Franklin Graham Travels to Israel to Help with Relief After October Massacre

November 15, 2023 • Israel

Franklin Graham traveled to three villages in southern Israel that were attacked by Hamas and pledged support to help survivors.

Israel Response

Israel is a nation in trauma.

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 neighborhood 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 in Israel to see the devastation after massacres in October.

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 Defense 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 realize 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.”

Franklin Graham met with a widow whose husband was killed by terrorists in October.

Franklin Graham met with a widow whose husband was killed by terrorists in October.

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.

Franklin Graham sees rubble in an Israeli kibbutz attacked by Hamas terrorists.

Franklin Graham sees rubble in an Israeli kibbutz attacked by Hamas terrorists.

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.

Partnering to Save Lives

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 EMTs 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 armored so that personnel will be well protected should atrocities like the ones that occurred on Oct. 7 happen again, Graham said.

One of the recently destroyed ambulances that Samaritan's Purse will be replacing.

One of the recently destroyed ambulances that Samaritan’s Purse will be replacing.

“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 organizations 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.

Franklin Graham was deeply moved by markers of the horrors that occurred in Israel in October.

Franklin Graham was deeply moved by markers of the horrors that occurred in Israel in October.

“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.

What Can We Do?

“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.

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.

Update from Facebook:

Franklin Graham met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Nov. 15. Post is below.

Franklin Graham meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Facebook post.

A man looks aghast at the ruins of a home attacked in Ashkelon, Israel, on Oct. 7.
Israel Response Samaritan’s Purse is helping meet the physical and spiritual needs of people on both sides of the Israel-Hamas war. In partnership with local churches and ministry partners, we are bringing urgently needed relief to communities deeply impacted by the conflict.

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