid Gaza of Hamas.
Please pray for the families of the hostages. They are in the most difficult position imaginable. As Israel has begun the ground invasion, their loved ones are now at risk.
As always, pray for a revival here in Israel. Pray that Israelis find Shelanu TV online and hear the message of hope and eternal life through Yeshua.