(Denver, Colorado) — On Day #28 of the Gaza war, “Messianic Jews around the country are mourning after one of their young soldiers was killed in action last week,” reports Israel Today. “First Sergeant Shai Kushnir, who grew up in a youth group at a Messianic congregation in the Haifa area, was killed during operations along the Gaza border.”
“Messianic Jews” believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Messiah in fulfillment of ancient Hebrew prophecy and follow Him for salvation. There are presently about 15,000 Messianic Jews in Israel — many of whom serve faithfully in the IDF — and upwards of 300,000 around the world.
“Over ten thousand came to pay their respects to Shai and the family, including two mayors from the Greater Haifa area, IDF generals and commanders from the Armored Brigade, as well as Messianic friends and congregational leaders,” the report noted. “Many wept openly as the 20-year-old fallen soldier was laid to rest in a full military ceremony at the IDF cemetery in Kiryat Ata, just outside Haifa.”
Please pray for the Kushnir family, for the Lord to comfort them in their grief. Please pray for their family and friends and for all the Messianic Jews in Israel as they mourn this loss. Please also pray for the families and friends of the other soldiers who have died in combat, as well for the family and friends of all the Palestinians who have been killed as well. Let’s keep praying that Hamas is defeated, and that Arabs and Jews are liberated from their reign of terror, and that this war will come to an end soon and calm will be restored. Thanks so much.
To read the full story, see below.
GAZA WAR, DAY #28 — AT-A-GLANCE:
- Since July 8th, more than 3,253 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza.
- On Sunday alone, 119 rockets were fired at Israel.
- Three civilians in Israel have died.
- 64 Israeli soldiers have died in combat, while hundreds more have been wounded.
- Palestinian officials say deaths on their side in Gaza top 1,80o — Israeli officials say at least half of those were terrorists.
- Pedestrian killed in tractor terror attack in Jerusalem — Palestinian driver shot to death by police; 6 victims lightly wounded (Times of Israel)
- Hamas fired 119 rockets and mortar rounds on Israel over the course of Sunday, the IDF said. Eight of intruding missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome (Ynet News)
- Israel declares 7-hour humanitarian cease-fire to take effect Monday in Gaza (Jerusalem Post) — yet Hamas has been firing rockets anyway.
- Netanyahu’s brave decision (Ynet News)
- Congress approves more money for Israel’s Iron Dome (CNN)
- Israel’s Unilateral Move: Preferable to a Bad Agreement with a Terrorist Organization — by former head of Israel’s military intelligence
By David Lazarus, Israel Today
Messianic Jews around the country are mourning after one of their young soldiers was killed in action last week.
First Sergeant Shai Kushnir, who grew up in a youth group at a Messianic congregation in the Haifa area, was killed during operations along the Gaza border.
Over ten thousand came to pay their respects to Shai and the family, including two mayors from the Greater Haifa area, IDF generals and commanders from the Armored Brigade, as well as Messianic friends and congregational leaders. Many wept openly as the 20-year-old fallen soldier was laid to rest in a full military ceremony at the IDF cemetery in Kiryat Ata, just outside Haifa.
Barely holding back his tears, the commanding officer of Shai’s unit addressed the mourners:
“Shai fought bravely in order to defend the citizens of Israel. Few are willing to put others before themselves, but Shai was motivated by a higher principle of love, generosity and sacrifice for others. Living by these principles did not just happen on the spur of the moment, rather they are the result of the upbringing that Shai received from parents and family.
“Shai, your spirit and willingness to fight has left a profound impression on us. Your desire to help and to do whatever you could to save a life gave us courage during the fighting over the past few weeks. Just moments before we went into battle you said, ‘You can depend on me. I will protect you.’
“You were more than a friend, Shai, you were like a brother to us. Your memory will be with us always and will continue to give us the strength to carry on. We are paying the ultimate price in order to defend our people, the price of our dearest sons and daughters.”
According to IDF regulations, as an only son, Shai was not permitted to serve in a combat unit. “But Shai was absolutely adamant,” said his father, Michael. “He just kept on insisting that he wanted to serve in a combat unit.”
When it became clear that Shai would have it no other way, he was eventually allowed to serve in the Barak (Lightning) Division of an Armored Brigade, the same unit in which his father served.
Shai was a medic in a reconnaissance platoon that suffered a direct hit by Hamas mortars. Four other soldiers died in the attack along with Shai.
The day before he was killed, Shai’s father sent a message to his son:
“Sheiky, I miss you very very much. Not a minute goes by that I do not think of you, day and night. I try to imagine how you and your friends are facing this difficult situation. How are you responding to all this dangerous? You and all the other youth have an extremely difficult task to shield our tiny country. With your very lives you are our Protective Edge. I believe that you and your friends are strong, determined and full of motivation to complete the difficult task that you have. You are the best this country has to offer. We trust you. Daddy loves and misses you.”
The funeral was concluded with a prayer by the IDF Rabbi:
“To First Sergeant Shai, family and friends who have gathered here to honor you, I ask you for forgiveness. We called upon you to serve our country and you have given your life for us. May you go in peace and may you have eternal rest. May you now stand before the Judge all of flesh and have Shalom. And may there be Shalom on Israel, now and forever.”
Learn more about The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.com). This is an organization my wife and I founded in 2006 to educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her Arab neighbors in the name of Jesus, including caring for the poor and needy with food and other humanitarian relief. Read our 2013 Donor Report. Please pray for our team, especially as they care for Jews and Arabs in the region. And please prayerfully consider making a generous, tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.
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