For Ethiopian youth, the road of living in Israel has been difficult for many to travel. CFI has been supporting after-school programs for the youngest children and has provided school supplies, laptop computers and dental care for many others. For teenagers, we have purchased suits, shoes for their football teams, and also contributed to their English lessons. Many Ethiopian communities are in neighborhoods laden with crime and drugs. After years of CFI assistance and ministry in those communities, their leaders report positive changes. The reports state that CFI’s help has prevented many from falling into crime on the streets and has inspired youth to attend universities to improve their education.

Because of you, our partners, who seek the Lord as whom to help, this project for the Ethiopians has made a significant and permanent difference in the lives of many children, youth and families. We thank you for helping us to continue blessing them.

Ethiopian children enjoying a day in a kindergarten

“You O God, provided from your goodness for the  poor” (Ps. 68:10). (References: Marcia Brunson and  Tsehai Mabari─CFI Jerusalem, Project Together Again  coordinators.)

We warmly welcome you to Jerusalem in May 25−27, 2020  for CFI’s 35th Anniversary  Conference.

Join with other international delegates as we focus on the nation and the people of Israel, and the biblical future that God has in store for us all. CFI has served over three decades in the land, advancing Jewish−Christia

n relations with trust and acceptance. From a small beginning in Ray and Sharon Sanders’ home office, the work has expanded to reach needy and discouraged all over Israel; encouraging intercessory prayers and support from friends around the world.

The conference venue is the Konrad Adenauer Conference Center at Mishkenot Sha’ananim (photo above), on the property of the Windmill. The center has a restaurant, and several hotels and cafeterias are in the same neighborhood.

Pray about coming to Jerusalem in 2020. See more details in the coming newsletters. Shalom, shalom!

Finding keys for their success

CFI’s Project Hope for the Future embraces the present state of the Ethiopian Jews. We believe in helping a generation to change through education and training. This project is committed to assist the Ethiopian youth to find the keys to change their poor economic state for a future that provides opportunities and a better quality of life.

This year, several of our applicants have expressed their desire to continue with a higher education in the fields of computer technology, accounting, law, engineering and medical care. This has confirmed the needalong with our visionto see the next generation to rise from poverty to independent living.

A young Ethiopian woman (right) and Marcia from CFI

The Ethiopian women are often marginalized when they try to build a career alone without help. This is very important for single women in Israel. Statistics show that the Ethiopian Jews in the country are one of the lowest income groups. CFI is partnering with the Hadassah School of Accounting and the Hadassah School of Dental Assistance. The applicants to these schools take the initial steps to apply for and to pay the needed fees. CFI then helps them with other expenses.

It is a blessing to see these students having the same desire and passion as their ancestors had. They walked across the desert of Sudan and then to Jerusalem, in order to improve their life. In the recent waves of the Ethiopian immigrants, many of the young people have come without their parents or other relatives. Learning the Hebrew language and adjusting to the modern life in Israel has naturally taken time.

Praying at Leah’s tomb site in Machpelah

Benjamin Netanyahu: We will remain here forever

Hebron’s history and its role in it, spans the millennia before and decades after the 1967 war. The city’s story is not about abandoning it, but rather, returning to the ancestral Jewish home.

Hebron is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world, dating back to the biblical times. Genesis 23:19 tells that Sarah died in Kiryath-Arba (Hebron) and Abraham purchased a field with a cave for her burial place: “Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.” As Abraham had a special relationship with God, he is called a friend of God.

The Tomb of the Patriarchs is the second holiest site in Judaism, right after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The tomb, enclosed by a monumental rectangular building from the Herodian era, is the burial place also for Abraham, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah.

In the past one hundred years, Hebron has seen several occupiers and other dramatic events. The British occupied the city in December 1917. Almost no house remained standing when an earthquake struck Hebron in 1927. The Tomb of the Patriarchs remained closed to the Jews and other non-Muslims. During the 1929 Hebron massacre, Arab rioters slaughtered over sixty Jewish men, women and children, and wounded the same number of Jews. Jewish homes and synagogues were ransacked. In 1936, the British Government decided to evacuate the Hebron’s Jewish community for its safety, practically ending the Jewish presence in the city.

At the beginning of the 1948 Arab−Israeli War, Egypt took control of Hebron. When the Armistice Agreement was signed in 1948, Hebron fell under the Jordanian military control and the people of Hebron recognized Abdullah I of Jordan as their king. In 1950s, Hebron’s population grew with 35,000 settling in the town. After the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel occupied Hebron along with the rest of the West Bank of the Jordan River, establishing a military government to rule the area. In 1997, Hebron was split into two sectors: the Arab and the Jewish neighborhoods.

Yeshiva students and some Jewish families have tried, at times, to settle in the city. Israeli government has forces many of them out, seeing incoming non-Muslims as provocation. Today about 190,000 Arabs are controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and about 1,000 Jews live under the IDF protection.

In September 2019, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Hebron for the commemoration of the 90th Anniversary of the 1929 Massacre. “Hebron will never be Judenrein. We are not strangers in Hebron. We will remain here forever,” said Netanyahu in his speech. The Prime Minister visited the patriarchs and matriarchs tomb sites.

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein speaking at the commemoration declared that, “It is time for the Jewish community to grow by the thousands in Hebron. It is time that visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs will become the easiest and most natural thing to do.” President Reuben Rivlin spoke at the event, as well.

The Seventh Step

PM and Mrs. Natanyahu visiting the only site in Machpelah where Jews were allowed to pray for hundreds of years

The Egyptian Mamelukes captured the Holy Land in 1250 A.D., and banned all non-Muslims from entering Machpelah, the Tomb of the Patriarchs. They called it the Mosque of Ibrahim. Non-Muslims were restricted to the seventh step of the side stairway entrance. The only exceptions were a few royals and diplomats who visited the holy site with a special travel permit and an armed guard. Still today, the site favors the Muslim pilgrims. In 2017, the UN Security Council declared the Old Town of Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage Site, instead of an Israeli or a Jewish site.

IDF soldiers patrolling in Hebron

While visiting Hebron in September, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that his plan to annex the West Bank communities includes the Jewish city of Kiryat Arba and the Jewish enclaves of Hebron. The plan extends Israel’s sovereignty over the communities as a part of the State of Israel. (The Times of Israel)

Let’s pray united for Israel

Religious persecution

During the annual UN General Assembly in NY in September, there was an unprecedented focus on religious freedom and religious persecution, including anti-Semitism. In His speech, President Donald Trump urged the world nations and the UN to take a concrete action. The British Secretary of State, Lord Wimbledon, summarized the situation by saying that, “religious persecution around the world is not only a Christian concern, but a human concern.” Let’s pray united for the safety of Jews, Christians and other minorities (Psalm 84:11−12).

Government crisis

President Reuben Rivlin gave Benjamin Netanyahu

the first mandate to form the next government after the September elections. Netanyahu is reported stating that, “Israel needs a Zionist government that is committed to the people of Israel.” Intercede for a national unity government. (Psalm 1:16).

Expectation of the Messiah

Referring to the current government situation, The Jerusalem Post published an old prophecy by Rabbi Sasson Hai Shoshani that states, “There will come a day that two ministers win the government in the Land of Israel. Both their names will be Benjamin [Netanyahu and Benjamin Gantz], and neither of them will succeed in establishing their government or kingship. On that day, know and understand that the King Messiah already stands at the doorway, and on the Sabbath afterwards, He will come and be revealed.(John 4:25)

Happy New Year – Rosh HaShanah 5780

Please pray that Israel will have a year of peace and protection from all her enemies (Psalm 124:1−8).

October Project: Assistance to Holocaust Survivors

We could not help anybody without your prayers and financial support. Thank you for joining your hands with ours for the sake of the survivors. We thank you and bless you. Shalom!

Candle lighting for Shabbat

September 28, 2019

We stand with Israel

We stand with Israel

Israel has a heightened sense of humanitarian awareness and responsibility. With aid teams poised to respond in the wake of natural and man-made disasters anywhere in the world, Israel’s 200-strong relief team works to uphold the highest standards of assistance and support to civilians, whether it is in Asia, Africa, Europe, Iraq, or the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli efforts included also a relief to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In September, a delegation of rescue and bush and forest fire experts was dispatched to Brazil for the Amazon forest fires. Israel is a world leader in handling mass casualties. No other country can dispatch search and rescue teams and field hospitals as fast and effectively as Israel (Psalm 121).

Lights in the darkness

Truth often is suppressed in today’s world with the sentiment of “whatever I feel or think or want to believe is my business.” Truth is light for our souls and spiritual light is shed through God’s Word. We must be “lights in the darkness” and speak the light of truth, especially when it comes to Israel and the Jewish people. With all of our modern technology, we should be utilizing this mode of networking around the world for God’s glory. “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD. Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path (Psalm 119:1, 105).  (Reference to online news posts and Watchman’s Prayer Letter, Sharon Sanders, September 2019.)

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet” displayed in Hebrew
on a velvet cover in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs

We must remember, we cannot forget

One of the most treasured ministries of CFI is the work among the Holocaust survivors. Every visit with them is precious for us. We love them, and they lavish their love upon us in return. They often receive us in their homes as a part of their family, calling us daughters, and introducing us to their adult children. We value these moments and are grateful for the privilege to be accepted in such a special way.

A survivor couple visited by a CFI Holocaust team member

During the summer months, CFI participated in the commemoration of the 75th Liberation Anniversary of Transnistria, arranged by the Yad VaShem Memorial Museum. Transnistria is an area in the western part of today’s Ukraine where many of our precious survivors were born. Only in the recent years, the Yad VaShem historians have researched the Transnistria’s Holocaust era. For years in the Soviet Union, none of the witnesses from the area were allowed to speak about their terrifying experiences during WW2. Only a small number of survivors remain in Transnistria. The rest of them have come to Israel, their ancestral homeland.

Today their stories are recorded and their books published to serve as a voice and a witness to the coming generationsunveiling the hidden events and silenced memories of the past.

Personal relationships and face to face fellowships are often neglected due to life’s many demands. People do not find time to visit those they love. Parents and other elderly relatives, including the Holocaust Survivors, are the most affected by today’s busy life style.

By participating in the survivor events, we once again declare: we must remember, we cannot forget.  For the Association of the Concentration Camps and Ghetto Survivors Conference, we provided lunch for the participants. We also helped to organize the International Women’s Day in Lod and gifts for home visits in Ashkelon.

September 28, 2019

Thy word is a lamp to my feet

Last Jews from South Sudan

In 1984, Operation Moses was a covered evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan where a civil war had caused a famine. Assisted by the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum and the Sudanese state forces, the Israeli operation brought the total of 14,000 Jews to Israel. In the previous years, many Jews had fled Ethiopia on foot for refugee camps in Sudan where persecution made their life difficult.

During the dangerous journey to Sudan, an estimated 4,000 Jews died and close to one hundred of them went missing. One of the missing Ethiopians was a 14-year old Tuwavich Benko who ended up in a Sudanese prison. She was sold into a forced marriage, and years later, two of her daughters were married off to older men of the local Sudanese tribe.

Jews from South Sudan arrive in Israel

Three years ago, Tuwavich was found, and later, also her two daughters and their children were located in South Sudan. With the help of a private donor, the Operation Left Behind took off and the three women and the childrenthe last Jews from South Sudanwere brought to Israel. Operation Moses ended on January 5, 1985, after Israeli PM Shimon Peres’ press conference confirmed the airlift. Sudan immediately stopped any additional airlifts, prematurely, as the news reached their Arab allies. Some 1,000 Ethiopian Jews were left behind in Sudan. About 500 of them were evacuated later in the U.S.-led Operation Joshua. (Arutz Sheva online post, August 21, 2019)

Israel surrounded by enemies

Tension spikes in northern Israel

On September 1, 2019, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah launched an anti-tank missile attack an Israeli military base, hitting also a military ambulance in Upper Galilee, near the Lebanon border. Nobody was wounded in the attack. Bomb shelters were opened and traffic was restricted along the border. An Iron Dome missile defense system was installed in the area and all bases were placed on high alert. Calm returned but worries for new attacks remained (Psalm 129:5−8).

UN Interim Force in Lebanon ambushed

In late August, a UN peacekeeping patrol near the Israeli border was attacked by Hezbollah terrorists. Several peacekeepers were beaten and one of their vehicles was burned after gasoline was poured over it. At the end, the peacekeepers surrendered their weapons to the terrorists. Again, Iran was behind the attack (Psalm 121).

Light for Rina

In August, Islamic terrorists carried out a bombing using a remotely detonated explosive device at the spring near Dolev in the so-called West Bank. In the explosion, Rina Shnerb (17) was killed and her father and brother were injured. After the funeral, Rina’s father said, “I told Rina during the attack that I won’t ever leave her. I knew she was dead, but I said that we will continue to spread light for her.” President Reuven Rivlin visited the father in the hospital (Psalm 124).

Rina Shnerb’s funeral in the city of Lod on August 23, 2019

September 28, 2019

Who is the “Occupier”?

Focus on the biblical Mount Moriah in Jerusalem

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (2 Chronicles 3:1, NASB).

Recently, Israel’s ambassador to Jordan was called in to explain Israel’s recent actions on the Temple Mount. Mordechai Kedar of the Israel Hayom [Israel Today] newspaper wrote the following article in response:

“If I were Israel’s ambassador to Jordan and was called in for a dressing down Israel’s actions on the Temple Mount and over Israelis visiting the site on the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av (August 11, 2019), I would remind the official doing the dressing down [rebuke] that we Jews worshipped the One God at the Temple located on the site more than 3,000 years ago. Islam is only 1,409 years old.

I would remind the official, too, that in classical Arabic, Jerusalem is referred to as Bayt al-Maqdis, meaning temple, and that this is further proof of the falsehood that prevails today among the people of the region, according to which a Jewish temple never existed on the site.

I would present to Amman’s envoy the official Jordanian maps drawn prior to 1967, which have Mount Moriah written on the site of the Temple Mount, to its southeast the Solomon’s Tables and to its south the Valley of Jehoshaphat. To the east of the mount, Tomb of Zechariah and the Tomb of Absalom, and to its west, Mount Zion. I would show the official these maps.

I would remind the official that while his country’s 1994 peace agreement with Israel afforded the Hashemite Kingdom special status on the Temple Mount, Amman was not made the sovereign of the site because the sole sovereign of the site is Israel.

I would further remind the official that the Palestinians, whose rights he is so concerned about, were responsible for the death of Jordanian King Abdullah’s great-grandfather on the Temple Mount.

Tomb of Absalom or Absalom’s Pillar is traditionally ascribed to
King David’s rebellious son. Recent scholarly studies date it
to much later period, maybe to the 1st century A.D.

And finally, I would ask: ‘You claim that East Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine. Why didn’t you establish such a state, with its capital in eastern Jerusalem in the nineteen years in which you illegally occupied Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, from 1948 to 1967?’” (Mordechai Kedar, August 19, 2019, Israel Hayom)

A calling to help

For decades, Christian Friends of Israel has cherished its commandment to the family of believers in Israel and has chosen to stand with them in their times of most desperate need.

Recently, we had the privilege of assisting Sarah who is a struggling single mother of a teenage son. Sarah has been working hard to take care of her son and has done a tremendous job of staying out of debt. Her local pastor suggested she contact CFI to see if we might be able to help. She very much needed a loving hand to grab onto in order to walk through a quite difficult time in her life.

After assessing her needs, CFI was able to provide her with one month’s rent as well as pay all her utilities up to date thanks to the generosity of caring Christians in the nations, just like you. We also provided Sarah and her son with enough food vouchers to cover food costs for at least two weeks.

With your generosity, many of our dear brothers and sisters in the household of faith would be overwhelmed, and even break under the pressure of the harsh realities that so many of them face. As Christians in the land, it is not only our duty, but our sincere honor to stand alongside our brethren and say to the Lord, yes, we are our brother’s keeper. Stacey Howard, International Director

“Israel is a dreamland”

In July 2019, a delegation of journalists and media personalities from Arab countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, visited the Knesset. They were hosted by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Avi Dichter. Among these countries, only Jordan and Egypt have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. The journalists were in Israel at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry.

Saudi journalist Mahmoud Saud (middle) met in Jerusalem with Israeli Knesset Member Avi Dichter (left) and Hassan Kaabia (Foreign Ministry’s Arabic-speaking spokesman). Photo: JPost

“This visit to Israel is like a touring a dreamland,” said one of the Arab delegation members. Avi Dichter said that Israel has decided to move forward with contacts in the Arab worldfirst and foremost with Saudi Arabiawithout waiting for the Palestinian Authority to decide about fighting terrorism.

While visiting the Temple Mount, one of the Arab delegation members, Mahmoud Saud from Saudi Arabia, was attacked by Palestinians. He was called by names, spat in his face and chairs and sticks were thrown at him. Mr. Saud was rescued unharmed by the Israeli Police. It appears that not even other Arabs are safe in the areas where Palestinians rule.

Praying for the people and the land

  • Pray for protection over Israel and her political and military leaders. A senior Hamas leader has urged Palestinians across the globe to kill Jews wherever they see them.
  • Intercede for the promising development of good ties between Israel and the representatives of the Middle East Arab countries.
  • Pray over the Knesset elections (September 17) so that God-chosen candidates, including the Prime Minister, will emerge to lead the country.
  • Dutifully pray for a change in the hearts and minds of the Palestinian leaders toward Israel. Their rejection of the Jewish State is the main cause for the ongoing conflict. It is obvious that the Palestinians would benefit for normal relations to advance with Israel for their economy, banking, education, water resources, agriculture, etc.

PM Boris Johnson of the U.K. Conservative Party

  • Pray blessings over the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has promised to visit Israel, stating that he is a passionate Zionist.
  • Thank the Lord for the recent artifacts found in excavations in Jerusalem, connecting the Jewish people to their ancestors in the same land thousands of years ago.

    “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For He has strengthened the bars of your gates. He has blessed your sons within you. He makes peace in your borders” (Psalm 147:12─14).

News from Geneva, Switzerland

The annual assembly of the UN World Health Organization (UNWHO) voted during the summer for a resolution (96 to 11) that singled out Israel over “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.” The resolution was co-sponsored by the Arab bloc and the Palestinian delegation. Shamefully, also France, Belgium, Sweden, and Switzerland joined Israel’s enemies. No other country─not even Syria, where hospitals were bombed, or Venezuela with its collapsed health care system, or Yemen, where 19.7 million people lack access to basic health care services─was condemned for violating their citizens’ health rights.

The U.S., Britain, Germany, and Canada voted against the resolution and also strongly objected to the politicization of the health forum. The resolution included a report about “the mental health of Palestinians affected by the exposure to violence and the context of chronic occupation.” One may ask: Who is occupying and whose land? (UN Watch, www.unwatch.org)

A struggling UN mission

In late July, Holland and Switzerland announced that they have frozen funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency until the completion of an investigation into ethical misconducts among senior officials in the organization. The total UN funding from these two countries alone represent $37 million. In 2018, the U.S. cut $360 million from the annual UN contribution. Recent calls from Europe, Israel and the U.S. demand the closing of the UNRWA agency which was established for the needs of the original Palestinian refugees. Today, about 70 years later, there are still Palestinians who claim to be refugees and demand for a right to return. It is estimated that millions of their descendants want to move to Israel.

Common border interests

announced in June, that its U.S. subsidiary has been awarded a $26 million contract by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to install a multi-sensor system to monitor the U.S.-Mexico border. Elbit has been involved in a number of projects with the U.S. Customs regarding border security. The new system to be installed will provide intelligence to agents patrolling on the ground in order to protect and save lives. (www.jns.org)

Nazi-era stolen art returns

A collection of paintings taken from Jewish homes

On August 5, 2019, nine works of art were returned to descendants of a Jewish couple in a return ceremony at the Bavarian National Museum in Munich. The Nazis had taken the pieces unlawfully during the years of WW2 “Nazi Plunder” that refers to the art theft and other items stolen as a result of the organized looting of European countries by agents acting on behalf of the ruling Nazi Party of Germany. Hitler favored classical portraits and landscapes; therefore, any modern art found in the German museums was sold or destroyed during his reign. Like Hitler’s book burning orders, thousands of museum paintings, sculptures, watercolors, drawings and prints were burned in 1939. Today there is an international effort to identify and return the Nazi Plunder items to the rightful owners and their families. (Online resources)