Victims of Terrorism: Carey Lee’s Story

The sudden attack by Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 Israelis—and the trauma experienced by thousands of families and children is almost unimaginable. Hardest hit were those living along the Israel-Gaza border, where homes and entire neighborhoods are in ruins. Children have seen gruesome deaths and horrific sights they can’t even grasp yet.

Carey Lee, who runs a non-profit group, is now a victim herself. She shared, “With the amount of destruction and inhumane deeds done, no one in this community has been unscathed.”

But through CBN Israel, friends like you have provided a much-needed refuge for her and other terror victims—by transporting and paying for them to stay in safe shelter, far from the border.

In addition to lodging, caring donors are giving them hot meals and basic necessities, including toys and games for the little ones. They are also providing therapy for adults and children, plus counseling parents about ways to help their kids process the trauma they’ve endured.

Your support to CBN Israel can let these hurting people know they are not alone. As a long-time CBN Israel local partner, Carey Lee affirms, “CBN is an incredible organization that is not just with us the day before the war, or the day after. They’ve been with us on a long journey.”

And your gifts can make you a vital part of that journey. While you are sending immediate relief to the frontlines, you can also extend aid to Holocaust survivors, single mothers, refugees, and others in need.

As war rages in the Holy Land, your support can bring food, shelter, financial assistance, and more to those who are surviving week to week.

Please join us in standing with Israel at this crucial time!


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Biblical Israel: Lachish 

By Marc Turnage

Lachish was one of the largest cities within the kingdom of Judah. Located in the Judean lowlands (Shephelah), it sat in the southern branch of the Beth Guvrin-Lachish Valley system, which provided an east-west corridor between the hill country (the area around Hebron) to the coastal plain (towards Ashkelon). Ample water meant that settlement prospered at Lachish in all periods and enabled the cultivation of the land around it. Even today it is in a very fertile area of the Judean lowlands known particularly for its cultivation of grapes. 

The ancient site of Lachish encompasses about thirty-one acres. It first appears mentioned within ancient sources in the 18th century B.C. in an Egyptian document. Excavations at the site have uncovered twenty layers of settlement, which underscores the site’s importance and prominence. 

According to 2 Kings (14:19; 2 Chronicles 25:27), Amaziah, king of Judah, fled to Lachish following a revolt against him in Jerusalem. The rebels killed him at Lachish. During the Assyrian invasion of Judah in 701 B.C., under Sennacherib, the Assyrian army laid siege to Lachish (2 Kings 18:14, 17; Isaiah 36:2; 37:8; 2 Chronicles 32:9). While besieging Lachish, Sennacherib sent a force against Hezekiah in Jerusalem. 

Excavations at Lachish have revealed the extent of the Assyrian siege. In addition to the biblical account, Sennacherib documented his conquest of the city on wall reliefs, with which he decorated his palace in Nineveh. Both Sennacherib’s wall relief and the archaeological excavations show that the Assyrians built an earthen siege ramp that was used to bring siege engines against the walls of Lachish. Excavations uncovered a number of iron military implements like arrow heads. Archaeologists found a large number of slingshot stones. 

The Assyrian siege devastated Lachish and the kingdom of Judah, but they did not conquer Jerusalem. Lachish was rebuilt after the Assyrian siege but was again destroyed by the Babylonian conquest of the kingdom of Judah in the 6th century B.C. This conquest destroyed Jerusalem as well. During the Babylonian conquest, the prophet Jeremiah notes that the only cities remaining to Judah were Jerusalem, Azekah (in the Elah Valley), and Lachish (34:7). 

Excavations at Lachish uncovered a number of inscriptions written on broken pieces of pottery. One of them, a letter, notes that the people of Lachish could no longer see the signal fires of Azekah, which lay to the north. Azekah had fallen, and the Babylonians were coming to Lachish. 

Excavations at Lachish also yielded a number of royal, Judean, storage jars and jar handles bearing a stamp with the Hebrew phrase, lemelek, meaning “belonging to the king.” These type of storage jars have been found at certain sites throughout Judah and date to the reign of King Hezekiah. Excavations at Lachish have uncovered more of these storage jars than any other site in the kingdom of Judah.

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Weekly Devotional: Why Have You Been Sent

“As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:16-19 HCSB).

At the outset of His ministry, Jesus framed His mission as doing the work of Isaiah 61 and 58: the proclamation of the good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight for the blind, setting at liberty the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord.

That’s how He defined His mission. And this is exactly what we see Him doing all throughout His public ministry.

When John the Baptist asked Jesus whether or not He was truly the Lord’s anointed, Jesus assured John that He was carrying out His mission: “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news” (Matthew 11:4-5).

In other words, yes, I am the Lord’s anointed, and look at what’s happening: I’m carrying out my mission. That’s my proof.

Jesus was indeed God’s anointed. And as His followers, we are called to continue His mission here on earth. In other words, the reason He was sent is also why He sends us.

The proclamation of the Gospel did not merely address people’s eternal destiny for Jesus. It impacted all of their being, in this life and the next. Their health. Their socioeconomic status. Their position as one oppressed. All of this, for Jesus, proclaimed the year of God’s favor.

Being His disciples means that we have been likewise sent to meet people in these same ways. In doing so, we actually testify to the messiahship of Jesus before a watching world.

If we are going to be Jesus’ disciples, then our mission, activity, and focus must mirror His. He laid out the reason He was sent in the synagogue of Nazareth, and He never drifted from His mission.

Do your focus, actions, and mission align with Jesus’?


Father, thank you for sending Jesus. Lord, please enable us every day to align our purpose and mission with His and proclaim the year of Your favor. Amen.

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After the Biggest Pro-Israel Rally in US History, Here’s How to Help Hostages

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

On November 14, my husband of 47 years and I flew to Washington, D.C., excited to stand with Israel at the March for Israel rally on the National Mall. We are Evangelicals who joined with upwards of 300,000 Jews there. We traveled with a Christian organization called Passages, which on short notice recruited 700 Christian college students. Since its founding in 2016, Passages has hosted more than 11,000 students to Israel with a focus on developing educated, pro-Israel leaders for the future.

Passages converged at the Museum of the Bible, where we received excellent briefings, some of them from my good friend, Passages CEO Scott Phillips. Afterward, walking five blocks to the National Mall, we enjoyed the musical renditions of popular Jewish performers Ishay Ribo, Omer Adam, Matisyahu, and The Maccabeats.

Besides Passages’ student contingent, Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), was part of the massive, unified crowd. Penny remarked, “Along with other Christians, I was honored to be here with our Jewish brothers and sisters who need our support.” On her first trip to Israel, Penny and other Christian leaders had visited Kfar Aza, a group I helped host on behalf of the American Israel Education Foundation. In the hours we spent at this beautiful kibbutz close to the Gaza border, we marveled at their delight living in their homeland—despite years of frequent rocket barrages from Hamas. We felt deeply touched by the love for their land. When Penny returned from Israel, she added support for Israel to CWA’s core issues which include the family, sanctity of human life, religious liberty, education, sexual exploitation, national sovereignty, and support for Israel.

International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s USA branch also mobilized its members and joined in with 300,000 enthusiastic shouts of “Am Yisrael Chai”—Hebrew for “the people of Israel live,” which is an affirmation of the Jewish continuity throughout the millennia.

Throughout the afternoon, Jews and Christians together rang out in one voice for the one Jewish nation in the world!

The word “exhilarating” does not fully describe what we experienced at the largest pro-Israel gathering in American history! Members of Congress—Christian and Jewish, Democrat and Republican—stood together on the stage, among them recently elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson.

Reverberating over the National Mall were comments from rabbis and university students, as well as heartbreaking stories from hostage family members who participated in the programming. Pastor John Hagee voiced his longtime support for Israel. Everyone gathered in peace, listening to speakers who brought us to tears and others who resounded with hope and commitment to stand with our ally, Israel. No violence, no hatred, no destruction of buildings or monuments. The obvious atmosphere of peace and friendliness among Jews and Christians showed a stark contrast to the opposite atmospheres of violent, crazed, and uninformed demonstrators who glorify the barbaric deaths that Hamas committed on October 7 against 1,200 people—mostly civilians.

Passages CEO Scott Phillips’s description of his experiences reflects mine. “We were met with countless hugs, high fives, gratitude and even tears, truly a humbling experience to stand at ‘such a time as this’ with our Jewish friends.”

As I have been advocating for Israel for almost 25 years, my personal blessings came due to the Passages T-shirt I wore emblazoned with “Christians Stand With Israel.” My best moments unfolded when many within the Jewish community walked up to me with big smiles and warm thanks. I replied to everyone who expressed their thanks, “You are not alone.” I felt that my longtime calling to advocate for Israel was affirmed with their smiles and gratitude!

The Israel Rally was timely. The pressures on Israel are intensifying at breakneck speed. An outpouring of compassion from Jews, Christians, and others is evident. However, deepening our prayers and practical help for the long haul is essential.

We Evangelicals must also suit up to pass along facts to oppose Hamas’s propaganda. Find your facts from trusted sources like CBN News. Be aware that the world media rush to report whatever Hamas announces—forgetting or not caring for facts—and that terrorists are not only addicted to hate and murderous, unholy barbarism. They are expert liars and not to be trusted under any circumstances.

In his newsletter, Mission Brief, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, IDF spokesperson to the international media, regularly gives operational updates. While Israel-haters lash out with lies and slander against the IDF, on November 21 Hecht included these illuminating words from Commanding Officer of the 36th Division, Brigadier General Dado Bar Kalifa: “During the last days of the fighting of the 36th Division in Zaytun, we constantly encountered an enemy hiding behind children, women and civilian infrastructure. The soldiers of the division, including soldiers of the Golani Brigade, the 188th Brigade and the Bislamach Brigade, operated in a complex war zone in an urban area, exposed terrorists who were hiding in civilian areas and eliminated many terrorists.”

Hecht must also report statistics that no Israeli wants to hear. Since Israel is such a small country, it is probable that every Israeli—whether Jewish, Ethiopian, Bedouin, Christian, or Israeli Arab—knows someone serving in the IDF and often those who have sacrificed their lives fighting an existential war. Lt. Col Hecht reported on Sunday November 19 that 59 soldiers have been killed in action since the IDF entered Gaza and a total of 383 have fallen since Hamas’s attacks.

Until ALL hostages are released, Hamas must free Jewish civilians, Jewish soldiers, and others from more than two dozen countries. They include Argentinians, Germans, Americans, French and Russians. You can immediately take a valuable action by clicking this link. It is a petition addressed to the United Nations, International Red Cross, Heads of State and G7 Governments, and Heads of State in every country which has hostages kidnapped into Gaza. The brainchild of Israeli Jonathan Feldstein, President of Gen123 Foundation, the petition FREE THE HOSTAGES NOW has already garnered multi-thousands of signers worldwide in less than 10 days. I have been working alongside my friend Jonathan since he envisioned the idea, but time is running short! Sign, then forward to your churches and everyone you know.

Fifteen seconds of your time to sign and a few minutes to forward and/or put on your social media makes you an instant Christian champion for the hostages and their families.

Our CBN Israel team invites you to pray with us this week, remembering at our Thanksgiving celebrations that our faith was birthed in Israel. Romans 11:17-18 NIV reminds us: “If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches.” 

Prayer Points

  • Pray for safety for the IDF in the network of 300 tunnels.
  • Pray thanking God for lifesaving miracles that are unfolding among the soldiers.
  • Pray for families and friends of hostages in Israel and abroad.
  • Pray that Christians will sign and share FREE THE HOSTAGES NOW.
  • Pray that media grow suspicious of any Hamas “facts” and then report fairly.

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

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Victims of Terrorism: Isaac and Maria’s Story

Isaac and Maria moved to Israel from Latin America a year ago. They settled in Ashdod, so their sick daughter Lilietta could live a peaceful life. That peace came to a halt on October 7.

They were asleep that morning when Maria heard a distant siren, saying, “I thought I was imagining it. But when we heard the next siren, we checked the news, and realized we were under a terrorist attack.” Isaac added, “I grabbed Lilietta and ran into the safe room. We heard people screaming.” Their little girl became very agitated as sirens went off for the next 12 hours.

The couple was devastated. Israel had become home for them, and they loved the land and the people. They had felt safe. But now, they were huddled in a bomb shelter for many sleepless days, scared of terrorists who were entering people’s homes to kill them. Concerned for their daughter’s health, they were afraid to leave the shelter to go to the hospital.

That’s why we are so thankful that friends like you came to their rescue through CBN Israel. Caring donors relocated this family, and many others, to a temporary shelter in a secure area. They welcomed them with hot meals, hygiene kits, clothing, toys, and trauma therapy—even for the children. Maria said gratefully, “It gave us great peace of mind…our daughter was safe and cared for. Thank you!”

Your gifts to CBN Israel can speed emergency aid to terror victims, while also bringing crucial help to single moms, Holocaust survivors, and refugees in need.

And your support is vital, especially as the war escalates. You can supply food, housing, finances, and even bomb shelters to vulnerable Israelis.

Please let us hear from you today!


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Biblical Israel: Yodfat

 By Marc Turnage

The Galilean village of Yodfat lies in the hills three miles north of Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, across Beit Netofa Valley, an easy day’s walk. Its primary industries were textiles and pottery manufacturing. The inhabitants of Yodfat herded sheep and goats for the purpose of converting their wool into fabrics and textiles. Archaeologists discovered a number of loom weights in the area, which indicates that an industry of textiles came from Yodfat.

Yodfat provides an important window into the world of Jesus. During the First Jewish Revolt (A.D. 66-73), the first century Jewish historian Josephus relates that he commanded the Jewish forces in Galilee. He fortified villages throughout Galilee including Yodfat. 

The Roman army laid siege to the village building a siege ramp for soldiers to cross over its wall. As the Roman forces besieged Yodfat, Josephus and some of his men hid in a nearby cave. He convinced them to commit suicide rather than surrender to Rome. When the moment came for his death, however, he changed his mind and surrendered to Rome. He was taken to the camp of the general Vespasian. Roman forces destroyed Yodfat. It was never rebuilt.

Yodfat provides a time capsule into the Galilean world of Jesus in the first century. Archaeological excavations at Yodfat show the social strata of a Galilean village. A home with beautifully painted frescoes was discovered similar to other wealthy homes excavated in Jerusalem. The finds also indicate the presence of both merchant and artisan classes, who owned and distributed, manufactured and produced textiles and pottery. We can also assume the presence of poor people as well, but they do not leave remains within the archaeological record.

The excavations at Yodfat speak to the religious life of first century Galileans. While a synagogue has not yet been discovered, archaeologists uncovered Jewish ritual immersion pools (mikva’ot). These stone vessels indicate a concern for Jewish ritual purity laws. The animal bones discovered at the village show a distinct avoidance of pigs in accordance with Jewish law. The archaeology of Yodfat indicates that the people living in this area were Jews concerned with observance of Jewish law.

These were the Galileans to whom Jesus taught, healed, and ministered. Yodfat was destroyed a little over 30 years after Jesus’ crucifixion. When we touch the site of Yodefat, we touch the Galilee of Jesus and his disciples. The pottery that litters the ground of this site is the kind of pottery used by Mary in Nazareth. Yodfat’s close proximity to Nazareth suggests that Jesus would have known this Galilean village, and likely visited it. And it offers a view of the hills and valleys that Jesus and his disciples traveled.

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Weekly Devotional: Sufficient for the Day

“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11 NASB).

Jesus often alluded to passages from the Old Testament in His teachings. When He taught His disciples to pray, He instructed them to say, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This image would have drawn to the minds of His disciples the story of the manna in the wilderness.

God provided manna in the wilderness to feed the children of Israel after they left Egypt (Exodus 16:11-36). They were permitted to gather only enough for that day. They could not gather more than a day’s sufficiency—except on the sixth day. On that day, they gathered a double portion to keep them for the Sabbath.

Prior to Israel’s entry into the promised land, Moses reminded them how God kept them in the wilderness: “He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3 HCSB).

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He instructed them to ask only for their “daily bread.” Just like those wandering in the wilderness, He expected His disciples to understand their need and reliance upon God for His provision.

The emphasis on looking to God for the sufficiency of the day also reminds us of Jesus’ instruction to His followers to not worry about what they will eat or wear because God knows what they need (see Matthew 6:25-34).

That sounds great, right? Don’t worry. Trust God.

Have you ever wondered whether the Israelites in the wilderness ever went to sleep at night worrying that the manna wouldn’t be there when they woke up?

Spiritual slogans often wither in the heat of life’s cruel realities. That’s why our faith cannot rest upon motivational words, but on a genuine encounter with the living God, who provides our daily bread. He is trustworthy, even when our momentary circumstances seem to scream otherwise.

He does provide our daily bread. And we must look to Him and trust Him. He, however, doesn’t give us what we need tomorrow, today. We have to trust that today’s sufficiency is enough for today, and tomorrow’s will be there tomorrow.

Jesus called upon His disciples to trust God, even in the midst of hardship, trials, and difficulties—to not let the cares of life choke our trust in God. Do we have faith enough to see God so intimately involved in our daily lives providing our daily bread?


Father, give us this day our daily bread. Amen.

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Never Forget: Compassion from Christians in the Face of Genocidal Evil

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

For our Israeli friends who are suffering a genocidal catastrophe in their land, it is easy to become overwhelmed, stricken with grief and shock. That goes for the Jewish people worldwide. Christian advocates are quickly coming alongside Israel to help. Our motives are heartfelt and matched with deep compassion for the terror victims, hostages, and displaced families.

During a recent phone call with my friend Pastor Victor Styrsky, former national educational director of Christians United for Israel, he commented, “I feel as if I have been sitting shiva for weeks and it will go on indefinitely.” “Sitting shiva” is the term for the Jewish seven days of mourning for the dead. It usually begins right after a funeral. Non-Jewish friends are welcome to make their condolences in person. I embraced my friend’s description, which represents my feelings, that Israel’s Christian friends are sitting shiva in our hearts. While no comparison exists for the depth of anguish that Jews are undergoing, we are creating outreaches in every way imaginable to embody our grief through compassion amid the evil that has befallen Israel.

The examples I mention here are big and small, yet do not begin to quantify the kindnesses overflowing from people of goodwill worldwide. Nevertheless, it is my hope that everyone who reads my column this week will reach out to any Jewish friends, to a nearby synagogue, or contact a Christian organization like CBN Israel to send a card or a donation for humanitarian aid. Our message to Jewish friends everywhere is simple, “You are not alone.” This thought comes from Jesus’ earthly sojourn as described in Isaiah 53:3—“He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief.”

The Jerusalem Post’s Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman reported on November 9 about 15 Christian cowboys from Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Montana. These Americans landed at Ben Gurion airport looking as if they’d stepped right out of a Western movie. Their photo went viral. Several had left their own farms and families to help. They traveled to Judea and Samaria and set to work at HaYovel, a Christian organization to help Israeli farmers. Calling it Operation Itai (a Hebrew boy’s name meaning, “the Lord is with me”), HaYovel is raising $29 million for security supplies to be distributed throughout the biblical heartland. Thus far, more than $2 million has been raised.

A similar fundraising operation, Civil Squad Israel (CSI), is focused on tactical equipment for northern Israel and the Gaza “envelope” (populated areas within four miles of the Gaza Strip). Their goal is to equip civil security squads on kibbutzim with much-needed equipment. On October 7, some of these squads were the first (or only) source of defending their civilians against terrorists for many hours. The CSI team has set up a network of suppliers in the EU and U.S. Then, by CSI’s partnering with El Al and their security team, the tactical equipment will quickly go to Israel. The gear includes knife-proof/bulletproof vests, medic backpacks, night vision binoculars, handguns, M16s, and encrypted radio communications.

Civil Squad Israel has adopted a fitting Bible verse from Nehemiah 4:15-17:

“When God ended the plans of our enemies, we returned to rebuild what had been destroyed. Those who carried on the work were equipped in such a way, that each labored with a trowel in one hand, and a weapon with the other.”

From cowboys to firefighters, CBS news reported that Miami Beach sent 13 firefighters to Israel for two weeks to help shore up this beleaguered nation’s fire departments—since Israel’s firefighters have all been deployed.

Other expressions of compassion have emerged in creative and symbolic ways.

A heartfelt message from Arab-Israeli journalist Yoseph Haddad lashed out against Hamas while he was standing in front of Jerusalem’s City Hall. The families of hostages and volunteers had set up a display of 239 empty beds and cribs of all sizes. CBN Israel’s Julie Stahl described it as a “mute cry of anguish.”

On a beach in Durban, South Africa, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies at the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre spread out 242 red beach towels with a hostage poster. Atop 32 towels are 32 buckets and spades poignantly symbolizing the children who have been missing since October 7. A group of Christian pastors who walked the beach stopped at each blanket to express their sympathy and solidarity, linking arms and praying. Alana Pugh-Jones Baranov, the Centre’s social and political justice liaison, pleaded to God that He let this “be our last event” after the group had installed red balloons along Nelson Mandela Bridge and lit up the Israeli flag in Johannesburg. She noted the positive responses from South Africans.

By October 20, i24NEWS, the Tel Aviv-based television news channel, reported that more than 50 countries have followed the example of setting up a Shabbat dinner table with 203 empty seats (the number of hostages at the time). In 50 countries, participants symbolically observe a global Shabbat ceremony each Friday.

At Prayer House DC in Washington, Reverend Eve Nunez leads robust prayers in their headquarters and throughout the District on location at the White House, Supreme Court Building, and other landmarks. She set Prayer House DC’s Shabbat table in honor of the hostages and leaves it beautifully set each week. Her foundation, Help 4 Kidz, is also raising money that provides meals for an IDF unit to be delivered each week by her friend, an Israeli rabbi.

Compassion from Christians is more important than ever. Israel is demonized as it conducts its just war against genocidal evil. While the world mostly turns away in denial or hate, one of the most significant truths articulated comes from Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed, a world-renowned British forensic scientist, commentator, and author. In her Wall Street Journal article about her 10-day visit to Israel beginning October 19, Dr. Ahmed observed, “This was not an emotional frenzy of killing like the pogroms of the 1880s. It was methodically planned.”

Dr. Ahmed is a human rights observer whom Israel’s Foreign Affairs ministry invited. Working at the Israeli morgues alongside other scientists, she “examined bodies and ashes, incinerated teeth and bones” and described “toddlers, teens, and adults young and old, many of them bound, tortured, and burned alive.”

Calling out Hamas’s war crimes, Dr. Ahmed noted, “The monster is easy to recognize. This isn’t the first time I have seen Islamist jihadism.”

One word continually came to her mind: “Genocide.”

About her time in Israel, Dr. Ahmed declared, “As an observant Muslim I felt a duty to come and bear witness. What I saw will remain with me forever.” In one of her frequent interviews, she challenged: “I want to hear Muslim leaders condemn Hamas.”

In closing, let us recall the words of Jewish writer Franz Kafka (1883–1924), one of the 20th century’s most famous novelists: “Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will come back in another way.”

For all the beloved family, friends, and homes that Israel and the worldwide Jewish community have lost, I pray that the massive acts of Christian compassion will somehow ease the suffering—with love returned to them in a different way.

We welcome you to join our CBN Israel team in prayer at this heartbreaking time, where we also count on hope! 

Prayer Points:

  • Pray that Christians will rise in massive numbers to speak up for Israel and rush emergency aid to terror victims and displaced families.
  • Pray for the scientists and experts who are in the morgues still trying to determine the identity of the bodies.
  • Pray for the Christian community to continue their prayers for Israel and her people—especially the hostages still being held in Gaza and the victims of the Oct. 7 attacks.
  • Pray for the families of hostages who are suffering from anxiety, trauma, and sleepless nights as they await the outcome.
  • Pray for Israelis to maintain patience in supporting the IDF to implement their strategies in what will likely be a long 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

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Relief for Evacuees and Terror Victims

On the morning of October 7, Israel woke up to what is now being referred to as the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Hundreds of armed militants simultaneously infiltrated Israel from Gaza with surprise attacks by land, air, and sea.

They left a trail of death, destruction, and suffering in their wake: Some 200 people were taken hostage, over 1,200 Israelis were killed, and many more were injured.

Thousands of deadly rockets fell upon Israel’s major cities and towns, forcing families and entire communities to seek refuge in emergency bomb shelters that friends like you helped make possible over the past several years through CBN Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu then declared war against Hamas to protect Israeli citizens and restore security—mobilizing over 300,000 reservists in addition to Israel’s standing army. Civilians were quickly evacuated from towns near the front lines, creating a need for emergency shelter, supplies, and basic sustenance.

Thanks to caring donors, CBN Israel was there to meet the immediate requirements of hundreds of families who live along the Israel-Gaza border. We provided evacuees with transportation to safety, as well as temporary housing, food, water, hygiene items—even toys and games for children. We are also offering trauma counseling for the victims of these horrible attacks. 

“We are just so thankful for the people who organized and donated so that we can have somewhere to stay,” exclaimed an evacuee named Sara. “I can’t believe the amazing generosity of people who have helped to make sure we are safe.”

Your prayers and support can be powerful reminder to Israel and the Jewish people that Bible-believing Christians like you are standing with them during these difficult days.

Please join us in blessing Israel and her people in their time of need!


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Biblical Israel: Gezer

Gezer sat an important geographic juncture between the Coastal Plain (the Plain of Philistia and the Sharon Plain) and the Aijalon Valley. It guarded a stretch of the international coastal highway that connected Egypt with Damascus and Mesopotamia; this was the most important route in the Ancient Near East.

The Aijalon Valley offers an east-west corridor from the Coastal Plain through the Judean lowlands into the Central Hill country. Gezer sat at this juncture protecting the international coastal highway as well as the inland route into the Judean highlands. It was an important regional hub.

According to the book of Joshua, Joshua defeated the king of Gezer (10:33). Gezer remained a Canaanite city throughout the period of the Judges (Joshua 16:10; Judges 1:29). David fought against the Philistines near Gezer (2 Samuel 5:25; 1 Chronicles 20:4). The Egyptian Pharoah gave Gezer as a dowry to Solomon for marrying his daughter.

The biblical text mentions Gezer most prominently with Solomon’s building efforts (1 Kings 9:15-17). Solomon fortified Gezer along with Megiddo and Hazor; all three cities guarded stretches of the international coastal highway between Egypt and Mesopotamia. By the biblical writer mentioning Solomon’s building up of these three cities, he communicated the strength of Solomon’s kingdom along this very important international highway.

Like Megiddo and Hazor, Gezer, which was a very significant regional hub within the Levant (modern day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank), was not mentioned often within the Bible. The lack of mention of these cities within the biblical text does not correspond to their regional importance; rather, it reflects the reality that the Israelites rarely exerted control over these cities.

The site of Gezer consists of two hills, an eastern hill and western hill connected by a low saddle. Excavations reveal that Gezer reached its zenith in the Middle Bronze Age (1950-1550 B.C.). The city had large walls and fortifications during this period. Excavations uncovered a high place of ten monolithic standing stones, which could be used to commemorate an event, as burial markers, or a covenant relationship (see Genesis 28:18-22; 35:9-15, 19-21; and Exodus 24:3-8); these monoliths stand in the saddle that connected the two hills.

In the 10th century B.C., Gezer was refortified with a six-chambered city gate attached to the city wall. Each chamber of the gate contained plastered benches. This underscores that gates within Iron Age cities were not merely for entering and exiting the city, nor solely the city’s defense, but they served as a meeting place, a place where the city elders sat to judge the affairs of the people, as well as a market and gathering place of the people (see Deuteronomy 21:19; Ruth 4:1-11; 1 Kings 22:10; 2 Kings 7:1; Amos 5:10, 12; Isaiah 29:21; Jeremiah 38:7; 2 Chronicles 32:6).

The Iron Age settlement also had a water system hewn into the bedrock with stairs also hewn into the rock descending into it. The campaign in Judah of Pharaoh Sheshonk I apparently destroyed Gezer in the late 10th century B.C. The city was rebuilt, but was destroyed again in the 8th century B.C., probably as a result of the campaign of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (733 B.C.). Gezer remained settled in the Persian and Hellenistic periods, with its final period of settlement being during the Hellenistic period.

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

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