Inside View Sep/Oct 2015
Do you ever feel like you want to do something to help Israel in addition to praying? That was how we felt when we started the Israel Relief Fund many years ago. Over the years, we’ve seen it blossom so much that, in the past 30 months alone, people have contributed roughly a half-million dollars to it, which we distribute as humanitarian assistance through grants to organizations in Israel.
The fund’s success speaks loudly of your love and support for the Jewish people who live in the land of promise.
We created the fund based on God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Many people don’t realize Messiah Jesus brought the verse into even sharper focus when He spoke of His future judgment of the nations (Mt. 25:31–46). His test for separating the righteous “sheep” from the unrighteous “goats” will be the way they treat His brethren, the Jewish people:
Did they (1) feed His brethren when they were hungry, (2) give them a drink when they were thirsty, (3) provide shelter when they were strangers, (4) clothe them when they were naked, (5) visit them when they were sick, and (6) come to them in prison?
Jesus’ point is clear: The righteous will do these things, while the unrighteous will not. Although this judgment is future, it clearly reveals what God expects of us. When we give Israel humanitarian aid, we act righteously, blessing Israel.
These criteria give us direction to know how to allocate our limited Israel Relief funds to unlimited needs. Despite your generous giving, the needs far outweigh the resources.
In June, Bill Sutter, our former executive director, accompanied me to visit several of the organizations we support with grants. They include various charities that feed the hungry and thirsty, provide shelter and clothing for the needy, help those who are sick, and stand up for victims of injustice.
One such organization, Operation Lifeshield, places missile shelters in the Israeli communities near Gaza. The bell-shaped structures can accommodate more than 20 adults who need protection when the sirens sound, warning of incoming missiles.
While in Israel, Bill and I visited Rabbi Shmuel Bowman, executive director of Operation Lifeshield. He told us newer homes are built with safe rooms to provide shelter from an attack; but older homes, where most Israelis live, have nothing. Operation Lifeshield’s shelters are made of precast concrete that can withstand the blow of a missile.
They are delivered on flatbed trucks and take only a few minutes to set in place and become operable. They require no electrical service or hook-up.
When the sirens sound, Israelis in these communities have only seconds to ﬁnd shelter from Arab rockets or missiles. Imagine living in one of these communities. You must be constantly aware of the location of the nearest shelter.
Lifeshield shelters cost $14,000 each, and The Friends of Israel has placed seven shelters in the past 30 months with grants from the Israel Relief Fund.
Whenever we place a shelter, we hear how extremely grateful the residents are. On the outside of each shelter, written in Hebrew and English, is a plaque that says, “Given to the People of Israel by your Christian friends at The Friends of Israel, Bellmawr, New Jersey, USA.”
Who are their Christian friends at The Friends of Israel? You are. You are a witness to them that Christians care for them. The shelters are a tangible expression of your love and concern for God’s Chosen People.
Through the Israel Relief Fund, you are partnering with us in ministry to bless Israel. If you’d like to learn more about the Israel Relief Fund, click here.