International Disaster Relief
Franklin Graham on the Ground in Israel
16 November 2023
Franklin Graham travelled to three villages in Southern Israel that were attacked by Hamas and pledged to support to help survivors.
Shockwaves reverberated throughout the world when Hamas attacked civilian communities in southern Israel on Oct. 7, slaughtering people of all ages and taking more than 200 hostages. Entire villages now lie empty as the survivors have been forced to flee their homes. With the growing threat of violence in the north, many more have fled. Hundreds of thousands of people are now internally displaced, having lost everything.
One kibbutz that is now abandoned is Be’eri. Hamas terrorists breached the “Iron Wall” fence that separates Israel and Gaza, and overran the small agricultural neighbourhood at dawn on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. They went door to door and shot residents in their homes and also on the street. They torched houses with Molotov cocktails, trapping families inside. At least 130 men, women, and children were murdered here; 10 percent of the population. Twenty-six were taken hostage.
Franklin Graham visited Be’eri on Nov. 14 and saw firsthand the devastation. He was shocked by what he saw. “I haven’t seen such brutality since Pol Pot and the killing fields in Cambodia,” he said. “It’s evil. It’s demonic what took place here.”
As he walked through the streets that are now occupied by Israeli Defence Forces, he met Lihi, a sudden widow with two children under the age of five who briefly returned to her home to retrieve some personal items. She told him how her 34-year-old husband Daniel, a physician, was gunned down while he worked to save lives at the local medical clinic.
“We thought there were some terrorists, like three or four units, but we didn’t realise that there were hundreds,” she said. “I thought if he got to the clinic he would be safe. But the terrorists came into the clinic and killed almost everyone, including my husband. He was the love of my life.”
Graham offered her his condolences and then prayed for her and her two young children. “I pray that God will not only have His hand on your life but on your children and that they will carry your husband’s name to another generation,” he said. “By meeting you, I’ve been enriched.”
Minutes later, Graham met with Gadi Yarkoni, mayor of the Eshkol Regional Council, and pledged ongoing support and help. Samaritan’s Purse continues to provide food vouchers for all of the village’s survivors.
Graham also visited two other areas where massacres occurred and offered to help in Jesus’ Name. The Merhavim Regional Council covers 14 communities with a population of 15,000, most of whom are now living in hotels. Samaritan’s Purse is already helping to provide food to these families and will expand our relief efforts there soon.
In Sderot, 30,000 of its 36,000 residents fled the area after numerous civilians and police officers were killed by Hamas. Thousands of children throughout the region now suffer from post-traumatic stress, and Samaritan’s Purse has experience with helping boys and girls recover from similar experiences in other regions of the world.
When the terrorists attacked, they immediately targeted ambulances. They set some on fire and shot up other ones so they could not be used to help those who were suffering. In all, 14 ambulances were destroyed, and 11 paramedics were killed. Samaritan’s Purse is replacing all 14 ambulances and providing an additional seven to Magen David Adom, Israel’s medical emergency system, that will be fully armoured so that personnel will be well protected should atrocities like the ones that occurred on Oct. 7 happen again, Graham said.
“Your compassion will never be forgotten,” said Eli Bin, director general of Magen David Adom. “Generations to come will remember this visit and this help. This is something that will motivate them and show them that we are here to make this world a better world.”
Uri Shacham, chief of staff of Magen David Adom, added, “We are amazed with the amount of love and hope that you bring to the people of Israel. I think about the thousands of lives that will be saved thanks to this help from you. This is amazing.”
Across Israel, we are partnering with over 50 churches and Christian organisations to pack thousands of food bags. Each is filled with groceries that will feed a family of five for a week. We also are equipping civilian first responder teams with hundreds of life-saving trauma supply kits.
“These kits enable medical personnel to perform simple surgical procedures that will instantly save lives and keep patients alive for hours until they can get further help when an ambulance arrives or at a hospital,” said Dr. Hadar Milloh, a ministry partner. “Without this kit, they would certainly die.”
In addition, Samaritan’s Purse gave 20 computers to the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, an administrative region bordering the Gaza Strip, to help with search-and-rescue efforts and to coordinate relief for affected communities. Another 15 laptops were given to Abu Tulul School to enable teachers to host Zoom classes for nearly 1,000 Bedouin students displaced by the crisis.
“Sometimes you look and say, ‘Why?’ Or you look and say, ‘Lord, what can we do?’ The need is so great. But we serve a big God and He’s familiar with suffering,” Graham said. “So, we’re going to do what we can to help the people here in Israel. And do it in Jesus’ Name.”
MANY FAMILIES HAVE BEEN DISPLACED BY THE ATTACKS ON ISRAEL. SAMARITAN’S PURSE IS PROVIDING FOOD AND OTHER RELIEF.
Please pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for all of those affected by the war. Also pray for our teams and ministry partners as they serve as the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.
Franklin shared the above photo on Facebook, writing “It was a privilege to meet and pray with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. This man needs our prayers. He is facing the most trying time since the birth of their nation with 1,200 people killed, more than 240 men, women, and children taken as hostages, and many injured in the Hamas attack. As I spoke with a woman whose husband was taken hostage, the fear and heartache is overwhelming. Pray for these hostages and their families, pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
7 November 2023
On the 25th of October the city of Acapulco in Mexico was left devastated by Hurricane Otis, a Category 5 storm. Samaritan’s Purse has airlifted two planeloads of supplies to help those in desperate need of hope and practical assistance.