Many of you have surely been following the news of the recent events overtaking Israel and Gaza. We urge you to pray for our CMJ colleagues in the Land, and we offer some guidance to inform those prayers. The rocketing of the south and central parts of Israel have been intense since last week, doing real damage and costing many lives in Israel and Gaza.
Notwithstanding Hamas’ deadly rocket barrages at Israeli population centers and Israel’s tough responses, especially heartbreaking is the eruption of widespread violence between Jews and Arabs within Israel itself (which has not been seen to this degree since the 1948 war). The mayor of Lod, a city in central Israel with a mixed population of Arabs and Jews, said that the recent Kristallnacht-like violence has destroyed decades of effort at co-existence. There has been mass rioting and violence, reports of lynchings by mobs and hundreds of wounded civilians both in Israel and the West Bank.
Image: Archival photo of Hamas rockets fired from Gaza. Photo by IDF via Flickr.
All of our staff and community members at CMJ are well and safe. In Jerusalem, they have had sirens and some disturbances, but only one alert to go to a shelter. At Beit Immanuel Guest House in Tel Aviv-Jaffa there have been several missile alerts sending staff and guests to the bomb shelter below the building. Beit Immanuel also serves as a public shelter for its neighborhood. The North and our Beit Bracha Guest House in the Galilee are so far untouched by hostilities, but there have been some tensions across the Lebanon border.
We are also seeking what the Lord wishes us to do in this situation. Please ask him to guide those of us who need to be making those decisions.
For Your Prayers
What is desperately needed is prayer led by the Holy Spirit, keeping in mind a few obvious points:
- Israel needs a permanent government - one that pursues righteousness and is not held hostage by Jewish and/or Muslim extremists.
- Leaders on all sides need divine wisdom and the desire to seek the common good for all peoples.
- The people of Gaza need to be free from the oppressive rule of Hamas.
- Both Jews and Arabs need healing of past and profound wounds in order to begin the process of reconciliation.
- The Body of Yeshua (including CMJ) needs opportunities to let its voice be heard.
- Refuse to tolerate anti-Semitism which rises to a frenzied pitch when there is conflict in the Middle East.
- Support Israel’s right to defend itself while keeping in mind that Israel also makes mistakes (like any country).
- Reject any racism against Palestinian Arabs or Muslims.
- Support in practical ways organizations that bring good news to the poor, healing that frees the oppressed, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4).
Your brother in Christ,
Executive Director, CMJ USA