Church serves neighbors as Israel-Hamas war drags on

By March 1, 2024

Israel (MNN) — The Israel-Hamas war nears the five-month mark. As the conflict in Gaza continues, to the north Hezbollah and Israel exchange fire over the Israel-Lebanon border.

Pastor Israel Pochtar of Beit Hallel Congregation says 80,000 Israelis have evacuated their homes in northern Israel, moving to central cities away from the border with Lebanon.

“It’s like we have two fronts. Officially, the war is only in Gaza. But in fact, it’s both Gaza and Lebanon,” Pochtar says.

Meanwhile, in the city of Ashdod, Pochtar’s church lives out its daily mission as the church, preaching and building up the church body. They pray about ways they can reach out to those trapped in conflicts farther away from their region, and they actively serve their neighbors.

(Photo courtesy of Beit Hallel Congregation)

Pochtar thanks God that there is no longer a need in their area to deliver food to people living in bomb shelters.

“We right now (are) focusing on the poor and needy, widows and single mothers, but also aliyah, or immigration. The Jewish immigration keep(s) going, even during the war, praise the Lord,” Pochtar says.

More than 44,000 people, the majority of them Jewish, are estimated to have immigrated to Israel from January to November of 2023. When they arrive in Israel, they are in a key transition time where local believers can share the love and hope of Christ.

This Christian witness is important among rising expressions of anti-Semitism in other parts of the world.

“When you live in Israel, and you see the international social media, you (get) kind of (a) crazy picture, and you feel like ‘all the world is against us.’ So when we help people, we always tell them, ‘This help come(s) from Christians. Christians are with you, they care, they love,'” Pochtar says. 

Praise God for this church’s faithful ministry, and join in praying for the peace of the Middle East in these ways:

“First of all, (pray for) shalom — Israel need(s) peace, Israel need(s) shalom. Number two would be (the) salvation of Israel. Yeshua said, ‘Pray for the workers. (The) fields are ready. They are ready to be harvested but pray for workers in the harvest.’ So we pray for more people with a passion for evangelism,” Pochtar says.

Click here to learn more about Beit Hallel Congregation’s ministry.




Header photo of war relief action teams delivering much-needed essentials to soldiers at the Israeli army bases in the south of Israel, courtesy of Beit Hallel Congregation.

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