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Helping the most vulnerable under fire: Aviv Ministry in Ashkelon

Messianic ministry provides citizens under fire with basic necessities

Israelis inside a public bomb shelter in Ashkelon, October 9, 2023. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Here at ALL ISRAEL NEWS, we want to shine a light on the initiatives of the Body of Messiah during the war that has been raging in Israel since Oct. 7.

Among the ministries that have been focusing part of their activities on the war effort is the Aviv Ministry, mainly based in Tel Aviv.

The ministry’s founder, Dov Bikas, told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that the ministry has continued its many vital activities during the war, including its day outreach center and a soup kitchen in Tel Aviv for the city’s many drug addicts, prostitutes and homeless, as well as a women’s shelter and a rehab center in the southern city of Beersheva.

But it is the ministry’s operation in Ashkelon, a town just about 6 miles from the Gaza Strip, that has taken on a new significance during Israel's war against Hamas.

Ashkelon is a large city of about 170,000 people and has been under almost constant attack by rockets from Gaza. Almost 1,000 rockets targeted the city, with a number of them hitting residential buildings.

The scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a building and cars in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, October 9, 2023. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Around one-fourth of Ashkelon's citizens have fled the city, and those who could not leave are hiding from the rockets, either in their home shelters or in public bomb shelters.

Some residents cannot go outside at all because of the trauma or physical conditions and even those who have the ability are not always able to find supplies to meet their basic needs, as many shops are closed or empty of food and other essential products.

Especially the elderly and the disabled, single mothers with small children and new immigrants have been suffering immensely from this situation and, while the municipality is trying to help, it is often overwhelmed.

This is where Eduard and his team come in. Eduard is the director of Aviv’s rehab center in the city and also leads a project to help new immigrants in the city, especially those from Ukraine and Russia.

Eduard delivering food packages (Photo courtesy)

Since the war began, Eduard has been busy around the clock helping his fellow “Ashkelonians," hoping to ease their lives in this moment, while under fire.

Eduard and his rehab center team cook and distribute hot meals to bomb shelters and to people hiding in their homes. They also help people who don’t have bomb shelters at home to move to safer locations.

No less important than the provision of food is the chance for Aviv’s team to speak with the people, to encourage and to support them.

Distributing food in a bomb shelter in Ashkelon (Photo courtesy)

Many of Eduard’s contacts are refugees from Ukraine who have been experiencing trauma once again, having fled from one war and now facing another.

A building hit by a rocket in Ashkelon (Photo courtesy)

Bikas told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that the Aviv Ministry aims to continue its other activities as usual, despite a temporary decline in volunteers. However, the ministry founder is optimistic that volunteers will soon return in their usual numbers and, therefore, does not plan to reduce Aviv Ministry's operation any time soon.

It is easy to tell Jewish people how much Jesus loves them in normal times, Bikas stressed. But with all the difficulty of the situation the country is facing, these times are an opportunity to show love practically and to be a real friend in a time of need.

"Our ministry normally serves the poor, the homeless, people in constant need. It is so easy to help these people with just a sandwich, a drink and some money. This situation is an opportunity to show love to those who normally aren't in need," Bikas said.

Preparing hot food for people in bomb shelters (Photo courtesy)

In fact, Eduard and his team are eager to expand their activity. With more funding, Aviv Ministry would be able to purchase more food and distribute it to more needy people, along with hygiene items and other basic necessities.

Prayerfully consider donating funds to Aviv Ministry so they may continue their important operation and continue to be a blessing to Ashkelon and the residents of other cities in Israel that they serve.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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