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Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson
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Israel Tourism Reopening
Israel Tourism Reopening

This week sirens went off all over the country as part of a month-long series of exercises simulating war on the northern border with Lebanon. The drills are trying to implement measures learned from recent wars. Israel must constantly evolve in its defense as the enemy is always adjusting its tactics. Everyone was informed it was going to happen and we warned our kids. Still, the siren sound is unnerving and as it was going off, my 10-year-old came up to make sure I was sure it wasn’t a real attack. In a strange sense, like in the days of Egypt the constant state of hostility Israelis live in plays a part in Israel’s ability to thrive.

1. Concerning Israel’s Security:

Israel continues because of God’s unwavering plan to gather His people, bring them back to the Land, sustain them, provide a safe dwelling and bless them. (Jeremiah 32:37-41) He has made an everlasting covenant with the people of Israel, and God is incapable of breaking His promise. He is faithful and true, forever.

We see evidence of God fighting Israel’s battles throughout the Bible—from the Exodus out of Egypt, Jericho’s walls crumbling with a shout, and taking possession of the Land—city by city. He helped a shepherd boy kill a giant! The Lord has a history of showing up and defending His people—not based on their merit but on His faithfulness.When the battle seems impossible according to human standards, we can remind ourselves that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

  • Father, You are the Lord of hosts of the armies of Heaven! Your reserves are limitless. (Psalm 84:11-12)
  • You are not limited to human resources: you neither slumber nor sleep. Israel is constantly in Your sight, and nothing goes unnoticed by You. (Psalm 121:4)
  • For those living on the border with Lebanon in the north, we ask You for supernatural protection. For those serving in intelligence and border control, keep them alert of any threat from Hezbollah. Give them wisdom beyond their years. Open their eyes to see the enemy’s plan. Release the nation of Lebanon from Hezbollah and this proxy control from Iran.  
  • We pray for the situation in Iran. Dismantle the Iranian nuclear weapon program and enriching of uranium. Break this cycle of terrorism in the Middle East.
  • Thank you, Lord, for the Abraham Accords and what you are doing concerning diplomatic ties between Israel and Arab states. We praise you for a shift in Saudi Arabia as they are getting close to joining the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in the Abraham Accords. We ask for more nations. You can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)
  • Help the people of Israel to be strong and courageous, trusting in You to inherit the Land that You swore to their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:6)
  • We pray for the preparation of the IDF and all sectors of security in Israel. Help these drills to go better than planned. We ask that You guide and lead these drills, that they would not incite anxiety but bring peace in the preparation. 
  • Let the orders given be clear and precise. We speak against confusion.
  • For citizens living in border communities, we ask You for peace during these drills. Heal the trauma from past wars and the anxiety that might accompany the sound of these alarms.
  • You are the rock in whom Israel takes refuge. You are the shield, the horn of salvation, and their stronghold. You have saved Israel from her enemies, and You can do it again! We trust you. (Psalm 18:2)

2. Welcoming the World Back:

This month is monumental for Israel! For the first time in 20 months, we are welcoming tourists back into the country. After many months of uncertainty, endless canceled tours and trips to Israel, people worldwide have been waiting for this! While I can’t say it hasn’t been nice to have our small country to ourselves for a bit, the absence of praying Christians who love Israel has been noticeable. We miss hearing your prayers in different languages at the Western Wall. We miss the sight of your tour group worshipping on a Jesus boat at the Sea of Galilee, singing songs in your language (and even valiant attempts at Hebrew) and watching your faith expand.

We miss watching  nations from the four corners of the world gaining a firsthand heart for the Body of Messiah here in the land and asking how you can pray for us. We understand the impact of physically being in Israel, whether it’s your first or 20th trip! There are some things an online Zoom meeting just cannot replicate! There is something special about your feet walking this land and gaining a glimpse of God’s heart for His nation and His people. Israel is not the same without you! And as of now, the Maoz Independence Tour is still on for spring of 2022!

But like many things related to Israel, reopening the country to tourists is a delicate endeavor. On Thursday, the Israeli government published the much-anticipated new guidelines as to who would and would not be allowed into the country starting on November 1st. (To see the complete list of requirements, visit https://corona.health.gov.il/en/directives/air-travel-covid19-israel/). They then made last minute changes to the guidelines late Sunday evening without passing them on to the airlines. Many travelers were not allowed to board their flights for Israel due to the chaos and confusion. There are significant gaps in the guidelines, eliminating certain people from visiting based on how their country of residence has dealt with Covid over the past 20 months, whether they have been vaccinated (and with which brand of vaccine), how many days have passed since they received it to name a few.  It’s a HUGE step, but it comes with hurdles. 

  • Father, thank You for being a sovereign and holy God. You hold the whole world in your strong hands. We can trust You with the changes that are taking place in Israel.
  • We know that for those who love You, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to Your purpose. (Romans 8:28) You have a purpose and a plan for Israel and have seen this day long before we could.
  • Help those who are making decisions concerning protocols to reopen Israel to tourists.  As they make decisions, may Your wisdom guide them.  You said that if anyone lacks wisdom,  let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)
  • Give patience and peace to those who have experienced last minute trip changes.  Lord, give them favor during every step of their journey to Israel.
  • Help officials in the Ministry of Health sort out the “green pass” compilations for those visiting Israel.
  • Give those experiencing anxiety due to planning their visit to Israel the ability to trust You with every step of the process.  Thank You, Lord for inviting us to cast all our anxieties on You, because You care for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • For those who have been waiting many months for this day to come, give them grace.  We ask for Your perfect timing concerning their visit to Israel.  Align schedules and plans according to Your timetable.
  • We pray for abundant financial blessings for Israelis whose livelihoods have been drastically impacted by a lack of tourism to Israel.
  • Lord, eradicate this virus and all of its various strains once and for all.
  • In everything, we choose to bless Your holy name.  We will not forget Your benefits and the way You have sustained us over this past year and a half.  You forgive, heal, redeem, satisfy and renew us. (Psalm 103:1-5)

If you’re not already getting this weekly prayer letter, you can subscribe at MaozIsrael.org/pray

Your fellow intercessors,

Kobi and Shani Ferguson
and the entire Maoz Israel Team

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