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Christians Support Israeli Soldiers, Residents

by | Thu, Nov 9 2023

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A Christian ministry near Gaza has been providing for Israeli soldiers and support crews preparing to enter into battle as well as residents fleeing from relentless rocket attacks. Its volunteers have also been preaching the Gospel to mostly secular Jews whenever they get the opportunity.

Some residents of the city of Ashkelon in southern Israel have been forced to permanently set up home in bomb shelters because there are so many rocket attacks from Hamas militants who are just 13 kilometres away. Pastor Israel Pochtar from the Beit Hallel Messianic Congregation in the city of Ashdod that’s just north of Ashkelon said Christian volunteers regularly deliver supplies to the residents and share the word of God when they can.

He told Mission Network News that: “People used to run to bomb shelters all the time, but they stopped running because it became too much. Here and there, they go out to take a shower or grab some stuff, grab some food from the house, risking their lives because there are all sorts of rockets falling in Ashkelon. So they just literally live in bomb shelters,” Pastor Pochtar explained..

He added that: “Today, I’m going to visit one bomb shelter at nighttime. I’ve been there in the daytime, but I’m going to visit them at night and bring them some more pillows and water. Because they also don’t go to get groceries, we bring them food.”

The pastor tells the residents that their Christian brothers and sisters are paying for the supplies — many of them from America. His ministry has help outfit the bomb shelters with beds, mattresses, linen, towels, chairs, tables and storage facilities. It has also taken water, food and other supplies to Israeli soldiers and support crews on the frontline as they prepared to fight in Gaza. The Beit Hallel Congregation raises funds for Israeli humanitarian aid through its War Relief Project.

Pastor Pochtar explained the ministry work “does create lots of opportunities just to speak about the Bible, to speak prophecies, and just to love the people and tell them about Christians. Really, it’s opened up doors to share why it’s all about Jesus.”

Israel’s population is 73% Jewish and 21% Arab. Of the Jewish population, nearly half identify as secular, and 21% as traditional, but minimally observant. The other 35% identify as traditional and observant, religious, or ultra-Orthodox. Some may be familiar with elements of the Bible but not the promises and hope of Jesus Christ.

“We have dozens of thousands of secular people in my city [Ashdod]. People are just caught by surprise. They don’t know Biblical prophecies. They don’t know Biblical promises. So obviously, there is an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty, and even depression. I can tell you the atmosphere is heavy, truly heavy, because it’s wartime,” the pastor observed.

“But now, because of that, people are also open. People ask questions, and when they see Christians — we call ourselves Messianic believers as Israeli Christians — we have the answers. We act like one who has answers because we have answers in the Bible — both Old Testament promises about our days, the prophetic promises on that, and New Testament hope and salvation and God’s goodness,” he expanded.

Photo: Beit Hallel Messianic Ministry