IS A NEW WAR IN GAZA MOUNTING? 14 new rocket/mortar attacks against Israel this week; a Christian murdered in Israel; and a Joshua Fund update

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VIOLENCE RISING ON GAZA BORDER — On Tuesday, a rocket fired from Gaza landed next to an Israeli kindergarten and wounded a 14 year old Jewish girl walking nearby. At least 14 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired from Gaza against innocent civilians in southern Israel just this week. The attacks are accelerating so quickly that even the U.N.’s Middle East envoy felt compelled today to condemn the attacks and support Israel’s right to self defense. Israeli Air Force jets have stepped up bombing of terrorist strongholds in Gaza. But more may be coming. Two years after the IDF’s “Operation Cast Lead” incursion into Gaza to punish Hamas for thousands of rocket attacks, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister is now hinting at the possibility of another Israeli military action into Gaza, an “Operation Cast Lead 2.” Palestinian leaders are worried about the possibility of another war, but can’t or won’t keep Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza under control. Please pray for the 14 year old girl and her family, and for others wounded on both sides of the border. Please pray for security on that border. Please also pray for the Lord comfort people on both sides and draw them close to His heart this Christmas season.

AMERICAN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN MURDERED BY ARAB TERRORISTS IN ISRAEL — An Israeli believer in Jesus was badly wounded in an attack by Arab terrorists over the weekend, while her friend, an American evangelical Christian tourist, was murdered. “Slain U.S. tourist was a spiritual Christian with deep ties to Israel, say friends,” reads one Israeli headline.Kristine Luken was stabbed to death while hiking with a friend in the hills near Jerusalem on Saturday night.” The story has made international headlines. “She has always from the first day I met her had a love for the Jewish people. She felt nowhere more at home than in Israel,’ Naomi Harralson, a friend and former colleague of Luken, told ‘Her relationship with God was everything to her.’ It was a relationship so meaningful to Luken that she left her job at Patrick Henry College [in northern Virginia] in 2009 to move to the United Kingdom to work with an evangelical Christian ministry,” and then visited Israel.

“The victim’s friend, Kaye Susan Wilson, reported Luken missing on Saturday after the two were attacked by two Arab men with what appeared to be a bread knife in a forest near the Jewish farming community of Mata, approximately 12 miles southwest of Jerusalem,” reported CBS and AP. “Wilson, a naturalized Israeli citizen from Britain, told Israeli reporters from her hospital bed Sunday that she and Luken were resting in the woods when the two alleged attackers approached them asking for water.”

The Joshua Fund stands with our brothers and sisters in the epicenter. We are calling on followers of Jesus all over the world to pray for Kristine Luken’s family and friends, for the Lord to hold and comfort them, and to pray for a speedy recovery for Kaye Wilson, and for the Lord to bless her and her family and friends, as well. Please pray for all followers of our Lord Jesus in the land of Israel to be strong and courageous despite such violence, especially as we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Messiah in Bethlehem Ephratah. Please also pray that the Israeli authorities will aggressively and professionally investigate these terrorist attacks, and that the perpetrators will be brought to justice swiftly.

DECEMBER UPDATE FOR DONORS TO THE JOSHUA FUND — Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support. Here are some of the projects The Joshua Fund has been working on in recent weeks:

  • Helping 100 Jews in Europe immigrate to Israel — One of the most important opportunities in the life of a Jewish person who lives outside of Israel is the chance to “make Aliyah,” or immigrate to the land of Israel. The Joshua Fund has partnered with a ministry to assist 100 Jewish people in making Aliyah. Those we are helping are from the former Soviet Union and Europe. We consider each person’s need when funding their request for assistance to make Aliyah. For some, money is used to assemble all of the information needed to prove that a person is Jewish and has the “right of return” to Israel. This may involve tracing a family history, doing research, and having all of the paperwork filled out correctly. For others, money is used to transport people to the Israeli Consulate to secure permission to make Aliyah, or to help families get to an airport (to get them on a plane to Israel). It also can cover temporary accommodations immediately prior to their flight; can help with support visits or calls to families who are in the process; procure suitcases and other basic items needed to travel; and to help them transition to a new culture once they’ve arrived in Israel. The Lord said through the Hebrew prophets that He would call His people back to the Land from where they had been dispersed throughout the earth. The Joshua Fund is blessing the people of Israel and helping fulfill that promise by providing funds to those who cannot afford to return to Israel on their own.
  • Building a bomb shelter in Galilee — The Joshua Fund recently approved the funding of a large bomb shelter in the Galilee Region (northern Israel). The shelter, when constructed, will serve the village as a command center for local officials, and will be able to accommodate 100 people (families and children) from the next round of missile attacks.
  • Providing food for the needy — The Joshua Fund’s warehouse in Israel continued to supply seven distribution centers throughout the land of Israel. In 2011, we hope to double the number of “storefronts” that we support. Last month, TJF purchased about 20 tons of food for distribution through these centers. We also provided funds to one of our partners to about 10 tons of food for distribution to the poor and needy.
  • Chanukah Gifts for pregnant women and new mothers —  The Joshua Fund was able to supply 99 Israeli women with supermarket vouchers (gift cards), through one of our wonderful allies in the Land. Many women were grateful that they were able to buy something extra for their family for Chanukah. The vouchers were a tangible expression of how much these women are cared for.

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