After a grueling journey that took me to Atlanta and then to London, I finally arrived home last night. I was so happy to get home to experience the last few nights of Hanukkah. Elana and I were invited to a Hanukkah dinner tonight hosted by the mother of the mayor of Ashkelon. They are an Orthodox Jewish family with ten children, all very successful. The mother is in her mid-80s and still hosts all of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren most Fridays.
Soldiers light the Hanukkah candles on the very territory where Hamas desecrated the bodies of Israelis on October 7.
We have worked with the mayor in humanitarian aid for a few years. The first thing I told him when I met him was that I was a Messianic Jew. It was very important for me that he knew that from the outset. Now we are working with his nephew's unit which is in Gaza right now. You bought them around 50 helmets a month ago. They are so grateful. Now they need jackets as it is getting cold in Israel. It has been raining since I got home, but I live in an apartment with a roof. Many of these soldiers are sleeping where they can, getting rest when they can and it's important that they stay warm.
In just a few minutes, a young man, Raz, is coming over who has been working to provide for the needs of soldiers. We're going to order a bunch of jackets so they can be delivered as soon as possible.
In other words, I hit the ground running.
These are photos from Raz and Ziv, with whom we just met. Ziv opened her home on Oct. 8th and they have been taking care of soldiers ever since. Their two main donors can no longer give, so we are going to help them. The cakes and cookies were all made by elementary schoolchildren and sent to the front lines. The other picture is of a meal that they provided inside of Gaza for soldiers. Israelis take care of each other like no nation I have ever seen.
A rocket barrage reminds me that I’m home
We had just started a Shelanu Board meeting on Zoom when my phone began to make a sound that I had not heard in 3 ½ weeks…incoming rockets. I ran to my balcony and saw what is on the video below. As you can see, Elana was a little more concerned than me. If there are no sirens, then I know that we are not personally in danger. The city that you can see is Ashdod about 10 miles north.
I also heard from Dovev. I have told you about him. He leads 100 men in the north, and they are fighting Hezbollah. Their job is a bit more complicated, as Hezbollah is much more of a legitimate army than Hamas. He is asking for 40,000 shekels ($10,000) to help his unit buy equipment “for special activity that we are doing on the northern border. including infiltration into enemy territory.” We also want to donate to them 16,000 shekels ($4,000) for tactical helmets.
I want to remind you that we only work with people that we vet. And when we give donations, we purchase the equipment from the manufacturer or company, we do not give away cash.
10 Soldiers KIA Today :-(
Today was a particularly sad day. Ten soldiers gave their lives fighting for the nation of Israel. Some might think that 10 is not so many compared to how many terrorists and even civilians in Gaza have been killed. But remember, this is a war we didn’t expect, and one we did not want. We are not fighting for an equal amount of pain in both communities, but to end Hamas, and bring a sense of security to the people of Israel, not to mention the people of Gaza, who have been terrorized by their own government.
Tomorrow I will address the supposed bad behavior
I know there have been some negative reports about Israeli soldiers in Gaza. I’m going to write an article about it tomorrow. But just remember, there has never been a war where soldiers didn’t do stupid things. And don’t forget, these 19 to 21-year-olds are getting shot at by an enemy that wouldn’t hesitate to mutilate them. They are defending their mothers and sisters, who were raped and murdered. Put yourself in their situation. Again, I’ll write more about this tomorrow.
From GOLDA to today
In the meantime, please continue to support Israel’s effort to survive. Yes, that’s what this war is about. I was watching the movie Golda the other night. It is the story of the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Golda Meir was the Prime Minister. Born in Russia and raised in Milwaukee, she immigrated to Israel and became the first female Prime Minister.
Of course, those who created the movie had no idea, as they released it on the 50-year anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, that Hamas also had an anniversary surprise for us. We were reminded once again that the world would prefer that Israel would disappear. In the movie, she’s meeting with her work cabinet when suddenly, there are sirens. It’s the exact same sound that we hear here in Ashkelon when Hamas is firing rockets at us. I thought to myself, things really have not changed.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to be home. It was nice to see my family in the US whom I treasure deeply. But HOME is the Land of Israel.
Covenant is a Strong Word!
One of the things that keeps me going here is a deep understanding of God’s faithfulness to his covenant with Abraham regarding this Land and this people. We’re not a perfect people, and God has disciplined us in the past. But he also has said that he has committed to us forever. The word covenant in Hebrew is Brit. And it is stronger than the English equivalent. It is binding. For those who believe that God can replace Israel with another people, they don’t understand covenant.
The only way to make a covenant is to cut a covenant. Covenants were made with blood because they were permanent. They left a scar as a reminder. When God made covenant with Abraham, he introduced circumcision that produced a permanent, visible reminder of the covenant in the flesh of all males. For God to destroy Israel, he would have to look at every circumcised Jewish male and be reminded that he made an everlasting covenant with these people.
You are our only friends
Friends, it hurts me to continue asking you to help. But we have no one else to turn to. You can see that all over the world. Israel has been blamed for her own tragedy. But God has called his Church to stand with his covenant people, Israel. I love to tell the soldiers that these gifts are coming from Christians all over the world who love Israel. They are so grateful.
Please consider a generous year-end gift to Messiah’s Mandate so we can continue to serve. Not just the soldiers but all those affected by October 7. I have to go now. Raz is on his way up to our apartment, and we will buy jackets for these precious young soldiers.