This week, the global network of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been covering Israel with prevailing prayer amid a very difficult war, while holding pro-Israel rallies and reaching out to numerous national leaders on Israel’s behalf. Meanwhile, our Jerusalem staff has crisscrossed the country to deliver relief aid and express love and comfort to a people still in shock from a ruthless Hamas assault that touched the raw nerve of the Holocaust.
With the grave atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists in the opening hours of this conflict still coming to light, the IDF is poised to fight both Hamas in the South and the even greater threat of Hizbullah in the North. To aid in this multi-front battle, Israeli leaders have taken the unusual step of evacuating all the communities along the Gaza and Lebanese borders, including large cities like Sderot and Kiryat Shmona.
This unprecedented move means that tens of thousands of Israeli civilians have now been displaced from their homes and are being sheltered at guest houses, hotels, hostels and other facilities throughout the center of the country. Most of these uprooted civilians had to flee with the bare necessities. Among them are many shattered Jewish families that have lost loved ones, while other close relatives and neighbors are either missing or being held hostage in Gaza.
This week, teams of ICEJ staff headed in numerous directions to pack and deliver food parcels and hand out store vouchers and relief items to evacuees, while giving toys and games to disoriented children.
At a major food distribution center in Rishon LeZion, and ICEJ team showed up every day to help pack thousands of boxes of food supplies, clothing, and toiletries. While there, the staff had wonderful encounters with other Israeli volunteers, providing words of encouragement as they stood side-by-side packing these items.
The packed food boxes are being transported in a refrigerated truck that the ICEJ has leased for this charitable partner since 2020. The Hebrew signage on the truck states: “Israel, you are not alone.” The ICEJ also is leasing a second refrigerated truck needed by law to deliver perishable foods to the needy.
Elsewhere, we provided a BBQ cookout for 200 Israelis now based in the Jordan Valley.
An ICEJ leadership team also visited a kibbutz along the central coast where 135 families who survived the Kfar Aza massacre are being housed and cared for. The families were all given vouchers that can be used at grocery stores and Israeli chains to buy food, clothing and household items. Over the coming days, we will be delivering these voucher coupons to all 305 families left from Kfar Aza, who are being housed in other respite centers across Israel.
We also spoke with Kfar Aza community leader Shay Hermesh, a former MK and close friend of the ICEJ, and he was deeply moved by the message of comfort in Hebrew on the gift cards to each family.
The ICEJ team in Haifa also was busy this week caring for the shaken residents of our Home for Holocaust survivors, while also volunteering to pack food parcels for hundreds of needy families in the area. We also purchased a large generator to supply power to the Haifa Home in case the electricity goes out.
In addition, the ICEJ has raised almost enough funds already to help donate two ambulances and a medi-cycle, including one ambulance earmarked for Kibbutz Be’eri, which also suffered heavy losses like nearby Kfar Aza. Some ICEJ branch offices have set a goal to donate several more ambulances.
The ICEJ also is rushing to order eight more portable bomb shelters to be placed in other vulnerable areas, and we are currently renovating an additional 20 underground shelters in Shlomi, bringing our total in that northern border town alone to 73 refurbished underground shelters and 12 mobile ones above ground.
In a sign of just how difficult the situation is right now for the nation of Israel, previously donated ICEJ portable bomb shelters have been temporarily moved this week from evacuated communities to other locations where they are urgently needed, such as a cemetery to allow for the burial of just some of the hundreds of slain residents of the Gaza border farming villages.
The ICEJ also gave dozens of protective vests and helmets this week to volunteer first responders in the western Negev.
Not to be overlooked, regional officials in the Gaza periphery also assured us this week that our previous donations of over 140 mobile bomb shelters, plus special communication devices, ATVs and other emergency equipment truly saved many lives over the opening two weeks of this war.
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