Friday, February 15, 2008

1.6m Israelis lived below poverty line in 07

Excerpts from Haaretz story: "Despite the improvement in all of Israel's economic indicators in 2007, a rise in the minimum wage, increased employment and higher real salaries; the country's poverty level remained almost unchanged in 2007. According to the National Insurance Institute's semi-annual poverty report released yesterday, 1,674,800 people were living under the poverty line in 2007 -- 24.7% of the Israeli population -- an increase of about 20,000 people over 2006. In mid-2006 the percentage was 24.4% and rose to 24.5% at the end of 2006. The number of children living in poverty reached 804,000; or 35.9% of all Israeli children. A year ago the figure was 35.2% and 35.8% six months ago....According to the NII report, there were 420,000 poor families in Israel last year, up from 404,000 in the previous annual report. The percentage of families below the poverty line rose slightly last year to 20.5%, up from 20.2% the previous year, as 2006 saw a small decrease. The report is based on the Central Bureau of Statistics' income survey."


Dear friend:

"Evangelicals 'adopt' Ashkelon hospital 'to bless Israel and her neighbors'" -- headline in The Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2008

Thank you so very much for your faithful prayers and generous investment in the work of The Joshua Fund. You are making a real difference and we are so grateful to you!

Over the past few months – by God’s grace and your help – we have been able to care for thousands of victims of war and terrorism in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Iraq and Sudan with food, clothing, medical equipment, wheelchairs and other humanitarian relief supplies. The Lord is moving so powerfully and giving us so many opportunities to help the poor and needy in the epicenter I’m going to have a hard time capturing it all in one letter. But let me draw your attention to several critically important projects we’ve been working on that will give you a sense of why The Joshua Fund’s work is so needed.

ISRAELIS IN A MISSILE ZONE – You don’t hear much about it on the news. The media doesn’t much care. And the world has all but forgotten. But here’s the brutal truth: More than 4,200 rockets, missiles and mortars have been fired at Israeli towns along the southern border with Gaza by Palestinian terrorists since the Israeli Defense Forces withdrew from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005 in an effort to give “land for peace.” Radical Islamic jihadists launch an average of five to seven attacks a day. As I am writing this, 22 rockets were launched at innocent Israelis in just one day.

Hundreds of homes, schools and shops are being damaged in Israeli towns like Sderot and Ashkelon. Scores of Israelis are being injured. Some Israelis have been killed. The Palestinian rockets have no guidance systems. No one knows where they will land or who will be hit. It’s a 24-hour a day life of “Russian Roulette.” As a result, Israeli mothers live in constant fear for their children. Fathers have trouble sleeping at night. Seniors are having heart attacks. Older children – even teenagers – are having terrible nightmares and are wetting their beds, night after night. And there seems to be no end in sight. The Palestinian government has not taken decisive political or military action to stop these terrorist attacks. Nor has the government of Israel. Indeed, the current Prime Minister is talking about dividing Jerusalem and giving away all of the West Bank. The U.S. has been virtually silent on the topic. The Arab world, the European Union, and the United Nations condemns Israel when it uses occasional air strikes to take out terrorist leaders.

At The Joshua Fund, we are determined to bless the people of southern Israel as much as possible. We must not forget them. We must not let them feel abandoned and alone. Rather, we must do everything we possibly can to mobilize evangelical Christians around the world to LEARN about what’s happening; PRAY knowledgably and consistently for peace; GIVE to the humanitarian relief work we are doing there; and even GO on one of our volunteer projects.

BLESSING VICTIMS OF WAR AND TERROR – Last November, therefore, The Joshua Fund took a group of several dozen evangelical Christians from Calvary Chapel of Rio Rancho, New Mexico to do a humanitarian relief project among the poor and needy in Sderot, a town of 20,000 souls living dead center in this missile zone. Working with the acting mayor and The Joseph Project, a Jewish relief group based in Israel, we were able to distribute more than $100,000 worth of clothing, pots and pans, school supplies, cleaning supplies and other humanitarian relief to 300 of the neediest families in the town. Just as we were finishing the project, the warning sirens went off. We had just seven seconds to get all of our people into the bomb shelter and pray for safety. By God’s grace, no one was injured by that rocket. But in those moments, we all got a glimpse of the life many Israelis live twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

In December, The Joshua Fund invested some $14,000 in Bridges For Peace, an evangelical relief group in Israel, to buy 300 blankets and heaters for 300 more needy families living in Sderot. We also worked with The Joseph Project to buy a $12,000 van for the Sderot municipality’s director of volunteers. Now he and his team can move relief supplies and volunteer rapid responders far more quickly. The city has promised to buy these volunteers a van for years but there has never been enough money in the budget. The director, a young Ethiopian immigrant, had tears in eyes when he realized we were serious about helping him when no one else would.

In January, my colleagues and I went back to the area to encourage local Christians as well as to bring a check for $50,000 to a local hospital that is the main trauma center for the region. The hospital is old, badly under-funded, and the facilities are run-down and harken back to U.S. medical facilities in the 1950s. But the doctors are first rate, passionate about saving lives, and eager for evangelical Christians to stand with them as they fight on the front lines of the war with radical Islam. The funds we donated, therefore, will be used to buy desperately needed equipment for their emergency room.

Here are a few excerpts from the article in The Jerusalem Post: “A pro-Israel evangelical group from the US has decided to ‘adopt’ Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. A few months ago, the group contacted the hospital, which copes with victims of Palestinian terror bombings from Gaza and sick Gazan civilians on a regular basis….A delegation visited the hospital on Sunday...Among the participants was Joel Rosenberg, a Washington-based evangelical Christian and president of The Joshua Fund, a non-profit organization whose mission is ‘to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus’….Joshua Fund director-general John Moser also attended the meeting, as did David Donaldson, head of the Convoy of Hope organization; Taysir Abu Saad of Seeds of Hope; and Calev Meyers, a lawyer who represents the evangelical organizations in Israel. The visitors praised the hospital's treatment of violence victims and promised to help raise the funds needed to…purchase vital medical equipment.”

MUCH MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE – In our meeting with the hospitals top doctors and manager, we asked how else we could help. Here’s their list of some urgent needs:

* Operating Room Lamp cost: $20,000
* Mobile X-Ray Machine cost: $40,000
* Ultrasonograph for Delivery Room cost: $50,000
* Echocardiograph cost: $60,000
* Breast Ultrasonograph cost: $ 70,000
* Ventilators and Respirators cost: $85,000 each

Please pray that we can raise these funds quickly and help these brave doctors and nurses with the equipment they so urgently need. Please also pray that the Lord would continue to open doors for The Joshua Fund to provide food, clothing and others critical supplies to those Israelis suffering in this horrific missile zone. To help financially, please click here.

ALSO URGENT: PREPARING FOR WAR IN THE NORTH – While we care for Israelis living in the missile zone in the south, we are also urgently trying to help Israelis prepare for the next war in the north. Tensions are running high along the Lebanon and Syrian border, and of course Iran continues to vow to wipe Israel “off the map.” We continue to pray for peace, but we are also preparing for worst case scenarios. Bridges For Peace has opened a new food warehouse and distribution center in the Israeli town of Carmiel, in the northern tier. Their goal is to bless the poor and needy in the region, as well as stockpile food supplies for troubled times in the future. As part of our “Operation Epicenter” relief strategy, The Joshua Fund has committed to providing BFP with 400 tons of food over the next three years. Last fall, I spoke at several fund-raisers that brought in about $25,000 that paid for about 25 tons. But food prices have doubled in Israel since then. In December, we sent $110,000 to pay for 50 tons of food. Then in January and February, we sent another $43,000 to pay for approximately 40 more tons. Every month throughout 2008, we are determined to send $21,500 to BFP to pay for about 20 tons of new food supplies, and we would love your continued help in making this happen.

HEADING INTO THE FIRES OF IRAQ – Several colleagues and I have been invited into Iraq to preach in Iraqi churches, encourage evangelical Christian pastors and key ministry leaders we have been working with, and assess how The Joshua Fund can be more helpful to the poor and needy in that embattled and war-torn country. With your generous help, we have already sent more than $300,000 worth of humanitarian relief supplies into Iraq over the past few months. We have plans to accelerate that aid in 2008 if the Lord provides the necessary funding. Please pray that the Lord would keep us safe as well as give us much-needed wisdom and discernment to know how best to care for the believers in Iraq and how to help them love their neighbors and their enemies in the name of Jesus.

CARING FOR THE SUFFERING IN SUDAN – At the same time, we dare not forget the immense suffering going on among the people in Sudan right now. Civil war. Radical Islamic jihads. Genocide. Hundreds of churches have been burned to the ground. Hundreds of thousands of souls have perished. Millions of people have fled their homes. In December, therefore, The Joshua Fund invested $46,000 to send two shipments of emergency food aid into this country. Each shipment contained 270,000 meals that cost us only eight cents each. Thus, with your gracious giving, we were able to provide 540,000 meals. But clearly we need to do more – quickly – and with your help we will.

UPCOMING: THE EPICENTER CONFERENCE IN JERUSALEM – Please also keep us in prayer as we finalize preparations for our first “Epicenter” conference. It will be held on April 10, 2008 at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. We are preparing for some 3,000 evangelical Christians from all over the world. I will be the emcee and deliver the keynote message on the urgency of blessing Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus in the light of serious threats facing the people of the region. Joining me as speakers are:
* Porter Goss, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
* Lt.-General (ret.) Jerry Boykin, former commander of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force and recently retired Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
* Benjamin Netanyahu, former Prime Minister of Israel
* Natan Sharansky, former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel
* Chuck Smith, founder and senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa
* Skip Heitzig, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque, board member of Samaritan’s Purse, and co-host of the Epicenter documentary DVD

For more information – or to register – please visit

NEW TEAM MEMBERS – As you can see, our opportunities to do relief work in the epicenter is rapidly expanding. But as of January 1st, our first Director of Operations, Edward Hunt, stepped down to become pastor of a wonderful and rapidly growing congregation in the Washington, D.C. area. We are very excited for him (and grateful he and his wife, Kailea, remain on our Board). But The Joshua Fund board decided we needed several new senior staff members going forward. We are, therefore, happy to announce these new members of our team.

John Moser began with us full-time on October 1st of last year as TJF’s Executive Director. In addition to traveling with me on key projects in the region (Israel twice, Turkey, Canada, and Morocco), John oversees all of our ministry operations, finances, legal work, staff and consultants. He draws on four decades of experience running his own business; serving in senior management at several companies; managing enormous, multi-million dollar projects for the Intel corporation in the 1990s; and advising various churches and ministries along the way. In many ways, John is our “air traffic controller.” As you can see, we’ve got a lot of “planes in the air,” as it were – projects with different partners, different costs, in different countries, and on different continents. John’s role is to make sure they all “land safely” at their final destinations. I believe God has uniquely prepared him for this role, giving him the spiritual gifts of administration, discernment and encouragement, and the Lord is using him tremendously. Please pray daily and faithfully for John as TJF has become a very fast-growing, fast-moving organization facing intense spiritual warfare. Plus, he and Cheryl have just moved to Northern Virginia and are still trying to get settled. To reach John, please call the office at (888) 792-4544, or email him at

Cheryl Moser began with us full-time on January 1st as our Office Manager and has also hit the ground running at full speed. She’s coordinating all of the multi-country and multi-state travel for our team. She’s overseeing the logistics for our upcoming tour in Israel of more than 200 people in April. On top of all this, she oversees all of our office operations, from scheduling to fielding dozens of phone calls and hundreds of emails every week. And she’s still trying to find all of her dishes and pots and pans in the moving boxes stacked up in their dining room! Fortunately, in addition to possessing the wonderful multi-tasking skills of having raised two daughters and being the grandmother of seven, she also has decades of business experience, having served as the vice president for consumer affairs of the Crosman Arms company, as well as having served on the company’s board of directors. A particularly special blessing is that I have had the privilege of knowing John and Cheryl for about 30 years. It has been great to reconnect with them and their family after all these years, and it is very humbling to see them willing and eager to resign their previous jobs, be willing to sell their house, move across the country, and work so hard to help us. Please join us, therefore, in praying for daily and faithfully for Cheryl as she serves the Lord, side by side with John. Pray that the Lord would truly bless this couple as they bless Israel and her neighbors. And please pray specifically that their house sells soon. To reach Cheryl, please call the office at (888) 792-4544, or email her at

Jeremy Grafman began with us full-time on January 1st as Director of Special Projects. He serves as our point man on numerous strategic initiatives, including identifying, vetting and approving new relief projects in Israel and the Muslim world into which TJF will invest; working with evangelical Christian pastors and ministry leaders in North America and around the world who want to discover practical ways they can bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus; and he is working with Israeli, Arab, and Iranian pastors to see how we can specifically bless and encourage them in their growing and critically important ministries. For the last several years, Jeremy served as a pastor on the staff of Calvary Chapel of Rio Rancho (New Mexico) after some 15 years in the business world, working for Xerox in Rochester, New York, and later launching and running his own company in the Albuquerque area. A Jewish believer, Jeremy has traveled extensively in the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Greece and Turkey). He has also played a key role in helping The Joshua Fund over the past year, recruiting evangelical pastors to tour Israel, teaching believers about the importance of blessing Israel and her neighbors, co-leading humanitarian relief projects with us in Israel (notably Kiryat Shmona and Sderot), and being part of a church leadership team that has invested generously in the work of TJF and prayed for us faithfully. We are very grateful for his experience and wisdom and we are eager to help him make the transition as quickly and smoothly as possible. Please pray for Jeremy, his wife Angie, and their four sons that they would be able to sell their home in New Mexico quickly and for a great price, and that they would be able to find the right home in the right place at the right price here in Northern Virginia. To contact Jeremy directly, please email him at

Larissa Lusko joined us last fall on a part-time basis to help with donor communications. She is overseeing the design and production of our Joshua Fund brochures; has developed the response cards that we use at public events; manages the correspondence we send donors briefing them on the projects we are doing; and is helping us with a series of private dinners for major donors that by God’s grace we will hold around the country this spring (more on that soon!). Larissa and her husband Chip have been enormously helpful to us over the past year. Among other things, they are overseeing the Epicenter conference we will hold in April in Jerusalem. We are deeply grateful for all of their help and are excited that Larissa has officially come on board to help us in a much-needed area. To contact her directly, please email her at
THANK YOU! – There is so much more to tell you, but hopefully this will give you an overview of the kind of work we are doing. Thank you so much for praying for us, praying for the people of the epicenter, and investing in the work of The Joshua Fund. We are deeply grateful. You can learn more about the on-going projects of The Joshua Fund at Just go to our weblog by clicking on the “PRAY” button.
Also please sign up for >> FLASH TRAFFIC <<, our free biweekly Middle East update and prayer alert email service. As the Apostle Paul commands us in Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” And may the Lord bless you richly as you bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.

Sincerely yours,
Joel C. Rosenberg
The Joshua Fund
[Top photo: On the Gaza border: Jeremy Grafman, Joshua Fund's Director of Special Projects; Joel C. Rosenberg; John Moser, Executive Director of The Joshua Fund; Calev Myers, President of the Jerusalem Institute for Justice]
[Bottom photo: Joel C. Rosenberg with the Director of Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, Israel]

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
Jerusalem Post
January 29, 2008

A pro-Israel [evangelical] group from the US has decided to "adopt" Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.

A few months ago, the group contacted the hospital, which copes with victims of Palestinian terror bombings from Gaza and sick Gazan civilians on a regular basis.

Hospital spokeswoman and head of its public relations department Lea Malul took part in a number of discussions in the US with the Protestant church group, and finally a delegation visited the hospital on Sunday.

Hospital director Dr. Shimon Sherf received a "modest donation" that established the formal connection with the group.

Among the participants was Joel Rosenberg, a Washington-based evangelical Christian and president of the Joshua Fund, a non-profit organization whose mission is "to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus." The fund aims to invest at least $1.2 million in humanitarian relief over the next year for Israeli, Lebanese and Palestinian families devastated by war and terrorism.

Joshua Fund director-general John Moser also attended the meeting, as did David Donaldson, head of the Convoy of Hope organization; Taysir Abu Saad of Seeds of Hope; and Calev Meyers, a lawyer who represents the evangelical organizations in Israel.

The visitors praised the hospital's treatment of violence victims and promised to help raise the funds needed to complete Barzilai's new hospitalization wing and purchase vital medical equipment.