By: admin

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.

There we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion

Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon’s new king, invaded Judah in the Syria-Land of Israel region in 604 BCE and deported Ashkelon’s king and citizens in the first wave of Judeans to Babylon. Then,

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God” (Daniel 1:1−2).

In the same year, 598 BCE, the second wave of deportation took place. Among the noble sons of Judah was young Daniel whom God placed into Babylon’s royal court as a prophet. The Book of Ezekiel 1:1─2 tells how also Ezekiel the Priest was exiled and lived among other Judeans by the River Chebar. The “hand of the Lord” came upon Ezekiel in visions and he began to prophesy.

The history of the Jewish people have many dramatic events, however, the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in the hands of the Babylonians in 586 BCE, caused the third and the largest wave of deportation and left the City of Judah desolate for decades. Archaeological studies have revealed that not all Judeans were deported, and that, although Jerusalem was utterly destroyed, other parts of Judah continued to be inhabited. It is estimated that about 25 percent of the population was taken to Babylon, ending the biblical First Temple period.

The Judeans, who survived the long forced journey to Babylon, settled by the rivers, such as Chebar, near the southern city of Til-Abubi. When the modern city of Tel Aviv was established in 1909, the name was taken directly from Ezekiel 3:15. It is a reminder of the ancient exile. Psalm 137 records the beginning of life away from Zion in a new village called Al Yahudu, and states sad sentiments:

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung our harps. For there our captors demanded of us songs…how can we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1, 2, 4).

Until 1999, there was very little of extra-biblical evidence about the years in Babylon. An excavation in Iraq had brought to light a few clay tablets containing writing in Akkadian and old Hebrew languages, mentioning the Al Yahudu settlement. The earliest tablet is dated to 572 BCE, about 15 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. They cover life of Judeans for a period of one hundred years in Babylon.

Wall sculpture depicting the life of Judean deportees in Babylon (City of David Museum, Jerusalem)

Shivat Zion – Return of Judeans from Babylon began after 70 years in captivity. (City of David Museum, Jerusalem)

If I forget you, O Jerusalem

The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem has a permanent exhibit of Babylon, displaying 200 clay tablets found in Iraq. They document generations of Jewish families’ lives in the kingdom at the time. It is clear that the status of the exiled Judeans and others was not so much one of slavery but that of land-bound tenants. In most cases, foreign people groups were brought to Babylon mainly in order to rehabilitate cities and areas devastated by past wars. Their work was naturally hard but the exiles seemed to have had some freedom of movement and the possibility of social and economic integration. The clay documents tell about trade in fruits and other commodities, taxes, debts and credits accumulated between Jews. A number of the Jews had a strong economic standing. Preservation of Jewish identity is seen in the sequence of Jewish names given to generations of family members. There is no mention of Shabbat or Jewish feasts, know before the exile.

Cyrus Cylinder

Babylon was still a foreign land. After the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE, exiled Judeans were permitted to return home. The Cyrus Cylinder is a declaration in the name of the king and it refers to the restoration of holy sites and the repatriation of exiled peoples. Professor Lester L. Grabbe (British) states, that it was a general policy, which also included the Judean exiles. Return to Judah took place over decades and many families remained in Babylon. They became the ancestors of the Iraqi Jews who only more recently returned to their ancestral land.

As we learned, the Iraqi Jewish community is one of the most ancient in the world. The community included Ezra the Scribe, who returned to Judea along the other exiles after 539 BCE. Babylon became the center of Jewish learning and the Talmud was compiled by Yehudim Bavlin, Babylonian Jews.

First Temple era artifact with an ancient Hebrew script, “Belonging to the House of the Lord, holy to the Priests.”

Before Jews either left or were displaced from Iraq following the 1948 Israel’s War of Independence, they accounted about two percent of the country’s population, around 150,000 strong. In the 20th century, Jews played an important role in the early days of Iraq’s independence. During 1950s Operation Ezra and Nehemiah, about 125,000 Jews immigrated to Israel. Today only a small community remains in Iraq, however, religious and cultural traditions of Iraqi Jews are kept alive by strong communities in Israel and in smaller communities in Britain and Australia.

“If I forget you O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Psalm 137:56). (Bible quotations from NASB, photo images by CFI─USA.) ─ Hannele Pardain

September 2018 Project:  IDF soldiers 

  Air defense in action   

In July, Israel used its David Sling interceptor system ─for the first time─firing two missiles against Syrian  tactical ballistic missiles. Those missiles carried a half-ton warhead and were detected by Israel’s aerial defense system when they were fired from south-eastern Syria. The decision to intercept them was made by the IDF when it was believed that their trajectory would see them fall near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. Both Syrian missiles landed inside Syrian territory, one of them a kilometer from Israel’s border.

Incoming rocket sirens sounded across in northern Israel, first in Safed and later in the Golan Heights and Galilee. Bomb shelters were opened in Safed to provide a sense of security for the residents. David’s Sling is a joint Israeli-US defense project as is also the Patriot Missile System.

Conflict expands

Israel, concerned that Iran’s growing presence in Syria poses a threat to its security, has escalated strikes on suspected Iranian and Iran-backed positions in Syria. Therefore, one of Israel’s strikes targeted a major chemical arms production center, causing material damage, but no fatalities. Some of Iran’s military bases are located next to Syria’s own military compounds.

On July 24, Israeli news outlets reported that the Israeli Patriot system had shot down a Syrian fighter jet after it had entered two kilometers into Israeli airspace. As the jet’s remains crashed in Syrian territory, their official statement claimed that the jet had been only on the Syrian side of the border. The IDF is protecting Israel’s territory according to its mission statement:

“To defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Israel. To protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten the daily life.”

Join us to support Israel’s young soldiers who are trusted to defend their homeland. Together we strengthen their commitment and service. Thank you and bless you!

Thankful neighbors                                 

Syrians are still fleeing in the thousands to Israel’s border as President Assad continues battling for control of the country. For decades, Syrians have been raised on a steady diet of anti-Israel propaganda. However, because of Israel’s humanitarian efforts, Syrian people express their gratitude.

A Syria mother wrote to an IDF officer, “I hope the borders between us will one day be only geographical.” One of the IDF officers─who has served in the West Bank─said that he had not encountered such expressions of gratitude from the many Palestinians who receive humanitarian assistance.

As the Syrian families escape to save themselves, the children show their appreciation and respect to Israelis. One nine-year-old girl even drew the Star of David to thank one of the army officers. As always in wars and conflicts, children are the most innocent victims in need of help and comfort. “And through your descendants, all the nations of the earth will be blessed, all because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:18, NTL). Reference: Lonnie C. Mings’ Israel News Digest Weekly, July 23.) 

Operation White Helmets

In late July, IDF reported that it had successfully completed an “irregular humanitarian effort” to save Syrian civil defense volunteers who faced immediate risk to their lives due to fighting. Israel transported the White Helmet workers and their families from southwest Syria to Jordan. Jordan’s Petra State News outlet stated that the evacuation included 800 White Helmets personnel and their families. The rescue operation that took place from Quneitra in the Golan Heights had been requested by the United States and European countries. Evacuees were transported by bus to Israel for immediate medical needs and meals before the convoy continued to Jordan.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is coordinating the resettlement of about 400 of the workers and their families in Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada. The White Helmets thanked countries who assisted in the rescue operation but did not mention. Israel. Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations, praised IDF for the rescue. He thanked also David Freedman, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, for his assistance. As expected, the Syrian state TV condemned the operation, calling it a “scandal.” (Reference: The Times of Israel and other online news.)

Defining the Jewish nation

In late July, the Israeli Knesset approved the new Jewish Nation-State Law. For the past seventy years, Israel has had the Basic Law but not a constitution that defines the identity and purpose of the state.

The Jewish Nation-State Law includes:

  1. Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
  2. Israel is the name of the state.
  3. The Star of David flag is the flag of the state.
  4. The Menorah is the symbol of the state.
  5. “HaTikah” is the national anthem.
  6. The unified city of Jerusalem is the capital.
  7. Hebrew is the language of the state.
  8. The Arabic language has a special status in the state.
  9. Israel will assist the Jewish people who are in danger or captivity due to their Jewishness or citizenship.
  10. Israel is open for Jewish immigration and to the ingathering of the exiled.
  11. Israel has the right to national self-determination.
    (References: Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel.)

In February 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. Yair Lapid of the Yesha Atid Party has actively lobbied for an international recognition. The possibility of recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights was discussed in a subcommittee of the US Congress in July 2018. However, the Trump Administration has not given the indication that it supports the move.

Israel’s Golan Heights is bordered by the Yarmouk River in the south, the Sea of Galilee in the west and the Mount Hermon in the north. In 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law that extended Israeli laws, jurisdiction and administration over the Golan Heights region. The Law does not specify a formal annexation and the international community, such as the UN, does not recognize it. 8Today thousands of Jews live in the Golan Jewish communities, sharing the region with Druze and Arab residents.

Due to the Syrian Civil War, Israeli Government is endorsing plans to further develop the region and increase its Jewish population from the current 20,000 to 100,000. The Golan Heights is in the biblical Bashan and in the territory of the tribe of Menashe, therefore, it belongs to the state of Israel, not to Syria. (Online news posts.)

The Golan war history is captured in DVD documentaries:
D06 The Story of the Six-Day War (1967) $18 D07
The Story of Yom Kippur War (1973) $18 D19
Israel’s War History (1917─2006) $23

We thank you, friends and intercessors, for committing time and effort to pray Israel’s needs. As you are a temple of the Holy Spirit, your prayers are heard in Heaven (1 Corinthians 6:19−20).

Threats from Iran’s direction

The Iranian leaders are determined to destroy Israel and her people. They do not realize that Israel with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a challenging target to any enemy. Intercede for Israel, proclaiming: “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” (Psalm 144:11).

Circle of enemies

Since the Romans besieged and destroyed the ancient Jewish city of Gamla on the Golan Heights, the current enemies of Syria, Iran and Russia may find it tempting to attack Israel by capturing first Gamla, the Northern Masadanamed after the Dead Sea Masada fortress.

Sincerely intercede for Israeli leaders and recall that,

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water” (Jeremiah 17:7−8).

Gaza border challenges

Israeli soldiers of the age of your sons and grandsons face daily dangers from thousands of hateful Gazan Arabs who run to the border in order to rush through to kill any Jewish man, woman or child they find. Soldiers must stop the invaders and keep them on the Gaza side. Take your prayer shawl and fervently pray for peace and calm over the Gaza-Israel border.

“I cried out to Thee, O LORD, I said, ‘Thou art my refuge, my portion in the land of the living’” (Psalm 142:5).

Reporting fabrications

Hardly a day goes by without the UN condemning Israel or the international media broadcasting outright lies to damage Israel, yet to promote Hamas and other Arab groups’ violence. Go to your prayer closet and pray for God’s promises over Israel.

“Do not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you” (Deuteronomy 20:1).

Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps” (Psalm 135:6).

September 1, 2018

Regathering of the Tribes

Regathering of the Tribes

They will remember Me in far countries…                                   

“The number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together” (Hosea 1:10−11). “And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people,’ and they will say, ‘Thou art my God!’” (Hosea 2:23).

 “And His sons will come trembling from the west. They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will settle them in their houses, declares the LORD (Hosea 11:1011).

 Much has been written and debated about the ten northern tribes of the ancient Israel─Asher, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Issachar, Manasseh, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon and Zebulun─who are believed to have been deported from the Kingdom of Israel after its conquest by the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 722 B.C. Those tribes were lost, perished and never to be found again.

The book of Hosea records that the tribes lose their identity and remain in that state for many daysactually for about 2,500 years─before a miraculous change in their history. Zechariah 10:9 records, “They will remember Me in far countries and they with their children will live and come back.” The Lord God Himself is searching and seeking out His lost sheep which have been scattered among the gentile nations and He will bring them to their own land. God will “feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel” (Ezekiel 34:11−16).

The history of the ten tribes did not end in 722 B.C. Their descendants have been forgotten and hidden from the outside world─until the existence of their own state. In the late 1800s and right after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, mass aliyah of the descendants of Judah took place.

Their return (Jewish immigration) has continued in large numbers from all corners of the world. Because of the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together (Hosea 1:11), the return of the rest of the tribes will happen and very soon. Already reports of recent immigrants to Israel tell stories of individuals whose ancestors are known to have belonged to tribes other than Judah. The number of the

descendants of the ancient ten tribes is estimated to be several million.

Are they the dry bones whose parents for generations had forgotten their ancestry, and, therefore, assimilated to their host countries? “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.’ Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land.” (Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones, Ezekiel 37:1−28). This is God’s promise to the whole house of Israel─the House of Judah and the House of Israel, for its restoration and return to their ancestral home.         ─ Hannele Pardain

(Notes from my studies into the history of the scattered tribes.)

Alone with a child   

The process of leaving your own country and immigrating to Israel can be challenging, daunting and sometimes just plain overwhelming. While there are many hurdles for couples, the enormity of the process can be even more difficult when children are involved. Thinking of all that entails, imagine making that life change as a single mother with a child that has a challenging disability to deal with. Not long ago, CFI had an opportunity to assist a strong and virtuous Ukrainian woman who had met the challenges of making aliyah with her son. The young boy suffers from serious health problems that are a tremendous weight on daily life functions alone, not to mention the difficulty of changing the entire surroundings of the child.

After discussions with the mother, it became obvious that while she was doing well in adjusting to life in Israel, some of the necessary immigrant benefits were taking longer than anticipated. As it was clear that her finances were going to be in jeopardy, CFI Jerusalem stepped in to assist this beautiful family of two. Today, she has a good employment and is progressing in her   Hebrew studies─living in the land of her ancestors. It is such a tremendous honor for us to be able to stand alongside the wonderful people of Israel in their time of desperate needs. We thank for the ongoing support of donors in the US who pray, encourage and share in their generosity as Christians and friends of Israel.

We thank you and bless you. (Based on Stacey Howard’s article in the 1stQ2018 FZS Magazine.)