THE UNTOLD STORY
| By Eitan Shishkoff |

Air raid sirens frequently punctuated a conversation I was having with my friend from the Akko mayor's office. The Palm Beach Hotel, where we were sitting, was crowded with families whose homes had been hit by Hizballah rockets. Only the day before five citizens had been killed by some of the 10,000 pellets placed in the head of each bomb in order to spray death in the widest swath possible. In the conference rooms downstairs their families were sitting shiva (the seven day mourning period).

Yet in spite of the heavy atmosphere of grief and disruption, my friend, in Giuliani fashion, was calmly giving answers, condolences, reassurance and directives for the distribution of aid to the needy. It was our privilege to partner in war relief with the hard-hit City of Akko on the north coast during the War in Lebanon and Northern Israel.

Another key figure in this story was Guy Cohen. A 32 year old native of Akko, Guy planted the Messianic congregation Katzir Asher (Harvest of Asher) in 2005. Groundwork had been laid through several years of humanitarian aid, in concert with Gamliel Asher, the Tents of Mercy elder who passed on to glory in 2004. Guy was a blur of activity during the war, shuttling between food distribution, equipment for bomb shelters and protecting his own young family of a wife and three children. In his words, "It was a time of great opportunity. Through the strong response of our friends from abroad, we were able to work side by side with the municipality of Akko and with other organizations to distribute these items: over 1,000 Shabbat meals for old people, more than 13,000 soup kitchen lunches, food baskets in excess of 15,000 and twenty buses to take kids out of the rocket zone to the south of Israel."

The headlines and news broadcasts were filled with depressing statistics of how many were killed and injured by each attack on Israeli cities, and the extensive damage to life and property in Lebanon. Meanwhile, another story was unfolding. It was the less "newsworthy" but truly redemptive story of aid to the victims of the conflict.

I walked into an auditorium that was filled with cartons of food and baby supplies. Inside, there were volunteers from widely diverse portions of Israeli society. There were Orthodox Jews, secular Jews and Messianic Jews working side by side to provide for their city in its crisis. "Seeing the good fruit from our joint efforts during the war, we have decided to come together to form a council for humanitarian aid distribution in Akko. Why shouldn't we work as one in the same city?" asks Cohen with a broad smile.

IDF soldier interviewed by CBN
IDF soldiers bringing aid, not guns
Akko resident receiving food basket

A camera crew from CBN (the "700 Club" network in the U.S.) arrived in Akko the following week. Sensitively, they wanted to film the story of Akko's suffering and of her cooperation. A substantial grant from CBN helped finance our role in assisting the city, so I was glad to help escort the team. They interviewed the Tamam family, still shocked by the loss of two brothers, Aryeh and Tiran, snatched from their wives and children by a rocket that exploded next to their home. One of the surviving brothers, Moti, took us to the very site of his family's tragedy, weeping as he relived the excruciating experience. We visited bomb shelters around the city, used around the clock by people whose homes were no longer safe. And the camera recorded IDF soldiers delivering boxes of much-appreciated groceries to poor households.

Grieving brothers in Akko
No matter what your "end-time theology" tribulation is a fact of life on this earth. Even a casual reading of the newspaper alongside your Bible verifies the increase of war, disaster and terror. During the attacks on my own neighborhood and our region, I kept asking myself, "How am I to respond? In the midst of the suffering and disruption, fear and immobilization, what can I do to help my fellow Israelis?" I believe this question applies not only to times of crisis, but to our every day existence. Yeshua gives a simple yet demanding answer in Matthew 5. "Let your light so shine that men may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven."

As the direct result of people met and friendships made during this summer's war, we have many open doors. When issues of life and death confront a society, barriers are removed between groups in that society, especially here in Israel. Old timers told us that the country always pulls together during war. The important thing is to dedicate ourselves to continuing the involvement that was thrust upon us by the enemy. We can see that God uses tribulation, moving those to call upon Him who did not feel the need before. Here in Israel, He is preparing the hearts of our people to call upon Yeshua, the One who has been rejected until now. But that is about to change.

 

By Eitan Shishkoff

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Comments
Comments:
13:15 23Oct06 Donna Diorio -
Thank you, Eitan. I know that when you tell these "untold stories" openly that you all have to step out in an exposed place to the 'enemies of the gospel' to do so. Thank you for entering such a rest of trust in the Lord with your lives that you, and the whole Tikkun-Israel team, are willing to take your stand in as Messianic Jewish believers. We cover you all with prayers for the Lord's full and complete protection over you as you continue to move forward in His service.

17:37 23Oct06 Lonnie Lane -
Shalom, Eitan. Your stories make me feel as though I have a letter from a family member about other family members we both love, even though I don't know them. The stories bridge the gap of miles and circumstances and as they touch my heart I again know that you who are there are taking hold of the Land for all Jews everywhere. Thank you all for your courage and faithfulness to be Yeshua to our people.

14:42 10Nov06 Eva -
Thank you, Eitan, for sharing how our Japanese brothers have labored with their prayers and communication for the restoration of Israel ... it touched my heart that much that I even had a dream about it... I'll forward this to Tomi my Japanese friend (who is a lover of Israel...)


Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: Jerusalem, The Stumbling Stone
Marty Shoub: 70 Years Of Prayer
Asher Intrater: Light To The Nations