Protestors rampage outside of Messianics’ homes in Dimona
Several ultra-Orthodox Jews, upset about the opening of a new Messianic meeting center in the town, protested outside two homes of believers in Dimona in southern Israel on Thursday, causing damage to their property and trauma to the children who live there.
Albert and Esther Knoester recently opened up a meeting place in the Dimona center, in the same complex the rabbinate also uses. Albert is an elder at Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua’s Inheritance) congregation in Beersheba. Protests took place outside their home and at the home of another congregant who lives in Dimona.
Since the building began, the possibility of opposition loomed, but the building went on peacefully — until Thursday. The protests began at the meeting place itself and continued later at the homes. It was uncertain whether the protests would be ongoing, but in the past some have continued or at least individual harassment has.
When the protests threatened to continue into Thursday night, the Knoesters cancelled a regular gathering of believers that takes place at their home.
Yad L’Achim is an anti-missionary organization, comprised mostly of ultra-Orthodox Jews, that has been known to target and harass Messianic Jews and Christians in Israel through protests and lawsuits among other means. They specifically go after those suspected of “missionary activity.”
For several years now, ultra-Orthodox Jews have harassed and persecuted Messianic Jews in various parts of southern Israel, particularly in the town of Arad, on a near daily basis. In Arad it isn’t uncommon for protests to get personal, occurring at someone’s home instead of the congregation.
In 2005, one of the largest anti-Messianic protests took place at the Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshuas’ Inheritance) congregation in Beersheba. More than 600 ultra-Orthodox men, women and children stormed during the congregation’s baptism service, forced their way into the meeting and attacked the congregants, damaged property and cursed Yeshua and the faith.
Please pray for the safety of the believers in Dimona and that their testimony would shine God’s light to all those around!
You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house.
– Matthew 5:14-16
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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Open for prayer in Haifa
Towers are mentioned in many different places in the Scriptures.
The first tower, Babel, was an ambitious and infamous building project begun by Nimrod (according to rabbinic tradition). The objectives of that tower were revealed in the name of its architect. The name Nimrod comes from the word riot and rebellion. He and the other builders with him rebelled against the Creator and wanted to raise their own name “against the heavens.” When the Lord mingled their languages, the building process stopped. They couldn’t understand each other anymore and were “confused.” (The Hebrew word Babylon comes from a root word that means confusion.)
Scripture also tells about another tower whose builder made miscalculations regarding manpower and finances. As a result the building was not completed (Luke 14:28-30).
I wrote recently about a different kind of tower. I shared that we had received an unusual word from the Lord that seemed out of the ordinary: “to build a prayer tower—a prophetic studio.” Shavei Tzion has been involved in many endeavors, but focused intercessory prayer has not been one of them. As a ministry we have worked to develop Messianic theology in the Russian-speaking Jewish world, planted congregations for those returning to Zion, contributed to Aliyah (the return of Jewish exiles) and initiated educational projects. Hundreds of people have been and are involved in these projects. Of course we pray over all that we do and dedicate each new project to the Lord, but until now we have not had a specific prayer ministry.
After the first directive, the Lord told us more specifically to build a “Prophetic Studio.” To be honest, I had suffered in the past from the “post-charismatic age,” when the prophets prophesied falsely, the healers attempted to prove themselves by questionable means and the word of knowledge was reduced to manipulation. These were the consequences of the charismatic “invasion” to which the Former Soviet Union was subjected in the late 80s, and Israel in the early 90s. All of this created many walls inside us, and it takes time for these walls to come down.
However, recent developments and dynamics of various projects, including our internet TV broadcasting, the music school, the ministry to the needy, and the Haifa Theological Institute have shown us that we are in urgent need of the Spirit of the Lord and the manifestation of HIS glory and power. Thinking logically, it is clear that this is impossible without PRAYER.
I was also glad to hear from different people in Israel that they too have received a similar word and that they have begun to create similar dedicated prayer spaces.
So what is this room for? For prayer, of course. Yet there are different ways to go about setting up a prayer ministry. Some are organized 24/7 or 12/5. I am embarrassed to say that up until now I had not been so interested in the specifics. But we are thankful to God that He brought us all into agreement, and as a result we see that the prayer room— the Tower—in which people can listen to the Word of the Lord, is now ready.
How will we use it? The first words that the Spirit of the Lord gave us were “Be open and you will see how different people and groups, moved by the Spirit, will pass through and fill the place with His Presence and anointing.” (I find it hard to believe that I am saying such a thing!) But I am trusting this impulse, and we are ready to listen – to hear together with you, what the Lord is going to say…to you, to us, to Israel. Let us work together to promote the return of the Lord, expecting that Israel will clearly hear the footsteps of Yeshua coming home. May more and more people in our land raise their voices to the heavens with the ancient proclamation: “Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai” (Welcome in the name of the Lord).
We warmly invite you to visit and use our Prayer Tower. For more information write to: email@example.com
This article originally appeared in Return to Zion newsletter, May 2017, and reposted with permission.
Leon is the founder and congregational leader of Shavei Tzion (Return to Zion), a Messianic congregation in Haifa, Israel.
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Singapore Bible Society to include Israeli artists in Colours of the Bible competition
Founded in 1837, the Bible Society of Singapore will conduct an art competition and exhibition entitled Colours of the Bible as part of their 180th anniversary celebration. The event will welcome, and has made it easy for Israeli artists to participate.
“I am encouraged by the growth of Colours of the Bible,” Eric Chan, assistant manager of the society’s Centre for Advocacy, Relations and Engagement, told KNI. “Along with our partner, the Embassy of Israel in Singapore, we are seeing more international entries every year. Our judges have also noted the increasing quality of the artwork.”
Almost 2,000 people came through the society’s exhibition last year and some of the best entries have come from children with disadvantaged backgrounds and disabilities, according to Chan.
“It is a blessing to enjoy the fruit of their hard work,” he said
This year’s theme is “Families in the Bible.” Media to be judged will include paintings, drawings, sculptures, crafts and textiles and scripture calligraphy. Entries will be divided into four age-group categories for evaluation: seven years and below, eight to 12 years, 13 to 18 and an “open” category which will include all entrants 19 years and older.
Though it is an international competition, all entries must be submitted to Bible Society offices in either Singapore or Jerusalem. To be eligible, entries in Israel must be submitted with a printed registration acknowledgement by June 10 and may be dropped off at the Bible Society offices at 17 Jaffa Street in Jerusalem. (For Jerusalem office hours, alternate methods of submission and to learn all the rules and regulations, please see the society’s Terms and Conditions page.)
Artists may register online here. Registration details, frequently asked questions and awards can be found here. During and after the event, the society will maintain and update the competition’s status at their Facebook Page.
“Colours of the Bible is an opportunity for people to engage with the Bible through the medium of art,” Chan added. “While biblical truths are most often learned through the study and teaching of God’s Word, the medium of art is also an avenue for prayerful reflection and creative engagement with the Bible. Mankind has been gifted with a capacity for imagination and creativity by His Creator, and great art touches the depths of our being in ways that are profound.”
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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Distributing God’s love to women in need
At the Dugit Distribution Center, located in downtown Tel Aviv, we are continually looking for ways to impact and improve the physical and spiritual conditions of the needy and homeless of Tel Aviv.
On March 8th, the world celebrated Women’s Day and took time out to honor women for their achievements and contributions to society. There are many women in Tel – Aviv that would not typically get to be a part of this special day because of their socioeconomic status. Here at Dugit, we decided that we wanted to do something to honor these women. Dennis and Nadia who manage the Dugit Distribution Center ran with this vision and organized a fantastic event.
We secured a ballroom for the evening and invited believing, professional musicians to perform and share their testimonies. We also had a woman Pastor attend and give her testimony. She was a shining example of how much God can do with someone who fully commits their life to Him. She truly touched the hearts of all who were present. After the testimonies had been shared, more than half of the group came to the front and asked for prayer from the Dugit staff. Some were prayers for health, others for blessings, and some to feel God’s love in their lives.
After this time of fellowship and ministry, we invited the ladies to a fabulous buffet dinner. As they sat and enjoyed the meal, the sound of joy and laughter could be heard throughout the hall. You could see on their faces that they were relaxed and enjoyed their time. It was a welcomed break from the reality of the struggle of living in Israel today.
The response to this evening was outstanding, and all the glory goes to God for making this happen! Our desire was to convey to these particular women who live in conditions far below the average standard of life that Yeshua loves them as a Father loves his child. As the evening came to a close, one after another the ladies came to us and thanked us with tears in their eyes for the honor and love they had felt.
It is so amazing to see how much the love of God can make a difference in the lives of these precious people! Please continue to pray with us for their salvation as well as their physical needs.
This article originally appeared on Dugit, May 1, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Avi Mizrachi is the Executive Director of Dugit Messianic Outreach Centre and Pastor of Adonai Roi Congregation.
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Local believers help Muslim Palestinian family in distress
Local believers recently teamed up to build and furnish a safe home for a Palestinian mother of 12 children in the West Bank through the Israel-based Joseph Project and the international organization Operation Blessing, which has a Middle East bureau in the region.
The family had been the victims of a near honor killing at the hands of the woman’s murderously abusive husband.
Because Operation Blessing provides humanitarian aid in the region, OB Senior Project Manager for Israel and the West Bank, Mark Othman, was alerted to the plight of this family.
“We met the family through Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans, a local organization with whom we partner. We were told the mother and children had suffered longterm domestic abuse by the husband,” Othman told KNI. “We learned the man had recently locked his family inside their house and had set it on fire.”
Othman said that one day when the mother and nearly all the children were at home (the eldest girl is married and out of the house), the 17-year-old daughter smelled smoke while she was studying. She realized there was fuel on the floor and the house was burning.
“Neighbors managed to break in and rescue the woman and 11 of her children aged between four and 17,” Othman says. “The husband had been trying to kill the family for some time. He told his wife he would kill them slowly, and had been starving them by locking them in the home without food.”
Apparently, the married daughter “had kept them alive by sneaking sandwiches in through a window,” Othman added.
Because the family lives in Area C of the West Bank, they live under Israeli military rule with very limited recourse to social workers and police, services normally available to citizens of a state.
Moreover, Othman explained, the family lived on the outskirts of Bethlehem in a relatively isolated rural community divided along tribal lines, and in which one man does not interfere with another man’s business.
“Because of the culture, women tend to be seen as a man’s property,” Othman said.
The family, therefore, was exceedingly vulnerable.
“We were told that when the neighbors broke in the children were visibly traumatized,” Othman said. “The mother took them all to her own mother’s house which consisted of one room and a kitchen.”
Operation Blessing determined to the help the family by building them a house on a piece of land belonging to the mother, and upon which there was a permit to build.
“We were able to hire labor for little or nothing and buy materials for construction very cheaply. When the local Palestinian community came to realize what was happening, they wanted to help too,” Othman said.
Then, with a three-room house built, Operation Blessing asked the Joseph Project, based in Israel, to help furnish it.
A well-known humanitarian organization, the Joseph Project is an Israeli NGO staffed and run by local believers. The project imports aid into Israel from charities around the world. Among the items gathered are clothing, blankets, medical supplies, furniture, linen and bedding, diapers and family items, tools and shoes.
The imported goods are stored in a 22,000-square-foot warehouse close to Jerusalem.
In an expression of God’s love, aid is then distributed to Jews and Arabs, both religious and secular, helping tens of thousands of needy people in the land every year.
With the help of its charitable partners in America, Holland and China, the Joseph Project provided 11 mattresses, two closets, two sofas, four arm chairs, crockery and new sheets and blankets.
“We were honored to participate with Operation Blessing in helping to bless the family and provide a lasting solution,” JP Executive Director Jim Schutz told KNI. “The horrific circumstances that led to the crisis of losing of their home are mind boggling.”
KNI has learned that the mother and her children were overjoyed with their new home.
“The mother was speechless and the children kept jumping on their new beds,” Schutz wrote in a special report. “The mother continually thanked Operation Blessing Israel and its partner, the Joseph Project, for the unexpected act of kindness. She also repeatedly mentioned that ‘now finally, my children can have a good night rest.’”
Indeed, Othman confirmed the family were appreciative upon learning the provision came through both Jewish and Gentile believers as an expression of the love of Jesus. This is perhaps all the more remarkable as Othman himself is a Christian who originally came from a Muslim background.
“Through working with OB we are able to build relationships with people, and witness to them,” Othman reflected. “It can be especially impacting in the West Bank that my own background is Muslim.”
Meanwhile, the woman’s former husband has remarried and has let the family go. While it is troubling to think of what this means for his new wife, there is gratitude that this family, which has suffered so much, is now safe.
“We hope this will truly be a new beginning which will help bring forth good fruit for the rest of their lives,” Schutz said.
Karen Faulkner is a British Israeli citizen. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights & Transitional Justice from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.