From the Heartland to Holy Land: American Farmers Strengthen Israel’s Frontlines

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James Lasher

In the heartland of America, a group of compassionate cowboys from Montana and Arkansas has heeded a call to support Israelis facing the challenges of war. These dedicated individuals, inspired by their Christian beliefs, have left behind their farms and families to lend a helping hand during a crucial time.

The mission, aptly named “Operation Ittai,” draws inspiration from the non-Jewish commander in King David’s army mentioned in 2 Samuel 15:19-23. Joshua Waller explained, “Israel is in a really tough spot right now; we need non-Jews to come and be a part of strengthening the Jewish community.”

Ezekiel Strain, a Montana farmer, expressed the urgency of their mission: “When I heard the war broke out, this was the important thing to do.” Their journey led the group to Judea and Samaria, where they have been working diligently on security roads and volunteering on farms affected by the conflict.

This extraordinary effort is facilitated by HaYovel, an organization founded nearly 20 years ago by Joshua Waller’s father. HaYovel brings Christian Zionists to volunteer in agriculture, emphasizing support for Israel during times of need. The group’s presence is especially vital now, as Israel faces a significant crisis after recent events.

In their selfless labors, the farmers have become known as “The Cowboys” in Israel, capturing the hearts of many grateful locals. John Plocher, one of the volunteers, reflected on the nickname: “It’s funny because they have this certain image of what a cowboy is, you know, drinking, cussing and whatever. All those aren’t necessarily true.”

Despite being thousands of miles away from home, these cowboys understand the importance of maintaining agricultural and construction projects during wartime. Ezekiel Strain affirmed, “If this is when they need us, then this is when we are going to come.”

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The group’s commitment goes beyond physical labor; they are actively engaging with the Israeli community, attending barbecues, visiting the wounded and supporting families affected by terrorism. Their actions reflect a deep connection to the biblical principles of compassion and solidarity with Israel.

In addition to their on-the-ground efforts, HaYovel is raising funds to provide equipment to Jewish villages and towns in Judea and Samaria facing heightened risks. The organization aims to supply essential items such as bulletproof jackets, helmets, night vision gear and even basic necessities like flashlights.

Despite the challenges, the group remains undeterred, having already raised $2 million of their $29 million goal. The funds will address urgent requests from Jewish villages, ensuring the safety and well-being of the communities they are assisting.

As John Plocher emphasized, “Nowadays, people support a lot with their lips and say they support, but not a whole lot of people actually stand up for what they think. So, when I was given the opportunity to come, I wanted to come.”

In times of crisis, the actions of these American cowboys serve as a testament to the enduring bond between Christians and Israel, guided by a shared commitment to compassion, support and the principles found within the pages of the Bible.

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James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.

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