LISTEN: Interview with an Arab Christian pastor in Israel, Joseph Hadad
Today finds us in Haifa in northern Israel and my guest is Joseph Hadad – the pastor of River of God, a Lebanese church in Nahariya, a small town in Israel on the border with Lebanon.
Interview with Joseph Hadad (Part 2)
Today we return to Haifa to hear from Joseph Hadad, the pastor of a church in Nahariya in northern Israel where the congregation are all Lebanese – they came to Israel as refugees 16 years ago as Joseph will now explain.
Julia Fisher is the director of The Olive Tree Reconciliation Fund, which aims to build bridges of understanding and support, in a spirit of reconciliation, between believers (both Jewish and Arab) in the Holy Land (Israel and the Palestinian Areas) and Christians worldwide.
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Holocaust survivors celebrate a “Day of Victory” in Israel
In this year of 2017, the month of May is full of significant celebrations for the nation of Israel and especially for survivors of the Holocaust. May 1, Israel commemorated their fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. May 2, Israel celebrated 69 years of Independence as a declared state. May 24, Israel celebrated 50 years of the Reunification of Jerusalem. And an additional day of celebration, lesser known to the west, is the “Day of Victory” which took place on May 9. As many of those who survived the Holocaust have immigrated to Israel from Europe and the former Soviet Union, May 9 ranks high on the charts of importance when it comes to celebrating victories over oppressors.
This year, several of the congregations whom CBN Israel has partnered with in serving Holocaust Survivors throughout Israel, hosted local events in honor of this “Day of Victory.” As in every celebration, an event would not be complete without singing, dancing and food!
In Holon, our partners were presented with a certificate of appreciation, honoring their dedication and service to the local community of Holocaust Survivors. In the Krayot, a group of women joined the celebration hosted by our partners and gave the gift of dance. It was a sort of re-enactment of war and victory. Many of the survivors cried and expressed their gratitude to our partners for all their love and care.
For the past four years, our believing partners have committed to serving Survivors in many ways including home visits, hosting special events, providing tours to various parts of the country, and delivering food vouchers or packages each month. Both through words and works, the message of God’s love and faithfulness has been clearly conveyed and received.
The way that CBN Israel has contributed to expressing God’s love to Holocaust Survivors is through giving over 1,300 food vouchers to be distributed through the hands of our partners. In addition, CBN Israel responds and funds special needs a Survivor may have such as a need for a walker, an oven or something of the like.
Meeting these needs and contributing to God’s work of love being shown to hundreds of survivors could not be possible without the help of those who give. Would you consider giving a gift today? We and all those we serve are ever so grateful.
This article originally appeared on CBN Israel, May 29, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Since its establishment in March 2012 CBN Israel has helped thousands of people through its various operations. As the foundation of Project Light Shine, CBN Israel gives help to the community through three avenues; Humanitarian aid, education and economic development. CBN Israel serves with a spirit of humility and love. Their mission is to prepare the Land and the people of Israel for the coming of Messiah Yeshua and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The vision of their work is to see the hungry fed, the needs of the needy met, businesses established and to improve the spiritual, physical and financial situation of the local body.
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Israeli travelers warmly welcomed by Chiburim International Hosting Network
Since 1999 young Israeli travelers, often immediately following army service, have enjoyed a warm welcome and generous hospitality in Chiburim homes.
Chiburim (“connections” in Hebrew), is the name of an international hosting network for Israeli travelers that currently operates in 23 countries, linking Christian hosts who love Israel with Israeli travelers.
The founder of Chiburim himself travelled with Israeli friends along the same routes young Israelis do today. Yaron explained in an interview with KNI that his experiences as a backpacker helped him to understand the need for hospitality. According to a statement on his website, Yaron hopes, “with all my heart that Chiburim will encourage people around the world to express their support for Israel and give a lot of encouragement to Israeli travelers.”
Yaron initially wrote about his travel experiences and the concept of hosting Israelis in Christian homes. After sharing with leaders in his congregation, he was encouraged to establish such a network for the benefit of Israelis, who sometimes feel vulnerable and disoriented while traveling the world after an intense three years in the army.
“To date, some 30,000 Israeli travelers have stayed multiple days, sometimes weeks, with multiple hosts,“ Yaron explained. “They particularly appreciate that someone friendly and somewhere safe is waiting for them and the uniqueness of Chiburim is that they always provide the host’s contact details for free.”
Indeed, travelers have expressed that sentiment.
“It makes me feel so relaxed to get to Australia and know that someone will be there for me,” said Galit.
“We are great supporters of Chiburim and stay with as many families as possible,” said Nadav, another traveller. “We truly appreciate the approach of Chiburim in not charging money from Israeli travelers to contact hosts.”
Chiburim asks hosts to provide a warm welcome and accommodation, although they may choose to ask for a small donation to help with costs. Hosts with existing commercial accommodation are asked to give a discount to Israeli travelers. The guests value the fact that neither the Chiburim network nor the hosts are seeking to make profit from them.
For many the atmosphere of warmth and hospitality can be truly touching since so many around the world would not welcome Israelis.
“At a certain point I noticed that while you were playing the guitar and singing, all five of us were completely happy,” Arik told his hosts. “Maybe it’s thanks to the heavenly environment around, maybe it’s thanks to you, maybe all of us together and for sure thanks to God!”
Similarly, hosts also benefit from the rich cultural experience.
“Hosting is a great way to learn about Israel and its people,” one host reported. “It has given me a better understanding of the Old Testament and at the same time, made many new friends.”
Another family said that “The God of Israel has placed a real love of Israel and its people in our hearts.”
“As far as we are concerned, it is very much a two way street. Yes we do offer them a place to stay and maybe food or whatever, but in return we have been blessed in many ways. When people live in your home, you build much stronger friendships than in normal circumstances. They become kind of like family, and as a result of this we now have many families in Israel where we can stay.”
Other families have felt that they are fulfilling a Biblical mandate to love and bless Israel and be blessed in return, according to Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you.”
“It is always a pleasure to host Israeli travelers,” said one host. “This is a practical way I can show support for them, especially in view of the propaganda war being waged against them in the media. Also, because I understand how it feels to be a traveller in a strange land, as I have travelled in Israel and been very warmly hosted by Israeli families. Am Yisrael chai!”
Yaron said that Chiburim operates in 23 countries at the moment and is looking to expand the constantly growing network to other nations. Currently hosts are located in Austria, Australia, Italy, Ireland, Argentina, USA, Britain and Northern Ireland, Germany, South Africa, the Netherlands, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Poland, Fiji, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, France, Canada, Switzerland and Thailand.
Yaron invites believers from anywhere, with suitable accommodations, to find out more about hosting by accessing the Chiburim website.
Joni has worked in education and management and has been a writer for Kehila News Israel since 2016. He holds an MBA, as well as teaching qualifications. He lives in Israel with his family.
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Christian conference commemorates Jerusalem’s 50th year of reunification
Christian Friends of Israel, Jerusalem, (CFI) held their 31st annual conference from May 22 through 25 at the Yehuda Hotel in Jerusalem describing it as “three days and four nights filled with praise, worship, teaching, education and excursion.”
The international evangelical Christian ministry headquartered in Jerusalem could not be more aptly named. CFI operates multiple outreaches in Israel and throughout the world representing Christians who truly love Israel. The organization’s primary objective is to “take the love of Yeshua back to the people who brought it to us… We also teach the [Christian] Church about its Hebrew heritage and Biblical responsibility to the Jewish people,” said Co-founder Sharon Sanders on opening night.
Sanders and fellow co-founder, husband, Ray, have been succeeded in the worldwide ministry by their daughter and son-in-law, Stacie and Kevin Howard. The Sanders have lived in Jerusalem for over 20 years and spent close to three decades traveling and speaking on behalf of Israel’s Jewish community. CFI’s goal is to demonstrate friendship and unconditional love for her Jewish citizens including Holocaust survivors, victims of terror and families in the South who have been traumatized by rocket attacks from Gaza.
CFI’s Bible-based commitment to friendship and support for Israel was clear among the many conference attendees. Janita Tsai, a volunteer with CFI Hong Kong, told KNI that she and her daughter made the 5,000-mile trip to attend her third international conference, to tour Israel and to demonstrate their love and support for the nation.
Evelien, from the Netherlands, lived in Israel from 1998 to 2009 and traveled over 2,000 miles to attend. “I spent two months living in a kibbutz when I first arrived,” Evelien told KNI News, “and later joined a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem. CFI always has good, uplifting conferences. I have learned much about the importance and mystery of the future of Messiah.”
Things aren’t falling apart, they are falling into place.
After Joshua Aaron, an award-winning Messianic Jewish singer and songwriter, wound up the opening-night crowd with worship, Sanders delivered the opening address, stressing the importance of Christian outreach to Jews as friends, not as targets for conversion, and the need to educate the Christian Church about the errors of replacement theology.
Striking an optimistic note, Sanders mentioned what she described as the relatively recent Spirit-driven improvement in relationships between believers in Yeshua and Jewish Orthodox leaders.
“Jerusalem is in the process of putting things in order and it could just be for the King,” she told her audience. “Things aren’t falling apart, they are falling into place.”
Regarding the End Times, she suggested, “those Jews who have not yet learned the truth of Messiah will be shocked, then joyful. Most Christians will be shocked too, to learn that he is a Jew.”
The first session included a presentation about CFI’s Foresake Them Not program, a ministry to comfort Holocaust survivors. CFI provides quilts, financial support, tanachs, birthday cards and, most importantly, personal time and friendship to a number of Holocaust survivors, most of whom suffer from financial woes, poor health, haunting memories and an inability to sleep soundly.
“Dear Christians,” began a thank-you letter from one of the outreach’s beneficiaries, “we are not forsaken.”
CFI’s Communities Under Attack and Under His Wings program assists victims of rocket attacks and terror. Presenters noted that not only have children and whole families in southern Israel suffered trauma, they have also endured burdensome financial struggles.
“The children are born into trauma and poverty,” in communities like Sderot. Located less than a mile from Gaza and an ongoing target of Qassam rockets from Gaza since 2001, 13 Israelis have been killed and many wounded in Sderot as a result of the attacks. The onslaught from the Gaza Strip has caused millions of dollars in damage and profoundly disrupted daily life. “At least 75 percent of children aged 4–18 in Sderot suffer from post-traumatic stress,” according to irinnews.org.
Another speaker, Jonathan Spyer, director of the Rubin Center, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict and a columnist at the Jerusalem Post, provided an insightful and fascinating overview of key strategic developments in the Middle East.
Also addressing conference attendees was an Arab Israeli believer who runs a ministry that reaches out to Jews and Arabs with the love of Yeshua.
While the speaker has a fearless determination when he evangelizes, he many times faces dangerous and frightening situations. His example inspired many.
“Listening to (this speaker) I felt challenged to be bolder, to be more willing to take risks for the sake of the Gospel,” one conference attendee told KNI.
The speaker exhorted the conference participants to remember that as they walk this land and share their love for Israel, that there are both Jews and Arabs here.
“Arabs can be as much peace givers to this country, and possibly even more because they feel they have a responsibility to this land,” he said.
He encouraged believers to pray for the Arab community in the land.
“God, would You reveal yourself, reveal your truth to the Muslim Arab population. Reveal your truth to the traditional Christian Arab community. God, would you reveal your truth and open their eyes as well to see that, yes, this is the place that has been their home for hundreds of years, but they have a responsibility to fight for its peace and to fight for its future just as much as to say they have a right to be here.”
Karen Faulkner contributed to this article.
Cliff Keller lives in Jerusalem, Israel with his wife, Marcia after making Aliyah in the spring of 2011 from the United States. His most recent novel is a work of historical biblical fiction entitled The Lion or The Lamb: Samson Ruth and Salvation. Cliff also blogs at Standing by the Gate and has a writing website, goodStories.
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Messianic soldier receives Israeli Presidential Award for Excellence
Every year on Independence Day, a special award ceremony for outstanding Israeli soldiers is held to honor 120 outstanding officers and soldiers, chosen — after a stringent screening process — for demonstrating excellence in both their posting and personal character.
This year, Mark Lampert, a believer who attends a congregation in Beersheba, was one of the recipients of this award, given at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. Kehila News Israel (KNI) spoke with Lampert to find out more.
KNI: Congratulations, Mark!
Thank you! I was so surprised by this and still am so amazed that I was one of the 120 soldiers chosen out of all the battalions in Israel. It is such an honor.
KNI: When did you know you were going to get an award?
I was told a few months before that in the screening and selection process my name had been put forward to be a recipient.
KNI: Who selected you?
All those in command over me: my captain, the commander, the platoon leader, the battalion leader — all of them know me and know that I am a Jewish believer in Yeshua.
KNI: Did you have to do anything special in preparation?
On top of doing all that I normally do in the army, I had to appear before a committee. They asked me to tell them why I deserve the award. They wanted an explanation for why I work so hard and why I give my all. I told them that I do everything for God.
KNI: How was the ceremony?
It was very special. It was on Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day). We were invited to the residence of President Reuven Rivlin. The whole ceremony was televised and live-streamed. It was a very grand occasion.
KNI: What did the award entail?
It is called the Presidential Award for Excellence. I got a certificate and two special badge pins for my uniform. One is the award pin and the other has the number of the year of the modern State of Israel — 69. In front of everyone there and for all to hear, they spoke of all I have contributed and my hard work. All the very important people in the military were there including the IDF Chief of Staff and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the other recipients from other battalions across Israel. It was very special!
KNI: Has the award changed anything for you?
I continue to do everything for the Lord, just as before, and I feel this is important for the people I come into contact with every day. They know me and know that I follow Yeshua. I am grateful that my life can be an example for the Lord. I feel that this award is such a blessing and a real honor. I thank God. I am so grateful for this opportunity that was unexpected and so special.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the
name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord , not for men.”
Israeli-born Dee Catz is a Jewish believer in Yeshua, happily married with children. She has an interest in cooking and baking and all things Biblical. History, Geography, and Archaeology are some of her favorite hobbies, as well as touring Israel's national parks and landmark sites with her family and friends. She has been contributing to Kehila News Israel since December 2015.