Help for First Responders

On June 2, I walked in the Old City of Jerusalem, taking winding streets with steps up and down. I recalled the news two days earlier, on May 31, when two Jews had been attacked in the same area. One of the victims, a 16-year old boy, was stabbed in his back. He managed to run to safety in the nearby Hurva Synagogue. The other victim was a middle-age man at the Damascus Gate who had critical neck and head stabbing wounds. They both needed immediate medical care.

As I walked the crowded and narrow streets, I knew that the first responders must have come on medical motorcycles to assist them. Ambulances had taken a long time to navigate the Old City streets. We appeal again to your support for the medical motorcycles as they are necessary vehicles for the first responders. This is a practical way for you to help save lives in the Holy Land. Thank you. HP

Magen David Adom medical motorcycles

A 16-year old stabbing victim recovering in a hospital

“Celebrating the Revolution”

This year’s conference by CFI Jerusalem Headquarters was titled “Celebrating the Revolution.” It was the highlight of the year for all of us who came up to Jerusalem for the season of Shavuot. The annual Jerusalem Day brought families, students, school children and soldiers in large numbers to the capital. The conference venue, Menachem Begin Heritage Center, offered tours of the center, a comfortable auditorium and serves us delicious meals in their restaurant overlooking the Old City Walls. Each of the conference speakers delivered a message that brought to us a fresh revelation from the Scriptures. Consider the following conference sessions:

  • The Bible narrative is not complete without Gentile Christians (Sharon Sanders)
  • Multitudes from Gentile nations will come to Zion to search for God of Israel (Rabbi Pesach Wolicki)
  • Christians made God of Israel known around the world (Rabbi Pesach Wolicki)
  • Aramaic Christians own identity separates them from the Muslim grouping (Shadi Khalloul)
  • Israel’s land covenant is eternal (Rabbi Yehuda Glick)
  • Unveiling the goals of terror (Guy Chen)
  • Syrian Christians’ road to recovery (Chris Mitchell)
  • Prayer and the Coming Kingdom (Rick Ridings)
  • Iran’s threat to the Middle East (Efrain Inbar)

Merv and Merla Watson, Shilo Ben Hod and Rebekah Wagner provided special music and praise and worship. Stay tuned for news about online access to recorded sessions.

Praying for His will to be done

  • Intercede for peace over the land of Israel from the northern border to the southern border.
  • Continue praying for wisdom and strength for the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Pray for the new Knesset elections set for September
  • in order for a unified government to emerge. Pray also for the next prime minister to be chosen.
  • Intercede daily for truth about Israel’s establishment to be known at the United Nations and the world media as Israel is not occupying any Arab land. The Jewish people returned to their ancestral home country where Jews have lived for thousands of years.
  • Pray for the candidate to be nominated as the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Knight Craft, to hold biblical views and understanding about Israel. Mrs. Craft will succeed Nikki Haley.

The Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, records one of the Lord’s teachings at the Sea of Galilee. Meditate and pray Matthew 5:110 over Israel and the United States. Include also the world wide ministry of CFI in your prayers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9, NAS).

Photos form the 2019 Conference: Chris Mitchell with conference participants (top), entrance to the City of David Exhibit and Excavation site (left), prayer at the underground section of the Western Wall (middle) and Rabbi Glick’s conference session.

Forty years of peace with Egypt

In June 2019, President Reuven Rivlin hosted Egypt’s envoy to Israel at an event marking 40 years since the peace treaty between the two countries. In his speech, President Rivlin recalled that the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed only six years after the challenging Yom Kippur War in 1973. “We could never have imagined that only a few years later our leaders would hug and shake hands. This should serve as an inspiration for our efforts to achieve peace with all of our neighbors, especially our Palestinian neighbors” said Rivlin. He expressed an appreciation to Egypt’s current leader, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, stating that “President el-Sissi’s commitment to peace, stability, and cooperation has ensured that our relationship stays strong.”

President Sadat, President Carter and Prime Minister Begin at the Peace Treaty signing in the White House in 1979

In 1977, Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat made a historic visit to Israel. After months of intense negotiations, the Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed in March 1979 in the White House. Peace was restored, relations normalized and Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai Peninsula. The agreement made Egypt the first Arab state to officially recognize Israel, and also, caused an enormous controversy across the Arab world. The sense of outrage was particularly strong in the Palestinian camp. Their leader Yasser Arafat declared that “false peace will not last.” The past forty years of peace with Egypt has proved that peace treaties can last. Since the signing of the treaty, Egypt has become an important strategic partner of Israel, and furthermore, Egypt began receiving economic and military aid from the United States.

News from Bahrain

Members of the U.S. delegation in Bahrain, June 2019

The Bahrain Economic Conference took place in June 26−27, 2019, in Manama, the Kingdom of Bahrain. A large number of Arab state and prominent world leaders gathered for the event which concentrated mainly in the U.S. Administration’s efforts to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Given the decades of failures to achieve peace, the U.S. has taken a different approach with this conference, one that aims to aid the Palestinian economy before focusing on the political aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Ahead of the event, the U.S. Administration released a 10-year investment plan for Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. The total value of the economic package is $50 billion from which about $27 billion is allocated to the development of the Palestinian economy. It is estimated that the financial plan would create about one million new jobs and improve in other ways the mostly poor Palestinian Arabs’ lives. Since 1950s, the Palestinians have received total of $11 billion of international financial aid, which is more than Japan or all Europe received for rebuilding after WW2.

As expected, the Palestinian leadership boycotted the conference. By refusing such a generous economic opportunity which is endorsed by its major Arab allies, the Palestinian Authority demonstrated that it does not have an interest in the wellbeing or peace of its own poeples. For the conference days the PA sent rioters with flaming balloons to the Gaza border. It appears that the Palestinians have missed the deal of the century to continue embracing poverty and their conflict with Israel. (References: Online news posts of Jerusalem News Syndicate and the Times of Israel)

Remembering Teddy Kollek, the Mayor of the Eternal City

“For three thousand years, Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish hope and longing. No other city has played such a dominant role in the history, culture, religion and consciousness of a people as has Jerusalem in the life of Jewry and Judaism. Throughout centuries of exile, Jerusalem remained alive in the hearts of Jews everywhere as the focal point of Jewish history, the symbol of ancient glory, spiritual fulfillment and modern renewal.” ─ Teddy Kollek

Much of the face of modern Jerusalem is due to the efforts of former mayor, Teddy (Theodor) Kollek. He worked to develop the city in accordance to its proper reputation as the capital of Israel. Kollek was born in Vienna and was active in the Jewish Halutz pioneering movement in Europe. He moved to Eretz Israel in 1934, and soon thereafter helped to found Kibbutz Ein Gev on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. During the following decades, he represented Jewish interests in Europe and the United States. In 1952, Kollek returned to Israel to manage the Prime Minister’s office.

In 1965, Kollek was elected mayor of Jerusalem. He served the city for six termstotal of twenty-eight (28) years. Presiding over the city when it was unified in 1967, Kollek was determined to develop Jerusalem not only as a geographically and municipally united city, but as a socially unified one as well. His most intense efforts went towards bridging the gaps between the varied ethnic and religious populations. He recognized the Arab sector’s needs and respected the religious values of the ultra-Orthodox community, yet resisting

any attempt at religious coercion in the city affairs. Kollek’s openness and tolerance earned him the respect of many, both in and out of Jerusalem. The city grew in size and in variety. New neighborhoods were launched; parks, community centers and educational and religious establishments were supported. He oversaw the rebuilding of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, founding of the Israel Museum and cultural institutions such as the Jerusalem Theater. In 1961, Kollek established the Jerusalem Foundation, whose goal is to further the aesthetic and cultural development of the city. In 1993, Kollek ran for one more time for the officethe seventh termbut lost to Ehud Olmert. Teddy Kollek passed away in 2007.

In memory of Jerusalem’s longest serving mayor, the Teddy Kollek Park was established in 2013 at the foot of the Old City walls. In the center of the park is Israel’s only sound and light fountain with 1800 light fixtures and a recording of music performed by the Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra. There is also a wishing well made of Jerusalem stone, a sun dial (see the top photo), statues, an aqueduct and a visitor center displaying the history of the city’s development. (Online resources, top photo by CFI-USA, June 2019)

Condolence calls

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin paid respects to the families who lost loved ones during the recent rocket attacks from Gaza. “I know that we say ‘Blessed is the True Judge,’ but we all know that there is no comfort in the face of such a terrible tragedy,” said President Rivlin as he visited one of the grieving families. These families love the communities where they live and feel that they have a role in keeping the country safe. (Online news posts)

Attacks such as this bring emergencies for the families and the area’s schools and businesses. Life will never be the same, but with immediate assistance and care, recovery is possible. At CFI, we work to be ready to help when a new emergency arises. We count on your prayers and support and send you blessings.

Relatives grieving for one of the Gaza rocket victims in May

Life blooms even in stony ground

For the love of the Scriptures

Yonatan Weissman (18) from Jerusalem was the winner of the 2019 International Bible Quiz held on Israel’s Independence Day. Benjamin Colchamiro (15) from New Jersey came in second. The 56th annual event featured Jewish youths from around the world, including countries such as Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Mexico, Panama, South Africa, and the United States. Notable Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Education Minister Naftali Bennet, and the Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, were present.

“You shall teach them [the Word] diligently to your sons, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7 NASB).

Hebrew prayer books in the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem

Praying for His will be done

Pray and thank for the nation

As Israel celebrates 71 years of independence, the population stands at 9,021,000 people. The data shows that 6.7 million are Jews, 1.9 million Arabs and the rest are other ethnic groups. Since the last Independence Day, 31,000 immigrants arrived in the country. Today, 45% of the world’s Jews live in Israel (Psalm 121:4−8).

Intercede for the borders

Most of the attacks into Israel have come over the southern border with Gaza. However, do keep the northern border with Lebanon in your prayers as well. The heavily armed Hezbollah terrorists have an arsenal of some 150,000 rockets that can reach all over Israel.

Israel has paid a high price for the nation’s security with 24,741 fallen soldiers since 1948. Intercede daily for Israel’s young soldiers
(Psalm 125:1−5).

New Peace Plan

For the past 28 years, all the peace plans, accords, and other agreements have failed to bring the Palestinians into a true peace arrangement with the Israeli government. The Arab leaders have broken each of their promises. Please pray for the Trump Peace Plan to change the climate and hold also the Palestinians responsible for keeping their part of the deal. Leaders of some Arab nations are urging the Palestinians to agree to adopt the Trump Plan (Proverbs 3:56).

The dark year of 2018 in global anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitic attacks worldwide rose thirteen percent from the previous year, with the highest number of incidents reported in major Western democracies such as the United States, France, Britain, and Germany (study by the Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center).

The study finds that anti-Semitism is no longer an issue confined to the activity of the far left, far right and radical Islamists triangle. It has mainstreamed and became an integral part of life.

The study listed 387 anti-Semitic attacks worldwide. It cited that among the causes growing fear in Europe and elsewhere is linked to mass immigration, economic hardship, and opposition to Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. Some political fractions see the Jews threatening the national identity and are blamed for economic uncertainties and tensions.

Demonstrations for the “Solidarity with the Palestinians” are found
in most European countries such as the UK (photo from London)

claims that the Brexit is fueling the rise of extreme anti-Jewish statements as expressed by the leader of the main opposition Labour Party. In France, the home to Europe’s largest Jewish community, attacks against Jews rose 74 percent. Germany saw about 70 percent increase in crimes against the Jewish population. The dramatic increase of mostly the Muslims fleeing conflicts in the Middle East is documented as the main cause.

Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett urges world nations to combat the growing anti-Semitism in the streets, online and in the political arena. It is shocking to see how recent studies about the Holocaust found a widespread ignorance and even denial that the mass murder of Jews ever happened. “The Holocaust threatened the fabric of civilization and has implications for us all,” stated Olivia Marks-Woldman from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

The most recent attack against the American Jews happened in April in the Chabad Synagogue in San Diego, California. The clearly anti-Semitic crime took the life of one and wounded three others. We send condolences to the families and the Synagogue leadership. As with all other attacks against the Jewish people, it is sad to realize that they are not safe even in the U.S. only for the reason that they are Jews.

Headstones toppled in a Jewish graveyard in Philadelphia

May Their Memory be Blessed

The Jewish houses of worship, community centers and graveyards were vandalized. It appears that not even the memories of the past generations are allowed to exist. Sounds familiar? Didn’t the Nazis and their allies exercise destructive power over the Jewish people by looting their property and burning the Jewish life and history during WW2? It was to lead to the planned final solution, a world without the Jewish people. However, God had a different plan, a Jewish nation with its returning Jews from all four corners of the world.

July -9 main

Twenty-eight years of efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

“With an open heart, we call on the Arab leaders to take the courageous step and respond to our outstretched hand in peace,” stated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir at the closing of the Madrid Conference in Spain in 1991. The conference was held in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, focusing on a new order in the Middle East. The centerpiece of President George H. W. Bush Administration’s policy was the achievement of an Arab-Israeli treaty based on the territory-for-peace and the fulfillment of Palestinian rights. The U.S., Israel, the USSR, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation participated in the first peace meeting.

During the 1993 Oslo Accords, PLO’s Yasser Arafat presented his “letter of recognition” of Israel’s right to exist. Israel was asked to gradually cede control over the Palestinian territories in exchange for peace. The U.S. presented concepts for peace that the Israeli side reviewed but Arafat failed to respond or give a specific counterproposal of his own.

In the Camp David Summit in 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak presented Israel’s bases for negotiation, offering Yasser Arafat a non-militarized Palestinian state containing about 90% of the West Bank of the Jordan River, parts of East Jerusalem and the entire Gaza Strip. Arafat rejected the offer. He was asked for a counter-offer but again he proposed none. The famous White House handshakewitnessed by President Bill Clintonbetween Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat did not produce any tangible solution for peace.

In 2000, the U.S. presented its own plan, the Clinton Parameters. The plan proposed the establishment of a sovereign, non-militarized Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, including also most of the West Bank and some land swap from pre-1967 Israel. Both parties accepted the Clinton plan as the basis for the future negotiations.

In the 2001 Taba Summit in Egypt, a joined statement about the progress was issued. A few months later, Ariel Sharon was elected as Israel’s Prime Minister. Sharon’s new government chose not to resume the talks with the Palestinians.

The Road Map for Peace in 2002 was a peace proposal, presented by the Quartet of the European Union, Russia, the UN and the U.S. The plan called for a halt in Israeli settlement construction and Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 and 2007 spelled out final-solution borders based on the UN borders established before the 1967 Six-Day War. It offered full normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from territories (Judea and Samaria) and the Golan Heights. It included also an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and a “just solution” for millions of the Palestinian refugees.

Will the Trump Peace Plan of 2019 bring an end to the decades of dead-end negotiations, failed plans and innocent victims on both sides? Sadly, the Palestinians have refused to be involved in the U.S.-led peace efforts, such as the Bahrain Peace Summit in June. HP

People of the Book under attack

“Europe is burning, just as Notre-Dame was” (Dennis Prager, April 17). The Ministry of Interior in France recorded 541 anti-Semitic and 1063 anti-Christian acts in 2018. According to the statistics, an average of two churches per day was destroyed by fire in France.

Only a few of these incidents made the news headlines. In general, the church leaders and authorities were silent so as not to alarm their congregations and cause anti-migrant (Muslim) sentiments. One may wonder about the fear the European Jews have as they see Christianity’s holy sites burning. The world Jewry lost their artifacts, holy books, worship places and lives of millions of Jews in the previous wave of fires in the 1930s and 1940s.

The “Israel Apartheid Week” saw demonstrations against Israel, as well as counter-demonstrations by Israel’s supporters in South Africa in April 2019. The annual event is organized on behalf of the Palestinians. At the same time period, numbers of Jewish gravestones were destroyed in Romania. Knife and other attacks against Jews reached new heights globally in 2018. May we Christians do all we can to support our brothers and sisters of the Jewish faith as Jews and Christians are the People of the Book.

May 30, 2019

For Zion’s sake

For Zion Sake

Week-end of terror from Gaza

The IDF enforced troops along the Gaza border after close to 700 rockets and several long-range missiles were fired towards southern and central Israel during the first weekend of May. The Iron Dome intercepted about 200 rockets. However, the rocket barrage killed four Israeli civilians and injured close to 80 others. A guided anti-tank missile struck a moving vehicle in Kfar Saba killing the driver. In Ashkelon, a factory was hit killing one and injuring other workers. A man running to a shelter in Ashdod died after suffering shrapnel wounds. A cease-fire has since taken place with the Gaza-based terrorist group of Hamas.

Reaching out to attack victims

Terror activists guided and motivated by the Hamas leadership are mobilizing brainwashed youth and use women and children as human shields as they seek to destroy the security fence near the Gaza border. Hundreds of Hamas-fired missiles and rockets have caused injuries all over the southern communities.  CFI’s teams are visiting the border communities as civilians and farmers are in despair and children are traumatized. The property damage and human suffering are devastating. It is greatly disturbing that the world has continuously chosen to be blind and believe the lies of Hamas, rather than the eye-witness accounts from the Jewish communities. We thank you for making it possible for us to reach out to the communities undergoing such horrendous attacks and hardship. The families we visit are deeply touched by Christian love and support.

Praying in confidence

His dwelling, saying, “This is My resting place forever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:1314).

The awakening of Christians around the world to the understanding of the need to pray for the nation of Israel is truly astounding. For the past few decades, the increase in those reaching the heavens in prayer for the nation and her people has grown exponentially. The growth in numbers involved in corporate prayer for the nation of Israel is convincingly a move of the Holy Spirit. It has been laid upon the hearts and minds of men and women around the world.

Now more than ever it is important that we press into the heavens through intercession as so much prophecy continues to unfold around us. God’s people are gathering, the nation is preparing, and surely the Messiah’s arrival is on the horizon. Let us join together as Christians from around the world to pray in the confidence of our Lord, and according to His will for the nation of Israel.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us  whatever we askwe know that we have what we asked of Him (1 John 5:14─15)

Wall of Prayer,

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet (Isaiah 62:1 NASB)