It is said that every person in Israel knows a family who has lost a son or husband in one of the far too-many wars Israel has fought since 1948. We may be getting to a time that the same may be said of a death from drug overdose.
An Israeli politician once wrote, “When Israel has prostitutes and thieves, we’ll be a state just like any other.”
Like other countries, Israel struggles with many things, including addiction. Like America with the opioid crisis, Israel shares a similar burden.
But as Christians we know Israel is not a state like any other, nor should it be. God has appointed that small country to be a Light unto the Nations, and it is in Israel He will come to restore the world.
After all the Bible says,
“For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?” Deuteronomy 4:7 NKJV
Addiction and homelessness are still serious problems for the Land. As Christians I believe we are called not just to pray against these maladies, but pray that God will uplift His people and let them find peace in the Land promised them.
Pray Against the Stigma of Seeking Help
Stigma is a powerful thing.
It forces those in need into hiding. The fact is addiction is not just a personal failing, it is a sickness. And like any other sickness one needs to find help to overcome it.
Unfortunately in Israel there is a powerful stigma against addiction.
“A very moralistic culture about addiction has taken root in Israel. The perception of addiction as a personality flaw, a weakness, is deeply entrenched….. In Israel, the subject is totally silenced – there is a very powerful stigma.” (Haaretz)
Pray that Israelis come to see their fellow citizens with addiction not as degenerates to shun, but as their brothers and sisters in a time of need.
Pray for Soldiers in the IDF
The Israeli armed forces believe in the “Purity of Arms”. A high standard of morality on and off the battlefield that has led them to righteous victories over their enemies.
Those values are put to the test each day under high stress conditions combatting terrorism and being watchful for threats from abroad.
These soldiers are just young men and women, not fundamentally different than kids in America and they have a breaking point.
While in the Army some use “Nice Guy”, a synthetic cannabinoid (the addictive substance in marijuanna) which does not show up on required urine tests.
Following their military service some backpack around the world, but in that isolation from their families and recovering from the traumas of military service, some seek more powerful substances. And continue to use them in Israel when they return.
Pray for At Risk Youth
“Too many of us know of a family who is fighting a hard battle with a son or daughter in drug rehab, or worse, has lost a son, daughter, nephew to a drug overdose.”
Sadly in Israel, a nation famous for its Sabras (natural born Israelis) substance abuse is an escape from an increasingly bleak life
Israel’s youth are at risk of addiction, one in three grow up under the poverty line and stigmas around mental health mean their issues are less likely to be treated.
COVID and its lockdown have hit them harder. Rates of depression and anxiety have increased fourfold. This has led to eating disorders and self harm doubling among them.
Some are fortunate enough to find help, others however seek an escape in addiction. Use of drugs and alcohol have tripled among them.
How Leket Israel Helps
Leket Israel: The National Food Bank works with non profit organizations and schools across Israel providing support for those struggling with addiction.
Among them are men like David Agaev who works with the homeless and addicted in Tel Aviv.