Israel investment opportunities explained
So, you want to support Israel and be part of her economic success, but you don’t live in Israel, don’t travel there too often and are not sure about the investment possibilities you have. So how can you accomplish this? This article will help.
In our previous articles, we discussed why you should invest in Israel. There are many reason for investing in Israel, among them currency diversification, geographical diversification, and the desire to support the Land and people of Israel. Other reasons include participating in the prosperity Israel is experiencing since its rebirth, and enjoying the fruit of a strong and robust economy that weathers the sometimes-stormy global financial climate.
So how can this be accomplished practically? There are three main ways to invest in Israel financially:
- Investing in Israel’s capital market via Israeli stocks, bonds and mutual funds. This is done by opening an investment account with one of the established Israeli brokerage firms that are members of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). Accounts may be opened remotely through the mail and can be overseen through a secure English online portal, just like a bank account. Citizens of all countries may invest in an Israeli brokerage account as individuals (single or joint), as an organization (for-profit and non-profit) and through U.S. retirement funds with a minimum entry limit of 20,000 Israeli Shekels (approximately $5,000 USD). Some additional information to know about investing in the Israeli capital market:
- The TASE provides a wide array of asset types (securities), ranging from Israeli stocks offering dividend payments, to secure Israeli government bonds, through inflation-protected corporate bonds paying fixed quarterly interest payments, to ETFs tracking market indices. These assets are spread over all the major business sectors offered in other markets around the world, including: technology, real estate, industry and manufacturing, communication, biomedical, agrotechnology, insurance, finance and banking, commerce and services etc. Of particular interest is the new oil/gas exploration sector, given Israel’s recent large-scale discoveries of these commodities, and of course the world-renown Israeli high tech sector that has supplied the world with many groundbreaking technologies.
- Individual stock and bonds capital gains, as well as bond interest payments, are not taxed in Israel for non-Israeli investors. The Israeli capital market has shown impressive returns over recent years:
During the economic recovery year of 2009, the Tel Aviv 35 stock index returned 75% to investors, vs. the S&P 500 yield of 24%. Israel’s stock market has outperformed other developed markets by far since the year 2000 showing 184% total return for the Tel Aviv 35 compared to 63% total return for the S&P 500 (as of May 16, 2017). On the bond side, Israeli corporate bonds have yields over 6% average annual return with relatively low volatility since 2009.
- Investing in Israeli Start-Up companies. This is done by purchasing equity in early stage start-ups as an angel investor or through a venture capital firm that is connected with various private companies and raise capital for them through a VC fund. Some additional information to know about investing in Israeli start-up companies:
- Investing as an angel investor or through a VC requires a relatively large investment principle, typically ranging between $150,000 to $2,000,000 USD but typically represents no more than 10% of the investors total investment portfolio. VC investing is usually done by “Accredited Investors”: individuals with a net worth of at least $1,000,000, excluding the value of the investor’s primary residence, or demonstrate an annual income of $200,000 or $300,000 for joint income for the last two years with the expectation for the same or higher income in the future.
- Since seed investments in start-ups and VC funds are of a much higher risk nature, investors should be prepared and able to potentially lose all of the principle investment. Start-ups have a success rate of 1 in 10, meaning that there is 90% chance that the start-up will fail and the principle will be lost. For this reason investors usually invest in dozens of start-ups simultaneously with the hopes that one of them will success and provide a good ROI (return on investment) to cover the losses gained from the other failed investments.
- Investing in Israeli Real Estate. This can be done in two ways: first, by directly purchasing physical real estate such as an apartment, house, building, office etc. Second, by purchasing stocks and/or bonds of real estate companies or Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. This second method is less direct, i.e. you do not actually own the property but do enjoy the dividends and cashflow from the companies that build, sell and rent out the real estate. These dividends are legally tied to over 90% of the profits of the REIT. Some additional information to know about investing in Israeli real estate:
- The Israeli real estate market has seen good growth in since 2007 with prices of many assets rising close to and even over 100% since then, giving an approximate annual return of 7% (varying, significantly even, from asset to asset). Since the end of 2016 the rise in house prices has slowed significantly, with recent data indicating a very possible change in trend to housing prices as they begin to drop, though it is still too early to tell. There is a certain level of uncertainty currently in the real estate market, however some analysts are already determining that investors are beginning to sell their real estate assets.
- Investing in REITs and real estate companies put somewhat of a hedge between the investor and the assets, for the better. On the one hand it employs the REIT management and real estate company’s expertise in the market, eliminating the need to for the client to make those decisions and spend all that effort themselves. On the other hand, it is easy for the client to control their level on investment in the real estate market by purchasing or selling more stocks or bonds with the click of a button, without the need for finding a buyer for their physical property and not having to deal with the bureaucracy, taxation, legal work, fees etc. that go with selling (and purchasing) actual property. These advantages allows the investor to change weighting in their portfolio to other market sectors and asset classes swiftly and with minimal hassle, time and money consumption. This flexibility can be key in turbulent market times.
Investing in Israel is a great way to diversify your portfolio, support the Israeli economy and participate in the success of the nation. Before you decide how to do that, you should consider the information above and how that applies to your specific personal and financial situation.
This article originally appeared on Wise Money Israel, May 22, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Being passionate about both ministry and business, Stefan serves as the Executive Pastor at the vibrant Messianic-Israeli congregation Kerem-El in Haifa along with his wife Keren, an Israeli worship leader and songwriter. He serves as a Director at Wise Money Israel, the first Jewish believer-run Investment Portfolio Management firm in Israel working with individuals, ministries and organizations around the globe to invest in Israel.
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Praying for Jerusalem in her jubilee year
Psalm 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” The rest of the psalm tells us how. (Translation used is the NIV.)
v.1. I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” God wants us to pray for Jerusalem with joy. The issues of our day concerning Jerusalem are serious. As a result, our prayers often take the form of tears and travail. But underlying those prayers, I urge you to set your vision on the glory of Yeshua’s restored house in His perfected city. In do so doing, your heart will rest in His joy. The joy of the Lord will keep your prayers for Jerusalem from becoming a burden too hard to bear. “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn for her.” (Isaiah 66:10)
v. 2. Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem. In the Bible, gates represent authority. Pray for Jerusalem with the spiritual authority Messiah has delegated to you. If you abide in Him, your feet stand in the gates of heavenly Jerusalem—even if you do not live in the earthly city. Because your spirit can access heavenly realms, you can release the Word of God over earthly Jerusalem. (Ephesians 2:6, Matthew 18:18-20) So from the gates of Jerusalem above, prophetically decree the fullness of God’s promises for her restoration on earth. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her…” (Isaiah 40:2)
v. 3. Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together. The Hebrew word pronounced chavar and translated “compacted” means “joined in tight fellowship, in league with or united; secure and bound firmly together.” This reflects the glorious destiny of Jerusalem. Today, however, the holy city is characterized by violent contention between Muslims and Jews. In addition, there are sharply competing Jewish factions, mostly between ultra-religious extremists and those who identify as secular, but are often God-fearing, moral people. Tensions can run high here. Pray and proclaim Jerusalem’s destiny as a city closely compacted together in its positive, good, prophetic sense. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. It is like precious oil on the head…” (Psalm 133:1-2)
v. 4. That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to praise the name of the Lord according to the statute given to Israel. The Hebrew word pronounced yadah and translated “to praise” means “to cast thanks, praise, worship or testimony of.” In our day, tribes from Israel and the nations have wonderfully begun coming to Jerusalem to praise, thank and testify to the name of YHVH. But the fulfillment of those tribes coming up after Yeshua returns will be unimaginably glorious! You and I are called to help birth this spectacular reality in prayer. “Give Him no rest until He establishes her and makes her the praise of all the earth.” (Isaiah 62:7)
v. 5. There the thrones for judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David. The phrase “thrones of the house of David” refers to Messianic judgments executed according to the Davidic Covenant. Ultimately, these judgments release righteousness and justice from Jerusalem into the earth. When righteousness and justice manifest in Jerusalem, all nations on earth will be blessed. Prayerfully decree God’s calling on Jerusalem: “You will be called City of Righteousness…Zion will be redeemed with justice.” (Isaiah 1:26-27)
v. 6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love you be secure. The Hebrew word translated “secure” also means “prosperous, abundant, peaceful, tranquil, happy, safe.” Be blessed as you rightly love Jerusalem!
v. 7. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. This verse speaks of physical peace and quiet. Accordingly, pray for physical protection from Jerusalem’s enemies set against her through terror, evil political schemes, economic sanctions, witchcraft or any other means. “On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem…I will set out to destroy all nations that attack Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:8-9)
v. 8. For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” Pray for peace within the hearts of your brothers and friends who live here—including us! Say, in effect, “Peace be within you” by praying for the salvation of Jerusalemites in the name of Yeshua, the Prince of Peace. Pray specifically for the salvation of our governmental leaders and “all those in authority, that we may live peaceful…lives in all godliness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
v. 9. For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity [or good]. The “house of the Lord our God” refers to His holy temple on the Temple Mount. Psalm 122 closes with a reminder that our prayers for Jerusalem are not ultimately about the Jewish people, city or nation—important as those are. Our prayers are ultimately about the rule and reign of heaven on earth, the Kingdom of God, from His holy hill. They are about Yeshua’s abiding presence on earth and fulfillment of His heart’s desires. If your ultimate reason for praying for the peace of Jerusalem is your desire to see His heart rejoice, you will stay the course. You can be secure, prosperous, abundant, peaceful, tranquil, happy, and safe in Him this Jubilee year!
This article originally appeared on Light of Zion, May 27, 2017, ad reposted with permission.
Sandra is co-founder and director, along with her husband Kerry, of Light of Zion Ministries. Light of Zion is an Israeli Messianic Jewish, prophetic intercessory prayer ministry in Jerusalem with humanitarian outreach. Sandra is a prayer mobilizer and network leader, international speaker, prophetic liaison, professionally published author, Bible teacher, and retired attorney.
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Tongues of fire and 70 languages
Seven weeks, or approximately 50 days, after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, God’s people are commanded to celebrate the Shavuot or the “Feast of Weeks.” This feast is now upon us this week. But what is there to celebrate?
The Feast of Weeks is the day when the Torah was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. It commemorates when God gave His commandments to His people. For 430 years the Israelites lived in bondage and slavery in Egypt, and there they had been surrounded by a pantheistic religion that knew little of and cared little for, the God of the Israelites.
At last, the Israelites were delivered from Egypt and given specific instruction on how to love God, worship Him, and walk in right relationship with Him.
The Church today typically recognizes Shavuot by a slightly different name – Pentecost, a Greek word simply meaning “50 days.” Though the Church celebrates this day, they usually do it for what happened in Acts 2:1-4 rather than for what happened on Mt. Sinai.
“When the day of Pentecost [or Shavuot] came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
There’s a purposeful connection between what happened on Mt. Sinai and in Acts 2. The two “miracles” from Acts 2 that we always affiliate with Pentecost are the tongues of fire resting on the people and the speaking of many languages (or tongues).
Is this the first time that fire had rested on people and other tongues been spoken? A well-known Midrash, or Jewish commentary on Scripture, may cause us think twice about saying, “yes,” to this question.
Shemot Rabbah, which is Hebrew for “Great Exodus” records in 5:9, “On the occasion of the giving of the Torah, the Children of Israel not only heard the LORD’s Voice but actually saw the sound waves as they emerged from the LORD’s mouth. They visualized them as a fiery substance. Each commandment that left the LORD’s mouth traveled around the entire camp and then came back to every Jew individually.” It goes on to record Rabbi Yochanan saying, “God’s voice, as it was uttered, split up into seventy voices, in 70 languages, so that all the nations should understand.” The number 70 in Scripture is usually associated with “the nations.”
When the literature of the Rabbis and the New Testament line up, I get excited! How incredible is it that rabbinic literature records the voice of God appearing like fire and the speaking of 70 languages being present at the first Shavuot?
During this season of Shavuot or Pentecost (whichever you prefer), reflect on God’s Word. Reflect on the Shavuot when it was first given to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai, and on the Shavuot when the 120 disciples of Yeshua were equipped by the Holy Spirit to speak the Gospel to the nations of the Earth.
This article originally appeared on FIRM and is reposted with permission.
Dustin Herron is a men's ministry coordinator at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX, and has a Master’s in Christian Leadership from Moody Bible Institute. He attended a Messianic congregation in southeastern Kentucky while growing up, and through this experience, the LORD cultivated a passion for Israel and for God’s Word in Dustin. He greatly enjoys spending time with his wife, Andrea, and reading in his hammock whenever cooler Texas weather permits.
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Can Israel survive ISIS?
A May 2016 article in Al-Naba, the weekly newsletter of ISIS (the Islamic Republic of Iraq and Syria), stated that the “war on Israel will not be limited by geographical boundaries or by international norms.” It went on to say that “all polytheist combatants on earth, and the Jews among them, are legitimate targets for it [jihad].”  Islamic fundamentalism’s goal is the destruction of the people of Israel and the conquest of the Land of Israel.
But radical fundamentalism bent on the destruction of Israel is nothing new. In fact, it is something very old. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the book of Daniel makes a prediction so accurate about this earlier fundamentalism that some scholars claim it must have been written after the fact by someone other than Daniel.
The Four Beasts
Daniel writes about four kingdoms, picturing them as violent beasts. Daniel’s vision predicts the fates of Babylon (where Daniel was living in exile) and the Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. I believe that the third beast, described as leopard-like (Daniel 7:6), represents the Greek empire of Alexander the Great, who conquered the then-known world. Alexander is also symbolized as a male goat (Daniel 8:5) with four horns (8:8). The four horns represent the four generals among whom Alexander’s kingdom was divided after his death. One of these generals, Seleucus, was given Syria, Israel and Mesopotamia. The Seleucid Empire became the dominant overseer of the Middle East during the intertestamental period (between the book of Malachi, around 400 b.c., in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the birth of Jesus).
During this time, a Syrian king arose whose religion was radical fundamentalism—not Islamic, but Hellenistic. He forced Greek culture, religion and language on all his subjects. He came to Israel with his army, overthrew the Jewish people, captured Jerusalem and defiled the Temple. Daniel calls this the abomination of desolation, which involves setting up altars to the Greek pantheon gods. This king, Antiochus IV, also known as Antiochus Epiphanes, declared himself to be “God” (Epiphanes means “god manifested”).
Daniel specifically predicted all of this, which took place around 165 b.c.—well after he wrote the book in the sixth century b.c. This is the story of Hanukkah, when the Maccabees rose up and defeated Antiochus, reclaiming the Temple.
History Repeats Itself . . .
So today’s threat from ISIS is not the first time Israel has faced radical fundamentalism from Syria. The modern-day fundamentalism is a flash forward of what the prophet Daniel predicted (and which came to pass in the second century b.c.). But today’s existential threat to Israel is building to a far greater crisis.
As we continue to read through Daniel, we see a foreshadowing of a fiercer enemy of God (called the anti-Christ—or anti-Messiah).  The rabbis referred to this one as Armilus.  Yeshua (Jesus) alludes to him in the New Testament, when he says, “When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place . . .” (Matthew 24:15). The first fulfillment of Daniel’s prediction occurred in 165 b.c.; the second is yet to come. The New Testament book of Revelation, which speaks of the future, employs language about beasts and horns in chapter 13 which parallels the language in Daniel.
It is not uncommon for a prophecy in the Hebrew Scriptures to have more than one fulfillment. For example, in Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses says, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen.” At least one famous medieval Jewish commentator has seen the “prophet like Moses” as having a fulfillment in the person of the Messiah. 
The Time of Jacob’s Trouble
Jesus foresaw Israel’s coming crisis and referred to it this way: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (Matthew 24:21). The Hebrew Scriptures refer to this period as the time of Jacob’s trouble: “Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7).
This seven-year period, often referred to as the Great Tribulation, ends with the return of Israel’s Messiah (who I believe is Yeshua), who defeats the anti-Christ. Both Daniel and Revelation predict desolation coming upon the nation of Israel. But just as Israel has survived every attempt to destroy it, so too will it survive ISIS.
Some believe that the anti-Christ will be Jewish because the Bible says he has no regard for “the god of his fathers” (Daniel 11:37). But the word translated as “god” in that verse could just as easily be rendered “gods.” Since the Jewish people worship only one God, this would make the anti-Christ a gentile. I discuss this topic in one of the appendices of my book, Future Hope.
I believe that ISIS is a forbearer of the coming anti-Christ or Armilus. In describing the anti-Christ, the Scriptures use the Syrian king Antiochus as a type, or model. I believe the anti-Christ is likely going to be an Arab, a Syrian. Who would be better suited to establish peace between Jews and Arabs than a fellow Arab who is a world leader? I believe that the Scriptures predict both the coming of the Syrian Antiochus and the coming of the future anti-Christ.
Why the Land of Israel Will Survive
Will Israel survive? Yes. Because Israel survived Antiochus, Israel will survive the second Antiochus, the anti-Christ, Armilus. ISIS is a Syrian/Iraqi representative of radical Islam in the same way the Syrian Antiochus was a radical Hellenist.
The attempt to destroy Israel as a people is also an attack on the Land. But God made a covenant with Abraham about the Land. This is an unconditional, eternal promise, not based upon Israel’s performance. God said:
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God. (Genesis 17:7–8)
We also read this:
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” (Genesis 15:18–21)
There could be nothing more definitive than the Abrahamic Covenant and nothing more central to that covenant than the promise of land. God gives a specific territory and the boundaries. And because God stakes His reputation on His promise of the Land, we don’t need to wonder if ISIS is going to win.
Why the Jewish People Will Survive
The Land is not going to disappear as long as the earth is here. But what about the Jewish people? The prophet Jeremiah recorded this promise from God, which ISIS may want to take as a bit of military advice. Jeremiah said:
Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord of hosts is his name: “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” Thus says the Lord: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:35–37)
ISIS has been shooting its weapons into Israel. What it needs to do is aim them at the sun, moon and stars. According to Jeremiah, if they can wipe those out, they’ll succeed in destroying the Jewish people. Israel—the people and the Land—is secure not because its military is the strongest, but because the Lord of Hosts has staked His reputation on her survival for all eternity.
Those problems which Daniel predicted regarding Antiochus Epiphanes were only a foreshadowing of a greater problem yet to come—one for which I think ISIS is laying the foundation through Islamic fundamentalism. Ultimately the anti-Christ himself will arise, gather his armies and invade the Land of Israel in the middle of the plain of Megiddo (in what has come to be known as the battle of Armageddon).
The Pierced One
The Scriptures teach that Israel will recognize her Messiah and cry out for deliverance at that time:
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)
Who is the one who was pierced? Could it be Yeshua (Jesus)? This writer believes so.
The Scriptures not only offer good news for Israel but for the Arab peoples as well. According to the Hebrew Scriptures, God will eventually establish peace between Arabs and Jews, and together they will worship the God of Israel and be blessed:
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23–25)
A time when God will rescue His people? When Jews and Arabs will worship Him together? When ISIS will no longer be a threat? The Scriptures indicate all this. Are you willing to consider all this implies?
- “Christ” comes from the Greek word for “messiah,” which in Hebrew is “Mashiach.”
- Levi Ben Gershom, or Gersonides, wrote in regard to Deuteronomy 34:10 that “no prophet whose office was restricted to Israel alone could ever arise again like Moses; but it is still quite possible that a prophet like Moses might arise among the Gentile nations. In fact the Messiah is such a prophet . . . . Moses, by the miracles which he wrought, drew but a single nation to the worship of God, but the Messiah will draw all nations to the worship of God…” (The Fifty-Third Chapter of Isaiah according to the Jewish Interpreters, vol. 2, ed. S.R. Driver and A.D. Neubauer (reprint; New York: Ktav, 1969, p. 568). Apparently, then, he does not even see a fulfillment of the “prophet like Moses” in any Old Testament prophet but only in the Messiah. See also: https://jewsforjesus.org/issues-v11-n04/a-prophet-like-unto-moses
- David Brickner, Future Hope: A Jewish Christian Look at the End of the World (San Francisco: Purple Pomegranate Productions, 1999), 135. The book is available here: http://store.jewsforjesus.org/future-hope-a-jewish-christian-look-at-the-end-of-the-world.html
This article originally appeared in the Jews for Jesus publication Issues 22:01 and reposted with permission.
David Brickner is the executive director of Jews for Jesus, an international organization that exists to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.
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The beloved city
Yom Yerushalayim—Jerusalem Day—is one of great joy here in Jerusalem. This year is especially significant, as we are celebrating 50 years of Jerusalem united under Israeli control.
The reunification of the beloved city! The festivities! The prayers of thanksgiving echoing throughout the synagogues and reverberating off the ancient stones. The parades. The palpable feeling of joy and commitment. The sense of destiny. The mayor speaks and there are memorial services for those who died in the Six-Day War. For weeks before, the trees are adorned with blue and white lights and there is even a light show, illuminating the walls of the Old City.
Once, when we were new immigrants, we, too, marched proudly with our baby carriages in the parade. Many believers do, as they have heard and responded to the ancient call inviting us to “come home.”
At the end of the Israeli War of Independence, the Holy City of Jerusalem was divided. Jordanian forces controlled sites such as the Western Wall, as well as The Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
During the war, one of the most stirring moments occured, which was captured on camera and tape, when Lt. General Mordechai Gur announced, “The Temple Mount is in our hands … the Temple Mount is in our hands!” Why was this so very significant? It was so because once again Jews would finally be able to pray at the Western Wall. From 1948 until that very day, not only were Jews prohibited from having access to the Western Wall, but Israeli Muslims were also prohibited from praying at the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Israeli Christians were barred from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. According to the Catholic University Law Review (Spring 1996), prior to 1967 the access to all holy sites was prohibited. The law was one of exclusion. After the war, the law was one of inclusion.
I have been fortunate to be able to go to the Western Wall whenever I want to. I have stood with my children during their induction to the army, and have prayed on Yom Kippur. My sons have rejoiced at their Bar Mitzvah ceremonies and we have left our share of notes in the wall as well, asking God for his mercy in one area or another.
However, not only is there religious significance for all, Jerusalem has become a thriving, international city!
Mamilla shopping mall, with high-end hotels surrounding it, is a lovely pedestrian mall in which one sees people from all walks of life. Buses come from Bethlehem and I have often met Palestinian friends there, where the architect’s vision of “east meets west” has been fulfilled. It begins just outside of the Old City and ends in the heart of town.
Jerusalem now also has a Light Rail and this provides ease of movement to many inhabitants. There have been two cinema metroplexes built, and this means revenue, jobs, and fun!
The Shuk (open-air market) has experienced a revival of sorts as well with many trendy restaurants and pubs open well into the night. We often meet our friends there, share a meal, and walk around town.
Throughout the summer there are open-air concerts and every Friday artists display their wares. I could go on and on speaking about our beloved Jerusalem. Oh, I can’t forget the newly renovated train station, which now has a pedestrian mall, restaurants, and shops.
I once heard someone say that “responsibility” is to “respond to our ability.” Though this is not the official Webster Dictionary definition, it is one that I love and, in some ways, it is our responsibility to indeed respond to our abilities. I asked my Hebrew-speaking family if the word Yerushalayim had anything to do with the word, “Yerusha,” or, inheritance. It does not—but, it should! Yerushalayim is our inheritance, and not just ours, but Yeshua-following Gentiles as well. It is here that our Lord was crucified and it is to here, a united Jerusalem, free and accessible, where he will return.
So this week when we are in school and someone quotes the beloved words, “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” I will have to swallow the lump in my throat and thank God for bringing us home to our city, to our inheritance, whole and free once again.
This article originally appeared on First Fruits of Zion, May 22, 2017, and reposted with permission.
K. J. Kruger is a mother of four and has lived in Israel for over 20 years. As teacher, life coach, writer, and speaker, she has been passionately involved in reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, and sees her role as being part of tikkun olam.