Cowboys in Israel? Here’s the full story…

The photos of four cowboys traveling through JFK airport to Israel have gone absolutely viral, trending on social media with millions of views spread across the internet. If you’re affiliated with anything related to Israel, you’ve probably seen their photos multiple times everyday on multiple social and traditional media platforms.  

So… Why Are These Cowboys in Israel?

To help, of course! What else are cowboys known for? While rumors are floating around that they’re here to go and help on the southern border and in Gaza, they’re actually here to help in Judea and Samaria, the Biblical Heartland, with Operation Ittai. 

John, Zeke, Yoss, and Luke, from Montana and Arkansas, came to Israel DURING war time for one purpose: to strengthen and support the Jewish people during this awful war. While many people have spent the last few weeks looking for flights to leave Israel, these four cowboys from the United States were finding their flights to travel to Israel. 

When they were first spotted in JFK airport, and then again in Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, their cowboy hats and belt buckles took the mostly Jewish travelers by surprise. Several random photos were taken, posted to social media, and a viral sensation erupted. 

Since arriving, the four young cowboys have been inundated with interview requests, photographers and invitations to Shabbat gatherings, and tours all over Israel. Whilst taking these invitations as an opportunity to encourage and strengthen the people of Israel, they are also focusing on their original mission for coming to Israel: Operation Ittai. 

What is Operation Ittai? 

Operation Ittai’s mission is to equip and defend the 200 communities in Judea and Samaria, airlifting critical and essential supplies and equipment that they have been forced to do without since most of Israel’s military has been called to the war fronts. These supplies are basic and essential needs and none of the products are purchased unnecessarily or in excess. The primary supplies we’re helping these farms and communities obtain are flashlights, helmets, bulletproof vests, drones, and other necessary needs for these under-equipped communities. 

You might be wondering why there is a need for supplies in Judea and Samaria. The war is mainly on the northern and southern borders, right? Not entirely. Hostile Arabs surround every Jewish community in Judea and Samaria and many have direct affiliations with Hamas. Since October 7th, 2023, Israeli security forces have already arrested more than 700 Hamas operatives in the so-called ‘West Bank”. Even more concerning, the Jewish and Arab communities in Judea and Samaria don’t have as defined and respected borders as the fence surrounding the Gaza Strip and between Israel and Lebanon. This means the war truly affects every single person in Israel, not just in an emotional sense, but also in a security sense. 

We named this project Operation Ittai because of the story in 2nd Samuel 15. In this passage, we read about the period of time when David and Israel were attacked by Absalom. Ittai was from Gath, which is close to modern day Gaza, and he chose to stand with King David and all of Israel no matter what the life or death consequences may have been. Ittai was a normal man from the nations, as many of us are, but when Israel faced a time of crisis and need, he chose to not turn a blind eye and flee, but to align himself with Israel and fight for them. Today we have an opportunity to be an Ittai in our generation. 

How Can We Be Like the “Viral” Cowboys from America?

While not every person can come into Israel clad in their boots, buckles, and ten gallon hats, every person can share the workload with the cowboys by participating in Operation Ittai by spreading the word of the reality of the situation here in Judea and Samaria, sharing about this project, and by donating to this cause. By the time you’ve accomplished all that, you may have just earned your own pair of boots and a cowboy hat. Now to just get that accent down….

About the author

Luke Hilton is the Director of Marketing for HaYovel, an organization that brings Christians to Judea and Samaria, the Biblical Heartland of Israel, to serve the land and people in volunteer service. Luke has been speaking about Israel since 2011, and has traveled extensively in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia speaking about Israel. He currently co-hosts The Israel Guys Youtube channel and podcast. Luke is based in Israel with his lovely wife Olivia and their five beautiful children.
13 Responses
  1. Gloria Schroeder

    It is written. God brought the Philistines to be a thorn in the side if Israel
    There is only one reason, in Babylon Israel lost their dated laws with the adoption of their captors calendar. I believe I have found the directions for composition of the lost Ancient Hebrew Calendar, with the original dates. Men calling themselves “FBI” destroyed my website. If it is the US federal government they would only want to prevent Israel from becoming the top nation of the world by lawkeeping. Who is organizing the Palestinian support? Those in fear the world will have to become Jewish. Wake up World, Jesus Christ was Jewish!!

  2. Stephen Atwood

    I heard your family’s interview yesterday with Michelle Bauchman. Excellent. Thanks for all your families are doing in Israel.

  3. Sheila Ahart

    I heard your interview on Dr Dobson’s show on AFR yesterday. I was very impressed with what you are doing and I want to help. I have been looking for a way to support Israel that I was sure was legitimate and that the money would go where it was needed. I have found it. I will be donating to Operation Ittai. Shalom to you all.

  4. Barbara Jenkins

    So good, great to hear the story about the cowboys. Obviously love Jesus and the land of Israel. Have being telling the Lord lately how awesome he is and how awesome his people are. I think he likes it!

  5. Claire King

    God Bless these young cowboys from the USA. I am from Arizona and I know how wonderful cowboy can be. They are polite, brave, hard working, honest, God Fearing men that never turn their backs on those who need them. It is a part of our Western life style.

  6. Clarence and Linda Crow

    I’ve forwarded to many about Israel’s woes, sorrows & my 💔 continuing in prayer day & nite. This sharing of Ittai succinctly done & finally (by me) comprehended! Your site becomes more reality of being able to send support for beloved ppl of God’s. Linda

  7. Vickie

    I pray for Israel 🇮🇱 and I will never stop!! I will stand BESIDE BEHIND AND IN FRONT OF ANY JEWISH PERSON!! I come from a long line of Christians and by that I mean my daddy was a minister,his dad was, and his dad was!! Jews are the apple of Gods eye!! God is watching and his love is boundless! But….his anger OHHH MY…..the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!!! How many times has Hamas attacked Israel? LOTS OF TIMES AND WE NEVER KNEW!! I AM GOING TO start saying on Social Media that 4 cowboys from the USA went to stand help Israel that Biden obviously 🙄 don’t have the mind,heart,soul to do what GOD WANTS US TO DO. I wish I had the money to come and do what I can as a woman could do. I don’t but praying and donating is something. There’s people now in political circles and they need to go back to their homeland and stay there. I’m actually ashamed that some reprobates here are saying and doing what they’re doing!! I’m praying move and remove straight to Jesus and the throne room of God and make the crooked way straight!! God bless the 4 cowboys and God will! Thank you for all your doing and God bless you as well!! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!!!

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