Keeping Hope Alive For Israeli ArabsPublished on: 18.10.2021
By: Laurina Driesse
Several ICEJ staff recently packed a generous variety of food items into 164 care packages earmarked as gifts for Israeli Arab families struggling due to the coronavirus crisis. The ICEJ AID team then drove all around Israel – from Jerusalem to Nazareth and back to Bethlehem – to meet with local Arab pastors and coordinate delivery of the food packages to desperate families.
“One Arab pastor in Jerusalem was so encouraged by our support at this time”, said AID assistant Jannie Tolhoek. “After a year of dwindling attendance in his church, the ICEJ food packages for families in his congregation meant he had a way to help them in difficult times, and to invite them back to church.”
In Nazareth, Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for AID and Aliyah, felt so humbled as she recalled the encounters with each family and their warm hospitality. “We came with a gift but didn’t go away without being offered something in return”, she commented. “The most precious part though was our prayer time together.”
Heading to Bethlehem, the AID team met with Pastor Naim Khoury, who shared about his 42 difficult days in hospital with COVID-19 and his miraculous recovery. The AID team was invited to a special church service giving thanks for his recovery, followed by our AID team handing out the care packages to needy Arab families.
In nearby Efrat, the AID team was warmly greeted by legendary Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. Together, they distributed food care packages to fourteen local Arab families whose members work at a religious school in the Jewish community.
All the care packages were accompanied by the message that Christians worldwide care for these Arab believers living in the Land of Israel. Thank you for making it possible for us to support so many struggling families, as we reach out to all sectors of Israeli society in these challenging times.