Can Messianic humanitarian organizations aid Israelis as budget is slashed by $1.2 billion?
Believing humanitarian aid organizations in the land of Israel – which help both believers and unbelievers alike – have long supplied food, clothing, baby supplies, military equipment, furniture, paper goods, dental care, career training, home purchase assistance, child care, community assistance, forestry plantings and much more.
In fact, governmental officials have officially recognized a number of these organizations for their generous help and for the vital role they play in supporting the community. This vast array of assistance is well-known by top Israeli officials and government entities.
But the Israeli cabinet, in the face of a growing fiscal deficit, recently decided to cut its welfare budget by 1.2 billion shekels ($334 million) and will increasingly rely on NGOs and these believing organizations to ramp up aid to Israelis who will be severely impacted by these cuts.
These measures, which are expected to reduce the deficit to 3.7 percent by the end of 2022, were implemented in order to divert money to rebuild neighborhoods destroyed by recent devastating fires, to beef up security on the Gaza border and to cover subsidies for day care programs.
But the impact of this decision will, undoubtedly, be felt across a multitude of sectors, mostly by senior citizens living below the poverty line. Ultimately, the huge cuts will hurt many Israeli citizens.
Moshe Schapiro, CEO of charitable organizations in Canada, wrote in Globes that this underfunding of social services will cause the government to increasingly depend on philanthropy and will stress the organizations.
“There is nothing rational or ethical about this system, which forces NGOs to devote a large portion of their limited resources to fund-raising,” Schapiro wrote. “It impacts their ability to most effectively carry out their primary function as providers of professional public services. The real victims of this circumstance are the intended beneficiaries of these services.”
This is the time for Messianic and Christian humanitarian organizations to pick up the slack.
These organizations, largely funded by Zionist Christians outside of Israel, are focused on blessing the people and the land simply because they are commanded to do so in the scriptures. There is no hidden agenda of evangelizing in return for goods. To the contrary, some of these organizations have adopted a strict policy to make sure no strings are attached whenever charitable gifts or acts are made.
Kehila News Israel (KNI) has written extensively on several of these believing organizations. For example, the Joseph Project which has provided $100 million in humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel since 2000, importing tons of supplies and Vision for Israel, another large distribution center providing humanitarian aid to poor and needy Israelis, both Jewish and Arab.
Several Messianic organizations have established soup kitchens such as Abundant Bread of Salvation in Netanya, which also has a soup kitchen and clothing distribution plus provides medical, optical and dental assistance to the poor, and the Dugit center in Tel Aviv that has a Distribution Pantry as well. Some of these soup kitchens provide the only meal that a person may have that day.
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has assisted in bringing home Ethiopian Jews who wish to immigrate to the country. The organization has sponsored this program through the help of international Christians who believe in the prophetic promises of the return the Jewish people to their homeland. For them, they are playing a role in this end-time regathering of the exiles.
Several organizations supply the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) with items the soldiers need but have not been allocated in the military budget. Soldiers are so grateful for these personal supplies not supplied by the government but which make their jobs easier.
Many organizations have donated furniture, clothing and other goods to any Israeli citizen unable to afford these things.
Holocaust survivors have been recipients of many of these goods and services, annually receiving special holiday food and other necessary items.
This is a wonderful opportunity to work together in a practical and useful way to bless Israelis and the nation at a time when it most needs help. Many government officials know that the Christian community outside of Israel shows their true friendship not just in word, but in deed, and through their generous financial gifts. Israeli leaders have often publicly expressed their gratitude for such help.
Increased support at this crucial time would help to cushion the loss of such a large amount of government services and subsidies given to Israelis. Those who want to join this effort, can contact KNI to see how they can help Israel.
See more articles about believing humanitarian organizations in Israel:
Chava Stein, the granddaughter of Jewish European immigrants to the U.S., made Aliyah to Israel in 1993. Married to an Israeli, they live in the center of the country.
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Ye’shi Reinhardt, tireless minister to Israeli trauma victims, suddenly passes away
Ye’shi Reinhardt, who tirelessly reached out to trauma victims and others in need from war-damaged Israeli economies, has died.
Described as intense and compassionate, Reinhardt died after landing in New Jersey on Thursday on his way to commence a summer-long speaking tour in the United States. His passing brings the total to three prominent Messianic leaders who have died in the past two weeks including pastor Eddie Santoro and intercessor Eliyahu Ben-Haim.
In 1992, Reinhardt founded Hands of Mercy, a humanitarian aid organization dedicated to helping victims of terror attacks, feeding the hungry and the homeless and providing various kinds of care to people living in the “war-damaged economy” of southern Israel. The organization was based in Jerusalem at first during the intifada, but as rocket attacks on communities near the Gaza border became a near daily occurrence, Reinhardt moved his base of operations to Sderot, one of the frequently attacked cities in the south.
Hands of Mercy also reaches out to those who suffer from PTSD due to living under attack or the constant threat of attacks. His organization provides animal therapy for children, holiday entertainment and food for families, dental care, food for soup kitchens, an outreach to the homeless, and care for people with specialized cases.
According to information from Hands of Mercy new leader, Yariv Goldman, Reinhardt — who grew up in Michigan — served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, an experience that marked him for life. Reinhardt was 72, according to the date of birth listed on his Facebook account.
“He exemplified the strength on how to turn personal trials and sufferings experienced into strength for doing good,” Goldman wrote. “Instead of living a life of victimhood, he chose to work tirelessly to help those who experienced similar traumas of war that he went through.”
As news spread of Reinhardt’s death, the internet was flooded with memories and accolades for his work.
“My brother and true friend, a brave warrior and generous soul who always gave his life for others,” said Elhanan Ben Avraham. “We’ll miss his Shabbat stays at our home and his always smiling face. A light has gone out of the world, and one of the shining stars in my sky is gone-higher.”
Many friends and acquaintances took to social media to bless Reinhardt’s memory and remark on the life-changing experiences they had through working with him. Several people spoke of his passion and his genuine love for people.
“He did not have children nor was given in marriage but the Israelis whom he knew and rubbed shoulders with loved him dearly, They knew that he was a listening ear and had a heart for them,” Renee Shmuel of Ima’s Goodies wrote. “He will be missed greatly.”
Reinhardt was never married but he poured “110 percent of himself into every situation… Hands of Mercy was his ‘child’ in which to do good and leave a legacy of purpose. He put all he had in it,” Goldman said.
Just before he left for America, in the last two weeks, Reinhardt legalized Goldman’s status to take over Hands of Mercy should anything happen to him.
“It was as if he knew, like he felt maybe he wasn’t returning, Goldman said. “He prepared everything and handed over the reins to put me as the head of the organization. He even organized his office, which he never does, right before he left.”
Goldman worried about joining, saying his evangelistic approach could upset people Reinhardt had built solid relationships with over the years.
“Before I agreed to take over I said this could cause you problems because you have good relations with the religious people in Sderot,” Goldman recalled. “I’m all for works of mercy … but I do it in the name of Yeshua. … He told me, on the contrary, he wants to see more fruit, he wanted something more evangelistic.”
Believers lose another giant in the faith: Israel intercessor Eliyahu Ben-Haim
Eliyahu and his wife, Hannah
The Body of Messiah in Israel suffered another devastating blow after Eliyahu Ben-Haim died on Saturday night.
Chairman of Intercessors for Israel, Ben-Haim is the second Messianic leader to die in the last week. Eddie Santoro, a pastor and mentor, passed away on June 15 after a long battle with cancer.
Ben-Haim was on a speaking tour in Europe when he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria that attacked his leg. He was rushed to a Scottish hospital where doctors amputated his leg in hopes that it was enough to save him. He remained in ICU for several days before he died on June 22.
Originally from the United States, Ben-Haim made aliyah and has long been considered a leading teacher on Israel relating to both Scripture and current events. His international ministry focused on teaching believers how to pray for the nation.
Ben-Haim’s passion to inform was evident in his newsletters and his teachings. His newsletter, the Sound of the Shofar, recast the news events in Israel and how they related to Scripture. Always included were prayer points to help readers pray for the situation accompanied by several Scriptures that supported each prayer point.
One recurring theme in recent years that Eliyahu noted was Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which he called “an existential threat to Israel.”
“We live in critical times and God is calling us to be a radical people who understand the prophetic imperative and also the practical outworking of His Word,” he wrote.
Ben-Haim unapologetically defended Israel. He also took tours of intercessors and prayer teams to strategic sites in the land to pray and prepare the way for the Lord’s return.
“While Israel is far from being a perfect nation (there is no perfect nation) the vicious hatred of Israel is not at its heart, anti-Semitic but anti-God,” he wrote.
Ben-Haim was chairman and a board member of IFI, an Israel-based ministry that “seeks to raise up a prayer army in and for Israel” through teaching about prayer for individuals and congregations.
Intercessors for Israel announced Ben-Haim’s “graduation” to heaven on Sunday.
“Late yesterday, our brother and friend Eliyahu Ben Haim finished his race and was taken to his heavenly home by God his Father. While we are relieved that Eliyahu’s pain and suffering have ended, we grieve with his family and friends who remain behind.”
Chuck Cohen, who founded IFI with Ben-Haim, said it had been a privilege to work with Eliyahu.
“He will be missed by many, yet his leadership and his tenacity to stand with God’s will for this nation will continue as we stand in the gap for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done here in Israel – and globally – for the sanctification of His Holy Name,” Cohen said.
The organization asked for prayer for Eliyahu’s family including his wife Hannah, his children and grandchildren, “to sense the supernatural comfort from God as they go through the grieving process (2 Cor. 1:3-4).”
Eliyahu urged believers to be encouraged that in dark times, God was still in control and that everything happening was part of His plan and His return.
“How do we stand, withstand and keep praying (Ephesians 6:10-18) in this world wide descent into darkness?” Eliyahu posed the question in one of his newsletters. “We need to keep in mind that this darkness has not only not taken God by surprise but that He has told us about it in advance. It is not the end, but a sign of the Lord’s imminent return.”
Jerusalem Encounter Conference connects global believers with Body of Messiah in Israel
The annual Jerusalem Encounter conference, which brings believers from around the world to encounter the land and people of Israel, took place this week at the Pavilion under threat of demonstrations by an Orthodox Jewish extremist group.
The conference, sponsored by the Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries (FIRM), was preceded by a tour of Israel for 300 leaders and young adults from abroad.
“We love seeing Christians, who have never been connected to Israel, fall in love with this land and this people and develop life-long relationships with believers in the land,” Michael Mistretta, chief operating officer of FIRM, told KNI.
The purpose of the tour and conference is to make connections between believers from abroad and local believers.
“Our hope is for specifically leaders and young adults to come experience, to walk where Jesus walked and also to engage with local pastors, local ministry leaders and maybe even find some trusted ministry leaders in Israel they may want to get involved with over the long term, partner with them going forward, and just have those divine connections,” Mistretta said.
This year, FIRM set up more than 200 individual meetings between the visitors from overseas and local leaders, paired according to mutual interests.
During the tour, the 300 participants took to the streets of Tiberias to clean the city and remove trash. They were greeted by the mayor and the story aired on a few local news stations.
FIRM offered three tour tracks including one for church groups, another for pastors and leaders and a third “adventure tour” for young adults which included hiking and rappelling.
The tour culminated in the two-day conference with 700 people in attendance, including 200 locals. The theme, Every Tribe, was well represented by the diverse attendance from overseas including participants from India, Togo, South Africa, Venezuela, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and more.
The conference was held in the Clal Buiding which has been the site of many protests. Just two weeks ago, dozens of Orthodox Jews from an organization called Lehava, protested outside a Messianic concert. The same organization staged a small protest at the 2017 Encounter conference and filed a permit to protest again on Thursday.
“Two years ago we kept them at bay with worship and praise and that’s how we feel like we should respond,” Mistretta said. “We believe worship conquers all. This is a spiritual battle. We aren’t just fighting flesh and blood.”
FIRM hired extra security in the event of another protest.
Worship sessions featured Israeli and international artists such as Aaron Shust, Birgitta Lundvall, Joshua Aaron and the Tel Aviv-based band MIQEDEM. Speakers included Wayne Hilsden, founder of FIRM, Chad Veach and Robert Madu. Veach is the pastor of Zoe Church in Los Angeles, a Hillsongs branch. Madu is an evangelist and serves on the teaching team at Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, Texas, his childhood church.
Follow the conference or catch replays @FIRM on Instagram or at Jerusalem Encounter Live.
Update on Eliyahu Ben-Haim after leg amputation
Eliyahu and his wife, Hannah
On June 17, 2019, KNI posted a prayer alert for Eliyahu Ben-Haim, one of the leaders of Intercessors for Israel, who was in critical condition at a hospital in Scotland after having his leg amputated in an emergency surgery due to a flesh-eating bacteria that he picked up while traveling there.
Below is an update from the family:
I, Rachel on behalf of my mother, want to thank everyone for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Here is the update, feel free to share.
Eliyahu is still in ICU. He’s awake but in excruciating pain that the doctors are trying to manage.
Answers to prayer for which we can thank God: Eliyahu is awake, his heart is beating on its own and he is breathing only with oxygen.
Forecast: We are looking at several more weeks at least for Eliyahu in the hospital and months of rehabilitation.
For freedom from the agonizing pain;
for Eliyahu’s kidneys to function normally;
that he stays clean from infection;
for strength, courage and hope for Eliyahu, Hanna and the rest of the family.