Prayer Concerning the Streets of Israel

Featured image for “Prayer Concerning the Streets of Israel”

Israel has faced many challenges the first seven decades of its existence as a modern nation-state, but despite those challenges, there are some areas of difficulty common to other nations that Israel has been spared. A classic example is street crime and violence. While international news may highlight terrorism, Israel’s crime rate is considerably low.

There are many reasons for this, starting with the strong families in Israel, which make for strong neighborhoods that make even large cities feel like small towns where everyone knows everyone else. There is also a strong ethic among Jewish people that we are all responsible for each other, which means we’re all watching out for each other. Israelis are very compassionate towards each other and if people see a stranger in trouble, there is a strong instinct to reach out and help.

In addition, the ongoing security situation here means that a large percentage of Israelis are trained in various areas of civil defense, including—of course—security. Many people who received security training while doing their national service in the IDF also have licenses to carry weapons, which allows them to be part of the aparatus that keeps everyone safe long after they finish their national service in the military or Border Police.

However, in recent months, there has been a deeply alarming trend of increasing street violence, crime and road rage. We liked to joke that only in Israel is it acceptable to get out of your car to loudly question what crazy person approved the other guy ever getting a drivers’ license. Everyone knows the confrontation begins and ends with words. When you’ve had your say, everyone gets back in their car and drives off. But recently a slew of dash cams have been released of people pulling knives and even fatally stabbing people who confronted others’ reckless behavior.

While still far below the levels seen in many large cities in North America and Europe, this violence is something that Israelis are not accustomed to, so it is already having a noticeable effect on the levels of anxiety people feel. This in turn leads to other problems, as anxious people stop trusting their neighbors, leading to a breakdown in the above-mentioned ethic that everyone is responsible for everyone else and people can expect to be helped when they’re in trouble.

The Israel Police announced recently that they are setting up a committee to study the causes of the problem and suggest solutions.

“Israel’s Police urges every citizen who falls victim to the violence of any kind to immediately contact the Israel Police, and for every person who witnessed an event or who recorded such an event, to share with us so that we may bring the suspects to justice as soon as possible,” said Yehuda Ben-Atar, head of the Traffic Division of the Israeli Police, who will lead the new committee. “Reducing the phenomenon of violence in the State of Israel is a national mission and the Israel Police will lead it with the aim of providing personal security to all residents of the State of Israel.”

In related news, Otzma Yehudit MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, submitted a bill to the Knesset on Thursday proposing an amendment to procedures which would amount to giving the Ministry of National Security broad authority over police policy. Ben-Gvir is expected to be appointed to the post in the new governing coalition led by incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he appears to be making an attempt to secure for himself authority over matters he has long been interested in as an activist.

His attempted move, however, has been characterized as an attempt to politicize the police and is already facing strong pushback from senior law enforcement officials. Many commentators have already begun to warn that such infighting does not bode well for the already-damaged sense of personal security among Israel’s long-suffering general public.

  • Lord we thank and praise You that You protect Your people from wicked men. When we cry out to You for help, You answer.
  • We offer requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving on behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

  • You built Your plan on families. Building families in Israel today is not an easy task. We ask Your lovingkindness be poured out on parents to lead their families in Your ways.

  • Let healthy families be the foundation of Israeli society, neighborhoods, schools, and communities so that children will grow up with a strong sense of communal responsibility and ethical values that reject violence.
  • Israel is a country where it has long been normal for young children to be out on the streets, at parks, at each other’s homes, and just generally “out” unsupervised by their parents at all hours of the day and night. This tradition has contributed to Israel’s warm social experience. Preserve this important part of Israel’s culture.

  • We also ask for you to give wisdom, discernment, and courage to parents as they protect, guide and help their children in this new reality where it might not be as safe as it was in the past.
  • Grant discernment to teachers, coaches, and others who play a role in the lives of children so that they can spot children who might need help and give them the help they need.
  • Remove those who would harm the children in Israel from places of influence.
  • Strengthen the police and the court system in Israel so that they can respond effectively to those individuals who commit acts of violence.
  • We ask for you to help Israelis see and deal with the underlying problems which have brought about this situation where we’re experiencing increasing levels of street violence and crime.
  • There are many leaders in the incoming Knesset who claim to fear Your name! Turn their hearts to follow Your ways.

  • May Israel be known as a land where God’s ways and promises are proven true!