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 Prayer and “status quo”

  Some time ago, CFI Headquarters in Jerusalem took a group of twenty staff members to visit the Temple Mount in the Old City. When they entered the site with a Jewish guide, they were immediately surrounded by fifteen armed members of the Israeli Police Force. One would naturally think that the reason for so much security presence would be for the safety and protection of the visitors.

The truth, however, is painfully quite the contrary. The armed police were there to make sure that our Jewish guide in no way was praying or allowing us to pray on the Temple grounds that are controlled and managed by the Jerusalem Islamic Wagf. It is amazing the lengths that Israel must go to keep their word and allow the agreed “status quo” to continue on the Temple Mount.

The original “status quo” was reformulated after the Six-Day War in 1967 by Moshe Dayan and the Muslim religious authorities. The Jews were given the right to visit the Temple Mount unobstructed and free of charge if they respected the Muslim’s religious feelings and acted decently, but the Jews were not allowed to pray. The Western Wall below was to remain the Jewish place of prayer. Religious sovereignty was to remain with the Muslims while overall sovereignty was to be Israel ’s responsibility. However, the Muslim site rejected such an agreement. Ever since private and public visits by the Jewish people have caused problems. Therefore, Israel forbids all Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.

As Christian Friends of Israel, it is our privilege to come alongside Israelis in times of their need. The members of the Household of Faith struggle in the midst of political demands and religious regulations. Join us in December to raise support to comfort and encourage the faith community in the Land. Thank you.

A silent night over the Holy City

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From Kristallnacht to Pittsburgh  

The night of November 9─10, marked eighty years since the shocking Kristallnacht─the Night of Broken Glass─that took place in Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland was a pogrom against the Jewish people. The night of looting, arson and mass murder was carried out by the Nazi Paramilitary forces and German civilians. The German authorities looked on without intervening. In the morning, broken glass littered the streets. Close to 100 Jews were murdered, over 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed or damaged and an estimated 1,100 synagogues were burned. An estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in the recently built concentration camps.

The attacks were called a “spontaneous retaliation” for the assassination of a Nazi German diplomat by a young Polish Jew living in Paris. The Kristallnacht was followed by an additional political persecution of Jews, and it was viewed as a part of Nazi Germany’s broader racial policy. The German press portrayed opponents of this policy as disloyal to the state. While individual Catholics and Protestants took action, the church as a whole chose silence. Neighbors who were discovered to have assisted the Jewish people were given fines and prison sentences, or executed or sent to concentration camps to die. The Kristallnacht began the road to the Final Solution and the Holocaust of six million European Jews.

On October 27, 2018, a house of prayer, the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, was in the center of the most recent anti-Semitic attack against the Jewish people. The unthinkable murder of 11 elderly members of the synagogue took place during the Shabbat morning prayers. It is alarming that the attack happened here, in the United States of America, and not in an anti-Jewish European country.

Praying on our knees

Healing and comfort to Pittsburgh

We join the Jewish world in mourning for the loss of the synagogue members─including a 97−year- old Holocaust survivor. Comfort and strength come only from the Almighty God, Whom we pray to visit the broken hearted in the Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. (CFI−USA sent a letter of condolences to the Tree of Life leader, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers.)

A true peace treaty

For the past three decades, Israel has been targeted with false “peace plans” to reduce Israel’s size and will for self-defense.  We must intercede for God’s plan for a political solution of Israel’s Arab population (Palestinians) who have never had interest in a responsible governing or peace with Israel.

Truth about Israel

The world news media spreads fabrications and one-sided views about Israel. Even friends of the Jewish people fall victims of such reports. Let’s join in the spiritual battle on behalf of Israel for the truth to come out and be broadcast daily.

Protection and peace

The Jewish state is surrounded by people and nations who continuously scheme to attack and destroy her. For the past seventy years, Israel has been drawn into wars and conflicts but miraculously surviving them all. Please intercede for peace over the entire Middle East, and wisdom for Israel’s political and military leadership.

 

Prayer for Rescue

“Rescue me, and deliver me out of the hand of aliens, whose mouth speaks deceit, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD”  (Psalm 144:11, 15).

The city of David, called Bethlehem

First census in Judea

“A decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David” (Luke 2:1−4).

Mary, who was with child, accompanied Joseph. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to give birth to her first-born son whom the angels immediately recognized to be the Savior, Christ the Lord. The prophecy in Micah 5:2 came to pass as the “ruler in Israel” was born in Bethlehem Ephrathah, which town was seen “too little to be among the clans of Judah.”

The earliest reference to Bethlehem appears in the correspondence between Jerusalem and an Egypt’s Pharaoh in the 14th century B.C. The “House of Bread” as Bethlehem is called, refers to Rachel as her burial site and where Ruth of Moab returned with her mother-in-law, Naomi. It was the home of Jesse, father of King David and a site of David’s anointment by the Prophet Samuel. Therefore, the tiny city of Bethlehem is known as the City of David, as well.

Challenges Christians face

An archaeological confirmation of Bethlehem in the Kingdom of Judah came in 2012 when in the City of David (Jerusalem) excavations, a clay seal impression reading “From the town of Bethlehem to the King” was uncovered. It dates to the 8th or 7th century B.C.

The city was administered by the British Mandate from 1920 to 1948 when Jordan captured it. Many refugees from areas captured by Israel fled to Bethlehem, transforming its Christian majority into a Muslim one. Jordan retained control of the city until the Six-Day War in 1967 when it came under Israeli control. In 1995, Israel turned it over to the Palestinian National Authority in accordance with the Oslo Peace Accords which is an agreement that was signed in 1993 by Israel and the PLO.

Pastor Steven Khoury was born in Bethlehem and the First Baptist Church in the city was established by his father, Pastor Naim Khoury. The life of Bethlehem’s Christian community is difficult due to the Muslim majority. Several believers under Steven’s ministry have been martyred, including his own uncle and several teenage girls who worked at children’s camps. (Information collected by Hannele Pardain.)

“Bethlehem” seal impression and a view of the modern town of Bethlehem.

View of a neighborhood in Modi’in, Israel

Chanukah─ the commemoration of an ancient victory

Celebrating diplomatic relations

On October 16, the Israel Post and the United States Postal Service issued a joint stamp for Chanukah 2018. The occasion celebrated also seventy years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United States.

The new stamp design was launched simultaneously in the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island─the oldest synagogue in the United States and at the American Center in Jerusalem. “Today’s joint stamp issue is a symbol of the shared values and the cultural affinity between the United States and Israel,” stated David Friedman, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. In Rhode Island, the Postal Service Judicial Officer said that “Starting today, this work of art celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights will travel on millions of letters and packages throughout America and around the world.”

The stamp features a Chanukah menorah (Chanukiah) created using a papercutting technique and a Jewish folk art by artist Tamar Fishman. Behind the menorah is a shape that resembles an ancient oil jug representing the miracle of the oil that burned in the candelabra in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem for eight days─until a supply of new oil was available. Additional design elements include dreidels and a pomegranate plant with fruit and flowers.

Chanukah through history

Did the Lord commemorate the Chanukah tradition?  He did. John 10:22−23 says, “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the Temple in the Portico of Solomon.” The story of Chanukah is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the re-dedication (Chanukah) of the Temple in Jerusalem which had been looted, defiled and Judaism outlawed. The Jewish Maccabees from Modi’in rose up and drove Antiochus’ forces out in 165 B.C. and took control over Judea. Therefore, the Jewish people commemorate Chanukah also as the Maccabees’ victory over the foreign invaders. 

“Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.”

The unveiling of the Chanukah stamp at the American Center by Israel’s Communications Minister Ayoub Kara and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, October 16, 2018.

Times of Emergency

The year has brought several natural and man-made disaster to Israel. Disaster Relief Fund brings much-needed assistance to those affected during times of emergency. As friends of Israel, we are aware of the Gaza-based rockets, knife strikes, and other traditional terror attacks. “Over the border fires” is something new.

Fires caused by incendiary devices (balloons) released from Gaza, were in early spring added on the list of terror. These “Gazan balloon rallies” have consumed Israel’s nature parks, forests, farming lands destroying crops, and burned gardens and recreational fields in residential areas. Israel does not see an end to the arson activity as negotiations for a long-term ceasefire with Hamas have not produced any results.

Join us to provide emergency assistance for families in communities most affected by the Gaza fires.

Arson fires burn dry fields endangering lives of people, livestock and wildlife in Israel

October 29, 2018

His ministry to His people

Israelis support the U.S. president  

The Pew Research Center’s recent survey shows Israel’s increasing confidence in President Donald Trump and the Administration in handling global affairs. Out of 25 surveyed countries around the world, Israel and the Philippines gave the highest rating of 83%.  Among Israeli Jews, that figure is even higher at 94%, while 43% of Israeli Arabs agree.  This rating among Israeli Arabs is still the highest in all the surveyed Arab and Muslim nations.

A few more countries show a steady confidence in the Trump Administration, as Nigeria (59%), Kenya (56%) and South Africa (39%) beat all the European and most of the Far East countries. South African’s somewhat favorable rating is a surprise. The Europeans are drowning in their illegal migrant masses and their crimes, but do not see any wisdom in President Trump’s policies, such as keeping America safe by limiting immigration. Other nations’ opinions are interesting, but not as important as how we, the American people, view our leaders. Long live the United States of America, under God’s protection!

Escaping to Israel

An emergency evacuation of a number of UNRWA employees in Gaza took place in early October. Israel opened the border crossing, allowing international workers to enter the country. Their work and life in Gaza had been endangered for days by large crowds of protesting Palestinians. In July, UNRWA had laid off of employees, claiming funding shortfall for their operations. As always, the Palestinian leadership ran to the UN for a financial help. At a meeting on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly, several international parties─ mainly European countries─ collectively pledged to send additional millions of dollars. The UNRWA leadership will be satisfied, however, this move will not resolve the foundational problems in its operations, such as serious misuse of funds and aiding terrorist activities. For decades, the Palestinian masses have been spoon-fed by the west, denying their own efforts for employment and overall improvement of their lives. President Trump announced in September that the U.S. funding for the unreformed UN body will stop altogether, calling it “irredeemably flawed.”

Time to Pray

Accused of apartheid

Prime Minister Netanyahu defended the nation in his UNGA speech by stating, “The Arab citizens vote in our elections, serve in our parliament, preside over our courts, and have exactly the same individual rights as all other Israeli citizens. Yet here at the UN, Israel is shamefully accused of apartheid.” Recall Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Border security

The border with Gaza is continuously under attacks by the Palestinians. The border with Syria holds back refugees wanting to come to Israel. The southern border with Egypt is also critical as the African illegal migrants arrive as soon as nobody is watching. As Israel’s borders are set, do meditate how God “Has established all the boundaries of the earth” (Psalm 74:17).

Rising anti-Semitism

Assisted by the media, many western nations show alarming signs of Jew-hatred. The leaders, who don’t know about the history of the Jewish people or the true situation in the Middle East, are easy targets of anti-Semites.“

Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment” (Proverbs 12:19).

For Israel’s sake

CFI was established in 1985 in order to assist in the coming years’ immigrants, terrorist attack victims, aging Holocaust survivors, and others groups. Please cover CFI with your daily prayers so that His ministry among His people will be accomplished.

A word from the Prime Minister

“Ever since Abraham and Sarah made their journey to the Promised Land nearly 4,000 years ago, the Land of Israel has been our homeland.  It is the place where Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Leach, and Rachel carried on their eternal covenant with God.

It is where Joshua made us a sovereign nation, where David ruled and Isaiah preached, where the Maccabees fought and where Masada fell. It is the place from which we were expelled and to which we returned, rebuilding our ancient and the eternal capital of Jerusalem.

In Israel, whether you are a Jew or an Arab, a Christian or a Muslim, a Druze or a Bedouin, or anything else, your individual rights are exactly the same, and they will always remain the same.

In the Middle East, where women are often treated as property and minorities are persecuted, Israel stands out as a shining example of freedom and progress.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Excerpts, the UNGA address, September 29, 2018)

The moral victory in fighting terrorism

The new Basic law “Israel─The Nation-State of the Jewish People” was applied retroactively in September to a two-decades-old lawsuit. Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Drori awarded $1.5 million to David Mashiah who was the most seriously injured in the 1988 Tel Aviv attack committed by Hamas terrorists. Mr. Mashiah had received a full disability from the National Insurance Institute. The Judge referred to a clause in the law, stating that “The State shall strive to ensure the well-being of the Jewish people and of its citizens who are in distress due to their Jewishness or citizenship.”

The judgment, which may ultimately be only symbolic since Hamas may refuse to pay damages, represents a moral victory for the plaintiffs by broadening the terror group’s scope of liability under the Israeli law.

It is only because of you, our teams are able to continue reaching out to terror attack victims and the families of the deceased. On our visits to their homes, we bring assistance their need and spend time with them sharing the Scriptures. The love of God is often more powerful healer than doctors and medicine.

Festival of Light

 Damascus Gate in the Old City decorated with bright lights for the festival. The annual event brings light artists from around the world. Together they create the world’s largest light presentation illuminating the city walls and public buildings to attract about 250,000 visitors for the week-long festivities in the city.

October 29, 2018

Living a Daniel Life

The City in Judah as Jerusalem was known in the time of of Daniel

Service to king and faith in the God of Israel

While the book of Daniel reveals many prophetic matters, it is the life of Daniel that most stands out to me, the focus of this prayer letter. Many consider the biggest connection to Daniel being his amazing faith in reference to the lion’s den. While this miraculous event is truly amazing, it is his call to intercession and constant faith in the God of Israel that are the hallmarks of Daniel’s life.

Taken into Babylonian captivity, he remains true to his calling and consistently uses the gifting that the Lord of Hosts has placed upon him. Gifted with interpretation, the Lord elevates Daniel to high places of authority under the four earthly kings he served. Although greatly gifted spiritually, he never wavered in completing his earthly obligations. As a result, he was determined to live a separated life and not to compromise in the slightest degree on the things he knew as true and from God.

Many scholars believe he was taken as a teen to Babylonian captivity under Nebuchadnezzar. For more than 70 years Daniel stayed faithful to his Lord, and the same God who enabled him to continue through this long period of time, is able to keep us as well. It was not until the fourth generation of rulers that the true blessing for Israel came about…that the captive Israelites could go back and rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Daniel had been steadfast. Daniel had not given up on the God of Israel, the Creator of the universe─the one that had given His word to Abraham─and the Temple began to be rebuilt.

It would be wonderful if our testimony would show the steadfastness of seven decades or more, standing in the gap interceding for the kingdom of God, the nation of Israel, and the peace of Jerusalem. Many of you reading this article have been intercessors for Israel for decades. Most of you have been right here with us at CFI, standing strong in faith, and clinging to the promises of God in all things─knowing in your hearts that He is our ever-present and only hope for the future.

Kevin Howard Director of Communications and Technology, CFI Jerusalem (Excerpts, Watchman’s Prayer Letter, October 2018.)

The tradition preserved among the Jews and Arabs of the Middle East places Prophet Daniel’s Tomb in Susa, Iran. The earliest mention of the Susa tomb is from 1160 A.D.

Chaos in Venezuela

   In the past, Venezuelan Jews moved to the United States or Panama but today those countries are too expensive for Venezuelans. Israel is really the only option for them.

The situation in Venezuela is most alarming. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) estimates that by December 2018, Venezuela’s inflation could reach one million percent.

 Already now supermarkets have empty shelves. With the collapse of health services, people are dying due to lack of medicine. Fed up with their economic despair, masses of Venezuelans are fleeing. Over one million people have arrived in Columbia and many more Jewish families are in a process of making aliyah to Israel. Jews are leaving their homes, cars and other property behind, taking only necessary clothes and shoes. Crime rates are record high and residents fear to leave their homes at night. Jews report that there is no future for them in Venezuela. In Israel, they feel hopeful for the work and other opportunities their ancestral land offers them.

In 2009, former President Hugo Chaves expelled the Israeli Ambassador and the staff from Caracas. Anti-Semitism continues to be widespread also under the current leader, President Nicholas Maduro. Experts say that Venezuela’s vast potential oil wealth won’t sustain the country due to a poor management, lack of foreign investments and other major problems.

Now is the time to prepare for the next wave of the South America Jews! Please join us that we may be ready to help them as they come to our Jerusalem Distribution

Center. Todah Rabah – Thank you!

Demonstrating masses in Venezuela, September 2018

Created in 1949, the UN Relief and Works Agency or UNRWA is an assistance and human development agency which was set specifically for the needs of Palestinian refugees. It supports millions of Arab refugees and their descendants in the Middle East, including also those who fled or were expelled from Israel during the 1948 and 1967 wars. The Agency is funded by the United States and the European Union countries. Since 1994, the U.S. has paid $10 billion for the well-being of the Palestinian population!

According to the Washington Post report on September 30, the Trump Administration is expected to announce the cancellation of all U.S. funding for the Palestinians’ dedicated agency. The administration sees that the Agency will need to change both its rules and methods of operation if it seeks any additional funding from the U.S. The Agency has also been criticized for continuing to define successive generations of Palestinians as “refugees,” regardless of their citizenship or resettlement in other countries. This enables UNRWA to classify over six million Arabs as refugees, instead of the truth about 30,000 who are still alive from the 1948 Palestinian refugee generation. Limiting the number of refugees would effectively remove the Palestinian “right of return” from the negotiating table─the main demand that has remained a deal-breaker for Israel.

Today the Agency provides assistance and facilities for 59 refugee camps in the region. Seventy years since 1948 has not been enough time for the Palestinian population to improve their lives and manage their affairs─even with a massive funding from the well-meaning western nations. (References: The Times of Israel and other online reports).
 ─ Hannele Pardain

Believers united in prayer

With all that we do as Christian Friends of Israel around the world, nothing is more important in the spiritual atmosphere than prayer. As Christians, we know that it is a mandate from our Lord to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. As believers united in prayer, we are a corporate body lifting up the nation of Israel and her people. (Wall of Prayer team)

Making aliyah, immigration

Carry in prayer the Jewish families who are making plans to move to Israel. Pray for needed documents and a safe travel from problematic regions such as South America, Russian Republics and South Africa.

Settling in Israel

Intercede that ministries like CFI are able to meet the newcomer’s necessary needs. Pray for spiritual sensitivity and the love of God to be obvious to all immigrants. Continue praying for a suitable work, children’s schooling and success in the Hebrew language studies.

Serving in the IDF

Hold in prayer the young soldiers who spend 2−3 years defending the homeland by “protecting the inhabitants of Israel and combatting all forms of terrorism which threaten the daily life.”

“May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces” (Psalm 122:7).

An Arab village in the slopes of Mt. of Olives, behind the Old City walls. Many of East Jerusalem Arab residents have a refugee status and they enjoy UNRWA’s support.