Area: 20,700 sq km
A further 7,540 sq km of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights have been controlled by Israel since 1967.
Population: 7,285,033 Annual Growth: 1.71%
Official language: Hebrew, Arabic. Numerous immigrant languages from all over the world are spoken Languages: 48 All languages
Largest Religion: Jewish
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Followers of Jesus in Israel are likewise a mix of Messianic Jews, foreign believers and Arab-Israeli Christians. All three groups have grown recently especially Messianic and expatriate believers the result of both immigration and conversion. There are over 120 Hebrew-speaking gatherings. Russian-speaking congregations are the next-largest number (as many as 50), followed by eight Amharic-speaking (Ethiopian) congregations and a smattering of fellowships in various European languages. Israeli-born Messianic Jews are around 1,000. Pray for:
a) Boldness in witness and perseverance of faith despite difficulties and opposition. The Haredi regard evangelicals as subversive and a threat to Judaism, and therefore malign and occasionally harass them. Tolerance of Christians and Messianic Jews is high, but proselytism is increasingly opposed, especially by the ultra-Orthodox.
b) Full legal rights of immigration and social acceptance in the face of national, social and family pressures. Israeli law states that national identity and religious identity of Jews are one; secular Jews can become citizens, but Christian Jews cannot.
c) Clarity of teaching and understanding about their Jewishness there needs to be a cultural identity without compromising New Testament truth. There are now Bible training colleges in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Nazareth for the formation of capable leaders.
d) Arab evangelicals are more numerous in Protestant and Independent denominations but total fewer than 4,000. Of these, only a few dozen are Muslim-background believers. The number of those coming to faith is growing at an encouraging rate, but they emigrate to the West just as rapidly.
Unity between Messianic Jews and Arab Christians. A quiet revolution in relationships between Jewish and Arab believers is beginning in the Holy Land. The recently formed Convention of Evangelical Churches in Israel (and an equivalent organization in the Palestinian Authority) is a major step forward. Jewish and Arab believers cooperate in ministry through the National Evangelism Committee. Their joint outreach efforts into Muslim areas are well received. Many other grassroots initiatives, often unreported, see these two groups of believers, from very different backgrounds, blazing a trail of reconciliation and friendship that is an example to the rest of the region. But some others question or are even opposed to such developments. Pray that there might be grace among all who call upon Jesus/Yeshua/Isa to love, support and bear with one another.
For an additional 8 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Israel.