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Special Reports

ICEJ Prague & ICEJ Tanzania

Jerusalem Conference in Prague

In January, the Czech Parliament hosted an international seminar on the legal status of Jerusalem under international law and the future of the two-state solution. Organized by the ICEJ with local Czech partners and The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation, this event brought together an impressive lineup of renowned international speakers, including ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman David Parsons, legal counsel Andrew Tucker, Israeli analyst Yitzhak Sokoloff, chairman of the European Coalition for Israel, Tomas Sandell, and others to the Czech capital. More than 60 participants from 13 nations, along with ICEJ directors from four European countries, were greeted by Czech MPs and the Israeli ambassador, Daniel Meron.

Since the 1970s, the idea has developed that international law requires resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict by creating a State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, and borders based on the “1967 lines”; the so-called “two-state solution”. Conference speakers challenged this concept and pointed out the difference between legal facts under international law and political proclamations, such as non-binding UN resolutions. In practice, however, the international legal system is at risk of being manipulated by coalitions of nations in order to achieve their ideological ends. Denying the Jewish people the right to determine where their capital is located falls into this category of “lawfare”.

With the evident collapse of the Oslo Accords, it is time to revisit this prevailing legal paradigm to resolve the conflict. The goal of the seminar was to provide a legal framework for the exploration of alternative policy solutions to balance the rights of the Jewish State of Israel with the rights of Palestinian Arabs to political autonomy, and economic and social advancement.

Our hope is that, in at least a few European nations, insights gained from the seminar will inspire policy makers to adopt a more realistic approach to the conflict, which could help make life better for people in the region. ICEJ has a network of branches in Europe with people who will certainly assist them in working towards this goal.

 

ICEJ-Tanzania Becomes A Full-Fledged Branch

In December 2018, I visited Tanzania. The short trip took me to Arusha, a modern city located within sight of the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro, and then to Dar es-Salaam, a bustling metropolis on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The purpose for this trip was simple: I wanted to visit what has been our most productive branch in Africa over recent years and understand the reasons for its success.

In just a few short years, our energetic National Director, Stanton Newton, managed to mobilize thousands of Tanzanian Christians to support Israel. Coached by David Parsons, who has been tirelessly traveling to the country over the past three years, Newton drafted the constitution of the Tanzanian branch and appointed the first board members. During my trip, an important milestone was achieved: The board signed their constitution which will be submitted to the authorities for registration. 

This development opens the way for further growth of the Tanzanian branch. The local team translated and designed a special version of the Word from Jerusalem in Swahili – the common language of East Africa, spoken by approximately 100 million people. We also planned to hold an ICEJ regional conference for East Africa this year in the city of Mwanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria. 

ICEJ Tanzania exemplifies that with the right people and motivation, ICEJ can thrive in every culture and connect all peoples, tribes and languages with Israel.

The Afflictions of the Scattered

“Worldwide, the situation for Jews is unstable now, but Aliyah is strong,” writes ICEJ’s Aliyah Director, Howard Flower, commenting on the sharp rise in Aliyah last year. This boost illustrates a unique pattern in the different countries from which Jews are immigrating: Jewish communities face numerous challenges, whether financial crisis, refugee living situation, threat of war, Antisemitic acts and hate speech, or other threatening circumstances.

Living in Instability
A significant region for Aliyah activity is the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. In Russia, the fall of the Ruble triggered a major financial crisis, forcing a large majority of people below the poverty line. Others live in consumer risk zones, which often suffer food shortages and lack of other essentials, exposing residents to health risks and malnutrition.

Aliyah Grows Rapidly
Spurred by heavy oppression, Jews are seeking refuge in their homeland of Israel. The hand of God is demonstrated in the process of Aliyah. His people are taking refuge in Israel, as they adapt to the culture, learn the language, receive training, get a job, and build a new life here. God is rescuing His people not just from exile, but also from the harsh living conditions in their current countries. 

God is preserving His people and Christians help make this financially possible. With the support of Christians worldwide, the ICEJ assists more than ten percent of all Jews making Aliyah to Israel each year. In 2018, we helped 2,539, and are on track to assist over 3,500 this year. 

Barry Denison, VP of Operations, oversees ICEJ’s Aliyah assistance. Digging through the Scriptures recently, he uncovered more truths about Aliyah from the prophet Isaiah which he shared at ICEJ’s Envision Pastors and Leaders Conference this year. 

“O Zion, bearer of good news, lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news…” (Isaiah 40:9 NASB) In many translations, this passage is translated as a command to bring good news to Zion. However, the original Hebrew indicates Zion itself is the bearer of good news. Therefore, as it relates to Aliyah, Zion bears good news to those Jews living in desolate circumstances as they return to the homeland the Lord intended for them. 

Denison continued with Isaiah 52:9-10 which reads, “Break forth, shout joyfully together, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.” (NASB) Aliyah is a comfort to the Jewish people, especially now, as they suffer under persecution, poverty, and many other life-threatening circumstances. Aliyah is strong because God is laying bare His strength and drawing His people home. 

As believers, God establishes a responsibility for us regarding Aliyah. Again in Isaiah, the Lord declares, “‘The time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come to see My glory… and they will declare My glory among the nations. Then they [the nations] shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the Lord, on horse, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,’ says the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:18-20 NASB) As we – the Church – help the Jewish people return to their homeland of Israel, God honors it as a grain offering, holy and pleasing before the Lord.
Thus, let us continue to lift up our offering before the Lord, giving glory to Him as Jerusalem continues to be a bearer of good news to her scattered ones. 

The door is open and our opportunity is now. Become a Partner in Aliyah today, and shape Israel’s tomorrow: www.icej.org/aliyah

No Ordinary Arrival!

A very special flight from Addis Ababa landed at Ben Gurion airport in early February 2019. On this flight were 83 Ethiopian Jews finally cleared to make Aliyah. Some had been waiting their entire lives to return to their ancestral homeland and reunite with family members. This was no ordinary arrival.

While ICEJ staff members waited with the local families for the Olim (new immigrants) to arrive, we heard numerous stories of family members waiting to meet a mother, brother, or grandmother they had not seen in 12, 18, or even 38 years! Their longing was palpable.

ICEJ VP Barry Denison greeted the immigrants as they stepped off the plane. As soon as the first Olim entered the arrival hall, an entire mob of family members flooded to greet them. Frail old grandmothers in wheelchairs embraced grandchildren they were meeting for the first time. Almost instantly songs and drumming broke out in the room. At last, families were reunited in their true homeland.

The ICEJ has pledged to pay for the flights of all 1,000 Ethiopian Jews approved for 2019, and this was the first of many joyful reunions. Together we can bring them back home.

Become a partner today and shape Israel’s tomorrow: www.icej.org/aliyah

Stop the Nonsense Ireland!

One popular way to attack Israel these days is through BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction), whether in business, culture or via legislation.

A proposed law currently making its way through the Irish parliament would criminalize the trading of goods from Israeli settlements. As a native German and citizen of the European Union, I find this bill totally misguided, extremely unfair, counter-productive to peace, and – above all – morally outrageous. It is a clear example of why BDS will never bring peace and only harms the people it claims to help.

According to this bill, anyone found guilty of importing or selling any goods or services originating from “occupied territory” would face a fine of up to €250,000 or five years in jail. Yet the bill is deliberately worded to only apply to “Israeli settlements” in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Golan Heights. Those pushing this Irish bill have proudly proclaimed it will lead Europe and the world out of the current impasse in negotiations and towards Middle East peace. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The international community has always approached the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a dispute which must be resolved by the parties involved. From Resolution 242 forward, every UN Security Council decision has been geared to offering the parties a suggested pathway to peace and encouraging them to sort out their differences in direct talks. This approach helped produce the Oslo Accords, witnessed by the EU, which left the fate of the settlements to a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, the Republic of Ireland is now trying to force the issue unilaterally. Yet how is putting someone in an Irish dungeon for buying a gold-medal winning bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Tura going to bring us closer to peace? A housewife making a salad with olive oil from Shiloh or a dessert with dates from the Jordan Valley could unknowingly bankrupt her family. Will some Jew-hating neighbour see such contraband in her kitchen and report the family to the Irish authorities? How can you ever fairly enforce such an absurd criminal law?

The bill is also counterproductive to peace, in that it rewards Palestinian intransigence. When all the blame is being placed on Israel, what incentives do the Palestinians have to make concessions? Are the Jews who have returned to the heart of their ancient homeland any more a threat to world peace than those Palestinian neighbours who have been violently attacking them for decades?

In practice, this criminal law would harm Palestinians the most. As the SodaStream episode made clear, many businesses and factories in the Israeli settlements employ Palestinian workers and pay them salaries four times higher on average than what ordinary Palestinians earn. These breadwinners often support large families, so tens of thousands of Palestinians could be impacted if, due to BDS pressure, Israeli businesses fire these workers and move elsewhere.

But the truly odious aspect of the Irish bill is its blatant anti-Semitism, as it viciously singles out Jewish ‘occupiers’, while ignoring all other occupying forces in the world. What about olive oil from the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, fish from Russian-occupied Crimea, or dates from Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara? All these products are free to enter the Euro zone, while it is the Jews who must be taught a lesson again. How can this truly be a righteous act, as the Irish sponsors claim, when it is so clearly discriminatory?

I cannot help but think these Irish do-gooders are taking us straight back to the racist laws of the 1930s in Germany. Kauft nicht bei Juden! “Don’t buy Jewish!” was the rule then and is precisely what this law tells Irish citizens today. It is legislated anti-Semitism dressed up in nicely polished legalese and mere lip service to promoting peace and “European values”

If we have truly learned the lessons of the Holocaust, Europe will reject this attempt to single out Jews for punishment.

So please stop the nonsense, Ireland!
 

New Year & New Home

This new year holds the promise of many new beginnings, and for the ICEJ one of those new beginnings involves a move to new offices. After much prayer, and four months of evaluating almost every available rental space in Jerusalem, we have finally found a new place to serve as our ICEJ Headquarters for at least the next two years. The new ‘home’ takes up an entire floor in a large office building in southern Jerusalem. 

Thank you for your prayers regarding this move. Please continue praying for grace, strength, protection and favour as our staff adjusts to the new working environment after 22 years at the property Rachel Imeinu. Once some necessary remodeling is completed in June, we will be ready to receive visitors. Watch for updates on our progress, when we will share the new address and instructions on arranging a tour of the new building! 

During this transitional season, we also invite you to continue praying for a more permanent home for the ICEJ, as we are convinced that the Lord would have us own and not just rent an office building here in Jerusalem. We are excited about the great plans God has to expand our work and ministry in Israel and around the world, and we look forward with faith and anticipation to seeing this unfold in this new year filled with new beginnings!

ICEJ Haifa Team 'Upgrading' Haifa Home

We truly have an out-of-the-ordinary home,” assured ICEJ Haifa Home director Yudit Setz.

The purpose of ICEJ’s Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors is not just to provide the best care for the residents, but also to bring purpose in their last years of life. In fact, it was revealed in a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that while Holocaust survivors experience more chronic illness than the general population, they outlive them by an average of seven years. The study cites several possible reasons for this, such as their unique resilience, including favourable genetic, physical and emotional capabilities which may have helped them survive the Shoah in the first place.

However, this extra lease on life requires a special kind of care, not just for the body but also for the mind and the soul. Therefore, ICEJ’s Haifa Home provides the Holocaust survivors with opportunities to share their personal stories of suffering and survival with visitors from around the world. Each story, along with photos, is also displayed in the Haifa Home’s museum, which receives a steady stream of visitors both from Israel and abroad.

The Haifa Home buildings are always in need of maintenance, so the ICEJ team in Haifa recently launched a renovation and expansion called ‘Project Upgrade.’ This work is overseen by a dynamic couple, Yudit and Will Setz, who are on-site managing the daily progress of the renovations. When heavy rain and wind hit Haifa early in the new year, causing water damage in some apartments and even toppling an old tree against the main dining hall, Yudit and Will were able to respond rapidly and supervise the cleanup and repairs.

“Our journey now is discovering how to fit our volunteers into the work we do”, explained Yudit. “We started to invite Christian handymen from abroad to join our local team in refurbishing many of the older apartments and to adapt the living quarters of the residents to their changing needs. It has been a great blessing for the residents.”

At the same time, this project is impacting the Christian volunteers in special ways. They take pride in bettering the home through their valuable time and trade skills. These foreign volunteers also not only see the land but connect with the people and return to their home countries as ambassadors for Israel.

One recent handyman from Germany was 72-year-old Rainer Kert. During his stay, Rainer helped repair a handrail and other features around the property, bringing greater safety and comfort to the survivors at the Haifa Home. After serving the survivors for several weeks, Rainer stated: “What touched me the most was that I was in such close contact with people who lived through hell, and that I – a German – could have a positive impact in making the lives of Holocaust survivors more comfortable.”

This year the ICEJ team in Haifa hopes to:
-Upgrade and expand the volunteer infrastructure
-Create more videos capturing the great work ICEJ is doing at the Haifa Home
-Develop a local team in Haifa to help with the daily tasks
-Finish construction in a new building for residents in need of intensive care
-Continue upgrading and renovating existing buildings
-Add gardens and beautify the exteriors of the survivor’s home.

This one-of-a-kind humanitarian project needs your prayers. Please pray for God’s wisdom in Will and Yudit’s daily decisions, for a healthy balance of work and rest, for grace to minister to the residents, and for the right volunteers at the right time to complete each job. As the ICEJ Haifa team moves forward in this year of new beginnings, we look ahead with great expectation to see how the Lord will continue to move in extraordinary ways!

Impact the lives of Holocaust Survivors today: int.icej.org/aid/haifa-home-holocaust-survivors

A Meal, A Bath, & A Way of Escape

Women who are abused, lost and hurting have found a well of hope amid south Tel Aviv’s desert of prostitution, poverty, slavery and addiction. This hope is found at the “Red Carpet” ministry center which receives women in distress, some even near death.

When they first enter the center, many women are shocked to see fellow prostitutes being cared for with a tender grace. A small Israeli lady greets them at the door and wraps each one in a hug. The warmth easily touches hearts as they are introduced to volunteers eager to offer a nice lunch. They talk with the women as if they were old friends. After a hearty meal, the women are offered a hot shower, plus a free haircut and manicure, before they are ushered to a special area to pick out new clothes, shoes and bags, along with toiletries and other necessary items. These are all luxuries, as many of these women are homeless. Treated for once with dignity and respect, they leave the center a little different than when they arrived.

This description of life in south Tel Aviv is not fiction. Sadly, it is the reality for countless women who have been trafficked and now are caught in the snare of prostitution in central Israel. Thankfully for them, the Red Carpet center is not fictitious either, but a ministry birthed out of the godly compassion of a believing Israeli couple who saw women in need and decided to reach out to them. The work they do is physically and emotionally demanding, and comes at the cost of their family time, their rest, and their own pocketbook.

Today, the center provides numerous services for these battered women, including supplies for infants and new mothers. Many of the women are simply seeking warmth and support, while others are desperate to escape the vicious trap of prostitution.

Red Carpet’s work is highly sensitive and dangerous. A security guard is stationed at the door to prevent pimps from trying to forcibly drag the girls back to the streets. Inside, some of the women have been known to turn violent against themselves or the workers out of fear or a drug-induced hysteria. Workers at the center must be extremely sensitive to the moods of the women and often simply sit and listen to their stories in order to provide emotional support.

Regrettably, some of the women are dying from sexually transmitted diseases. To them, the Red Carpet team offers the redeeming love of the Lord and their most earnest prayers.

For those who seek to escape this abusive profession, Red Carpet offers the safety and tools to take back their lives. Women who are pregnant can receive prenatal support and counseling – hopefully securing one crucial victory at a time in the fight against abortion.

The Red Carpet center is salvaging and changing lives forever. Without the center, these women would have nowhere to turn to flee their enslavement. The continued support of ICEJ donors is vital to helping rescue these extremely vulnerable women. Please also pray for these women, that they would find the courage and strength to break away from their cruel masters and seek help from the center. And pray for the Red Carpet workers, that they might have the grace and power needed to truly help these women become free and whole again.

Great Hope in the Midst of Great Tragedy

“It was here. It hit in our home!”

Gladys needed few words to describe the most harrowing day of her life. Last November, she and her husband Sergio were at home in Ashkelon, just north of Gaza, when they heard sirens and Hamas rockets being intercepted by Iron Dome batteries. All night long, the alarm kept sounding and sent them scurrying towards the bomb shelter specially built into their home.

From inside the shelter, they heard a rocket hit nearby. After a while, Gladys went to the balcony and saw smoke rising in the distance. For Gladys, her balcony is not only a great lookout point, but one of her favorite places to talk with God. Standing there watching the smoke rise, Gladys heard the Lord say: “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” (Psalm 91:7)

Sergio suggested they move their mattresses into the shelter for the night, which they did. They had just closed the door, when muffled explosions of Iron Dome intercepts began again and then everything went silent. But the eerie calm abruptly ended in a loud, violent BOOM!

Hearing debris falling outside, Gladys shouted, “It was here. It hit in our home!” But her husband thought otherwise. Gladys slowly opened the door to investigate. A gray cloud of smoke and sulfur enveloped her, so she slammed the door in shock. Later, Sergio ventured out into the dark, smoke-filled home. Stepping over debris and broken glass, he reached the balcony and yelled for help. Their home had suffered a direct hit!

As Sergio led Gladys safely out of the home, she looked at the devastation and felt her dreams were crushed. Yet when the police arrived, they made an extraordinary discovery: The rocket never exploded! Instead, the massive rocket – over five meters long – had split in two and exited the home unexploded. The security forces were perplexed how this happened. But Gladys knew why! The Lord had kept His promise to protect them.

During the ambulance ride to the hospital, Gladys kept repeating Psalm 91:7. She asked God, “Why did this happen?” And she heard the Lord reply, “I told you that it would not touch you.”

“This situation changed me”, Gladys explained during a solidarity visit from an ICEJ team. “I strongly believe that God is with me and He answers my prayers. This made me stronger as a believer to trust in God, and it strengthened my marriage.”

As Gladys related her experience, her heart overflowed with both sorrow and thankfulness. The destruction of her home was shocking, yet she was utterly grateful for God’s protection. When Gladys later met an old man with scratches all over his face from rocket shrapnel, she appreciated God’s protection even more. A rocket directly hit their home, yet Gladys and Sergio walked away without a scratch!

Despite losing everything, Gladys insists, “I still prefer to live in Israel, even if a rocket hits my home, because this is the land that God wants me to live in.”

Gladys and Sergio are now in temporary housing, but must still pay rent on their gutted home. When the ICEJ heard their story in the Israeli media, we stepped in to provide some much-needed assistance. Gladys was greatly comforted with the love and care from her brothers and sisters in Christ. “I am so thankful you are here”, she said. “It brings healing.”

Your generous support allows the ICEJ to reach out quickly to families like Gladys and Sergio when they most need our help. Please pray for this dear couple, and many other Israeli families who must overcome the trauma of violence and terror every day.

Testimonies

The ICEJ hosted its annual Envision Conference in January, with over 150 pastors and ministry leaders from 25 different nations gathering in Jerusalem for a special time of fellowship, touring the Land, and learning more about God’s heart for Israel. One of those leaders was Vee from Malaysia, and here is his testimony about his first time here in Israel with the ICEJ Envision Conference.

 “This is my first time to Israel, and it has been an eye-opening experience”, said Pastor Vee, originally from Malaysia but now based in Canada. “I wasn’t even planning on coming to Israel, but everything fell into place for me to be able to attend the Envision conference. Just in this week here, God has shown me more of His love for Israel and that the missing piece in our churches is the revelation of Israel.”

Vee overseers seven different churches spread throughout the world in Malaysia, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. “I am inspired to get serious about learning more about Israel, so that I can share it with the churches I am overseeing”, he said.

“In this conference, I have felt a stronger brotherhood in Christ. I have seen the unity of the Arab Christians and the Messianic Jews working together and I am very encouraged.”

“Pray for the church in Malaysia to be more outspoken about the truth of God and to stand up for Israel.”

 

ICEJ Arise Youth Summer Tour

Felicia from Canada shares about her experience on the ICEJ Arise Tour in Israel:

“The Arise tour greatly impacted my life. When I went on the tour, my faith was dormant for a number of years. In Israel, the connections I made, the people I met, and the places we visited slowly reignited my faith. It has been a four-year transformative journey since then. I can wholeheartedly say God has changed the posture of my heart completely since Israel.”

“Before the tour, I only heard negative headlines about Israel in the news. But when you’re there, you truly feel safe and protected. I see Israel as an extraordinary place. It opened my eyes to the biblical truths of the Holy Land, the recent history of Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

“If you feel that subtle heart tug calling you to Israel, don’t ignore it. That’s the voice from heaven telling you it’s your time to go home. I was hesitant at first, but God led the way. I think every believer should experience Israel at some point. I can tell you it was truly life changing.”

Many more young lives, just like Felicia, have been greatly impacted in their relationship with God through the ICEJ Arise tour. We encourage you to sign up today or encourage other young people to sign up for this unforgettable trip to Israel this summer, July 11-21, 2019!

Sign up today at: www.arisegeneration.org/summer-tour

Envision Conference 2019

The ICEJ hosted its annual Envision Conference in January, with over 150 pastors and ministry leaders from 25 different nations gathering in Jerusalem for a special time of fellowship, touring the Land, and learning more about God’s heart for Israel.

The main sessions at Envision featured teachings by the ICEJ leadership and select local ministers, who provided a solid biblical perspective on Israel – both the ancient and modern land and people. Given that the New Testament admits there is something of a “mystery” to Israel, the teaching series aimed to equip pastors and ministry leaders to speak and teach confidently on the subject. For some attendees, like Brian from Denmark, this was their first trip to Israel, so they had so much to take in even just driving around Jerusalem. Yet even for those who have been here many times before, like Bible teacher Sally Howard from Atlanta, Georgia, there is always so much more to learn about Israel to take back to her church and community.

On the opening night, ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler gave a powerful message from the story of Baalam and Balak in Exodus, that many today are looking for vantage points from which they can scrutinize and denounce Israel for her faults, but we need to maintain God’s perspective on this uniquely chosen nation.

The next morning, ICEJ VP & senior spokesman David Parsons emphasized the importance of preaching the full counsel of Scripture about Israel from the pulpit. “Your view on Israel says much about your view of God!” Parsons exclaimed.

Connecting with Israel and the local Body
In addition to offering ministry tools and networking opportunities, Envision also challenged attendees to deepen the personal impact of their time in Israel. Noted Bible teacher Peter Tsukahira spoke on the great importance of these ministers receiving fresh revelation from God. “What you need to be praying while you are here in the land is ‘God, open the eyes of my heart. Show me what you are doing here in this land.’”

Magne, who leads a congregation in Germany, shared that this was a motivating factor for him. “I have a firm understanding of the importance of Israel”, he said. “I hope to renew and strengthen my connection and relationship with God’s heart for Israel.”

Panel discussions with local Jewish and Arab pastors, as well as Messianic professionals and business owners, provided a rare inside perspective on life in Israel for the believing community here. In one session, Arab and Jewish ministers shared the stage, discussing the unique opportunities and challenges faced by their congregations in Israel. The unity and cooperation between these shepherds and congregations inspired the audience, as they stand firm for the truth of being one new man in Christ!

Other panels discussed trends in business and Israel’s corporate culture, and ways to get involved. “I think the Lord is calling each of you to a deeper relationship with the community in Israel”, explained Israeli consultant Yoel Shoshani. “Above all, I encourage you to be an ambassador for us to your nation.”

An especially touching session featured three local pastors who shared their personal Aliyah experiences. Pastor Birlie Belay is an Ethiopian Jewish immigrant who has started several Ethiopian Messianic congregations here in Israel. He explained the many struggles that Ethiopian Jews have in moving to Israel, including the extreme culture shock and the discrimination he faces for being African and a Messianic Jew. In the middle of these struggles, Birlie also sees God moving powerfully.

“God is doing new things here in Israel”, Birlie said. “We need your prayers for the leaders and pastors to do God’s will here. Your love makes us more jealous for Yeshua… God sent you to encourage us, stand with us, and pray for us!”

The conference also included several day outings to places of special interest in Israel. The first excursion took the pastors and leaders to Yad Vashem, the revered Holocaust remembrance center in Jerusalem. Throughout the tour, each story they heard about the Holocaust brought a new level of understanding and impact to the group. A separate field trip took the pastors to the volatile border with Gaza to see up-close how the ICEJ has been helping Jewish villages there cope with years of rocket fire and other terror attacks.

War of the Worlds
ICEJ director emeritus Rev. Malcolm Hedding was also on hand to add to the ministry component, and he stressed the need to recognise and steel ourselves for the intense spiritual battle already raging around us, particularly over Israel’s destiny. The three spheres where we battle most are the conflict over Israel, the conflict over our communities, and the conflict within ourselves, he explained. “God embarked upon this adventure to rescue you, and the war was won on the Cross of Calvary. But we have to work out and live out our salvation”, Malcolm declared.

Meanwhile, ICEJ VP of International Affairs Mojmir Kallus discussed some of the difficult New Testament verses concerning the Jewish people, and the need for patience “until” their hardness of heart is over and the restoration of Israel is complete. “God has a glorious future for the people of Israel”, Mojmir stated.

In another session, ICEJ VP for Jerusalem Operations Barry Denison outlined in Scripture the unique prophetic role reserved for the Gentiles in assisting with the ingathering of Israel in modern times. Drawing from Isaiah 66:18-20, he likened it to an aromatic “grain offering” being brought to the Lord at the Temple.


Support the extensive ongoing work and witness of the ICEJ by helping us fund our core activities in fulfilling our mandate to support Israel, connect the church, provide education and promote justice.

Donations allow us to maintain funding for emergency projects, and embark on new initiatives to support Israel in these critical days.

Thank you for your ongoing support of ICEJ Canada!


 

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