In the opening hours of the vicious and unprovoked attack against Israel by Hamas on the morning of Saturday, October 7th 2023, our Aliyah Return Center team sprang grimly into action. Quickly preparing our residential areas to be used by internally displaced refugees who we knew would be evacuated from parts of the country under attack and under threat of attack, we also produced a video to sound the alarm to our supporters around the world about the urgent need for prayer and practical action in Israel’s hour of peril.
Together, we asked our followers to pray Psalm 91 over Israel on this first day of a new war.
Psalms 91:1-16 NKJV
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings, you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
Shortly after we posted our first video to ask our friends around the world to join us in praying Psalm 91 over Israel, our CEO Chaim Malespin received his orders to don a uniform and report to his IDF reserve unit. He was one of thousands of other Israeli fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, uncles and even grandfathers who got that call and promptly answered it.
But before he left the Aliyah Return Center and boarded a bus to take him south, Chaim made a video to give supporters of the ARC an update and pep talk to encourage them to do their part in defending Israel just as he was doing. Although few of the people who watch this video would be called up to the IDF reserves, everyone watching could pray and there are many who would want to do more.
Quoting John F. Kennedy’s speech praising Israel for being a beacon of democracy and Psalm 2, Chaim encouraged his viewers to pray for the protection of Israeli soldiers like himself and also for a decisive and quick victory to minimize the suffering and carnage from the coming battle.
Psalm 2 NKJV
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces, and cast away Their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”
“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
In another video filmed just a few hours after the one where Chaim announced that he’d been called up to serve in his reserve unit, Chaim was in uniform at the bus stop saying goodbye to his family. In the video, he told his visibly emotional father-in-law Dean Bye that he was off to the kinetic war but he was leaving him in charge of the “home front.” He also informed him that he had a very important job to rally supporters of Israel and the Aliyah Return Center to pray into the situation, using Isaiah 62:6-7 as an inspiration.
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
At the conclusion of this short but moving video, Chaim and Dean saluted and then embraced each other in a display of love and hope.
In the fourth wartime video that the Aliyah Return Center produced, Chaim gives a report from the front lines. He is with his unit, deployed near the Gaza border and preparing to go into the Strip and rescue innocent Israelis held hostage there. Telling of the hardships of war, the bullets and rockets flying past his head and the noise of battle filling his ears, he nonetheless encourages his viewers to join him in praying for the hostages who are in a much worse situation. He quotes Deuteronomy 20:2-4;
So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’
He concludes with a reminder that the IDF is not out for vengeance but rather to defend the homes, children, and families of the soldiers themselves because : our stregnth lies not in our weapons but in our faith,”