Blessing Israel In Times of Crisis, and Every Day
Yael Eckstein | July 21, 2021
I recently returned to Israel from a wonderful trip to the U.S. As I drove home from Ben Gurion airport, I thought how blessed I am to have made my home in the Holy Land – and I thought how strange it is to think that, just a little more than two months ago, Israel was enduring barrages of thousands of terrorist rockets.
Immediately after a ceasefire was declared, I set out in the company of a first responder who knows the area to see what it was like in southern Israel. We had received so many urgent requests for help that I wanted to go into the field to see firsthand how The Fellowship could fill the most urgent needs as quickly as possible.
Every city we visited had been drastically affected by the rocket fire. As we drove through Ashkelon, I saw destruction everywhere. Every rocket strike throws shrapnel, sometimes as far as a block. What I saw as I drove for miles, was house after house, building after building scarred with shrapnel holes, broken windows and holes in roofs, walls, and yards.
Rocket attacks have a devastating impact on people’s lives, even if they were lucky enough to make it to a bomb shelter in time. Many can’t return to their houses – it’s often just too dangerous to go back to a damaged house. The roof may fall in. Walls may crumble.
I visited one home that sustained a direct hit. A Holocaust survivor had been living there. The woman providing her with in-home care was killed in the attack. In what was left of the house, bricks were lying everywhere and an outside wall had caved in on the floor. The first responder I was traveling with had tears in his eyes when he showed me where the woman’s helper had been killed. As rockets continued to fall, they found the Holocaust survivor on the floor, and, thank God, were able to resuscitate her.
I spoke to one of the head social workers for the city, who thanked me for the anti-shrapnel vests and helmets that The Fellowship provided so that workers could safely visit bomb shelters to offer assistance. She also said they needed a protected room where they could actually organize everything during war – sort of a command center. So The Fellowship is taking the biggest room in the makeshift trauma center they set up and we’re making one room completely rocket proof.
It was amazing how these social workers, who all have families of their own, went to help others during this terrible conflict. They told me there was no organization other than The Fellowship that actually came during the conflict and provided them with what they needed to deliver to people who were in bomb shelters, whose homes were destroyed, and who were suffering great trauma. Just knowing that The Fellowship was there with them helped them keep going.
Their Time of Need
We also went to visit a park in Sderot. As a mother of four, I think of a park as a place where my kids can play and have fun, and I can just sit and relax and watch them. But in Sderot, less than a mile from Gaza, it’s very different. In one park, we had to provide five bomb shelters positioned close enough to ensure that everyone could get to the shelter within ten seconds – in the event of rocket fire, that’s all the time you have.
It really put things in perspective. In communities like Sderot, there is no relaxing, no escaping the constant threat of war, conflict, and rockets. And it also shows just how important, how essential The Fellowship is in cities that are at risk. Our presence shows the people in those communities that Christians around the world are there for them in their time of need.
Protecting the Protectors
Finally, we went to visit with the heads of security of the towns on the Gaza border, who are some of the strongest, most dedicated Zionists I have ever met. I asked them if they had secure vehicles to use. They said they just had regular trucks – not bulletproof, not shrapnel proof. But when I asked them what they needed most, they said, backup generators for people who are on oxygen, and a heart machine to keep in their car to help those with heart conditions. They were solely concerned with protecting others, not themselves.
I told them: you are here to protect the Israeli people. But The Fellowship and our supporters are here to protect you as well. We’ll help you with all the medical supplies you need, but we also provide you with a bulletproof, bomb-proof vehicle to help keep you safe.
My friends, this is the work you are doing for the people of Israel. We could not do it without you. I am so grateful to have you as a partner, and I pray that God will bless you as you are blessing His people – both in times of emergency, and every day.