Believers lose another giant in the faith: Israel intercessor Eliyahu Ben-Haim
Eliyahu and his wife, Hannah
The Body of Messiah in Israel suffered another devastating blow after Eliyahu Ben-Haim died on Saturday night.
Chairman of Intercessors for Israel, Ben-Haim is the second Messianic leader to die in the last week. Eddie Santoro, a pastor and mentor, passed away on June 15 after a long battle with cancer.
Ben-Haim was on a speaking tour in Europe when he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria that attacked his leg. He was rushed to a Scottish hospital where doctors amputated his leg in hopes that it was enough to save him. He remained in ICU for several days before he died on June 22.
Originally from the United States, Ben-Haim made aliyah and has long been considered a leading teacher on Israel relating to both Scripture and current events. His international ministry focused on teaching believers how to pray for the nation.
Ben-Haim’s passion to inform was evident in his newsletters and his teachings. His newsletter, the Sound of the Shofar, recast the news events in Israel and how they related to Scripture. Always included were prayer points to help readers pray for the situation accompanied by several Scriptures that supported each prayer point.
One recurring theme in recent years that Eliyahu noted was Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which he called “an existential threat to Israel.”
“We live in critical times and God is calling us to be a radical people who understand the prophetic imperative and also the practical outworking of His Word,” he wrote.
Ben-Haim unapologetically defended Israel. He also took tours of intercessors and prayer teams to strategic sites in the land to pray and prepare the way for the Lord’s return.
“While Israel is far from being a perfect nation (there is no perfect nation) the vicious hatred of Israel is not at its heart, anti-Semitic but anti-God,” he wrote.
Ben-Haim was chairman and a board member of IFI, an Israel-based ministry that “seeks to raise up a prayer army in and for Israel” through teaching about prayer for individuals and congregations.
Intercessors for Israel announced Ben-Haim’s “graduation” to heaven on Sunday.
“Late yesterday, our brother and friend Eliyahu Ben Haim finished his race and was taken to his heavenly home by God his Father. While we are relieved that Eliyahu’s pain and suffering have ended, we grieve with his family and friends who remain behind.”
Chuck Cohen, who founded IFI with Ben-Haim, said it had been a privilege to work with Eliyahu.
“He will be missed by many, yet his leadership and his tenacity to stand with God’s will for this nation will continue as we stand in the gap for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done here in Israel – and globally – for the sanctification of His Holy Name,” Cohen said.
The organization asked for prayer for Eliyahu’s family including his wife Hannah, his children and grandchildren, “to sense the supernatural comfort from God as they go through the grieving process (2 Cor. 1:3-4).”
Eliyahu urged believers to be encouraged that in dark times, God was still in control and that everything happening was part of His plan and His return.
“How do we stand, withstand and keep praying (Ephesians 6:10-18) in this world wide descent into darkness?” Eliyahu posed the question in one of his newsletters. “We need to keep in mind that this darkness has not only not taken God by surprise but that He has told us about it in advance. It is not the end, but a sign of the Lord’s imminent return.”
Jerusalem Encounter Conference connects global believers with Body of Messiah in Israel
The annual Jerusalem Encounter conference, which brings believers from around the world to encounter the land and people of Israel, took place this week at the Pavilion under threat of demonstrations by an Orthodox Jewish extremist group.
The conference, sponsored by the Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries (FIRM), was preceded by a tour of Israel for 300 leaders and young adults from abroad.
“We love seeing Christians, who have never been connected to Israel, fall in love with this land and this people and develop life-long relationships with believers in the land,” Michael Mistretta, chief operating officer of FIRM, told KNI.
The purpose of the tour and conference is to make connections between believers from abroad and local believers.
“Our hope is for specifically leaders and young adults to come experience, to walk where Jesus walked and also to engage with local pastors, local ministry leaders and maybe even find some trusted ministry leaders in Israel they may want to get involved with over the long term, partner with them going forward, and just have those divine connections,” Mistretta said.
This year, FIRM set up more than 200 individual meetings between the visitors from overseas and local leaders, paired according to mutual interests.
During the tour, the 300 participants took to the streets of Tiberias to clean the city and remove trash. They were greeted by the mayor and the story aired on a few local news stations.
FIRM offered three tour tracks including one for church groups, another for pastors and leaders and a third “adventure tour” for young adults which included hiking and rappelling.
The tour culminated in the two-day conference with 700 people in attendance, including 200 locals. The theme, Every Tribe, was well represented by the diverse attendance from overseas including participants from India, Togo, South Africa, Venezuela, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and more.
The conference was held in the Clal Buiding which has been the site of many protests. Just two weeks ago, dozens of Orthodox Jews from an organization called Lehava, protested outside a Messianic concert. The same organization staged a small protest at the 2017 Encounter conference and filed a permit to protest again on Thursday.
“Two years ago we kept them at bay with worship and praise and that’s how we feel like we should respond,” Mistretta said. “We believe worship conquers all. This is a spiritual battle. We aren’t just fighting flesh and blood.”
FIRM hired extra security in the event of another protest.
Worship sessions featured Israeli and international artists such as Aaron Shust, Birgitta Lundvall, Joshua Aaron and the Tel Aviv-based band MIQEDEM. Speakers included Wayne Hilsden, founder of FIRM, Chad Veach and Robert Madu. Veach is the pastor of Zoe Church in Los Angeles, a Hillsongs branch. Madu is an evangelist and serves on the teaching team at Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, Texas, his childhood church.
Follow the conference or catch replays @FIRM on Instagram or at Jerusalem Encounter Live.
Update on Eliyahu Ben-Haim after leg amputation
Eliyahu and his wife, Hannah
On June 17, 2019, KNI posted a prayer alert for Eliyahu Ben-Haim, one of the leaders of Intercessors for Israel, who was in critical condition at a hospital in Scotland after having his leg amputated in an emergency surgery due to a flesh-eating bacteria that he picked up while traveling there.
Below is an update from the family:
I, Rachel on behalf of my mother, want to thank everyone for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Here is the update, feel free to share.
Eliyahu is still in ICU. He’s awake but in excruciating pain that the doctors are trying to manage.
Answers to prayer for which we can thank God: Eliyahu is awake, his heart is beating on its own and he is breathing only with oxygen.
Forecast: We are looking at several more weeks at least for Eliyahu in the hospital and months of rehabilitation.
For freedom from the agonizing pain;
for Eliyahu’s kidneys to function normally;
that he stays clean from infection;
for strength, courage and hope for Eliyahu, Hanna and the rest of the family.
Israeli Pastor laid to rest: A tribute to Eddie Santoro
If the number of people who attend your funeral is any indication of the kind of life you lived, then Eddie Santoro, Senior Pastor of Jerusalem’s Ahavat Yeshua for many years, lived an amazing, selfless life. Tikkun President Asher Intrater remarked, “Despite the sadness, it is a great joy to see this man of God finish his race well, with faith, grace and love.”
Eddie and his wife Jackie immigrated to Israel in the late nineties, when Eddie was already in his late forties. It is hard enough to learn a second language as a teen or young adult, but very few undertake such an effort in their fifties. Eddie loved Israel and loved Hebrew. Even though he was stronger in English, he preferred Hebrew.
I met Eddie and Jackie when I was in Bible school in 1985. I accompanied Dr. Michael Brown on a ministry trip to upstate New York. During that particular trip, Dr. Brown prophesied over Eddie that he was going to plant a Messianic congregation. He did so successfully and, later, joined that congregation to Tikkun America. “Eddie’s love, passion for Yeshua and zeal for the work soon produced a vibrant congregation,” writes Tikkun America leader Dan Juster.
In the early to mid-nineties when revival hit Toronto and Pensacola, Eddie was all in! He loved the presence of the Holy Spirit and had a passion for a move of God that would sweep people into the Kingdom. Later on, he felt that to fully fulfill his calling as a Jewish believer in Yeshua, he needed to move to Israel.
Like many of us, upon his arrival in Israel, he put vocational ministry aside to give the whole of his effort to learning Hebrew. When my family arrived in 2003, Eddie and Jackie were overseeing the young adult ministry at Tiferet Yeshua. However, it was more than just a ministry. It was a mini-revival. Every week, on Wednesday nights, the fellowship hall was filled with young Israelis, hungry for God.
Eddie and Jackie were famous for giving their time in counseling. They would fill up their schedule, meeting with people—and not just from their congregation. Even after moving to Jerusalem, they continued to regularly have people come from the Tel Aviv area, just to meet with them.
If Eddie and Jackie invited you over, it meant a good meal. Eddie was a gourmet Italian cook. His lasagna was the best I’ve ever had! My wife Elana would always ask him to cook two trays when we came over, so she could take one home. And Eddie cooked from his heart. It was all part of his pastoral orientation. When I became a pastor, the example used to give me an idea of what a pastor does was Eddie and Jackie Santoro. They were everyone’s example.
In 2006, Eddie was sent out from Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv and, with the help of Asher Intrater, planted Ahavat Yeshua. Eddie was soon the senior pastor and he was beloved by many. It was no coincidence that he was laid to rest on Father’s Day, as he was a father to many.
“Eddie is one of the most guileless and one of the most loving leaders I have ever known,” Juster continues. “For ten years he lived this love as the senior pastor of Ahavat Yeshua, and after this he continued to serve as an elder, to love, to counsel, to practice amazing hospitality and more.”
Four years ago, Eddie noticed that he could not remember things. He was disoriented. After a doctor’s appointment came the devastating news: brain cancer. The doctors gave him less than a 10% chance of survival after surgery. Eddie and Jackie began to pray. He studied the word of God. He took hold of God like never before and, before long, he was cancer free. The doctors were amazed and so was every Israeli with whom Eddie shared this testimony—which was nearly every Israeli whom he encountered! It was a miracle. Jonathan Moore (a current pastor at Ahavat Yeshua) shared at the funeral, “Eddie became a super evangelist, boldly speaking to anyone… and everyone! Doctors, patients, random people at restaurants, everyone Eddie saw…he preached the love of Yeshua and the same power that raised Yeshua from the dead.”
But, sadly, the cancer returned. And again, Eddie stood against it. But it was this third recurrence of the disease that proved to be fatal. Eddie slipped in and out of consciousness several times over the past week. One of his closest friends, Barry Mevarech, said when Eddie came back to consciousness, he blurted out three words boldly, “Amen! Amen! Amen!” He did this several times.
It was as if Eddie was visiting his new home and returning to say, “It’s a good place; a better place; I approve!”
This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, June 17, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.
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Prayer alert: Head of IFI in serious condition after leg amputation
Eliyahu and his wife, Hannah
A call has gone out to pray for Eliyahu Ben-Haim who is in critical condition at a hospital in Scotland after having his leg amputated in emergency surgery due to a flesh-eating bacteria that he picked up while traveling last week.
Ben-Haim, one of the leaders of Intercessors for Israel, was in Scotland for his organization’s conference. IFI, an Israel-based ministry, “seeks to raise up a prayer army in and for Israel” through teaching about prayer for individuals and congregations.
According to Ben-Haim’s wife, Hannah, after the conference Eliyahu went to a hospital in Scotland after noticing that some pain he had been experienced had creeped up his leg. Doctors discovered he had “necrotizing fasciitis” commonly known as a “flesh-eating disease.” Removing limbs is almost always necessary to save a person’s life.
Eliyahu remains in intensive care on life support with 24/7 care in order to prevent contamination. He remains sedated and on life support in critical condition.
Hannah Ben-Haim sent out praise reports and prayer requests:
1) For the excellent medical facility and care he is receiving;
2) That Rachel (Eliyahu and Hannah’s daughter) can be there with her mom;
3) That the two of them have very good accommodations with friends who live close to the hospital.
Urgent prayer needs:
1) That Eliyahu’s blood pressure stabilizes so he can be removed from life support;
2) That his organs will overcome the trauma and function normally;
3) That the new sedation medication would allow Eliyahu to wake up calmly.
Thank you for your prayers!”
Eliyahu made aliyah to Israel from the United States and is a member of member of Kehilat El Ro’i in Jerusalem. He is one of the Body of Messiah’s leading teachers and publishes a newsletter about what is really happening in Israel and how to pray.