Recently, I made a visit to our counselor Yael, who serves women in Ashkelon and Ashdod, where we are helping over 70 new mothers and pregnant women. Yael also supervises our apartment for pregnant women. According to the Home Front Command, since the beginning of the war on October 7th, 548 missile warning sirens in Ashkelon and 265 sirens in Ashdod have sounded. On October 10, 2023, Hamas used SMS to warn all citizens of Ashkelon to evacuate before 5:00 P.M. Once the deadline hit, Hamas launched hundreds of missiles towards Ashkelon.
This map, created in 2007, indicates the distance of various cities to Gaza and the warning time to reach a safe shelter before the rocket falls.
As you can see on the map, a person living in Ashkelon has 15 seconds to get to a safe room after hearing the siren. Because many of our clients do not have safe rooms and must rush outside to a communal bomb shelter, many slept in the bomb shelters or moved to other locations. One can only begin to imagine the terror of a new mother and her children hearing sirens throughout the day. We continue to provide comfort for those who suffer, whether they are mothers in crisis pregnancies or new mothers who have endured the loss of loved ones or homes. Thank you for upholding our hands as we uphold the brokenhearted.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkelon#/media/File:Rocketpopmap.jpeg, 2007 statistics.
*Since 2007, the population of Ashkelon has grown to 148,000 and Ashdod to 226,000
Often, only prayer will turn the heart of an abortion-minded woman to choose life. Counselor Laurel had received a call from the mother of four children who were already in elementary and high school. When Mimi discovered that she was pregnant with a fifth child, she panicked. She absolutely did not want to begin the “baby thing” again. She had called us looking for a private abortion clinic. Laurel visited, called several times a week, and prayed fervently for the life of the baby. After the birth of Ori (“my light”) on the 21st of October, Laurel shared that the “weapon of her warfare for this life had been prayer.” “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
It wasn’t easy to have a tiny new baby and be faced with the onset of this terrible war that Israel has now been forced into. This family has a safe room, which is used as a bedroom, inside their apartment so when the sirens sound, they can enter together until the danger is over. Schools were closed at first, and even now they haven’t completely gone back to normal. The two high school children are studying from home on Zoom. The younger children are attending school, where there’s a shelter sufficient for the younger students. In Mimi’s case, our most meaningful gift for her newborn was the baby bed, because Mimi had felt so disconnected from baby items. The bed and beautiful sheets helped her get excited about “new” motherhood again.
It is very special to meet a young mother who protects the lives of her babies against pressure and intimidation. In the hospital in Ashkelon, Batel, 29 years old, sat with her seven-week-old baby girl, one of triplets. Batel and her partner are now the parents of seven children: a six-year-old; a two-year-old; twin girls a year and a half old; and triplets born at only 31 weeks in November—two boys and baby girl Mia. The triplets weighed 1.6 kg (3.5 lbs) / 1.4 kg (3.0 lbs) / 1.1 kg. (2.4 lbs). Doctors had told Batel to “thin out” the pregnancy with the triplets. Her response to the doctors was, “don’t use pretty words—say it as it is—you want me to murder one of my babies.” The doctors saw that one of the triplets suffering from fetal distress would have to be delivered early. They urged Batel to take the life of the weak baby so that the other two could have more time to develop in the womb. She was adamant to protect all three children and demanded that all three babies be delivered when the health of the smallest would require the premature birth. Yael and I blessed the babies with life and health. I remarked that Batel may have quadruplets next. She responded, “I had my tubes tied, so that I would never be in a situation where I would even consider abortion.” Batel is a true heroine and defender of life. Her partner is currently in prison for money laundering. Her mother in-law helps her with all of the children, especially those at home, while Batel is in the hospital with the triplets. Thank you for your prayers for the healthy development of the newborns.
A year has gone by since Elian came into the world. Elian would have celebrated with a party, but war broke out the day before her first birthday, so everyone was required to remain in bomb shelters. Mother Adi said that life has not been easy, particularly because she does not have a “safe room” inside their apartment. The sirens in Ashdod, where they live, went off frequently, and life has been very frightening. Yet, little Elian is running all over the house, always laughing and bringing joy to everyone who meets her.
When Adi first came to us, she was desperate for help and care. Her boyfriend had left her when he found out that she was pregnant, and she wasn’t in touch with her family. She felt completely alone. Twice, she was on her way to the hospital to get an abortion, but something inside wouldn’t let her do it. She went home, searched on Google, and found Bead Chaim. After talking to our counselor Yael, she made the decision to keep her baby. Since Elian’s birth, Adi has found hope and strength just by looking into her daughter’s beautiful eyes and smiling face. She said: “Despite the hardships I went through, and difficulties I am still facing, I would never change the decision to have my baby. Your help and support were so great, and made such a huge difference in my life. I want to thank you very much.”
Aisha and her husband are Bedouins living in the Negev. They have five children. During the pregnancy with her newest baby, Miriam, doctors told Aisha that they suspected that the baby would have Down Syndrome. As is true in much of the world, it is unusual for a couple in Israel to choose life for a child who may have Down Syndrome. Yet, remarkably, Aisha and her husband chose life for baby Miriam who was born one year ago. Over the past year Aisha has had to deal with many problems. Baby Miriam requires special food, which is expensive. The monthly gift cards that they received through our Operation Moses Project have been a vital help. Aisha says that baby Miriam needs a lot of special care which takes a good deal of her time. She finds very little time to rest. Her older children try to help her, mainly with the housework. When war broke out on October 7th, there were frequent sirens and missiles falling in their area. In Bedouin villages there are no bomb shelters or safe rooms, and so they had to run to the school, which was the only safe place. It was terribly crowded, so they decided to go back home. Because of the war, her husband now has no work at all, and Aisha is very worried about their future. Aisha is deeply grateful for the help that she has received during this time. Her other children enjoy their little sister. Despite all of her difficulties, Aisha is thankful that she chose life for this precious addition to their family. They all love their little baby deeply and can’t imagine life without her.
When Sarah, 35 years old, came to us, she had reached a breaking point. She was divorced with three children and in a new relationship with a man. They were not planning on having a baby at that point, and abortion seemed like her best option. After speaking with our counselor, Yael, and being promised that her baby’s practical needs would be met through our Operation Moses Project, Sarah chose life and gave birth in October 2022. She chose the name Michael. She believes that a name is very important, and the meaning of Michael is “who is like our God.” It hasn’t been easy being a single mom to four children, especially during the war. Sirens blasting and constantly running to the bomb shelter have been frightening for the family. They are relieved that there are now fewer missile attacks and that they are able to return to a somewhat normal routine with schools finally reopening, albeit on a rotational part-time basis to ensure room in the bomb shelters for all the students. Despite the pressures, Sarah has decided to stay positive and be the best mom that she can be for her children.
Be’ad Chaim continues to help on the HOME FRONT as we support families who have been evacuated from their homes because of terrorism or missile attacks. In the month of December, we again gave gift cards to purchase baby necessities for approximately 1200 families. Half of these families have been living in hotels for several months.
Hagit is 23 years old. She is married and her first baby was only a few months old when she found herself pregnant again. She and her husband didn’t know what to do. After speaking with our counselor in her area of the South and being promised practical support through our Operation Moses Project, she chose life. When the war broke out on October 7th, Hagit, her husband, and their little son were in Sderot, a city that was raided by terrorists and suffered many casualties. They awoke to the sound of sirens, explosions, and the noise of rifle fire. They got messages that their entire neighborhood was full of terrorists. Hagit was in advanced pregnancy, and all this stress gave her acute stomach pains. They shut themselves in their room and simply prayed that they would survive; they were terribly afraid.
For the following three days, stuck in the war zone, they were not allowed to leave their home. Then they were ordered to pack some things in bags and were evacuated to a hotel for an unknown period of time. Hagit was very worried about how she would manage being away from her home when she was due to give birth at any time. She went to the hospital several times as she had contractions. When she was in week 38, the contractions were so strong that the medical staff decided to induce her. Hagit’s husband took care of the toddler in the hotel, but his mother was with Hagit in the hospital. On the 24th of October, Hagit gave birth to a precious baby girl. As soon as she saw her, the name Hila came into her mind. The name means “halo,” like the ring of light around the moon. She is their light at this dark time. A day later, Hagit went back to the hotel. She says that it isn't easy not being in your own home and having your familiar shops and neighbors around you. They have not recovered from all the terrible events which occurred. Every time someone knocks on the door, her little boy runs and hides behind her. He doesn’t sleep well and cries a lot. At first the new baby cried a lot too, but she is now much more settled. The other thing which really worries them is that they have no work now. Hagit had a business baking cakes, which she ran out of her home. She can’t do this now, and her husband can’t work either. This is very hard for them mentally. Hagit says that the vouchers we give her are such a great help and strengthen her family. She is able to buy diapers, formula, baby wipes and pacifiers. She is so very, very grateful for your support at this difficult time, and wishes us to pass on her heartfelt thanks. She has no words to express her thankfulness for your help.