There are so many stories of what has happened in Israel since Oct. 7, 2023. Some friends of KCM and EMIC, Albert and Heli Veksler of Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast, shared the realities of being a mother and father in the heart of the ongoing conflict in Israel. They awoke on Shabbot, Oct. 7, to the shocking sound of sirens going off. Their daughter and her family had just arrived from the United States, so everyone was experiencing jet lag. With grandchildren in tow, they rushed to the shelters, hoping to find safety there. What a way to begin a holiday and family visit!
As soon as they could, they called their son who lives in central Israel. He was shaken by the experience but otherwise safe. By noon, the Israeli Defense Force had called him in to serve. That night, he slept in a parking lot with his fellow soldiers, only one of nearly 600,000 who had been called up. Heli shared, “All of these people are someone’s daughter, son, husband, wife, brother, sister; can you imagine that? The uncertainty of those first days were terrible.” The Vekslers did not know where their son would be from one day to the next. Their son didn’t know either. The soldiers were spending their time training and preparing for the orders to enter Gaza.
During one of their phone calls, their son shared that his unit of over 60 soldiers did not have bulletproof vests. Soldiers without bulletproof vests? Can you imagine sending your child somewhere without what they need? Let alone sending them into a war zone without protection! This mother and father immediately went to work, talking to their friends and searching for the needed vests. Each vest was expensive: $1100 each! What was even worse is that there were none to be found, even if the money was available.
Heli went from market to market searching for the elusive bulletproof vests, while her daughter used her phone to try to track them down as well. They searched for days to no avail. The money had been given by various friends, but they had to find the vests to purchase them. Finally, vests began showing up in various marketplaces, but there was no prediction of how many would be available, and the merchants would not agree to hold them until they had the cash in hand. It was first come, first served, and only if you had cash right then and there! Finally, she was able to show up with cash at the right time at two different markets to collect what was needed for their son’s unit.
Can you imagine this story playing out over an entire nation? Heli shared, “We need your prayers for the healing of the soul of the whole nation. Prayers for protection, protection of our soldiers. We don’t know exactly what will happen tomorrow and next week or how it will all develop, but your prayers are crucial because it’s spiritual warfare.” Pray for these families. The kind of trauma the nation of Israel is experiencing is real. As you pray, picture the faces of the men and women who have been lost, and pray for those who are leaving their families to be on the front lines of war. It is personal to them and to the Lord our God. His people need you and me to continue holding them up.