[Israel Politics 101] Who is Yair Lapid and his party called Yesh Atid
The charisma and charm of Yair Lapid is well-known to Israeli audiences. He is the son of the late Holocaust survivor and Knesset Member Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, who was best remembered for being a prolific journalist, sharp-tongued political pundit and critic. It wasn’t until his later years that he gained even more notoriety for leading the centrist “Shinui” party.
Yet the young and strikingly handsome Yair took a decidedly different direction, forging his own way as an actor, talk-show moderator, author of 8 books, writer of a weekly column for decades, successful entertainer and, finally, evening news anchor known to every Israeli household.
It was then, surprising to many, that in 2012 he decided to leave a budding career to enter the fiercely competitive world of Israeli politics, establishing his own party called “Yesh Atid” (“There is a Future”). Despite his cultivating an immense grass-roots network, he, nonetheless, failed to topple the Netanyahu government in his first run but received an impressive 19 Knesset seats, higher than any other candidate at the time. Going against the advice of his personal advisors, he, from 2013-14, agreed to take on the role of Finance Ministry, the second most powerful ministry portfolio. Most opinions seem to indicate that he did not do anything particularly outstanding to change the country’s economy and the role, if anything, took him out of the spotlight which ultimately led to a hit in his rapidly rising popularity. This was most felt in the following election cycle when Yesh Atid only managed to garner 11 seats – a great disappointment to Lapid’s followers who honestly believed that even though he wasn’t formally running for prime minister that, with enough party votes, perhaps, he could emerge as the front runner.
Today, Lapid is still convinced that he is the man to unseat Netanyahu, and part of the reason is his belief that he has clearly understood the many frustrations of the country’s 70% secular Israelis who, for a long time, have been seeking a more centrist leader, one willing to break with the religious orthodox establishment. For that majority sector of the Israeli population, they long for a leader who will bring about a more pluralistic and equitable government, taking into account their rights and desires which they feel have been trampled on by the small but powerful minority of ultra-religious who have managed to hold onto the reins for too many years.
Lapid’s strong centrist message includes full equality of women in high-profile jobs, all Israelis serving in the military, including the ultra-Orthodox sector and Arab sector, the implementation of two states for two peoples, while maintaining the large Israeli settlement blocks and ensuring the safety of Israel, egalitarian prayer between men and women and all streams of Judaism at the Western Wall, the institution of civil marriage in Israel, including same-sex couples, partial operation of public transportation on Shabbat (Saturday), the creation of greater religious pluralism and allowing non-Orthodox movements to perform religious conversions and weddings, something which is still not permitted.
Lapid’s goal is to build a governmental coalition which would not include any religious parties, thereby taking away all the power that they have wielded for decades. Of course, this could dramatically change the lives of many Israelis who are not permitted to be married by anyone other than an orthodox rabbi (meaning even conservative or reformed rabbis are unacceptable). It could also mean enlarging the definition of who is a Jew which could result in Jewish citizenship rights being offered to every stripe of Jew – even those who only have a Jewish father (by Jewish law, only individuals who have a Jewish mother are considered fully Jewish) or non-religious Jews who choose to be unaffiliated (by today’s standards, you must present a letter from your rabbi stating you are a bonafide Jew otherwise you may not receive citizenship for fear that you have converted to another faith despite your obvious Jewish ethnicity).
Yet despite all of the hope and change Lapid aspires to bring, it is not certain, according to most political pundits, that he can muster the support needed to replace Bibi as Israel’s man at the helm. Political newcomer, the formidable ex-IDF general Benny Gantz, heading up “Hosen L’Yisrael” (Israel Resilience Party) could be seen as a threat to Lapid’s aspirations, but it is believed that unless the two would merge their forces, neither, alone, would be able to overtake the ruling Likud party. Even together, it’s not certain that they would prevail.
Although there is talk of other smaller centrists parties joining forces to further boost the lacking numbers, some have said that Lapid is resistant to an alliance with Gantz whose military record and accomplishments, having served in ten wars/operations, greatly diminishes Lapid’s own military service which was, by comparison, lackluster since he only served as a field reporter with an office job during the Lebanon War and never was involved in combat. Yet others have speculated that there is the fear of being overshadowed by Gantz in such a partnership, and Lapid would never agree to take on the number two slot.
But with so many smaller centrist parties splintering the chances for a leader to emerge from one of them, Likud is still being predicted as the likely victor, despite gnawing and real threats of a pending criminal indictment against Netanyahu, almost certainly being handed down before the scheduled April 9th elections.
Perhaps Lapid’s biggest advantage is the already seven years of work he’s put into his Yesh Atid party, along with his continued promise to bring about a more equitable landscape for Israel’s almost nine million citizens. Additionally, Lapid enjoys a fair bit of loyalty among his most fervent supporters who believe he is the only real choice for leading the country into a more democratic future. Either way, he will, most likely, have to consider doing whatever it takes in order to entice other candidates and parties to help him unseat King Bibi.
Chava Stein, the granddaughter of Jewish European immigrants to the U.S., made Aliyah to Israel in 1993. Married to an Israeli, they live in the center of the country.
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A conversation with I AM
It’s only a conversation. But the immortal dialogue between God and Moses in Exodus 3 alters history and reveals an over-looked facet of the Almighty. From a blazing fire comes a voice. That voice comes from an intelligent Being. That Being is interacting with a human, conversationally!
When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush,“Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Then He said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I amthe God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (Exodus 3:4-6).
God is stepping out of Eternity into Time, as an Actor/Participant. This is reflected in the action words ascribed to God in the original text (my emphasis): Saw, called, said, am! As if to underscore his “being,” in verse 6 God uses an archaic Hebrew word אנכי. This form of “I” is declarative. It emphasizes personhood, not just existence.”
Their conversation is not just about God getting the attention of an 80 year old shepherd who tried to free his people from slavery and is now receiving that same assignment from the only One who can truly free them. This conversation is a new level of God revealing Himself. “I see. I hear. I am involved. I am not a vague, amorphous deity in the distant heavens, far removed from human life.”
God says: “I’ve seen the oppression of my people…and have heard their cry, because of their taskmasters, and I know their sorrows. So I’ve come down todeliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:7-8).
All of these are words of activity. Someone must “do” them. What I love here is not only that God is involved, but that He IS (although it’s awkward to ascribe the term to the Eternal Author of the universe)… He is a Person.
After God informs Moses that He’s going to send him to free the Israelites from their miserable slavery, the shell-shocked fellow asks a desperate question.
Moses: And who am I that I should do this?
God: I’ll be totally with you.
Moses: Ooof. Lord, you didn’t even answer the question. Or did you?
Moses: So, when I come to my people to announce this exodus, whom shall I say sent me?”
I love this exchange. First Moses asks, “Who am I?” Then he asks God, “Who are You?”
God: (and here’s the punchline) I AM WHO I AM. Or…I will be what I will be (which comes closer to the Hebrew: אהיה אשר אהיה (Exodus 3:14).
In other words, you are now speaking with ME. I have a name and this is my name forever – past, present and future. The Lord’s assurance of His personal presence empowers Moses and grants a solid inner security in the midst of a daunting task. God chooses to reveal Himself in a new, intensely personal dimension, not known to the Patriarchs (see Exodus 6:3).
Why? Because His ongoing conversational relationship with Moses will be the key to Israel’s supernatural victory over Egyptian idolatry and their inheritance of the promises. Should it be any different for us?
This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, February 5, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Eitan is the Founder and Executive Director of Tents of Mercy Network of Messianic Congregations is Northern Israel. He's a published author, having written "What About Us?", which answers the question about Gentile participation in the restoration of Israel.
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Blood of the covenant and spiritual warfare (Part 2)
Read Part 1 HERE!
The second advantage of the blood is that it marks us as eligible to live according to the rules of the covenant and receive the blessings of the covenant. We are brought out of the afflictions, poverty and curses of “Egypt”; and brought into the “promised land” of milk and honey. (The name Egypt מצריים means the “straits of tribulation”).
The blood marks you as a vessel to receive blessings. It is a sign that you belong to a privileged group, a royal family (1 Peter 2:9). We are all invited by grace by the blood of Yeshua to become members of His blessing club.
The third advantage of the blood is that It influences us on the inside. The blood of Yeshua cleanses our souls (I John 1:7) and speaks to our conscience (Hebrews 12:24 – “to Yeshua, mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaks better than the blood of Abel”).
There is an ongoing, internal, spiritual influence by the testimony of the blood of Yeshua. We are led by its inner guidance and moral inspiration.
Hebrews 9:14 – How much more will the blood of Messiah, who sacrificed himself without spot to God through the eternal Spirit, purify your conscience from works of death in order to serve the living God?
If we sin, the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit to change (Romans 2:15, 8:16, 9:1). If we repent and believe, the Holy Spirit guarantees us that we are no longer under condemnation. Romans 8:1 – There is now no condemnation to those in Messiah Yeshua, who walk not according to the flesh but by the spirit.”
If we believe in the blood we are saved. We cross over into the covenant of grace. This blood covenant provides us with these three advantages during this lifetime:
- Marked territory – the demons cannot attack us
- Blessings restored – we receive all health, wisdom and provision
- Inner leading – we are shown how to walk in grace and purity
Through these three advantages, the blood of Yeshua gives us victory over the enemy in spiritual warfare.
Revelation 12:10-11 – “For the accuser of our brethren, who brings charges against them before our God, day and night, was cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, that they loved not their own souls even unto death.”
Notice that the emphasis of the attacks of Satan has to do with accusation. The blood is the guarantee to us that we are forgiven, and thus operates as a shield against demonic attack. The spiritual voice of the blood saying we are not condemned is stronger than the demonic voice of condemnation.
By making use of the spiritual power of the blood of Yeshua we can have victory over Satan. However, the blood must be put into effect (and backed up by our own life-and-death commitment). It must be placed on the “doorposts” of our bodies, minds, and souls.
When we understand these advantages of the covenant blood, we can believe and activate its power in our lives. There is power in the blood of Yeshua, and through it we can overcome every attack of evil.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, February 6, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.
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Dare to be
We are so good at putting ourselves and others in boxes. We don’t allow for people to be. Just be. We have an incessant need to figure out which box we fit best in and can’t deal with it when we meet people we can’t put in a box.
I’ve spent a lot of my life being told I was ‘too…..’ or ‘not enough…..’. I am yet to find the standards and criteria against which these judgements were being made, but what I know is that this resulted in my doubting the way I was made, and searching for a box that I fitted in ‘better’ than my own unique brand. I searched for a place where I could fit and belong so that less attention would be placed on my so-called failures. I looked to try and be another shade of grey, so that I wouldn’t be so acutely aware of all the ways I was ‘too…..’ or ‘not enough…..’.
I have met countless people that this has happened to. They’ve been told from a young age that something about how they are isn’t quite right, and this becomes the part of themselves that they fear the most, rather than celebrating their most unique feature.
It is so sad to see people who are incredibly gifted, ashamed or hiding their true selves in a box which they’ve decided the world will better accept them in. We’re so narrow minded in our definitions of who people are allowed to be. We allow our narrow version of what God is allowed to create to dictate what people are allowed to be. Rather than celebrating the creativity of God in making all humans unique, we punish people for their differences, and force them to be ashamed of the ways they’re different, so that they seek refuge in communities and boxes which they may have otherwise never run to.
This was my journey for a part of my life. I didn’t seem to ‘fit’ with the culture into which I’d been born, and my gifts also seemed to never quite fit into the mould I was being graded against, so I ran away. Actually I gave up on some of those gifts ever being used.
I wasn’t a good writer, because my opinions weren’t backed up by enough scholars.
I wasn’t a good singer because I couldn’t sing like an opera singer, or a diva.
I wasn’t a good communicator because I was too direct and might offend someone.
I wasn’t a good artist because I didn’t have enough finesse.
I wasn’t good at loving others because I might get hurt.
to name a few…..
There came a point where I realised what had been going on, and I stopped dead in my tracks and resolved to be who I am. No more box fitting. No more denying who I am, what I think, or what my gifts are. No more being another shade of grey. It’s time to be true to me, true to who God made me to be, because if I don’t, this version of God’s creation will never be seen again on the planet.
What happened in that moment was that I realised that all those ways I’d been boxed in and squashed were the very ways that God wanted me to best function. That list above has moved from being a list of things I was doing all wrong and differently to why those who were judging me deemed best, to being a description of who I am and what I do best.
No, I don’t reference a ton on scholars in my writing, because I’ve come to realise that those scholars were also writing their own opinions, and we have for some reason deemed their opinions to be more important than anyone else. (Not that I disagree with learning – I am a big reader and I love to learn, but I don’t think that we should elevate people above people.)
No, I’m not an opera singer and I clearly wasn’t destined for a life of singing Mozart operas on the stage. But I can sing, my voice has it’s own purpose, audience and design.
No, I am not a communicator who loves to massage people where they’re at, and make sure they’re super comfortable and happy. I am someone who is passionately committed to helping people be fully engaged and released into their destinies in freedom, release and authority. I care more about that, than making sure I haven’t offended you.
No, I am not an art school graduate, I paint my songs and writings as I see and feel them, and what comes out is a spontaneous expression of a moment with God. I don’t believe these moments can be crafted. Yes, I practice and work at some of my skills, but I’m also ok with my lack of training.
Yes. I love deeply, and trust easily. I learned at a very young age that this will get me hurt, but it’s who I am, and to turn it off means I turn my heart to stone. I did that once, and the process of having heart surgery to replace the rock with flesh was a painful and long one. I don’t wish to repeat it. So I will continue to love others deeply, and trust others easily. And I’ll continue to get hurt every now and again. But those hurts become scars, which are just a map of my life, directing others, hopefully, to the one who gave me the heart in the first place.
Maybe you’ve not been allowing yourself to be you. Maybe you’ve been another shade of grey in order for others to not notice all the ways you think you don’t ‘fit in’. Maybe you’ve shut your gifts down so that you do’t have to deal with the ‘too…….’ and ‘not enough……’ comments. Maybe you have forced yourself into a box that isn’t really you, but you’ve found acceptance and community there. Maybe you’re just a shadow of the person you know you are really.
Maybe it’s time to dare to be. Be who you are. Be who you’ve been made to be. Allow those gifts to be cultivated and crafted by the Master Craftsman who put them there in the first place. Maybe it’s time to replace that heart of stone with one of flesh and allow yourself to be the unique, one of a kind creation, that will only walk the planet in your shoes.
This article originally appeared on Simcha Natan’s blog, January 24, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Simcha emigrated to Israel from the UK, with her husband and three children. Having studied theology and music and worship in London, and trained as a worship leader and song writer, she went on to teach music and be involved in worship teams in several congregations in the UK, and now in Israel as part of Sarah Liberman's team. Simcha is the author of the “Dare to Ask” project, comprising of the book 'Dare to Ask', and 3 CD's, Dreaming', 'Awakened' and 'Soar (To come) which each have a counterpart 30 day devotional study guide to accompany them. She is passionate about enabling people to engage with God in the way which they were made to, and is committed to multi sensory expressions. Simcha is also an artist, and paints her songs and messages to accompany the music and books. She is also the coordinator Ascend Carmel Programs.
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Something to look forward to
PARASHAT TERUMAH (DONATION)
SHEMOT (EXODUS) 25:1–27:19
In this week’s portion we read:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.”
God is the Creator of the world; everything belongs to Him and He can do with it as He desires. Yet, from the beginning we find that God created us for the specific purpose of relationship with Him. While He instructed Moses to tell Israel to take a donation for Him, it was not the riches that He desired, but the heart of each person who gave. He said that each person should give as His heart leads him.
God also instructed Israel to gather a “contribution” not just as a means to test the hearts of the people, but also to build a sanctuary:
And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.
The crucial part of this verse is that God desired to “dwell among” His people! As I wrote, God created us so that we could have relationship with Him; from the beginning, He desired to dwell among us. Yeshua Himself is the very embodiment of this principle. He is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. He came to earth so that we could return to relationship with our Creator:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
But this is not just something of the past! The promise of uninhibited fellowship with God is a promise for the future, as the Prophet Zechariah prophesied!
“Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD. “And many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. ”
Zechariah 2:10-11 (2:14-15 in the Hebrew Scriptures)
Zechariah prophesied that a day is coming when the Lord Himself will dwell in our midst! I personally love how clear it is in this scripture that God (the LORD of hosts) is sending Messiah, and that we (humankind, God’s creation) will know this.
My dear brothers and sisters, we have something great to look forward to! A day is coming where He will make everything new; a day is coming when the fulfillment of that written in Exodus will be accomplished, when the Tabernacle of God will dwell among us for eternity:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.