In 1977, the state of Israel legalized abortion through — what has been referred to as — one of the most liberal abortion policies in the world. The policy requires that any woman seeking an abortion must submit a request to a board of three members. This board of decision makers, which is still active, has a record of approving 98 percent of the requests they receive.
In 1988, a group of believers in Israel began looking into statics on abortion in the land, and what they found was alarming. This group found that every fourth or fifth pregnancy ended in abortion. These local believers were stirred to action, banding together to form an official pro-life non-profit organization, Be’ad Chaim (Pro-Life), focused on intercession and raising awareness.
“I think the problem here is that nobody talks about it. There is no one fighting here,” says Sandy Shoshanni, director of Be’ad Chaim.
Sandy explains that while there are many conservative leaders in Israel, most of them will not fight back against abortion because they spend their time fighting for other policies that will assure they are reelected, like the right for ultra-Orthodox Jews to not have to serve time in the Israeli Defense Force.
This large gap of concern and activism is where Be’ad Chaim stands in the gap. Where the Israeli military offers expedited, free abortions for soldiers, Be’ad Chaim offers another option. The organization has now grown from being a small group of concerned believers focused on intercession and raising awareness, to a large, nationally recognized beacon of practical assistance and redemptive resources — all built on their foundational cornerstone of spiritual hope.
In 2006, Be’ad Chaim started its largest program, Operation Moses. This program works to support babies in their first year of life, giving mothers vital aid such as diapers, cribs, strollers, and more. Since launching Operation Moses, through donations and sponsorships, Be’ad Chaim has been able to help save the lives of 1,500 babies.
“We are able to tell the moms, we aren’t just going to counsel you. We aren’t just going to speak to you. We’re also going to give you practical help. That persuaded a number of women, you can imagine,” says Sandy.
Success hasn’t always come easy, though. At one point, Be’ad Chaim was committed to helping 40 women but did not have the funds, and the board was calling to halt Operation Moses.
“I was down on my knees saying ‘Lord, will you provide the money? You want to save their lives more than I do. You provide.’ I remember the day someone called with a donation of $10,000. I crumbled,” Sandy remembers.
Through God’s miraculous provision, again and again, Be’ad Chaim has been able to continue growing and expanding their programs to better help in the health and healing of women in their pregnancy and motherhood.
Gardens of Life
In addition to Operation Moses, Be’ad Chaim hosts the Gardens of Life, a place where women who have had abortions and miscarriages can come to plant an olive tree in remembrance of the child that they lost. The organization is also launching an education program, with a certified midwife to educate parents and children about purity and God’s blessing of life in a healthy and real way. From the first to the last step of new life, Be’ad Chaim wants to be there to help protect the sanctity of life.
These efforts may not be popular, yet, in the general society of Israel, but these pro-life workers are seeing the fruit of their work. On International Women’s Health Day in 2016, Be’ad Chaim was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Israeli Knesset. While this recognition at the highest level is one marker of how far the organization has come, there are many personal stories to be celebrated just as heavily.
A story of redemption
With a heartfelt smile across her face, Sandy tells the story of one family that the organization has been able to assist. Back when Be’ad Chaim was not as widely known and struggling to reach women in need, they were seeing a success rate of only a few babies a year. However, those few lives were worth all the work and effort. Years later, one of many unwed IDF soldiers would become pregnant. This IDF soldier told her mother about the pregnancy and her mother pointed her in the direction of Be’ad Chaim’s Operation Moses. In a graceful cycle of redemption, it was revealed that this young IDF soldier was one of the babies that Be’ad Chaim had worked to save years before. She made the same choice to keep her baby and choose life, just like her own mother had. Now, this woman and her baby’s father are married with three children and both holding stable jobs.
Sandy hopes to see Be’ad Chaim raise their current annual workload from approximately 450 women a year, to 1,000 babies being saved every year in the future.
“I want to save so many babies that every woman in the country knows that she can get help,” Sandy says. “God is able to transform life when we choose life.”
This article originally appeared on FIRM and is reposted with permission.