Word from Jerusalem - May-June 2024

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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.



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

General Manager Richard van der Beek

Managing Editor/Publications Director Laurina Driesse

Staff Writers Nativia Samuelsen, Marelinke van der Riet, Jonathan Parsons

Graphic Design/Illustrator Ryan Tsuen

Administration Tobias H

Photography Adobe Stock, Adobe Firefly, AP, Getty Images, RTE, Flash90, JAFI, Gospelimages, Wikimedia, 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


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

Support our ministry online at www.icej.org


Dear friends,

As you receive this magazine, Israel has just experienced a further escalation of its six-month old war with Hamas. Over 300 missiles and drones were fired from Iran at the Jewish state. This marked the first time in Iran’s 45-year campaign to destroy Israel that it launched an attack directly from Iranian soil. Thankfully, the vast majority of the missiles and drones were shot down before they ever entered Israeli airspace, and only a handful landed in Israel, causing minor damage, although an Arab Bedouin girl was severely injured. Everyone, including top military experts, agreed that this was nothing short of a miracle.

I am fully convinced that this was one of many answered prayers we have witnessed over recent months. We also see an increasing number of testimonies of miraculous protection coming from young IDF soldiers serving in Gaza.

One of my best experiences in recent weeks was at a gathering of pastors and ministry leaders from across Israel in the Negev desert. What impressed me most was the evening when young believing soldiers gave their testimonies, and one amazing story after the other came forth from these courageous young men.

Earlier that day, we each spent several hours alone in the desert to hear what the Lord would speak. What was strongly impressed upon my heart was the passage from Romans 8:19 which describes the whole of Creation groaning for the revelation of the sons of God. I felt Israel is currently in such a tremendous travail to that very end. That night, when I heard the testimonies from the young generation, I realised Gaza is like a fiery furnace in which God is preparing a new generation of leaders, not only in the local Messianic body but for the whole nation of Israel. I left the pastors’ gathering greatly encouraged, as I saw that God is preparing a strong generation that will give Israel the needed leadership to take it to the next stage of their journey back to Him.

Without a doubt, we are experiencing historic moments that will forever change Israel, and the entire world as well. I want to personally encourage you to make every effort to join us for this year’s Feast of Tabernacles from 16 to 23 October. As you come, you will encounter the new spirit here in this land, as well as the brokenness of those mourning the loss of loved ones and the pain of families separated from the hostages held in Gaza. Your presence here will help their wounds begin to heal. The Feast theme this year is “By My Spirit, says the Lord,” which is a prophetic word not only for Israel but for the whole world.

Thank you for standing with the ICEJ in such a generous and faithful manner, both in prayer and in your financial support. This magazine contains many reports on the amazing work our staff has been able to accomplish with your help over these past few months. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, and I look forward to seeing you at the Feast in Jerusalem.

In His abounding grace,

President International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

COVER PHOTO: Portrait of Eitan Gonen, father of Romi Gonen who is being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Photo by Yossi Aloni/FLASH90.

SCAN ME TO BLESS ISRAEL TODAY! WFJ_2024-0506 FOR MAGAZINE ARCHIVES visit www.icej.org/media/word-jerusalem
Painting by Jan van’t Hoff “Joseph tells about his second dream”.


In our last Word From Jerusalem, we saw Israel represented in Revelation 12 as a woman adorned with twelve stars, and the sun and moon. In his vision, the Apostle John saw imagery that only appears one other time in the Bible, in Genesis 37 where Joseph has two dreams. In one dream, he sees his eleven brothers as stars and his father and mother as the sun and moon, all bowing down to him (Genesis 37:10). Earlier, Joseph had a similar dream where his brothers appeared as sheaves of wheat bowing down to his sheaf.

Many years later, Joseph was suddenly elevated from prison to viceroy under Pharaoh and the dreams come true when his brothers came to buy wheat from him during a famine in Canaan. These dreams not only foretell Joseph’s amazing rise to rulership in Egypt and role as a prototype of the suffering Messiah, but also the broader calling and destiny of the Jewish people.


Both the sheaves of wheat and the stars, sun and moon represent key aspects of the calling of Israel. Wheat became a central commodity of Joseph’s reign. Under his leadership, Egypt

became the world’s primary

in a time of global starvation.

The book of Genesis says, “all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.”

(Genesis 41:57) In a way, Joseph’s ministry in Egypt foreshadowed the calling God placed upon Israel from the start.

Many times in the Bible, wheat and the bread it produces depict the very word of God. Deuteronomy 8:3 proclaims man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. In Jeremiah 15:16, the prophet found the word of God and ate it. In Luke 8:11, Jesus explains the Parable of the Sower, saying the seed is God’s word.

Many times in the Bible, wheat and the bread it produces depict the very word of God.

Israel became the nation of the Book, sowing God’s word around the earth. In Romans 3:1-2, Paul declares one of Israel’s main callings was

to administer the oracles of God. All the books of the Bible were written by Jews. Psalms 147:19-20 says: “He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation.” That means the main nourishment for our spirit, soul and body came through the Jewish people.

But there is more! The Jewish people gave the world not only the written word of God, but the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus is the living Word of God. Therefore, Jesus declares: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.”

(John 6:51) Truly, everything that defines our faith as Christians was given to us by the Jewish people, including a Jewish Messiah. It is exactly as God told Abraham: “… in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

(Genesis 12:3)

But what about the second dream? What do the stars, sun and moon have to do with the Jewish people? In Genesis, we are informed of their very purpose in the Creation story.


“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the

An illustration of Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:5-10 (Generated using Adobe Firefly/Photoshop. Sheaves of wheats bowing to one sheave of wheat) breadbasket
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firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens … to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:14-18)

The Word of God we received from the Jewish people not only leads us on the way to God and nourishes our soul, it also establishes moral guidelines for humanity.

Much can be said about this passage. Let me highlight two reasons why God placed the sun, moon and stars in the heavens. The main purpose was to “separate the light from the darkness.” The Word of God we received from the Jewish people not only leads us on the way to God and nourishes our soul, it also establishes moral guidelines for humanity. The Ten Commandments represent to this day the moral pillars of most societies. They are more relevant now than ever, as moral boundaries in most Western societies are increasingly blurred.

The prophet Isaiah warns: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness…” (Isaiah 5:20)

This moral inversion can be seen today as family values are turned upside down and our God-given genders are under assault. This also can be seen daily as the antisemitic, genocidal Hamas militia is presented as victim, while the brutally attacked nation of Israel is deemed the aggressor. This is happening at the United Nations, and in international courts at The Hague. Radical leftists and even countries like Ireland and Spain fail to discern between good and evil. The God of Israel, Creator of heaven and earth, provided His word as the ultimate guide to separate light and darkness, and it is more necessary than ever that the people of God serve as lights in a darkening world today.


But there is one more function for the heavenly luminaries; they are given for signs and seasons, and to separate days and years. The Hebrew calendar is different from all other calendars throughout history. It starts with the Creation and measures the entirety

of human history. Not only that, the Jewish calendar has impacted the whole world. Right in the beginning of Creation, God established a seven-day week and set aside the seventh day to rest from work. This divinely appointed day of rest has made its way into all societies, and is even considered a universal human right. In addition, the Hebrew Bible gives us a sacred calendar with set Jewish holidays, known as the feasts of the Lord (see Leviticus 23). Though changed by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, these God-given festivals have still shaped the holiday calendar in most Christian nations.

Israel also serves as a signpost for defining the times and seasons of the nations. Jesus says in Luke 21:29 to “Look at the fig tree.” With this little phrase, Jesus indicated that the re-establishment of the Jewish nation back in their ancient homeland would mark a paradigm shift regarding the times and seasons. In the same chapter, Jesus declares the trampling down of Jerusalem by the nations as the “time of the Gentiles,” suggesting the Jewish restoration to Jerusalem would mark its end. Thus, through Israel we know we live in a transition period today. The Gentile age is closing and the Messianic age is approaching. Therefore, many people rightly say the nation of Israel is God’s time clock.

To the forces of darkness, the revived nation of Israel represents a powerful signpost their time is running out. It also signals to the Church that we cannot continue with business as usual.

Messiah. To the forces of darkness, the revived nation of Israel represents a powerful signpost their time is running out. It also signals to the Church that we cannot continue with business as usual. God is calling us to a radical dedication to follow the Lamb wherever he leads (Revelation 12:11, 14:4). It is a time of great conflict in the spiritual realm and we are called to intercede for Israel as never before. Yet it also is a time of great exploits (Daniel 11:32ff). The events of October 7 and the recent attack of 350 Iranian missiles and drones are signs of a far greater battle in the heavenlies ahead.

Let me invite you to join thousands of Christians already taking part in our online prayer calls, and to stand with Israel in very practical ways by supporting our relief aid projects described in this magazine. May God bless you in so doing.

Thus, we see portrayed within the imagery of Genesis 37 and Revelation 12 the unique and weighty calling of Israel. This also explains why Revelation 12:12 warns: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”

The restoration of Israel in our time is perhaps the greatest sign of the soon coming of the

Join us in our online prayer calls! icej.org/pray-with-us
Painting by Jan van’t Hoff “Joseph tells about his second dream”. Gospelimages.com


We recently passed six months since Hamas triggered a war with Israel in Gaza by its brutal massacres of October 7. This is a good point to step back and assess where we are in this prolonged conflict.

In due time, there will be official inquiries on Israel’s unpreparedness for the Hamas assault on Simchat Torah. But we know enough already to answer some key questions about this war: Why was Israel so surprised by the Hamas invasion? Why has Hizbullah not fully joined the war? How has Israel done so far in Gaza? Where are things heading? And if the war ended today, who would win?


First, Israeli political and military leaders were guilty of “group think” on Hamas – namely, a prevailing view it was deterred by Israeli military power. The IDF had negated their rocket threat with the Iron Dome and terror tunnels using ground-penetrating radar. There also was a consensus that Hamas was preoccupied with governing Gaza, which was undergoing a building boom, bringing a windfall to its leaders. This group think held even though Israel had set up mechanisms after the Yom Kippur War debacle to always challenge the accepted wisdom of its intelligence community. Finally, major warning signs were roundly ignored, notably the repeated alerts from female IDF observers watching security cameras along the Gaza border that something was afoot.

In addition, Israeli society was exhausted from a year of intense debate over proposed judicial reforms. There was a respite from this political battle over the fall Knesset recess, and Simchat Torah was the last day to rest

before the debate would heat up again. So, everyone was relaxing that fateful Shabbat morning.

Still, Hamas can claim some success in deceiving Israel. First, they managed to keep the invasion a tightly-held secret among a handful of leaders inside Gaza. Hamas also did not join the intense three-day rocket war launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad last May, which lulled Israel into thinking it did not want war. Further, there was none of the usual rioting and incitement on the Temple Mount during the Jewish high holidays last October.

Hamas and Iran also increased their recruitment of terror cells in the West Bank, which prompted the IDF to redeploy forces from the Gaza border to Judea and Samaria.

Thus, the so-called “al-Aqsa Storm” was more successful than Hamas expected. The result was over 1,200 Israelis dead and more than 250 taken hostage into Gaza, while all of Israel was suddenly afraid of more massive rocket barrages and home invasions from Lebanon.

Even so, the carnage could have been much worse, as the great secrecy by Hamas also hurt them. Hamas and Hizbullah had been coordinating closely with Iran to form a ‘United Front of Resistance’ against Israel, and they were planning a simultaneous multifront assault – though no date had been set. But Hamas jumped the gun and the October 7 attacks surprised Hizbullah as well.


Caught off guard, Hizbullah watched developments in southern Israel those first days to see how Hamas was faring. But they held back for two reasons: First, Israel quickly mobilised 350,000 reservists and reinforced the northern front. And second, Israel evacuated 120,000 civilians from along the Lebanese border.

Israeli hostage brings back her pet dog from Gaza

This meant Hizbullah’s elite Radwan forces would face much tougher odds to duplicate Hamas successes in the South. Thus, Hizbullah has been content to “contribute” to the Hamas war effort by simply pinning large numbers of IDF troops in the North via an artillery duel right along the border. This proved to be a very critical decision, signalling that neither Hizbullah nor Iran wanted a major direct war with Israel right now, and it has left Israel with the initiative to smash Hizbullah at a time of its choosing – some say in May/June.


As in the past, the IDF divided Gaza into thirds and first dealt with Gaza City in the north, then central Gaza, and more recently with

An (RTE screen capture)
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Hamas militiamen capture IDF tank on October 7 (Getty Images)

A rare sight of Palestinians waving white flags in Gaza (AP)

Khan Younis in the south. The IDF estimates it has killed or wounded two-thirds of the Hamas fighters in Gaza, including 13,000 Hamas militiamen killed during the Gaza ground operations, plus 1,000 more inside Israel on October 7. In comparison, the IDF has lost just over 260 troops in Gaza – far fewer than expected. The Israeli military also has destroyed tons of weaponry and hundreds of tunnels – maybe half of what is there.

Nonetheless, Israel’s war effort has been seriously hampered by the international community’s decision that all Gazan civilians must remain on the battlefield, allowing Hamas to use them as human shields. This has directly contributed to the rising civilian death toll in Gaza, and the difficulties in getting

food to the people. Yet the world has accused Israel of deliberately starving Gazans and committing genocide, rather than blaming Hamas or even themselves. This was a shameful and unprecedented move in modern warfare, to force a civilian population to stay in harm’s way.

Secondly, to this day neither the UN Security Council nor General Assembly have condemned Hamas for its grave atrocities on October 7. This too is shameful and unpardonable! It has sent a message to Israelis that their lives do not matter and that Jewish blood is considered cheap. Therefore, I do not blame Israelis for ignoring the advice and criticism of other nations concerning their conduct in this war.


Currently we are in a strange lull, with Israel waiting for a hostage deal or a decision to go into Rafah, the final Hamas stronghold where many hostages may be held. There have been growing tensions between Israel and the Biden administration over the planned Rafah operation, which Washington fears will endanger scores of Palestinian refugees huddling there. But Israel has changed its strategy of late – flooding Gaza with food and withdrawing most IDF forces – largely to improve conditions for reaching a hostage deal.

In any case, the US is still sending weapons to Israel, while reports indicate Indonesia and even Saudi Arabia are interested in normalising ties with Jerusalem despite the


For 45 years the Islamic regime in Iran has waged a relentless campaign to destroy Israel, mainly using proxy militias. But for the first time, Iran launched a direct attack against Israel from its own soil early on 14 April. In the largest-ever barrage of its kind, Tehran launched over 320 drones and missiles at Israel. But the IDF (and its allies) shot down 99% of the drones and missiles, most before they entered Israeli air space. The attack turned out to be a legendary success for Israel and an embarrassing failure for Iran. Israel is now weighing its response, even as the spotlight has finally turned to the real villain in this conflict – the Iranian regime.

South Africa drags Israel to the World Court on genocide charges (AP)

war. So, things could turn around quickly for Israel. Nonetheless, the Jewish state will face a torrent of lawfare claims arising from this war for years to come.


Of course, Hamas would claim victory, simply because it survived to fight another day! But with the high death toll in Gaza, much of it in shambles, and most Gazans shell-shocked from six months of war, it is hard to see how Hamas can credibly claim victory.

Meanwhile, Israel could claim a partial victory in Gaza. The nation recovered quickly from the setback of October 7. The IDF has done remarkably well militarily in complex urban warfare conditions in achieving a roughly 1-to1 ratio of combatants to civilians killed (The recent global average in urban war settings is 18 civilians for every combatant killed). Hopefully, that feat will be widely recognised, rather than the blood libels of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Israel also has been united by this conflict, but it remains fragile. And this victory will never be complete until all the hostages are returned.

Coming out of this war, Israel must continue to insist on dismantling UNRWA, and make sure the Palestinian “right of return” is laid to rest forever. Instead, why not let all those nations who sympathise with the people of Gaza take some in as refugees?!

Downed Iranian missile floating in the Dead Sea.



hen Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy come together to engage in interfaith dialogue, they often seek to find common ground through the figure of Abraham, since his faith is revered by all three religions. And indeed, the Bible encourages those who “seek the Lord” and “follow after righteousness” to “look to the rock from which you were hewn... Look to Abraham your father… For I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him.” (Isaiah 51:1-2)

In looking to Abraham, there are enduring lessons and truths we can take from his faith walk which have a direct bearing on the current conflict between Israel and those radical Islamists who seek her destruction.

First, the prophet Isaiah says the Lord called Abraham alone, meaning he was the first person called by God to carry out His redemptive plan. After the Flood of Noah, the world was still lost and did not even know how to find God. So, the Lord decided to come save mankind. And he deposited within Abraham great promises: to bless him, multiply him, make him a great nation and even a father of nations, to give him a land, and most importantly that through him God would “bless all the families of the earth.” (Genesis 12:3)

This last promise is the most important one, because the Apostle Paul calls it the first preaching of the Gospel (Galatians 3:8). That is, through Abraham and his seed, the Lord would offer a blood covering for sin (Genesis 28:14; Psalm 32:1-2; Romans 4:1-8). Note that this redemption would come via Abraham’s natural descendants through Isaac and Jacob – the children of promise – and not through Ishmael or Esau. So whatever revelation Mohammed had to offer, it had nothing to do with God’s calling over Abraham to save the world. And Jesus himself said “salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22)

should all “bless,” or speak well of, both Abraham and his descendants the Jewish people. Melchizedek did! Yet much of the world curses Israel, to their own harm.

Interestingly, the writer of Hebrews makes a point to say that Melchizedek came out to bless Abraham as he was “returning from the slaughter of the kings” (Hebrews 7:1). He could have come to Abraham at any time, so why right as Abraham was coming back from battle?

The lesson here is that, unlike Mohammed, Abraham never lifted up his sword to spread his faith in God. But he did take up the sword to take back that which had been stolen and abducted – his nephew Lot and the people and goods of Sodom (Genesis 14:14-24). This was a just act of war, and Melchizedek, a forerunner of Yeshua the Messiah (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:14-22), came out to bless him at that very moment. This does not sound like a pacifist, and indeed neither is the Lord.

In the very next chapter, the Lord told Abraham: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” (Genesis 15:1) God was really the One who protected Abraham and gave him the victory in the battle. And the Lord was promising to always be a shield over Abraham. The Lord knew He would always have to guard over the Jewish people to protect His redemptive mission. This has been necessary, as Israel has faced so many enemies down through the centuries.

There is no question then that we should all “bless,” or speak well of, both Abraham and his descendants the Jewish people. Melchizedek did!

Today, radical Islamists claim to have a different way of salvation. They have raised the sword to spread their extremist faith. Even worse, they have raised the sword against a particular people they should be blessing. And they have raised the sword against a people God has vowed to protect. In all these things, they do not “look to Abraham” as a father of godly faith, and they certainly do not “follow after righteousness.”

We see this same truth affirmed early on when the mysterious figure Melchizedek, Priest of the Most High God, came and “blessed him who had the promises.” (Hebrews 7:6) Abraham alone carried within the promise of world redemption. There is no question then that we

Israel, on the other hand, has taken up the sword to justly defend the nation and return those violently abducted into Gaza. May they succeed in bringing them home soon!

“Melchizedek blesses Abram”. Gospelimages.com
Painting by Jan van‘t Hoff
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Christian Leadership Solidarity Mission included global ministry leaders from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Tanzania and the United States.

The ICEJ hosted its latest Christian Leadership Solidarity Mission to Israel in March, which resulted in a strong declaration of support for the Jewish state and people amid the current war with Hamas.

The mission consisted of 20 prominent Evangelical leaders from twelve nations representing millions of Christians worldwide. The global ministry leaders came from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Tanzania and the United States.

The group first visited places along the Gaza border linked to the Hamas massacres on October 7, including Kibbutz Be’eri, the Nova music festival site, and a parking lot filled with 1200 burned-out cars from the infamous day of carnage. They also heard from Eshkol Region security chief Ilan Isaacson and IDF Lt. Col. (Res.) Yaron Buskila, who both bravely led efforts to turn back the Hamas onslaught.

The group also met with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz in his Jerusalem office, and later heard from Emmanuel Nahshon, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry, as well as Rachel Goldberg, mother of hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who lost his lower arm in a grenade explosion before being taken into Gaza.

Finally, the Solidarity Mission toured the northern border area, received a security briefing by IDF Maj. (Res.) Elliot Chodoff,

was hosted by Fijian troops in the UNDOF contingent on the Golan, and then visited the ICEJ’s Home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa to see the measures taken to protect the home’s elderly residents in case the war escalates in the North.

“I want to thank the ICEJ for allowing us to have the veil pulled away from over our eyes. To me, that’s what this trip was all about,” said Dr. Rev. Suzette Hattingh from Germany/South Africa. “Virtually every day, there was something that peeled away another misunderstanding or veil, like scales, from my eyes. People across the world do not know… how incredible the shock was from the 7th of October.”

“I have come to the conclusion while here that there is a lot of fake news going around about Israel. A lot of things in the news, they

lie, they twist,” said Mattheus van der Steen from the Netherlands. “I also am surprised how strong the Jewish people are, spiritually as well… Everyone we talked to, we should have them in our Western churches to preach. Seriously, the messages of these people and their faith in God… is just amazing.”

“I was impacted by those that survived different situations of great crisis and what I was stunned to see was the lack of hate in their sharing, even talking about people with loved ones still held hostage. I was amazed by that,” said Rev. Omar Cabrera of Argentina.

At the conclusion of their solidarity mission, the Christian leaders issued a joint statement in support of Israel in its ongoing battle against jihad terrorism. The statement noted that the mission delegates were “impressed by the strength, faith and resiliency of the people of Israel in the face of the devastating attacks they suffered and the alarmingly swift way in which the international community has forgotten their pain and turned on Israel… Israel’s cause remains just, and we encountered a united nation well on its way to a necessary and deserved victory.”

The statement added that Israel’s wounds from October 7 will nevertheless remain grievously open until all the hostages are freed. The delegates further attested “that the cruelty of Hamas knows no bounds, even toward its own people.”

Praying for Rachel Goldberg, mother of hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin during the Solidarity Mission.
Meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz


On the final day of the first-ever ICEJ Ambassadors Tour in March, a group of 23 Christians from 10 nations worldwide stood inside a large, ancient stone circular wall in the Jordan Valley and pledged to support Israel more fully during this challenging time.

significance, the group spent time praying for Israel and declaring their unwavering support for the Jewish people.

The site was Gilgal Argamon, a curious man-made structure in the shape of a sandal which is thought to be where the Israelites first encamped after crossing the Jordan River under Joshua. Inspired by its biblical

The idea of an Ambassadors Tour was recently conceived by the ICEJ’s new chief operations officer, Richard van der Beek, who previously served as a senior manager for a major Israeli tour operator. The week-long itinerary combined traditional touring of biblical sites with briefings and visits to places related to the current conflict, as well as engaging in hands-on volunteer projects. The well-rounded itinerary featured both biblical and modern Israel, to sharpen everyone’s ability to be better advocates for the Jewish nation back home.

This inaugural Ambassadors Tour drew Christian delegates from Brazil, Germany,


Our Israeli bus driver Tobi never experienced a group like this before. “I’m the tourist here,” he admitted, laughing as his foreign guests guided him. After all, the places he was driving to for the recent ICEJ German-Swiss tour group are well off the beaten tourist track. Some twenty Christian friends of Israel had come to show support for the country in these difficult days of war, venturing to areas where Christian pilgrims seldom go.

He drove us to harvest potatoes, bring gifts to an integration center and toys to a children’s home, plant oak trees on a therapy farm, and visit an artist’s workshop for senior citizens. Tobi often accompanied us to see the projects funded by the ICEJ, and soon he was just part of the group. Tobi also came with us to the raided kibbutz Nir Oz, where nearly every house was looted or burned down by Hamas. Over

Indonesia, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, the UK, USA and Zimbabwe. They visited a Gaza border community devastated by Hamas on October 7, received security briefings on the southern and northern fronts, heard from first responders about the difficult first days of the war, spoke with relatives of hostages still held in Gaza, and cooked meals for those on the frontlines, among other activities.

“I believe the Holy Spirit sent us here to Israel specifically at this time for one purpose only, and that is to report back to our nation the truth about Israel. That’s it! We are truth bearers,” said Richard from South Africa.

100 of the 425 residents were either murdered or kidnapped. As we walked through this place of death, we heard detonations in nearby Gaza, as the Israeli army had just blown up a terror tunnel.

Hamas leaders have vowed to repeat the massacre as soon as they can. Our experience with the Israelis was completely different. No Israeli we met spoke of revenge or retaliation.

There was another sentence we heard at every meeting: “Thank you for coming!” Israelis see images of anti-Israel hate marches all over the world every day. But they embraced us, took selfies with us, and held us in high regard for openly standing by Israel’s side in these difficult times.

“You are now eyewitnesses and ambassadors. Talk about what you have seen,” said tour leader Stephan Lehnert, managing director of the ICEJ’s German branch, as he bid the tour group farewell.

German-Swiss tour attendees working in the fields. A group photo of German-Swiss tour members. Ambassador Tour delegates at Gilgal Argamon.


Agroup of 23 Christians from 12 nations recently came on an ICEJ Hands-On Tour to show practical support for Israel by volunteering their services to help lift this nation during wartime.

For two weeks, the Christian volunteers rolled up their sleeves to harvest fruits and vegetables, plant trees, pack food boxes for the poor, cook meals for soldiers, first responders and families of the hostages, renovate two underground shelters, and restore homes of needy Israelis. They also visited devastated communities near Gaza and Hostage Square in Tel Aviv, received security briefings, heard from a Holocaust survivor, and spent a day with local Arab school children.

The group clearly impacted many Israelis, who were overcome with emotion upon discovering that Christians had journeyed all the way to an embattled Israel to come lend a helping hand.

The hands-on tour began in southern Israel, where evidence of the October 7 attacks remains everywhere until today. You could hear distant artillery fire and fighter jets overhead, but somehow there was a sense of calm as the Christian volunteers made their way into an orchard to pick citrus fruits that urgently needed harvesting.

After renovating a bomb shelter in Ashkelon, supervisor Gabi Nachmani told the group: “You have a special spark in your eyes… You came to Israel in this difficult time to tell us how important we are in the unfolding story of the Bible. This gives us strength to continue.”

While in Ashkelon, they also visited the home of Eva Erben, who survived Auschwitz during the Holocaust. “You can suffer a lot, you can go through a lot, but what happened on October 7th was barbaric,” Eva told her Christian guests. “The Nazis were gentle compared to Hamas. The world needs to know what happened and remember to tell our story to your nation.”

The tour ended back in the fields, where the group planted melons in the Negev, a fitting metaphor of how the group came here to sow seeds of hope.

Afterwards, Anne Marie from Switzerland said she felt like biblical Ruth, who came to Israel to work the soil and serve the people of God.

“The Scriptures instruct us to support Israel, and sometimes the best time to support someone is when they’re grieving,” said Shawn Landis from Pennsylvania. “Friendship is not just about being there for the good times, it’s also about the rough times.”

Each volunteer returned home with new perspectives, ready to be witnesses of all they saw, heard and touched with their hands here in Israel.


Nine bishops and pastors from Evangelical churches across Russia recently visited Israel on a solidarity mission led by pastors Julia Popova and Boris Vasyukov and organised by the Christian Embassy. During their visit, they met in the Knesset with MK Tatiana Mazarsky, received security briefings from Israeli officials, walked through the devastated Kibbutz Be’eri near the Gaza border, toured a parking lot with hundreds of burned-out Israeli cars from the Hamas massacres of October 7, and heard first-hand accounts from local Israelis on the atrocities of that dark day. The Russian church leaders gained deeper insight into the heinous crimes Hamas committed and saw their trail of destruction. They returned to Russia better equipped to lead their Christian congregations in standing with Israel during this critical time.

A Russian delegation visit the devastated wreckage of Kibbutz Be’eri near the Gaza border.

Volunteers prepare containers of food for distribution to soldiers.

ICEJ’s first ever Hands-on Serving Tour group pictured here on a fruit harvesting project in Israel.


Experts are warning of a growing mental health crisis in Israel due to the current war with Hamas, with one in three individuals impacted by the conflict expected to grapple with post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) in the months ahead. The national health services already report a 25% increase in psychiatric drug usage, a 52% surge in anxiety-related cases, and a 45% rise in post-trauma diagnoses.

A new medical study of 700 Israelis also confirmed that the prevalence of PTSD has almost doubled since October 7. The lead researcher noted that 38% of respondents have considered suicide.

In response, the ICEJ has been supporting a range of rehabilitation and therapeutic efforts. One such initiative is a new ‘Balancing Home’ for PTSD patients in Migdal HaEmek, in the lower Galilee. The home is a haven for those experiencing acute trauma symptoms, including IDF soldiers, survivors of the Nova music festival massacre, kibbutzim victims, and veterans from previous wars.

The Christian Embassy provided the initial start-up funding to completely renovate the apartment building to serve as a safe haven for PTSD sufferers. Our decision to invest in the new trauma treatment center came before the war, not yet fully realizing how crucial it would be for so many hurting Israelis.

One aspect which drew the ICEJ to the project, was that the recovery home will be a self-sustaining business with state health funds and disability grants covering the costs of treatment, thus guaranteeing long-term financial stability. The founders are confident this first model home will prove so successful, they will be able to establish similar self-supporting homes all across Israel.

The home is using a range of creative therapy practices, such as music and art, gardening, animal therapy with dogs, resilience building, and much more. The home also will arrange individual and group therapy sessions to work through bad memories and their triggers, and to develop coping techniques.

Recently, the ICEJ staff paid a visit to dedicate the new PTSD recovery home. As we entered, we were welcomed by the warmth of its beautifully

designed rooms. Noting various board games and musical instruments placed around the home, there was a sense of community, of restoring hope and nurturing personal growth. Indeed, it is a transformative space that empowers residents to embrace the future again.

Comfortable and relaxing rooms designed to create a sense of calm.

Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President of AID & Aliyah, was recently told by one resident: “This place has given me my life back.”

Co-founder Maor Biton explained that “this home is a special model. Initially, homes like these were not regarded as effective. However, we have witnessed remarkable transformations among our residents, especially youth and young adults. The communal environment here fosters growth and encourages individuals to explore their giftings while also equipping them for the future.”

He added that the home had been in operation for only three weeks, and already the Ministry of Defence had referred individuals to them, even before they were ready to receive them.

Maor also noted that for most residents, the PTSD developed only once they returned to some sense of normality in familiar settings like their homes, schools, or workplaces, and that swift treatment can help prevent lifelong symptoms.

“Before the war, Israelis were already enduring long waits for psychological assistance, and now the situation is even more dire,” Maor explained. “Our priority is to respond promptly to those referred to the home, providing effective treatment to as many individuals as possible. And it is a joy to see that the treatment indeed works!”

“Thank you for believing in us from the start and recognizing the importance of our vision. Your support means everything to us and to Israel,” Maor concluded.

ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler thanked our hosts for the warm reception and added: “We hold on to hope that one day, homes like these will no longer be needed. Until then, we remain committed to restoring normalcy and bringing healing to a nation in need.”

Going forward, this PTSD recovery home sponsored by the Christian Embassy will indeed stand as a beacon of hope and healing. With Israel’s growing mental health crisis, your continuing support is needed to help treat those traumatized by the current war. So, please give generously to our Israel in Crisis fund.

leadership cut a ribbon officially dedicating the new PTSD recovery home. Donate today at:  give.icej.org/crisis ICEJ AID 12 | MAY/JUNE 2024

ICEJ-Germany’s solidarity mission to Israel delegation visit the Rimon Farm trauma therapy center near Beersheva.


Since the Hamas massacres of October 7, the demand for mental health care in Israel has surged, especially among the many IDF soldiers struggling with some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therapy is crucial not only for individuals who experienced trauma, but also for those who lost loved ones, emergency first responders who witnessed intense suffering, and released hostages, among others.

Recently, an ICEJ delegation visited the Rimon Farm trauma therapy center near Beersheva, which the Christian Embassy is supporting. The unique farm features impressive vineyards, olive orchards, and lush artichoke fields. Here, therapeutic retreats and group therapy sessions offer solace and support to Israelis in urgent need of trauma care, while doing so in a pastoral farm setting.

The ICEJ is presently sponsoring trauma therapy at Rimon Farm for two specific groups –residents of Kibbutz Be’eri, where many were killed or abduced on October 7, and volunteers from United Hatzalah, a nationwide network of paramedics.

Speaking to our group, Rimon Farm co-founder Nir Amitai highlighted the importance of already preparing trauma care programs even while the battle is yet raging. He noted that Israel’s need for mental health professionals is urgent, and the demand will be here for years to come.

Thus, Rimon Farm has plans to expand, with a goal to receive over 3,000 individuals for therapy in 2024. Some will undergo short-term treatment, while others will need more longterm care. Rimon also aims to set up more therapy farms in the western Negev.

Nir was grateful for the ICEJ’s support, saying: “Thanks to you, we can help people get back to normal life. It’s not a quick process; it’s a journey. We cannot do it alone, and with your support, we are not alone. Words cannot describe what I feel. Thank you so much.”

“At times, I feel helpless, but my love for this country runs deep,” responded Doris Lüke, who joined our visit to the Rimon Farm as part of an ICEJ-Germany solidarity mission to Israel. “I must bring information back to Germany to awaken fellow Christians.”

Please consider a generous gift to the ICEJ’s Israel in Crisis fund as we continue to reach out to a hurting nation.


Recently, the ICEJ staff visited the new central dispatch center of Magen David Adom (MDA), where Israel’s national blood bank is also collected and stored. While there, we also dedicated a new medicycle donated by ICEJ-Canada. In its first week of operation, the fully-equipped medicycle had already responded to over 10 emergency calls.

Located near Ramle, the MDA center is home to the world’s most secure blood bank, kept 60 feet underground to guard against any attack. The facility also is where MDA’s fleet of ambulances are equipped and maintained. Yet the real backbone of MDA is its nationwide network of 20,000 staff and 33,000 volunteers.

Many of them sprang into action on October 7 to treat and evacuate wounded Israelis. Amid the heat of battle, MDA lost over 20 volunteers, while 14 ambulances were deliberately targeted by Hamas. Nonetheless, MDA assisted some 1,000 injured Israelis within the first 24 hours, while its dispatch centers fielded over 21,000 emergency calls that day.

The visit to the MDA center gave all our staff a greater appreciation for their work and service to the people of Israel. In coming months, the ICEJ also will deliver two new ambulances to Magen David Adom.

You can help us provide more life-saving medical equipment to Israel’s first responders by giving generously to our Israel in Crisis fund.

The new medicycle donated by ICEJ-Canada.

Donate today at: give.icej.org/crisis ICEJ AID


he ongoing war with Hamas forced thousands of Israelis living near the Gaza and Lebanon borders to evacuate to temporary housing across Israel. The Christian Embassy has been helping many of these displaced Israeli families, numbering some 200,000, including by special grants to families with at-risk children.

An ICEJ Aid team recently met with several parents of at-risk children who received these grants. The program we support provides the troubled youths with specialised ‘mentors’ who guide them for three years in and outside school.

Lital lives in Shokeda, just two kilometers from Kibbutz Be’eri, which was devastated on October 7. Startled by the sirens and explosions that Shabbat morning, she and her family were evacuated to Sde Boker and then Neve Ilan, in the Jerusalem hills. The chaos left her daughter Hallel in great distress.


The Hamas atrocities of October 7 left a profound impact on Israeli communities along the Gaza border, where hundreds were killed or kidnapped, and 120,000 were evacuated to safer areas. Kibbutz Nir Am was one of the farming villages caught up in the mayhem that day.

Recently, Christians with ICEJ-Germany visited the kibbutz, which was eerily silent –save for the distant thuds of outgoing Israeli artillery, reminding everyone they were in a war zone.

“It warms our hearts that you came here to hear our story,” said Chen Reich of the Nir Am security team, who recounted his gripping account of survival on October 7. When the

“She was afraid of going outside or leaving the hotel room”, shared Lital. But thankfully, the ICEJ grant was used to enrol Hallel in therapeutic horse-riding classes at a nearby ranch.

“It was a sigh of relief and came just in time,” said Lital. “The lessons provided by your donation gave Hallel confidence to go out again.”

In the end, the change was dramatic. Hallel even wanted to stay in Neve Ilan. But Lital and her family did return home slowly.

The Israeli families who received these grants thank their Christian friends for caring in their time of need. Please support our Israel in Crisis fund to enable us to assist more displaced Israeli families and meet other urgent needs arising from the war.

DONATE TODAY AT: give.icej.org/crisis

first alarms sounded, his team grabbed their weapons, but there were only 11 guns to guard 450 people. Still, the small team repelled repeated waves of terrorists trying to breach the security fence throughout the day.

“People were terrified that it might be their last day,” Chen confessed. Yet, they refused to yield to fear and courageously overcame the enemy, even as expected help from the outside never came.

“Our lives are split,” Chen said of the current reality. “My family still resides in a hotel in Tel Aviv. My kids are going to therapy, but I believe in them. They are strong!”

“Presently, we are trying to rebuild the community,” he continued. “However, people will only return if safety is assured, meaning we must be better equipped to defend ourselves if, God forbid, this should happen again.”

This is where the ICEJ stepped in. Besides providing mobile bomb shelters to Kibbutz Nir Am, the Christian Embassy also donated special radio communication devices which proved vital to the emergency response teams in saving lives amid the chaos of October 7.

“The entire area did not have cellular reception, and we had to use WhatsApp until our phones died,” recounted Chen. “Having this good equipment helps us to be better prepared.”

Here is a case where Christian support truly made a difference! You too can help Israeli communities overcome the challenges of the current war and rebuild their lives. Join us in standing with this nation by giving to our Israel in Crisis fund.

Donate today at: give.icej.org/crisis



The war ignited by Hamas on October 7 has been difficult for everyone in Israel, including for new Ethiopian Jewish immigrants already trying to overcome huge cultural differences and language barriers. That is why it was so special to see a class of young Ethiopian olim (newcomers) as they recently graduated from high school, thanks to the ICEJ’s sponsorship of a nine-month, fast-track education program for Ethiopian students still needing to finish their high school studies.

An ICEJ delegation attended the graduation ceremony for 15 Ethiopian immigrant students we sponsored at an Aliyah center in Beersheva. Witnessing this moment was extra special, as we know the steep challenges Ethiopian Jews must overcome in moving to Israel,

Ethiopian Jewish immigration has been a focal point of the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts in recent years, with over 3,250 Ethiopian Jews arriving in Israel through ICEJ-funded flights. This accounts for about half of all the Ethiopian immigrants that have come since their historic Aliyah resumed in 2015.

It is both a dream come true and a life-altering experience for these Ethiopian olim to make it to the Promised Land. The transition brings with it many obstacles due to the broad language, education and culture gaps between these newcomers and the rest of

Israeli society. Thus, Ethiopian Jews often have difficulties assimilating into the wider Israeli culture, leaving many susceptible to falling into poverty.

That is why the ICEJ not only helps Ethiopian Jews make it to Israel, but we also seek to ensure the younger generation who came with at least 8-to-11 years of education have the opportunity to earn a full Israeli high school degree as soon as possible.

The 15 Ethiopian students we met at the Aliyah center not only graduated successfully, but they did so despite facing many hurdles. With the outbreak of war last October, many of these students experienced their first Hamas rocket barrages and other security threats looming over the nation. Many also had to leave family behind to relocate near other students from different Aliyah centers around the nation. For part of the program, they could not attend classes together and had to switch to online classes.

“The ICEJ enabled us to help you,” Vered, the program coordinator, told the graduates. “The teachers and staff were just the mediators, but the ones who made it possible in the first place are from the Christian Embassy. They do so because they believe in you.”

“It’s an honour to be able to help with your Aliyah, but we also want to help you start

building a new life here,” Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President of AID & Aliyah, then told the students. “You are here today only because of your hard work. We gave you the means and tools, but it was you who put in the work. We hope this diploma will be a stepping stone for you to follow your dreams!”

We were especially thrilled to hear that the graduating students are dreaming big! Whether in high-tech, medicine, dentistry, accounting or law, each one is striving to contribute and go far.

The ICEJ’s mission is not only to bring the Jewish people back to their biblical homeland, but also to help equip these newcomers with what they need to build a successful new life in Israel, even amid the attempts of Israel’s enemies to destroy this nation.

Your support for our Aliyah efforts will enable the Christian Embassy to help more new Jewish immigrants arrive in their ancestral homeland and prosper among their own people.

Donate today at: give.icej.org/aliyah
ICEJ Vice President of AID & Aliyah speaks with Ethiopian Olim.


Despite facing a multi-front war since October 7, Israel is still welcoming a steady stream of Jews from around the world as they continue to immigrate to their biblical homeland. Since October 7, Israel has welcomed 12,745 new immigrants, including 3,074 of them in March. This comes amid a wave of global antisemitism, prompting a significant rise in Aliyah applications, most notably from France, Canada, the US, South Africa, Ukraine and Australia.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is part of this remarkable influx of Jews during wartime. So far this year, we sponsored flights for 108 Jewish immigrants coming home from France, Ethiopia and South Africa.


Starting in March, the ICEJ began sponsoring regular Aliyah flights of French Jews making the move to Israel in several different groups before Passover. The group flights from Paris are being coordinated by the Jewish Agency for Israel, and JAFI official Danielle Mor warmly thanked the Christian Embassy for its “critical support of Aliyah” at this time. She also noted that many more French Jews are expected to immigrate to Israel in the coming months. In fact, a recent Aliyah expo for medical professionals in France and Belgium drew over 450 Jewish doctors and dentists interested in resettling in Israel. The ICEJ-France national director Robert Baxter shared: “The French branch continually prays for the Jewish community in France and for their return to their homeland...”


For a group of 61 Ethiopian Jews, their long-awaited dreams of reaching the Promised Land finally came true in late March, when the ICEJ sponsored their Aliyah flights to Israel. They were doubly excited to be reunited at Ben-Gurion Airport with family members who already made it home to Israel years ago. This latest group had been part of a rescue operation of endangered Jews during serious tribal clashes in the Gondar region last year. JAFI acted swiftly to evacuate 200 Jews out of Gondar to Addis Ababa, and these 61 just needed to wait for their travel documents to depart for Israel. The ICEJ also is assisting with integration costs for the 61 Ethiopian olim (newcomers).


Also in late March, seven Jews from South Africa left behind a country currently ruled by a government with a clear anti-Israel agenda and flew to the Promised Land on an ICEJ-sponsored Aliyah flight. ICEJSouth Africa national director Vivienne Myburgh was on the same flight to Israel that day and was thrilled to meet the Jewish immigrants her branch was sponsoring.

Today, there are still over 50,000 Jews in South Africa, which is known as the “Rainbow Nation” due to its diverse, multicultural society. But over recent decades, Jews have increasingly left the country for Israel and elsewhere due to economic downturns and high crime rates in the post-apartheid era.

16 | MAY/JUNE 2024

Many more Aliyah flights are expected from South Africa over coming months, as the country is being rocked by the wave of antisemitism sweeping the globe since the Hamas massacres of October 7. Many Jews in South Africa are especially concerned with the ANC-led government’s decision to charge Israel with genocide in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.


Since the Gaza war began nearly 9,000 Jewish immigrants have arrived in Israel from Russia and other Former Soviet Republics. Over the past few years these Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants have comprised around 80% of the worldwide Aliyah. ICEJ has been asked

by the Jewish Agency to help fund hundreds of flights in the coming months and to help with pre-Aliyah activities to help prepare the new immigrants for life in Israel. For over 40 years, ICEJ has been helping support Aliyah from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania and other FSU countries. The urgent flights cost about $900 for each person which includes Aliyah preparation. Please prayerfully consider helping us with this urgent request.

As more Jews prepare to make Aliyah from South Africa, Ethiopia, France and many other countries, the ICEJ stands ready to assist them on their prophetic return home. Help us bring them to Israel by supporting the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts.


The process of re-settling in Israel is already full of challenges in normal times, but even more so in a time of war. Thus, the role of Israeli absorption centers for new immigrants is even more crucial than usual right now.

Recently, an ICEJ delegation visited new immigrants we are helping to sponsor at the Yeelim absorption center in Beersheva, operated by The Jewish Agency for Israel. The center can house up to 500 olim (“newcomers”) and offers more than a place to stay; it also provides a sanctuary from the storm raging nearby in Gaza. Here, the staff is committed to helping newly-arrived Jewish families make a seamless transition into Israeli life.

Through a comprehensive one-year program we help sponsor, these immigrants are

equipped with the tools necessary for success: job placement, recertification opportunities, and Hebrew language classes. For many immigrants, these initiatives are lifelines that ease their melding into Israeli society.

With many IDF reservists currently called up to active duty, Israel is grappling with a scarcity of skilled labour, particularly in medicine and high-tech. Recognising this urgent need, the ICEJ stepped in to sponsor specialised programs for new immigrants tailored to address the critical manpower shortages in these fields.

Dmitri Rubanov’s journey epitomizes this convergence of skill and opportunity. He immigrated from Belarus with his family two years ago. Dmitri is a doctor but seized the chance to pivot into high-tech. And his decision to remain in Israel amid war shows his resilience and solidarity with the Jewish nation.

“People here stand together, they help each other. It’s a unity I have never seen or experienced before,” Dmitri explained.

Alin Abouharon, director of the Yeelim absorption center,

explained that when new immigrants are asked about their motivations for making Aliyah, the predominant response is, “We want a better future for our children.”

Indeed, the integration programs ICEJ sponsors will greatly benefit not only the individual immigrants, but also their future generations and thereby the nation as a whole.

Our visit culminated in handing out special “Welcome Home” gift bags to the newcomers, which contained an array of delicacies, from jam and date honey to wine and olive oil. Notably, these gift bags were part of a generous donation of 120 packages by a Christian businessman from Singapore.

The act of making Aliyah is not just about a plane ride or a geographical relocation. It involves something much deeper – Jewish families getting firmly planted back in their ancestral homeland. Just as the Lord promised: “I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.” (Jeremiah 32:41)

So, please consider a generous gift to support the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts.

DONATE TODAY AT: give.icej.org/aliyah DONATE TODAY AT: give.icej.org/aliyah ICEJ’s VP of AID & Aliyah Nicole Yoder handing out special “Welcome Home” gift bags. 17 | WORD FROM JERUSALEM


he ICEJ is currently constructing a safe room in our newest apartment building at the Home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa. There are seven elderly Jews evacuated from the Ukraine war last year now living in the building, and we want them to feel protected from the threat of Hizbullah to northern Israel. Even though the work to turn a spare room into a safe place will be a little loud and dusty at times, resident Natalia came especially to say thanks.

“I do not mind the noise and dust because I am so grateful that you are caring for our safety,” she said. “It makes me feel much more secure in these very tense times.”

Sixteen of the current residents at the Haifa Home came to Israel after fleeing the war in Ukraine, and we are taking every measure to ease their minds about the war they now find themselves in.


Preparations are in full swing for Passover, the biblical festival of unleavened bread in which the Jewish people remember from generation to generation the Exodus from Egypt. Some young students from the school next door to the Haifa Home sang the well-

known children’s song “Spring has arrived, and Pesach is coming” for our residents.

Every year we prepare Pesach packages for Holocaust survivors in the Haifa area who are in need and still live alone. Besides matza (unleavened bread) and other traditional Passover fare, some extra food items were added to this year’s packages just in case of emergencies. Groups from high-tech companies, the Maccabi Haifa soccer team, high school classes and IDF soldiers come to help pack parcels for a few hours each. Our

Christian Embassy staff at the Haifa Home also had the joy of lending a hand to fill Pesach gift packages as well.

Despite the constant threat of war from the north, life goes on. In art therapy, the residents talked about the story of Pesach. In a great atmosphere topped with different kinds of tea and music, the survivors enjoyed painting their impressions of the Exodus from Egypt. We plan to hold an exhibition of all their work in May, and hope to invite their families and friends for the display.

Residents at the Haifa Home for Holocaust survivors painting as art therapy.
18 | MAY/JUNE 2024
Preparing Pesach packages for Holocaust survivors in Haifa.


Manya, a long-time resident of the Haifa Home at age 91, spends daily time behind her computer. Besides writing a poem about whatever happened that day which she finds worthy of sharing, she adds a drawing with it. Having done artwork for many years, she taught herself to draw on the computer during the time of the corona virus.

Here is her recent poem about the dark Shabbat of 7 October, translated from Hebrew.

“A Glance at ‘The Black Shabbat’”

Rage painted Shabbat black, not by paint, but by blood my thoughts wandered afar, as if my eyes could see all the outcome, wanting to cry out emotion overflows the heart responds grief, it wails the soul awakes the sights brought back memories from the distant past then, the comparisons start.


In recent weeks, the ICEJ has brought several Christian solidarity groups to visit the Haifa Home. The sight of tourists from abroad in this time of war is so encouraging and strengthening for our residents and Israeli staff. Israel feels so alone in this difficult war, where there is still no end in sight. The fact that Christians from all over the world show their solidarity and support means the world to them.

Tobi and Debora Schabel, a couple from Darmstadt, Germany, had taken a holiday from their work to help Israeli farmers. They also visited the Haifa Home to encourage the residents and staff. They came bearing gift boxes with very special flowers that do not need water, pieces of lavender soup, and a beautiful card, which were all distributed to residents, staff and caregivers. Afterwards, they wrote us about their impressions from the visit.

the Home for two years,” they continued. “And we had a long conversation with a resident who was born in Germany about the current situation of increasing antisemitism, especially back in Germany.”

“Two of the residents we visited had written down their stories and had them published in German. How special it was to have met them in person and to be able to read their story while at the Home.”

“The personal encounters with the survivors themselves and the loving relationships that the team maintains with the residents of the facility were moving,” they explained. “The entire atmosphere in the Haifa Home is characterised by appreciation, affection and trust. We were very happy to get to know different residents personally and to communicate in different languages and with our hands and feet.”

“We were able to celebrate the birthday of a Ukrainian resident who has been living in

During lunch in the dining room, the couple met many other residents and staff, and were able to pass on greetings and gifts from their families and friends in Germany.

During this time of war, such small signs of solidarity and encouragement are received with surprisingly great appreciation and at the end of the day, the couple said goodbye extremely encouraged and blessed.

The Schabels concluded: “The work of the Haifa Home is a great blessing, and we greatly value the ministry that the staff and volunteers here provide to the Holocaust survivors on behalf of many Christians in Germany and around the world every day. Thank you so much!”

DONATE TODAY AT: give.icej.org/survivors HAIFA HOME


In late March, the ICEJ-Italy team, headed by national director Rev. Tony Rozzini, held a regional conference in the Italianspeaking Swiss canton of Ticino, with the participation of ICEJ-Switzerland vice president Dominique-Pierre Walter. The attendance was much larger than expected. The conference was held on Purim under the theme “For such a time as this,” which is taken from the Book of Esther, chapter 4. We are currently spreading this same prophetic message of taking a timely stand for Israel to the different churches and communities that are hosting us around Italy.

National Director of ICEJ-Italy Toni Rozzini speaking at the regional conference in Ticino.

Sara Britti of the ICEJ-Italy branch addresses the audience at the conference.


In March, Dr. Mojmir Kallus, the ICEJ’s Vice President for International Affairs, travelled to Panama for a Latin American regional conference, where he shared the ministry’s vision and how it is being implemented during the current war by emphasizing prayer, giving and solidarity with Israel. The conference was organised by local representative Yeni Moreno and her team, and was attended by Luis Solares from Guatemala, Marco Zevallos, ICEJ director for Panama and Peru, Mauricio Bolanos from Costa Rica, Valeria and Daniel Ashllian from Argentina, Cesar Folgar from Peru, Fedra Bonnels from Colombia, and Luis and Adeline Velarde, guests from the Dominican Republic.

Most participants met face-to-face for the first time, and informal fellowship was an important feature of the meetings. They exchanged experiences, shared ideas, laughed and prayed together, and encouraged one another. Yeni Moreno was appointed as the new regional coordinator for Latin America, taking over from Claudia Fierro, who will return to the Jerusalem staff as head of our language coordinators.

In addition to the conference for ICEJ regional leaders, a rich program of additional meetings and activities was planned. The group visited the Israeli embassy in Panama, and were invited by the Israeli Ambassador for a special screening of a new documentary about the October 7 attacks. They also visited the Shevet Achim synagogue, and met with

Edwin Alvarez, pastor of Hosanna, the largest church in Central America with over 10,000 members. And, of course, they took a tour of the Panama Canal.

It was evident that Yeni Moreno enjoys extraordinary relationships with both the Israeli embassy and the local Jewish community. The meeting at the synagogue was arranged to honour pro-Israel Evangelicals, with dozens of pastors in attendance. All Jewish speakers spoke very highly of the Christian Embassy. It was an unforgettable event, showing an extraordinary level of trust and friendship between Jews and Christians in Panama.

Two years ago, Yeni started a project called “Flags and Friendship” in cooperation with the Jewish community. Together, they distributed over 1,000 Israeli flags to churches who pledged to pray for Israel. This project can easily be replicated in other countries in Latin America and elsewhere.

The experience underlined an important dimension of our global ministry. We witnessed valuable local initiatives with significant impact. There is great potential for pro-Israel support in Latin America, a continent with hundreds of millions of Evangelical Christians. They could play a key role in standing with the Jewish nation in these difficult times, as we have recently seen in Argentina. Please continue to pray for the Israeli supporters to stand up in Latin America.

20 | MAY/JUNE 2024
Delegates from eight Latin American countries at the ICEJ-Panama Regional Conference.



addressed a large rally in front of City Hall in Toronto where

thousands of Christians and Jews gathered to demand the release of the Israeli hostages still held in Gaza. Donna told the Toronto gathering about the Christian Embassy’s long record of support for Israel, her experience of being in Israel when the war started last October, and of all the ICEJ’s urgent relief efforts ever since. “It is important we know one another, and that we stand together,” she told the mixed Jewish-Christian audience. The event culminated with a song by the IDF Chief Cantor Shai Abramson. Similar rallies were held in Montreal and Vancouver to mark six months since the hostages were abducted by Hamas.

ICEJ-Canada national director Donna Holbrook addresses the gathering while Dr. Wes Mack, Ambassador at Large & voice of Inside Israel with ICEJ Canada’s TV program on Daystar, is a banner bearer.


Many Christians have heard Holocaust survivors tell of their suffering and loss, and their worries people will forget what happened to them. At a recent church gathering in Canada, an Israeli survivor of the Hamas massacre at the Nova music festival on October 7 shared his harrowing story in hopes of countering similar denials that the Hamas atrocities ever took place.

Westwood Community Church near Vancouver hosted Shalev Biton, 25, who survived the music festival rampage where over 360 people were murdered and at least 40 were taken hostage into Gaza. Shalev recalled how his life was spared several times that day, including with the kind help of an Israeli Arab man.

Shalev was just returning to Tel Aviv from a year travelling abroad. Wanting to catch up with friends, they decided to meet at the Nova festival, held just three miles from Gaza. They arrived early Saturday morning, October 7, just hours before the assault began.

Shalev first tried to sleep in a tent, but was awoken at 6:30 AM by hundreds of rockets from Gaza flying overhead. So, the group started packing up. Amid the chaos, some were crying, others were calling parents, and even the police looked confused. Many began running to their cars.

Within minutes, Shalev also heard gunshots nearby, so he and two friends decided to run east through some fields. After a while they saw gunmen on motorcycles, and started following a dry stream bed, where several other festival stragglers joined them.

After running about eight kilometers, the group found a greenhouse and hid inside. From there, they heard hammering noises and Asian music coming from a nearby farm. So, they snuck into the farm and found 12 Thai workers. They also came upon an Arab man speaking Hebrew who said he was the farm manager. Shalev suspected he might be an Arab worker from Gaza. But the man took the group into a building, gave them food and water, and turned on the air conditioner. They finally felt safe.

Yet two hours later, some Hamas terrorists suddenly appeared at the farm’s locked gate, so the Israelis hid under a building. The terrorists came in, told the Arab manager they had seen some Jews, and began searching around. Shalev remembers seeing their legs right beside his hiding spot. But the terrorists eventually gave up and left.

“It was a miracle they did not kill us and the Thai workers, and even the Arab man, because in other places they killed everyone,” Shalev told the Christian gathering.

As they crawled out from under the building, the Arab man was on the phone trying to find someone to come rescue them. Israelis from a nearby village soon came and drove them away. Shalev hugged and thanked the Arab farmer and jumped into the car.

Shalev left the audience with three important messages:

“First, we have to be strong and united against the hate and terror, all of us around the world.”

“Second, thank you so much for all the Evangelicals are doing to help us in Israel.”

“Lastly, we don’t know what could happen in the next minute, so live your dreams and love those around you.”

national director Donna Holbrook recently
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