ICEJ NEW ZEALAND
This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar - the Lord Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36) INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM August 2013 Av-Elul 5773
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Nation versus state Derek McDowell Director ICEJ New Zealand
When it comes to the Jewish people should we differentiate between the Jewish nation and the Jewish state? Should we support the Jewish nation but be circumspect about the Jewish state? What is the difference, if any? Some background and comparison serves to illuminate: A nation represents a unique group of people with common history, ethnicity, identity and community, who share a common affinity, fate and destiny. It usually involves an affinity for a particular land. A state is the legal and political framework by which a nation governs itself. Nations are not always states. Some nations cover more than one state like the Kurds and more and more states include multinational groups like Belgium, the UK, the USA, Russia and China. In our transient mobile world, the nation-state is frequently multinational in its make up but there is usually a defining characteristic which makes the particular nation-state what it is. However this is increasingly becoming blurred, both for the multinational nation-state and for individuals who in some cases have dual ethnicity and dual citizenship, creating to some degree dual citizenship allegiances and even obligations (eg: what is British?). Dual citizenship links the ancestral homeland with the adopted country. Which is home depends on the person, the nation, the state and the circumstances. Some western leaders have argued
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that multiculturalism, the byproduct of the multinational state, has failed because of lack of cohesive integration. This is in part due to diverse conflicting values, ideologies and allegiances not determined by citizenship or residency, but by national origin. This causes raised tensions also leading to voluntary separation by national groups. Nationstates with a long shared history like European and African nation-states will have a strong sense of national identity which can be threatened by the impact of immigration. Similarly nations built on immigration, like the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Israel need to foster a common national identity to strengthen the sense of nationhood within the state, especially given its diverse multiculturalism / multi-nationalism. The treaty of Westphalia in 1648 introduced the ideas of state sovereignty, territorial integrity, the right of political self determination, legal equality between states and the principle of states not intervening in the internal affairs of another state. However this system has been challenged in modern times as the world internationalizes and globalizes. Europe Europe ironically has undermined the Westphalian system with the European project, the European Union. The very Europe which in 1648 curbed the power of transnational kingdoms, empires and family dynasties like the Hapsburgs to protect the nation-state and which
had just undone the “Nazification” of Europe wanted a “United States of Europe” where the power of national sovereignty was usurped by the European Union. This was the result of the pillar structure established by the Maastricht treaty in 1992. The idea behind this was twofold. Firstly to create a degree of cooperation, common purpose and destiny between the nation-states of Europe to enable Europe to become an economic and military global power and secondly to prevent Europe from imploding again following two world wars by incontrovertibly linking together the destiny of all nations in Europe, particularly Germany. The supra national European state with control over economics, law, defense and foreign affairs would keep the nation-states in check and in harmony with one another, so the theory went. But it hasn’t worked. Why? – Because Europe is not one nation. It never has been. The nations of Europe are so diverse economically, culturally, socially, in language and politically that creating a single united federal European political entity controlling economics, law, defense and foreign affairs would never be accepted by the various national groupings who do not share a common history or sense of destiny. A Greek will always be a Greek just as a Spaniard a German or a Pole will always be what they are. They may be geographically European, but their strong sense of national identity does not allow them to be Europeans politically. These issues have come to the fore as the European economic crisis has devolved into a European political crisis because nationstate national interests have trumped European interests. The same is true of the former Soviet Union and the Yugoslav Federation. When the former USSR satellite states in Eastern Europe and Central Asia got a chance they broke away and reclaimed their historical national identities and destinies creating nation-states to allow self determination and self governance. When the shackles of Soviet domination eased off, the Baltic States reverted to their historically deep national identities, forming nation-states, albeit with a lot of bloodshed. continued on page three
Nation v state... (continued from page two) The Middle East The Middle East is no different – “nations” pulling at the fabric of “state”. It is full of disparate national groupings cobbled together in some cases within nation-states formed by the imperialists’ state line drawers of the post WW1 era. Layered on top are various hues and shades of Islam influencing and defining the various national groupings and regional alliances. Countries like Syria, Jordan, Iraq and some Gulf states are ruled by minority dictatorships but the people have retained their “nation” (tribal) identities beyond the state. This is a recipe for instability. The Pan Arab nationalism of the last few decades never succeeded for the same reasons a pan European entity has not. The so called Arab spring has seen a reawakening of sectarian national identity in the Arab Islamic world. Imbued with Islamic fervency and radicalism, the Middle East is redefining itself, not necessarily for the better. Even with the recent reversals in fortune for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the rebel Islamists in Syria, the battle for power rages on. Secular Arab nationalist governance of the military kind may have the upper hand in Egypt, Syria and even the PA (courtesy of the IDF keeping the PA in power) but by no means is there stability. The Palestinians claim a national identity but history does not support their claim. There has never been an Arab Palestinian nation let alone a Palestinian sovereign entity. Today’s Arab Palestinians are largely descendants of economic migrants from other countries. The father of the modern Palestinian movement Yasser Arafat was an Egyptian. But the Arab Palestinians say they want to carve out a state west of the Jordan River for the Arab Palestinian nation. And because of the refugee perpetuation, there are a lot of Palestinians which creates demographic issues which cannot be ignored. Regardless of how the issues have arisen, this is an issue to address but it will not be addressed outside biblical context, whether recognized or not. Nor can it be addressed unless based on reality. In the absence of a willingness to “end the conflict” once and for all, the conflict will be managed, not resolved. But even so, it is not the major issue in the Middle East as Secretary of State
Muslim Sunni and Shiite pilgrims pray outside the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Hatreds between Shiites and Sunnis are now more virulent than ever in the Arab world because of Syria’s brutal civil war. (AP Photo)
following her second and final return from exile with the establishment of the state of Israel (Isa 11, Amos 9, Jer 31, 33, Ezek 34-36). So many scriptures speak of Israel’s return to the Land of her forefathers and ultimately to a restored Israel relationship with her God as revealed in the Messiah (eg: Ezek 36:24-26). Which brings us to: - the Jewish This modern restoration began in the people… the Jewish nation… the Jewish state… Just as Europeans, Middle East and close of the nineteenth century with Jewish political secularists and Christian many other people groups on the planet Zionists at work behind the scenes to have created states to reflect their national bring about the establishment of a Jewish identities, so it is for the Jewish people, whose heritage and longing have remained national homeland, a Jewish state. This process of restoration is ongoing today in intact for millennia. the midst of conflict. God is the arbiter of nations. He sets The fact that political Zionists them up and determines their times (Deut 32:8-9, Acts 17:26-27). But at the centre of were involved in bringing about this restoration does not undermine the the nations He chose Israel as the nation biblical credentials behind Israel’s where He would make a dwelling for His modern day restoration. To suggest so Name (Ezekiel 5:5, Psalm 132:13-14). He is hubris. God used these visionaries as declared through a unilaterally-instituted, His instruments in His time to bring unconditional covenant promise that about the re establishment of the Jewish for the purposes of global redemption, state. Nor does the fact that Israel is an Israel – the land of Canaan – is to be the everlasting possession of the Jewish people unredeemed nation-state just like every other nation-state in any way undermine (Gen 15:12, 17:7-8, 22:15-19, Deut 1:8). its legitimacy in the comity of nations. The Jewish people have been given The scriptures affirmed Israel’s return to possession of the Land but the privilege the land in unbelief (Ezekiel 36, Romans of living in the Land is conditional upon 11). their obedience to the terms of the divine Abba Eban said in the New York covenant outlined in the Torah (see Times in 1981: “Israel’s right to exist, Deuteronomy). The history and prophetic like that of the United States, Saudi books of the Tanakh testify to the tension Arabia, and 152 other states is axiomatic of this tempestuous relationship between and unreserved. Israel’s legitimacy Israel and Her God, resulting in exile is not suspended in mid air awaiting not once but twice from the Land, firstly acknowledgment... There is certainly no by the Babylonians in 586BC and again other state, big or small, young or old, in AD70 by the Romans. And yet God that would consider mere recognition of in His exile judgments always upheld encouragement, hope and commitment for its ‘right to exist’ a favor, or a negotiable concession”. Many agree that Israel has a restoration in keeping with the promises “right to exist” but their “anti-Zionism” of the Abrahamic Covenant. In 1948, Israel’s restoration gathered momentum continued on page four Kerry’s intense shuttling would suggest. All around him the nation-states of the Middle East are in violent turmoil; some are burning. And none of it is to do with Israel.
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Nation v state... (continued from page three) self-contradicts. Israel cannot escape its peculiar and unique role thrust upon it by the dictates of history and divine call. It has indeed resulted in blessings and curses for the Jewish people, some of it self-inflicted as a result of disobedience to the terms of the covenant, but throughout history much of it has been demonically inspired by those opposed to the Jews, because they in effect oppose the facilitative redemptive role the Jewish people in the Land of Israel have been called to play, whether they played it or not. This opposition manifests as antiSemitism and today it expresses itself as anti-Zionism, a disguised version of the same thing. The end result is always to de legitimize or at worst liquidate the Jew or the Jewish nation-state. Christians have a long history of antiSemitism. Christendom needs to be careful how it engages with the Jewish state of Israel. Playing elitist semantics with the imperfections of the Jewish state versus the Jewish nation living in a hostile neighborhood simply undermines Israel’s statehood credentials. Of course Israel is imperfect and its policies up for critique, but what is our motivation - to undermine the state or to improve it? Do we critique other nation-states with the same vigor? Yet still, a biblical Zionist perspective, concerned with the Jewish people’s physical restoration to the Land, is also concerned with their spiritual restoration just as it is for all nations. We know then that Israel has the voice of Scripture behind it, not as an end in itself but as a vehicle to a greater end – the return of Messiah Himself. Neither Israel nor the nations nor the Church can escape this or wish it away. God instituted an “unbreakable covenant” with the Jewish people to give them an “unmovable location” that is Eretz (the Land) Israel. He did this through exercising His “unshakeable sovereign choice” to use an unrighteous Jewish people for His purposes and like a mother over her child, He will “never forsake His promise” to accomplish His purposes through them. Only if the creation order is destroyed will He permit the nations to destroy Israel. (Psalm 105:7-12, Gen 17:7-8, Amos 9:15, Deut 9:4-6, Isa 49:14-16, Jer 31:35-37). Israel’s biblical legitimacy is backed 4 INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM NZ BRANCH
Solemnity and open-collared shirts: David Ben-Gurion reads the Israeli Declaration of Independence, 4pm on 14th May 1948 (historama.com)
up by its historical legitimacy, legal international recognition and its democratic institutions guaranteeing the rights of all its multicultural citizens in stark contrast to it neighbours. Throughout history the land of Israel has been ruled over by many empires, but none of them established a sovereign state in the land. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any state since the time of King David. In the twentieth century the Jewish people did not return to “Palestine” demanding their country back from “Arab Palestinians”. For nearly 4,000 years the Jewish people have maintained an ongoing presence however small. They have maintained ties to the land and a distinct national sense of belonging and yearning for the ancient homeland wherever they have been dispersed. When the Jews returned they purchased land legally and in developing the land attracted economic migrants. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, the San Remo Declaration of 1920, Article 6 of the Palestine Mandate signed by the League of Nations in 1922 and the 1947 UN partition all validate Jewish state sovereignty in the Land of Israel. In fact it can be argued that Jewish sovereignty should be on all land west of the Jordan River as allowed for in the San Remo Declaration and Article 6 above. The Arabs did not ratify the 1947 UN resolution or Israel’s offers of same and more in 2000 and 2008. Jordan illegally annexed the land in 1948 which Israel acquired control of in a war of self defence in 1967. It is arguable that the start point for negotiations should be San Remo 1920, not the 1949 or 1967 armistice lines. Just like all nation groups, the
Jewish people have retained all the hallmarks of “nation” wherever they have been dispersed. Just as scripture foretold, the Jewish people are coming home. The Jewish state of Israel is a natural progression in the restoration process, providing the legitimate legal and political framework by which the Jewish nation governs itself, defends itself and lives out its destiny. As Christians we must engage with Israel fully endorsing it as the Jewish nation and the Jewish state, even if we disagree with some of whatever the incumbent government is doing. Given the appalling history inflicted on the Jewish people, anything less is not credible support when the Jewish people are confronted with ongoing existential threats of one kind or other. We all want justice and compassion for all people in the Middle East including the Arab Palestinians, but solutions must be founded on truth, and without losing sight of the fact that the Abrahamic Covenant clearly places Israel back in the land at the end of the age. (eg: Zech 12-14, Matt 24, Luke 21, Rev 12). Such must be grounded with more than theological interpretations or political viewpoints. It must express itself in prayer and action. ICEJ has embraced this challenge over the years including raising millions of shekels to help the poor in Israel, including Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Druze, Christians and Africans in Israel and help Jews in the diaspora make aliyah. The International Christian Embassy’s support for the Jewish State of Israel is unequivocal in keeping with the very catalyst for its inception – to stand by Jerusalem as the eternal undivided capital of the Jewish state when all the embassies abandoned Jerusalem for Tel Aviv in 1980. Am Yisrael Chai! – Eternal nation, the people of Israel live! This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36) Cover image: wave curl at sunset
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Mideast divide: Nothing is “reasonable” Jonathan S. Tobin Thanks to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to swallow a painful and embarrassing concession to please the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry had his moment of triumph today. In announcing the start of a new round of Middle East peace talks, Kerry has seemingly justified the way he has concentrated his efforts on an issue that was not in crisis mode and with little chance of resolution while treating other more urgent problems such as Egypt, Syria, and the Iranian nuclear threat as lower priorities. But now that he has had his victory, the focus turns to the talks where few, if any, observers think there is a ghost of a chance of that the negotiations can succeed despite Kerry’s call for “reasonable compromises.” The reason for that is that despite the traditional American belief that the two sides can split the difference on their disagreements, as Kerry seems to want, the problem is much deeper than drawing a new line on a map. Ironically, proof of this comes from a new poll that some are touting as evidence that both Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution. The poll was a joint project of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. It shows, among other often contradictory results, that: A majority of Israelis (62%) supports a two-state solution while 33% oppose it. Among the Palestinians, 53% support and 46% oppose the two-state solution. But the question to ask about this poll and the conflict is what the two sides mean by a two-state solution. The answer comes in a subsequent query: We asked Israelis and Palestinians about their readiness for a mutual recognition as part of a permanent status agreement and after all issues in the conflict are resolved and a Palestinian State is established. Our current poll shows that 57% of the Israeli public supports such a mutual recognition and 37% opposes it. Among Palestinians, 42% support and 56% oppose this step. In other words, Israelis see a two-state solution as a way to permanently end the conflict and achieve peace. But since a majority of Palestinians cannot envision
mutual recognition even after all issues are resolved and they get a state, they obviously see it as merely a pause before the conflict would begin anew on terms decidedly less advantageous to Israel. There are lots of reasons why the peace negotiations are likely to fail. The Palestinians are deeply split with Gaza being ruled by the Islamists of Hamas who still won’t even contemplate talks with Israel, let alone peace. Kerry praised Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas today, but he is weak and hasn’t the ability to make a peace deal stick even in the unlikely event that he signs one. Though Netanyahu went out on a political limb to enable the talks to begin by releasing over 100 Palestinian terrorists, Abbas has shown in the past that he will say no, even when offered virtually everything that he has asked for. Netanyahu will rightly drive a harder bargain and refuse to contemplate a deal that involves a complete retreat to the 1967 lines or a Palestinian state that isn’t demilitarized. But it’s hard to imagine Abbas ever recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. But the real problem isn’t about where negotiators would draw those lines. As the poll indicates, even after Israel withdraws from almost all of the West Bank (reports indicate Netanyahu is ready to give up 86 percent of it), a substantial majority of Palestinians still can’t fathom the possibility of mutual recognition and normal relations. How can that be?
The reason is very simple and is not something that Kerry or his lead negotiator Martin Indyk (a veteran of numerous diplomatic failures who hasn’t seemed to learn a thing from any of them) can fix. Palestinian nationalism was born in the 20th century as a reaction to Zionism and not by focusing on fostering a separate identity and culture from that of other Arab populations. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t now a separate people with their own identity, but it does explain why they see that identity as indistinguishable from the effort to make Israel disappear. While a “reasonable compromise” can be forged in theory between two nations determined to live in peace with each other once a border is devised, it is not possible in the absence of such recognition. Given the constant incitement and fomenting of hate against Israel and Jews in the official PA media (let alone that run by Hamas), it’s difficult to see how Abbas could ever agree to anything that would require a true end to the conflict rather than a mere truce. Until a sea change in Palestinian culture that would change that takes place, this won’t happen. Jonathan S Tobin is the senior online editor of the magazine CommentaryMagazine. com. This article was posted on 29 July.
Secretary of State John Kerry, left, sits across from Israel’s Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, third right, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, second right, Yitzhak Molcho, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, fourth right, and Mohammed Shtayyeh, aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, at an Iftar dinner, which celebrates Ramadan, at the State Department in Washington, marking the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Monday, July 29, 2013. (Charles Dharapak, San Francisco Chronicle) INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM NZ BRANCH 5
Evangelicals and the Jewish Nation Todd and Rev Julia Vincent
“Have you noticed what people are saying?—‘The LORD chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!’ They are sneering and saying that Israel is not worthy to be counted as a nation. But this is what the LORD says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky. I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.” (Jeremiah 33:24-26. NLT) Just as this message was given to Jeremiah and was pertinent concerning the time he lived in, we believe it remains true today. Have some in the Christian community made up their minds concerning Israel and God’s promises in regards to her? Have they decided that God has abandoned Israel; that is the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, namely the Jews? Or do we believe in a time when the Jews will return to the land and not be uprooted again? (Amos 9:14-15 TNIV) When we look at Israel, what lens do we view her through? Are we looking through the lens of Scripture, the media, public opinion or political leaning? All but one will change and move with the current world trends. (You only need to think of marriage and or sexuality to know this is true). But as evangelical Christians standing in the line of John Wesley we hold with him the belief that The Word of God is true for all times. John and His brother Charles along with Whitfield, Wilberforce and later Spurgeon to name a few, all looked forward to God’s restoration of Israel
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and the Jews returning to the land. In Wesley’s preaching notes on Romans chapter 11:12 where he deals with the restoration of Israel, John states, “So many prophecies refer to this grand event, that it is surprising any Christian can doubt of it. And these are greatly confirmed by the wonderful preservation of the Jews as a distinct people to this day. When it is accomplished, it will be so strong a demonstration, both of the Old and New Testament revelation…” 1 In line with his brother and Scripture, Charles Wesley wrote concerning the restoration of Israel, the hymn ‘Almighty God of love’ based on Isaiah 66: 19-20 and Romans 11: 26. “We know it must be done For God hath spoke the word All Israel shall their Saviour own To their first state restored. Rebuilt by His command Jerusalem shall rise Her temple on Moriah stand Again, and touch the skies. Send then Thy servants forth To call the Hebrews home From west and east, and south, and north Let all the wanderers come. Where’er in lands unknown Thy fugitives remain Bid every creature help them on Thy holy mount to gain.” 2 The Wesley brothers were to proclaim this message at the same time Britain would experience revival. When looking back at the history of these different revival periods The Vicar of Bagdad, Canon Andrew White (Middle East envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury) notes; “whenever we see a new evangelical movement or a concentration on holiness,
we see a new understanding of Israel as well”. 3 The starting point for the Wesley brothers, Whitfield, Wilberforce, Spurgeon and others, was always scripture. They believed in Gods promise to restore Israel. Jesus was Israel’s long awaited Messiah, and they believed that the Church would be used to reveal this plan of salvation to the world. They understood that the world would one day witness an event that Paul described as “riches for the world” and “ life from the dead” Romans 11: 11-21 (NIV). The Wesley brothers and others sought to be a part of God’s restoration plan. Over the next century and a half the realization of a Jewish state slowly started to take shape in Britain. Then on 31st October 1917, The Balfour Declaration stated “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…” The Balfour Declaration was written by ten members of the war cabinet. Seven of those ten men were Evangelical Christians.4 That same day the ANZAC’s defeated the Turks at Beersheba and pushed on to capture Jerusalem. The Ottoman Empire had occupied the whole area for 400 years.5 Years later, Britain would start to renege on the Balfour Declaration. Worried about their oil supply the British Government would appease Muslim demands, limit Jewish immigration and later seek to divide the land.6 The prophet Joel speaks of the nations who would support the dividing the land in Joel 3:1-2. It appears today, that many Christians have forgotten this history or haven’t given heed to God’s plan to restore Israel. God made promises to Israel. Can the church on the one hand reject God’s faithfulness to Israel while on the other claiming God is faithful to His Word and to them? Surprisingly we discover that it is those who don’t even believe in God who recognize the importance of a restored Israel in salvation history. Before he died, well known atheist author Christopher John Hitchens was asked about Israel and the Jews. He replied; “Israel will never be a normal state. The desire for normality will continue to elude it. It will never be normal or safe to be Jewish either, and I hope it continued on page 7 column 1
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Helping Christian victims of Muslim persecution Operation Hope
never is by the way. I quote Leo Strauss as saying the point of the existence of the Jews is to show that there is no redemption, there is no salvation. That’s what the Jewish people prove.” 7 While his statement is appalling to those of us who love Israel, Hitchens does comprehend that the faithfulness of God is intrinsically tied to Israel and the covenant promises which God made with them. While many in the world today seek to demonise, delegitimize or use double standards against Israel,8 here at the “ends of the earth” New Zealand is uniquely placed to proclaim another message. A message that seeks to comfort God’s people; Isaiah 40:1-2. Just as the ANZAC’s played a significant part in Israel being restored in 1917, we too have a part to play today in 2013. Jeremiah declares, “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps a flock””. (Jeremiah 31:10)
Since 2006, the ICEJ has been actively involved in providing humanitarian relief to the Christian victims of Muslim persecution. ‘Operation Hope’ was initially established to meet the urgent needs of some of the 2,500 Sudanese refugees that crossed into Israel from Egypt in 2006-7, fleeing the Khartoum regime’s genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign in the South and the western Darfur region. Many of these destitute Sudanese refugees were Christians, persecuted for their faith and driven from their homes in one of the worst genocides in living memory. We were able to help them find housing, jobs, and care for their families’ needs, while working with the Israeli authorities to ensure that those that wanted could be equipped to return home to rebuild the established nation of South Sudan. Since that time, almost 50,000 Africans have crossed into Israel from Sinai, creating a refugee problem that Israeli authorities have struggled to solve. Today, most of these refugees are from war-torn Eritrea, a country that has been ruled by a brutal military dictatorship since it seceded from Ethiopia two decades ago. The United Nations has denounced
the regime for its repression, religious persecution, frequent executions, and forced military conscription program. This has led to a steady exodus of native people from Eritrea. But in attempting to flee their homeland, many of these Christians find themselves captured by Bedouin slavetraders who subject them to tortue in a bid to raise ransom money from their families. “When you sit in a Western country, where there is freedom of religion, it is hard to understand what it means to be afraid of being killed because of your faith,” says Charmaine Hedding, who founded Operation Hope in 2006 to coordinate the ICEJ’s emergency efforts for the Sudanese refugees. The entire Middle East region is in turmoil due to the so-called Arab Spring and many vulnerable Christian communities are being specifically targeted amid the chaos and violence. An increasing number of persecuted Christians are seeking refuge and help in Israel. This includes former Muslims who are being attacked for converting to Christianity, as well as African Christians who have been kidnapped, tortured and held for ransom by Bedouin tribesmen in the Sinai peninsula.
Footnotes: 1. John Wesley’s Explanatory notes www. christnotes.org/commentary 2. www.wesley-fellowship.org.uk/Zionist_Hymn. html 3. D.V.D The Forsaken Promise 4. D.V.D The Forsaken Promise 5. www.link-zone.net/columnhistory.shtml 6. The Mandatory Period, page 16, Myths and Facts A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Dr Mitchell Bard 7. www.youtube.com http://fora.tv/2010/06/04/ Christopher_Hitchens_Some_Confessions_and_ Contradictions 8. The 3 D’s: demonise, delegitimize, and double standard are used as the measuring stick for anti-semitism.
Todd and Julia attend a Wesleyan church in Auckland where Julia is an associate pastor. They are board members of PFINZ and have a longstanding association with ICEJ.
Eritrean refugees caught between Egypt and Israel. Sinai has always separated Egypt and Israel -- in geography and politics alike. This time, it’s refugees caught in the middle. (ForeignPolicy.com)
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Last wave of Ethiopian Olim Helping new immigrants Howard Flower ICEJ Aliyah Director
Ethiopian girl and boy
Another current chapter in the story of the aliyah from Ethiopia is coming to an end. Over the last thirty years, two groups have come from Ethiopia to Israel. Beta Israel (Jewish Ethiopians) and Falash Mura (converts from Judaism but still related to members of Beta Israel). To date, 50,000 Beta Israel and 41,000 Falash Mura Ethiopians have arrived in Israel. With Israeli births, there are now approximately 130,000 Jews of Ethiopian descent in Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Interior and the Jewish Agency for Israel recently announced that this aliyah is now ending. The final olim will leave Ethiopia on August 28, 2013. The Beta Israel aliyah was completed prior to the year 2000, but many Falash Mura applicants have waited for years while it was determined if they qualify for aliyah. Many are still waiting, but now only 400 remain who qualify to immigrate over the summer months. The Jewish Agency office in Addis Ababa will review any additional aliyah requests individually. Again families will endure hardship and separation. May the Lord raise up an army of Christians and Jews who will find a way to bring home those left behind. ICEJ began helping the Ethiopian Jews after Operation Solomon in 1992 which rescued thousands of stranded Ethiopian Jews. ICEJ was able to assist in helping them absorb into Israel with the aid of Dr. Campbell Millar and his wife Ferne. The Millars had worked in Ethiopia among those with leprosy for some time and could speak the language. ICEJ sponsored the building of two 8 INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM NZ BRANCH
Tukuls (Ethiopian meeting places) in Beit Shean. Also, through Hansen Hospital in Jerusalem, examinations were made for signs of leprosy. Additional assistance was given with the absorption process including household items, medical aid and job seeking. Today another wave of Ethiopians has been coming home during the so called “Arab Spring”. ICEJ has helped with two aliyah flights and supported many absorption programs and projects. Three times each day every observant Jewish person prays the Amidah which says: “Sound the great shofar for our freedom, and raise the ensign to gather our exiles and gather us from the four corners of the earth” (the Sephardi rite adds “to our land”), and concludes, “Blessed art thou, O Lord, who gatherest the dispersed of Thy people Israel.” This prayer is taken from Isa. 27:13 “And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt (which at that time included Ethiopia), and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem”. [KJV] “I am black but comely O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me…” Song of Solomon 1: 5-6a.
ICEJ Aid offers you the opportunity to partner with us in helping new immigrants as they come to Israel. God promised that He would bring back the Jewish people to the land of Israel from all over the earth and plant them in their land. Here, ICEJ Aid steps in and actively helps new immigrants get planted and rooted in Israel though grants and family visits that provide essential household items. Basic Needs Our work enables new immigrants in financial crisis to be matched with trained mentors who help them acclimatize into Israel. Aid may begin with basic needs such as household items and food. This is followed by a comprehensive plan developed to move each family toward independence based on their unique challenges. Assistance focuses on developing or upgrading marketable skills, finding employment, and helping children adjust to a new school system by providing extracurricular activities or tutoring. Dental program for abandoned youth ICEJ Aid assists orphaned and abandoned youth rescued from the streets and state orphanages of the Ukraine. At 16, the youth are given the opportunity to relocate to Israel. Once in the land, the focus is on supporting these young people until they are able to stand on their own. For many disadvantaged immigrant children, dental care is beyond their reach. After years of neglect, advanced treatment can be expensive and is not covered in the government medical care package. Join with us to provide for the well being of Israel’s most vulnerable new citizens.
Education for Ethiopian immigrants For many immigrants from Ethiopia, the adjustment from a mainly agricultural society to the advanced technological society in Israel represents a vast change. Many came unable to read or write their native language and suddenly needed to learn Hebrew. With Please pray for the Ethiopians and an estimated 70% of the Ethiopian help support the integration of those community living below the poverty who have just arrived. line, education is essential to help the new generation of youth to break the Howard Flower, ICEJ’s Aliyah directpr is employment barrier and move beyond an American who has lived in St Peterburg poverty. ICEJ Aid is stepping into the Russia with his wife and family for around gap to help more Ethiopian youth twenty years. integrate better with a higher education.