By Arlene Bridges Samuels
As seen in recent events, the moral differences between Israel and Hamas could not be clearer. To protect Gazan civilians, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have repeatedly dropped leaflets, sent texts, and made calls warning Palestinians to move into southern Gaza and out of harm’s way during Israel’s counterattacks following the October 7 invasion and massacre. Hamas, on the other hand, threatens the safety of its residents by blockading the predetermined escape route and then cowardly using its innocent civilian populations as human shields. In fact, Gazan deaths are welcomed by these new Nazis—to further their hate-filled propaganda purposes..
Good and evil, light and darkness are openly opposed to each other both in spiritual battles and in battles on earth. Prime Minister Netanyahu announced in a recent press conference that “this war will be long and hard” and called it “our second War of Independence.”
The “long and hard war” includes information warfare, where mainstream media use their own quick-trigger responses as weapons, often within seconds. They report Hamas’s lies as facts. Thus, anti-Israel media actually incite violence in a Jew-hating world that is eager to blame Jews for evil-doings. For Christians—and anyone of sound mind and conscience—disbelieving anything Hamas claims is a good idea. Namely, the initiative that infects terrorist minds with unrestrained hatred: “Slaughter Jews anywhere and everywhere.”
Fully aware of this terrorist mindset, Israelis are unified in existential combat to save their people and their land. On the battlefield, the IDF’s Swords of Iron are demolishing the darkest evils in a just war. Unity also characterizes Christians and Jews mobilizing together with Lights of Kindness for traumatized Israelis.
Although big evangelical Christian organizations such as CBN Israel, Samaritan’s Purse, and Christians United For Israel (CUFI) are undertaking massive humanitarian operations for Israel, hundreds of churches, state governments, and smaller charities are also shining Lights of Kindness—working hard to gather supplies for delivery to Israel. Proverbs 4:9 comes alive: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.”
The Eldan Hotel in Jerusalem is one venue for Lights of Kindness from smaller entities such as the non-profit Genesis 123. The foundation of my friend, modern Orthodox Jew Jonathan Feldstein, is another Light—devoted to building warm bridges of cooperation between Jews and Christians for numerous projects.
Shortly after evil’s ruthless October 7 invasion along Israel’s Gaza border, Jonathan’s friend David Nekrutman—executive director of The Isaiah Projects—asked Jonathan to join him to contribute to the first week in the Eldan Hotel where around 60 Jewish evacuees are housed. Evacuees include families of three generations—most from Moshav Mishan, near Ashkelon, immediately north of the Gaza border. Before they came to Eldan Hotel in Jerusalem, they could not leave their homes and bomb shelters.
A dad with three young children described the continual Hamas rocket fire and staying in bomb shelters for hours at a time. His children “are afraid.” Others at the hotel who live in Sderot include a Holocaust survivor. Jonathan and David mobilized both their networks of Jews and Christians, which paid the evacuees’ expenses for the first week. As the second week approached, Jonathan’s friend Jeffry Mark (J. Mark Interiors Ltd.) asked how he could help. He has now financed evening activities, meals, and Shabbats, turned his nearby showroom into a place for the families to relax, with his staff volunteering. At this writing, Jonathan says thus far at least $35,000 has been donated for hotel accommodations, food, and activities.
The evacuees are expressing genuine gratitude that Christians around the world have donated much of the funding. They are overwhelmed with such kindness. One mother observed, “My child smiled for the first time in weeks.” Some evacuees in the Eldan Hotel are also commuting to jobs, because despite the war they still must work. Dozens of volunteers are stepping up.
Jonathan Feldstein explained that efforts are open ended, since many evacuees have no homes to return to. Those who still have homes are afraid to return because terrorists are still firing rockets. Jonathan has initiated The Israel Emergency Campaign under his Genesis 123 non-profit to make immediate and practical differences “for as many people on the ground as possible.”
Feldstein is looking long term, based on assessments from Prime Minister Netanyahu and the IDF. He acknowledges, “We will need a lot of help.” He has included donations for soldiers and first-responder civilian security teams, which is a big need. Jonathan mentions, “I’m not asking anyone to smuggle through a dirty [Hamas] tunnel; just to give. We will continue to invest to make the best impact to save and heal as many lives as possible.”
Other worthy efforts include Maasay Yahdav, which was founded by Doris Mintz in 2007. Throughout the year, Doris and her team gather humanitarian aid and ship it to Israel. Their teams also travel to Israel twice a year to help distribute these items. Collaborating with a range of Jewish organizations and Israeli hospitals, Maasay Yahdav teams especially enjoy showing mercy and love in visits with Holocaust survivors and giving them beautiful handmade blankets.
Another relief organization is Kad-esh, whose founders Rabbi Baruch and Archbishop Dominiquae Bierman are on the ground in Israel. They are equipping a village in Samaria with tactical equipment for self-defense and providing tents and sleeping bags for soldiers on Israel’s northern border.
A big Light of Kindness among churches is Reverend Dean Haun and Morristown, Tennessee, First Baptist Church. His Harvest of Israel outreach has over the years shipped more than a hundred 40-foot containers of humanitarian aid to Israel with the involvement of many other churches. Rev. Haun, who has led tours to Israel 35 times, describes their current focus on obtaining and distributing “Kevlar helmets, body armor, boots, ballistic plate carriers, and more.”
The vast array of help from Christians and Jews together includes acquiring aid from government officials in states like Alabama and Tennessee. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced their Treasury’s decision to increase its investment in Israel bonds. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares sent a letter to all 123 Virginia sheriffs asking them to consider donating any expired law enforcement gear for the IDF. He visited Israel again earlier this year, meeting with men and women in the IDF. Miyares expressed his support, commenting that they “are willing to give their lives to maintain peace in this region. … They are committed to democracy and the public safety of their land, and I am proud to stand with them.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu commented about nations standing with Israel: “Our allies … understand today that if Israel does not win, they will be next.” He added, “Many around the world understand well that Israel is fighting not only its war, but humanity’s war against the barbarians.”
Let us consult our Jewish Lord Jesus to ask what part He wants us to play in helping our Israeli friends who fight on the front lines of freedom for all of us—as they oppose the Islamic Regime behind it all.
Join our CBN Israel team this week in reflecting on Ecclesiastes 4:10—“If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
- Pray for Christians to consistently pray and offer practical help.
- Pray that Christians use emails, social media, and conversations to communicate facts from reliable sources like CBN Israel and CBN News.
- Pray for God to confuse Israel’s enemies: Hamas, Hezbollah, and Houthis.
- Pray with thanks for Christians who are donating whatever they can to help ease suffering and gain victory in Israel’s defensive war.
Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After she served nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her as Outreach Director part-time for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel and has traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a volunteer on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene has attended Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit three times and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on her website at ArleneBridgesSamuels.com.