Christian-Jewish coalition urging Australian PM to move Embassy to Jerusalem
As reported in The Australian late Tuesday (4/12), a broad coalition of Jewish, Christian and civic groups have joined together in a petition calling on Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the nation’s Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Morrison announced in October that Australia was considering to place its embassy in Jerusalem, and indicated a decision would be made by year’s end. Key coalition members have been meeting with senior government officials over the past year to urge the Embassy move and to offer their public backing for such a decision, and those efforts intensified after Morrison’s recent announcement.
In a joint statement released on Tuesday, just ahead of the last parliamentary session before the holidays, the coalition called upon the Australian government “to give formal recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and to announce the Australian embassy located in Tel Aviv will be relocated to Israel’s government precinct in Jerusalem as soon as feasible”.
The Australian branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem took a lead role in bringing together the broad alignment behind the petition, which also includes the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Australian Jewish Association, Liberal Friends of Israel, Zionist Federation of Australia, Rabbinic Council of Australia and New Zealand, Advance Australia and Christians for Israel Australia.
The coalition statement reads, in part:
“Jerusalem is Israel’s seat of government, and the location of the nation’s parliament, ministerial offices, supreme court, and the official residences of the president and prime minister.”
“When government officials visit Israel, they meet in Jerusalem, when foreign ambassadors present their credentials in Israel, they do so in Jerusalem. Israel’s sovereignty over the western parts of the city is self-evident.”
‘‘Recognition of Jerusalem is therefore a pragmatic acknowledgment of an existing reality that it is Israel’s functioning capital.”
“By acknowledging Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel, the Australian government sends an important signal that it’s unacceptable to deny the Jewish people’s historical, religious and national ties to Jerusalem.”
When the last 13 national embassies left Jerusalem in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was founded that year as a permanent representation of Christian solidarity with Israel and particularly its capital of Jerusalem, in recognition of the ancient Jewish attachment to this city. Today, the ICEJ has branch offices in nearly 100 nations and supporters from more than 170 countries worldwide. The ICEJ has been instrumental so far in the moves of the United States and Guatemalan embassies to Jerusalem, as well as the Czech Republic’s decision to begin the process of moving its embassy to Jerusalem.
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The unexpected significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls
It was November, 1947. The learned professor studied the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls to try and ascertain if they were as important as he dared to suspect. No one had yet identified whether or not they were genuine, or the huge significance held in those ancient and fragile fragments.
“My hands shook as I started to unwrap one of them”, Professor Eliezer Sukenik of Hebrew University wrote in his journal.1 “I read a few sentences. It was written in beautiful biblical Hebrew. The language was like that of the Psalms, but the text was unknown to me. I looked and looked, and I suddenly had the feeling that I was privileged by destiny to gaze upon a Hebrew Scroll which had not been read for more than 2,000 years.”
He took them back to his home in Jerusalem to examine them further. The timing of Professor Sukenik’s eureka moment was almost as significant as the discovery itself. The world was in the throes of deciding whether or not the people of Israel could have a home in the land of their fathers: the UN were voting on the Partition Plan that exact hour, on November 29th 1947.
“While I was examining these precious documents in my study, the late news on the radio announced that the United Nations would be voting on the resolution that night—whether or not Israel would be allowed to become a nation… It was past midnight when the voting was announced. And I was engrossed in a particularly absorbing passage in one of the scrolls when my son rushed in with the shout that the vote on the Jewish State had passed. This great event in Jewish history was thus combined in my home in Jerusalem with another event, no less historic, the one political, and the other cultural.”
God’s remarkable timing to reveal his secrets
Before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, suggestions had been arising that the Jewish people had fabricated the Bible, and that they had no real connection to the land. Just as the people of Israel faced great obstacles entering the Promised Land the first time round, so they faced great opposition in the twentieth century. But now a shepherd boy in the desert of Qumran blew those doubts about the Bible out of the water with his accidental discovery… just in time for the birth of Israel in 1948! God’s timing was perfect, as always.
“On the very day, the very day, that Israel’s rebirth was confirmed, a Jewish professor confirms the existence of ancient Israel. You really have to intellectually dishonest if you are going to claim that God was not behind Israel’s dramatic rebirth,” says Ron Cantor, a Messianic Jewish pastor in Israel.2
This amazing discovery shows us that the Biblical texts were passed down with extraordinary accuracy. The scrolls were 1000 years older than any text we had before the discovery, yet the book of Isaiah you have in your Bible is the same as the one found in that ancient jar in Qumran, with only a few letters changed.
What the Dead Sea Scrolls bring us today
As well as solid evidence that the Biblical text has not changed for two millennia, we now have invaluable insights into Jewish culture and lifestyle at the time of Yeshua and the birth of the church. We can also see how minor changes made to letters in the Biblical text by Medieval rabbis covered up some Messianic prophecy pointing to Yeshua! Today, Jewish people can examine the ancient texts and decide for themselves what – or who – the Biblical prophets were referring to. More than that, the scrolls show us that there was significant Messianic expectation among the Jewish community in the century right before Yeshua was born. They were expecting a Messiah whom heaven and earth would obey – one who would be the very Son of God!
(Above: Excerpts from a fascinating conversation with one of the leading New Testament scholars of our time, and an authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Dr. Craig Evans.)
And the findings continue: More recently, remains of an ancient Torah scroll were found in a burnt synagogue by the Dead Sea, and only this year, another cave in Qumran was found to contain evidence of more scrolls.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls made for a symbolic birthday gift for the state still struggling to survive out of utero. The texts are celebrated icons of Israel’s heritage”, writes Shelley Neese in her book, The Copper Scroll Project. “The Egyptians have their pyramids and the Chinese have their wall… but the Jews have their scrolls, monuments built from words rather than mortar”. These ancient scrolls symbolize the people of Israel and their great contribution to the world: the Oracles of God.
In short, the Dead Sea Scrolls were an absolutely extraordinary discovery, full of invaluable treasures for us today.
This article originally appeared on One For Israel and is reposted with permission.
ONE FOR ISRAEL strives to be the leading organization in sharing the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah with Israeli Jews and Arabs in the Hebrew language. Our staff is comprised of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, with the shared belief that true peace in the Middle East can only come into existence under Yeshua.
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Israeli archaeologists discover Yeshua painted on stone
The discovery of Yeshua’s face in a Byzantine church in the Negev Desert shows a more Jewish Jesus than the long-haired Christ portrayed in later European art.
The 1,500-year-old painting was uncovered at the archaeological site of Shivta, a Byzantine village in southern Israel. The face of Yeshua shows a younger man with cropped curly hair, vastly different from the flowing robes and long hair usually found in Western depictions of the savior.
“This figure is more Jewish, more Middle Eastern, Semitic,” Howard Bass, pastor of Nachalat Yeshua Congregation in Beersheva, told KNI. “He morphed into a less Jewish, less Semitic figure that later church iconography made of him.”
Bass also points out that this portrayal suggests that Jesus wasn’t a Nazarite.
“Everyone speaks of him as having long hair,” he noted. “I think that’s because people think he’s a Nazarite and doesn’t drink any alcohol, no wine. Most Christian church thinking is that Jesus didn’t have long hair and that he didn’t drink wine — and now we can’t say either.”
Nazarites were separated to God with the physical evidence that they couldn’t cut their hair or drink alcohol.
“He was separated to God, but he wasn’t a legal Nazarite,” Bass said.
When Christianity arrived in Europe, artists there depicted Jesus more like them, which made by default him less Semitic looking. Bass contends that the Byzantine depiction found in Shivta is probably more accurate to what Yeshua actually looked like— it was closer to the time of Jesus and it was found in the same land he was raised.
The finding is also important in that it highlights the Negev as a Christian pilgrimage destination.
“Most people think of the Galilee as having a Christian heritage because thats where Jesus did his ministry,” Bass said. “But we have all these Negev findings now that show there were Christians, and perhaps Messianic Jews and Arabic people becoming believers in the Negev until islam came in and drove them.”
The painting was found in one of three churches at the site. Shivta, a Nabataean town, was settled in the early Roman period and reached its peak during Byzantine times (5th–6th centuries AD). Founded around 1 century BC, Shivta forms part of the series of UNESCO Heritage Site Desert Cities. In fact, Bass’s congregation toured the Christian site, about 30 miles south of them, a few years ago.
Shivta is a large and impressive archaeological site. The city was abandoned not destroyed. It contains three Byzantine churches (a main church and two smaller churches) and baptismal font in the shape of a cross.
During the 3rd – 4th Centuries CE the Nabateans converted into Christianity and logically big churches in all of their cities. T
Emma Maayan-Fanar and her research team revealed the finding in the journal Antiquity in August. They write that Jesus’ face is set in a larger depiction of Jesus’ baptism and is “the first pre-iconoclastic baptism-of-Christ scene to be found in the Holy Land.”
“Those who know the iconography of early Christianity can recognize such an image even from almost nothing,” said Maayan-Fanar explaining that early Christian art and iconography of that time utilized well-known patterns for Jesus including short hair.
John the Baptist is also identified in the same painting.
The researchers said the finding is “extremely important.”
“Thus far, it is the only in situ baptism-of-Christ scene to date confidently to the pre-iconoclastic Holy Land. Therefore, it can illuminate Byzantine Shivta’s Christian community and Early Christian art across the region.”
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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Builder of Noah’s Ark replica hopes to sail it to Israel
JERUSALEM, Israel – Dutch Christian businessman Johan Huibers plans to sail his life-size replica of Noah’s Ark to Israel, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported last week.
Huibers completed the four-year project – built to the exact specifications in Genesis 6 – in 2012, raising the $5 million needed for its construction. He had hoped to sail it to Israel not long after its completion, but Israel was dealing with massive wildfires at the time so the plan was postponed.
CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell traveled to Holland several years ago to interview Huibers.
Though the ark quickly became a popular tourist attraction in southern Holland along the Maas River, Huibers says it belongs in Israel.
“My preferred destination for the ark is Israel,” he told JTA. “I love the land, I love the country, I love the people.”
Huibers said he believes the Bible verbatim, that is, word for word.
“It may sound scary, but I believe everything written in this book, cover to cover,” he told JTA, pointing to a Dutch translation of the Hebrew Bible. “This [the ark] is a copy of God’s ship. It only makes sense to take it to God’s land.”
According to the report, Huibers needs to raise $1.3 million to hire tugboats for the voyage because the ark has no motor of its own. Earlier, he’d considered sailing it to Brazil, but those plans didn’t materialize.
The 60-year-old businessman, who made his fortune building storage units, told JTA he got the idea in 1993 after reading a story about Noah to his children.
Huibers and a crew of seven amateur carpenters built the 390-foot-long, 75-foot-high structure in just four years.
“We had a butcher, a hairdresser and a teacher working here,” he said, definitely not professional boat makers.
Huibers hopes his replica of Noah’s Ark will help people understand that God is real, “to show people that God exists.” He says we’re living in the end times though many people aren’t aware of it.
Born five years after the North Sea flood in 1959, which killed some 2,000 people, Huibers believes there will be more flooding in the future, but that’s not why he built it.
“Maybe it will, who knows, but my survival is not its purpose,” he said. Rather it’s meant to educate people and strengthen their belief in God.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, November 26, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.
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Airbnb caves to BDS, removes West Bank settlement listings
Some 200 hosts are affected. Israel, in response, said it would try to restrict Airbnb in the country and also encouraged affected hosts to file lawsuits under Israel’s anti-boycott law.
Airbnb noted the policy change on its website.
“As a global platform operating in 191 countries and regions and more than 81,000 cities, we must consider the impact we have and act responsibly,” Airbnb said. The company cited “conflicting views” about doing business with companies “in the occupied territories.”
Israeli’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin demanded that the management of the Airbnb accommodations reverse its decision.
“This is a disgraceful and miserable decision and a disgraceful surrender by the company,” he said.
Former Ambassador to the United States and present Israeli cabinet member, MK Michael Oren tweeted: “Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria – not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea. Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism,”adding that, “No one should use their services.”
Homeland Security Minister Gilad Erdan went as far as to urge Judea and Samaria home owners to sue the American company for discrimination.
“Airbnb executives will have to explain why they chose to take a racist stance against part of Israel’s citizens,” said Erdan, adding that he plans to urge American lawmakers to make sure Airbnb’s new policy is not breaking American state laws against boycotts.
It appears however that only Jewish properties are banned: Airbnb continues to list properties in other occupied and disputed territories, according to International Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich, including Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara and Turkish-occupied Cyprus among others.
Post on Facebook and Twitter with #BoycottAIRBNB, saying you will no longer use AIRBNB until they reverse this policy. Now others, like Booking.com, are being pressured by loud, even if small, leftwing groups to discriminate against Israel.
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.