The rift in Israeli society has been deepening over the past few months, exacerbated by the government’s proposed judicial reform that caused mass protests, the ongoing security threats, and the rapidly climbing cost of living (in an already expensive country like Israel).
Two days ago everything reached a boiling point when hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets all across the country, while the head of the largest labor union announced an unprecedented strike effective immediately that basically shut down the entire country. All in efforts to call for a halt to a galloping reform legislation that was destroying everything in its path and tearing the country apart.
Everything came to a stop. Malls were closed, airport was shut down, the entire country was either out on the streets protesting for one side or the other, or at home glued to the news trying to understand what will be the next move and how Israel will be able to possibly climb out of this ditch we were thrown into as a society.
Throughout history Israel as a nation showed time and time again that with God’s help it can withstand and defeat any outer enemy… expect when the enemy is on the inside. The only nation that can divide Israel is Israel.
Which is the crucial crossroads we’ve arrived at these days. The hatred and division are rampant within Israeli society, and there has to come a point of understanding, agreement and unity in order for this country to continue living out its calling.
My family and I have been in the country for so many years that sometimes it feels like we’ve seen and faced it all here.
I remember when we first arrived in Israel towards the end of the 90’s. Israel was enduring one of its most challenging seasons with terrorist attacked happening almost daily, suicide bombers was a term we knew very well, because when we would leave for work in the morning, we never knew if we would get to come home again, because suicide bombings was such a frequent occurrence, especially on public transport.
In fact, it was so frequent that a week didn’t go by without at least two buses exploding. One day, on my way to work, while sitting on the bus, a thought popped into my head: “what if this is the day?”
I just remember deathly silence on bus rides back in those days. Israelis aren’t the quiet “mind your own business” type of people, usually. They are lively, loud, vibrant and full of life. Those days changed the face of the nation, and people became weary, alert, quiet, always on the lookout. It was so tense in those days, that one day a young girl came on the bus with birthday balloons, and one of them popped. The entire bus gasped in fear, and then burst out laughing. We all realize the absurdity of living like this, in constant fear.
Years passed by, Israel overcame the challenging times that followed the Oslo Accords in the 90’s. Then the second intifada followed in the early 2000’s.
Israel has never known peace or quiet. Our existence has always been plagued with the underlying threat. Israelis learned to be alert and aware, even when they are out partying or eating at a restaurant.
There is so much this nation has faced and continues to face. However from a personal experience I can encourage you and say, we’ve been there and by God’s grace we have come out on the other side. Israel has always been able to find a solution to the problems that challenged its existence.
In fact, Israel tends to thrive in crisis. When things are most difficult and tense, is when Israel obtains its biggest victories. That’s just how God designed it, so that the glory will always be His.
This season is different, yet in many ways it’s the same. Israel is facing an existential crisis, with outer threats and division within.
However, entering into a season of Passover — Festival of Freedom, we have seen God’s deliverance and believe that He is far from being done with His nation. Israel is being purged and prepared for what is ahead.
When it comes to the nation of Israel, your prayers accomplish so much.
Continue to pray for Israel as watchmen on her walls; for wisdom for our government to navigate correctly in these turbulent times, as well as for unity among the people that are driven apart by the enemy that wishes to break this nation from within.
We know God’s promises are eternal, especially when it comes to Israel. Those are our solid foundation on which we pray for the nation of Israel.
Beit Hallel is a Messianic Jewish congregation in Ashdod, led by pastor Israel Pochtar, serving holocaust survivors and the poor and needy locally and throughout the nation of Israel, while building up the body of Messiah in the promised land of Israel.