Word From Jerusalem - May/June 2023

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FROM JERUSALEM

ISRAEL CELEBRATES ITS DIAMOND ANNIVERSARY

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM // MAY/JUNE 2023 // GLOBAL EDITION

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in 1980 in recognition of the biblical significance 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 recognise 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 to more than 170 countries, with branch offices in over 90 nations. Our vision is:

* To reach every segment of Israeli 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.

The Christian Embassy is a non-denominational faith-based ministry supported by the voluntary contributions of our members 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.

WORD

FROM JERUSALEM CREDITS

ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler

VP International Affairs 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

Staff Writers Annaliese Johnson

Graphic Design/Illustrator Ryan Tsuen

Administration Tobias H

Photography Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, AP, AFP, JAFI, Flash90, Haaretz, Reuters, IDF, businessweek.com, Netafim, newatlas, SanDisk, Watergen, Waze, Wikimedia Commons, Levi Dörflinger, ICEJ Staff and Branches

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. All gifts to this ministry are tax-deductible (in countries where this applies). For more information, visit us at www.icej.org

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM

P.O. Box 1192, Jerusalem • 9101002, ISRAEL

Support our ministry online at www.icej.org

SCAN ME TO BLESS ISRAEL TODAY!

FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK

Dear friends,

Israel just marked 75 years since David Ben-Gurion declared the independence of the State of Israel in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948. What started out as a country based on agriculture and socialist ideals has today become a global, free-market hub of technology and research. As the Psalmist said: “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” (Psalms 126:1-2)

The day before Yom Hatzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day), I returned from the Fiji Islands, where we had a most exciting visit. The recently established government has on its agenda to open an embassy in Jerusalem. The fact that their island nation has diplomatic relations with Israel and that their government recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has stirred great joy and excitement in every church we visited. They were indeed singing just like the Psalmist said. Senior government officials, church leaders, and tribal elders all believe that good relations with Israel will bless their island nation in many areas – both spiritual and material.

It was amazing to see that the reborn country of Israel, though still relatively young, has become the hope of the nations. And once I was back in Jerusalem, I attended the President’s reception for Independence Day and you could almost touch the excitement and pride of the Israelis in the amazing accomplishments of their nation over the past 75 years. Both President Isaac Herzog and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen spoke not only about these achievements, but also about the current challenges that Israeli society is experiencing. Both came from different perspectives, yet each expressed that even amid the mass demonstrators for and against judicial reforms, there is ample proof that Israel is a living, vibrant democracy where many voices are heard. And both Israeli leaders were confident that a solution can and will be found to this hotly-debated issue.

Seventy-five years also is a biblical number. The Bible says that Abraham was seventyfive years old when God called him to enter the Land of Israel. He then lived a full 100 years in Israel before he died at 175. As with many of the heroes of the Bible, age is no limit for God’s calling. Moses started his ministry at age 80, while his successor Joshua was around 75 when he led the Israelites into the Promised Land. This means there is no age limit for God to use any of us as well, and even to bring radical changes into our lives. He can use a young teenager like Jeremiah when he was launched into ministry, just as there is a needed place for the aged Patriarchs to give wise leadership to the people of God. Truly, there is no retirement in God’s Kingdom.

Abraham entered his destiny only at 75 and I ask you to pray with me that Israel, too, will experience on this diamond jubilee a watershed experience. We especially pray that God’s ancient promises of a spiritual restoration within Israel will take place in our days.

As you read through this issue of our magazine, I also pray that you will be as inspired about the many things God is doing here in Israel and even to the ends of the earth. May God bless you richly as you stand with Israel and our ministry in the exciting days ahead.

Yours in Christ,

International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

COVER PHOTO: The 75th anniversary Independence Day ceremony, held at Mount Herzl, Jerusalem on April 25, 2023.

Photo by Yonatan Sindel (Flash90) FOR

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ISRAEL AT 75: A NATION BLESSING THE WHOLE WORLD 8 16 CONTENTS MAY/JUNE 2023 GLOBAL EDITION 4 22 GABI BARKAY – THE DEAN OF BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY NEW FEATURED SERIES BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY KING OF HEAVEN AND EARTH HAIFA HOME RESIDENTS DELIGHT IN NEW EXPERIENCES! ICEJ SUPPORT IS ‘MUSIC TO THE EARS’ OF ISRAELI DRUZE SCHOOL 12 FEATURED TEACHING

KING of HEAVEN EARTH

“The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice!”

This declaration opens Psalm 97 – one of the enthronement Psalms. For the people of ancient Israel, there was never any doubt that their God was King of all the earth. More than any other book of the Bible, the Psalms highlight God’s kingly rule.

The Psalmists saw two main facets of His rule. First, Psalm 11:4 states: “The LORD’S throne is in heaven” (see also, Psalm 103:19; 123:1). This is why in the Gospel of Matthew, the Kingdom of God also is referred to as the Kingdom of heaven. In rabbinic understanding, heaven is often a synonym for God Himself. While it indeed is a parallel concept to the “Kingdom of God” as used in the other Gospels, it conveys an important aspect of God’s Kingdom that was powerfully expressed by Daniel: “Heaven rules!” (4:26).

At the same time, this heavenly Kingdom expresses itself on earth. The majority of “kingdom” references in the Psalms and elsewhere describe the earthly expanse and impact of God’s Kingdom. The Lord is “the

King of all the earth”, proclaimed the Psalmist, and He “reigns over the nations” (Psalm 47:68). He also is the “King of kings”, meaning the supreme ruling power who appoints and dethrones rulers of this world (Daniel 2:21; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14). Then He is the “great King above all gods”, defining Him as the supreme power over all religious systems of the world (Psalm 95:3). His rule is a mere consequence of God being the Creator and Possessor of heaven and earth. “The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness”, declared King David (Psalm 24:1). God as King is thus the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent ruler of the world.

What puzzles people, however, is the age old question “Where is God?” It is a mystery as old as mankind that God’s Kingdom so often cannot not be clearly seen in the midst of global or personal trauma. If God indeed rules, why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer? (Psalm 73:3; Jeremiah 12:1; 1 Peter 3:14)

God’s rule surely shows itself in often subtle and patient ways. As my late grandmother liked to say: “God’s mills are milling slowly.”

“The kingdom of

is not

ways

can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

Jesus himself declared that his Kingdom often cannot be seen. “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (Luke 17:20-21/ESV)

Yet at the same time, His Kingdom often breaks through in powerful ways that are visible to everyone. Moses saw it manifested when he confronted Pharaoh in Egypt; Daniel saw the rule of Heaven at work even in pagan Babylon; and we see it today at work in the reestablishment of the nation of Israel.

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The first revelation about the nature of God’s Kingdom can be seen in the story of Abraham encountering Melchizedek. Here, we have the appearance of this mysterious king-priest to Abraham, who was known as the King of Salem (later Jerusalem) and Priest of the Most High God. This combination of priest and king, of earthly rule executed under the authority of God, was always a hallmark of the Kingdom of God. When God brought Israel out of Egypt, He gave this very calling to the Jewish people: “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). But how did this rule of heaven manifest itself? It is described in a surprising way in Deuteronomy 33:2-5:

“The LORD came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; From His right hand came a fiery law for them. Yes, He loves the people; All His saints are in Your hand; They sit down at Your feet; Everyone receives Your words. Moses commanded a law for us, a heritage of the congregation of Jacob. And He was King in Jeshurun, when the leaders of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together.”

There is a remarkable sequence of events that conclude with “thus the Lord became King in Jeshurun” (ESV). When the Lord came down on Mount Sinai in fire, it was like a heavenly visitation. The people sat at the foot of the mountain and listened as God spoke. The Lord spoke to them with an audible voice but also through His servant Moses. They were sitting at His hand and at His feet, received direction from God, and followed the steps of the Lord.

God speaking and directing His people is right at the heart of the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom manifested as Israel heard and followed God’s instruction as a corporate body and as individuals. Jesus explained the importance of this personal intimacy with God to Martha, who was too busy focusing just on serving her master. But Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to his words, and thus she chose the better part. The Kingdom of God manifests itself through a listening people of God who are ready to act upon the words received from Him.

God never intended Israel to have an earthly king. In the book of Samuel, we read about the great catastrophe when Israel wanted to be like the nations around them. Israel found it too burdensome to deal with an invisible God as King, who spoke to His people only through prophets and judges. They wanted a king who was one of them, who gave daily leadership to the tasks at hand, not needing to wait and trust in God. But His response was strong.

“But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:6-7)

It is a character trait of humans that we all too often seek security and strength in human leadership. This is not only true on a political level but often also in churches. There is a sense of security that comes from strong leaders, which allows man to hand over responsibility to other men. It is easier to hide behind a huge crowd than to take responsibility and be transparent in a smaller church setting. God’s Kingdom means everyone sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his voice and acting upon what they hear.

Saul became Israel’s first king. He was busy following his own agenda and struggled in waiting on God. He only half-heartedly followed God’s instruction and was busy building memorials to himself. It was no longer God who ruled but a flawed man.

I have often wondered what was the quality that made David “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). The original Hebrew words here (ish kelevavo) suggest that God is looking for a man whose heart is like His heart. The Apostle Paul relates to this story in his sermon in Antioch. “… [God] raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’” (Acts 13:22)

David was a man who possessed an attitude which reflected in many ways God’s heart, and most importantly he would lead Israel not after his own agenda but was ready to do the will of God.

His rule reflected the reality of the prayer the Lord gave us: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) When David became king, the Kingdom of God returned to Israel. God ruled once again over His people through David.

In a very recent visit to Fiji, we paid a courtesy visit to the president of this lovely island nation, Mr. Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere. While in his office, he made a profound statement: “Every day, I pray that this room is the footstool of God for the good of the people.” I was enormously touched to hear a modern-day national leader following the example of King David, desiring to direct his steps and that of his nation according to the will of God.

Soon, we will celebrate the feast of Pentecost. According to Jewish tradition, this festival commemorates the days when the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai, and God came down in fire on the mountain and gave His commandments to Israel. We have seen that this was the day when “God became King in Yeshurun” (Deuteronomy 33:5). Israel was sitting at His hand and God was directing their ways.

On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, we read

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Image generated by Adobe Firefly beta I.
“The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice!”
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- PSALM 97 -

that something similar happened. In the Upper Room, God did not come down on a mountain of stone, but tongues of fire settled on each one of the 120 believers and God gave every one of them utterance to speak and praise Him in other tongues. It was God Himself who through His Spirit settled upon them and filled each believer. The miracle that began that day was that God was writing His commandments on the hearts of the people of God, transforming them into people “after God’s own heart”, people whose hearts are like His.

The prophet Jeremiah prophesied about this day in Jeremiah 31. It is the first time God speaks of making a new covenant (b’rit hadasha) with the people of Israel:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34; see also Ezekiel 36:24ff).

but each one individually will know God “from the least one to the greatest” (Jeremiah 31:34).

In many ways, the giving of the Holy Spirit to the people of God – both Jew and Gentile who experience this divine transforming power – would be like being born again. It is an exchange of hearts of stone for hearts of flesh, shaped and used by God.

This means that when people are transformed by God’s Spirit and come under the rule of His Spirit, they will bring with them God’s Kingdom into any situation. And the rule of Heaven can manifest itself here on earth already now. It is Christ in us, the hope of glory! This promise was given repeatedly to Israel, and it is indeed “the next great thing” to be expected in Israel. Paul says this will even be a release of God’s resurrection power in the earth.

God Himself will write His laws on their hearts; that is, He will transform their hearts into hearts which desire to do the will of God, into a people like King David. And the result, since each individual believer will have their own flame, will be a personal Mount Sinai for everyone, to receive the laws in their hearts. There will be no need for imposing leadership,

And, of course, the day will come when the Lord Jesus, the King of kings himself, will come judging the nations in righteousness: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.’” (Jeremiah 23:5)

Until that day, we are called to live as people of the Kingdom of God, bringing His Kingdom presence into the world around us. May God help us in this great endeavour.

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I. David playing the harp before king Saul. (wikimedia) Bible Pictures with brief descriptions by Charles Foster, published in 1897, Philadelphia, PA
God Himself will write His laws on their hearts
“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.’”
- JEREMIAH 23:5 -
...God did not come down on a mountain of stone, but tongues of fire...

IRAN WIDENS ITS ‘SHADOW WAR’ WITH ISRAEL

During Passover in April, Hamas and Hizbullah launched rocket and terror attacks against Israel from multiple directions, including Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. While the upsurge in attacks followed old patterns, they also signaled that Iran’s ‘shadow war’ with Israel is slipping into open conflict.

Iranian leaders are under pressure to even the score, but have largely failed in numerous attempts to target Israeli diplomats, businessmen and tourists in foreign lands. Yet they have made substantial progress in their long-term strategy to encircle Israel with a ring of loyal proxy militias heavily armed with rockets and drones. Iran’s tentacles can now be found in Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Hizbullah and Hamas in Lebanon, Iranian-led forces in Syria, various Islamist militias in Iraq, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

However, this Passover marked the first time Iran’s subsidiaries launched rockets at Israel from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria over successive days, demonstrating that Israelis could soon face a dreaded multifront rocket war. This coordinated message was intentional, given that Hamas leaders met with Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut the day before Hamas fired 34 rockets at northern Israel from Tyre. The Palestinian refugee camps in south Lebanon were always considered Fatah-land, but now Hizbullah has permitted Hamas to recruit and arm these Palestinians to threaten Israel from the north, while allowing Nasrallah to deny responsibility for their actions.

There were several factors behind the recent tensions in Israel. First, the convergence of Passover and Ramadan this April made a confrontation almost inevitable. Both holidays have tended to stir religious passions in recent years, as radical Muslims have falsely accused Jews of endangering al-Aqsa as a pretext for Palestinian violence. This well-worn canard has been used for over a century now to incite Arab hostility against Jews and Israel.

Second, Israel looks increasingly vulnerable to its regional enemies due to the divisive national debate over judicial reforms and the West’s dislike for certain ultra-religious elements in Israel’s new government.

Third, there already has been a prolonged spate of Palestinian terror attacks for more than a year now, claiming 33 Israeli lives last year and 19 so far this year. This prompted the IDF to launch “Operation Break the Wave” in the West Bank to root out new Palestinian terror cells called “Lion’s Den” that are funded and armed by Iran.

This brings us to the real culprit behind the recent surge in rockets and terror. Iran is seeking to threaten Israel through proxy militias from multiple directions while avoiding any direct confrontation with the IDF.

For over a decade now, Israel and Iran have been engaged in a ‘shadow war’ over Tehran’s renegade nuclear program and its stated goal to wipe Israel from the map. Israel’s military and intelligence agencies have chalked up an impressive number of victories in this covert war, dating back to the Stuxnet computer virus in 2010. The ledger includes successful sabotage attacks on numerous nuclear and missile facilities in Iran, the Mossad’s theft of its nuclear archive from a Tehran warehouse, and the targeting of IRGC commanders and nuclear scientists. With Iran’s intervention in the Syrian civil war, Israel also started launching hundreds of Israeli air strikes all across Syria to destroy Iranian forces and weaponry that could threaten Israel.

Iran also has launched a surprise diplomatic offensive to repair relations with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states, which threatens to derail the Abraham Accords right when Israel was seeking an historic breakthrough with the Saudis. The radical Shi’ite regime looked on as Israel was building a regional coalition against Iran, but now Tehran appears to have beaten Jerusalem to Riyadh.

With America pre-occupied by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its global rivalry with China, Iran senses Israel can now be isolated in the region and they tested the waters with the brazen multi-front assault at Passover.

Iran’s escalation of the conflict also stirred waves of anti-Israel incitement worldwide, especially on the web, further isolating Israel internationally. Chillingly, chants of “Death to Jews” were heard echoing off Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Until now, Iran was losing its shadow war with Israel. But the ayatollahs are now thinking they may fare better with open warfare.

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Hamas rocket hits Shlomi in northern Israel (AP photo)
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Hamas and Hizbullah leaders meet in Beirut (AFP photo)

ISRAEL AT

As Israel marks 75 years since its modern rebirth in 1948, the whole world should be joining the celebrations. For centuries, the Jewish people were scattered among the nations. But the Lord promised that one day He would regather them to their ancient homeland and use them to bring great benefits to the entire world. “And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing.” (Zechariah 8:13)

That day has surely arrived! For over seven decades now, Israel has overcome many challenges to become the Start-Up Nation, leading the world in important advances in agriculture, the environment, science, technology and medicine.

A NATION BLESSING THE WHOLE WORLD

Consider that the Jewish people came back to a barren land, but they have brought the desert back to life. In the 1950s, Israel first built the National Water Carrier to bring fresh water to the Negev, making the desert blossom like a rose, just as the prophet Isaiah foresaw. “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.” (Isaiah 35:1) By the 1960s, Israel was a world leader in conserving and recycling water. Today, the nation re-uses 85% of its water supply. Israelis also invented drip irrigation and water desalination methods that are now being used around the world. In addition, they have planted over 300 million trees, which both beautify the land and filter out carbon emissions from the air. “This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden...” (Ezekiel 36:35)

Did you know that Israel also invented the long-shelf cherry tomato? Indeed, Israeli fruit and produce, such Jaffa oranges and Medjool dates, are popular exports around the world. “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” (Isaiah 27:6)

Later, Israel emerged as one of the most innovative nations on earth. Did you know that Israelis developed the first microprocessor for personal computers? The first firewall to protect computers from data theft? And the world’s first USB memory stick? In medicine, Israeli researchers invented the PillCam – a little camera that you swallow which allows doctors to detect diseases inside us without invasive surgery. They also have come up with a phone that can diagnose diseases through smell. And then there is ReWalk – a battery-packed ‘exoskeleton’ which allows the disabled to walk again. The list of Israeli innovations goes on and on. They gave us WAZE, the first driver assistance phone program with real-time traffic information. The new Watergen system produces clean drinking water out of thin air. And now we have MobileEye, a leader in the race for self-driving cars. Plus, let’s not forget Israel’s pioneering work in the field of solar energy. And then there is the Iron Dome, the world’s most effective anti-missile system to defend civilian populations from rocket attacks.

So, Israel has truly been blessing the whole world over its first 75 years as a nation restored to life. And God remains “zealous” to perform all His good promises and plans for Israel. “I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; With great fervor I am zealous for her.” (Zechariah 8:2)

Digital revolution: Israeli researchers at the Intel lab in Haifa designed the world’s first microchips for the 386 Microprocessor, which powered the first PC built by IBM. This breakthrough allowed computers to become ever smaller.

So, we join with the Jewish people in celebrating seventy-five years of the restored nation of Israel – a great blessing in the midst of the earth!

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Drip Irrigation: In 1965, Israeli engineer Simcha Blass noticed that one of two adjacent trees was growing faster because of a leaking water pipe next to it. He launched Netafim, which today supplies drip irrigation systems in 112 countries worldwide.

Agri-tech: A special cherry tomato (tomaccio) that stays ripe for long periods was developed by two professors with the Hebrew University.

Conserving Water: Watergen is a new Israeli company that has developed a portable generator which produces pure drinking water from humidity in the air.

Flash Drive: In 1999, an Israeli techie introduced the Disk-on-Key, the world’s first portable USB memory storage device, later bought by SanDisk. These small, handy devices are known today as flash drives or data sticks.

Medical Marvel: An Israeli company developed the PillCam – a miniature camera which is swallowed and then sends images and detects disorders as it traverses the digestive system, avoiding the need for invasive surgery in many patients.

Cyber-security: In 1993, the Israeli start-up Checkpoint developed the first information security software program, called Firewall-1, to protect computers from data theft.

Getting There: Developed in Israel, Waze was the first smartphone navigation app to provide real-time traffic updates to help people avoid congestion. It was bought by Google in 2013 for $1.1 billion and today is used by millions of drivers worldwide.

Missile Shield: The mobile Iron Dome missile battery, developed mostly in Israel with joint US funding, has quickly proven to be the world’s most effective short-range anti-rocket interceptor, with a shoot-down rate of 95%.

Self-Driving Cars: The Israeli company Mobileye has partnered with leading car manufacturers to pioneer the safest, most reliable computer-assisted driving programs. MobileEye cameras are already used in cars built by BMW, GM, Volvo, and other automakers.

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ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER HOSTS ICEJ LEADERS

ICEJ WELCOMES SLOVAKIA PRIME MINISTER TO ISRAEL

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen recently hosted ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler and Vice President & Spokesman David Parsons for a meeting in his Jerusalem office. They discussed global Christian support for Israel and encouraging more nations to move their embassies to Jerusalem, among other topics. FM Cohen was especially grateful to learn about the ICEJ’s efforts to care for needy Holocaust survivors.

ICEJ JOINS HAGUE CONFERENCE ON LAWFARE AGAINST ISRAEL

Prime Minister Eduard Heger of Slovakia was recently welcomed to Jerusalem by ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler and his wife Vesna (who is of Slovakian descent) during his state visit to Israel in early March. The official Slovakian delegation visiting Israel included Peter Svec, senior advisor to the Minister of Economics as well as the ICEJ’s national director for Slovakia. Among other topics, Dr. Bühler discussed with PM Heger his country’s recent decision to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.

ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman David Parsons recently spoke at the conference “Israel on Trial”, held in Den Haag and Nijkerk, in the Netherlands. The event was organised by thinc and Christians for Israel International, and featured a number of prominent Israeli and international legal scholars who made presentations concerning the Palestinian-led efforts to charge Israel with war crimes and other false accusations at the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Parsons also joined ICEJ-Netherlands national directors Jacob and Hennie Keegstra and local minister Jack van der Tang for a time of prayer in front of the Peace Palace, home to the ICJ.

DR.

BÜHLER ADDRESSES KNESSET BIBLE CAUCUS

ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler was a featured speaker at a recent meeting of the Knesset Bible Caucus, co-chaired by MKs Michael Biton (National Unity) and Ohad Tal (Religious Zionism), and hosted by its founder, former MK Rabbi Yehudah Glick. Christian and Jewish leaders shared on the importance of the Bible and the centrality or Jerusalem in its dissemination, based on the famous prophetic passages from Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 that: “The law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Dr. Bühler told the gathering that Jerusalem is once again becoming a magnet for the nations in line with these prophetic passages.

FRUITFUL VISIT TO FIJI

ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler and ICEJ-Finland national director Jani Salokangas were recently invited by ICEJ-Fiji to pay an official visit to the Pacific island nation. During their time in the Fijian capital city of Suva, Dr. Bühler was received by President Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere, as well as Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, and several other senior cabinet ministers. The discussions focused on ways to deepen the diplomatic and economic ties between Israel and Fiji, including the new government’s interest in opening an embassy of Fiji in Jerusalem. Bühler and Salokangas also spoke and ministered at churches and youth conferences while in the country.

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THREE YEARS OF GPG AND ROSH CHODESH PRAYER INITIATIVES

During the recent Passover season, the ICEJ marked the three-year anniversary of our weekly online Global Prayer Gathering, which draws hundreds of participants each week for a time of prayer, worship and ministry updates with senior Christian leaders from around the globe. The feast of Pentecost in May also will mark three years of our online Rosh Chodesh Prayer Chain, which now extends to over 260 hours per month and has participants from over 70 nations. The ICEJPhilippines branch has been especially effective in bringing churches and prayer groups into the Rosh Chodesh prayer chain, and recently held a banquet to thank all the pastors, churches and prayer ministry leaders who have committed to helping carry the prayer vigil each month. Reports and testimonies continue to come in from many nations on how the GPG and Rosh Chodesh prayer initiatives have sparked national prayer movements around the world.

To join these prayer efforts, go to: icej.org/pray-with-us

CONDOLENCE CALL ON THE BEREAVED DEE FAMILY

ICEJ staff members Nicole Yoder and Jannie Tolhoek recently paid a condolence visit to the Dee Family in Efrat, who were sitting shiva to mourn the loss of their mother Lucy and two sisters Maia and Rina in a brutal terror shooting in the Jordan Valley during Passover. The father, Rabbi Leo Dee, had already mentioned in a eulogy to his wife about all the sympathetic messages he was receiving from Christians over his family’s tragic ordeal, and he was greatly encouraged by the ICEJ’s condolence visit. Rabbi Dee added that Christians should unite with Jews in taking photos with the Israeli flag and posting them on social media with the hashtag #DeesDay

ICEJ MARKS HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY AT YAD VASHEM

In April, the ICEJ took part in the official state ceremonies at Yad Vashem to mark Yom HaShoah, Israel’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day. Long-serving ICEJ staff members Nicole Yoder and Corrie van Maanen laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance on behalf of our Christian supporters worldwide to honour the memory of the more than six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The Jerusalem headquarters also produced a special program on Yom HaShoah with live reports from the Yad Vashem campus, as well as the speeches delivered by Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the opening ceremonies. The program ended with a special greeting and word of thanks from Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen concerning the ICEJ’s work yearround to assist needy Holocaust survivors.

INSIDE THE EMBASSY
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HAIFA HOME RESIDENTS DELIGHT IN NEW EXPERIENCES!

Here is the latest from the ICEJ’s unique Home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa.

SPRING IN THE AIR

After the rain and cold of winter, the warmer weather brings everything into bloom here in northern Israel. Spring is in the air! Israel is so fresh and green again.

Many of our residents long to see flowers blooming in nature, but some are too weak to go by themselves. They stay at home day after day, but want to go out and see something new. Some used to have gardens of their own and they love flowers.

Not far from Haifa is Kibbutz Ygur, located on the slopes of Mount Carmel, which has a large nursery and greenhouse full of colourful flowers. This was a wonderful place to take a group of our residents who enjoy the beauty of flowers and wanted to drink a cup of coffee in the nursey’s little café.

Haifa is built on the Carmel range and in 2022 a cable car opened to the public. From the cable car you can see breath-taking views all over Haifa Bay and the surrounding area. Our residents were very excited to try the new cable cars and thoroughly enjoyed the bird’s eye view of the sea, forests and neighbourhoods of Haifa.

When reaching the top, we all were ready to visit the local coffee shop before the return trip down the mountain. Everyone came home a little tired but full of memories and stories to share! “I am so glad I could join; it is so much better than sitting at home”, said Emma.

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

PASSOVER HOLIDAY

Right before Passover, many organisations work tirelessly to prepare food packages for needy families and the elderly, so no one will go hungry during the week-long Pesach holiday. Many volunteers from local businesses, the army and police joined our residents in preparing hundreds of holiday packages for needy Holocaust survivors in Haifa and other parts of the country.

A group of students also came from a high school in Mitzpe Ramon, way down in the Negev, and managed to pack 200 food parcels with us in two hours. Afterwards, they listened to Esti, one of our residents, tell her life story.

For Sofia the outing was a balm for her soul. “These flowers don’t only bring joy to my eyes, but they fill my soul with joy,” she exclaimed.

One of our wheelchair-bound residents, Julia, recently arrived from Ukraine with her son. “I didn’t realise Haifa is such a big city”, she said. “The only thing I see is my apartment, the dining room, and the doctor’s office.”

A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF HAIFA

The ICEJ team also organised a special sightseeing tour in Haifa for a group of our residents. The change in environment, the beautiful weather, and the excitement of getting out was a great way for them to bond together, even if they cannot always communicate in the same language.

In preparation for Holocaust Remembrance Day in mid-April, the Haifa Home hosted groups of young Israelis eager to meet Holocaust survivors. One group of teenagers is studying photography at Haifa’s Reut School of Arts, and they came with a very special project in mind; an exhibition dedicated to the survivors. The students spent time with different residents in the Home, taking photos and capturing their inner beauty for a photographic exhibition of the survivors to be held on Yom HaShoah in the Krieger Auditorium in Haifa. The residents treasured the chance to be models for a day! “It makes me so happy to be around these young people, who are so full of life,” said 91-year-old Zelda.

SWISS ADOPTERS VISIT NAOMI

The Glauser family recently came from Switzerland to meet Naomi, a Haifa Home resident they have been supporting. Naomi welcomed them warmly and recounted some of the atrocities she had endured during the Holocaust.

Naomi was born in Chernovtsy (today in Ukraine) in 1934. When the war began, her town came under Nazi occupation. Naomi’s family was forced into a ghetto, while her father was taken to a labour camp. Naomi’s uncle and aunt also disappeared in a camp.

In the ghetto, Naomi’s family was often threatened by random gun fire and hid in an attic for safety. One day, two Nazi officers severely beat Naomi’s mother and ordered them to be shot, but they were spared and hidden by Christian neighbours until their liberation by Russian forces. It turned out Naomi’s father was still alive and they could return home in 1947, but their traumatic experiences stayed with them.

HAIFA HOME
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Survivors admiring the nursery’s flowers

Despite all her hardships in life, Naomi remains a resilient person, and her courage truly inspired the Glauser family.

“After being in contact with Naomi for three years now, I was able to visit her for the first time with my family”, said Ursula Glauser. “It was very special to see Naomi, to listen to her and to feel her big heart. Although we brought gifts with us, I am the one who is going home richer for it. Thank you very much!”

INTRODUCING BORIS

Boris and Etta came to live in the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors five years ago. Boris, now 88, was born in Zaporozhe, in Ukraine, in 1934. When he was seven years old, the war came to his town. His first memory of the war is when his father rushed to their apartment and yelled something to his mother. She just had time to grab a pillow and a blanket, and they left their home immediately.

While German soldiers were entering their town, the family ran to the train station on the opposite side of town, where a train was about to leave. They quickly boarded a cargo car and sat on a pile of straw. Boris remembers the train faced air raids all the way to Moscow. When the German planes appeared, the train stopped and Boris’ father cried: “Get out, fast”. Everyone ran from the train and hid near the tracks while machine guns were firing. When the planes left, the train continued on its way.

Boris’ family was brought to Omsk, a small town in Siberia. The winter of 1941-1942 was extremely cold as temperatures dropped to -40C. They arrived without warm clothes and were suffering from the severe cold. Boris

remembers that once on the way to school, his ears got so cold that he got sick and has had problems with his ears ever since.

When he was still a schoolboy, antisemitism was rampant in the Soviet Union and from a very young age Boris had to fight to protect himself, only because he was Jewish. He would come home with bruises all over his face. His father had to work at the military factory from early morning until very late at night and could not protect his son.

After his army service, Boris entered university for language studies. He finished the courses but did not want to become a teacher. This angered the authorities, who sent him to a very distant village as punishment for his “rebellious character”. A year later he returned to Omsk and began working at a factory in the patent department. He saw different inventions made in other countries and noticed the low quality of products and life in the Soviet Union.

When perestroika (“restructuring”) began in the late 1980s, the factory where he worked was closed. It was a difficult time and crime became rampant. Boris and his wife Etta always felt like strangers in the Soviet Union, as they suffered a lot from antisemitism. So, in 1999 they finally decided to make Aliyah to Israel.

They quickly came to love Israel and today they are so glad to be at the Haifa Home. The couple had to move many times in Haifa, and when they heard about our Home five years ago, they were eager to move in. They remain very grateful to live in a place that takes such good care of them and where they do not have to move again.

After high school, Boris joined the Soviet army. One day he and some comrades took unauthorised leave and as punishment they were sent to a construction unit. There, he met people from all over the country, including some who did not speak Russian. So, in the evenings he taught them Russian, which also helped him learn the basics of several other languages.

Please consider supporting our Haifa Home for Holocaust survivors.

Donate today at:

give.icej.org/survivors

HAIFA HOME
The Glauser family from Switzerland visit with Haifa Home resident Naomi.
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Haifa Home residents Boris & Etta

ICEJ WELCOMES LATEST ALIYAH FLIGHT OF ETHIOPIAN JEWS

In late March, the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport was abuzz with activity, music and welcome banners, as a group of ICEJ staff –Israeli flags and candy in hand – eagerly awaited the arrival of a flight with 155 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants on board. The youngest was just four months old, while the eldest was 70 years old.

home at last. Women dressed in traditional white dresses smiled shyly as they accepted Israeli flags. Young mothers proudly carried their babies on their backs as fathers in their nicest suits gently led their daughters by the hand down the stairs to be welcomed with treats and more Israeli flags.

A testament of God’s faithfulness and care, these Ethiopian families had waited for many long years to be reunited with close relatives who came to Israel in prior decades, and now they can be together in the Land they all dreamed of reaching. For the younger generations on the flight, this journey meant meeting relatives for the first time, such as grandparents who could finally embrace their grandchildren in warm hugs.

The Ethiopian Jewish community, which traces its roots back to the time of King Solomon’s reign, if not even further back to the time of Moses and his Ethiopian wife (Numbers 12:1), has been through intense trials and adversity but is strong and committed to starting over in Israel.

Sponsored by the Christian Embassy, this Aliyah flight not only was a homecoming for Jewish exiles returning to Israel, but it also united families who have been separated for years and in some cases even decades. Despite the ongoing strikes and protests related to Israel’s proposed judicial reforms, Aliyah never stops! These olim were joyfully welcomed and directed to various absorption centers to start their lives afresh in the Land of Israel.

The Aliyah flight arrived just in time for these Ethiopian Jewish families to celebrate the Passover festival for the first time in the Promised Land. God is still delivering His people today! As the Hebrew prophet Zephaniah said: “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, My worshipers, the daughter of My dispersed ones, shall bring My offering.” (Zephaniah 3:10)

These latest newcomers are part of the Israeli government’s “Rock of Israel II” operation, which was launched last year to bring 3,000 Ethiopian olim to Israel by this summer. With this flight, we celebrated crossing the 2,000 mark. Their arrival was extra special, as they came right before Israel also marked Yom HaAliyah, a day to honour all the new immigrants who have made the journey home over the past 100 years and more.

Faces glowing with excitement and awe, many of the Ethiopian immigrants knelt to kiss the ground as they set their eyes upon the Promised Land for the first time. One man, out of exuberance, raised his arms to the sky and shouted praises to God for bringing him

For these newest arrivals, many challenges await as cultural and language barriers must be bridged. Landing at Ben Gurion Airport is only the beginning of a journey that can take years before the immigrants feel fully integrated. Upon arrival, families will go to absorption centers across the country, including in Safed, Haifa, Beit Alfa, Beersheva, Arad and Ibim.

Thanks to your generous support, the ICEJ is able to sponsor Aliyah flights like this and assist Jewish immigrants in getting settled in their new homes.

Help us bring home to Israel more Jewish families from Ethiopia and other lands far and wide.

AID & ALIYAH PROJECTS
DONATE TODAY AT: give.icej.org/aliyah 14 | MAY/JUNE 2023

ALIYAH SEMINARS PREPARE UKRAINIAN JEWS FOR MOVE TO ISRAEL

In late February, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem sponsored a special Aliyah seminar for Ukrainian Jews hosted by The Jewish Agency for Israel on the oneyear anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. More than 100 Ukrainian Jews attended this intensive fast-track program for immigration to Israel, which was held in the western Ukrainian mountains, well away from the ongoing fighting in the East.

integration assistance. To date, the ICEJ has assisted nearly 4,000 Ukrainian Jews make Aliyah since hostilities started in 2014.

One Ukrainian newcomer that the ICEJ recently helped to escape the war is 76-yearold Rachel Perlmutter, who lived in eastern Ukraine. Her city came under heavy shelling, which made it difficult for her to get medical care and the daily insulin she needs to manage her diabetes. With our help, she made the long journey to a nearby former Soviet republic, where she was able to secure all her travel documents from the Jewish Agency and finally fly to Israel on an ICEJsponsored flight. All her expenses were covered by the Christian Embassy, and she is now living in an absorption center in Beersheba.

attacks and air strikes on power stations. There were major air attacks last autumn which caused a widespread blackout that affected over 12 million Ukrainians.

Ukraine’s Jewish community is still facing tremendous challenges, from the destruction of their homes and towns to the constant threat of violence and persecution. The ongoing war has especially traumatized children and the elderly, leaving deep emotional scars. However, the support of the Christian Embassy offers a beacon of hope in the darkness.

In the midst of this crisis, the Christian Embassy continues to offer urgent assistance to help Ukrainian Jews immigrate safely to Israel. The ICEJ-sponsored weekend seminars guide them on their way. Immigration from Ukraine to Israel is running about 100 people per week this year, after more than 15,000 new immigrants from Ukraine were welcomed in 2022.

Please consider partnering with the ICEJ to continue bringing Jews home to Israel from war-torn Ukraine. Donate today at: give.icej.org/aliyah

In reality, the conflict in Ukraine has been dragging on for nine agonizing years, ever since February 2014 when tensions between Russia and Ukraine first erupted into violence that has devastated the region ever since. As the fighting escalated, innocent civilians found themselves trapped in the chaos, their lives forever altered. That fateful year, the ICEJ immediately sprang into action, sponsoring lifesaving Aliyah seminars away from the fighting, as well as emergency flights and urgent integration support for refugees coming to Israel for safety. Thanks to your faithful giving and prayers, the unflagging support has continued to this day.

The recent JAFI seminar gave Ukrainian Jews information on a fast-track Aliyah program. It was led by senior JAFI official Max Lurye, who was born in Dnipro and has helped rescue thousands of immigrants in the nine long years since the war began.

As the fighting has continued, the ICEJ has been helping Ukrainian Jews at all stages of their journey to Israel, including preimmigration programs, transportation, lodging enroute, Aliyah flights, and immediate

Rachel was born not long after the Second World War, according to Danielle Mor of the Jewish Agency. There was always antisemitism around her. With both first and last Jewish names, she suffered greatly. Yet she never considered changing her name, as she was always proud of being Jewish. After getting our assistance in her time of need and starting her new life in Israel, Rachel says her pride in being Jewish was justified.

Meantime, back in eastern Ukraine, the clashes have been intensifying since last summer, mercilessly targeting innocent civilians as well as critical energy infrastructure across the battered country. As of March 2023, over 8,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict. Sometimes the only light piercing the darkness comes from Shabbat candles due to

AID & ALIYAH PROJECTS
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ICEJ SUPPORT IS ‘Music to the Ears’ OF ISRAELI DRUZE SCHOOL

An ICEJ delegation led by Nicole Yoder, Vice President for AID and Aliyah, recently visited the Druze village of Kfar Kisra in northern Israel, where they saw how music can lift spirits.

The ICEJ team was welcomed at the local grade school by teachers and Druze community leaders alongside children with huge smiles waving Israeli flags, and offering flowers and balloons! A sense of excitement filled the school on this very special day when its firstever music room would officially be opened.

Once the ribbon on the new music room was cut, everyone took their seats for the dedication speeches. Yasser Gadban, the regional council head, first thanked the Christian Embassy for sponsoring this and many other school projects in the Druze community over recent decades.

School principal Sakar Shakur then shared his vision for the music room, saying: “Our hope is to help our children to develop good music, to believe in themselves, to become leaders and innovators, and to realise their dreams. Music helps us to deal with life’s challenges and express our emotions. Learning music will help our children develop new skills and interact socially.”

“Thank you for your generosity and good heart”, he continued. “You’ve put a lot of light and love into your gift which brings real change.”

Looking around the room, it was full of new instruments, sounds systems, storage cabinets, tables and chairs. The classroom was just beckoning students to show their creativity. The music teacher gave a wonderful piano performance, while two schoolgirls accompanied with a love ballad in Arabic. Meanwhile, a shy little second-grader mustered up the courage to give an amazing performance on an electric keyboard while his teacher accompanied him in song. It was such a delight to watch his small fingers dance across the keys!

Nicole Yoder was then asked to share and introduced the ICEJ delegates, which included representatives from Denmark, the Philippines, South Africa, Slovakia, Honduras, and the USA.

“Just as the Druze seek to protect their country and seek her good, so also do we, and that includes all the people groups that make up Israeli society”, said Nicole to great applause, adding: “This music room should be an enriching place for the children where they can develop their creativity and confidence, have fun and learn to innovate… and may it be a place from which music and gifted musicians will come out to bless families, the Druze community, and Israel.”

The grade school sits on a hilltop overlooking a lush valley, and has 351 students coming from diverse backgrounds. Some classrooms are for children with special needs, and many students come from low-income families who

would not have the opportunity to learn music outside of a school setting. Touring the rest of the school later, it was evident how deeply the principal cares for the school and students. From the scrupulously clean hallways right down to the security needs and emotions of the children, nothing escapes his sight.

“This music room is a place that will bring much light and joy to the school children, and in turn, this will overflow into our tight-knit community”, he said.

As we wrapped up our visit, the regional council head noted with a smile, “There is only one problem that I’m now presented with. What to do about the other two schools down the road who would also like to have a music room to help their children learn and grow?!!”

Thanks to the generous support of our Christian donors, the ICEJ is making a difference in the lives of these children in Israel. They now have an opportunity for their hidden talents to shine as they learn and develop their musical skills. Perhaps we will be able to help with more music rooms soon.

Through your giving, the ICEJ is able to give a future and hope to all sectors of Israeli society.

Please continue to support the work and witness of the ICEJ by giving at:

give.icej.org/givinghope

AID & ALIYAH PROJECTS
16 | MAY/JUNE 2023

ICEJ DELIVERS PASSOVER GIFTS TO ISRAELI FAMILIES IN NEED

As Passover approached in early April, most Israelis were caught up in the heated debate over judicial reforms. But for many Jewish families, they were more concerned with how to put enough food on the table to celebrate Pesach properly. Thanks to your generous donations, the ICEJ was able to assist some 800 needy Israeli families with Passover gift parcels this year.

These gift packages included food, towels, soaps, and other household items, plus holiday greeting cards. They were distributed to families in communities throughout Israel. Many of the recipients were new immigrants from Ethiopia, Ukraine and Russia, as well as Holocaust survivors, pensioners, single mothers, and families just struggling to make ends meet.

ICEJ teams traversed the country to deliver the holiday presents and were met with outpourings of gratitude. On one visit, ICEJ Aid assistant Jannie Tolhoek visited a woman with two disabled sons. Due to health problems, Marina had to leave her cleaning job before Corona struck. She still battles with several health issues but deeply desires to be back working. This visit was particularly special for Jannie, who was joined by Israeli social worker Ram as they walked through a poor neighbourhood in Ashdod to her fifth-floor apartment.

“Before we could knock on the door, it flew wide open,” said Jannie. “Marina was expecting to see Ram, but when she saw me, a big smile came over her face. She straight away hugged me and told me how happy she was to see me again. The previous visit was just before Passover 2019. She had not forgotten that time and could not stop smiling.”

“You bring so much joy by coming again. You didn’t forget me,” the lady exclaimed. “I know this gift package comes from Christians. Please, don’t forget to thank them.”

In Kiryat Gat, we met a colourful group of Ethiopian Jews. This community is no stranger to the afflictions of the ancient Israelites in the Exodus story, as they too faced oppression, hunger and peril when crossing barren deserts to reach Israel. Our Passover gifts brought smiles to their faces and hope to their hearts.

The AID team also visited Nof HaGalil, close to Nazareth, where 50 new immigrant families from Ukraine witnessed a beautiful demonstration of Christian love towards them from local Israeli Arab pastor Saleem Shalash. And thanks to Finnish Christian donors, these Ukrainian Jewish families were able to celebrate this joyous “Exodus” holiday for the first time in the Promise Land!

“We are so excited to be here during this special time of the year. Passover is an important season for Jews and Christians. We are here to say that we love you and wish you a happy holiday,” shared Pastor Saleem as he helped distribute gift boxes to the grateful families.

An ICEJ team also visited Rishon LeZion, where 70 Ukrainian and Russian Jewish immigrants were thrilled to receive Passover gifts. ICEJ staff member Victoria Hecht, who speaks Russian, shared about the Christian Embassy and encouraged them as they settle into their new life in Israel. Victoria met one Ukrainian family that had been reluctant to make Aliyah until the war came, and now they are so glad to be here. Meanwhile, a mother from Russia shared how “many young people do not want to come to Israel, but once they are here, they often thank their parents for making them come.”

AID & ALIYAH PROJECTS
invite you to partner with us to provide hope and assistance to more needy families in Israel. Donate today at: give.icej.org/givinghope
We
Jannie Tolhoek with Pastor Saleem from Nazareth distribute gift boxes during Passover.

ICEJ HOMECARE SHARES SPECIAL MOMENTS DURING PESACH

In Israel, everyone seems to be on the move as Passover approaches. There is an enormous rush that almost makes you believe everyone is on the same journey together. As we prepare for Pesach, the house must be thoroughly cleaned. Not a crumb of bread may be left behind.

Every year, I am amazed at how it affects me, too, especially as the Seder meal nears on the eve of Passover. Daily life here is becoming more expensive, yet people were buying in abundance. Shopping carts were full in the grocery stores.

What makes the Seder night so different? It is a time of remembering the miracles that God has done. And even amidst this busy holiday, the weekly visits by ICEJ Homecare continue as usual.

Rosa* had just come home from a visit to the doctor. It was not a good diagnosis. She really did not want to talk about it yet, as the news was too heavy. She also still misses her sister whom she lived with until the sister passed away more than six years ago. So, Rosa was happy to see me – a welcome distraction.

I put my Pesach present on the kitchen table, along with a supermarket coupon for something extra and a nice card in which I had written: “To celebrate Passover is to remember the joy of the redemption that the God of Israel gave in a dark time of Jewish history. May it give us faith to trust Him in our situation.” The card could serve as a bookmark. She immediately picked up her Book of Psalms and said: “This bookmark must go with my favourite Psalm.”

Her Book of Psalms was full of notes. Rosa stopped at Psalm 23. She read it in Russian, put the bookmark between the pages, closed the book, kissed the cover and was visibly happy with this acquisition.

Sitting at the kitchen table, I asked Rosa if she used to celebrate the Passover Seder with her parents. It was as if the sun started to shine.

“We lived in Belarus”, she began. “We celebrated the Seder in secret, with six people around the table. Not only Jews, but we also had friendship with Christians.”

She emphasized again, with great seriousness, that it was all in secrecy, as if she still feels the tension that came with it.

“But before that, our house was first thoroughly cleaned”, Rosa continued. “The cutlery and crockery went to the shed in the garden and the Pesach crockery appeared. No yeast was allowed to remain in the house. On the day Pesach started, our grandfather came, and he baked the matzot himself, a lot, and he distributed it.”

I asked her who made the holes in the matzah.

“It was me”, she beamed, proudly patting her chest. “I had to shower and get a clean dress and then grandpa gave me the wheel. He had taken a wheel from an old clock and cleaned it, put a stick through it and I used it to drive the holes in the matzah.”

She makes the motion with passion… whiz, whiz.

“Father went to the synagogue before Seder night. No one knew it was a synagogue, but there was a minyan who gathered and recited the prayers. He had to walk several miles to get there. We were all together, an evening full of stories.”

For a moment, Rosa completely forgot about the difficult doctor’s visit. I asked her where she would celebrate this year’s seder?

“With my brother and his demented wife”, she answered.

A shadow suddenly fell over her happy face. Her thoughts were with the past, when she was still a young girl of six or seven years old. She misses it so much, the people around the Seder table. People with big hearts to share their love and experience joy in being together. For a moment, I was allowed close to her heart. In telling these memories, she momentarily escaped the loneliness which surrounds her every day. Then it was time for tea and to focus again on life today.

* Name has been changed

HOMECARE
Support the work of ICEJ Homecare by donating at: give.icej.org/homecare •
18 | MAY/JUNE 2023

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AUSTRALIA KICKS OFF CELEBRATIONS OF ISRAEL’S 75TH

CZECH, GERMAN BRANCHES FIGHT ANTISEMITISM, REMEMBER HOLOCAUST

In April, hundreds of Czech citizens marched in Prague with Israeli flags to show solidarity with the Jewish people in their fight against antisemitism. The march, organised by the ICEJ-Czech branch, was followed by a rally in the garden of the Czech Senate attended by high-ranking government officials and the Israeli ambassador. Meantime, the ICEJ’s Czech, Slovak and German offices jointly organised a tour for hundreds of high school students to visit the Terezin concentration camp and honour the victims of the Shoah.

ICEJ-Australia national director Sarah Way represented the Christian Embassy at a recent gala dinner in Perth to kick off Israel’s 75th anniversary celebrations, organised by United Israel Appeal. The guests of honour included former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett, and Israel’s ambassador to Australia, Amir Mamon. Bennett spoke on the foreign policy challenges he faced as prime minister last year, including Israel’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with humanitarian aid and emergency Aliyah efforts. In the weeks before the gala dinner, ICEJ-Australia helped stage a series of joint Jewish-Christian events across the nation to celebrate Israel’s 75th, educate others about Israel, and plan for future Judeo-Christian cooperation.

ICEJ-USA MARKING ISRAEL’S 75TH WITH GALA BANQUETS

Numerous ICEJ offices worldwide are planning special celebrations of Israel’s 75th Anniversary in their nations. The ICEJ-USA team, led by national director Susan Michael, will be hosting two gala banquets to mark the occasion, one in Nashville on May 7, and the second in Washington, DC on May 17. Between the two ‘Diamond Anniversary’ dinners, the featured speakers will include ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler, Jason Greenblatt (architect of the Abraham Accords), Hananya Naftali (social media specialist for Israel’s prime minister), Governors Bill Lee and Glenn Youngkin, and Israeli and Arab diplomats, while other special guests and musical performers will include Pastor Dumisani Washington, Aaron Shust, Nicole C. Mullen, Vesna Bühler, and the Nashville Praise Symphony.

FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2020 ICEJ INTERNATIONAL
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ICEJ LEADERS ATTEND GLOBAL CONFERENCE FOR ISRAEL

Jani Salokangas and Vivienne Myburgh, ICEJ national directors for Finland and South Africa respectively, attended a recent gathering of pro-Israel activists hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. The Global Coalition for Israel conference (GC4I) drew Jewish and Christian participants from more than 30 countries, representing 160 institutions, think tanks and organisations that support the Jewish state. Featured speakers included several Israeli cabinet ministers, MFA director general Ronen Levi, and American Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein. The conference covered Israel’s current domestic and foreign policy challenges, such as the looming Iranian threat, the judicial reforms debate, and regional changes produced by the Abraham Accords. MFA official Oded Joseph noted that trade between Israel and its regional peace partners nearly doubled last year, with 7,000 Israeli companies now cooperating with counterparts in the United Arab Emirates alone. Still, Israel and Jews remain targets of antisemitism worldwide, and the conference sought ways to enhance joint efforts to counteract these hateful campaigns.

GERMAN CHRISTIANS ENCOUNTER MODERN ISRAEL

The ICEJ’s German branch recently brought a group of faithful supporters on a 10-day tour of Israel that focused on encountering the people of Israel today. Participants visited some of our key projects around the Land and got to know Israel from a side rarely seen by regular tourists. The highlights included meeting Holocaust survivors at the ICEJ’s Haifa Home and an artists’ workshop for the elderly in Jerusalem. In Rishon LeZion, the group distributed food to the needy in the parking area of a shopping mall and came to understand better the growing gap between rich and poor in Israel. They planted trees in the Galilee, visited a secret underground ammunitions factory from the 1948 War of Independence, and spent time in a bomb shelter along the Gaza border donated by the ICEJ. They also spoke with new Jewish immigrants from Russia and Ukraine about their challenges and joined a traditional Shabbat dinner with a Messianic Jewish family in Jerusalem. “There were many moments and places where you felt very clearly that God is here”, Kathrin Kirsch said of the tour.

CENTRAL AFRICA RISING UP FOR ISRAEL

In March, the Christian Embassy’s representative in Cameroon, Apostle Julius Ekie, organised an international conference in the capital of Yaoundé under the theme of the Church’s role in standing with a restored Israel. More than 150 leaders from all provinces across the country attended the conference, including five highly-esteemed patriarchs who were the main church founders in Cameroon. In a strong show of unity, they all expressed support for building relations with Israel. The climax of the conference was a time of prayer for Israel and Cameroon and a symbolic exchange of each nation’s flags. The speakers included ICEJ Vice President for International Affairs Dr. Mojmir Kallus, coming from Jerusalem, as well as Pastor Jean Lee from South Korea and Bishop Laurent Do Rego from Gabon. The gathering shows that believers in Central Africa are mobilising for Israel and we look forward to welcoming many of them as Feast pilgrims in September.

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GABI BARKAY – THE DEAN OF BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

Professor Gabriel Barkay is a living legend in the field of Biblical Archaeology. A colorful figure, he is considered the leading expert on the history of Jerusalem and is credited with discovering the oldest biblical Hebrew inscriptions ever found – two silver amulets with the Aaronic Blessing from Numbers 6:24-26, dating to the time of King Hezekiah. We spoke to him recently about this and other key finds in the Land since Israel’s rebirth 75 years ago. The full interview is available online at org/gabriel-barkay, but here are excerpts…

WFJ: We understand your doctorate at Tel Aviv University was a survey of Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem?

Prof. Barkay: Correct! I dealt with the northwest suburbs of Jerusalem towards the end of First Temple period. One way to track the city’s expansion is the burial fields, because the Jewish custom was to bury the deceased at least 50 cubits outside the inhabited city… I located around 150 burial caves around Jerusalem… from the First Temple and later periods.

Q: WHAT OTHER EXCAVATIONS HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN?

A: In the last 15 years or so, I have directed the Sifting Project, sorting through soil illicitly removed from the Temple Mount, which is the most important archeological site in this country. But I’m especially proud of my dig

in the western side of Jerusalem, at Katef Hinnom, next to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church of Scotland. There, I had nine seasons of excavations in a series of burial caves from the seventh century BCE, some 2600 years ago. Most of these seven caves were looted in antiquity. But in one burial cave, we found over 1,000 objects in one chamber, some made of gold or silver, beads, and 360 intact pottery vessels. Among the finds were two tiny rolled up plaques made of 99% pure silver. After three years of efforts, we managed to unroll the scrolls and they were densely covered with ancient Hebrew script, which included in both cases the priestly benediction from Numbers chapter six, verses 24 to 26. These are the earliest biblical verses that we know of today, from just before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, when Solomon’s Temple still stood. And these two tiny scrolls mention six times the name of the LORD, which was also the first word that I managed to decipher. The tetragrammaton of the unpronounceable name of God, which appears in the Bible as YHWH.

ages 12 to 13, which is a dangerous age. They have brains, but don’t know how to use them. Among those kids was a boy of the nagging type. He used to pull my shirt from behind and when I turned around, he would ask me silly questions. So, to get rid of this boy, I put him into that repository, which I thought was empty… And he, in his boredom, took a hammer and began banging on the stones which I thought were the floor. And he began to pull out complete objects from underneath, which was against all instructions they had been given. Actually, I saw my shirt being pulled from behind and I turned around and saw this boy handling intact pottery vessels from the First Temple period. So, I asked him: “Where did you get that?” He couldn’t supply me an answer, and I was ready to suffocate him on the spot. He made the discovery of my life. Mine, not his! This is the oldest Hebraic inscription from the Bible we’ve ever found. Nothing parallels with it.

Q: ISRAEL IS APPROACHING ITS 75TH ANNIVERSARY. HOW IMPORTANT HAS IT BEEN FOR ISRAEL TO RULE OVER MOST OF THE LAND IN ORDER TO REDISCOVER ITS JEWISH HISTORY?

You should remember that the first years after the establishment of the State of Israel, archaeology was a kind of a national hobby. The founding father of the State, David Ben Gurion, used to visit the digs. One of the major figures in archaeology was my teacher, Yigal Yadin, who was the commander of the War of Independence… For years, archaeology occupied a very important role in public life. Archaeological discoveries were advanced in the President’s home, and they appeared on the front pages of daily papers… That enthusiasm of the 1950s and 60s does not exist anymore. But our connection to archaeology, to the history of this country, is still very, very strong.

Q: That’s amazing!

A: It was an interesting case. We worked that season in 1979 with the help of some kids

Q: IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE MORE PROJECT TO EXCAVATE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A: The Temple Mount… Every archaeologist

BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY
Silver Scroll
22 | MAY/JUNE 2023
Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama

Burial Cave at Ketef Hinnom (petergoeman.com) has dreams, but dreams do not always come true. Unfortunately, I can hardly walk now…

Q: BUT YOU HAVE MANY TALMIDIM (STUDENTS) WHO WILL CARRY ON THE WORK?

A: Yes, I have had many 1000s of students, including many Christians, as I taught for over 40 years.

HEBRAIC LESSONS TO REMEMBER

WWhen Peter preached to the Jewish crowd after healing a lame man at the gate Beautiful, he proclaimed that Jesus would be ‘retained’ in heaven until “the times of restoration of all things” spoken by the prophets (Acts 3:21). We live in a time when God is restoring Israel, both physically and spiritually, and restoring the Church as well. He restored the Word to the Church through the Reformation, He restored the gifts of the Spirit through the Pentecostal revival, and today He is restoring among Gentile believers an appreciation for Israel and the Hebraic roots of our faith.

One Hebrew concept we can learn from is moed, or “appointed time”. It means God makes special appointments with His people. The tent where God spoke to Moses in the Wilderness was called ohel moed, literally “the tent of appointment”. The great festivals of Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles are also moadim –“appointed times”.

The beginning of each Hebrew month, called Rosh Chodesh, is also a moed Mentioned in Numbers 10:10, it is a joyous time that starts by blowing the trumpet. The Hebrew Bible calls it a zikaron (“memorial”), which suggests something almost ominous.

In Exodus 17:14, the Lord told Moses to write on a scroll “something to be remembered” (zikaron), namely that “I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” He was referring to the battle with the Amalekites, who massacred the weak and elderly of Israel. This early encounter with the spirit of antisemitism was to be remembered.

In modern times, Yom HaShoah is a similar time to remember a great tragedy – the Holocaust.

The rebellion of Korah is also remembered in Numbers 16:39-40, when fire consumed those wanting to lead the Israelites back to Egypt. The rebels had burned incense on bronze censers which Eleazar the priest was told to hammer into a covering on the altar “as a memorial (zikaron) to the children of Israel”.

These examples show that “zikaron” is meant to draw attention to wrongdoings or catastrophes, to learn the lessons of history. Indeed, Jewish culture is strongly shaped by remembrance.

But the phrase “memorial before the Lord” also can mean that we ask God to remember us as Habakkuk prayed, “in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). It expresses trust in the Lord’s forgiving character. Likewise, Exodus 39:7 commands that the High Priest’s garment feature gems mounted on the shoulders as ‘memorial stones’ to remember the twelve tribes of Israel. He literally carried them on his shoulders – with all their sins and imperfections – and cried out, “Lord, remember mercy”.

Three years ago, the ICEJ began starting each Hebrew month by holding an online Rosh Chodesh prayer vigil. This has grown into a unique global network of churches and prayer groups interceding for Israel and their nations. At each Rosh Chodesh, we look at the biblical meaning of that month. This has been a journey of discovery, as every month brings new topics to ponder and lessons to remember. At the same time, we are interceding for our nations and asking God to remember us in His mercy.

JEWISH ROOTS Join our global prayer efforts every month at: icej.org/pray-with-us
23 | WORD FROM JERUSALEM

29 September - 6 october 2023

• Two days in the Galilee • Five days in Jerusalem • Roll Call of the Nations

• Communion at Garden Tomb • Jerusalem March • Prayer Vigil

• Solidarity visit to the Negev

Online Packages

Starting at $50 USD

• Full registration to 8-day gathering

• Videos On Demand accessible until end of January 2024, or July* 2024

• Digital certificate of participation

*Depending on package.

In-Person Packages

Starting at Come to Israel and join us for complete access to all the Feast events between 29 September to 06 October plus so much more!

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us at feast.icej.org for all the details on how you can join us in Israel at the Feast of Tabernacles 2023
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“For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding.”

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Articles inside

HEBRAIC LESSONS TO REMEMBER

2min
page 23

GABI BARKAY – THE DEAN OF BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

3min
pages 22-23

CENTRAL AFRICA RISING UP FOR ISRAEL

1min
page 21

GERMAN CHRISTIANS ENCOUNTER MODERN ISRAEL

1min
page 21

ICEJ LEADERS ATTEND GLOBAL CONFERENCE FOR ISRAEL

1min
page 21

ICEJ-USA MARKING ISRAEL’S 75TH WITH GALA BANQUETS

1min
page 20

AUSTRALIA KICKS OFF CELEBRATIONS OF ISRAEL’S 75TH CZECH, GERMAN BRANCHES FIGHT ANTISEMITISM, REMEMBER HOLOCAUST

1min
page 20

ICEJ HOMECARE SHARES SPECIAL MOMENTS DURING PESACH

3min
pages 18-19

ICEJ DELIVERS PASSOVER GIFTS TO ISRAELI FAMILIES IN NEED

2min
page 17

ICEJ SUPPORT IS ‘Music to the Ears’ OF ISRAELI DRUZE SCHOOL

2min
page 16

ALIYAH SEMINARS PREPARE UKRAINIAN JEWS FOR MOVE TO ISRAEL

2min
page 15

ICEJ WELCOMES LATEST ALIYAH FLIGHT OF ETHIOPIAN JEWS

2min
page 14

HAIFA HOME RESIDENTS DELIGHT IN NEW EXPERIENCES!

5min
pages 12-13

ICEJ MARKS HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY AT YAD VASHEM

1min
page 11

CONDOLENCE CALL ON THE BEREAVED DEE FAMILY

1min
page 11

THREE YEARS OF GPG AND ROSH CHODESH PRAYER INITIATIVES

1min
page 11

FRUITFUL VISIT TO FIJI

1min
page 10

BÜHLER ADDRESSES KNESSET BIBLE CAUCUS

1min
page 10

A NATION BLESSING THE WHOLE WORLD

4min
pages 8-10

ISRAEL AT

1min
page 8

IRAN WIDENS ITS ‘SHADOW WAR’ WITH ISRAEL

2min
page 7

KING of HEAVEN EARTH

8min
pages 4-6

FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK

2min
pages 2-3
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