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TRUMP SIGNS ON TO ICEJ’S FIVE GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR ISRAEL

Murfreesboro, TN – Today, Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, affirmed to Susan Michael, US Director of International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), his support for five principles guiding a strong US-Israel relationship. This came in response to a request made to Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton to agree to the principles presented by the ICEJ and its network, American ChristianLeaders for Israel (ACLI), which represents 60 million Evangelicals.

A petition addressed to the candidates signed by some 40,000 grassroots Americans, and the ACLI lettersigned by 650 Christian leadersacross America, emphasized locating the US Embassy to Jerusalem, supporting security aid to Israel, monitoring and acting on Iran’s terrorism and violations of the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement, rejecting third party solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict forced on Israel, and opposing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions efforts levied at Israel. 

The ACLI letter was signed by Evangelical leaders representing diverse groups and denominations including Hispanic and African American Christians; among them Dr. Jerry Johnson, CEO- National

Religious Broadcasters; Roberta Combs, President-Christian Coalition; Rev. Dr. Sam Rodriguez,

President-National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Penny Nance, CEO-Concerned Women for

America; Rev. Harry Jackson, Presiding Bishop-International Communion of Evangelical Churches; Jane Hansen Hoyt, President-AGLOW International; Dr. James Dobson, President-Family Talk Radio; Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated talk show host; and Jim Showers, Executive Director-The Friends of Israel.

In a meeting on September 25 with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at Trump Tower, the Republican presidential candidate already declared, “If I’m president, I’ll recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.”  Then on October 26, in a video at a Republican event in Jerusalem, Trump commented, “My administration will stand side-by-side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect, not only Jewish Americans and Israelis, but also all Americans and Israelis. Together, we will stand up to enemies, like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people, together we will make America and Israel safe again.”

Susan Michael responded to his comments saying, “The policies Mr. Trump has agreed to will enhance Israel’s standing in the world and directly benefit the United States in security, innovation, technology, and intelligence.”

Secretary Clinton is yet to respond to the ICEJ’s request to agree to the five key principles guiding a strong US-Israel relationship.

__________________________________________________________

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Daryl Hedding, US Deputy Director: (615) 895-9830, daryl.hedding@icejusa.org

About American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI)

On behalf of the tens of millions of American Christians that we collectively represent, we the members of ACLI seek to provide a unified voice of truth to the American public in support of Israel and the Jewish people. American Christian Leaders for Israel is a project of the U.S. Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Learn more ataclforisrael.com.

About International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ)

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in 1980 in recognition of the biblical significance of all of Jerusalem, and its unique connection with the Jewish people of Israel. Today it represents millions of Christians, churches and denominations to the nation and people. Our work with its head office in Jerusalem reaches more than 140 countries with branch offices in over 85 nations. Learn more aticejusa.org.

ICEJ Calling on Christians to Flood UNESCO with Bibles

In response to UNESCO’s recent passage of a resolution denying any Jewish or Christian connections to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has called on Christians around the world to send Bibles to the UNESCO offices in Paris to remind them of the irrefutable history of the site. Hundreds of Bibles have already been posted to UNESCO with many of its references to “Jerusalem” and the “Temple” highlighted, and thousands more are expected to arrive in coming weeks.

“We were very shocked and disappointed that UNESCO would adopt such a flawed resolution,” said the ICEJ’s Executive Director, Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “Most of us view these diplomats as being principled and well-educated. But apparently, some of them forgot their history lessons and we are sending them Bibles to refresh their memory. Even worse, some of these representatives are deliberately trying to erase the Jewish and Christian bonds to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and other revered sites in the Land of Israel. Hopefully, our campaign will give our nations’ envoys at UNESCO the courage to stand up to the anti-Semites in their midst.”

At the time the UNESCO resolution was passed two weeks ago, the ICEJ was hosting its annual Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. The day after the UNESCO decision, some 8,000 Christians from over 100 nations took to the streets of the Israeli capital in the traditional Jerusalem March to express their solidarity with the Jewish people and their ancient claim and connection to the city.

As the ICEJ’s week-long Feast was ending, Dr. Bühler issued a call for Christians everywhere to send Bibles to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to press home the message that Jews and Christians have indisputable historic links to Jerusalem which predate Islam by centuries. The Christian Embassy is now receiving reports that hundreds of Bibles are already posted to UNESCO and thousands more will soon be on the way.

Jerusalem is mentioned by name more than 1,000 times in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, while the Temple Mount appears hundreds of times as well. There also are hundreds of other references to the site as “Zion”, the “House of the Lord,” the “courts of the Lord,” and similar terms.

For more information, contact:
David Parsons, ICEJ; Email: david.parsons@icej.org ; Cell: 052-381-6214

‘Africa wants renewed ties more than Israel realizes’

In late September, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a shocking message at the United Nations Opening Assembly: “Israel has a bright future at the UN.” Indeed, the world body has been bullying Israel for decades, yet he now has reason to believe things are changing. As an example Netanyahu cited his recent visit to East Africa, where he was warmly welcomed by six national leaders and large crowds of admirers. Netanyahu also held a side summit at the UN with leaders from fifteen African nations. So the Israeli government is aware that an opportunity exists right now to strengthen relations with Africa.

However, Israeli leaders may not fully realize yet just how eager many African countries are to restore and expand their historic ties to Israel. The truth is that some African capitals have been signaling this desire to Israeli officials for several years now and are actually frustrated that Jerusalem has not responded faster. This opportunity for a diplomatic breakthrough is huge and must be pursued, as it even could spell the break-up of the Arab/Islamic monopoly over regional voting blocs at the UN – meaning no more UNESCO fiascos in future.

Over recent years, senior leaders of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem have visited more than a dozen nations all across Africa and discovered that the continent is anxious for deeper relations with Israel. Even leaders of Muslim-majority African nations have expressed their strong interest in restoring relations with the Jewish state – a message we have faithfully conveyed to Israeli officials. Come hear firsthand reports on Africa’s current move to open a whole new chapter with Israel, featuring ICEJ leaders and African officials.

EVENT:   Feast 2016 Press Conference

DATE:      Wednesday, 19 October 2016

TIME:      12:30 PM

PLACE:     Jerusalem Payis Arena – VIP Reception Room

ENTRY:     Via the VIP entrance at street level, beside Arena ticket office

 

PRESS CONFERENCE Featured Speakers:

Dr. Jürgen Bühler, ICEJ Executive Director

Rev. Juha Ketola, ICEJ International Director

Minister Joel Nguessan, Spokesperson for the President of the Ivory Coast

 

The ICEJ’s 37th annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem has drawn over 5,000 Christians from more than 90 countries to Israel this year, including some 35 pro-Israel Christian parliamentarians and senior government officials from over 20 nations.

For more information, contact: David Parsons, ICEJ Media Director
Cell: 052-381-6214; E-mail: david.parsons@icej.org

ICEJ Statement on UNESCO Vote

We are utterly dismayed that UNESCO has adopted once again a scandalous resolution denying any Jewish connection to the holy sites in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, including the Temple Mount.

The resolution omits the traditional, biblical names of sacred Jewish sites, calling them by alternative Muslim names only.  This is tantamount to rewriting history and stripping these sites of their 4,000 years of Jewish and 2,000 years of Christian connection.  We are deeply concerned that the wording accepted by an international body intends to eradicate any Jewish and Christian bonds to these holy places.

This represents a calculated insult against the Jewish people as well as an affront to over two billion Christians worldwide who know full well that as a faithful Jew, Jesus regularly visited the holy Jewish Temple on this site, taught there, and was zealous for its calling as a “house of prayer for all nations.”

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is now hosting over 5,000 Christians from nearly 100 nations for a Christian celebration of the biblical Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Their presence in this city to mark a Jewish festival at this time demonstrates the historic continuity between our respective faiths and the special place Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in particular hold for Jews and Christians alike. So on behalf of these Christian pilgrims and the millions more they represent back in their home countries, we want to affirm to the Israeli public that we respect the Jewish reverence for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and we will stand with you in confronting this devious assault on the historic sites in Israel.

The ICEJ had already activated our national branches over recent weeks to work towards changing the wording of this disgraceful UNESCO resolution. And you can rest assured that we will never forget Jerusalem! (Psalm 137:5-6)

 

Dr. Jürgen Bühler
Executive Director
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

Christian Embassy sponsoring first wave of renewed Ethiopian Jewish Aliyah

Following the Israeli government’s recent decision to renew the aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem recently handed over to the Jewish Agency the funds needed to sponsor the first wave of over 500 new immigrants arriving from this ancient African community.

Last month, the ICEJ handed over $500,000 to Keren Hayesod to cover the aliyah flights of the first wave of 523 Ethiopian Jews, as well as to sponsor flights for another 104 Jewish immigrants coming soon from France and the Ukraine. The first families of Ethiopian Jews are expected to start arriving in Israel by Sukkot, in time for the ICEJ’s annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration in mid-October. Over coming months the Christian Embassy also is aiming to raise enough funds to sponsor the entire first year of renewed Ethiopian aliyah, set at some 1,400 persons, as well as additional monies to assist with their absorption into the country.

“Our Christian supporters have always been generous and enthusiastic in giving towards our aliyah projects, especially when they take on such a humanitarian mission as this renewed Ethiopian return,” said Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the ICEJ Executive Director. “These are people who are endangered by tribal conflicts and unrest while also suffering through times of severe drought and flooding. But now they will be lifted out of difficult and impoverished conditions, and finally be reunited with their families already in Israel.”

Dr. Bühler also noted the ICEJ’s commitment to the absorption phase for Ethiopian Jews, since it has proven to be as important as the actual move to Israel due to the large adjustments in language, culture and education these communities must make. Bühler said the cabinet decision to bring home the last of the Ethiopian Jews also is a further sign that Israel is not a racist or apartheid state. He added that even African Christians have been responding generously over recent weeks to contribute towards this aliyah effort from their continent.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the ICEJ has assisted nearly 120,000 Jews in making their way home to Israel from all over the world. This represents an investment of over $50 million in aliyah efforts, with most of the assisted Jewish olim coming from the former Soviet republics but also thousands from Western Europe, North and South America, the Bnei Menashe from India, and the Kaifeng Jews from China.

Founded in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is considered the largest global pro-Israel Christian ministry, with branch offices established in 85 nations and a reach into more than 160 nations worldwide.

For more information, contact:
For English/Foreign media:          David Parsons, ICEJ Spokesman;
                                                          Email: david.parsons@icej.org ; Cell: 052-381-6214

For Hebrew media:                         Ziv Goldfisher, ICON media;
                                                           Email: ziv@icon-smc.com ; Cell:  054-808-8260

Cape Town Declaration

1.  Preamble
In the course of world affairs, there are times when people of good conscience are compelled to stand courageously and proclaim certain undeniable truths. There also are places where declaring these truths is all the more appropriate.

Over recent decades, a falsehood masquerading as a truth was sent forth deliberately from a place that only enhanced the power of that lie. The libel that Israel is an apartheid state akin to the racist regime which once ruled South Africa, issued forth from the Durban conference on racism in 2001, has caused extensive harm worldwide in fostering racial hatred and anti-Semitism and spawning a misguided boycott movement against the state of Israel that is ungrounded in reality and wholly counterproductive to peace. So as Christian leaders gathered from all over the world in Cape Town, South Africa, we are here to proclaim a message of undeniable truth in order to put that lie to rest.

As representatives of millions of Christians around the globe, we are here to reaffirm that Zionism is the legitimate national liberation movement for the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland and the modern-day restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel after 2000 years of exile was and remains a consummate act of historic justice.

Accordingly, we wish to address current theological and political questions pertaining to Israel.

2.  Theological Concerns
Biblical Zionism, also known as Christian Zionism, is adhered to by hundreds of millions of Christians around the world, and affirms the right of the Jewish people to return to their ancestral homeland based on God’s covenant promises to the Jewish people, which are by their very nature irrevocable according to our holy Scriptures. Thus we challenge on biblical and moral grounds those Christians who have relied on erroneous theological justifications to endorse the anti-Zionist apartheid libel and engage in the anti-Israel boycott campaign.

Through the Abrahamic Covenant, God chose Abraham and his natural descendants to birth a nation by which He might redeem the world, and to accomplish this purpose He bequeathed to them a land on which to live as this chosen nation in perpetuity. Though exiled by God Himself, the Jewish people also were divinely promised a future restoration to their land, which we have witnessed in modern times. This promised restoration is affirmed throughout the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, as is their national calling to become once more a “light unto the nations.”

We therefore reject Replacement Theology and similar Christian teachings which deny the enduring covenantal link and relationship between the land and people of Israel and their God. Israel’s right and destiny to be restored as a nation back in their homeland has never been lost because of the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish people, nor has the Church replaced Israel as God’s sole redemptive agent in the world. This false theology has done untold damage down through the centuries, and in the wake of the Holocaust it must never be allowed to inflict any more harm on the Jewish people. We commit ourselves to brotherhood and fellowship between Christians and Jews, sharing mutual respect for our ties, our commonalities and our differences.

3.  Political Concerns
The anti-Israel apartheid libel has gained traction in both Western and Developing nations for different inexcusable reasons, as neither should have ever found acceptance. The Apartheid regime in South Africa was uniquely cruel and immoral in that it disenfranchised and oppressed the majority of its own citizens based on race. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a completely different situation, essentially involving a dispute between two peoples claiming the same lands, which unfortunately is a far too common problem in today’s world. Further, it is a falsehood to depict Israel as a Western colonial implant in the Middle East. Israel was re-born as a nation in an era of decolonization worldwide, when lands once held by the Ottoman Empire were set aside in mandatory trusts to build nation-states for the indigenous peoples. The legal foundations for numerous Arab states in the region today rests largely upon the same legal basis and framework on which Israel was reconstituted when the Jewish people were internationally recognized as indigenous to Palestine. So to question the legality or legitimacy of one of these states in the Middle East is to question the legality and independence of them all. The Western nations need to reaffirm their recognition of the Jewish people’s historic and moral rights to their ancient homeland, and to defend Israel from the nefarious efforts to delegitimize its existence. Meanwhile, the Developing nations need to recognize and treat Israel as a duly constituted state built on the same principles and pedigree of self-determination that birthed and still underpins their own sovereign independence as nations.

The Jewish presence in the Land of Israel can never be equated with racism or colonialism, nor can it ever be considered a foreign occupation, as a people cannot colonise or illegally occupy their ancestral homeland. Israel is simply a unique historic example of an exiled people being rightly restored to their land, which many other peoples have yearned for in their own right.

The Palestinian Arabs, who claim a right to a national homeland in some or all of the same territories, have been offered an independent state on several occasions, with Israel’s assent, yet they have repeatedly rejected such offers because the terms would have allowed Jewish sovereignty to continue in parts of the land. Until the Palestinian leadership is united in its desire, willingness and ability to live at peace with a Jewish state of Israel, then other nations should not be blaming or punishing Israel for the lack of peace between the two peoples. While waiting for that day to come, the international community must respect Israel as a democratic nation and allow it the right and freedom to negotiate and determine its future borders with its Arab neighbours without undue pressure or vacuous condemnation. Israel also must be afforded the right to exist in peace and security and to defend itself from all internal and external threats.

We further recognize that the State of Israel has abided by the spirit of its founding declarations in that it has respected and protected the civil and religious rights and liberties of the existing non-Jewish communities in Israel. We also are mindful and grateful that Israel upholds freedom of religion for all peoples, and has been exemplary in its commitment to safeguard and guarantee access to the holy sites of all faiths in the Holy Land, including in Jerusalem. In this regard, we cannot accept the exclusive Muslim claim to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and believe Jews and Christians should be allowed greater access to visit and pray on that important religious and historic site as a matter of equality and fairness. Finally, we continue to affirm that the Jewish claim and connection to the city of Jerusalem dates back for millennia and that Jerusalem is and should remain the undivided capital of Israel.

Conclusion
Cognizant that the Jewish people’s divine calling back to their historic homeland holds great promise and blessing for the entire world, we are encouraged that Israel today is a free and liberal democracy, and a shining beacon of hope in a troubled region where democratic and human rights, as well as justice and liberty, are too often trampled asunder. We will continue to speak forth these truths about Israel and to impress them upon our government leaders, churches and communities worldwide in the effort to secure her freedom and destiny along with that of our own nations.

EU labelling of Israeli products – promoting the Middle East peace process?

On Wednesday, 2 December 2015, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) held a symposium at the European Parliament in Brussels, titled “The Economic Wall of the EU Labelling Move” hosted by MEP Takkula (ALDE, FI) and MEP Belder (ECR, NL). Main speakers included renowned international legal expert, Prof. Avi Bell, Greek Orthodox priest and founder of the Israeli Christian Empowerment Council (ICRF), Father Gabriel Naddaf, and the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, Binyomin Jacobs.

 

MEP Hannu Takkula opened the first session of the symposium, expressing his concerns that the labelling guidelines will have enormous impacts for the EU and Israel relations. “Until now, we have been creating a good base for co-operation between EU and Israel but this labelling move will not only harm the economic relations, but also will have an unfortunate impact on the co-operation in every field.”  

 

MEP Bas Belder (ECR, NL) noted the mutual high concern by colleague MEPs about the ineffective recent EU labelling move and how it damages EU-Israel relations as well as any prospects for the Middle East peace process. “Which the EU is so naively forcing to restart. The labelling move will certainly not help. It’s counter-productive”, remarked Belder. He furthermore stressed: “the labelling measure will hit Palestinian workers and their family the most. Therefore, I view the European move as anti-Palestinian!”

 

A statement by Dr. Jürgen Bühler, Executive Director of ICEJ, was presented which noted that the EU interpretative notice will only divide Israelis and Palestinians further and hurt those it claims to help. “Despite EU efforts to downplay the political nature of the labelling move, it is clear that the guidelines have been formulated to apply pressure on Israelisand they violate the rules of the World Trade Organisation,” said Dr. Bühler ahead of the symposium.

 

Prof. Avi Bell clarified how the Commission’s interpretative notice violates international law. “While the interpretive notice restricts labels on Israeli products, EU law permits Taiwan and the Palestinian Authority to market products in the EU with ‘made in Taiwan’ and ‘made in Palestine’ labels that contradict EU views on sovereignty, according to which neither is an independent state. Indeed, the same interpretive notice which claims that European consumers will be misled by ‘made in Israel’ labels on Israeli products from Israeli businesses in the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, will not be misled by ‘made in Palestine’ labels on identical products made by their Arab neighbours in the Christian quarter of the Old City.”

 

Father Gabriel Naddaf spoke strongly against the labelling, emphasizing the inevitable harmful outcome: "As a Christian leader, raised in Nazereth, living among the Arab Muslims, I tell you clearly: this decision affects Muslims, Christians, Druze and all other minority citizens of Israel, not just the Jews. This labelling of Israeli products is a further betrayal of Christian values in Europe, and it further weakens the Christian spirit in Europe." Father Naddaf called the move to label Israeli goods “a racist, anti-Semitic decision.”

 

Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, Binyomin Jacobs pointed at the tensions that the recent EU move has created within Europe, with Hungary and Merkel’s party opposing it. “Negativity and hostility always work both ways – internally as well as externally”, Jacobs noted.

 

MEP Takkula added: “As a member of the WTO, we should follow the equal treatment rule among all of our trade partners. The interpretation we are now guided to follow doesn't fulfil this requirement”. MEP Takkula hopes that Member States of the European union will not make the situation worse with more strict interpretation, but will do their share to help the market gain access to the Palestinian products. MEP Belder stressed that “Israel and the EU equally benefit from the cooperation in security, trade and science and technology sectors – just to name a few. The wide array of relations we share with the Jewish State are essential to Europe.”

 

In his statement, Dr. Bühler of ICEJ also noted thatIsrael’s thriving economy has produced a climate of coexistence that is unmatched throughout the Middle East. “It is the only place in the region where [all] can enjoy full democratic rights and equal access to education and economic development,” said Dr. Bühler.

 

The International Christian Embassy (ICEJ) represents millions of Christians, churches and denominations, seeking to demonstrate friendship to Israel and to be a reconciling influence between Jews, Christians and Arabs. Headquartered in Jerusalem the work of the ICEJ reaches some 140 countries with branch offices in over 80 nations.

Christians to address the EU Parliament on the harmful EU labelling laws

The head of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) expressed grave concerns about the EU’s directive demanding that all products from disputed Israeli territories be labelled, a move that he said would “undermine economic co-existence” between Palestinians and Israelis and “harm those working towards peace.”

For this reason the ICEJ is holding a symposium on the labelling law in Brussels on the 2nd of December in cooperation with MEPs and representatives from dozens of ICEJ branches throughout Europe. It will call upon members of the European Parliament to take a different approach in finding a solution between the conflict parties and to foster economic co-operation, stability and peace between Israelis and Palestinians in the area.

“This labelling law will only divide Israelis and Palestinians further,” said ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler ahead of an ICEJ-sponsored symposium on the labelling law due to take place in the European Parliament in Brussels in early December. “Co-existence is better achieved by establishing factories and business partnerships in areas where Palestinians and Israelis live side-by-side.”

“This highly-politicized directive will only end up hurting those it claims to help,” Bühler continued. “All the evidence indicates that the businesses being targeted employ tens of thousands of Palestinians and contribute to the well-being of all those living in the affected areas, both Jews and Arabs alike.”

“What’s more, it’s a one-sided law that unjustly singles out Israel and violates the rules of World Trade Organization. Why is the EU unwilling to issue similar directives for goods originating in northern Cyprus or the Western Sahara, territories illegally occupied by Turkey and Morocco? It’s a double-standard,” declared German-born Bühler, “which reminds many Israelis of the discriminatory laws passed in Germany in the 1930s.”

"If the EU really wants to promote peace they should stop penalizing those Israelis and Palestinians who are working together to make a living. Instead, they should provide greater incentives for them to forge deeper bonds of co-operation, without using labelling laws which could further the anti-Israeli propaganda that is sweeping Europe.”

The symposium in Brussels will be hosted by Hannu Takkula, a Finnish politician and Member of the European Parliament with the Centre Party of Finland, and Bastiaan (Bas) Belder, a Dutch politician and Member of the European Parliament with the SGP, who is also part of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group and sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Dr. Jürgen Bühler, ICEJ Executive Director, will be one of the main speakers at the symposium. The International Christian Embassy (ICEJ) represents millions of Christians, churches and denominations, seeking to demonstrate friendship to Israel and to be a reconciling influence between Jews, Christians and Arabs. Headquartered in Jerusalem the work of the ICEJ reaches some 140 countries with branch offices in over 80 nations.

EVENT DETAILS:

Beyond Labels: The Economic Wall of the EU Labelling Law

A Symposium 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015, 10:00-12:00 

European Parliament, Room P7C050

CHRISTIANS, JEWS & THE EVANGELICAL RED LINE

It’s Sukkot in Israel; the season where thousands of evangelical Christian pilgrims descend on Jerusalem from the four corners of the globe bringing with them hearts filled with love and support for Israel and her people. For Israelis of all backgrounds it is a welcome sight. Evangelical, Bible-believing Christians have distinguished themselves over the years as Israel’s most faithful and reliable friends.

This is why it is with dismay that we have seen the work of the ICEJ come under increasing pressure from anti-missionary groups who want to force us to disown the messianic community: Israeli Jews who believe in Jesus as their Messiah. This pressure culminated with a harsh public criticism from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

It is criticism that, in our view, crosses the red line. Why? Because it attacks the very roots of the Christian faith. The first church was Jewish; the Apostles were Jews; our Bible was written by Jews; and our Savior, Jesus, was Jewish. In other words, the roots of first century Christianity are found in the early messianic Jewish church that started here in Jerusalem.

It was not until several hundred years later when Constantine convened the council of Nicea, that the Church disowned the Jewish roots of its faith. This opened the door for the destructive influence of replacement theology and the centuries of Christian anti-Semitism that followed.

That’s why to ask us today to dissociate us from our messianic brothers and sisters is not just asking us to deny the very roots of our faith, it is also asking us to turn back the clock to the dark ages of Christian anti-Semitism. And the ICEJ will not do this, whatever the cost! 

For decades we have travelled to churches on every continent raising up Christian support for Israel and fighting anti-Semitism in all its forms. What’s more, we have consistently demonstrated through our words and our deeds that our support for Israel and the Jewish people is real, sincere and comes with no strings attached. We stand on our record of extensive humanitarian aid to every sector of Israeli society and we are proud of our partnership with esteemed Israeli institutions such as the Knesset and Yad Vashem.

Yet for the past 35 years we have embraced both the messianic Jewish and Arab Christian communities here in the land, bringing Jewish and Arab believers in Jesus together at the Feast of Tabernacles. To distance ourselves from those who share our love of Jesus would be a betrayal of who we are. And a relationship with Israel that is built on anything else than honesty and authenticity is no relationship at all.

For more than 35 years this has been our track record. It is, after all, what makes us Christian. And it is because we are Christians that we are here this year, standing with this nation, praying for this nation, and seeking to bless this nation, as we always have, and always will.

ICEJ to host thousands of Christians for Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem

Flood of Christian pilgrims to include dozens of pro-Israel parliamentarians from more than 25 nations; Main events at Jerusalem Payis Arena

Over coming days, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem will welcome over 5,000 Christian pilgrims from more than 80 nations for its 36th annual celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, which begins next Sunday evening (27 September) at the Ein Gedi oasis and then moves up to Jerusalem's Payis Arena for the remainder of the week of Sukkot.

Besides a number of prominent Christian ministers from around the globe, this year's Feast will feature up to 50 pro-Israel Christian parliamentarians and government officials from more than two dozen countries. Many of these visiting government officials are affiliated with the Israel Allies Foundation, while several African nations are sending a large delegation of cabinet ministers and MPs to officially represent their countries at this year's Feast.

"We are excited about the very diverse and colorful array of Christians who will be arriving in Jerusalem over coming days from all continents to attend our Feast celebration," said Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the ICEJ's Executive Director. "Many countries are sending their largest groups ever, which reflects the rapid growth of the Evangelical movement and the accompanying rise in pro-Israel sentiment in these nations."

"This year our Feast is also drawing a record number of Christian parliamentarians and government officials from around the world, which means our message of solidarity with Israel will be stronger than ever," added Dr. Bühler.

Senior Israeli officials will address the Sukkot gathering and welcome the Christian parliamentarians and pilgrims to Jerusalem.

The week-long festivities are once again Israel's largest annual tourist event and the largest solidarity mission to Israel this year, injecting an estimated $16 million into Israel's economy.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was founded during the first Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in September 1980, in response to the last thirteen national embassies leaving Jerusalem under threat of an Arab oil boycott. Today, the Christian Embassy is considered the world's largest pro-Israel Christian organization, with established branches in over 80 nations and a reach into more than 150 nations worldwide.

For more information, contact: David Parsons, ICEJ Media Director
Cell: 052-381-6214; E-mail: david.parsons@icej.org

or

Ziv Goldfisher, Icon Media
Cell: 054 808 8260; Email: ziv@icon-smc.com

 


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