A new prayer written specifically for the besieged residents of southern Israel was approved this week by the Rishon LeTzion, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.

The prayer, which several youth movements have already adopted, has been distributed among both religious and secular Israelis. The seven-line supplication asks G-d to protect residents of the south and IDF soldiers fighting terrorism. It also asks Him to grant wisdom and strength to Israel's leaders.

It can be recited at any time, but is being recommended specifically for times in public prayer when brief personal prayers are offered, and whenever a rocket launch is reported.

The text of the prayer, in Hebrew, is as follows:

יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלוקינו ואלוקי אבותינו שתרחם עלינו ועם כל תושבי הדרום.

הגן עלינו ברוב חסדך ופרוס עלינו סוכת שלומך.

חזק את ידי הלוחמים המגינים עלינו ומוסרים את נפשם למעננו.

שמור עליהם והגן עליהם מכל רע.

הפר עצת אויבינו ושונאינו "חרבם תבוא בליבם וקשתותם תשברנה".

ריבונו של עולם, תן בלב מנהיגנו חוכמה ועוז ותעצומות נפש להכרית את כל אויבינו, ותקויים בהם תפילת דוד המלך עליו השלום: "ארדוף אויבי ואשיגם ולא אשוב עד כלותם".

אמן. כן יהי רצון.

English Translation

"May it be Your Will, L-rd our G-d and G-d of our forefathers, that You will have mercy on us and on all the residents of the south.

Protect us in the bounty of your kindness and spread out over us the shelter of Your peace.

Strengthen the arms of the fighting soldiers who protect us and give their souls for us.

Protect them and guard them from all misfortune.

Foil the plans of our haters and enemies; "Their swords shall plunge into their hearts and their bows shall break."

Sovereign of the Universe, give our leaders wisdom and courage and strength of heart to annihilate all of our enemies, and let the prayer of King David, may he rest in peace, come true regarding them: "I shall chase after my enemies and I shall catch up to them and I will not return until they are destroyed." Amen.

---Special guidelines have been issued by the IDF for public Sabbath prayer services in rocket-threatened areas.