ICEJ USA

"Comfort, comfort my people says your God" Isaiah 40
  1. Security forces deployed around Israel’s border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip were on maximum alert Friday afternoon in anticipation of higher-than-usual levels of violent rioting by Palestinian residents of the Strip. “If the protests are too small, then Israel might think they won by canceling the demonstrations,” Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University told The Jerusalem Post. “They [Hamas] don’t want to give Israel that achievement.” Hamas “might be willing to cause a clash between Israel and demonstrators in order to say that ‘we keep the peace while Israel keeps shooting at us.’”

    In related news, the Iranian-backed Islamist terror militia Palestinian Islamic Jihad released photographs on Thursday of a new, heavy rocket which they claimed was fired towards Ashkelon during the recent barrages on Israel.

    US Special Envoy for Iran Visits Israel
    Brian Hook, Washington’s special envoy on Iran, was in Jerusalem on Thursday where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials. “Now that we have reimposed our sanctions, we are in a position to really go after all the revenue streams Iran uses to fund Hamas and Hezbollah, its missile proliferation – all the threats to peace and security that Iran presents,” he said, adding that Netanyahu is a “fantastic and committed partner to this endeavor, and we are very grateful for all the support you give.”

    Here is a video about Iran’s reaction to US sanctions



    Australia and Malaysia Clash Over Jerusalem Embassy Plans
    This week saw an escalating war of words between the governments of Australia and Malaysia over the former’s stated plans of moving Canberra’s embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told journalists Friday morning in the wake of the back-and-forth remarks between Malaysian officials and members of his own government that "I will not have our policy dictated by those outside the country.”

    Israel Blesses the World
    With World Toilet Day coming up on 19 November researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev published a study this week giving details of methods they’ve developed for turning human waste into fuel and fertilizer for industrial and agricultural use. The team from BGU’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research said their processes for turning human waste into a substance called “hydrochar” had potential to help communities all over the world deal with the pressing problems of waste management, energy and food production all at the same time.

    Here’s a video about other ways Israel is blessing the world



    Israel Appoints Arab-Christian Envoy to Azerbaijan
    Arab-Christian diplomat George Deek was appointed as Israel’s next ambassador to the strategically important Moslem-majority country of Azerbaijan on Thursday. “We are proud of his appointment, which perfectly symbolizes the integration of Israelis from different backgrounds in the representation of the state,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
  2. Journey of Dreams – Joint Jewish-Christian Successes

    One special evening at the Feast is the ICEJ's Israeli Guest Night, which provides moving highlights of Jewish-Christian cooperation and joint accomplishments. The ICEJ’s special effort in Aliyah moved the audience as they witnessed the trials and frustrations of a Jewish Ethiopian family, long awaiting an opportunity to immigrate to Israel before the family finally flew over Tel Aviv’s beautiful night-time cityscape to be reunited with their extended family in Ben Gurion Airport – all scenes from the ICEJ’s new documentary: “Journey of Dreams.” This was the beginning of a tour-de-force demonstrating to Israelis the impressive range of projects in which the ICEJ is involved, spanning aid work, public diplomacy and the unique home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa, a group of whom were actually present in the audience, and who received the entire arena’s standing recognition. The Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors also received gifts for 2 million and 1 million NIS from the ICEJ's German and US branches respectively, presented by National Directors Gottfried Bühler and Susan Michael.

    Israel in the international arena
    Likewise, Israel’s efforts in the international arena and the country’s very tangible blessings to the world were also highlighted in a CBN documentary about the time-honoured Jewish endeavour for “Tikkun Olam” (loosely translated as “repairing the world”). The efforts of private Israeli citizens among refugees, for example, and the Israeli government’s responses to natural disasters around the world all underscored that Israel cares and does so with a global impact.

    The Paradox of Operation Good Neighbor
    The crowning jewel of these joint successes was delivered by retired IDF Colonel Marco Moreno, who headed up “Operation Good Neighbor” on the Israeli-Syrian border, an effort aimed at providing aid and humanitarian relief to war-struck Syrians. Moving scenes of young IDF soldiers, trained to defend their country with force, but in this instance helping refugees reach safety in Israel passed over the screens. In one sequence, you see Moreno in the Golan Heights, close to the border with Syria: “You can hear bombing as we speak. That means that tonight our soldiers, our brave soldiers, will go and save lives.” Back in the arena, Moreno concluded, “It sounds like a joke: Christians and Jews helping Muslims, right? But it’s the reality”

    Awards and Recognition
    A prime function of this gala evening is to celebrate and recognise valuable contributions. This is why the ICEJ each year gives the Nehemiah Award to an individual who has served the Jewish people in exceptional ways. Because of the seminal move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, US Senator Jon Kyl, who originally sponsored the bill and legislation leading to the Embassy Act of 1995, was a most natural and worthy recipient of this year’s award.

    The Cyrus Award and notable achievements
    A new award, directly related to recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: the Cyrus Award, has also been instated by the ICEJ. This reward has been given to heads-of-state from nations taking the bold step to move their embassies to Jerusalem. These were highlighted by Mojmir Kallus, the ICEJ’s VP for International Affairs, who also mentioned smaller but very significant contributions from poor and minor countries around the world. The determination of local Christians in, e.g., Tanzania and Albania to bless Israel is truly heart-warming and set an example of a different kind. Such quiet efforts are equally inspiring and worthy as some of the headline-making contributions.

    Personal addresses by Israel’s PM and The Jewish Agency’s chairman
    Two personal addresses had been specially recorded to address the Feast Pilgrims on this festive evening. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened his address by stating, “I am delighted that there is a Christian Embassy.” He also stood by Israel’s relations to Christians in the Land, telling the audience that “Sometimes a profound truth is a simple truth. Here is a simple truth: Israel is the only country in the Middle East that protects the rights of Christians. Think of that. For thousands of miles around us, there is only one place Christians thrive. Right here in Israel.” He finished his address with deep-felt thanks: “Thank you for recognising Israel. Thank you for always supporting Israel.”

    Another personal address was given by the newly elected chairman for The Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog, “I want to thank you for your support. Your support has been enormous. (…) and we are partners with you, the ICEJ. (…) Together we have brought 140,000 new immigrants to Israel - I think it is an enormous achievement.”

  3. Seventy, or derivatives of seven in the Bible, constitute the idea of rich fulfilment. For instance, Moses appointed seventy elders to help him fulfil the daunting mission that God gave him in terms of leading a million people out of Egypt (Numbers 11:16). The great exile of Judah to Babylon that took place in the sixth century before Christ would be fulfilled after seventy years (Jeremiah 25:12), and thus when the Prophet Daniel read this in the book of Jeremiah he went about fasting and praying about the fulfilment of this promise (Daniel 9:2). Daniel also received an oracle from heaven that announced that Israel’s unique destiny on the earth would be fulfilled after seventy weeks of years (Daniel 9:24-27).

    In terms of the New Testament scriptures, we are told that Jesus appointed seventy disciples to help Him fulfil the mission that God His Father had given Him (Luke 10:1,17). Jesus told us that we are to forgive others who offend us “seventy times seven times”, in order to fulfil the demands of God’s righteousness in us (Matthew 18:22). Also, in the end we all have 70 years in order to fulfil God’s personal plan for each of us on earth (Psalm 90:10).

    From all of this we understand that in God’s economy seventy designates fulfilment or evidence of His allotted purpose. So, in terms of Israel, the message is clear: Her existence is no accident of history but clear fulfilment of God’s plan and purpose for her and for the world. Israel is God’s vehicle of world redemption and His actions in her modern-day restoration are a herald of great things to come.

    God’s promises to Abraham
    Indeed, Israel’s existence rests on unconditional and everlasting promises that God made to Abraham and His descendants. Israel is therefore evidence of these and a clear testimony to the Church and the world at large, that the God of the Bible fulfils His promises. This is precisely why we can all trust Him fully in all things. To Israel, through Abraham, God promised land as an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:7-8); He promised that the blessings of eternal salvation would flow to the world from her by the coming of a ‘Seed Messiah” (Genesis 22:18; John 4:22) and; He promised that blessings and curses would fall upon many depending on how they related to her (Genesis 12:1-3). Today Israel stands strong at 70 because the nation is beloved “for the sake of the fathers” (Romans 11:28), meaning that the God of the Bible does not lie and will therefore not turn back on the undertakings that He made to Abraham. Abraham is forever God’s friend and the God we serve does not turn His back on His friends; although many in the Church assert that He does! Israel’s modern-day restoration is a vexing contradiction to the wayward theological thinking of those who espouse replacement theology and it exposes their inability to rightly understand the character of God.

    God’s prophetic markers
    Israel’s modern restoration has taken place because God has fully honoured and fulfilled His undertakings to the nation given in the Abrahamic Covenant. The prophetic portions of scripture confirm these and date them so that we have no excuse in terms of recognizing the hand of God in Israel’s national destiny.

    So, for instance, the Prophet Jeremiah speaks prophetically of a coming day when more Jews would return to the land of Israel from the North Country than those who returned from Egypt under Moses, 1300 years before Christ (Jeremiah 23:7-8). This is an extraordinary prophetic oracle, as at no time up until the present day did this happen. The return from Babylon after seventy years of Exile saw nothing like the number that Moses brought out of Egypt since the numbers in this regard are clearly recorded in the pages of scripture (Ezra 2). But, in recent years, beginning with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, more than a million Russian Jews have returned to Zion and they are still coming. The God we serve is a God of fulfilment!

    In addition, the Prophet Zechariah predicted that a day would come when Jerusalem would spill over its wall and straddle the surrounding hills of Judea (Zechariah 2:1-5). This has not happened until the 20th Century when for the first time homes and dwellings of all types began to spring up around the ancient walled and biblical city of Zion. In fact, the first community to be built in this regard was that of Yemin Moshe, easily recognised by the windmill that stands amongst its dwellings.

    Amos, that remarkable “Shepherd Prophet” (Amos 7:14-15), wrote of Israel’s trials and tribulations in terms of judgment and exile, but he also saw a day, by the hand of God, when Israel would return to her ancient homeland never to be “plucked up again” (Amos 9:13-15). This is no reference to the return from Babylon as the nation was “plucked up again” in A.D. 70, but rather a prophetic picture of our day. God has fulfilled His promises before our very eyes. He is the friend of Abraham and thus a God of fulfilment.

    And then Jesus gave a prophetic oracle that is known as the Olivet Discourse, which is recorded in all the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). In this discourse He stated that the Jews would be dispersed into all the nations of the world and that Jerusalem would be “downtrodden by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Here again the idea of fulfilment is brought into focus and consequently in 1967, by the Six Day War of June of that year, the gentile nations lost their grip on the holy city and it returned to Jewish sovereignty. This is amazing and again a testimony to the faithfulness of God to His covenant with Abraham.

    God’s promised Son
    There is no doubt that the greatest gift of Israel to the world is Jesus of Nazareth, God’s only unique Son. He has saved millions of people of all colours, creeds and nations from their sins and has become the most famous person of all time. He has no competitors, since He towers above all the human icons of time and divides history itself by His existence. Moreover, He is alive at the very right hand of God from whence He will soon return to the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:11). Israel’s modern-day restoration constitutes a platform by which the Son of God will return to the earth in power and great glory (Matthew 24:30). The Psalmist wrote that there would come a time when the Lord would “build up Zion” and then “appear in His glory” (Psalm 102:16-17). This time is upon us, yes, the time has come or has been fulfilled for the Son of God to shortly come as King to His people.

    God’s people of prayer
    Because all these things are true, it is clear that we have responsibilities as Christians to Israel and the Jewish people since we share in “their spiritual things” (Romans 15:27). In short, we should bless what God is blessing and work where God is working. Our God is working in all the earth, but He is doing mighty and wondrous things in Israel. Paul tells us that God has not forsaken His people (Romans 11:1,11) and He has not abandoned the calling that He placed over them in Abraham four thousand years ago (Romans 11:29). He has faithfully fulfilled all His promises to them, and Israel’s seventieth anniversary brings this into focus. Consequently, for the Apostle Paul this means that we should:

    1. Resist the notion that He has abandoned them (Romans 11:11);
    2. Resist anti-Semitism (Romans 11:20-22);
    3. Resist pride and arrogance (Romans 11:18).

    We should actually give ourselves to prayer and fasting for Israel as Daniel did when he discerned the times of fulfilment in Israel’s long historical journey (Daniel 9:1-3). Also, the Psalmist, while speaking of a future day of the up building of Zion, stated that this would happen because God has heard the prayers of His people (Psalm 102: 15-17). Paul knew that his major contribution to the well-being and salvation of Israel would be that of prayer (Romans 10:1). We must not fail God now but arise to take hold of the days of fulfilment. This means that Jesus’ Church should be a “house of prayer”.

  4. The Pulse of Israel’s Local Body

    Getting to know local believers and to understand the situation on the ground in Israel is vital, and the best source for this is to connect directly with the people of the land. That’s why the ICEJ organised a panel discussion with three Messianic leaders from three different cities in Israel: Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Ashdod. The open and frank discussion gave examples of how to show God’s love in direct and practical ways. Praying for healing continues to bring results, both among believers going out to pray and the ones who are being healed.

    God’s Sovereign Faithfulness and Grace for Israel
    At the Feast’s first morning plenary, Daniel Yahav gave a message about Israel that only a native Israeli can deliver – consisting of both hope and reality. He referred to Israel’s amazing history through the millennia: “It’s exciting to hear the words that God spoke with Abraham 4,000 years ago, recorded by Moses 3,500 years ago.” The reality is, however, that God has guided the Jewish nation very much in spite of itself, i.e., by grace, and that believers should have God’s sovereign works as their main focus as they rejoice over the miracles performed for Israel. He drove home his message on the sovereignty of the Lord by stating, “God is not waiting, and He is not dependent on the nations or the UN. Our God is God. He created heaven and earth, and He has decided that this land is the inheritance of the people of Israel.”

    Restoring the Altar of the Lord
    Peter Tsukahira delivered a superbly inspiring message, in which he managed to make Scriptures acutely relevant by speaking about the tribal nature of human conflict and God as the only unifying peacemaker. He used Elijah’s battle on Mount Carmel to illustrate the modern-day battle in which believers find themselves, asking, “Will you be among the ones who will restore the altar of the Lord in the midst of your people?” He ended by declaring about Jerusalem, “Here are your roots. Here is where your King laid down his life for you. Here is where He rose from the dead, and here, according to the Scriptures, is where He is going to return.”

    Divine Dealings

    ICEJ’s International Spokesman, David Parsons, delved deeply into theology in his teaching on the suffering of the Jewish people, investigating the hopeful notion that the worst is past for Israel, meaning that because of historical calamities that have already transpired, Israel “has [already] received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” (Is. 40:2) The judgment still to come will now focus on the nations.

    Plugging into Israel’s Prospects and Challenges
    Yet again, the ICEJ’s leadership assembled a roster of accomplished speakers to give Feast pilgrims a handle on what is moving in Israel. A new investment platform, “OurCrowd” was introduced. Recognizing that there is great interest investing in Israel but a reluctance to do the “deal picking,” OurCrowd vets more than 200 start--ups monthly before it recommends two to three to its global network of investors, which includes everything from private individuals to corporate giants like Google.

    Although the OurCrowd investment initiative’s success is an effective counter to BDS, Dr Eugene Kontorovich and Calev Myers in their seminar highlighted the nature of the newest form of affront against Israel, Lawfare. Lawfare is to attack Israel and its policies through legal means. Lawfare has been one of the favourite tactics of the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement in their efforts to delegitimise Israel, and while the key players have changed from being the Arab League to many European leaders and NGOs today, the goals remain the same. BDS is working to label every product created in the West Bank with what is for all intents and purposes “a yellow star” on Israeli products in the global market.

    Find full DVD and MP3 coverage of Feast seminars, speakers and events at
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  5. The first Feast night in Jerusalem literally started with a blast as the shofar sounded from the main stage in Pais Arena, calling God’s assembly to attention. The audience was ready to celebrate, and each nation was excited to see its particular national flag ascend to the main stage. The loudest collective cheer sounded when Israel’s flag joined the host of nations, demonstrating the powerful Christian love and support that the ICEJ can draw upon in its work for the Jewish people.

    Powerful Changes
    Following the parade of nations and celebratory worship, ICEJ’s president, Dr Jürgen Bühler, took to the stage to address the Feast Pilgrims. In an expert manner, he drove home two powerful points: namely, the amazing reality that God has brought about in Israel over the past 70 years and how diverse and multifaceted Israeli society is today.

    Based on Exodus 28, Dr Jürgen Bühler gave a profound yet accessible introduction to the mosaic of modern-day Israel. Using the priestly breastplate as a model for Israel’s twelve tribes, the audience was introduced to twelve contemporary population groups, each unique in its own way and spanning an astonishingly broad spectrum in terms of religion, ethnicity and social class. Dr Bühler suggested that Christians adopt one of these modern-day “tribes” and intercede for them in prayer. The following excerpts demonstrate how he caught the audience’s imagination and used the Bible along with ancient and contemporary history to give a highly effective lesson on where and what Israel is today.

    "Now we don’t have the twelve tribes anymore today (…) but let me suggest to you tonight twelve contemporary tribes of Israel – twelve tribes that need your prayer; twelve tribes the Lord asks you to put on your heart, to put them on your shoulders and bring them before God.

    Value-driven Ultra-Orthodox
    The first tribe that you find in Israel is the Ultra-Orthodox communities. You recognise them in the way they dress; they make up approximately 12% of the population. They have many different traditions, but they have a united voice against immorality (…) We always need to remember that one of the greatest apostles in the Bible came out of exactly this community. There was a young man here in Jerusalem. His name was Saul (…) after he had an encounter with Jesus, he became the main force in the New Testament Church to take the gospel to the nations, so let’s pray for those people.

    Secular Faith
    The second tribe that I want to introduce lies on the exact opposite side of the spectrum. They are the secular people here in this land, many of them are atheists, but let me tell you this tonight: The atheists here in this land are different from those in your country. Just a few days ago we honoured the day of Yom Kippur. I was surprised to find out that more than 40% of the secular community were fasting, too. (…) And let me also tell you something else about the atheists in this land. One of their voices, Amos Oz, has said, 'We are atheists of the book, we read the Bible because it is our history book; it gives us identity,' and it is interesting enough, it was among those people that Jesus found the most followers when he walked here in Israel. Let us pray for those people – the atheists, the secular people of Israel.

    (…)

    Voices for the future
    The sixth group I want to introduce to you are Holocaust survivors. They are a group that is becoming smaller each day. Today there are over 180,000 Holocaust survivors left. Every year, an estimated 25,000 Holocaust survivors pass away. Their dreams are sometimes nightmares. They still wake up in the middle of the night, and they hear the barking of the German guard dogs, corralling them into the gas chambers. But the dreams that they have for the future can be summed up by the following: They tell me, 'Jürgen, I hope that when we die, that our memories will stay alive, that people will always remember what we have been through.'

    And ladies and gentlemen that is why we have a home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa. We can take care of those people and also ensure that their memory will pass on to the next generation. Time is running out to help these people. Every day, Holocaust survivors pass away, and I believe we are called to bless them.

    The seventh tribe I want to introduce to you is the Russian Jews. When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1989, more than 1 million Jews came rushing to the land of Israel (…) They are an integral part of Israeli society. They serve in the army; you can find them in every part of society; they even have their own political party in the Knesset, and they can be found among the staff at the Christian Embassy. Over the last 20 years, the ICEJ has helped more than 120,000 Russian Jews make their way back to the land of Israel. These are the people about whom the Bible says “Behold, I will speak to the north country and I will tell it, let my people go” (Cf. Isaiah 43:6), and God answered those prayers; they have returned back to the land of Israel.

    (…)

    The heart of the Start-up Nation
    The ninth tribe is the academic science/ high-tech tribe, a very important tribe because it accounts for more than 70% of Israel’s economic volume. I’m not sure if you’re aware that Israel was the only nation that already had a university before the nation was established. Some of the greatest scientists today come from this land. The dreams that they have are very literal dreams: to make the lame walk. And this week you will meet a young start-up company called ReWalk, whose product does exactly this – they make people walk again. Others are working through science to get their eyesight back; yet others are working to heal cancer and other diseases. And if you ask them, “Why are you doing this?” they say, “because we want to be a blessing to the nations.”

    (…)

    Maybe the Lord has brought one tribe in particular to mind, or maybe your heart has been touched by all the tribes, but let us pray that God puts a burden on our hearts tonight, that when we return back to our nations we will be carrying those tribes of Israel on our shoulders, that we return as priests and ambassadors praying until we see revival in Israel."
     

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