Weekly Update: Pray for the safety and release of the hostages

1 December 2023

Financed by Iran and Qatar, Hamas-led terrorists took about 240 hostages during the October 7 shock assault in which they it raped, pillaged, mutilated and massacred some 1,200 people in southern Israel.

For the last few weeks, Israel has carried out a ground campaign to destroy Hamas and rescue the hostages, while seeking to limit Gazan civilian casualties as far as possible.

Last week, a temporary ceasefire agreement was reached, under which Hamas agreed to release hostages. So far 105 civilians have been freed: 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals and 1 Filipino.

Some of the released hostages have reported they were beaten, threatened with death, underfed, kept in cages and denied medical care.

Israel estimates that about 137 hostages are still being held in Gaza. Israel insists the terror group release all remaining civilian women and children hostages.

Today the IDF renewed its military campaign, stating that Hamas has breached the terms of the ceasefire. The White House supported Israel, stating that Hamas had failed, as agreed, to produce a new list of hostages to release to enable an extension of the truce.

Israel has taken control of the northern part of Gaza. Hamas and its allies have retreated into the tunnels in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, in all likelihood taking the remaining hostages with them. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have also fled to the south. Israel now faces a huge challenge to have the remaining hostages released, while also achieving its goal of eliminating Hamas’ capabilities.

Israel is coming under increasing international pressure to limit or stop hostilities. In his visit to Israel this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Israel’s war cabinet that it likely doesn’t have months to wage war against Hamas in Gaza. This reflects the mounting pressure on the US administration to bring an end to the fighting. Blinken cautioned Israel at considerable length against allowing the same scale of death and displacement in southern Gaza once fighting shifts there from northern Gaza.

All the while, Israel is fighting Hezbollah (a terrorist organization) in Lebanon – a simmering conflict that has so far cost 60 Hezbollah lives and 9 Israeli lives. As Yaakov Lappin reports: “Hezbollah’s tactics involve embedding its operations within Lebanese civilian areas; using southern Shi’ite villages as bases of attack; firing anti-tank missiles at Israeli northern homes and military positions; and continuing to pose a serious and persistent threat.”

Let us continue to pray for all the people of the region. Let us pray especially for the hostages and their families, for the Israeli government, and for strength and protection of the Israeli army. Pray that they will persevere and experience God’s help.

Above all, let us pray that Messiah will soon come to establish His kingdom of peace. Maranatha.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

On explosive northern front, Hezbollah lurks; IDF conducts precise defense
The situation on the Lebanese border resembles a ticking time bomb, though for now, the Israeli military has restrained its responses and exacted a price from the terror group.
> Read more..

The suffering is beyond words
Johan van der Ham was recently in Israel on behalf of Christians for Israel. He met with families of hostages and visited some of the destroyed kibbutzim in the south of Israel.
> Read more..

Hamas Also Slaughters Muslims
Khaled Abu Toameh at Gatestone: Hamas has repeatedly demonstrated that it cares nothing for the well-being of Arabs and Muslims. From their luxury homes and hotel rooms in the safety of Qatar and Turkey, Hamas leaders give the orders to attack Israel and then sit back and let the world weep over the destruction they wrought upon their own people.
> Read more..

Israeli hostages recount beatings, death threats in captivity
David Isaac at JNS: Female prisoners were kept in cages.
> Read more..

IDF says new map splitting Gaza into zones will help residents avoid combat areas
JNS: The IDF has published a map splitting the Gaza Strip into hundreds of small zones, which it will use to notify Palestinian civilians of active combat zones. It asks Palestinians to pay attention to their area’s number, and follow the IDF’s future updates. The military may use this map to call on Palestinians from specific areas to evacuate when the IDF’s ground offensive expands to the Strip’s south, instead of demanding mass evacuations as it did in the northern part of Gaza.
> Read more..

Biden is the primary obstacle to Israeli victory
Caroline Glick at JNS: Polling shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans support Israel in this war and want it to destroy Hamas; the overwhelming majority of lawmakers from both parties share that view.
> Read more..

Palestinian UN display presents murdered Israeli kids as Gaza civilian casualties
JNS: U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) calls for the “immediate” removal of the display, saying, “We won’t let them get away with these lies.”
> Read more..

 If you are afraid say the prayer ‘Shema Israel’
Benjamin Philip is a long time friend of Christians for Israel. We’ve been supporting his organization Hineni, a humanitarian restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem, for many years. In these times it is important to keep our friends close. In this interview Benjamin shares how he together with his family experienced the terrible massacre on the 7th October.



Psalm 80

Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might; come and save us.
Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears;  you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.
Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.