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Special Netivah 3-day weekend conference provides ‘Place of Rest’ for Messianic believer soldiers in the IDF

Netivah conference for Messianic soldiers (Photo courtesy)

Netivah Youth Ministries frequently arranges nationwide conferences for believing youth of various ages, including IDF soldiers. However, at the end of January, the ministry hosted a special conference for Messianic soldiers.  

The soldier’s gathering lasted three days, instead of the typical two-day weekend, and had an “open house” format, so guests could join at their convenience, whether one, two or all three days, or only for an evening.

The conference theme, ‘A Place of Rest,’ is based on the verse in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The gathering was intended to provide soldiers an opportunity to be with other believers in Yeshua for fellowship, worship, encouragement and especially great food, provided by professional catering services and restaurants.

Military reservists in their 30s and 40s who had been called up to serve during Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza were invited to bring their spouses and children.

“Originally, we didn’t even know if we would have 50 people coming,” Netivah Ministry head Yoel Goldberg told ALL ISRAEL NEWS, “But we felt that whoever we can bless, we should.”

A time of worship at the Netivah conference for Messianic soldiers (Photo courtesy)

It turned out that the Israel Defense Forces released many reservists from military duty that specific weekend of the conference, so its attendance was larger than expected, with as many as 350 on one of the three days.

Conference attendees were able to receive free equipment for use during their military service, such as bags, flashlights, military shoes, protein bars and more.

One of the participants told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that he felt pampered during the conference.

Goldberg said that the ministry invested in making sure there was quality food, including steaks, to bless the soldiers. He recalled that it rained during the entire weekend, except for when they brought out the steaks and fired up the barbecue.

The Netivah conference was not only intended to bless the Messianic soldiers with delicious food, but also to encourage them – giving them time to rest and providing them with ‘spiritual’ food.

“Many of the soldiers are in a difficult time, spiritually,” Goldberg explained.

“We hear from many soldiers who tell us they feel disconnected and far away. They are lacking fellowship, but they’re also lacking motivation to pray and read the scriptures.”

Soldiers received messages of encouragement from speakers, including Lynn Halamish, a counseling expert who deals with bereavement, mourning and loss.

Among the other speakers were Shmuel Aweida, pastor of the Beit Eliyahu congregation in Haifa and Dr. Liron Shani, a psychiatrist and pastor who spoke about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the military.

Goldberg also shared a message of hope and God’s love from Jeremiah 31:17:  'Your children will return to their own land.’

He spoke about the challenges of returning home after having served in the army or in the reserves for a long time.

“It’s not over just because you went in through the door,” Goldberg said. “It’s a process where God returns our hearts. So I spoke about how God returns us. He is the one who leads us through the process to return us to Him. I connected it to the lost son who comes home, and the father awaits him with open arms to give him good food and a warm home and just love him.”

During the conference, attendees enjoyed worship music, campfires, discussion groups and workshops and even a Kiddush service for Shabbat. Two Messianic physiotherapists volunteered their time to provide free therapy sessions for soldiers.

Some of the soldiers didn’t want to go home when the conference ended, Goldberg told ALL ISRAEL NEWS.

Netivah’s next two events will be a boys' youth conference and then one for the girls.

“We’re going back to some sort of routine now, but a routine under war, which is not easy,” Goldberg said.

Please keep Netivah Youth Ministries in your prayers.

Tuvia is a Jewish history nerd who lives in Jerusalem and believes in Jesus. He writes articles and stories about Jewish and Christian history. His website is

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