Bring My sons from afar 

“I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to thesouth, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons fromafar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth”(Is.43:6).

Our project Hope For The Future is reaching out today to Ethiopian women and teenage girls. In many cases, the families’ financial needs are the women’s responsibility. As women’s traditional roles have changed, they need additional training to meet the modern workplace requirements. Therefore, we are assisting these families with tuition payments and computers. We help one family at a time to stand on their own. Your love and support bring the Ethiopian Jews blessings for years to come. Thank you. 

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overflow you” (Isaiah 43:2). 

A family arrives in Ben Gurion Airport

Celebration in the Ethiopian community in Israel

 Letters to God Unite in prayer for the Lord’s land 

Israel’s postal company is delivering letters to a unique address that has not changed in thousands of years. A variety of envelopes addressed to God, Jesus, Our Father in Heaven, Holy Land, etc. are placed between Western Wall stones in advance of the fall Jewish holidays of Succoth and Rosh HaShanah. These letters arrive from all over the world, and most of them lack a return address. At least someone receives the letters and handles them with respect. Traditionally, visitors place hand-written notes of prayer and wishes in the cracks between the stones. 

Letters addressed to God in several languages

 It is claimed that this practice dates to the early 18th century, and stems from the Jewish tradition that the Divine Presence rests upon the Western Wall. “As a visitor to the Western Wall Tunnel, I have personally experienced His holy presence which remained with me for days,” says Hannele Pardain. 

In recent years, more than a million prayer notes have been placed in the Wall each year. According to Jewish law, prayer notes may not be thrown away. Because they contain the name of God, the notes are collected twice a year and buried in the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. Currently, we cannot visit Israel, so for those who want to send a digital note, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation in Jerusalem offers their virtual services and promises to place a written note from you “between the holy stones.” The Western Wall is the retaining wall of the compound where the biblical Temples stood, and it is the world’s most important site for the Jewish people. 

 Unite in prayer for the Lord’s land 

 Israel’s leadership 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the new government face a number of challenges, including Iran rushing to develop a nuclear weapon and the U.S. leadership’s disagreement about Israel’s right to defend itself. 

Record high COVID-19 cases 

As schools opened for tens of thousands of students, Israel registered among the general public thousands of virus cases, marking a new record. 

Anti-Semitism in the U.S. 

In the religiously motivated hate crimes, the Jewish people are the largest target group. According to the recent survey by Alums for Campus Fairness, 

it was discovered that anti-Semitism is an overwhelming problem on campuses. 

Struggling families 

An estimated 155,000 Israelis entered the circle of poverty in 2020 due to the pandemic. Data from the National Insurance Institute showed in 2018 that 21% of the population was living in poverty, including 29% of the country’s children. COVID has only made the families’ situations worse. 

United we pray 

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart’” (Jeremiah 29:1112). 

 I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones will shout! 

“You are no longer strangers and aliens…As God’s household, you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:1920). 

“Now you are coming to Him [Christ] as to a living stone…You yourselves are being built like living stones” (1 Peter 2:45, CEB). 

Stones are abundant in the Holy Land and are often mentioned in the Scriptures. Sand, rocks, gravel, and stone are among Israel’s natural resources; in fact, the highlands are mainly underlain by sedimentary limestone and dolomite, “Jerusalem stone” has been used since ancient times in many structures, including the Western Wall, and is still quarried for building purposes. Today, municipal law requires that all Jerusalem buildings be faced with local Jerusalem stones. 

In Biblical times, a city’s stone walls were an essential means of security to guard the inhabitants from enemies or predators. The scriptures compare believers to a stone structure. The Word of God given through the prophets and apostles is the foundational bedrock on which our faith is built, and Yeshua (Jesus) is the cornerstone of which Isaiah prophesied (Isaiah 28:16). 

 In construction, all other stones are set in reference to the cornerstone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. Believers are also referred to as living stones that are being built upon Him. 

Like a strong wall, people from various nations are unifying in prayer around Israel. The mortar of faith causes us to adhere to one another. Some pray with their lips moving, hands raised or voices calling out; yet others; with heads bowed, rocking, kneeling, crying, or even groaning. Although our faces may look different, our goal is the same: to provide a spiritual barrier that hinders the enemy’s schemes. We are the moving, breathing, living stones assembled for the glory of God! 

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a colt amid the cheering crowds praising God, the Pharisees complained, asking Him to quieten the people. Jesus answered them from Isaiah’s words, “I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones will shout” (Luke 19:40). 

We are those living stones that must continually resound with worship and intercession to God on behalf of Israel and the nations! 

Linda D. McMurray
Wall of Prayer Coordinator
(For Zion’s Sake Magazine, 2ndQ2021) 

Ancient walls leading the way to the Old City’s Zion Gate                                             Prayer at the Western Wall

Afghan rug market

 From the graveyard of empires to their own state 

The history of the region of Afghanistan dates back thousands of years, and its strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia. It has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Mauryas, Muslim Arabs, Mongols, British, Soviets and in 2001, by the United States with NATO-allied countries. 

The history of the Jewish people in Afghanistan is estimated to date back to the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile 2,700 years ago. Early biblical commentators have regarded Khorasan (Afghanistan) as a location for a part of the Lost Ten Tribes. The Pashtun, the main Afghan ethnic group, also believes they are descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and later converted to Islam. Many Pashtun names and customs sound Jewish, from the Pashtun tribe names of Asheri and Naftali to the custom of a wedding chuppah and circumcision. 

The history of the Islamic era (600 to 1200 A.D.) mentions Jewish colonies of people called Bani Israel or Sons of Israel. Their leader met with Prophet Mohammed, so the colonies accepted Islam, officially. Stone tablets with Hebrew inscriptions, dating from 1100 to 1200 A.D., confirm the existence of a Jewish community near Kabul. The Mongol invasion of Genghis Kahn, in 1222 A.D., razed Afghanistan and devastated the Jewish communities. Very little is known about the isolated small Jewish communities till the 19th century when Afghan Muslim authorities introduced far-reaching anti-Jewish measures. 

 Jews were limited to only a few Afghan cities, one of them being Kabul. A mass Jewish exodus followed to Central Asia, Persia, and later to Palestine. In January 2013, Israel’s National Library unveiled a large cache of Hebrew documents and manuscripts, discovered from caves in former Taliban-controlled areas. These provided the first physical evidence of a Jewish community in the area that was a thousand years old. Called the “Afghan Genizah,” it was the largest archive found since the “Cairo Genizah” (or storage) in an Egyptian Synagogue about 100 years earlier. In both cases, the Hebrew writings had been stored for centuries since it is forbidden to throw away or destroy anything containing the name of God. 

In 1951, most of the Afghani Jewish community immigrated to Israel, and after the Soviet invasion, almost all the remaining communities left in 1979. 

The last Jew, Zablon Simintov, escaped from Kabul in August 2021 when the Taliban again took over Afghanistan. Simintov had refused to leave for years, but when his neighbors urged him to go and take their children with him, he finally agreed. About thirty Afghani women and children joined Simintov on a private rescue mission, organized by an Israeli-American security company. (Online resources) 

Afghanistan is called the “Country of the Pomegranate Fruit” and the pomegranate production provides the livelihood for thousands of people

 Comfort, comfort My people 

Maggie Huang, CFI’s Project Communities Under Attack supervisor visits families whose homes and communities have come under fire from Gaza. After Maggie’s recent visit to Sderot, she reported about a young family in the city who lost their 5-year old son Ido in one of the attacks. Also, Ido’s mother and a 7-year old sister were injured when a piece of rocket shrapnel pierced the window of their home’s fortified safe room. The parents had told Maggie, that Ido was a brilliant child whose family never ceased to be fascinated by him, and they could not wait to see him grow up. Sadly his parents and sister will never see that day. Ido was buried while his injured mother was still in the hospital.

Israeli homes have safe rooms, and all communities are equipped with public bomb shelters. While the Iron Dome Defense System successfully shoots down most rockets on course for highly populated cities, several rockets can still hit civilian areas as happened during the Hamas War this spring. Not only the Israelis who have lost family members in attacks are traumatized, but the entire communities and cities also suffer the consequences. Work, school, and life, in general, become difficult. Therefore, we thank you in advance for joining us so that we may continue visiting these families, praying with and for them, and bringing supplies to meet their most urgent needs. Isaiah 40:1-2 speaks to their situation:

“Comfort, O comfort My people,’ says your God. Speak kindly to Jerusalem.”

Fire after the attack on the building where Ido was killed

 The Prime Minister’s prayer 

 Naftali Bennett is the first Prime Minister of Israel to pray at a government meeting. On the day of his inauguration, Bennett prayed: “Now, hours before accepting this responsibility, I pray to God that He grant me wisdom and understanding to lead the State of Israel.” He continued by referring to the official Prayer for the State of Israel, stated here below: 

Our Father in Heaven, Rock, and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first manifestation of the approach of our redemption. Shield it with Your lovingkindness, envelope it in Your peace, and bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisors, and grace them with Your good counsel. 

Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory. Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness. 

Lead them, swiftly and upright, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Name, as is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: “Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. 

And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it: and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers.” Draw our hearts together to revere and venerate Your name and to observe all the precepts of Your Torah, and send us quickly the Messiah son of David, agent of Your vindication, to redeem those who await Your deliverance. 

Manifest Yourself in the splendor of Your boldness before the eyes of all inhabitants of Your world, and may everyone endowed with a soul affirm that the Lord, God of Israel, is king and his dominion is absolute. Amen forevermore. (Below: Prayers placed in the Western Wall) 

 Project News from Jerusalem 

 Open Gates (Russian Jews)
New immigrants, pensioners, and others, who come to CFI’s Distribution Center, receive clothing and household items for their needs. The Center is also giving clothing to other ministries who are helping people in Jerusalem and other cities. 

Under His Wings (Terror War Survivors)
As attacks have been carried out almost on a daily basis, more and more Israelis are injured and traumatized. CFI’s team visits these families all throughout the country. 

An armful of clothing & bedding from the Distribution Center

Holocaust survivor couple with a CFI team member

First Fruits (Household of Faith)
The ministry continues assisting believers from all backgrounds: Arab, Jewish, Orthodox or Gentile. We extend this opportunity to partner with us to strengthen believers in the Land. CFI “makes it possible” for you personally to be a blessing to the Household of Faith in Israel today. 

Forsake Them Not (Holocaust Survivors)
We reach out to the Holocaust Survivors throughout the Land of Israel. As long as we still have precious survivors with us, our task is to listen to and to hear the truth of their stories. 

We thank you and bless you for praying for the people we help and the assistance projects! 

September 2, 2021

News from and around Israel

 Israel to be compensated 

 In February 2021, the Syrian-owned ship, Emerald, had a crude oil leak in the Mediterranean Sea. About two weeks later, tar began washing onto Israel’s coast, causing massive pollution that covered beaches and marine life. The tar waves brought also corpses of whales, some 55 feet long. To make matters worse, the tanker was uninjured while marine life was devastated. 

In July 2021, the London-based International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund approved Israel’s request to receive compensation for the damages. The next step in the process is to determine the timeline of the payment. (The Times of Israel) 

Tar pools on Israel’s coast

 Tokyo honored Israeli victims of 1972 

For the first time ever, a moment of silence was held at the beginning of the Olympics for the 11 Israeli victims of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, where the Israeli team of athletes and coaches were all murdered by a group of Palestinian terrorists. The West German neo-Nazis gave the terrorists logistical assistance. The commemorative moment was offered inside the stadium, in the presence of the athletes’ widows from Israel. “Finally there is justice for the husbands, sons, and fathers murdered in Munich. We went through forty-nine years of struggle and never gave up. This is a moment we have waited for,” said one of the widows. Also, a memorial ceremony was held in the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo on August 1, 2021, in honor of the eleven victims. Present were the Israeli Ambassador to Japan, President of the International Olympic Committee, Japanese ministers, and the widows of the late athletes. 

 Fire from Lebanon 

 On the first week of August 2021, sirens sounded again in Kiryat Shmona in the Golan Heights as two missiles struck outside the city, sparking a fire. One more rocket fell on the Lebanon side. No casualties were reported, however, medics treated four people for anxiety attacks. 

Paramedics on the way to Kiryat Shmona after the rocket hit

 In response, the IDF fired artillery shells at targets in Lebanon. Israel conveyed to Lebanon via UNIFIL (United Nations Peacekeepers) a statement that the IDF could intensify its response if calm is not returned to the border area. 

Michael Oren on the vaccines 

Michael B. Oren, an American-born Israeli historian, author, and former ambassador of Israel to the United States, wrote on July 7, 2021, about the Palestinian leadership’s reaction to the free Pfizer vaccine and Israel’s willingness to arrange a mass vaccination on the Temple 

Mount. “A million vaccines Israel offered the Palestinian Authoritywhich rejected themwere good enough for South Korea and Israelis. Palestinian leadership cares more about vilifying Israel than their own people’s welfare,” said Oren. In Mid-August, Israel’s Health Ministry gave new COVID-19 rules, including mask use indoors and outdoors, the Green Pass requirement, and recommendations for people to work from home. (References: The Times of Israel online) 

 New government’s challenges 

 On Sunday, July 18, 2021, about 1,700 Jewish visitors were allowed onto the Temple Mount. It was the first day that marked the destruction of both past Jewish Temples (Tisha B’Av Day). Some clashes between Palestinian protesters and police followed on the Temple Mount on the same day, PM Naftali Bennett issued a statement thanking the security authorities for managing the events while maintaining freedom of worship for Jews on the Mount. He continued that freedom of worship on the Mount will be fully preserved for Muslims as well. However, the day’s events did not continue as smoothly as PM Bennett had envisioned since Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and the Ra’am Party, the current Israeli government’s own Arab member, denounced any and all Jewish visits to the site. 

In his statement, the new prime minister seemed to have ignored the decades-old “status quo” arrangements put in place by Moshe Dayan. On June 17, 1967, after the Six-Day War, it was agreed that the Jordanian Muslim Waqf would continue to hold religious responsibility for the compound under overall Israeli supervision. 

 Under the agreement, there is no freedom of worship and prayer for Jews on their holy site, and after the July 18 incident, Jews are not even allowed to visit the site. 

It was the alternative prime minister, Yair Lapid, who helped to defuse the crisis situation. To maintain ties with Jordan, Lapid convinced King Abdullah II that there is no change on the mount’s “status quo.” On the other hand, the Palestinians took the opportunity to prepare for a future confrontation with Jewish worshippers coming to the Western Wall. Palestinians have again stockpiled large rocks, chairs and various other objects, and also, they have broken down a wall at the Mosques’ compound for an improved vision to the Jewish worshipper below. 

Since the Muslims have religious responsibility over the Temple Mount, the site is the most sensitive location an earth where a religious war can start at any time. The Muslim holy day, Friday, is the day when Palestinians begin riots on the Temple Mount, and from where rioting spreads to the West Bank and Gaza. 

Visiting Jewish families on the Temple Mount, July 18, 2021. (Reference to the Times of Israel online posts)

 I give you strength 

The vision of the CFI Jerusalem project David’s Shield is to expand our Christian solidarity with the  IDF vision and mission. We stand with the defenders and express our gratitude and encouragement to them. We love to tell them that they are on the side of God, and His calling on them to be Guardians of this Land called Israel is, in fact, a righteous calling. God has established the Nation, and just as King David, the IDF is up to the task. During the past year, we strove to advance the CFI vision as much as possible. We were afforded numerous opportunities to encourage and provide needed items of comfort and some tactical equipment. – Jim McKenzie, Outreach Supervisor, Project David’s Shield, Jerusalem 

An IDF unit with supplies donated by CFI supporters

Jim McKenzie with an Ethiopian Jew serving in the IDF

After the Hamas War on Israel, we want to show love and support to Israel’s brave defenders. We appeal to you to join us. “Do not fear…I give you strength, I give you help” (Isa 41:10, CJB). 

 Co-operation with the Emirates continues 

 The new Foreign Minister Yair Lapid inaugurated the Dubai Consulate in the UAE at the end of June. “What we are opening today is not only a consulate but also the center of our co-operation. The peace between the UAE and Israel is not between governments and leaders, but between people and nations” said Lapid. The foreign minister thanked former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he called “the architect of the Abraham Accords and who worked tirelessly to bring them about.” Also in June 2021, the Herzliya International School enrolled the first-ever Emirati student since the signing of the Abraham Accords. Mansoor bin Shamekh represents the 91st country in the student body. Mansoor had chosen to come to study in Israel out of a strong desire to contribute to the advancement of peace. Programs between the two countries have been launched for the exchange of students, teachers and academics. 

The lasting impact of Durban 

In 2001, the city of Durban in South Africa, hosted the UN-sponsored World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Related Intolerance. Despite its name, the Durban Conference became an annual gathering for world anti-Semites. About 1,500 NGOs represented in the conference launched a strategy of isolating Israel through boycotts, legal attacks, and accusations of apartheid. Durban became the most potent symbol of organized hate against Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Like the original Durban Conference, all the later NGO campaigns have worked tirelessly to delegitimize Israel. Anti-Israel marches and the distribution of anti-Semitic materials have been organized around the world by NGOs linked to the PLO and other Palestinian organizations. No surprise there as the propaganda on behalf of Palestinians is long-lived. 

Demonstration in Durban for the Palestinian causes. No signs for Syrian, Afghan or N. Korean human rights abuse and racism.

 Thank you for your prayers! 

 Miami’s Jewish community 

A search-and-rescue team from Israel (IDF reserve officers) has joined one from Mexico and the local experts to comb the rubble after a residential high-rise building collapsed in Surfside, Florida in June. Families who have unaccounted-for loved ones wanted a team from Israel. Let’s pray for the families of the missing for God’s comfort from Psalm 130:1-2: Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.” 

Travel challenges 

The tourist protocol for entry into Israel changes weekly. First of all, every traveler must be vaccinated in their home country and must have a vaccination record as proof. Currently, the following tests are still required at travelers’ own expense: a PCR test within 72 hours upon arriving in Israel, and a mandatory serological test in a hospital or a medical center. Travelers must quarantine until results have arrived. The recent news from Israel reports hundreds of new COVID-19 variant cases (Reference to The Times of Israel and Sar El Travel & Tours). When the airport opens again, we pray for travel agents and travelers from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”