Last month, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) led a solidarity mission of 70 pastors and ministry leaders from 18 nations on a tour of Israeli communities devastated during Hamas’ invasion and attack on Oct. 7.
The tour took place at the end of January and included Israeli border communities closest to Gaza. The delegation participants were stunned by the “radical evil” demonstrated by Hamas terrorists during the hours-long invasion on what is now dubbed the "Black Shabbat."
The solidarity tour began with a visit to the offices of the Sdot Negev Regional Council to witness the donation of 113 secure radio transmitters by ICEJ.
ICEJ has donated hundreds of communication devices to regional councils along the Gaza border over recent years. The secure transmitters proved invaluable in helping security teams swiftly organize and defend several communities during the Hamas massacres, resulting in thousands of lives being saved on Oct. 7.
The delegation of pastors and ministry leaders also visited a large parking lot near T’kuma that was filled with over 1,300 damaged and burned-out cars. Many of the cars had been deliberately set on fire by Hamas terrorists, with already deceased or wounded Israelis still inside.
Several hundred cars were abandoned at the Nova Music Festival at Kibbutz Re'im, where over 340 Israelis were slaughtered. The visitors listened to the testimony of Sdot Negev Security Chief Rafi Babian, who helped lead some 30 vehicles of civilians to safety during the attacks.
At Kibbutz Nir Oz, where more than 25% of the 425 residents were either murdered or kidnapped by Hamas operatives, the visitors saw what remains of the largely abandoned community following the brutal attack of some 150 well-armed terrorists.
Nir Oz is home to the Bibas family, whose images have captured the world’s attention. In the front courtyard of their house, a baby bouncer and car seat belonging to one-year-old red-headed Kfir Bibas, and the bicycle and toys belonging to his red-headed sibling, four-year-old brother Ariel.
At the final leg of the ICEJ solidarity tour, the Christian leaders held a cookout with local emergency teams at Kibbutz Mefalsim and received a briefing from the community security officers describing how they successfully fought off dozens of terrorists on Oct. 7.
“We saw the face of radical evil,” said one of the delegation participants, Anglican theologian and scholar Dr. Gerald McDermott as the tour concluded.
Vivienne Myburgh, from Cape Town, shared: “It’s been very difficult being a South African with the present situation in our country.”
“There’s a lot of denial that things like this happened, and that’s part of the reason why I came,” Myburgh continued. “It’s really powerful to be able to say: ‘I was there. I saw the homes. I spoke to the people that were involved.’”
The ICEJ’s Solidarity Mission concluded with a visit to Israel's Knesset to meet several Israeli parliamentary members, a meeting with several hostage families, and a tour of Israel's northern border to learn more about the threat from the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.
ICEJ’s Shmuel Bowman of Operation Lifeshield led the tour of delegates that presented 18 nations.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.