The entire world watched the terror group Hamas attack Israel on October 7, 2023 with disbelief. Today, we already know that it was the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Our hearts are broken.
Sadly, that dark day was just the beginning. At FIRM, we want to keep you informed about what is happening in Israel, and we want to share how you can help. Please keep us in your prayers, as our team serves you in the best way we can on the ground in Israel.
Day 1. Saturday (Shabbat), October 7
Hamas attacks Israel
6:30 AM – Israelis woke up to sirens all across the southern part of the country, including even in central Israel, like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Thousands of rockets barraged sleepy towns and villages surrounding the Gaza Strip.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, soon the news spread of the terror organization of Hamas infiltrating into Israel. By land, water and air, armed terrorists stormed into peaceful neighborhoods, killing hundreds. Hamas took dozens of innocent Israelis hostage back into Gaza.
The events have taken Israel by surprise – it seems both civilians, as well as the government and the military were shocked by the attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Israel is at war. It is Israel’s first declaration of war since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Later that same day, Israelis in various parts of the country showed up to donate blood and started impromptu collection centers to share essentials, like baby equipment, clothes and food for the affected communities.
Day 2. Sunday, October 8
The Nightmare Continues
Shockingly, even more terrorists crossed the border into Israel on the second day of the war. More rocket sirens went off in the nearby communities, up to the Rishon LeZion area. Blasts were heard in Tel Aviv.
On this somber day, about 100,000 of Israelis were called up into the reserves. This number includes many of our friends, FIRM staff members and volunteers, ministry partners, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.
The schools across the country have been closed until further notice. Universities are postponing the beginning of the semester. Israel has also gathered large forces on its northern border fearing Hezbollah might join the war.
Tragically, the number of innocents killed has doubled on Sunday, when almost 250 bodies were found at a music festival site in southern Israel. Many terrorists were still at large by nightfall.
Day 3. Monday, October 9
Israel is Regrouping
The Israeli Air Force carried out a series of massive airstrikes on the Gaza Strip overnight. The rockets were once again launched to central Israel at noon, while the south had been under fire all morning.
The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) reports that 300,000 reserve troops have been called up. While some 80 terrorists have been apprehended, Israelis have been warned that many terrorists remain in Israeli territory since Saturday. More are trying to infiltrate.
FIRM has already dedicated 200,000 USD to relocate families from vulnerable areas in the south of Israel to safer parts of the country. We are also providing emergency food and water, and life-saving equipment. In a joint effort with our local partners, we are doing what we can to preserve life and keep families together.
By late afternoon, news spread that a rocket from Gaza made impact near the Ben Gurion Airport. All residents were advised to gather supplies for the next 72 hours. Meanwhile, reports come in of antisemitic attacks abroad (i.e., London kosher restaurant vandalized).
Day 4. Tuesday, October 10
Aid is on the Way
This morning, the Israeli government approved the call-up of a further 360,000 reservists – doubling the numbers of yesterday. The military is advising the civilians in Gaza to seek shelter in Egypt, their southern neighbor.
Meanwhile, in northern Israel, including the Galilee, residents were instructed to shelter amid concerns of terrorist spreading throughout Israel. Mortar shells were fired from Syria into the Golan Heights in northern Israel.
FIRM representatives drove to a moshav near the Gaza border to share food and supplies with the locals and soldiers stationed nearby, who needed support. Thank you for your contributions to make this possible!
The fate of the abducted is still unclear. As more bodies of the murdered are gradually discovered in the attacked areas, the death toll in Israel has climbed to over 1,000 souls.
Day 5. Wednesday, October 11
Discovering the Horror of Destruction
By Wednesday morning, the IDF reported that the death toll from Hamas onslaught has reached 1,200. The soldiers and volunteers clearing out the affected areas are going through a traumatic experience themselves. They have never seen such atrocities.
Thanks to our incredible supporters, FIRM has been able to surround these brave men and women with care. We continue to supply food, drink, and equipment wherever possible.
Sadly, rocket fire from Gaza into Israel resumed this morning, after a short time of quiet. The police closed some roads in the south, for safety. Officials urge parents to delete social apps of their children’s phones, fearing they may see hostage videos Hamas promised to release.
Meanwhile in the north, rocket sirens sounded near the Lebanese border. A Galilee hospital began moving their patients to underground fortified wards. By the end of the day, Israel announced its new unity government with a special war cabinet.
Day 6. Thursday, October 12
The War Between Israel and Hamas in Full Swing
Regrettably, the reports of brutally murdered children were confirmed to be true, when the IDF released photos of the devastation at Kibbutz Be’eri in southern Israel. The horror that the world did not want to believe in is now documented also online.
FIRM connected with a nonprofit organization Mercy Chefs that arrived in Israel to care for displaced families and single parent homes. They will be preparing ~100 top quality hot meals daily, to feed especially those who had to flee their homes.
While Israel prepares for a likely ground invasion of Gaza, Hamas leaders are urging their supporters to organize protests around the world. Jewish people in the diaspora have been advised to stay home and if possible, avoid big cities on Friday.
The FIRM team has been working around the clock buying supplies, coordinating deliveries, setting up soup kitchens, and more. We are trying to be as effective as possible with the resources entrusted to us.
Day 7. Friday, October 13
Ground Invasion Looms
Israel instructs northern Gazans to evacuate, however Hamas terrorists order them to stay. Tensions are running high as reports come in of unrest in various parts of the West Bank.
Rocket fire from Gaza resumed on the Israeli city of Ashkelon and across the southern region. Later in the day, terrorists from Gaza fired rockets as far north as the Karmel Mountains by Haifa.
FIRM’s powerful campaign to #PrayByName for the hostages Hamas took by force into Gaza is gaining momentum. Christians around the world join in prayer for the captives to be set free. This unique call for prayer is uniting believers as they take a stand for the innocents in Israel.
As the military moves from house to house in Israeli villages near Gaza, to report on the horrific aftermath of the Hamas infiltration into Israel, new documents come to light. Maps and instructions in Arabic found in a few homes prove how preplanned and carefully orchestrated the attack was.
Day 8. Saturday, October 14
It has been a week now since the shocking events of October 7. The people of Israel are mourning as they bury the victims of the terrorist attack that caught everyone off guard. Tens of thousands have already attended funerals in various part of the country.
Sirens continue to blast in Tel Aviv and surrounding areas, warning residents of incoming rocket fire. Over the past week 291 first responders – soldiers, firefighters, police officers, and paramedics – have lost their lives fighting terrorism in Israel.
After the initial shock, the body of believers has rallied together and mobilized to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Thanks to your generosity through t he Emergency Crisis Fund, we have been able to be among the first to respond by:
- Helping evacuate and relocate families at risk
- Providing needed equipment for communities on the border
- Establishing a Crisis Command Center Kitchen to feed people
- And so much more!
Day 9. Sunday, October 15
We are in perpetual shock seeing videos from major world cities where pro-Palestinian protests chant even for gassing the Jews (i.e. in Sydney). But thanks to the giving of Christians from around the world, Israelis are also seeing a glimmer of hope.
Through our local partners, FIRM has been sending high quality hot meals to people who continue to live in bomb shelters in southern Israel.
At least five anti-tank missiles have been fired from Lebanon into Israel today. The leadership of IDF is looking into the situation to avoid escalation at all cost.
Foreign citizens are evacuating from Israel, many by chartered planes, some even by boat out of Haifa.
Day 10. Monday, October 16
During our FIRM staff meeting this afternoon, rocket sirens went off once again in Jerusalem, after a few days of relative quiet in Israel’s capital. We heard explosions right over our building, when the iron dome took out the rockets fired from Gaza.
Israel instructed its northern communities to evacuate, to avoid potential danger imposed on them by Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon. With your help, FIRM is now actively involved in finding them shelter in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile in Gaza, residents are instructed to move south and evacuate northern parts of the Strip. This is in preparation for the looming ground invasion of the IDF, with the aim to find and rescue the hostages held by Hamas.
Day 11. Tuesday, October 17
Prominent Hamas leader said in an interview this morning that Hamas expected more support from Iran in the current war with Israel. Meanwhile in Ramallah, protests erupted against PA President Mahmoud Abbas for his perceived passive leadership.
For the first time since the war began, Israeli personnel returned to the Erez pedestrian border crossing with the Gaza Strip. The damages appear to be extensive. The crossing served thousands of Palestinians daily, who entered Israel for medical treatments, among other reasons.
Some FIRM local partners have prepared gifts and activities for children, who have been relocated from their homes or remain in bomb shelters. Our staff and volunteers are on the move every day, distributing goods to the affected areas.
Later today, news came in that a rocket hit a hospital in Gaza, with hundreds presumed dead. Initial reports falsely accused Israel of the strike, but videos quickly resurfaced of rocket launched from inside of Gaza that unintentionally fell near the facility.
Day 12. Wednesday, October 18
Today, FIRM and our partners are evacuating families from danger zones in the north and brining them to Hotel Yehuda in Jerusalem. The Hotel is manned by staff and volunteers, who went above and beyond to prepare even entertainment for their guests.
US President Joe Biden arrived in Israel this morning and showed great solidarity with the Israeli people. Meanwhile, the Jordan leg of his trip was canceled.
While the Israel-Hamas war continues, antisemitism worldwide is on the rise. A synagogue in Berlin, Germany was firebombed by two assailants.
We invite everyone to pray also for the Palestinian people in Gaza, who are affected by this tragic crisis. It is important to remember that Hamas, the terrorist regime ruling Gaza, does not represent all Palestinian people.
Day 13. Thursday, October 19
Rocket fire continued today both over southern and northern Israel. We are doing what we can to provide shelter for people displaced due to this aggression. While Hotel Yehuda in Jerusalem quickly filled up, we are looking at a second possible location to host displaced families.
The US is negotiating with Israel and Egypt over delivering humanitarian aid into Gaza. While the threat still exists that the resources will be quickly captured by Hamas, UN commits to inspecting every vehicle before it enters Gaza.
Israel is encouraging all its citizens to leave Muslim countries like Turkey amid concerns over their safety. At the same time, Israeli diplomats have been leaving their posts in Turkey, Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain over similar concerns.
The new emergency government in Israel is looking at ways to rehabilitate the communities in Israel’s south that were impacted severely by the terrorist attacks. The government pledged 1 billion Israeli shekels to the cause.
Day 14 of the Israel-Gaza War. Friday, October 20
Two of the hostages who were taken to Gaza on October 7, Judith and Natalie Raanan, have been released and reunited with their families. We thank God for this miracle and we are grateful to all who were and continue to pray for the hostages by name.
Qatar has been showing efforts to secure the release of hostages. This middle eastern country has been home to several of the Hamas top leaders.
We will continue to pray for the remaining 200 or so prisoners from Israel that are still held captive in Gaza.
This live blog was concluded on Oct 20, 2023.
The local body of believers is working together to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of this darkness. We thank everyone who has already donated to the FIRM Emergency Crisis Response fund. We couldn’t do this without you.
And if you want to know where exactly your money is going, you can read about it here.
Help provide emergency relief for families across Israel
Emergency Crisis Response Fund
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