Hundreds of northern residents plead not to be evacuated from Jerusalem’s Yehuda Hotel on Sunday. The FIRM Organization, which has funded their stay with $8 million in donations, calls on the government to assist

  • By Itzhak Rabihiya
  • 06 29
  • 2024


Fifty-five families (over 200 people), mostly from the communities of Avdon, Manot, Elkosh, and the Ma'ale Yosef Regional Council (3.5 km from the Lebanese border), are required to vacate their rooms at the Yehuda Hotel in Jerusalem by July 1st. They have been staying there since the start of the war and are being forced against their will to return to their deserted settlements next to the Lebanese border.


The government, obliged by decision 975 to fund their stay, has shirked its responsibility for eight months, claiming that Avdon is 3.7 km from the border, not 3.5 as required by the government’s decision. Surveyors appointed by the Ministry of Defense determined that the settlement is indeed 3.5 km from the Lebanese border, as the residents claim, and that the government is obligated to assist them.


Attorney Dikla Nassimi, representing the evacuees from Avdon, Manot, Elkosh, and the other communities within the Ma'ale Yosef Regional Council, petitioned the High Court of Justice in February after the government refused to fund their hotel stay. To date, no ruling has been made, leaving the petitioners from the Ma'ale Yosef Regional Council and the Golan Heights totally frustrated.


Nassimi emphasizes, "This coming Sunday, we are all supposed to leave the Yehuda Hotel, and we have nowhere to go. Avdon is an abandoned settlement next to the Lebanese border. It’s an army camp. We have no reinforced rooms in our homes, and there is constant fire from drones and mortars. We will be canon fodder and sitting ducks there, and our biggest fear is being kidnapped. I am pleading on behalf of the residents, some of whom are elderly, disabled, and have many traumatized children. The government must provide us with a solution and allow us to continue staying here at the hotel. I am a single mother to a disabled infant. Where will I go?"


Since the start of the war, the stay of 450 residents of the Ma'ale Yosef Regional Council at the Yehuda Hotel has been funded by the FIRM Organization – a coalition of Israeli support organizations, funded by Evangelical Christians who raised over $8 million for this project alone, $1 million each month. Donations were raised from hundreds of Christian communities in 80 countries worldwide, especially from the USA and Canada.


Hundreds of thousands of Evangelical Christians who love Israel continue to support these efforts and have been helping the home front since the start of the war. Since the beginning of the war, the FIRM organization has donated tens of millions of dollars to an emergency fund aimed at addressing wartime needs in Israel. These donations, along with contributions from local Christian partners, have funded dozens of projects to support Israel’s war effort.


When someone you love needs help, you immediately step up to help them," says Michael Mistretta, head of the delegation and CEO of the FIRM organization. "We are part of thousands of Christians who love Israel and provide support, especially during wartime, saying to the people of Israel, 'We are with you and beside you.'"


Attorney Nasimi shares that the FIRM organization and its dedicated staff have cared for hundreds of evacuees at the Yehuda Hotel with devotion and love. They revealed that on their arrival on October 18, FIRM set up a command center in the hotel, assisted in opening a school and a kindergarten, and later helped arrange school enrollments in the area. "Their volunteers provided us with diapers, cleaning supplies, and all necessary assistance. Every request was met. We will never forget them and their kindness. They have become our family. We are privileged to have them," concludes Attorney Nasimi.


Joint projects of the FIRM organization have provided thousands of ceramic protective vests, helmets, and tactical equipment, alongside distributing provisions and tens of thousands of kosher meals to displaced families in the Gaza envelope and the northern border. Simultaneously, the organization assists in housing displaced families in hotels across the country and maintains 74 partnerships with local councils, including the Ma'ale Yosef Regional Council.


FIRM – the Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries – is a non-profit organization based in Jerusalem with a mission to assist Israel. The organization operates in the spirit of God's love and aims to connect Christian champions of Israel worldwide to come here, help, and contribute to the people of Israel.


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