Word from Jerusalem - August 2021 - USA Edition

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Word

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM // AUGUST 2021 // USA Edition

from JERUSALEM

Why Support Israel? 10 Reasons TO stand with the RESTORED Jewish NATION


from the

PRESIDENT'S DESK Dear Friends, As we once again make final preparations for the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles, I am reminded of the rich heritage behind our annual celebration of this Feast of the Lord.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in 1980 in recognition of the biblical significance of all of Jerusalem and its unique connection to the Jewish people. Today the ICEJ represents millions of Christians, churches, and denominations to the nation and people of Israel. We recognize in the restoration of Israel the faithfulness of God to keep His ancient covenant with the Jewish people. Our main objectives are: • To stand with Israel in support and friendship; • To equip and teach the worldwide church regarding God’s purposes with Israel and the nations of the Middle East; • To be an active voice of reconciliation between Jews, Christians, and Arabs, and to support the churches and congregations in the Holy Land. From its head offices in Jerusalem, the ICEJ reaches out into more than 170 countries worldwide, with branch offices in over 90 nations.

In the late 1970s, a gifted Canadian couple living in Jerusalem, Merv and Merla Watson, received from the Lord a vision to invite Christians from around the world to join them in celebrating Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. They were inspired by the promise in Zechariah 14:16 that one day, the gentiles would come up to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot alongside the Jewish people. In 1979, a few hundred Christians responded to the invitation. But the next year, more than 1,000 believers from some 32 nations arrived for this unique Christian gathering in Jerusalem. It was during that Feast of Tabernacles celebration in 1980 that the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was born. The following year, the Feast moved to the Jerusalem Convention Center, and some 3,000 pilgrims showed up from all around the world. Since then, each and every year has witnessed a miracle, as thousands of Christians ascend to Jerusalem from across the globe to mark this biblical holiday. The Feast of Tabernacles is more than just “another Christian conference.” I will never forget my first visit to Israel in 1991. Our tour guide told us, “You have to visit the Feast!” He took us to the evening celebration, and I will always remember what I experienced. Thousands of Christians from around the world were worshiping God together with many Jews in the city of Jerusalem. I felt like we were in heaven. Tears were running down my face as I witnessed something I knew was enormously important to God.

Our vision is: • To reach every segment of Israel’s society with a Christian testimony of comfort and love, and • To reach and actively represent to Israel the support of denominations, churches, and believers from every nation on earth.

As you read in this issue the reasons Christians should stand with Israel (page 4) and catch up on the latest news from our Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors (page 12), I pray you also take time to consider how you and your family will observe the Feast of Tabernacles this month.

The Christian Embassy is a non-denominational faith-based ministry supported by the voluntary contributions of our partners and friends across the globe. We invite you to join with us as we minister to Israel and the Jewish people worldwide by donating to the ongoing work and witness of the ICEJ.

Whether it is in person with a tour group, virtually online (page 8), or in a Watch Party (page 19) with your church or small group, I encourage you to join us for this significant, prophetic event.

Word

Thank you again for joining us to bless this people beloved of God. Yours in Christ,

from JERUSALEM

CREDITS ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler US Director Susan Michael VP International Affairs Dr. Mojmir Kallus VP Finance David van der Walt VP Operations Barry R. Denison VP International Spokesman David Parsons VP AID & Aliyah Nicole Yoder Managing Editor/Publications Director Laurina Driesse USA Managing Editor Julaine Stark Copy Editor Karen Engle Staff Writers Anastasiya Gooding Graphic Design/Illustrator Ryan Tsuen, Peter Ecenroad, Nancy Schimp Photography Shutterstock, ICEJ Staff and Branches, Associated Press, Wikimedia Commons, iStock, Ynet The New King James Bible is used for all Bible references unless otherwise noted.

Word From Jerusalem is published by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Word From Jerusalem has no subscription price and is supported through contributions worldwide. The ICEJ USA Branch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with offices in Tennessee, Florida, and Washington, DC. All gifts to this ministry are tax-deductible according to United States law. INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM - USA

Support our ministry online at: www.icejusa.org

Dr. Jürgen Bühler President International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

WORD

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM // AUGUST 2021 // USA EDITION

FROM JERUSALEM

COVER PHOTO: Top: The new Azrieli Center “spiral tower” now under construction will stand 1,100 feet over modernday Tel Aviv. See the artist’s rendering at viewpoint.co.il. Bottom: Camels carry construction materials to build the new city of Tel Aviv circa 1920. Photo by Abraham Soskin, Wikimedia Commons.

For Magazine Archives visit: www.icejusa.org/wfj

WHY SUPPORT ISRAEL? 10 REASONS TO STAND WITH THE RESTORED JEWISH NATION


Contents

4

Why Israel?

7

Israel’s new government seeks broad consensus

A U G U S T 2 0 2 1 U S A E d ition

10 reasons why every believer and church should stand with the restored Jewish nation

13

CALL CENTER LAUNCHED TO HELP HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS

10

Bringing Jews Home From All Directions!

14

THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS


ICEJ TEACHING

Jerusalem Chords bridge, a famous, unique landmark, with aerial view of the city.

Why Israel?

10 reasons why every believer and church should stand with the restored Jewish nation BY dr jürgen Bühler

I C EJ P r e s i d e n T

T

here is no doubt that Israel enjoys growing support from the Evangelical movement today. At times, this support is little understood, especially because for centuries, the church struggled to understand the “Jewish question” and even displayed and instigated militant antiSemitism against God’s chosen people. They taught that God was finished with the Jews. This has changed dramatically, yet the question remains: Why do we support Israel today? I invite you to take your Bible and consider with me 10 reasons why all believers in Jesus should support, bless, and stand with God’s chosen people, the Jews.

REASON #1: God loves Israel! The prophet Jeremiah states very clearly: “‘The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness . . .’ The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!’” (Jeremiah 31:2–4a). After a season of judgment (“the sword”), God is motivated by His “everlasting love” to restore Israel. Note that it is an everlasting love . . . unceasing, never-ending! It was this love that birthed God’s plan with Israel (Deuteronomy 7:7), and this love will also bring it to a glorious end (Romans 11:25–28). Someone once asked me: “How can God love a sinful nation like Israel?” The answer is simple: with the same unconditional love the Lord has toward the church. Indeed, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). So here is a simple rule for all believers: we should love what Jesus loves. How is your love for Israel? Just ask God to give you His love for the Jewish people!

REASON #2: God is a covenant-keeping God! God affirmed His promise to give Israel the land of Canaan with a sworn covenant. In Genesis, we read how God appeared to Abraham to promise him a land and descendants as innumerable as the stars of heaven. Abraham replied: “How can I be sure you really will do this?” God answered by coming down as a burning torch that passed through sacrificial animals to seal the land promise with Abraham by covenant oath (Genesis 15:17–18). One of God’s main character traits is that He is a covenant-keeping God. Some Christians insist God has changed His mind about Israel, given up on them, and has established a new covenant with the church—the “new Israel.” But that would be devastating news for every believer today. With every sin, lukewarm attitude, or lack of commitment, do we need to fear that God will change His mind about us too? No, for even “if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13 ESV). Thus, the great hope for both Israel and the church is that God always keeps His covenant promises—forever!

REASON #3: God hallows His name! The prophet Ezekiel powerfully described in chapter 36 how God will restore the Land and people of Israel in the last days. When he sees them returning from the nations and being filled with God’s Spirit, he gives a clear reason why God is doing this: “...I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went” (Ezekiel 36:21). Then he declares to Israel: “[Not] for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake [I will restore you]...And I will sanctify My great name...the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:22-24).

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ICEJ TEACHING ICEJ TEACHING

Tel Aviv

It is rather astonishing that the world media is still so preoccupied with Israel, even 73 years after its establishment. As the Swiss theologian Karl Barth stated in 1967: “Now you can read it in the newspapers; God is fulfilling His promises.” Or as Ezekiel said, God is sanctifying His name before the whole world. By looking to Israel, the world can see that God is still alive and He is a promise-keeping God! Therefore, whenever you pray the Lord’s Prayer, “hallowed be Thy name,” also pray for Israel and God’s faithfulness to the Jewish people.

REASON #4: Israel is a key for revival and future blessing for the Church! According to the apostle Paul, Israel’s full restoration will release an unprecedented blessing to the church. In Romans 11, Paul makes two most amazing statements: Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! (v. 12) For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! (v. 15) Paul presents it as almost a mathematical formula. First, looking at Israel’s fall (or failure) and casting away, he still sees blessing released of “riches for the gentiles” and “reconciliation of the world.” Then he looks to Israel’s future fullness and acceptance and foresees an even greater release for the world of “life from the dead.” In Acts 3:19–21, Peter also sees that a spiritually restored Israel will release “times of refreshing” from the presence of the Lord (v. 19) and the “times of the restoration of all things” (v. 21), which eventually brings the return of Christ. That means Israel’s restoration is key for everyone who thirsts for the outpouring that God still has in store for the church. Or to put it another way, if you thirst for revival, pray for Israel!

REASON #5: We owe it to the Jews! In his letter to the Romans, Paul recounts the Macedonian churches’ lavish love offering for the “poor saints” in Jerusalem. It was such a substantial gift that Paul personally delivered it to Jerusalem. But why did they give so much? Paul explains: “For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things” (Romans 15:26–27). The believers of Macedonia understood an important principle. Salvation came from the Jews (John 4:22), and they were obligated to return a gift of thanks. Jesus was Jewish, the authors of the Bible were all Israelites, and everything that defines our faith today—even the sacrifice of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit—took place in Israel through Jews. Thus, Jesus himself declared: “Salvation is of the Jews!” (John 4:22). Have you ever shown your gratefulness to God’s people for administering to us the means of His eternal grace? If not, I encourage you to follow the Macedonian example and express your appreciation to Israel.

REASON #6: Our roots are in Israel! Romans 11 contains a botanical miracle. Paul identifies a natural—or noble—cultivated olive tree and a wild olive tree (wild olive trees are scrubs that bear inedible fruit). He then describes God doing something no farmer would ever do—he cuts off limbs from the noble tree and grafts wild olive branches in their place. Normally, this process is done exactly the other way around: noble branches are grafted onto wild trees. But Paul relates this strange botany experiment to Israel and the gentile nations. The wild gentile nations are grafted into the noble Jewish olive tree by faith in Jesus and are nourished by the rich sap rising from their prophets, patriarchs, and kings.

5 |WORD FROM JERUSALEM


ICEJ TEACHING

Paul, therefore, tells the gentile church in Rome to “remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you” (Romans 11:18). Our spiritual roots are not in Rome, Geneva, or Azusa Street. They lay in Jerusalem—with Hebrew prophets, Jewish apostles, a Jewish Savior, and a Bible written by Jews (see also Ephesians 2:11–13). So let us honor our spiritual roots, knowing Paul also declares that one day the original natural, noble branches will be grafted back into their own tree.

REASON #7: Now is the right time to do it! Psalm 102 is one of the most powerful prophetic passages in the Bible. Whenever I read the first 11 verses of this “Psalm of the afflicted,” I see in my mind’s eye the crematories of Auschwitz and the emaciated bodies of Buchenwald. It is a cry of hopelessness where the Psalmist sees his people withering like grass. But suddenly, the tone of this Psalm dramatically changes and becomes one of restoration, culminating in the Lord “building up Zion” and “appearing in glory” (Psalm 102:16). The key verse is verse 13, where God suddenly takes action: “You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, yes, the set time, has come” (Psalm 102:13). The Hebrew word for “set time” is mo’ed, which also is used for Israel’s annual holidays. They are the set or appointed times of the Lord. We should see them as eternal entries in God’s appointment diary. And here, the psalmist sees that God has fixed a day for the restoration of Israel to arrive. You do not need to be a prophecy expert to see this set day has arrived. Already for 100 years, the Lord has been busy restoring Zion. God has arisen to actively show mercy to Zion. Therefore, it is also time for us to arise and join what God is doing!

REASON #8: God has changed His way of dealing with Israel! Now, this statement might sound almost heretical. In the end, we all believe God never changes—right? He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yet centuries before the birth of Christ, the Lord announced that one day, He would change the way He deals with Israel: “‘But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the Lord of hosts. . . . ‘Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and I would not relent, so again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah” (Zechariah 8:11–15). These verses describe a total reversal of how God relates to Israel. It is a radical shift in gears—from reverse to fast forward. In previous centuries it might have been difficult to see His ongoing faithfulness to Israel. Many theologians saw this dispersed and downtrodden people as an eternal state of judgment on the Jews. But God never gave up on them. And today, we are without excuse when even our newspapers report that Zion is being restored! And if God has changed His approach to Israel, then He will also help you to arise and bless His people.

REASON #9: The Jews are the family of Jesus! This may be the simplest yet most powerful reason: Jesus is a Jew! Paul puts it like this: “. . . of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God” (Romans 9:5). Years ago, when I spoke about this in a church in Bavaria, a brother came to me after the service saying: “Yes, it is true, Jesus was born to a Jewish mother. But you forgot one thing. When Jesus rose from the dead, he received a glorified body. He stopped being Jewish, and now he is the universal brother of all mankind.” I was truly impressed. Jesus, the universal brother of mankind, sounded amazing. But in Revelation, I read that Jesus—in his glorified body—is still the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). The very last words of Jesus in the Bible, often standing out in red letters, are: “I, Jesus . . . am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16). So even on the very last page of the New Testament, Jesus reminds us that his great, great, great . . . grandfather is a Jewish king from Jerusalem. When we serve the Jewish people, we serve the earthy family of Jesus. And I truly believe He takes notice when we do so.

REASON #10: The Bible commands us to comfort Israel! Finally, and most importantly, we need to bless Israel because it is God’s command. Isaiah delivers this divine imperative, saying: “‘Comfort, yes comfort My people’ says your God” (Isaiah 40:1). This is not a call to the Jewish people; otherwise, they would be comforting themselves. Rather, it is a call to a gentile people to stand alongside Israel and bless and comfort her. It is a command for a time when Israel’s warfare has ended (40:2), a set time when God is restoring Zion. And Isaiah 40 is also clearly not a suggestion or discussion point where He invites our opinion. Instead, God Himself, the Creator of heaven and earth who calls out the stars by name (Isaiah 40:26), tells us to arise and stand with His people in comfort and love. It is precisely for these reasons why the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in 1980 to stand with and comfort Israel, and with God’s help, we will continue to do so in the decades ahead. Let us all do this together! 6 | AUGUST 2021


ICEJ COMMENTARY

Israel’s new government seeks broad consensus, hangs by A thread B Y D a v i d P a r s o n s , I C EJ V P & S e n i o r i n t e r n a ti o n a l Sp o k e s m a n

I

srael finally has a new government in place, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic 12year run as prime minister. But the protracted political impasse of the past 30 months is far from over, as the extremely broad coalition may prove unworkable and is hanging on by the thinnest of margins. Over the past two-and-a-half years, Israel has stumbled through four elections in a political deadlock that has become mystifying. The latest ballot was closer than ever, but the forces of “change” finally ousted Netanyahu in June. The new government, led for now by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, was approved by a single Knesset vote—and it remains in constant peril of collapse. The new ruling coalition consists of eight diverse parties from right to left held together by their common desire to keep Netanyahu from returning to power. Netanyahu managed an unprecedented run as prime minister because of his diplomatic and economic acumen, his mastery of Israeli politics, and above all, his reputation as “Mr. Security.” Most Israelis came to trust him to keep them safe, and for the most part, he did. But the scandals surrounding Netanyahu weakened his support on the right, and now a new generation of leaders is taking the reins of power. They are generally younger, forward-looking, and concerned with the wellbeing of the entire nation. The incoming coalition was forged around a rotation agreement between Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. Lapid will serve as foreign minister

and alternate prime minister until he takes over the top job in August 2023. Head of the right-wing Yamina party, Bennett is a former commander of elite IDF units and a successful hi-tech entrepreneur. Born into a secular family, he became religiously observant and more conservative in his views, even heading the Yesha settlements council for a while. He is Israel’s first premier to wear a kippa regularly. As leader of the centrist Yesh Atid faction, Lapid is a former TV talk show host who entered politics a decade ago to represent young, secular Israelis who resent the inordinate power and favoritism enjoyed by the ultra-Orthodox community. They are joined in the coalition by former Likud member Gideon Sa’ar of New Hope, Russian strongman Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beiteinu, former IDF general Benny Gantz of Blue & White, Merav Michaeli of Labour, Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz, and—the unlikeliest of partners—Mansour Abbas of the Arab-Islamist faction Ra’am. The common denominator between them is a sense that Netanyahu based so many important decisions in recent years not on national interests but on simply staying in power to gain an advantage—and even immunity—in his ongoing corruption trials. He also has sided with the ultra-Orthodox on many issues, thereby alienating many Israelis and much of Diaspora Jewry. 7 | WORD FROM JERUSALEM

Bennett will focus on getting back to good governance, passing a proper state budget, making decisions by consensus, dealing with societal tensions, and considering all sectors of the populace. Meanwhile, Lapid will handle foreign policy. Few expect much movement toward a “two-state solution” with the Palestinians, as it could unravel the fragile coalition. Rather, Lapid’s main efforts will be building ties with the Biden administration and European Union and repairing the breach with the progressive Left, beginning with American Jewish leaders. The Bennett-Lapid government will also try to continue the momentum of the Abraham Accords toward normalization with the Arab world. Those regional accords undoubtedly influenced Ra’am to become the first Arab party to sit as fullfledged members of an Israeli cabinet. Netanyahu legitimized such a move by first reaching out to Mansour Abbas ahead of the last election, but he eventually chose to go with the “change” movement, putting the Bennett-Lapid alignment over the top by one seat. This has now put Netanyahu and the Likud party in the unfamiliar position of sitting in the Opposition, and they are vowing to bring down the Bennett-Lapid coalition as soon as possible. No doubt, Likud will file weekly no-confidence motions against the government, which means lawmakers on both sides will not be traveling abroad much over the coming months, as the thinnest of margins separates Israel from yet another election.


e ir f he astme! t h e fe ho c t ca f thour o y om fr

September 20–26, 2021 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. - Malachi 4:5–6

Feast speakers (invited)

Angus Buchan

Dr Jürgen Bühler

Suzette Hattingh

Lou Engle

Israel Pochtar

Philip Mantofa

Peter Tsukahira

Malcolm Hedding, Daniel Yahav, George Anadora, Joel Goldberg, Manasa Kolivuso, RT Kendall, Mosy Madugba, and many more.

Worship leaders (invited)

Birgitta Veksler

Vesna Bühler

Eddie James

Sarah Liberman

Shilo Ben Hod

Joshua Aaron

Sakhnini Brothers

Elihana Eli, Thais Schucman, Dorothy Bedford, Indonesian Worship Team, Stuttgart Worship Team, and many more.

FEAST TESTIMONIES

from last year’s online feast

h

& Angi

Ulric Annette &

Elisabeth

On Wednesday, October 7, we joined the online Feast with some people from our Isaiah 62 prayer group. We loved the mixture of worship, special guests, and teachings and the helpful German translation. Through the live streaming we had seats “in the front row” during the Feast and enjoyed the panorama of the city we love so much.

Congratulations and many thanks for the festive, spectacular, and informative online Feast! Certainly, I will watch some more seminars. God’s love for the people of Israel and the fulfillment of His promises through the worldwide ministry of ICEJ is impressive. Thank you for the many testimonies of the miracles God did in the 40 years of ICEJ history! Israel is a light and a blessing for the nations.

The three of us were keenly watching, sometimes together with our Israel small group. Thank you for the wonderful program! The Messianic worship was refreshing. We enjoyed particularly the song “Dai Li /Enough,” from Shilo Ben Hod. The Sukkah in front of the beautiful backdrop of Jerusalem was gorgeous, and we loved the guests—like Rabbi Bowman and Yehuda Glick— the talks and the biblical input.

Elisabeth Rust, Freistadt (Austria)

Anette, Siegfried, and Angi Walch (Germany)

Annette and Ulrich Freischlad, Isaiah 62 Prayer Group in Krefeld (Germany)

egried Anette, Si


Ascend to Jerusalem for our most exciting Online feast! Join the biggest Feast ever and feel like you are right here with us in Jerusalem! The Online Feast will be available on our exclusive streaming platform and will include live streaming of all Feast events, plus over 80 seminar teachings and other unique online content viewable on demand.

Seminar tracks:

Feast Theme of “Days of Elijah” Feast of Tabernacles & Biblical Holidays Currents Affairs in Israel & Region Local Believers in Israel Isaiah 19 Highway Next Generation Global Prayer & Praise Reports Virtual Tours to Key Bible Sites

Feast Highlights:

Israeli and Global Speakers Israeli and Global Worship Leaders Roll Call of Nations Jerusalem March 24/7 Prayer Watch Interactive Streaming Platform Live Chats/Share Photos Plus much more

The Online Feast 2021 comes to you from exciting new locations across israel! Desert Celebration at Qumran/Dead Sea

Special Prayer Service at the Western Wall

Roll Call of the Nations at Southern Steps in Jerusalem

Communion at the Garden Tomb

Jerusalem March

Grand Finale on Mount Carmel

Worship Concert at the Sea of Galilee

Three Options for Online Feast

1. BASIC PACKAGE US $50

00

2. ELIJAH PACKAGE US $9999

• N ine months access to VOD content • Digital certificate of participation • ICEJ official pin and 2022 Israel calendar shipped to you

• F ull Feast registration includes 90 days access to VOD content • Digital certificate of participation

3. HOST A FEAST WATCH PArty Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with the ICEJ by gathering a group to watch online and receive a FREE registration*. See page 19 for details. *Restrictions apply, and registration requires prior approval.

To find out more about registering for our online Global Feast 2021, go to:

www.icejusa.org/FEAST-ONLINE


ICEJ ALIYAH

Bringing Jews Home From All Directions! B y A n astas i y a G o o d i n g

O

ver the first six months of 2021, Israel has welcomed more than 7,000 new Jewish immigrants, marking a rise of 14 percent in Aliyah compared to the same time last year. And once again, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has played a significant role in this wave of Aliyah by assisting 20 percent of these olim (newcomers) in reaching the promised land. We can do this amazing work thanks to the generosity of Christians around the world who continually support our Aliyah efforts. So far this year, the Christian Embassy has helped more than 1,600 Jews immigrate to Israel, including our sponsorship of Aliyah flights for 1,164 new arrivals from 17 countries, while funding pre-Aliyah programs for another 500 newcomers from Central and Eastern Europe. One highlight came in early March, when the last Aliyah flight of “Operation Rock of Israel” arrived, bringing the final group of some 2,000 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants involved in this emergency airlift first launched last December. Through this special airlift, the ICEJ has sponsored Aliyah flights for 402 Ethiopian Jews this year, making their dream of returning to the Jewish homeland come true. In April, a special evacuation flight arranged by the Jewish Agency for Israel and sponsored by the ICEJ brought 102 Jewish immigrants from Kazakhstan to Israel. Their Aliyah came at a challenging time due to corona-related health rules and travel restrictions, which added

complications to obtaining visas and permits for flights. Hence, their arrival from Alma Ata was a small miracle, according to one JAFI official. Despite the recent Gaza conflict, Israel also welcomed a wave of over 500 Jewish immigrants from more than 20 countries during an unprecedented “Aliyah Super Week” at the end of May. The ICEJ was one of the main sponsors

bnei menashe Olim

of this special weeklong effort by funding flights for 148 of these new immigrants who arrived from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States, among other countries. Due to the surge in coronavirus cases in India, the Israeli cabinet also decided to launch an emergency airlift for 548 members of the Bnei Menashe community in northeast India. Claiming descent from the Israelite tribe of Manasseh, they already had been approved to immigrate to Israel later this year, but plans 1010 |AUGUST 2021 | JULY 2021

were quickly put in place to bring half of them earlier. An initial group of 160 Bnei Menashe landed in Israel on May 31 as part of the emergency airlift arranged by the Jewish Agency and Shavei Israel. The Christian Embassy sponsored flights for 99 of these olim. Unfortunately, another 115 members of this group were held back after several dozen tested positive for COVID-19, thereby delaying their homecoming. It has been a difficult experience as they were all so eager to reach Israel after 27 centuries of exile from their ancestral homeland. But suddenly, they were stopped in transit and placed in quarantine in New Delhi, where they remained until Israeli and Indian health authorities agreed it was safe for them to travel to Tel Aviv. They had no means to pay the costs of their housing, food, and medical care and were dependent on the mercy and generosity of others. This was a dilemma we could not ignore, so the ICEJ covered their housing and meals for about one-third of their four-week stay in New Delhi. Thankfully, after their complete recovery, a group of 114 Bnei Menashe finally landed in Israel on June 27. In total, the ICEJ sponsored flights for 131 out of the 274 Bnei Menashe who were brought to Israel over the past month. The next airlift of another 274 Bnei Menashe is expected in two months. Thank you for your support of the ICEJ’s many Aliyah efforts as we bring Jews home from all directions, just as the Hebrew prophets foretold (Isaiah 43:5–6).


ICEJ Aliyah

Kazakhstan

Preparing the Way for Aliyah B y A n a s t a si y a G o o di n g

S

ince our founding in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has assisted more than 160,000 Jews to make the journey home to Israel. This journey of Aliyah begins long before a Jewish family boards a plane for Tel Aviv. New immigrants to Israel usually go through months and even years of preparation to make the move to the promised land. And for several decades now, the ICEJ has been actively assisting thousands of Jewish people with the pre-Aliyah process. This often includes sponsoring Aliyah fairs and seminars, such as the recent Aliyah weekends we have helped to host in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and the Baltic States, among other countries.

Country

ICEJ Sponsored

Argentina

5

Belarus

5

Belgium

2

Brazil

8

Chile

1

Ethiopia Finland France India Italy

402 4 91 136 1

Kazakhstan

103

Netherlands

2

Russia South Africa

Flower says the Christian Embassy expects to assist well over 1,000 Jewish people from the former Soviet republics this year in the pre-Aliyah programs, including weekend and summer camps, preparation seminars, Hebrew lessons, travel to consular services for immigration visas, transport to the airports, and extra baggage on flights. Normally, some 35 to 50 percent of the people who attend the Aliyah seminars will make the move to Israel in a short time. The most recent ICEJ-sponsored Aliyah weekend took place in Minsk. Among the 63 participants was the Makarov family. The father, Vadim, was grateful for all his family experienced. “Thanks to your passion, active financial participation, and sponsorship of various events in the Jewish world, you provide an opportunity for us to meet, communicate and learn more about the traditions and history of Israel,” he said. So please consider joining the ICEJ to help sponsor an Aliyah weekend retreat, which will help launch Jewish families on their exciting journey to Israel, their ancestral homeland.

10 4

Switzerland

4

Total

Another innovative program introduced just last year is the OFEK 300-hour Hebrew language course (ulpan) and job placement program. After being approved for immigration to Israel, participants begin an intensive ulpan that features a 300-hour concentrated online study program and job search coaching, which also explores the possibility of newcomers working remotely from Israel for companies in their country of origin.

368

Sweden

United Kingdom

The Christian Embassy has partnered with the Jewish Agency for Israel in new and innovative ways to facilitate the continuing Aliyah from the former Soviet republics, according to Howard Flower, the ICEJ’s Director of Aliyah. One initiative is the new “Shabbaton” Aliyah seminars. These extended weekend gatherings provide comprehensive pre-Aliyah processing to alleviate concerns, answer questions, and educate participants using trained counselors.

18 1164

Russia

FINLAND

“Shabbaton” Aliyah seminars

11 | WORD FROM JERUSALEM Donate today at:

www.icejusa.org/aliyah


HAIFA HOME ICEJ HAIFA HOME FOR HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS

Haifa Home gets a new resident!

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t can be extremely traumatic to pack up a home, downscale dearest possessions, and leave most memories behind—especially when it might be the last move. For Holocaust Survivor Yaacov Grossman, however, his decision to move was a choice that he could make for himself, unlike during the war years when he was forced to move from his home in Poland to far-away Siberia. As a young boy, Yaacov’s family owned a clothing factory in Poland. When he was five years old, the Germans invaded his hometown and threw his family out of their home. Soon the men of the city were led out of town, and Yaacov, along with his father and three brothers, found themselves traveling through Eastern Europe to Ukraine. Meanwhile, his mother and sister remained behind in Poland, with his mother left to run the family business. While in Ukraine, the Russians told his father that they should register if they wanted to return to Poland. Instead of returning, they were taken during the night to Siberia, where life was extremely difficult: they had nothing to eat, and they suffered from hunger, illness, and the freezing cold weather. Little Yaacov and his brothers were left alone during the day while their father worked doing forced labor. Yaacov’s father tried to grow vegetables, but this was hardly sufficient to sustain them. Yaacov remembers sitting outside in the harsh winter, ICEJ Feature

Yudit Setz with Holocaust Survivor Yaacov Grossman as no one wanted to let a father with four boys into their home. Eventually, a farmer showed pity and allowed them to live in his cowshed until they acquired a single room that they all cramped into. After the war ended, they returned to Poland in 1946 to discover that his mother had fallen ill and died during one of the infamous death marches. Unfortunately, Yaacov could not remain in Poland and ended up traveling from place to place, eventually ending up in an orphanage in Germany. “It is almost impossible to describe the nightmare we went through all these years,” says Yaacov. Finally, in 1949 he traveled together with his father to Israel. Later in years, Yaacov became a shoemaker and acquired a little store, while his father was a cook working in a children’s home. “I expect good things. I move with joy,” Yaacov shared with Yudit Setz, ICEJ AID’s Director for Holocaust Survivor Projects, concerning his arrival at the Haifa Home.

Knowing that a chapter of his life is ending and a new beginning, Yaacov said: “The question is only how much time, how many years I will still enjoy living here?” In this next season of his life, Yaacov will be comfortable and cared for by the dedicated ICEJ team of Christian volunteers serving at the Haifa Home, Israel’s only assisted-living community dedicated to caring for Holocaust Survivors in need. In addition, he will be able to befriend other Survivors residing at the facility and enjoy all the social interactions and activities provided there. Your continued support of the Haifa Home ensures that these Holocaust Survivors will enjoy a good quality of life for their remaining years.

To support our work with needy Holocaust Survivors in Israel, please donate today at: www.icejusa.org/haifa

Israeli TV features ICEJ work with Holocaust survivors

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CEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler made a special appearance on Israel TV Channel 13 in May, joining a panel discussion on “Who Truly Cares for Holocaust Survivors in Israel.” He spoke in Hebrew about his background as a German Christian who loves the Jewish nation and people, as well as the Christian Embassy’s extensive work with Holocaust Survivors. Other panelists included Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen, our charitable partner Shimon Sabag of Yad Ezer L’Haver and Yad Rosa, and hi-tech pioneer David Perlmutter. The segment was part of a five-hour “National Conference” broadcast hosted by News 13 covering Israeli politics and culture today. 12


ICEJ AID

ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman David Parsons at the dedication ceremony, along with Shimon Sabag of Yad Rosa, Rabbi Ari Lamm, the CEO of Bnai Zion, and Israeli-American actress and Haifa native Moran Atias.

ICEJ Helps Launch National Call Center to Serve Holocaust Survivors B y I C EJ St a f f

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he International Christian Embassy Jerusalem joined its charitable partners Yad Rosa and Bnai Zion last month to open the first-of-itskind National Call Center to serve the urgent needs of Holocaust Survivors and other elderly Israelis nationwide. The National Call Center was dedicated in the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa, just two blocks from the ICEJ’s Home for Holocaust Survivors. The call center was the vision of Shimon Sabag, CEO of Yad Rosa, which opened an emergency call center in Haifa last year to reach out to Holocaust Survivors and other elderly in the surrounding area who were confined to their homes due to COVID-19. The center began taking them groceries and hot meals, arranging home repairs, driving Survivors to the doctor for medical care and vaccine shots, and sending volunteers on home visits to lift their spirits. Some received walkers or wheelchairs to help them get around. The call center also acquired a fleet of scooters to ensure rapid responses to those with immediate needs. In addition, the crisis center called Survivors to check in and let them know someone cared. The ICEJ joined in supporting this local call center in Haifa earlier this year, and the vision has since grown to provide one central emergency call center to serve the whole nation. Eventually, local distribution warehouses will be set up in several large Israeli cities to cover all regions of the country. The ICEJ joined with Bnai Zion, an American Jewish charitable organization, to provide seed funding to help the newly expanded National Call Center operate during its initial years of service. The new National Call Center will operate 24 hours around the clock on

weekdays and will be manned by staff and community volunteers from across Israeli society, as well as youth performing their year of national service. These teams will actively reach out to scores of Holocaust Survivors every day to inquire about their condition and needs and then work to immediately assist them. Assistance may include medical and rehabilitation equipment, oxygen generators, surveillance cameras for continuous assistance, prescribed medications, hot meals, and groceries, all provided free of charge to the Holocaust Survivors and other elderly In Israel. The volunteers also will pay home visits and deliver blankets, appliances, and other household items as needed. One special feature of the new initiative is delivering a free Medical Alert watch to every Holocaust Survivor in Israel. This digital watch can monitor the wearer’s vital signs and has an emergency alert button and GPS locator to alert the Yad Rosa teams and other first responders when they have an urgent need and where they can be found. Another key feature of the national emergency center will be the fleet of scooters to be deployed nationwide that will allow fast responses to those who need urgent help. This new National Call Center provides a timely, effective, and comprehensive means to meet the needs of many more worthy Holocaust Survivors throughout Israel. And we are looking to our Christian friends and supporters worldwide to help us fund this emergency center in the years ahead. Please extend your hand of compassion to deserving Holocaust Survivors in Israel by supporting this nationwide calling center in Haifa. Thank you for caring and for acting today!

PLEASE GIVE TO: WWW.ICEJUSA.ORG/CALL-CENTER 13 | WORD FROM JERUSALEM


ICEJ TEACHINg: LESSONS FROM THE LAND

THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS Praying for the Middle East

by D r . S u s a n Mic h a e l , I C EJ USA Di r e ct o r

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popular mountain peak frequented by tourists in Israel is Mount Bental in the Golan Heights. From the top of this mountain, you can see Lebanon to the northwest and Syria to the east. The view brings home just how small Israel is—and how close her enemies: Hezbollah in South Lebanon and ISIS and other jihadist groups in Syria, not to mention the Syrian Assad regime. Looking down into Syria, you can see a modern highway built in the general vicinity of one of the ancient roads leading into Damascus. Saul’s conversion in Acts 9 took place on just such a road, so this is a great place to review that story and act upon its lesson. Saul was an enemy of the believers in Jesus, and the high priest in Jerusalem had given him the authority to capture and bind believers and bring them to Jerusalem. The believers in Damascus were terrified and must have been praying for Saul because the next part of the story is nothing short of a miracle. Jesus appears to Saul before he reaches the city, blinding him, and then tells Ananias to find Saul, lay hands on him, and pray for him to receive the Holy Spirit. Saul spends the rest of his life as “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1).

Praying for Our Enemy The lesson from this story is to pray for everyone—even one’s enemies who are bent on doing harm. Today, a great spiritual battle is brewing over the region, and the same forces that want to destroy Israel and Christian communities have been killing each other in the quest for control. Mount Bental is the perfect place to intercede for all the people caught up in this turmoil. Praying for Christians The Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, was predominantly Christian before the Islamic forces invaded in the seventh century. A thousand years ago, there were more Christians in the Middle East than in Europe. Even a century ago, more than 20 percent of the region’s population was Christian. Today, estimates put the Christian population in the region at less than 5 percent, and it will likely become extinct. After the Copts of Egypt, the second-largest Christian community in the Middle East is the Syriac/ Assyrian Christians from Iraq, Syria, and surrounding areas. They are now displaced. Many are refugees and will never regain their community’s size. The only Christian community growing in the region is in Israel and is very small. Hearts should break over the human toll and suffering this conflict has and could still potentially cause. All the peoples of the Middle East—Jew, Christian, and Muslim—are, in one way or another, victims of the spiritual stronghold over the region that causes hatred, violence, and death.

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ICEJ PODCAST: WALK THRU THE BIBLE

God’s Mercy in Judgment

Praying for Revival Much prayer is also needed for the gospel to go forth throughout the region and many to come to know the Lord. Throughout the Muslim world, Jesus is appearing to people in dreams and visions, and they are turning to Him. What began as a small trickle in the early 80s has mushroomed to now millions of Muslims who have turned to Christ. The fastest growing church in the world is said to be found in Iran. This means that while historic Christian communities which have maintained their faith and presence over generations are dying out, a new underground movement of Muslim Background Believers is growing. Praying for the Isaiah 19 Highway The prophet Isaiah had an astounding vision of peace and unity between the people of Assyria, Israel and Egypt in chapter 19. More astounding was the fact that God called Assyria the work of His hands and Egypt His people while referring to Israel as His inheritance. God loves all the peoples of the Middle East—they are part of the world He loved and sent His son to die for (John 3:16). This is just as true for the Arabs (Muslims) as it is for anyone else. We should pray for all of them to find the Lord and come to know the true peace Isaiah described. God Chose Israel for Blessing God’s choice of Israel was not to bless the Jewish people to the exclusion of others but that through them, He would “bless all the families of the earth” (Genesis 12:3). It is because God loves the world that He brought into existence the nation of Israel through whom He would bring about His redemptive plan. Millions of people in the Middle East are caught in the crossfire of the forces of evil that hate God, His plan, and His people. Let’s pray for them. A “Damascus Road” revelation of the Prince of Peace is their only hope.

Let us help you experience Israel The US Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) is here to help you experience Israel through our various Holy Land tours tailor-made for churches, young adults, pastors, leaders, and families. We also offer our annual Feast of Tabernacles tour. We are a non-denominational Christian ministry headquartered in Jerusalem for over 40 years with biblical and modern-day experience that will bring the Bible to life before your eyes and deepen your faith and relationship with God. Learn more today!

Learn More Today! For more information on our tours, please go to www.icejusa.org/tours, call (866) 393-5890, or email us at tours@icejusa.org.

by Dr. Susan Michael Dr. Susan Michael is ICEJ USA Director and host of the Out of Zion podcast.

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hrough the prophet Isaiah, the Lord sings a song over His vineyard—the nation of Israel. He goes into great detail describing how the owner of the vineyard had chosen fertile ground, tilled the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines. He had built a winepress and looked for a crop of good grapes but only found bad fruit. Therefore, he was giving the vineyard over to be destroyed. Then the prophet makes it clear that the vineyard of the Lord is the nation of Israel. When we read this song of the vineyard in Isaiah 5, we think that perhaps it is all over for Israel. But later in chapter 27, the Lord tells Isaiah to sing another song about His vineyard, and in it, He declares that Israel will take root again and fill the whole earth with fruit. With this hope, Isaiah watched the people of the northern kingdom of Israel go into exile. Isaiah’s song of the vineyard expressed the Lord’s tender love and care for His people. But they simply were not producing the fruit they were created for. So he raised up prophets to preach to them and to lead them back to Him. When that did not work, he allowed their enemies to begin to defeat them, and, little by little, they lost territory until their kingdom was reduced to the capital city. But the people did not heed the prophets, nor the warnings, and eventually, the end came. One kingdom was down, and while it would take another 150 years, there was one to go—Judah. God had promised His people safety and security if they obeyed His commandments and lived in covenant and fellowship with Him. He had also promised their lack of safety and security and warned of eventual exile from the land if they disobeyed Him. In the song over the vineyard, the owner asks the people, “What more could I have done?” (Isaiah 5:4). His mercy had run out. But even in judgment there is hope of a future return and the fulfillment of God’s promises to use this vineyard to bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3).

Join me for the Out of Zion podcast episode: “One Down, One to Go.” Walk Thru the Bible with me each week by downloading our Bible reading plan, and get started reading right away! Invite your friends and family to join us! I can’t wait to Walk Thru the Bible with you!

15 | WORD FROM JERUSALEM




Your Israel Answer How Christians Are Celebrating the Feast By Dr. Susan Michael, ICEJ USA Director

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ICEJ Born Out of the Feast “When the ICEJ was founded 40 years ago— during the first Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in 1980—there were very few Christians worldwide who knew about or observed Sukkot,” said the annual Feast of ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “But today, there are millions of Christians Tabernacles is a prophetic around the globe who are discovering this biblical festival and joining in its declaration to Israel and traditions. And many of them will be tuning in again for this year’s Feast the church that Messiah is from Jerusalem, which is allowing us to reach our largest audience ever with coming soon. a message of biblical faith and standing with Israel.”

ach year, thousands of believers from around the world ascend to the city of Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). It is the third great pilgrimage feast of the Lord—a great prophetic sign of our times and powerful foreshadowing of even more glorious days ahead. A Prophetic Sign In 1979 as Merv and Merla Watson planned the first Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem, they were uncertain about exactly how gentiles should celebrate this biblical feast, so they asked the advice of a senior rabbi in Israel. They received his practical guidance, but as they were just about to leave, the rabbi called them back.

soon. In the end, it is all about Jesus. It is not about us, nor even about Israel, but about our returning King.

“Mr. and Mrs. Watson,” he said. “That you, as gentiles, came here to ask me how to celebrate Sukkot is quite unusual. Our prophets declare that in the Messianic times, all gentiles will come to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast with us. When you asked me today how to celebrate Sukkot, I am hearing the footsteps of Messiah, that He is coming.”

Global Gathering Online In 2020, Israel’s coronavirus regulations prevented this annual influx of pilgrims into Jerusalem. But the ICEJ’s innovative online Global Feast spawned hundreds of Sukkot gatherings and watch parties in dozens of countries worldwide, drawing more Christians than ever before into marking this joyous biblical holiday together.

And this is what the Feast of Tabernacles is all about. Each year, the ICEJ is privileged to organize this incredibly unique event. It’s not just another Christian conference; the annual Feast of Tabernacles is a prophetic declaration to Israel and the church that Messiah is coming

These Sukkot gatherings drew crowds ranging from small groups in underground churches in China and Iraq to several thousand in a large church in the Ivory Coast—which means the total participants of last year’s Feast was easily in the hundreds of thousands.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was born out of that first Feast of Tabernacles with a prophetic mandate of Christian support for Israel. Bringing awareness of what God is doing in Israel is an integral part of understanding His timetable and the soon coming prophetic fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. With branch offices in over 90 nations and a reach into more than 170 nations worldwide, the ICEJ is considered the world’s largest pro-Israel Christian ministry and is perfectly positioned to carry out this unique prophetic mandate. Join us for “Days of Elijah” at this year’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration (see pages 8–9 for details).

Visit us at: www.IsraelAnswers.com and get your question about Israel answered! 1 8 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020



e ir f he astme! t e chhe f ho t ca f t our o y om r f

20-26

september

2021 Join the ICEJ for a Special

sukkot journey t h r o u g h t h e l a n d o f I s r a el

Seven Incredible Days of Feast Celebrations

Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles like never before as we host seven days of exciting Sukkot events in Jerusalem and across Israel, from Mount Zion to Mount Carmel.

IN ISRAEL

Register today for the online Feast streamed live from Israel. Last year’s virtual Feast was a huge success, and this year promises to be even better with many inspiring new locations!

Ascend to Jerusalem for our most exciting Online feast ever! Register for Virtual Feast Online

Enjoy the Feast online from your home, with the option of watching content for either 90 days or 9 months! Two packages to choose from, starting at $50

HOST A FEAST WATCH PARTY

Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with the ICEJ by gathering a group to watch online and receive a FREE registration.* See page 19 for details *Restrictions apply and registration requires prior approval

LEARN MORE at:

www.icejusa.org/FEAST-ONLINE