The explosion in Beirut on August 4 killed almost 200 people, injured 5,000 and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless. The explosion destroyed grain silos with 15,000 tons of grain, leaving Lebanon with very little food reserves.
Israel offered aid to Lebanon through UN channels. The Lebanese government refused Israel’s offer. Yet, what the government couldn’t do, Messianic congregations can – through unofficial channels.
Just a few days after the explosion, one congregation sent this message to all its members: “We are getting ready to transfer a donation to Beirut through a checked and reliable third party. Bring your donation to the office by August 18. It’s a private initiative and should be only in cash.”
A pastor of one congregation in Israel talked with KNI. He shared: “I know for sure of at least three congregations, including ours, who gathered help for Beirut, but I have understood there are also many more. We transfer it through a middleman who we know is reliable, making sure that every penny reaches the actual people in need. If people want to donate but missed our deadline, we give them a list of reliable third parties they can donate to.”
The third party who receives the funds from the Israeli congregation sends the donations to a congregation in Lebanon which will distribute the funds among families in need. “We didn’t send it with conditions, but understanding that these funds are meant to help families get on their feet,” the pastor told KNI. “It’s a first response to help them survive.”
“Because of political issues we are separated by a border, but we are brethren in the Messiah,” he continued. “I don’t see this as ‘loving your enemies’ – the Lebanese are not our enemies. My wife once went to an international conference and the group of women who really hugged my wife and the Israeli women were the Iraqi and the Lebanese women. This is not at all about helping enemies – we are helping our family.”
The 2020 Beirut explosion is one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history and could be felt in Turkey, Syria, Israel and Cyprus. It was measured as a seismic event of magnitude 3.3.
If you’re interested in joining this humanitarian effort click here to read more about the emergency fund set up by The Joshua Fund.