December 2019 Edition

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14. 6 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Opinion Piece Dr Ron Weiser AM Hon Life Pres of the Zionist Council of NSW It’s always great to be in Israel. I like to visit a small hole in the wall business in Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem —the Kippah Man. Let’s call the owner ‘Yosi’—being Israel, everyone knows his real name is Avraham of course—but... When I have time and want to feel I am really back in Israel, like a ritual, I ask ‘Yosi’ for a kippah that matches my hair colour. He is always enthusiastic and eager to help and has a collection of thousands of kipot. Now I do not know if ‘Yosi’ is a good salesman or simply colour blind. You have no idea how many kippot he pulls out of diverse colours from bright red and yellowish to black—not a single one even close. But somehow he manages to convince me to always buy at least one. This time was no different. I’d taken a short break from the Board of Governors’ (BOG) meeting of the Jewish Agency (the Sochnut) and nipped out during a pause in deliberations. I returned to one of my proudest moments. The Zionist Federation, together with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, is hosting a distinguished group of Australian leaders led by ex-Prime Minister John Howard, on a mission to Israel. The BOG meeting consists of a couple of hundred people representing the leadership of the Jewish world. The numbers are largely in proportion to the demographics of Jewish populations around the world and hence the Americans are numerically dominant. They did not know what hit them. There was this relatively modestly proportioned 80 year old man, making his way to the microphone. He followed a short while after the previous major speaker, the towering Benny Gantz. Gantz had given a good speech, but which he had read off a teleprompter—the impression for me was more that he did so not because of the language, but rather to stay on message. Well, John Howard did not need a written speech to stay on message. Howard began to speak. I do not know how long he spoke for because it seemed to pass so quickly—that’s how good he was. Howard spoke clearly, pointedly and powerfully—and without a single note. He spoke about the region, the dangers and Israel’s resilience. Howard spoke about Australia’s understanding and empathy for Israel’s position and about the strong and valued role Australian Jewry played and continues to play in the fabric of Australian life. Howard outlined why it is important to support Israel and to stand by her. When he ended, he got a long standing ovation from the entire room. I cannot remember hearing a better speech from Howard, ever. He left the podium much larger than he appeared on arrival. Howard also showed those assembled, and even more so dare I say it coming from a non- Jew, that regardless of who holds the position of Israeli Prime Minister, support for Israel is non- negotiable. John Howard made all of the Australians present realise once again, just how lucky we are and why the environment we live in contributes in a significant way to our ability to punch way above our weight in the Jewish world. This is exemplified by Australian Jewry’s representation at the Jewish Agency, which as I wrote previously, is the largest gathering of Jewish leadership in the Jewish world—the full Australian contingent is with John Howard, in the above photo. Almost alarmingly, the country continues to run with only an interim government. School holidays both in Israel and overseas are over, Succoth has ended belled by the end of summertime and the days becoming much shorter and yet the hotels in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem at least, are packed, rooms are hard to come by and accommodation costs remain at peak season levels. Tourists are coming to Israel in droves and Israelis are taking more and more internal vacations, particularly over Friday and Shabbat. One the one hand, there is a sense that too many things are on the backburner awaiting a resolution of the current impasse. But on the other life goes on as normal. Once again, everyone agrees that the inability to form a government has very little to do with policies. Gantz’s statement that “We all agree on eighty percent of the issues” is if anything, a conservative assessment. Gantz still has about 2 weeks to try and form a government and then a sort of free for all period follows, till we arrive at a possible third election. Various potential ways forward are being postulated and any one idea seems as likely or unlikely as the next to eventuate. Israelis now regard President Trump as a somewhat less reliable ally, but more importantly, a creator of potential security issues for Israel. His actions in Syria and vis a vis Turkey, with the unintended or better said perhaps, unconsidered consequences of increasing Russia’s and Iran’s influence, are a source of deepening concern. And with more and more talk of a direct threat from Iran, mounting. At the same time rockets are coming over once again from Gaza, and in some numbers. A house in Sderot was hit, but thank G-d, there were no casualties. Politically however, the ramifications are very interesting. For some years, Netanyahu’s biggest and ongoing critic on Gaza policy, and with the constant refrain that Netanyahu was very weak in his response to rocket attacks, has been Naphtali Bennett. So would you know it, after the recent rocket barrage Bennett went on Army Radio supporting Netanyahu’s very restrained response and said “There is no point in carrying out a stronger response against Gaza.” Has Bennett suddenly had an epiphany? Yes, but it was not about Gaza. Firstly his interview with Army Radio was the day after another outlet had announced that Netanyahu was considering bringing him back into the Cabinet were he to be able to form a government. And secondly, despite undermining Netanyahu at every turn for years and accusing him of being too “left”, Bennett realised the possible future should Netanyahu fail to form a government, and came rallying behind him. In that same Army Radio interview Bennett said that he believed that if a third election were to take place “the Right will crash in historical proportion and we will find ourselves with a full-fledged left- wing government.” Therefore, Bennett continued “I am ready to resolve Netanyahu’s commitment to form a government.” Well perhaps. But too little, too late??? It did however, reaffirm the trouble Gantz will have to loosen or prize off, any of the 55 Knesset seats which have to date remained aligned with Netanyahu. There is still time for some surprises during Gantz’s period in order to form government but if not, it will really become interesting in the no man’s land time frame of the 21 days that follow, before a third election becomes unavoidable. And of course in the background is the ongoing timing question over Mandelblit’s announcement on potential indictments. Looking for some direction made me think of how similar the whole story is to the navigational app Waze. One either loves or hates Waze. Some people will follow it no matter where it says to go, and others will find as I did, that Waze is nice as a general guide but always fails to understand the one way streets around Jerusalem’s Greek Colony area. This costs real money when a taxi driver insists on keeping the meter running, as we once again pass the same one way street that he assures me we will negotiate from the correct side on a third attempt. Or as he then continues without embarrassment, “if not, we will just go down the one way street, the opposite way”. I wonder if he realised the metaphor for the current political impasse he was demonstrating in real life... ________________________________________________________ Dr Ron Weiser AM is a Life Member of the ZFA Executive, Past President of the ZFA and Hon Life Pres of the Zionist Council of NSW. regardless of who holds the position of Israeli Prime Minister, support for Israel is non- negotiable. Is Israel approaching a Political Impasse?

4. 16 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 News 4 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 It hasn’t advanced the cause of peace. The hard truth is there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace. This is a complex political problem that can only be solved by negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate peace, and I will do everything I can to help this cause. The United States encourages the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank in any final status negotiations.” Although Pompeo did not state the reasons why the US no longer considers Israeli settlement policy illegal, the position that their establishment does not necessarily infringe international law reflects, in our view, a much more accurate and balanced view of international law than the EU position. There are several reasons why the US position is to be preferred, and the EU position is mistaken. ‘The occupied territories are not part of the territory of Israel’ The Court reasons that ‘under the rules of international humanitarian law, these territories are subject to a limited jurisdiction of the State of Israel, as an occupying power, while each has its own international status distinct from that of that State.’ Further, the European Court states that ‘the West Bank is a territory whose people, namely the Palestinian people, enjoy the right to self-determination.’ All of this means, according t o the Court, that these territories are not ‘in Israel’, and therefore products originating from these territories may not bear the label ‘made in Israel’. These statements are astounding in their incompleteness and inaccuracy. First, it is questionable whether all of these territories are ‘occupied’ within the meaning of the law of occupation. The argument consistently made by Israel and others is that the territories captured by Israel in June 1967 are not ‘occupied’ because when Israel captured the territories, they did not belong to another state. The law of occupation, it is argued, only applies when there is a state of belligerency (i.e. war) between two states. This argument has, admittedly, been rejected by most international tribunals and organisations (such as the International Red Cross), but it is not an unreasonable proposition. The Court does not even address it. But, secondly, and perhaps more importantly, even if these territories are ‘occupied’ within the meaning of the law of belligerent occupation, this does not necessarily mean they cannot be part of the State of Israel. The law of occupation does not make the occupation itself illegal (as many seem to assume). Clearl y an occupying power cannot obtain valid legal title to territory by means of the occupation, but the law of occupation does not say anything about the prior territorial sovereign status of the territory. It simply imposes certain obligations and prohibitions on the occupying power, which are to be respected pending the finalisation of a peace treaty to resolve the dispute. It is quite possible under international law for territory to be both ‘occupied’ and ‘disputed’. Both Israel and the Palestinians make claims to sovereignty over these territories. Admitte dly, Israel has not been very clear or effective in its claims. Its agreement in 1967 to ‘voluntarily’ apply the law of belligerent occupation to the territories has muddied the waters. But Israel has never completely abandoned its claims to sovereignty over these territories. The question of where Israel’s borders lie – the geographical scope of its ‘territorial integrity’ - is a matter between Israel and its neighbours. It is not up the European Court of Justice to decide on this. The arguments that some, if not all, the territories captured in 1967 already belonged to the ter ritory of Israel, is based primarily on the Mandate for Palestine (1922). The argument is essentially that the State of Israel emerged in May 1948 as a result of the Mandate for Palestine (1922), the core purpose of which was the creation of a ‘Jewish homeland in Palestine’. The Mandate–an international treaty ratified by all 51 member states of the League of Nations in 1922–conferred on the Jewish people the right to settle in the territory of ‘Palestine’ – which initially included all territory west and some of the territory east of the Jordan River. It was undoubtedly intended t hat Jews should have a right to live in what is now known as ‘East Jerusalem’ and the ‘West Bank’ (known to the Jews as ‘Judea and Samaria’). After termination of the Mandate, and pending the establishment of a Trusteeship (which, in the case of Palestine, never happened), Article 80 of the UN Charter expressly preserved the pre-existing rights of the Jewish people under the Mandate. When Israel was created on 14 May 1948, upon the termination of the Mandate, its borders were arguably – on the basis of the principle of uti possidetis juris – the pre-existing administrative boundaries under the Mandate – in accordance with the same principle that has determined the borders of all other States emerging out of Mandates – such as Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – as well as many other states in the world. Jordan (with other Arab states) attacked the infant State of Israel on 15 May 1948, resulting in Jordan’s control of East Jerusalem and the West Bank until 1967. This attack was clearly illegal and could not have resulted in Jordan acquiring any territorial sovereignty over these territories. So when, in effect, Jordan ‘abandoned’ its claims to East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the late 1980s in favour of the Palestinians, it could not confer on the Palestinians more rights than it itself possessed. Further, it is simply not true – as the European Court suggests - that the Palestinian people have an absolute ‘right’ t o self-determination in all of the territories captured by Israel in 1967. On the contrary, international law requires that the right to self-determination cannot infringe the territorial integrity or security of neighbouring states. Israel has consistently argued that it has a right to secure borders (this is a legal right, as was conceded in UN Security Council resolution 242 in 1967) and that the ‘1967 lines’ are indefensible. Particularly Israel argues that it must have control of areas around Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley in order to be able to defend itself aga inst both against Palestinian terror and the threat of attack from beyond the Jordan River. This is a complex matter, and no international institution – not even the UN Security Council or the International Court of Justice – has the knowledge needed to make that call. In any event, no international institution has the right to make a binding determination on where a state’s secure borders lie, without its consent. The territorial scope of the Palestinian right to self- determination is precisely one of the topics of negotiation under the Oslo agreements. In the Oslo Accords, the PLO itself agreed to a process for achieving self-determination, in which it was agreed that issues like borders, settlements and Jerusalem would be the subject of permanent status negotiations. ‘Israeli Settlements are Illegal’ According to the court, any product that ‘comes from an Israeli settlement located in one of those territories’ must indicate that fact. This is because ‘the settlements established in some of the territories occupied by the State of Israel are characterised by the fact that they give concrete expression to a policy of population transfer conducted by that State outside its territory, in violation of the rules of general international humanitarian law.’ Here again, the Court’s reasoning is open to criticism. First, as we have already observed, there are good arguments that these territories are not ‘occupied’ wi thin the meaning of the law of belligerent occupation. But even if the territories are ‘occupied’ (as most – but not all - people seem to think), not all Israeli settlements in these territories are illegal. Under the law of belligerent occupation, it is only an Israeli policy to ‘transfer or deport’ Israeli civilians into those territories that could be said to be illegal (article 49(6) Fourth Geneva Convention). There is no clear evidence that Israel has a policy to ‘deport’ or ‘transfer’ its population into Judea and Samaria. At best, it can be argued that Israel encourages an d facilitates Israeli’s to live in the territories; but that is hardly the kind of ‘deportation’ or ‘transfer’ that was envisaged by the drafters of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Even if such a policy exists, a particular settlement can only be regarded as the product of such a policy if it can be shown that the Israeli person or company concerned is living/working/residing in the occupied territory as a result of an Israeli policy to transfer or deport that person into the occupied territories. The fact is that many Israeli’s living in these territories are doing so voluntarily. Their decision to do so was taken independently of Israeli government policy. The mere granting of government approval can hardly be regarded as ‘deportation’ or ‘transfer’ and thus is not sufficient to bring the government’s actions within the purview of Article 49(6). Because the label ‘made in an Israeli settlement’ is clearly intended to stigmatise the producer, the EU’s policies have the perverse effect that they are penalising Israeli’s who are seeking to establish productive businesses in the West Bank. Many Jews and Arabs simply want to live in peaceful co-existence, and there are many examples of Jewish/Arab partnerships in the territories. Most Israeli businesses in the territories employ Arab Palestinians and are aimed at growing the economy in the West Bank. Why is the EU so determined to undermine cooperation between Israeli’s and Palestinians? Moreover, the conclusion that all Israeli settlements are ‘illegal’ undermines the terms of the Oslo agreements, in which it was agreed that the status of settlements is a matter of negotiation. The EU policy on settlements is not only breaching Israel’s rights to political independence and territorial integrity; it is undermining its right to negotiate under those agreements. As the EU was a witness to the Oslo agreements, the EU policy effectively breaches the EU’s own commitments. The Court’s reasoning is deficient. It simply has no jurisdiction to make a determination that these territories do not belong to Israel. The most it should have done was to conclude that the status of the territories is disputed. The judgment interferes with difficult and complex matters of negotiation between two parties (Israel and the PLO). It is quite possible under international law for territory to be both ‘occupied’ and ‘disputed’. Panoramic view of Gush Etzion, an Israeli settlement. | Photo: Shutterstock Continued from page 3

8. 20 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 C4I Happenings 8 Keith Buxton n Christians for Israel Oceania Following my visit earlier this year to the Solomon Islands, it was a real delight to fly recently to the beautiful country of Vanuatu, a South Pacific nation made up of around 80 islands that stretch across 1,300km. Prior to independence from the UK and France in 1980, the archipelago was known as the New Hebrides. The 300,000 Melanesian people who live there are warm, friendly, and hospitable. On 12 September, Trixie and I were invited to a meeting in the capital Port Vila of the Port Vila Ministers’ Fraternal, where we introduced ourselves and the ministry of Christians for Israel (C4I) to about a dozen pastors. How important it is for the message of Israel to reach Christians in these far-flung islands, in fulfilment of Jeremiah 31:10, “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock . ’” And so, I shared about the importance of standing with Israel and the Jewish people. I also talked about the planned tour next year to Israel with others from the Pacific Islands region, which has been designed to be affordable for Christians from these island nations and clearly interested those present. It was intentionally a relationship-building time. Encouragingly, there was sufficient general interest from a number of those present to ask me to bring a one-hour teaching and video presentation a few days later. We then had lunch with the Chairman of the Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC). This lunch meeting was valuable, as it enabled us to establish a clear acceptance of C4I by the VCC. It was important for key church leaders to learn about C4I and to see that we are a credible Christian ministry. The Vanuatu Christian Council is a non-government organisation made up of seven member churches, plus the Bible Society and Scripture Union. I was interested in finding out that the Presbyterian Church is the largest Christian denomination in Vanuatu - one-third of the country’s population are Presbyterian, probably because it is the only denomination that established a theological seminary in Vanuatu and concentrated on educating the local people. Church leaders from various denominations attended the second meeting (photo above). I gave the requested presentation, spoke about C41 and also more about the planned tour, and responded to a range of questions. This was followed by fellowship around a shared meal. The level of acceptance of C4I among the pastors that we met during our visit to Vanuatu was encouraging. It was good to talk specifically about the initial process for establishing a C4I presence in Vanuatu as a countrywide ministry under the auspices of the Vanuatu Christian Council, a step that would be consistent with the views of key leaders with whom I spoke. Also encouraging is the expressed desire by these leaders for a follow-up visit. Do pray that the foundations laid during this visit will prove to be fruitful and much blessed by God in the coming months. Visit to Vanuatu - ‘Isles Afar Off’ December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Chan Siew Fong n Regional Trainer | Christians for Israel Asia The 7th Asia Pacific Training and Leadership Conference was held at Jesus Ministry Christ Nations Church, in Kitahiroshimacho, a scenic rural area, 46 km from the city of Hiroshima in south-west Japan. From 21 to 23 November, 48 Japanese participants from all over Japan and 58 participants from other countries in Asia, Africa and America soaked in biblical truths about Israel which they had not heard before. The two largest contingents came from Pakistan (22) and the Philippines (20); other nations represented were Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Nigeria, Myanmar, USA and Saudi Arabia. The conference was organised by Pastor Mimi Hagiwara and her efficient staff. Why Israel? was translated into Japanese by Dr Takashi Yoshida. The teaching team consisted of Reverend Cornelis Kant, Marie-Louise Weissenbock, Reverend Dr Conrado Lumahan, Reverend Dr Wilson Ng, Chan Kuen Yoon and Chan Siew Fong. New offerings included a study of Ruth by Marie-Louise Weissenböck, ‘Menorah and the Cross’ by Reverend Dr Conrado Lumahan and a Question and Answer session. The feedback received from conference participants has been encouraging. Ruka Matsuura, on behalf of the Japanese delegates reported: “We have had great lessons. We now have deep insights on the significance of Israel. We have been reading the bible and seen ‘Israel’ mentioned many times but we had no deep understanding. Now, the mystery has been revealed and we understand what Israel is all about.” Noliber Gngeh from Cameroon: “...great messages...I have learnt so much about the significance of Israel...met great people - Indians, Japanese, Americans etc...I will keep spreading the message about Israel when I go back...” Pastor Irfan Shahzad, a Pakistani: “I am really blessed. I have never heard such teaching on Israel in my 20 years of ministry. I got the conviction to translate Reverend Willem’s books into Urdu as a seed to plant in this ministry.” Philip, a Nigerian residing in the Philippines: “The teaching in this conference about Israel is amazing. Food is good. The people are nice. The atmosphere is great.” Rommel Delfino, Hawaiian living in Kyoto: “It has been amazing...fresh revelations...I am going to start to pray for Israel.” Robert Coulson, 20 year resident in Japan: “This conference has really opened my eyes to the scriptural foundations with regards to Israel....I am going to step it up in my prayer for Israel.” Two lecturers from the Philippines found the sessions informative and are keen to bring the teaching on Israel back to their Baptist and Assemblies of God Bible Colleges. Over all, the conference had a great impact on those attending. Vital Teaching Touches Hearts in Japan “I will keep spreading the message about Israel when I go back...” The teaching team at the 7th Asia Pacific Training and Leadership Conference Attendees of the 7th Asia Pacific Training and Leadership Conference

15. 7 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Opinion Piece Dr David Adler President of The Australian Jewish Association It’s the world’s oldest bigotry and it’s on the rise again. Antisemitism is associated with the darkest chapters of human history when humanity abandons civilised moral codes. Societies and ideologies which embrace it typically suffer a major decline if not complete destruction. Examples span the latter years of the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition, the suppression and pogroms of the old USSR, to the Nazi implemented Holocaust of WWII. Reports from the United Kingdom, numerous European countries, United States, Canada, South America and Australia point to a dangerous resurgence of antisemitism. Recent cases of Jewish boys attending Melbourne state schools, particularly the image of a 12 year old Jewish boy forced under threat of a bashing to kiss the feet of a Muslim student, have shone an international spotlight on antisemitsim in Australia. Another older Muslim student sent vile threats to the 12 year old Jewish boy which included the words “I’ll slaughter you” , a matter now in the hands of the police. What’s going on? That this is happening within living memory of the Holocaust should shock all people of goodwill. Antisemitism is recorded from ancient biblical times. In the Exodus from slavery in Egypt the Jewish people were attacked for no apparent reason by the nation of Amalek. Our sages teach that Amalek represent the irrational spiritual hatred of Jews. Antisemitism in some ways has the characteristics of a virus which morphs. During the Inquisition it was hatred of the Jewish religion with forced conversions by torture. Under the USSR it was Jewish culture such as circumcision or teaching Torah which was banned. The Nazis took a racial approach with the objective to eliminate the Jewish race. In more recent years as these forms became not “politically correct”, it is hatred of the world’s only Jewish state, Israel, which has become the principal focus for antisemites. Yes, anti- Zionism is antisemitism. There are several sources of antisemitism today which taken together comprise a “perfect storm”. They all need to be identified, called out clearly and dealt with as effectively as possible. Islamic Antisemitism Across Europe, Islamic antisemitism looms large. There are areas with large Muslim populations where it is now unsafe to be identified as Jewish. A major study by the University of Oslo published in 2016 examined violent antisemitic incidents across 7 countries; France, UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Russia. In 6 out of 7, Russia was the exception, individuals of Muslim background stand out among perpetrators of antisemitic violence in Western Europe. Attitude surveys corroborate this picture in so far as antisemitic attitudes are far more widespread among Muslims than among the general population in Western Europe. Motivation appears to be a combination of theological and anti-Israel sentiment. Left-wing Antisemitism The embedding of antisemitism in left wing mainstream political parties is worrying. No longer just in the most extreme vestiges of marginal politics, under Jeremy Corbyn the UK Labour antisemitism scandal has attracted external and internal condemnation. For the first time ever in the UK, a major political party is under formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In the US, the members of the Squad, particularly Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, have brought into the Democrats a level of antisemitism not previously overtly expressed and the party leadership has been found wanting in how to respond. In Australia as recently as the last Federal election in May, there were candidates from the Greens and Labor publicly accused of antisemitism— some were disendorsed or resigned. Far-Right Antisemitism A further source is the far-right extremists or neo-Nazi types. The most recent shooting attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany, on 10 October fits this mould. There have been public displays of far- right antisemitism in Europe and the US. In Australia, a group infiltrated the NSW Nationals but were subsequently expelled. Another group known as Antipodean Resistance has been responsible for plastering vile antisemitic posters in universities. Swastikas and other Nazi style graffiti have increased in areas of Melbourne and Sydney where Jewish communities reside. Leftist Jewish Antisemitism Finally, it needs to be said that even Jews are not immune to the virus of antisemitism. Sometimes called the self-hating Jews, we have also seen this phenomenon through history. There were Jews who assisted Stalin in the suppression of Judaism and Jews who worked with the Nazis in the 1930s. Today there are Jewish groups who pursue extreme leftist politics ahead of their Jewish identities and participate in public vilification of Israel. In an extraordinary submission to the Commission investigating antisemitism in UK Labour, the Jewish Voice for Labour urged that antisemitism be ignored that is “abusive and insulting to Jews...but not unlawful”. So, if demonisation of Israel or promulgation of conspiracy theories against Jews by Labour figures does not break a specific British law, that’s fine. Recently a well known hard left Jewish- American activist who supports the movement to boycott Israel was denied a visa to Israel but announced with glee receipt of a visa to visit Iran. Sort of says it all. We are also seeing the most peculiar alliances, united by antisemitism and hatred of Israel. The Red-Green alliance of the hard left with Islamic interests will join in opposition to Israel while ignoring completely their foundational issues such as LGBTI or women’s rights. Even America’s best-known white supremacist David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK, praised coloured Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her antisemitism and anti- Israel speech. The perfect storm consists of Islamic, political left, right-wing extreme and even leftist Jewish antisemitism with these elements operating independently or in combination. All these components need to be vigorously called out and condemned. The most widely accepted definition of antisemitism is that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which includes working examples of what is unacceptable. Australia became a full member on 4 June 2019. At a minimum, all Federal and State bodies, including schools and universities, should formally adopt the working definition of the IHRA. The Australian Jewish Association will be proposing that leadership commence with the Federal Parliament and we are asking the Government to pass a resolution to that effect. While this does not solve antisemitism, it would be a powerful signal that Australia stands united against antisemitism. We should also record our gratitude for the principled and outspoken support from within the Christian community against antisemitism. It is truly appreciated. ________________________________________________________ Dr David Adler is a medical graduate of the University of NSW, where he also received the medical faculty prize for general proficiency and leadership. The ‘Perfect Storm’ of Antisemitism Blowing its destructive winds in Australia too Shutterstock.com

21. 21 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Judea & Samaria 9 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Nati Rom - Zionist Pioneer and Laywer Andrew Tucker n International Editor | Christians for Israel Nati Rom (left) is full of energy, his eyes sparkling, as we meet prior to a lecture he is about to give to a group of Dutch Christians. A youthful father of six children, he lives in the heartland of Samaria – known to the world as the ‘West Bank’, or ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’. He travels the world telling people that the Jewish people belong in these ‘mountains of Israel’. “Judea and Samaria are the Biblical heartlands of the Jewish people. Living there is not something we do because we enjoy it; it is a Biblical mandate. It is here that 95% of the stories of the Bible took place. For example, the first capital of the Jewish people was in Shilo, which is the spiritual capital of Israel. Jews have been given the task of redeeming the land.” Nati Rom first came to the heartland when he and an army friend finished their army service, and decided they wanted to serve their country. They simply drove into the Biblical mountains of Samaria and stopped when their car broke down. They stayed there for 18 months, building a small community near Shilo. Others soon joined. They started to build and plant vineyards. Villages developed. “We started to observe commandments that nobody had done before, and that can only be done in the land – planting, reaping, observing Shabbat years, etc. And the land started to laugh with us”. “Our life is not easy. Jewish communities in Samaria face hundreds of terror attacks each month. Our children go to school in a bulletproof bus. When a Jewish child was recently murdered, PA President Abbas said the killer was a hero. The EU supports him by paying salaries of convicted terrorists. We have to fight against this.” Divine War According to Rom, there is a divine war in the world between good and bad, and the land of Israel is at the centre of that battle. “The world has lost its capacity to distinguish between good and bad. For example, it is completely absurd that the terrorist Arafat was awarded the Nobel peace prize. Other examples are UNESCO denying Jewish connection with the Temple Mount, and the EU sponsoring payments to convicted Palestinian terrorists and their families. These are unacceptable, and we need to fight against them.” The battle, in his view, is not about territory or land, but about those who hate the Jewish people because they are Jewish. Iran is evidence of that. They are simply trying to eliminate us. So the solution to the conflict with the Palestinians is not to give them land. That won’t remove the deep-seated hatred of the Jewish people. Nati Rom sees the ‘peace process’ as an internationally-sponsored plan to destroy Israel. “Because Israel is so small, the two-state solut ion is going to destroy Israel. Even President Trump’s planned ‘deal of the century’ is a bad idea from Biblical perspective, because 95% of Judea and Samaria will be given to the Arabs.” Nati recalls the words of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who once said: “When they love their children more than they hate us, then there can be peace. Rom: “Peace does not come from making territorial concessions or rewarding evil. This is the lesson that Europe needs to learn. The only way to overcome evil is to confront and destroy it. Those who show mercy to evil are showing evil to mercy. It is out rageous that the world supports those who use terror to destroy the Jewish people.” Redeeming the Land Nati Rom’s philosophy is: “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness” (Isaiah 1:27). He studied law in order to be able to defend his people and use the legal system to achieve justice. He represents Jews who are arrested simply for praying on the Temple Mount. “The prohibition on Jews praying on the Temple Mount is an outrageous breach of human rights. The Temple Mount should be open to all people to pray”. About 70 people are arrested each month. In addition, he represents Palestinians who are persecuted by the PLO and also takes cases to court to show that Israeli law should apply in Judea and Samaria - for example against Israeli insurance companies who say their policies do not apply outside the Green Line. According to Rom, the task of the Jewish people is to redeem the land. “We are doing the Zionism of our forefathers, in the Biblical heartland that the Lord gave us back in 1967”. He and others purchase land from Arabs. They grow grapes and fruit and vegetables and make the land prosperous. “How can this be preventing peace?” Nati Rom feels he is continuing the Zionist dream of his ancestors. “Israel was created after the ashes of the holocaust. We had a lot of dreams in our hearts. Under the British, it was not legal to enter or to build new villages. But our forefathers didn’t care about the laws of the British. They wanted to redeem the land, so they built villages in one night. This was the start of the new state. The establishment of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948 was a miracle.” Secular Zionism today is dying, and religious Zionism needs to be promoted, according to Nati Rom. “Sadly, many in Israel want to be like the nations, rather than being a light unto the nations. We Jews need to reconnect with the land and with HaShem. He will honour our prayers. Hannah is an example – she prayed with passion in belief! HaShem answered her prayers and gave her a child – Samuel. And from Samuel came the anointing of David. So our prayers are powerful and effective!” Nati Rom overlooking the mountains of Israel WE’RE GOING TO UKRAINE YOUNG ADULTS TOUR 2020 Travel with us for a week to hand out food parcels and a lot of love to poor Jewish families and Holocaust survivors Seven days in Ukraine that will change your life! 25 April - 3 May 2020 € 399 flights not included

12. 4 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Commentary Excerpts of an Address given by Judy recently in NSW Parliament House, Sydney, regarding her 2019 tour to Poland, Ukraine and Israel, specifically the Christians for Israel (Ukraine) team’s outreach to Jewish Ukrainians. ________________________________________________________ Christians for Israel’s work in Ukraine embraces Isaiah 61:3 “To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” This beautiful reading is from the Hebrew Scriptures, given to the Hebrews by God whilst they were in exile and which gives us the first glimpse of God’s heart today. These are Hebrew Scriptures. Wonderfully, Gentiles have been grafted into the Root via Messiah and these Scriptures are now for us also. However, Gentiles have been given specific Scriptural directives regarding God’s expectation for them to reach out to their older Jewish brethren, particularly comforting and assisting them home to Israel. Sadly, much of the Church has been left far behind and has completely missed the unstoppable train which speeds on without them. God continues to extend an invitation to work with Him on this momentous issue, something the Church should be performing with all its might, both in humility and deep repentance for its shocking history. A book by Ray Montgomery and Bob O’Dell is entitled ‘The LIST Persecution of Jews by Christians Throughout History’. It is a compilation of more than 800 atrocities committed by Christians, Christian nations or in the name of Christ, against the Jews over the past two millennia. Never before has this amount of research been compiled into a single volume by Christians, for Christians. The LIST reveals the horrifying truth about Christian involvement in not just the Holocaust, the Crusades and the Inquisition, but is a massive collection of atrocities we may have never known about. I believe it is almost unreadable, such is the shocking content. The Church, and most certainly the Jews, is still suffering under this tragic history. We non-Jews have been brought into the family of God from “far off ”. We therefore have a great debt to the Jews. Derek Prince said “that without the Jews we would have no Patriarchs, no Prophets, no Apostles, no Bible and no Saviour” [and I would add therefore - no hope!] But what are we doing about it? How can we reach out to our beloved Jewish brethren? We may not like to hear these things, we may like to continue to read nice books, and use our resources to go on nice holidays (and these things are not wrong), but are they what God is inviting us to do with Him, at this time? I am not saying that we should buy this book, digest it and feel guilt. This is not God’s way. He rather is saying to individuals and nations, repent of the past (which we need to know about) and then I can use you. This is a very hard word but the time is shortening. Another text that I wish to highlight concerns God’s heart and His requirements for the behaviour of the nations toward Israel. “Yes, in those days and at that time, when I restore Judah and Jerusalem from captivity, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning My people, My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations as they divided up My land.” (Joel 3:2) This grave prophecy, yet to be fulfilled, will be catastrophic for some nations, God forbid our own. It is an essential, central component for nations to recognise Israel as a key element in God’s sovereign plan for His soon-coming Kingdom. In Isaiah 43:5-8 God writes to His people, Israel, the following glorious promise. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone called by My name and created for My glory whom I have indeed formed and made. Bring out a people who have eyes but are blind, and who have ears but are deaf ”. Blind and deaf? Why only the blind and the deaf? Why not mention the sick, the lame, the poor, the rich, the maimed, the persecuted? He specifically says here the blind and the deaf. God has revealed in His Word that He blinded and deafened His people in order that the Gentiles should be saved. He now wants His Jewish nation home to Israel where He Himself will reveal Messiah. Since 1948, they now have a land to which to return. And the verse that thrills me to my very bones and the one which compels me to travel to far off lands to be part of this prophecy; the Gentiles will help. “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up My banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders’”. (Isaiah 49:22) This is our invitation from a Holy God. I first answered the Lord’s call to go to work with Koen and his wonderful team in Ukraine in 2017. This year I returned, taking others with me. I would like to return perhaps in 2021. We packed and distributed 2000 food parcels for registered, impoverished Jews; listened to grievous heart-rending stories of children witnessing their parents murdered in front of them; and we rejoiced as Koen reiterated the C4I’s undertaking to assist with securing passports and flights in order for these Jewish folk to make Aliyah. We drove 2000 miles through a country still emerging from Communism, driving across dangerous roads full of potholes damaged by snow and ice. When I was led to begin this year’s tour in Poland, then fly to Ukraine prior to Israel, I began to question whether this was something God was definitely asking me to do. Would others be interested in walking through areas of Poland with me? Would others be drawn to visit Ukraine, this land of unspeakable grief, this land where each town and village has its own Babi Yar? Would others be willing to go to a land which seems that wherever you place your feet, you are walking upon Jewish bones? The Lord spoke into my heart that this was not my tour but His and that He would prepare those He wished to accompany me. Later, as I spoke to each person on the tour, I found that this is exactly what had occurred. Whilst the journey was sobering, with tears and grief at times, there was superb Jewish/Christian fellowship and love born out of shared experiences unable to be voiced adequately. It becomes ‘a knowing’ rather than requiring explanation. Is God preparing you? Would you like to join me in 2021 when next time I go to Ukraine with an Australian group? ________________________________________________________ Judy Russell is an advocate for Christians for Israel Australia. You can contact Judy at judy.russell@iinet.net.au Judy Russell Christian’s for Israel Advocate and host of popular worldview meetings, Parliament House, Sydney A Glimpse Into God’s Heart for His People: from Ukraine to Israel. I will bring your offspring from the east and gather you from the west With Sergei, Koen (centre) and Carmen, some of the C4I team down on the Moldovan border, looking at the route we had traversed.

24. 24 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Israel & the Palestinians 12 Israel’s Story in Maps Map 10 | n Judea & Samaria Municipal authorities There are six regional councils, four cities, thirteen local councils and a total of 142 Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria. As of April 2019, the Israeli population in these areas is close to 500,000. Map 11 | n The Oslo Agreements Israel no longer controls the Arabs Under the Oslo Agreements, 40% of the land was turned over to Palestinian Authority (PA) civilian rule (Area B). Some of it (the large cities) was turned over to PA security control as well (Area A). More than 95% of the Arab population living in Judea and Samaria live under Palestinian Authority rule (Areas A,B), vote in local elections, pay taxes to the PA which administers its own separate educational, legal, medical and social w elfare systems. The Palestinian Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, run their own lives, and there is no ‘occupation’ there. December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Blessing Bethlehem Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz n Writer | Breaking Israel News “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I Hashem am your God.” (Leviticus 19:34) Two rabbis are working hard to help the Christian Arabs of Bethlehem, the oldest Christian community in the world. Their efforts are based on the Torah imperative ‘to help the stranger in your midst,’ or, as one rabbi puts it, “Covenant land requires covenantal responsibility.” Rabbi Pesach Wolicki and David Nekrutman of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) launched Blessing Bethlehem in 2016 to help the persecuted Christians living in the city of Bethlehem and its surrounding areas. As part of their work, they distribute food and food vouchers to 120 Christian families in Bethlehem. Christian Arabs transport the parcels to a central location in Bethlehem and directly to the elderly. Much of their work must remain secret in order to protect the recipients. The problem is acute as Arab Christians are an oppressed minority in Muslim controlled areas of the region. Christians make up about two per cent of Israel’s population. Approximately half of Israel’s 120,000 Christian Arabs are part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Before Hamas took over Gaza, approximately 5,000 Christians lived in Gaza. Under Hamas rule, that number has dwindled to fewer than 1,000. Living under radical Islamist rule, th e remaining Christians are sorely oppressed. In Judea and Samaria, about 70,000 Christians live under Palestinian Authority rule. Both Bethlehem and Nazareth – key New Testament towns – which were once overwhelmingly Christian, now have Muslim majorities. When Israel was founded in 1948, about 80 per cent of the population of Bethlehem was Christian. Today, approximately 12 per cent, or 15,000 Christians, live in the area of Bethlehem. Though Christian families are the largest landowners in Bethlehem, their property has often been subject to theft. In 2012, Pastor Steven Khoury was interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network. Pastor Khoury refuted claims that the exodus of Christians from Bethlehem was due to pressure from Israel. He maintained that the Arabs, who claimed their ancestors were among the first followers of Jesus were leaving his birthplace due to systematic discrimination and persecution at the hands of the predominantly Muslim population and the Palestinian government aimed at driving their population out of their homeland. “The Palestinian Authority controls Bethlehem but it is still in the Holy Land, making it part of the covenant. Covenant land comes with covenantal responsibility,” Nekrutman told Breaking Israel News, “God said that as a Jew living in Israel, I have the r equirement to love the non- Jew living in the land with me. And that means to make sure he is not religiously oppressed.” Much of the harassment is informal. Palestinians, Christian and Muslim, who advocate co-existence with Israelis are frequently attacked in what is termed the ‘Anti-Normalisation Movement.’ This is openly encouraged by Palestinian Authority officials. “The PA claims there is religious freedom under their rule, but the reality is that there isn’t, at least not in the way we understand freedom of religion” Nekrutman said. “The Muslims can’t be blatantly anti- Christian in Bethlehem since Christian tourism is a major source of income. But unemployment is much higher among Christians than Muslims. They are forced out of their houses, and the demographic statistics reflect this.” Nekrutman explained that the role of the Christian Arabs in the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel is complicated. “Christian Arabs are frequently caught in an identity crisis that pits ethnicity against religion,” Nekrutman explained. “In Judea and Jerus alem, Christian Arabs generally live in the Palestinian areas. They are generally tolerated under Palestinian rule so long as they don’t flaunt their Christianity. As Arabs, they ethnically associate with the Palestinians. In the north of Israel, in areas like Haifa, you have Jews, Christians, and Muslims living side-by-side.” “Their identity as Christian Arabs separates them ethnically from the Jews and religiously from the Muslim Arabs. This makes the Christian Arabs the clearest minority in the region, and they are caught in the middle of the regional conflict. Because of their identifying with Arabs, they rarely experience love from Israelis.” This is a clear case of returning a favour, or, in Biblical terms, of those who bless Israel being blessed. “This is a community who are Evangelical Arab Christians, which is a rarity in Israel,” Rabbi Wolicki said to Breaking Israel News. “This is important to Israel since even the Christian Arabs who live in Israel do not have a favourable perception of Israel. The Evangelical Arabs are beginning to change that.” Rabbi Wolicki explained that even though this persecution is aimed at Evangelicals, Jews should treat it as if it was being directed at Judaism. “They are being persecuted, but if the Jews were standing right where they are, we would be persecuted just as well,” the rabbi said. “These people are suffering because they are our friends. This makes it a Jewish problem.” The Blessing Bethlehem project has opened doors, allowing Christian Arabs a rare experience of Jewish love for the stranger among them. Rabbi Wolicki related a powerful example of this. As part of his project, the rabbi decided to visit the recipients at a Christmas gathering. Since the 1995 Oslo Accords, Bethlehem has been administered by the Palestinian Authority, and it is forbidden for Israelis to enter. Rabbi Wolicki decided to visit nonetheless. An Arab friend drove him into the city and to a venue. “There were 600 people in the room that even though they were born and raised in Bethlehem, they had never connected with Jewish Israelis before. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they had never seen a rabbi before,” Rabbi Wolicki said. “Several told me that until that Christmas Eve, their only experience with Israelis was facing IDF soldiers at security checkpoints.” As an Evangelical, Pastor Khoury also encountered resistance from the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches who see him as attracting their congregants. “Since my imperative is Biblical, we have also tried to work with Catholics and Greek Orthodox,” Nekrutman explained. “They refuse to accept any aid from us because of the political implications of dealing with J ews in Judea.” “Pastor Khoury preaches from the Old Testament, which the other Christian Arabs view as a Jewish book. They also reject replacement theology, which gets them in trouble with the Catholic and Eastern Churches as well as the Palestinian Authority.” “The people suffer discrimination in their lives, but this is focused on the religious aspect,” Rabbi Wolicki said. “People have rocks thrown at them on their way to church. Their church in Bethlehem has been firebombed 14 times. Pastor Khoury has been shot four times, and his brother was murdered. This article was originally published on 17th September 2018 on www.breakingisraelnews.com. In the days before Christmas, the Khoury family spreads the Light in Bethlehem. With dedication they provide Christmas packages for the needy, so they can have a festive meal, but even more that people feel that they matter and that God cares for them. Emmanuel, God with us. If you would like to donate to bless the Arab Christians in Bethlehem, fill out the coupon on the back page. Rabbi Pesach Wolicki and David Nekrutman

1. 13 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 3 Are Israeli Settlements Illegal? Understanding Israel and world events from a Biblical perspective & Christians Today ISRAEL Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel 6 Jewish Origins of Christmas 7 Christians for Israel in Korea 12 Bless Bethlehem Israeli soldiers close the gate leading to the Island of Peace in Naharaim, northern Israel, on the border with Jordan, on 9 November 2019. This is one of the parcels of land of which Jordan did not extend the lease. | Photo: Flash90 Is Peace Gone Between Israel and Jordan? Yochanan Visser n Christians for Israel Correspondent in Israel Not only has the peace between Jordan and Israel turned cold, but it also looks to be on the verge of collapse. Jordan recently ‘celebrated’ the 25th anniversary of its peace treaty with Israel by recalling its ambassador to the Jewish State. The move is highly symbolic of the state of relations between Israel and Jordan, 25 years after the peace agreement was signed by the late King Hussein and the slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in the presence of former US President Bill Clinton. In Israel, there are those like Ksenia Svetlova of Mitvim, The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, who agree with Jordanian anti-Israel activists that the deterioration in the relations between the two countries is solely on the fault of the Netanyahu government which allegedly misses every opportunity to increase cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom. Ariel Kahana, writing for Israel HaYom, strongly disagrees with Svetlova and claims the cold peace has its advantages. “Israel offers Jordan the strategic backing it needs to deal with the threats it faces; it supports the preservation of Jordan as the Hashemite Kingdom, and it opposes the ‘Jordan is Palestine’ concept,” Kahana wrote. “Israel further lends Jordan a powerful status on the Temple Mount, sells its natural gas at floor rates and provides it with significant water supply, as well as enables European goods heading to Jordan to pass through the Haifa port and land crossings,” he added. On the other hand Kahana claims that Jordan keeps the tensions with the Palestinians from boiling over, and adds that this is particularly true when it comes to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “Why is the climate acerbic? Because every public step King Abdullah takes to signal warming ties with Israel will meet with scathing domestic criticism, to the point of rattling the throne,” according to the Israeli journalist. The Jordanian King is dealing with increasing opposition to his regime, something that has been under-reported by both Israeli and international media. Take, for example, what happened in Jordan when protesters in Ramtha threw shoes (a very humiliating act in Muslim countries) and stones at giant billboards with photos of King Abdullah. The protests were followed by gun battles between opponents of Abdullah’s regime who are members of the Bani Hassan tribe, and regime forces in the city of Zarqa, Jordan’ s third-largest city. To divert attention from the many failures of his regime to solve severe economic and social problems Abdullah uses the Palestinian issue to protect his rule over Jordan which is home to a Palestinian majority and roughly 1.5 million Syrian refugees who were taught to hate Israel. In March this year, the King made clear he sees himself as the patron of Jerusalem, which he still seems to regard as a part of Jordan. “Jerusalem and the future of Palestine are a red line for Jordan. I don’t think I can make it any clearer... As a Hashemite, how could I (possibly) relinquish Jerusalem? That is impossible. It is a red line. (I say) a resounding no to (relinquishing) Jerusalem,” Abdullah said at the time. Jordan announced last year that it would not extend the lease of the two parcels of land because of domestic opposition against the peace deal with Israel. At th e same time, Jordan is careful not to end security cooperation with Israel because it fears an influx of Islamists from Syria. For this reason, both Jordan and Israel asked President Donald J. Trump to keep some US Special Forces in southern Syria near the Jordanian border. AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA www.c4israel.com.au | info@c4israel.com.au December 2019 Kislev - Tevet 5780

17. 9 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Ron Ross Article continued... everywhere are using the latest up-to-date surveillance. They hack Facebook and our phones. Occasionally they send messages. I got one recently saying I had a case in court and if I don’t go there, I will be fined. This was a fake message. I threw away my iPhone.” “I personally cannot go to Egypt anymore. I’m on their watch list,” a reporter said. This is a good reason some reporters are writing under assumed names Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) are growing in numbers and effectiveness despite obvious challenges. For instance in Tunisia it took two years for the government to start closing kindergartens after a brave female reporter exposed their agenda was to train young jihadis. She actually went undercover with a hidden camera strapped to her body. From the ARIJ website: “At least 10 Arab journalists, mostly publishing under aliases and in foreign media, exposed a network of offshore companies and bank accounts linked to   Arab strongmen and their business partners.One reporter revealed how Syrian President Bashar Al- Assad and his allies have been able to avoid international sanctions by registering shell companies in safe havens like the Seychelles. Another detailed the fortunes of senior Yemeni officials and businessmen. This was the first time that Arab -not western – journalists,had gone after Arab dictators and uncovered their financial dealings. An important precedent.” (en.arij.net) This is a courageous group covering a broad area in the Middle East. Free Speech A year ago columnist and lawyer Judith Bergman wrote an article she headlined ‘Killing Free Speech.’ She targeted Organization of Islamic Corperation (OIC). The OIC issues guidelines for international journalists like this: “Emphasis should be directed at avoidance of any link or association of Islam with terrorism or the use of Islamophobic rhetoric....such as labeling criminal terrorists as ‘Islamic fascists, Islamic extremists.” She points out already in the West authorities “do not want to label Muslim terrorists as Islamic, but routinely describe them as ‘mentally ill.” (Killing Free Speech, Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, September 21, 2018) Denormalization Back to Israel and the Palestinian Authority! A major hurdle encountered by journalists and broadcasters is the Palestinian Authority policy on Denormalization. Designed to intimidate and demonise any sign of Arab-Israeli collaboration the penalties are swiftly enforced. Normalization (‘tatbia’ in Arabic) is the worst political sin any Palestinian can commit. It is used as a term of abuse by the authorities. Imagine the predicament for journalists? In June, the PA sacked a man from his work in the Education Ministry and removed him as council chief of the West Bank village of Deir Kadis. Social media showed four Israeli neighbours enjoying his son’s wedding celebrations. A crime! Last December a Palestinian court in Ramallah sentenced a Palestinian American to life imprisonment for brokering the sale of a house in the Old City of Jerusalem to an Israeli organization. Guilty! Two years ago four Palestinians were arrested in the west Bank town of Efrat for sharing a cup of coffee with Jewish community members. The authorities charged such social behaviour promoted ‘normalization.’ Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote a detailed report on denormalization. In part he said: “Denormalization’s first objective is to intimidate and threaten Palestinians and Israelis who seek peace and a two states for two peoples solution. Denormalization’s second objective is to delegitimize and isolate Israel in the international community. In this regard, denormalization parallels Hamas and other terror groups that are working to destroy any chance of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” Khaled Abu Taomeh The history of the Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Taomeh (pictured right) is remarkable. In my years reporting in Jerusalem I turned to Khaled for advice and wisdom. He is in demand to speak for Christian tour groups. He is a quiet, intelligent Moslem man. His working life began at Al-Fajr (“The Dawn”), the Palestinian Liberation Organization newspaper at the time of Yasser Arafat. Khaled left when he observed the paper thrived on propaganda. Abu Toameh then freelanced, working for foreign reporters covering Israel and the Middle East. He wrote for the Sunday Times (Britain) among others. He produced TV documentaries and began his new career at the Jerusalem Post. “I am an Arab Muslim and the only place I can write honestly is in a Jewish newspaper,” he said. That was more than thirty years ago. His career at the Post has spanned years of the most contentious issues. Gatestone Institute carries a library of his work. They describe him as a veteran award-winning journalist and note his work is published by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report and still The Sunday Times. Khaled has worked as a producer and consultant for NBC News since 1989. He is a Distinguished Fellow at Gatestone Institute. For me Khaled Abu Taomeh is a role model for truth-telling journalists. Last October he wrote an article ‘What are the Palestinian Leaders Afraid of?’ “From all accounts, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas are neck-and- neck in their competition to crush freedom of expression and crack down on the media,” he wrote. (October 31, 2019) He continued: “Since the beginning of this year, the PA security forces have arrested or summoned for interrogation a number of Palestinian journalists in the West Bank despite a promise by PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh to stop all violations against freedom of expression and the media. Last week, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), a body dominated by Fatah loyalists, called for the release of the journalists held by the PA and Hamas. The PJS also urged international human rights and press organizations to pressure Hamas to halt its repressive measures against journalists and political activists in the Gaza Strip.” Another eye-opening article was ‘Why are Palestinians ‘Disappearing’ in Saudi Arabia?’ (October 17, 2019) “Dozens of Palestinians have been disappearing in Saudi Arabia in recent months and are believed to be held in detention in the kingdom’s prisons, according to Palestinian sources and international human rights organizations. The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership in the West Bank, which regularly condemns Israel for arresting Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorism and other anti-Israel activities, has been reluctant to speak out against the Saudi purge of Palestinians, ostensibly for security reasons, not to harm its relations with the kingdom.” (Gatestone Institute) I have followed his brave reporting for many years. He is entitled to be acknowledged as he stands out in a profession constantly challenged. In 2017 another of my favourite Israel experts Caroline Glick wrote an amazing tribute to Khaled on her Facebook page. She spoke about raising her children in Eifrat surrounded by Palestinian Arabs with whom “we share roads and supermarkets. With whom, we share the land.” A young girl, she explained, was murdered by a Palestinian Arab terrorist. Her children were frightened. They had nervous questions. “Why do the Arabs want to murder us? Will we be killed? Does our alarm work? Do you know Arabs mommy?” Caroline replied. “‘Mommy has a very close friend who is an Arab and a Muslim. His name is Khaled Abu Toameh. He is a writer just like mommy and we have been friends for many, many years, since way before you were born.’ And then I told my kids all about Khaled Abu Toameh and how the Jerusalem Post’s former Palestinian affairs correspondent is the bravest reporter I know and one of their mommy’s oldest and dearest friends. Khaled has made it his life’s work to tell the truth about the PLO’s corruption and human rights abuses against the Palestinians. He insists that everyone recognize the pernicious ideology of hatred and jihad that the PLO and Hamas inculcate in the minds of the Palestinians from the cradle to the grave and why this represents a crime, not only against Israel, but against the Palestinians.” With courageous, bold and curious journalists at work, we can build trust and expect the truth. We have a responsibility to read each report critically. In the storm of ‘fake news’ we are subjected to each day there is light in the darkness. There are heroes at work. Imagine the tightrope of truth that confronts every journalist or broadcaster in the Middle East. Now the bottom line! We have a truth that transcends the ways of the world. I recall 1999 when so many declared Y2K and the terrible tragedies that the turn of the century would bring. It was all a man- made paranoia. Historic events come and go but the Truth we trust is eternal. We have our own Covenant. It is the Bible. Our God is Truth. He is the measure of what we believe and what we ignore. _______________________________________ Ron Ross worked as a newsman in Jerusalem, broadcasting Middle East reports internationally. He is the Middle East correspondent for Vision Christian Radio and a popular speaker. www.ronross.org | ronandyvonne@mac.com

10. 2 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Biblical Studies Rev. Willem Glashouwer President of Christians for Israel International The Stars Of Bethlehem What do the stars tell us? What message do we read in the firmament? Astrology was developed by Nimrod in Babel/Babylon—idolatry with the assistance of the firmament. But is there also another meaning to be derived from the firmament? What does that impressive universe, with its billions of stars and galaxies, tell us? Is there a positive way to ‘read’ the heavens? A way that glorifies the Creator instead of the occult-way in which astrology interprets the stars and the planets? First of all, of course, that there must be an inconceivably intelligent and eternal Creator ‘Who thought of the worlds and they came into being’. Every human being can perceive and understand that there must be a creative Almighty God behind the world around him and behind the great universe. Paul says in Romans 1:20: “...For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” A powerful message goes out from majestic creation, even without words. Paul goes on to say in Romans 10:17a: “...faith comes from hearing.” Faith comes through hearing the Word of God, by hearing and understanding a spoken message, by Biblical proclamation. ‘Word’ is ρημα in Greek – rhèma, the spoken word. Faith obtains a much clearer form through divine revelation in the Word of God, the Bible. The reformers said that there are two sources of the knowledge of God: Nature and the Scriptures. But then Paul goes on to say in Romans 10:18: “...But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: ‘Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” ‘Earth’ is γη in Greek – gè, the earth as ‘a clump of earth’, the world globe, the planet. ‘Words’ is ρηματα in Greek – rhèmata, and ‘world’ is οικουμενη in Greek – oikoumene, oecumene, the occupied world, the people’s world. So nature apparently proclaims a ‘spoken’ message, i.e. from the universe – to the ends of the earth. A worldwide message, a sound, is being proclaimed throughout the whole of the occupied world, but it is a sound without words! This verse from Romans 10 is a quotation from Psalm 19. There we read in verses 1-6: ”...The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.“ It is a message without words, a soundless proclamation, throughout the whole earth, a language from heaven, a language that can be read and understood. What is this heavenly language? How can you read this language of the firmament? Signs of the Zodiac The firmament has been read from the beginning of humanity. This firmament contained ‘little slides’ that could be read like a comic strip. We call these little slides of heaven ‘signs of the Zodiac’. The little slides are apparently older than the groups of stars to which they are ‘fastened’. Those groups of stars often do not even look like them! The little slides are not deduced from those groups of stars, therefore, but vice versa: the stars were ‘drawing pins’ with which the little slides were ‘hung up’ in the sky. Names were given to stars and signs of the Zodiac... by Almighty God! Psalm 147:4 says: ”...He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” and Isaiah 40:25-26 says: “...To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” We come across a few of the names of stars and signs of the Zodiac in the Bible. Job 38:31-32: ”...Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt? Can you bring forth the constellations [Hebrew: Mazzaroth] in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?” Job 9:9: “...He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.” Job 26:13: “...By His breath the skies became fair; His hand pierced the gliding serpent.” Banners and Standards Numbers 2:2-3 says: “...The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family. On the east, toward the sunrise, the divisions of the camp of Judah are to encamp under their standard. The leader of the people of Judah is Nahshon son of Amminadab.” And then Numbers 2 describes which tribe camped next to Judah, and which tribe camped next to them, etc. What does this signify? ‘Banner’ is ‘Degel’ in Hebrew, and ‘standard’ ‘Oth’. The standards were fixed to the banners. Each tribe had its own standard, and they camped in the desert around the Tabernacle. Ancient Jewish commentators point out that each tribe had its own standard. The 12 signs on the 12 banners correspond to the 12 signs of the Zodiac according to the Encyclopaedia Judaica. The order in which they camped in the desert around the Tabernacle is in Numbers 2: Judah, Issachar, Zebulon to the East; then Ruben, Simeon, Gad to the South; then Levi in the middle, near the ‘Tent of Meeting’; then Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin to the West; finally Dan, Asher and Naphtali to the North. The Encyclopaedia Judaica combines the signs of the Zodiac (with their Latin names) on the banners of the 12 tribes of Israel on the basis of the Jewish manuscript ‘the Yalkut Shimoni’, as follows: Judah-Aries, Issachar-Taurus, Zebulon-Gemini, Ruben- Cancer, Simeon-Leo, Gad-Virgo, Ephraim- Libra, Manasseh-Scorpio, Benjamin- Sagittarius, Dan-Capricorn, Asher-Aquarius and Naphtali-Pisces. Levi is not mentioned. Israel did not have to be afraid of the signs in the heavens, as were the nations. Jeremiah 10:2 says: “...This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.’” Christian commentators in the 19th century (see below) came up with a different set, on the basis of a different reading of the signs in the heavens. They say: Judah-Leo, Issachar-Cancer, Zebulon-Virgo, Ruben-Aquarius, Simeon- Pisces, Gad-Aries, Ephraim & Manasseh- Taurus with 2 horns, Benjamin-Gemini, Dan-Scorpio, Asher-Sagittarius and Naphtali-Capricorn. Levi is in the middle: Libra-Scales, because of the blood on the altar that ‘offsets’ the sins of the people. The English names of the 12 signs of the Zodiac are as follows: Ram (Aries), Bull (Taurus), Twins (Gemini), Crab (Cancer), Lion (Leo), Maiden (Virgo), Scales (Libra), Scorpion (Scorpio), Archer (Sagittarius), Goat (Capricorn), Water Bearer (Aquarius) and Fish (Pisces). The agile, twisting serpent is the Zodiac sign Hydra, in the constellation of Leo – Lion. The Lion of the tribe of Judah crushes the serpent in this constellation, as promised in Genesis 3:15 “...he [the offspring of the woman, the Saviour] will crush your head” or, as Revelation 12:9 and 20:1-3a say: “...The great dragon was hurled down —that ancient serpent called the devil, or satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.” We are getting ahead of ourselves, however! Back to the stars and the signs of the Zodiac in the Bible. The story without words in the heavens begins with the birth of the Saviour from the Virgin...

26. 26 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Walk through the Land 14 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 ‘Private’ Sabbath Bus Budget Approved The Tel Aviv municipality has approved an initial budget for operating public transportation on the Sabbath. Under the plan, a few cities in the greater Tel Aviv area, among them Givatayim, Ramat Hasharon, and Kiryat Ono, will operate a shared transportation system on the Sabbath. These cities are calling on other cities to join them in expanding this system. The network of interurban routes to be operated is a private travel service of the municipality; passengers will not be charged, and the local authorities therefore have jurisdiction over t he service, not the central government. It is therefore not considered a ‘local public transport’, which is prohibited in Israel on Shabbat. | Photo: Globes Sensor Technology Combats Oil Pollution “Oil is one of the most common pollutants in the world,” says Ran Pelta, PhD at Tel Aviv University. The acquisition of information about the earth’s surface by remote sensing is now possible by the reflectivity of physical matter. Scientists have developed an algorithm that identifies the type of pollutant according to its reflectance spectrum and then maps it to show the impacted area. A remote sensor, which provides high-resolution data on soil contaminants, can be mounted on drones or satellites to find oil leaks in real-time and thus reduce consequential damage to nature and the environment. Hospital Bedding Germ-Resistant Hospital bed sheets and patient gowns are a major conduit for transferring dangerous bacteria estimated to infect millions of patients per year. Professors from Bar-Ilan University have developed a new way to bacteria-proof the fabrics used in a hospital, by using ultrasound waves to induce a physical phenomenon known as ‘cavitation,’ in which rapid changes of pressure in a liquid lead to the formation of tiny vapor-filled cavities. Antibacterial chemicals can then be propelled onto the molecular structure of the fabric at tremendous speed. | Photo: Shutterstock Short News Kameel Majdali n Director | Teach All Nations Inc. We are in part 2 of the ‘Walk through the Land Series.’ The goal is firstly, to help you understand the Bible better by learning about the land where most of the events in the Bible occurred, and secondly, to help you gain more benefit from your next holy land tour. Last time, we focused on the Sea of Galilee, the most famous body of water in the world. In this article, we introduce you to the coastal plain. The plain starts in the south at the Besor River or Nahal Besor (‘river’ or ‘river bed’ is called nahal ), south of Gaza. It extends in a North-South direction 193 km or 120 miles to the Lebanese border at Rosh Haniqra. In 1,800 years of history, ancient Israel only controlled the coastal plain for 150 years. Yet, it plays an important role in the land and history of the Bible. In general, unlike much of the country, the coastal plain is well-watered. It receives 400 to 640 cm (16 to 25 inches) of rainfall annually. It is graced with fertile alluvial soil and rolling hills. The International Highway The land of the Bible is a ‘land-bridge’ between 3 continents. On its eastern side of Philistia, approximately 16 km inland, is the strategic Afro-Eurasian international highway. This road connects Egypt and Africa with Syria, Assyria, Babylon and beyond. You literally cannot travel by land from Africa to Asia except by coming through this little land. As such, the land bridge was a tempting target and coveted prize for great powers of old, thus making the promised land a rope in a geopolitical tug-o-war game over the centuries. Yet, despite its straight and simple terrain, travel on the international highway could be challenging with sand dunes, the Yarkon River which flows to and through Tel Aviv, and the low-lying areas that get marshy during the winter rain. Though the international highway has been closed since the birth of Isr ael in 1948, it has an important prophetic role in the future. Isaiah 19:23-24 declares: In that day there shall be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel shall be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land. The Sand and the Sea Here is an example of how geography influences history. The coastal plain south of Haifa and Mount Carmel is very straight, with tiny sand-choked inlets. Where does the sand come from? Answer: The Sahara Desert. The Nile River carries the sand into the Nile Delta, where it flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The sea current carries it in a counter-clockwise direction and deposits sand on the northern coast of Sinai, the Gaza Strip, and Israel’s coastal plain all the way to Mount Carmel. Carmel is not a single peak but a mountain range, known as ‘The Carmel.’ Carmel juts into the Mediterranean at Haifa, resembling an ‘antelope’s nose,’ as the ancient Eg yptians called it. This promontory of Carmel serves a very important purpose: it is a barrier that prevents the Sahara sand going further north. That’s why the coastal plain north of Carmel has viable natural ports not filled with Sahara sand, such as in Acre, Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos. No wonder the Phoenicians were the great maritime nation of antiquity. South of Carmel there were no suitable ports and the Israelites focused on agriculture. For our purposes, we will divide the coastal plain into three parts: 1. The Plain of Philistia (south); 2. The Plain of Sharon (centre); 3. The Plain of Acre (north). Though all three subregions are important parts of the coastal plain, they all have their unique distinctives which make their individual histories very different. For example, the Plain of Philistia houses the 5 Philistine cities: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. Thus, it was well inhabited and had access to decent agriculture. The neighbouring region to the north, the Plain of Sharon, was different: it was sparsely inhabited, with limited agriculture, and was much neglected in the Old Testament period. The Plain of Acre, separated from the rest of the coast by The Carmel, related more to the Phoenicians than Israel. Plain of Philistia From the Besor River northward to Jaffa and the Yarkon River, the Plain of Philistia is 80 kilometres (50 miles) North-South and 16 to 40 km (10-25 miles) East-West. Rainfall is 400-510 mm (16 to 20 inches) annually. The coastline is totally straight and the land flat, except for sand dunes and kurkar ridges. The red soil of the Plain of Sharon and the alluvial loess soil from the Negev, combined with the rainfall, produces grain, melons, and citrus groves (think of ‘Jaffa oranges’). The northern region of the Philistine plain, between the Yarkon River and Aijalon, is called the Plain of Ono (Nehemiah 6:2), otherwise known as the ‘Valley of Craftsmen’ (Nehemiah 11:35), recognising that the Philistines were workers of iron. Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock (I Samuel 13:19-20). Around the time Israel settled in the land on the east, the Philistines came from Captor from the west, namely the Aegean Sea region. Amos 9:7 confirms this: Have I not brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? Once these two peoples met, it was ‘war at first sight.’ The Philistines were fierce enemies of the Israelites, especially during the days the judges, Saul and David. Though the name ‘Philistines’ implies uncivilised, in reality they were an advanced people in ironworks. Their drawback was the worship of false gods, like Dagon and Baalzebub. Famous encounters include Samson’s one-man war with the Philistines, David’s victory over Goliath, Saul’s defeat and death by the Philistines on Mount Gilboa, and David’s constant battles and victories. Afterwards, we hear little about them except for occasional references by the minor prophets. They eventually disappeared from history while the people of Israel continue until this day. Apology from the Managing Editor: In the October issue, the title for part 1 of this series was incorrect. The title printed said: ‘Infamous Body of Water.’ It should have read ‘Most Famous Body of Water in the World’. Panoramic view of sunset over the Mediterranean Sea from Carmel Mounts. Haifa. Israel. | Photo: Shutterstock The Coastal Plain

5. 17 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Israel News 5 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Bridge & Tunnel Disasters Prevented Bridges are built for a service life of about 80 to 90 years. But bridges sometimes age unnoticed. People who are responsible for the safety of bridges and tunnels can now request a cloud- based 3D diagnosis in real-time thanks to the technology invented by the Israeli start-up Dynamic Infrastructure. The company’s own image analysis compares current images of the structure with older images from previous regular inspections on a daily base and sends an automatic warning of potentially dangerous changes. | Photo: israel21c Higher Education Funding Doubled Since 2010, the budget for higher education has increased from about NIS 6.9 billion to NIS 11.8 billion, according to the Council for Higher Education (CHE) in Israel. The number of students has increased by 10% in the last nine years, with an increase in Arab enrolment of more than 100%. According to estimates, 313,600 students will pursue higher education courses across Israel’s 61 educational institutions during the 2019/20 academic year. | Photo: Tel Aviv University Short News Israeli Ministry of n Foreign Affairs Israel is fighting against Islamic Jihad in Gaza. The most recent conflict erupted when Israel killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior commander in the terror group’s military wing in Gaza, in a predawn airstrike. Israeli officials say Abu al-Ata was preparing multiple terror attacks against Israelis. What is Palestinian Islamic Jihad? The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is a radical Sunni terrorist organisation that receives financial and military support from Iran. The organisation grew out of a radical faction of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. It was formally established in Gaza in 1981 by Fathi Shaqaqi, a Rafah- based physician, and Sheikh Abd al-Aziz Awda, an Islamic preacher, together with Ramadan Shalah and other former members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The founders were influenced, among other things, by the Iranian Revolution. The armed wing of the PIJ is the Al-Quds Brigades, also established in 1981. The goal of the PIJ is to annihilate Israel and replace it with a state governed by Sharia (Islamic religious) law in all of the territory in pre-1948 Mandatory Palestine. The means to achieve this goal is an armed struggle: the organisation rejects the political process. The PIJ has an annual budget of $100 million. Iran is the main sponsor of the organisation, transferring huge sums of money to the PIJ every year, along with advanced weapons and missiles such as the Fajr 5. Syria does not provide money or weapons to the PIJ but allows it to operate out of headquarters in Damascus. PIJ’s ideology is inspired by pan-Islamism, concepts drawn from both the Muslim Brotherhood in E gypt and the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and Palestinian nationalism. It is ideologically opposed to the existence of the State of Israel and believes that jihad will bring about its two central goals: the destruction of Israel, and the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state in its place. While the PIJ and Hamas have similar goals, there are differences. Unlike Hamas and Fatah, PIJ refuses to engage in negotiations or the diplomatic process. It does not seek political representation within the Palestinian Authority. Thus, whereas Hamas chose to participate in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections, PIJ encouraged Palestinians to boycott the elections. Like Hamas, PIJ conducts summer camps, mostly for high school students, placing emphasis on radical ideological indoctrination and paramilitary training. In an Islamic Jihad kindergarten, the children celebrate their graduation by dressing up in military uniforms, waving rifles, and declaring things like: “When I grow up, I’ll fight the Zionist enemy. I want to blow myself up on Zionists and kill them on a bus in a suicide bombing.” The PIJ operates in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Operation Defensive Shield, which was carried out by the IDF in 2002, and the enactment of the Disengagement Plan in 2005, significantly reduced the organisation’s activity in Judea and Samaria (Westbank). As such, the organisation now focuses its activities in Gaza. The PIJ’s means of attack have changed over the years. Their original method, suicide bombings, became less and less effective as Israeli security forces and technology became more effici ent at preventing suicide bombings. Now, the organisation launches high-trajectory rockets and mortar shells (some of which are assembled by the PIJ itself) from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. The organisation also carries out shootings, places explosive devices on the border fence between Gaza and Israel, and digs attack tunnels into Israeli territory. The PIJ was also involved in three armed conflicts with Israel in the Gaza Strip: Operation Cast Lead in 2009, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Moreover, since 2018, there has been a significant uptick in terrorist attacks perpetrated by the PIJ, including the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, stabbing attacks, and drive-by shootings. PIJ has been designated as a terror organisation by EU, UK, the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and Israel. Major Terrorist Attacks Carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Suicide bombing, 1989: on Tel Aviv- Jerusalem bus line 405, 16 killed. Bicycle bombing, 1994: at Netzarim Junction, 3 killed. Bus attack, 1995: at Kfar Adom, 8 killed. Suicide bombing, 1995: at Beit Lid, 22 killed. Suicide bombing, 1996: on Dizengoff Street in central Tel Aviv, 13 killed. Ambush, 2002: at Hebron, 12 killed. Shooting, 2002: from a settlement near the northern border, 6 killed. Shooting, 2002: in Yeshivat Otniel, in the southern hills of Hebron, 4 killed. Suicide bombing, 2003: at Maxim restaurant in Haifa, 21 killed. Suicide bombing, 2007: at Eilat, 3 killed. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad Anti-Semitism Sways Votes Times of Israel Staff n Over two dozen British public figures, including authors, historians and actors, issued an open letter on 14 November, saying they could not vote for the Labour Party in upcoming elections due to the UK opposition party’s anti-Semitism scandals. The issue of anti-Semitism in Labour under far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn has featured prominently in the run-up to the December 12 elections, which are expected to be fought in large part on the issue of Brexit. The letter, published in the Guardian, was signed by spy author John le Carré, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, military historian Antony Beevor and actor Tom Holland, among others. “We listen to our Jewish friends and see how their pain has been relegated as an issue, pushed aside by arguments about Britain’s European future. For those who insist that Labour is the only alternative to Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, now, it seems, is not the time for Jewish anxiety,” the signatories wrote. The letter said the issue of anti-Semitism was “central to a wider debate about the kind of country we want to be” and that to ignore it because of Brexit would signal that tolerating “anti-Jewish prejudice is a price worth paying for a Labour government.” “Which other community’s concerns are disposable in this way? Who would be next?” it said. “Fighting against racism cannot be accompanied by giving up on opposing anti-Semitism”, wrote the letter’s authors. “Yet that is what it would mean to back Labour and endorse Mr Corbyn for Downing Street,” they said. “The path to a more tolerant society must encompass Britain’s Jews with unwavering solidarity.” While declining to endorse a party, the signatories said they could not “in all conscience” call on others to back a party they would not. “We refuse to vote Labour on 12 December,” they wrote, some of whom had been vocal against Corbyn before the letter. It also noted the investigation by the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission into Labour for allegations of anti-Semitism and said Corbyn “has a long record of embracing anti-Semites as comrades.” In response, Labour noted a number of the signatories have expressed support for the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties . “We take allegations of anti-Semitism extremely seriously, we are taking robust action, and we are absolutely committed to rooting it out of our party and wider society,” a party spokesperson said. Labour is facing accusations of anti- Semitism involving Corbyn, who has come under scrutiny for his alleged failure to stop the hate speech and for past actions in which he appeared to ignore, condone, or encourage it. Following Corbyn’s takeover of the party in 2015, hate speech against Jews and Israel began proliferating in Labour’s ranks. Thousands of incidents have been recorded both by internal Labour groups like Labour Against Antisemitism, and external ones, including the Campaign Against Antisemitism. Some of the accusations stem from Corbyn’s past support for pro-Palestinian causes and refusal to adopt a universally accepted definition of anti-Semitism — a position he has since partly revised. Times of Israel originally published this article on 15th November 2019. Fighting against racism cannot be accompanied by giving up on opposing anti-Semitism Nitai Eliash

16. 8 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Commentary Ron Ross Author and Middle East correspondent and commentator Journalism! A Challenge and A Tribute ‘Truth is stranger than fiction’ is a popular saying. The more I am involved with the media, journalism and broadcasting the more convinced I am fiction often poses as truth. It is a very deep topic. To begin our study consider this. Last October the Palestinian Authority (PA) blocked 51 online news sources. A Ramallah court ruled they were guilty of ‘attacking and denigrating the Palestinian Authority’s symbols’ and publishing content threatening to the PA, according to Reporters without Borders (RSF). Significantly the RSF concluded ‘this unacceptable measure seemed designed to punish media critical of the government.’ They said: “The targets include the Gaza-based Shehab News Agency, which has 7.5 million Facebook followers, and the Quds Network, with 6.6 million followers. It also includes Facebook pages with hundreds of thousands of followers such as Ultra Palestine, Arab 48, PalAbroad and Al-Majd.” Sabrina Bennoui, head of the RSF Middle East news desk drew an obvious conclusion: “The Palestinian Authority confirms its refusal to accept media pluralism and its desire to eliminate all opposition by making it invisible to the public,” she wrote. The RSF describes the Middle East as ‘one of the most dangerous for journalists.’ In 2017 the Palestinian Authority blocked 11 websites for supporting Hamas and the Presidential challenger Mohammed Dahlan. Clear censorship. A year earlier thirty five Arab journalists were fired as a result of terrorism and intimidation inspired by Hamas and Hezbollah. “If you are not with us, then you must be against us and that is why we must shut your mouth,” they were told. Sarah Repucci, Senior Director of Research and Analysis at Freedom House published a report ‘Freedom and the Media: A The Downward Spiral.’ She wrote: “Freedom of the media has been deteriorating around the world over the past decade,” she began. “The innovative and courageous work of independent reporters offers hope that even in the most desperate circumstances, those who are committed to distributing information in the public interest can find a way. But these journalists alone cannot address the needs of billions of people who still have access to little more than their government’s narrative and must rely on their own instincts and observations to assess the claims of corrupt and abusive leaders,” she wrote. (Freedom and the Media: A Downward Spiral, Sarah Repucci, Freedom House) Those instincts and observations are vital in a vibrant society. A dedicated journalist especially must research every story. The facts are essential. Indeed from Ethical Journalism Network the top 5 priorities are.... 1. Truth and A ccuracy. Getting the facts is a core responsibility. 2. Independence. Personal in terests are set aside. 3. Fairness and Impar tiality. Story details should be balanced, building readership trust with impartiality. 4. Humanity. Beware the impact of wor ds. 5. Accountability . Accept comment and constructive criticism. To achieve such standards journalists risk their lives. In 2018 between January 1 and December 14, 53 journalists were killed. The most publicised attack was on Jamal Kashoggi murdered in the Saudi Arabian Consulate, Istanbul. Kashoggi wrote critically of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammid bin Salman. The Saudi record for jailing journalists was second to none. The most deadly topic for journalists was politics. The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have always suppressed journalists and this year the crackdown intensified. Hani al-Agha and Bassam Moheisen were arrested for posting critical comments against Hamas on social media. Hani al-Agha was arrested for reporting on declining standards of living in the Gaza Strip. He is a reporter for the pro-Fatah broadcaster Sawt al- Shabbad. Neither al-Agha or Moheisen have been allowed visits by their families. “Hamas authorities in Gaza have again demonstrated how low press freedom rank in their priorities,” said Ignacio Miguel Delgado, CPJ Middle East and North African representative. Two years ago five Palestinian journalists were arrested in the West Bank by the Palestinian Authority. At the time outlets said this was “a serious blow to freedom of opinion and expression.” A West Bank journalist wrote “this is not the first time journalists are being arrested but it is the first time five are arrested in one night.” Writing an article in a location where Hamas rules raises serious concerns, particularly if you are aware of the Hamas Covenant. This very expressive document calls for the destruction of Israel. Article 13 reads: “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.” And then article 15 “Jihad for the liberation of Palestine is an individual duty.” Item 10 refers to Jerusalem. “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. Its religious, historic and civilisational status is fundamental to the Arabs, Muslims and the world at large. Its Islamic and Christian holy places belong exclusively to the Palestinian people and to the Arab and Islamic Ummah. Not one stone of Jerusalem can be surrendered or relinquished. The measures undertaken by the occupiers in Jerusalem, such as Judaisation, settlement building, and establishing facts on the ground are fundamentally null and void.” And there’s more! (Hamas in 2017: The Document in Full. middleeasteye.net) In the Hamas view its likely fatal to express an opinion on Jerusalem different to their Covenant. It is an intimidating challenge and one some heroes are willing to accept. Writing, reporting or broadcasting in such a toxic environment can be very dangerous. The Bible teaches “the truth will set you free.” In journalism the truth may lead to confinement, abuse or worse—the dangers are real. In a Neimann Report author and journalist Alex Kotlowitz said, “I fear for our profession. It’s standing on wobbly legs. I don’t know how democracy survives without a robust press.” The Arab World. Suppression, manipulation and control goes beyond the Israel-Palestinian region. An increase in investigative journalism covering issues of corruption in Arab countries was identified by the Qatar University’s Abdulrahman Al-Shami. “Corruption is anything that means abusing power, or making wrong decisions, or turning a blind eye to laws at the expense of public rights and money,” Rana Sabbagh, executive director of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism, told The Media Line (Jerusalem). “Corruption is not just stealing money; corruption is basically not being able to have properly functioning toilets in schools.” Sabbagh, executive director of Arab Reporters expressed great concern. “The climate in the Arab world is becoming very hostile,” she said. “The security forces Freedom of the media has been deteriorating around the world over the past decade...

18. 10 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Aliyah - Stories of God Bringing the Jews Home Orly Wolstein First Home in the Homeland & Jewish Agency for Israel This time I will get you acquainted not with one more fresh olim-family, but with a very special person, who is inside of the process of Aliyah support for already more than 30 years! His name is Eitan Ram, he lives in the kibbutz Ein Hashofet in the Megiddo region, he’s 82 years old, he’s a living history of Israel! “My parents came here from Poland in 1933. They were together in a Jewish youth movement. I was born in 1937 in Petakh Tikva. Times were very hard for a young family with a newborn baby. So when I was 2 years old my mother took me back to Poland, and my father, Zionist and Jewish pioneer, decided to stay here and build up a land. I still remember our house in Poland in Lodz, where all our big family with my grandparents, aunts and uncles lived. My first childhood memories come from time in Poland. And then the World War II broke out. Members of our family were persecuted in a very cruel way, and my mother decided to go back to Israel. We got such a permission but under one condition—we had to pay 300 pound, it was a lot of money. So all the members of our family gave their golden jewelries to collect this amount. It was just a beginning, but Jews were kicked out of schools and all the public places and were forced to wear the yellow star of David. On the inner side of my jacket my mother wrote our address in Poland and then one more line: if this address doesn’t exist anymore, send this boy to Palestine. In January 1940 we took a train to Romania (Nazis didn’t allow us to go further than this). From one train to another somehow we arrived to Italy, to Trieste and found there an office of the Jewish Agency. Of course it was closed. But on the stairs were sitting hundreds of Jews, waiting for any escape. My mother told me, that we spent there on these stairs about three weeks! One night suddenly someone opened the door of the office and said: ‘Now we will take you to the harbor, there is a ship to Haifa!’. After six days of sailing we arrived to Haifa, where my father met us. I was very sick, hungry with different skin disorders. My grandparents and other family members were sent to Auschwitz and never came back. That’s why doing now something for the Jewish Agency and for Aliyah is like a closing of a circle for me.” Every six months Eitan receives around 10 new families in Ein Hashofet in the frame of the First Home in the Homeland program. Everyone of the newcomers is his personal guest and a new member of his big family. For every Ole Hadash Eitan assembles a bicycle and puts it near the apartment. A special greeting and a precious memory of everyone who went through the First Home program in Ein Hashofet. The day of Eitan starts at 5 a.m. with 8 km run and bicycling. At 8 he meets with Olim, at 10 he guides a sport course for retired kibbutz-members. (almost all of them are younger than him). Eitan went through Shoah, though three wars in Israel (as a soldier and an officer), was one of the pioneers in two different kibbutzim, has 4 children, 17 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and —hundreds of Olim who remember him as their real family in Israel. Now Eitan is very busy. In the end of November a new group of Olim is coming. He must prepare apartments, make a program of lectures and journeys and, of course, assemble new bicycles for them! Being young means I keep moving. We keep moving forward here, but only because Jews keep moving to Israel and because you keep us in in your prayers! Without your support, spiritual and material, we wouldn’t be able to continue our project of the First Home in the Homeland . Thank you for those of you giving to over 120 Jewish families a possibility to make Aliyah! Some of them will land in Ein Hashofet, in the region of Megiddo. Maybe you will come to visit them one day? ________________________________________________________ Orly Wolstein is an ambassador for First Home in the Homeland and The Jewish Agency for Israel. You can sponsor a New Olim for $300 - see back page of this Newspaper for ways you can give. Keep Moving – A Bike for Every Newcomer Eitan Ram with a new group of olim at the Ein Hashofet kibbutz Eitan showing his picture as a 2-years old boy Eitan leading a group of young olim to the visit of the concentration camp in Poland Without your support, spiritual and material, we wouldn’t be able to continue our project OTHER WAYS TO GIVE Make payable too: Christians for Israel, Australia BSB: ANZ BANK – 014-279 Account No: 405318543 Ref: Your Name + Aliyah or use the form on page 16 You can help bring the Jews home Donate Now! c4israel.com.au/aliyah 1 Person: $300 5 People: $1,000 25 People: $5,000 Christians for Israel, working in cooperation with The Jewish Agency and other Christian ministries, Has helped more than 130,000 Jews home to Israel. You can help people like Eitan and other Olim make their journey home to Israel —you’ll be participating in the exciting fulfillment of Biblical prophecy (Isaiah 49:22)!

13. 5 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye My People... Koen Carlier Aliyah fieldworker for Christians for Israel in the Ukraine At Christians for Israel in Ukraine we experience many interesting situations with an average of 500 Olim (immigrants) leaving Ukraine for Israel every month. Maria is one of the many Olim we will never forget. Sometimes God has an unexpected way of fulfilling His plan in our lives. About a year ago we received an angry phone call from a woman named Maria. “Why didn’t I get a food parcel while other people did?” Somehow she was not on the list of Jewish senior citizens in need who receive food parcels. After this phone call, Ira and Carmen went to Maria’s home to meet her and bring her a food parcel. Ira and Carmen were shocked by what they saw. Maria started to tell them her life story in an old, cluttered little shack of a house that looked ready to collapse at any minute. Maria was 3 years old when the war started. Her parents lived in the village of Bar, in Vinnytsja province. As soon as the German troops occupied Bar all the local Jews had to assemble at a central spot in the village. Anyone who was strong enough was put to work and all the others—children and the elderly—were murdered by firing squad at a mass grave just outside of Bar. Maria’s mother succeeded in giving Maria to a Christian woman in Bar. Risking her own life, this woman took care of Maria during the war and saved the girl’s life. Maria’s mother was put to work in a ghetto and survived the war. After the war, Maria and her mother were reunited. Part of her family was among those murdered at the mass grave. After returning from the ghetto, Maria’s mother discovered that another family had taken up residence in their house. As a result, she was forced to move to Vinnytsja, where they could live in one room of a tiny old house. The end of the war did not bring an end to the suffering Maria and her mother experienced. They were left to deal with both the trauma from the war and the negative reactions from the local population. People wondered how Jews like them had been able to survive the war. “Could they have collaborated with the Germans so that they would survive while others didn’t?” Maria’s mother had trouble finding a job because of her Jewish background. During the Soviet period a special mark was put in your passport if you were Jewish. When she grew up, Maria married and four children were born into the family. It was clear to Ira and Carmen that Maria needed to leave this tiny ruin of a house behind as soon as possible and go to Israel where all of her children and grandchildren already lived. Maria had a different opinion. She was thankful for the food parcel and listening ear, but she didn’t want any other help. She wanted to keep living in Ukraine and not to change her circumstances by moving to Israel. This was partially because she didn’t want to be a burden to her children in Israel. Ira and Carmen left her with a standing offer of help and we kept in contact with her. One day Maria called us in desperation, asking if we would be able to help her go to Israel as soon as possible. We were dumbfounded: Maria wanted to go to Israel? She told us that part of her hovel had collapsed and she had nowhere else to go. We immediately brought Maria with all of the necessary documents to the embassy in Kiev, where her visa for Israel was issued in one day. Her son had flown to Ukraine right away to help with her departure to her homeland Israel! Maria’s son did not want to travel on the Sabbath, which meant that I brought them to the airport in the middle of the night. The evening before some of our other drivers had brought other emigrants to our refuge in Kiev to spend the night. Maria did not say much during the trip. At the airport Maria and the other Olim received instructions from The Jewish Agency and then she was given her plane ticket. Afterwards we had some time to talk about the past few days. Maria told us that she had cried for three days. It was hard for her to leave Ukraine behind. At the end of the conversation I asked how she felt now. She smiled and answered with a quiet voice and a sparkle in her eyes, “Baruch HaShem.” She was ready to take this step now. She also spoke lovingly about her grandfather who had been a rabbi in a small former stettl called Kapaygorod. In Israel she is living with her daughter Diana to start with. Her son Arkady and daughter Svetlana made Aliyah in 1991, right after the Iron Curtain fell. Her son works at the police department and her daughter Svetlana is an engineer. The other two daughters made Aliyah in 2014. Ira is a doctor in Israel and Diana is an accountant. Her religious Jewish children are well integrated in Israeli society. In the beginning they all started by learning the language and taking any jobs they could get. Starting out is not easy for emigrants. We are happy that because her hovel collapsed Maria is now able to enjoy her children and eight grandchildren in Israel. As she said goodbye, Maria even invited me to come visit next time I am in Israel! Maria was the last member of her family to move to Israel. There was no time to take a break. The next day more emigrants needed help with their departure. Our drivers and 8 busses were kept busy transporting Olim. I thought about Maria again, about how she had been saved and hidden by a Christian woman when all Jews were being hunted down here. Now, so many years later, Christians had helped her on her way to the Promised Land. It made me think of Psalm 69 verses 34 and 35: “Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them. For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; and His servants shall live there and possess it.” “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.” (Ezekiel 39:28) Baruch HaShem: Maria is in Israel! OTHER WAYS TO GIVE Make payable too: Christians for Israel, Australia BSB: ANZ BANK – 014-279 Account No: 405318543 Ref: Your Name + FoodParcels or use the form on page 16 You Can Bring Relief to Poor Jewish people in the Ukraine this Christmas Donate Now! c4israel.com.au/food-parcels Maria’s home/hovel in Ukraine after it had collapsed. Christians for Israel regularly distributes food parcels among Holocaust survivors, poor families, Jewish refugees, children and the sick. A food parcel is more than a bag of food. It’s a sign of your friendship and support to our Jewish brothers and sisters that they are not alone. You can help Jews like Maria stay fed, especially during the cold winter months of Christmas — you’ll bring comfort to God’s people (Isaiah 40) and fulfil the commission of Jesus! (Matthew 25:40) 1 Parcel: $15 3 Parcels: $45 5 Parcels: $75 10 Parcels: $150

9. Dear faithful readers, partners and friends (chavorim), Shalom and welcome to this December- January Edition of Israel & Christians Today. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord helps us put this paper together. A few weeks out I wasn’t sure if we would have enough materials, stories and articles to fill our usual 12 page insert, but as you will see, once again, this edition is brimming full of wonderful, inspiring and thought-raising content. There’s some well written articles from our regular trusted friends and commentators, and a few new ones as well—including a Messianic Kiwi lady, Allison Marshall, who is a long standing tour guide for the Tabernacle in the Wilderness , at Timna Park in the Negev of Southern Israel. Allison and her very knowledgeable counterparts are regular host for our visits to the full scale replica of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness that Moses and later Joshua used as the portable worship place for the Israelites for hundreds of years, until the first temple was constructed in Jerusalem. She begins a fascinating series of articles showing how the Tabernacle depicted many images and aspects of Christ and His work of redemption for us as Prophet, Priest, King and Saviour. Again we see the Old Testament teachings being revealed in the New Testament and the New concealed in the Old— proving once again that there is nothing old or redundant about the Torah and the Tenach, but rather is rich and full of insights and mysteries for our learning as the Apostle Paul would say. You can see the Tabernacle in the Wilderness as part of our regular tours to Israel—see details as you continue to read. Comforting God’s People While we are sweltering and dealing with horrific bush fires and drought here in the lands down-under, please spare a though for many of the Lord’s Jewish brethren bracing themselves for another bitter, frozen winter in the Ukraine and Northern parts of Israel. We have some great stories from Judy Russell, Koen Carlier and Orly Wolstein showing how our support can make a world of difference in the lives of these precious souls. Your prayers and generous gifts of love and practical support will be gratefully appreciated. See the back page of this paper for details on how you can give. or visit c4israel.com.au/donate Signs of the Times As we continue to monitor the twists and turns of the political ups and downs in Australia, America, Europe and the UK, we also see other ‘signs of the times’ unfold in Israel as per the commentary from Dr. Ron Weiser. There is also perhaps a controversial look from Adam Berkowitz into Jewish prophetic and mystic ideas about the time of Messiah being revealed in the end of days by some old Rabbis who left some rather cryptic messages before their passing for us to contemplate in the light of Scripture. Also as we approach the festive season, our International president and Author Rev. Willem Glashouwer has a very different look at the Star of Bethlehem and how God placed these heavenly signs for special appointments and seasons, but like many other things we need to be careful of the counterfeits and pitfalls for those who aren’t paying attention. Note: Willems new book ‘ The Signs of the Times’ is available from our website c4israel.com.au/store or you can order using the form on the page 16. Tours for 2020 Early next year Mandy and I will be leading another 14 day life-changing tour to Israel and Jordan with nearly 30 people already signed on. We are also offering a optional 7 day extension following in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul to Greece, visiting Mars Hill and the Acropolis in Athens, nearby Corinth where Paul lived for several years. We’ll also visit Delphi and Thessaloniki and many other locations to see how the Gospel expanded from Israel throughout the known world. Even if you’ve been to Israel before, you can always consider just joining us for the Greek tour. Contact our agents at Olive Tree Travel — 1300 550 830 for all the details. Another tour being offered is for our Melanesian and Pacific island brothers and sisters (and you of course). It’s a more cost affordable pilgrimage and study tour in September 2020 with Keith Buxton, who has been helping me with the development and nurturing of new Christians for Israel affiliates across the Melanesian Islands of Oceania, including the Solomons, Vanuatu and soon with PNG. This tour will be created in partnership with our counterparts in C4I NZ and their affiliates in Samoa, Tonga Niue and Fiji. Details for this tour can be found at our website c4israel.com/tours New Phone Number, Bank Details and Return Mail help Reminder The C4I Australian Office are very grateful for our wonderful, faithful volunteers, who come in most Mondays to open the mail and process the donations, orders and enquiries. Can old dogs still learn new tricks? We are all still on a major learning curve of our new computer systems and processes. While we see the improved efficiencies this will bring, we are still learning. We thank you for your prayers and patience if some of our communications are taking longer than normal. We have a new phone number for general enquiries, 07 3088 6900 if our volunteers cant answer you can leave a message or email us at info@c4israel.com.au and we will try to get back to you ASAP. Also note our new banking details on the back page. The office will be closed December 13 until January 9 but we will try to clear the mail and any messages that come in. We continue to receive a lot of return mail, many because of changes of addresses that we have not been told about. An email or note will help save money and ensure you don’t miss the next edition being sent to your letterbox. Newspaper Subscription Promotion Still Available We have had a lot of new names added to our newspaper subscription drive— thanks to everyone who sent in names and addresses of friends who are now getting the paper directly. We have continued the promotion and are happy to send a free copy of the beautiful glossy coloured ‘Israel 70 Years’ magazine as our way of saying thanks for introducing us to your family and friends (see page 3 ). I hope and pray you have a wonderful, Holy and Safe Christmas and New year. Thanks for your prayers and generous support, and please, continue to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and Israel—as I write they have had another wave of rocket attacks from Gaza. In the wonderful name of Yeshua (Jesus) our coming King. _____________________________________ Ian Worby National Leader & Regional Director for Christians for Israel Australia & Oceania. December 2019 Report From Our National Leader Comforts Informs Inspires Ian Worby C4I Australia National Leader and Regional Director for Oceania Thanks for your prayers and generous support, and please, continue to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem Ian & Mandy Worby, Negev, Rimon Crater You still have the opportunity to go on our February 2020 Israel Tour, including our optional Greece extention where you can explore the ruins at Delphi in Athens – and many more wonderful ancient and Biblical localities.

25. 25 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Israel & the Palestinians 12 Israel’s Story in Maps Map 10 | n Judea & Samaria Municipal authorities There are six regional councils, four cities, thirteen local councils and a total of 142 Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria. As of April 2019, the Israeli population in these areas is close to 500,000. Map 11 | n The Oslo Agreements Israel no longer controls the Arabs Under the Oslo Agreements, 40% of the land was turned over to Palestinian Authority (PA) civilian rule (Area B). Some of it (the large cities) was turned over to PA security control as well (Area A). More than 95% of the Arab population living in Judea and Samaria live under Palestinian Authority rule (Areas A,B), vote in local elections, pay taxes to the PA which administers its own separate educational, legal, medical and social w elfare systems. The Palestinian Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, run their own lives, and there is no ‘occupation’ there. December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Blessing Bethlehem Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz n Writer | Breaking Israel News “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I Hashem am your God.” (Leviticus 19:34) Two rabbis are working hard to help the Christian Arabs of Bethlehem, the oldest Christian community in the world. Their efforts are based on the Torah imperative ‘to help the stranger in your midst,’ or, as one rabbi puts it, “Covenant land requires covenantal responsibility.” Rabbi Pesach Wolicki and David Nekrutman of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) launched Blessing Bethlehem in 2016 to help the persecuted Christians living in the city of Bethlehem and its surrounding areas. As part of their work, they distribute food and food vouchers to 120 Christian families in Bethlehem. Christian Arabs transport the parcels to a central location in Bethlehem and directly to the elderly. Much of their work must remain secret in order to protect the recipients. The problem is acute as Arab Christians are an oppressed minority in Muslim controlled areas of the region. Christians make up about two per cent of Israel’s population. Approximately half of Israel’s 120,000 Christian Arabs are part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Before Hamas took over Gaza, approximately 5,000 Christians lived in Gaza. Under Hamas rule, that number has dwindled to fewer than 1,000. Living under radical Islamist rule, th e remaining Christians are sorely oppressed. In Judea and Samaria, about 70,000 Christians live under Palestinian Authority rule. Both Bethlehem and Nazareth – key New Testament towns – which were once overwhelmingly Christian, now have Muslim majorities. When Israel was founded in 1948, about 80 per cent of the population of Bethlehem was Christian. Today, approximately 12 per cent, or 15,000 Christians, live in the area of Bethlehem. Though Christian families are the largest landowners in Bethlehem, their property has often been subject to theft. In 2012, Pastor Steven Khoury was interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network. Pastor Khoury refuted claims that the exodus of Christians from Bethlehem was due to pressure from Israel. He maintained that the Arabs, who claimed their ancestors were among the first followers of Jesus were leaving his birthplace due to systematic discrimination and persecution at the hands of the predominantly Muslim population and the Palestinian government aimed at driving their population out of their homeland. “The Palestinian Authority controls Bethlehem but it is still in the Holy Land, making it part of the covenant. Covenant land comes with covenantal responsibility,” Nekrutman told Breaking Israel News, “God said that as a Jew living in Israel, I have the r equirement to love the non- Jew living in the land with me. And that means to make sure he is not religiously oppressed.” Much of the harassment is informal. Palestinians, Christian and Muslim, who advocate co-existence with Israelis are frequently attacked in what is termed the ‘Anti-Normalisation Movement.’ This is openly encouraged by Palestinian Authority officials. “The PA claims there is religious freedom under their rule, but the reality is that there isn’t, at least not in the way we understand freedom of religion” Nekrutman said. “The Muslims can’t be blatantly anti- Christian in Bethlehem since Christian tourism is a major source of income. But unemployment is much higher among Christians than Muslims. They are forced out of their houses, and the demographic statistics reflect this.” Nekrutman explained that the role of the Christian Arabs in the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel is complicated. “Christian Arabs are frequently caught in an identity crisis that pits ethnicity against religion,” Nekrutman explained. “In Judea and Jerus alem, Christian Arabs generally live in the Palestinian areas. They are generally tolerated under Palestinian rule so long as they don’t flaunt their Christianity. As Arabs, they ethnically associate with the Palestinians. In the north of Israel, in areas like Haifa, you have Jews, Christians, and Muslims living side-by-side.” “Their identity as Christian Arabs separates them ethnically from the Jews and religiously from the Muslim Arabs. This makes the Christian Arabs the clearest minority in the region, and they are caught in the middle of the regional conflict. Because of their identifying with Arabs, they rarely experience love from Israelis.” This is a clear case of returning a favour, or, in Biblical terms, of those who bless Israel being blessed. “This is a community who are Evangelical Arab Christians, which is a rarity in Israel,” Rabbi Wolicki said to Breaking Israel News. “This is important to Israel since even the Christian Arabs who live in Israel do not have a favourable perception of Israel. The Evangelical Arabs are beginning to change that.” Rabbi Wolicki explained that even though this persecution is aimed at Evangelicals, Jews should treat it as if it was being directed at Judaism. “They are being persecuted, but if the Jews were standing right where they are, we would be persecuted just as well,” the rabbi said. “These people are suffering because they are our friends. This makes it a Jewish problem.” The Blessing Bethlehem project has opened doors, allowing Christian Arabs a rare experience of Jewish love for the stranger among them. Rabbi Wolicki related a powerful example of this. As part of his project, the rabbi decided to visit the recipients at a Christmas gathering. Since the 1995 Oslo Accords, Bethlehem has been administered by the Palestinian Authority, and it is forbidden for Israelis to enter. Rabbi Wolicki decided to visit nonetheless. An Arab friend drove him into the city and to a venue. “There were 600 people in the room that even though they were born and raised in Bethlehem, they had never connected with Jewish Israelis before. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they had never seen a rabbi before,” Rabbi Wolicki said. “Several told me that until that Christmas Eve, their only experience with Israelis was facing IDF soldiers at security checkpoints.” As an Evangelical, Pastor Khoury also encountered resistance from the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches who see him as attracting their congregants. “Since my imperative is Biblical, we have also tried to work with Catholics and Greek Orthodox,” Nekrutman explained. “They refuse to accept any aid from us because of the political implications of dealing with J ews in Judea.” “Pastor Khoury preaches from the Old Testament, which the other Christian Arabs view as a Jewish book. They also reject replacement theology, which gets them in trouble with the Catholic and Eastern Churches as well as the Palestinian Authority.” “The people suffer discrimination in their lives, but this is focused on the religious aspect,” Rabbi Wolicki said. “People have rocks thrown at them on their way to church. Their church in Bethlehem has been firebombed 14 times. Pastor Khoury has been shot four times, and his brother was murdered. This article was originally published on 17th September 2018 on www.breakingisraelnews.com. In the days before Christmas, the Khoury family spreads the Light in Bethlehem. With dedication they provide Christmas packages for the needy, so they can have a festive meal, but even more that people feel that they matter and that God cares for them. Emmanuel, God with us. If you would like to donate to bless the Arab Christians in Bethlehem, fill out the coupon on the back page. Rabbi Pesach Wolicki and David Nekrutman Historical 13 Immanuel The meaning of the name Immanuel is given to us in Matthew 1:23: “God with us”. Matthew cites the prophecy of Isaiah as being fulfilled with the birth of Jesus: “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) Isaiah was prophesying when the king of Aram (Assyria), together with the king of Israel, comprising the ten tribes of Israel, surrounded Jerusalem but they failed to take the city. The king of Judah, Ahaz, was invited to ask for a sign from the Lord. But with a show of piety, he refused to do so. Then the Lord Himself gave a sign: a young woman will be pregnant with a prince. She will call him Immanuel. The circumstances in which the young Immanuel would grow up do not seem to be very hopeful. But in Isaiah 8:8 and 10, we see that just as the armies of the enemy sweep over Judah; “God is with us”, that is, with Judah and its king. What this means, we find explained very clearly in a different context, in 2 Chronicles 13:12a: “Now behold, God is with us (Hebrew: immanu) at our head.” God is leading as the actual army commander and is Himself fighting for Jerusalem. That is the background to Immanuel: God fighting for the city He has chosen. And God is the real king of His people. The Davidic kingship is a reflection of God’s kingship. Matthew connects that name and prophecy to the annunciation of the birth of Jesus. It is about the hope and expectation of Israel: in Messiah Jesus, God is standing up for His people and His city. Something of an echo of this name I hear at the end of the Gospel when the apostles are sent on behalf of Israel to all nations: “And lo, I am with you.” Biblical Names By Kees de Vreugd December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 A State Built on Charity Ruben Ridderhof n Christians for Israel The Netherlands At the base of every nation are the aspirations of people with a shared vision. Like the idealism of the American founding fathers, but also the national aspirations of the Kosovars, for example. Zionism, the national aspiration of the Jews, is such a vision as well. Achieving that vision would not have been possible without the Jewish value of charity. Zionism emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century and, like many other emancipation movements at the time, matured at the beginning of the twentieth century. Jewish pioneers had already moved to Palestine in smaller numbers from about 1850. At that time Palestine was still part of the great Ottoman Empire. To live in Palestine, money was needed. The Jews bought land from Arab landowners and established small settlements there. From there they began to develop the land, which at that time was either very dry or swampy. As Zionism gained momentum, resistance increased as well, and the need arose to defend themselves against hostile Arabs. It took huge investments to make the land fertile and profitable. The Jews who had moved to Eretz Israel, the ‘Land of Israel’ as pioneers, could not pay these costs themselves. That’s why they called on their friends and family in Europe to support them. That support turned out to be huge. Jewish National Fund As Zionism gained more momentum, it also became more organised. In 1901, the Jewish National Fund was established, an organisation that bought land in Palestine so that Jews could settle there. Afforestation projects and agricultural businesses were also set up through the Jewish National Fund. Where did all that money come from? The Jewish National Fund would organise events where they would talk about Zionism and its progress in Eretz Israel. In addition, they distributed donation boxes that were placed in people’s homes, as well as in Jewish institutions. Hundreds of thousands of Jews all over the world were saving and raising money for the Jewish National Fund, and in that way giving wings to Zionism. Keren Hayesod In 1920 a new organisation was added: Keren Hayesod, “The Foundation Fund”. In addition to the Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod used the funds that were raised to lay the groundwork of the Jewish State as it was being formed. For example, these funds were used to establish the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the first Israeli bank. Keren Hayesod was also committed to housing refugees from Germany following the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1930s. After the establishment of the Jewish Agency in 1929, Keren Hayesod became its fundraising arm. Helping Each Other When the State of Israel was proclaimed in 1948, it was the result of the dedication of countless people who gave unconditionally from a value of helping and loving your neighbour. And this value of charity did not end there, but only flourished in the Jewish State. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from the Arab world have found refuge in Israel. The Jewish Agency, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish National Fund have continued and are still to this day committed to helping new Jewish immigrants with great love and dedication, welcoming them with language learning programs, and finding work and housing. It doesn’t matter where they come from. Eastern Europe, India, Ethiopia. Everyone is being helped because helping each other, charity, is part of Israel’s DNA. Jews were not the only ones being charitable when the state of Israel was founded. This photo from 1949 shows how local Arabs came to help the Jews with the construction of kibbutz Yasu, near Akko. | Photo: GPO Young Israeli volunteers help teach young students at summer school. Because of their migrant background, they are in danger of falling behind. These volunteer programmes help to prevent this from happening. | Photo: Flash90. A donation box for the Jewish National Fund. | Photo: Jewish Museum Sydney

11. 3 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Willem Glashouwers Article continued... In Acts 28:11 it is said of a ship on board of which Paul is sailing: “...After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island – it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.” Castor and Pollux are in the constellation of Gemini – Twins. Amos 5:8 speaks about: “...He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land – the LORD is His Name.” The Pleiades are the ‘Seven Sisters’. No Astrology Isaiah 13:9-10 says that the stars and the signs of the Zodiac will not shine on the Lord’s judgement day: “...See, the day of the LORD is coming – a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger – to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.” It is obvious that astrology has been making use of the signs of the Zodiac for many centuries already. The Bible is strongly opposed to this. It is idolatry. Horoscopes are evil. Moses says in Deuteronomy 18:9- 12, on behalf of the Lord: “...When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.” Isaiah 47:13-14 says mockingly about these astrologers: “...All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. These are not coals for warmth; this is not a fire to sit by.” A Heavenly Picture Book Was there originally a different message to be read in the signs of the Zodiac however? A number of remarkable books on this subject, written by Christians, faithful to the Bible and very capable Bible commentators, appeared in the 19th century. They say that the whole of God’s plan of salvation was originally able to be read in the heavens. They say that the 12 signs of the Zodiac should be read beginning with the sign of Virgo—the Virgin and then further, ending with the last sign, Leo—the Lion. They present the very old Zodiacs in the Egyptian temple of Denderah (now in the Louvre in Paris) and the Egyptian temple of Esneh as evidence of this. The Egyptian sphinx is also said to point to this: the head as the head of a woman and the body as that of a lion, together representing the whole Zodiac, as a body. The story without words in the heavens begins with the birth of the Saviour from the Virgin and ends with the coming of the Lion of Judah who establishes His Kingdom worldwide. This may be a subject for an article or perhaps a subsequent book! In this context it could be very possible that the Wise Men from the east had come from Babylonia. Daniel had occupied a high position at the court and after him many Jews carried on living there and did not return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile, which took place between 600 – 500 BC. Jewish scholars in all kinds of fields, including astronomy, certainly held high positions at court. Perhaps those Wise Men were indeed Jewish astronomers who were still capable of reading the heavens according to their original meaning, and who now saw a ‘star’ rise in a certain constellation. A ‘star’ that announced the coming of the King of the Jews. So they rode out, without hesitation, to pay homage to this Child. We read in Matthew 2:1-2: “... After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the One who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.’” They visited Herod’s royal palace at Jerusalem first of all, just after or during Jesus’ birth, and before His parents presented Him, 40 days later, in the Temple at Jerusalem. Their visit upset King Herod greatly—so much so that he ordered all the little boys in Bethlehem aged 2 years or less to be put to death. For how long before this had the ‘star’ been seen by the Wise Men in the East? Matthew 2:7-10: “...Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’ After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” _______________________________________ Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer is the President of Christians for Israel International and is Honorary President of the European Coalition for Israel. He is also an ordained minister of the Dutch Reformed Church and a former director of the Evangelical Broadcasting Company in the Netherlands. He is married to Marianne and they have four children and eight grandchildren. Sign up a friend to ‘Israel & Christians Today’ Newspaper and receive the ‘ Israel 70 Years ’ Commemorative Magazine FREE * ! Your Full Name: ____________________________ Address: _________________________________ _________________________________________ State: ________________ P ostcode: __________ Friends Full Name: _________________________ Address: _________________________________ _________________________________________ State: ________________ P ostcode: __________ Number of Newspapers Bi-monthly: c 1 c 2 c 5 c Other: __________________ *1 Magazine per person. limited offer. while stocks last. SEND DETAILS TO: Christians for Israel, Australia , PO Box 1508, Springwood, QLD, 4127 6th-century depiction of the zodiac on a mosaic pavement from a 6th century synagogue at Beth Alpha, Jezreel Valley, northern Israel. It was discovered in 1928. Wikipedia Great Gift Idea for Christmas!

19. 11 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Biblical Commentary Have you ever gone to the end of the book to see what happens, why? If a story is long and seemingly unending and without hope; it’s depressing. I pop over to the end to see what happens; maybe to see if there is hope and if it is worth ploughing through the story. Our God knows us well and He tells us the end from the beginning to give us hope, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else”; “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure”: Isaiah 46: 9-10; “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:1) In this day and age, as we live through situations and hear of things that we never thought we would live to see happen, the words of Yeshua and the Bible prophets come to mind from Mathew 24, John 16:13, and all throughout the Bible. I often tell people, “I’ve read the end of The Book and I know who wins”. He loves us beyond our understanding and has always revealed His plan for those willing to search it out and see. “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25:2) The Tabernacle is the Gospel in pictures; everything lays out and points to the Messiah and what He would come and totally succeed in doing. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) In Hebrew the word for prosper or accomplish is, Hitzleach , which is a stronger meaning: Totally Succeed. So, The Word of God came and totally succeeded in what He was sent to do and has returned to The Father, while the written/Rhema Word is still working in the hearts of mankind today. In this ‘Birds eye view’ of the Tabernacle I would like to start at the back of the book and see that God knew the end from the beginning before He started. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev.13:8) God knew what would happen before He created us, but He loved us so much that He chose to go through the heartache and pain to deal with our sin, personally, Himself, rather than not have us as His family at all. A booklet by Dr Michael Heisler; ‘What Does God Want’ , clearly sets out that God wants a family, and He works to secure the family He created. Let me lay out the basic pattern here, and in later articles I will go section by section in greater detail. The Tabernacle is in Three Sections: • Courtyard • Hol y Place • Hol y of Holies There are three curtains; one at the entrance to each section. There is only one entrance to each section; no side or back doors. The High Priest must pass through each of these curtains and complete his prescribed duties, to enter God’s presence, one day only each year; Yom Kippur—The Day of Atonement. The rest of the year the priests do their duties each day and only enter as far as the Holy place. Redemption takes place in the courtyard. This is where the sin of each person is covered by the blood of the sacrifice that they brought, and the priest administered on their behalf. The blood is poured out around the altar and the body is burnt outside of the camp. (there are sacrifices for other purposes also: more on this later). Before and after the sacrifice, the priest washes his hands and feet beside the wash-basin. Sin is covered and cleansed. Sanctification takes place in the Holy Place. This is where the priests add: • Oil to the lampstand (the only ligh t source in there) morning and evening, to keep it burning • Coals and incense to the incense altar morning and evening, to mak e a sweet smell • 12 breads to the tabl e once a week and eat the older breads in God’s presence Glorification takes place in the Holy of Holies. This is where the High priest enters once a year into the very presence of God, who dwells between the Cherubim. Messiah, as our High Priest has once and for all time paid the price of our Redemption and totally removed (not covered) our sin and cleansed us from all unrighteousness. He has Sanctified us so we can fellowship in God’s company and He ever lives to intercede for us. He has Glorified us in Himself so we may, in Him, enter into intimate relationship with our creator. The curtains; The Way; The Truth; and The Life. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6 – I will explain more in later article). Another aspect of three is us. We are body, soul and spirit. Body; we bring our bodies into submission to God. “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Rom 6:13) Soul; we fellowship with God by feeding on His word; the Holy Spirit brings us light with His wisdom, understanding, council, might (strength), intimacy and reverence (fear) of the Lord; we bring our prayer, praise and worship like incense into the house of the Lord. Spirit; we enter in by the blood of the Lamb and His torn veil (body) to have intimate fellowship with the Almighty God. ________________________________________________________ Alison Marshall is a New Zealand born believer in Jesus and has been a Tour Guide for the Tabernacle in the Wilderness since 1999 at Timna Park in Israel. www.berean-to-berean.com The Beginning and the End — An Overview of the Tabernacle - Part 1 Alison Marshall Tour Guide for the Tabernacle in the Wilderness at Timna Park in Israel The Three Sections of the Tabernacle WAY TRUTH LIFE BODY Courtyard SOUL Holy SPIRIT Holy of Holies REDEMPTION SANCTIFICATION GLORIFICATION ...our High Priest has once and for all time ...totally removed our sin... Courtyard Holy Place Holy of Holies Courtyard Fence East Gate Bronze Laver Sacrificial Four-Horned Altar

27. 27 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Walk through the Land 14 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 ‘Private’ Sabbath Bus Budget Approved The Tel Aviv municipality has approved an initial budget for operating public transportation on the Sabbath. Under the plan, a few cities in the greater Tel Aviv area, among them Givatayim, Ramat Hasharon, and Kiryat Ono, will operate a shared transportation system on the Sabbath. These cities are calling on other cities to join them in expanding this system. The network of interurban routes to be operated is a private travel service of the municipality; passengers will not be charged, and the local authorities therefore have jurisdiction over t he service, not the central government. It is therefore not considered a ‘local public transport’, which is prohibited in Israel on Shabbat. | Photo: Globes Sensor Technology Combats Oil Pollution “Oil is one of the most common pollutants in the world,” says Ran Pelta, PhD at Tel Aviv University. The acquisition of information about the earth’s surface by remote sensing is now possible by the reflectivity of physical matter. Scientists have developed an algorithm that identifies the type of pollutant according to its reflectance spectrum and then maps it to show the impacted area. A remote sensor, which provides high-resolution data on soil contaminants, can be mounted on drones or satellites to find oil leaks in real-time and thus reduce consequential damage to nature and the environment. Hospital Bedding Germ-Resistant Hospital bed sheets and patient gowns are a major conduit for transferring dangerous bacteria estimated to infect millions of patients per year. Professors from Bar-Ilan University have developed a new way to bacteria-proof the fabrics used in a hospital, by using ultrasound waves to induce a physical phenomenon known as ‘cavitation,’ in which rapid changes of pressure in a liquid lead to the formation of tiny vapor-filled cavities. Antibacterial chemicals can then be propelled onto the molecular structure of the fabric at tremendous speed. | Photo: Shutterstock Short News Kameel Majdali n Director | Teach All Nations Inc. We are in part 2 of the ‘Walk through the Land Series.’ The goal is firstly, to help you understand the Bible better by learning about the land where most of the events in the Bible occurred, and secondly, to help you gain more benefit from your next holy land tour. Last time, we focused on the Sea of Galilee, the most famous body of water in the world. In this article, we introduce you to the coastal plain. The plain starts in the south at the Besor River or Nahal Besor (‘river’ or ‘river bed’ is called nahal ), south of Gaza. It extends in a North-South direction 193 km or 120 miles to the Lebanese border at Rosh Haniqra. In 1,800 years of history, ancient Israel only controlled the coastal plain for 150 years. Yet, it plays an important role in the land and history of the Bible. In general, unlike much of the country, the coastal plain is well-watered. It receives 400 to 640 cm (16 to 25 inches) of rainfall annually. It is graced with fertile alluvial soil and rolling hills. The International Highway The land of the Bible is a ‘land-bridge’ between 3 continents. On its eastern side of Philistia, approximately 16 km inland, is the strategic Afro-Eurasian international highway. This road connects Egypt and Africa with Syria, Assyria, Babylon and beyond. You literally cannot travel by land from Africa to Asia except by coming through this little land. As such, the land bridge was a tempting target and coveted prize for great powers of old, thus making the promised land a rope in a geopolitical tug-o-war game over the centuries. Yet, despite its straight and simple terrain, travel on the international highway could be challenging with sand dunes, the Yarkon River which flows to and through Tel Aviv, and the low-lying areas that get marshy during the winter rain. Though the international highway has been closed since the birth of Isr ael in 1948, it has an important prophetic role in the future. Isaiah 19:23-24 declares: In that day there shall be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel shall be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land. The Sand and the Sea Here is an example of how geography influences history. The coastal plain south of Haifa and Mount Carmel is very straight, with tiny sand-choked inlets. Where does the sand come from? Answer: The Sahara Desert. The Nile River carries the sand into the Nile Delta, where it flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The sea current carries it in a counter-clockwise direction and deposits sand on the northern coast of Sinai, the Gaza Strip, and Israel’s coastal plain all the way to Mount Carmel. Carmel is not a single peak but a mountain range, known as ‘The Carmel.’ Carmel juts into the Mediterranean at Haifa, resembling an ‘antelope’s nose,’ as the ancient Eg yptians called it. This promontory of Carmel serves a very important purpose: it is a barrier that prevents the Sahara sand going further north. That’s why the coastal plain north of Carmel has viable natural ports not filled with Sahara sand, such as in Acre, Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos. No wonder the Phoenicians were the great maritime nation of antiquity. South of Carmel there were no suitable ports and the Israelites focused on agriculture. For our purposes, we will divide the coastal plain into three parts: 1. The Plain of Philistia (south); 2. The Plain of Sharon (centre); 3. The Plain of Acre (north). Though all three subregions are important parts of the coastal plain, they all have their unique distinctives which make their individual histories very different. For example, the Plain of Philistia houses the 5 Philistine cities: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. Thus, it was well inhabited and had access to decent agriculture. The neighbouring region to the north, the Plain of Sharon, was different: it was sparsely inhabited, with limited agriculture, and was much neglected in the Old Testament period. The Plain of Acre, separated from the rest of the coast by The Carmel, related more to the Phoenicians than Israel. Plain of Philistia From the Besor River northward to Jaffa and the Yarkon River, the Plain of Philistia is 80 kilometres (50 miles) North-South and 16 to 40 km (10-25 miles) East-West. Rainfall is 400-510 mm (16 to 20 inches) annually. The coastline is totally straight and the land flat, except for sand dunes and kurkar ridges. The red soil of the Plain of Sharon and the alluvial loess soil from the Negev, combined with the rainfall, produces grain, melons, and citrus groves (think of ‘Jaffa oranges’). The northern region of the Philistine plain, between the Yarkon River and Aijalon, is called the Plain of Ono (Nehemiah 6:2), otherwise known as the ‘Valley of Craftsmen’ (Nehemiah 11:35), recognising that the Philistines were workers of iron. Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock (I Samuel 13:19-20). Around the time Israel settled in the land on the east, the Philistines came from Captor from the west, namely the Aegean Sea region. Amos 9:7 confirms this: Have I not brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? Once these two peoples met, it was ‘war at first sight.’ The Philistines were fierce enemies of the Israelites, especially during the days the judges, Saul and David. Though the name ‘Philistines’ implies uncivilised, in reality they were an advanced people in ironworks. Their drawback was the worship of false gods, like Dagon and Baalzebub. Famous encounters include Samson’s one-man war with the Philistines, David’s victory over Goliath, Saul’s defeat and death by the Philistines on Mount Gilboa, and David’s constant battles and victories. Afterwards, we hear little about them except for occasional references by the minor prophets. They eventually disappeared from history while the people of Israel continue until this day. Apology from the Managing Editor: In the October issue, the title for part 1 of this series was incorrect. The title printed said: ‘Infamous Body of Water.’ It should have read ‘Most Famous Body of Water in the World’. Panoramic view of sunset over the Mediterranean Sea from Carmel Mounts. Haifa. Israel. | Photo: Shutterstock The Coastal Plain After you think about it for a while, it is quite exceptional: knowing that there is a country in the world where you can always go to–or better–can return to. Israel’s gates are wide open for everyone who is Jewish. But why would you exchange one country for another? For Jews, this is not something obvious. Sometimes they don’t even know they have that choice–sometimes–it takes almost a whole lifetime before they take the plunge. Others just do not have the possibility of making the long journey. Others just deliberately choose to stay put. 1. When we first meet a Jewish person in Ukraine, our first offer of help is to supply urgently needed food. This is offered whether somebody intends to go to Israel or not. Each food parcel contains a flyer, in case there are questions, or if help is needed they know where to reach us. 2. For those who are curious about what Israel has to offer, there are seminars and fairs. In one day, you can learn quite a lot about Israel: what are the job opportunities, do they have good schools, can I bring my dog, can I return to Ukraine to visit my relatives? 3. Koen Carlier leads the Ukrainian team. He speaks with people, explains what he knows about the return to Israel from the Bible, encourages people and is always ready to help with advice and counsel. 4. And when people decide–sometimes after years of deliberation–that they want to go to Israel, there is an interview at the Israeli embassy or consulate. We offer transport to and from the interviews for those who want to attend. 5. When the day of departure has finally come we collect the people. They leave Ukraine with only a few bags, but with a lot of memories. 6. Close to departure while at the airport with all the luggage, there is an intense awareness among the people that they are about to embark on an entirely new chapter in their lives which will materialise after they set foot on Israeli soil. 7. Nataliya Krizhanovski, one of Christians for Israel Aliyah fieldworkers in Ukraine, helps a man who cannot walk, to make aliyah. It is moments like these that so strongly remind you of Jeremiah 31:8. 8. That first foot on Israeli soil – even if it is the concrete of the Tel Aviv airport – is one of the most impressive moments of coming home to Israel. Finally home! 9. Your Israeli passport is waiting. Now we only have to find the right person belonging to the correct passport. 10. Home! Family embracing you. Tears of happiness. Reunited with the people you love and the country you dreamed of. 11. Studying will be necessary. English may be spoken throughout the world but Hebrew is the official language here. And you start at the back – Hebrew is read and written from right to left. 12. Much learning is required to bring them up to standard now that they are building a new life in Israel. Ethiopia and Israel may not be so far apart as the crow flies but as far as culture and the standard of education is concerned, there is a difference like night and day. 2 Our Projects 15 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 A Long Way Home “See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labour; a great throng will return.” (Jeremiah 31:8) 1 3 4 6 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 | Photos: Christians for Israel and Flash90

22. 22 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Theology 10 Hanukkah The Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the Festival of Lights 23 - 30 December 2019 Hanukkah ( pronounced Hanu’ka in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah or Chanuka) also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. Chanukah begins at sundown on Sunday 22 December 2019. Asara B’Tevet Fast commemorating the siege of Jerusalem 7 January 2020 Asara B’Tevet is the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, a minor fast day in Judaism. ĥe fast commemorates the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia. Like other minor fasts, Asara B’Tevet begins at dawn (first light) and ends at nightfall (full dark). Jewish Festivals Kees de Vreugd n Theologian | Christians for Israel International & Editor | Israel & the Church In this article, we continue our discussion of the ‘Twelve Theses of Faith on Israel’ published by Christians for Israel. Thesis 11: We believe that the Son of man will sit in judgment over the nations when the Kingdom comes and will ask them how they have treated Israel and the Jewish people. Elaboration: We understand and believe that before the ultimate Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness is established, there will be a Day of Judgment upon the nations. The main question that the nations will have to answer is the question asked by Jesus: “What did you do to the least of these brothers of Mine?” (Matthew 25:40) . His calling for solidarity with the poor and suppressed of this world regards in the first place our attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people. The divine commandment given to us by the mouth of Isaiah is: “‘Comfort ye, Comfort ye My people’, says your God.” Clarification: Unfortunately, many Christians seek to prove themselves right in criticising Israel. But we will stress the point that it is not Israel in the first place that caused the suffering of the Palestinians; that happened after the establishment of the State of Israel. It cannot be deni ed that, above all, they have become victims because of the failing policies of their own leaders. Even our Arab brothers and sisters in Christ suffer because of the Palestinian leadership. Respectfully, we will ask the Israeli’s to pay attention to injustices that sometimes happen, without lecturing them from an attitude of superiority and pride. In many cases, they do listen respectfully, because we come as friends. However, our main task is to carry out the Biblical remit: “comfort, comfort ye My people...”; to encourage them; to love them; and to stand with them. Most are totally convinced that the whole world hates them. We will tell them that we will stand at their side over and against those who hate Israel and the Jewish people. Pellumb Ranxha n Representative | Christians for Israel Albania As Christians, we rejoice in our salvation through the Cross and resurrection of our Lord. Now reconciled with God, we won’t be subject to judgement on judgement day, John 5:20-24. Saving and judging authority is given by the Father to the Son, the Messiah of Israel. Yet we are accountable to God for what He has entrusted to us; 2Corinthians 5:10. We see a vivid portrayal of that accountability in Joel 3, where the Lord proclaims His judgement on the nations. Perfect love is manifested in the cross; almighty power is pictured in that judgement. Why such a judgement? Because the nations have scattered His people, divided their land and badly treated their young ones, Joel 3:2-3. They have insulted and arrogantly treated the people of the Lord, Zephaniah 2:10. Nowadays the nations act against Israel in the UN, threaten war, a nd try to stop God fulfilling His promises for and through Israel. Thus, the nations fail to contribute to the restoration of Israel. It is a painful truth; they act in rebellion to God by mistreating Israel, while the Lord wants to bless them through Israel! (Romans 11:12,15) In one way this is a call for repentance for the nations. On the other hand, it is a message of hope, joy, and comfort for God’s people. The Lord comes back with His saints; revokes His judgement against Israel; the King of Israel dwells forever among the people of Israel; and they come to know Him. He removes their shame a nd fear, breaks the evil powers, and sets free the prisoners. Surely after the dark days, bright times are ahead for His people. Rejoice, daughter of Zion! (Zephaniah 3:12-20) Therefore, we pray: Ÿ that the church will comfort His people, Isaiah 40:1 ; proclaim the truth about Israel; and repent of the church’s past and present sins towards Israel Ÿ that our nations will do more for these little ones (Israel), Mathew 25:40 Ÿ for a repentant heart among nations in their relations with Israel Ÿ that Israel will meet their Messiah when He comes and will rejoice in Him. The Lord has spoken, Joel 3:8-9 ; may our nations hear! th 11 Thesis: Judgment December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 For Western Christians, 25 December became the official birthday of Jesus, but even so, we also acknowledge 6 January (Christmas Eve for Eastern Orthodoxy) as the Feast of Epiphany, resulting in the familiar ‘twelve days of Christmas’. The conception of Jesus is likewise celebrated on 25 March as the Feast of the Annunciation (to Mary). Evidence for Christian belief that Jesus was born on 25 December goes back at least as early as the Commentary on Daniel (4.23.3) by Hippolytus of Rome in AD 202: ‘He was born in Bethlehem, eight days before the kalends of January [December 25th]... He suffered in the thirty third year, 8 days before the kalends of April [March 25th].’ In that case, emperor Aurelian was not the first to choose this date, seven decades after Hippolytus. Earlier Roman sun worshippers had celebrated a couple of dates in August, but they seem to have had no interest in either solstices or equinoxes at all. As for the other older Roman winter festival of Saturnalia, this ran from 17 to 23 December, so a Christian holy day on 25 December could hardly have been intended as its replacement. Presumably it was Christians who first noted the solar significance of the date of Christ’s birth, calculated independently but coincidentally falling on the winter equinox in the Julian calendar. Jesus was truly the ‘sun of righteousness’ who had risen with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2). Aurelian was hostile to Christianity, since its success was damaging worship of the Roman Empire’s traditional gods. So what better way to re-unite the various pagan cults around one annual festival, and at the same time recapture the winter equinox from the ‘heretical’ Christians, than to celebrate the sun-god on 25 December as a picture of Rome’s unconquerable paganism? Less than forty years later, Rome itself submitted to Christ. So when was Jesus actually born? The date is not given in the Bible, and would sheep really have been out in the fields near Bethlehem in mid-winter? John 1:14 says that ‘the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us’, which many take as a hint towards Sukkot. However, Messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn has recently noted that one (uncensored?) manuscript of Hippolytus’ commentary in the Vatican Library also preserves a contradictory observation that Jesus was born in the springtime. He points out that there is another biblical ‘tabernacle’ date at that time of year. The ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ is actually about ‘booths’, whereas the true Tabernacle (mishkan) was constructed by Moses on 1 Nisan (Exodus 40:2, 17), having been ‘conceived’ by God about nine months earlier on Mount Sinai. Jesus Himself compared His body to God’s sacred dwelling (John 2:18- 21). Nisan also happens to be lambing season, when shepherds keep watch for new births in the fields even at night; so those near Bethlehem were ready to welcome the Lamb of God. Whenever Jesus was actually born, we do not need to worry that celebrating His birth at Christmas makes us complicit with paganism. Whether on 25 December or 1 Nisan, we can rejoice that the Light of the World and Lamb of God truly came into the world to be our Tabernacle/Temple and make atonement for our sins – Yeshua our ‘salvation’. 1 See the article by William Tighe, <www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v>, derived from Thomas J. Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991): 88-99. <www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptlsXtTf6n0>; see also his documentary The Mishkan Clue. The Jewish Origins of Christmas continued from page 6 Shepherds field with view of Bethlehem. | Photo: Shutterstock

20. 12 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Mystical Intrigue on Israeli Election Stalemate! “After that, I will pour out My spirit on all flesh; Your sons and daughters shall prophesy; Your old men shall dream dreams, And your young men shall see visions.” – Joel 3:1 (The Israel Bible™) ________________________________________________________ After a source close to Rabbi Kaduri cited a 40-year-old prediction by the now-deceased Rabbi Kaduri predicting Israel’s current political impasse, several other prophetic sources, some more credible than others, were discovered confirming this prediction. One indicates that the election stalemate will lead to a heavenly battle that will decide the fate of all mankind. Rabbi Kaduri’s Prediction In June, Breaking Israel News published an article citing a 40-year-old prediction by Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, the most famous Kabbalist (mystic) in Israel until his death in 2006. According to an eyewitness, Rabbi Kaduri predicted that the Messiah will be revealed following an election stalemate in Israel. At a small gathering, Rabbi Kaduri was asked when the Moshiach (Messiah) will come. He answered, ‘When there will be elections but there will not be a government’.” That prediction is even more powerful after the second round of elections held last week left both major parties struggling to form a coalition government. An article in Yisrael Hayom , a Hebrew language news service, confirmed Rabbi Kaduri’s prediction and added even more details. Yisrael Hayom reported on Monday that a book was found in the yeshiva (Torah learning institution) Nahalat Yitzhak, founded in Jerusalem by Rabbi Kaduri’s son, Rabbi David Kaduri, with a focus on the study of Kabbalah (mysticism). The book, titled ‘O’Shvuato L’Yischak’ (‘and an oath to Yitzchak’ from Psalms 105:9), was written by Rabbi Yitzchak Kadouri when he was quite young and hidden away. In the book there is a startling section which reads: “On the eve of the fifth cycle of a thousand years, the year 5780 is a year of fixing. There will be no government in Israel for an extended period and the different camps will fight and argue a great deal without any conclusion in this way or the other. Then, on Rosh Hashanna (the Jewish New Year which will be next Sunday evening) the side of holiness will battle the side of darkness in heaven until God himself and his Hosts will decide the issue.” “And this is all I can say about this issue,” Rabbi Kaduri wrote. “I have been sworn to not reveal any more secrets.” The article quoted an interview with an anonymous Moshe N., the assistant to Yossi Kaduri, Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri’s grandson. “The handwritten manuscripts that we received directly from Rabbi [Yitzchak] Kaduri that speak about the redemption and the failure to form a government prior to the coming of the Moshiach are very similar to what has been published but the wording in the publications is imprecise. Similar predictions were written by Rabbi Kaduri’s learning partner, Rabbi Menachem Menashe who wrote the book ‘Ahavat Chayim’ (love of life) in his commentary on the section of the Torah Ki Tavo, which we read last week, which describes what will be in the end-of-days, and the war against the Mixed Multitude and how they will be in the majority. “The predictions in Rabbi Kaduri’s handwritten manuscripts are similar, except that they are more detailed and he names this year specifically as a year that can be a year of redemption. While he did not write the words ‘election campaign’. This is an interpretation of his words, But he did write about the struggle between the various groups in the people of Israel, and that this is a stage on the road to salvation and one of its signs. In any case, in the end, salvation depends only on us, the people of Israel, and it may or may not be fulfilled.” A Questionable Source for the Same Prophecy This prediction is also reported to have been brought in an ancient book ‘ Brit Afarsimon’ (‘Persimmon’s Covenant’) written by Rabbi Sasson Hai Shoshani who was called ‘the Prophet from Egypt’: “There will come the day when two ministers from the kingdom of Israel will be victorious. Both of them will be named ‘Benjamin’ and neither will succeed in establishing his government and kingdom. On that day, you will know and understand that the king of Moshiach (Messiah) is already standing at the door and on the Shabbat following this, he will be revealed. Realize it and remember it.” It should be noted that neither Yisrael Hayom nor this reporter could find any reference or information regarding Rabbi Sasson Hai Shoshani or his book mentioned in the article. Other Reputable Sources for the Same Prophecy of Political Precursor to Messiah Hadrei Haredim, an ultra-Orthodox Hebrew language news source, contested the report of any such prediction by Rabbi Kaduri but noted that other Jewish sources did hint that such a political situation as the one facing Israel today could be a precursor to Moshiach. Hadrei Haredim cited Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michel Wisser, a 19th-century Biblical commentator known as the Malbim. In his commentary on the 12th chapter of the Book of Daniel, the Malbim wrote: “When the rule of the minister’s who stood on the banks of the Nile ends, then the rule of heaven will begin.” The article suggests that the word for ‘bank’ ( )תפש hints at the year that is about to begin, 5780, which is written with the Hebrew letters תפש . The article in Hadrei Haredim cites another source from the book ‘Maaseh Ish’ (‘The Deeds of Man’) written by Rabbi Chaim Brim, who passed away in 2002. Rabbi Brim cited his teacher, Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, the leader of Haredi Judaism in Israel in the first half of the twentieth century, known as the Chazon Ish., “I heard from my teacher,” Rabbi Brim wrote. “It does not seem that the holy Messiah will redeem us from them, that is to say, that we will not pass into the kingdom of the Messiah from ‘their’ [secular] government.” This is explicitly stated by the Chazon Ish who wrote, “The Messiah will not receive the state from Zionism.” ________________________________________________________ Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz is a published author of fiction, non-fiction and romance, as well as news and political writer for Breaking Israel News . Multiple Jewish Sources Point to Israel’s Election Impasse as the Gateway to Messiah Rabbi Kaduri predicted that the Messiah will be revealed following an election stalemate in Israel. 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6. 18 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Johannes Gerloff n Theologian, Journalist, Lecturer & Author This article is the seventh instalment (second part) in a series of contributions to the interpretation of Psalm 2. The psalmist pleads: first, “Come to your senses!” (verse 10); second, “Serve the Lord” (verse 11) ; and third, “Kiss the ‘Bar” (verse 12a). Who is the ‘Bar’? And what does it mean to kiss him? To kiss is equivalent to do homage. Samuel kisses Saul (1 Samuel 10:1), saying that thereby he does homage to him. In Acts 10:25-26 the Roman centurion Cornelius falls to the ground before Peter, paying homage to him. Radak recalls the ancient custom of slaves kissing their master’s hand. According to Amos Hakham, ‘Kiss Bar’ is to be interpreted according to Psalm 18:21. There it says, ‘According to the purity of my hands (kevor yadai) reward me.’ ‘Bar’ is written in Hebrew exactly in the same way as the word ‘purity’ (bor) in Psalm 18:21. Hakham decides: ‘Kiss Bar’ is to be interpreted as “‘kiss purity’, because in worship there is no room for a real kiss, but only for a symbolic kiss, in order to adhere to purity.” In these statements, the Israeli exegete follows a broad tradition of interpretation, which can be traced back both in Judaism and Christianity. Martin Luther points out that “Jerome had translated in the Hebrew Psalter: Worship in a pure way, because [bar] also means pure and chosen.” Ibn Ezra derives the request ‘kiss’ (nashqu) from the Hebrew word for ‘weapon’ (nesheq) and suggests: “That would then mean: put on the weapons of the son, that is, pure weapons”. This medieval Spanish linguist and interpreter thus returns again to ‘bar’ as ‘barei levav’, that is, those who are of ‘purity in heart’. Luther originally had translated Psalm 2, 12a: “Kiss the Son, that He may not be furious, and you may perish on the way.” For this translation He also refers to Jerome in his Latin commentary: “‘Kissing’, however, they explain as paying homage, so that the meaning is: ‘Kiss the Son’, i.e., receive with honour and humility the King and Lord Christ.” Some interpreters are against this translation for grammatical reasons. However, Ibn Ezra points to the fact, that in terms of content the ‘serve the Lord’ (verse 11) corresponds with the ‘against the Lor d’ (verse 2), as likewise the ‘kiss the son’ corresponds with ‘against his Anointed One’. And Radak explains, that ‘bar’ ‘is to be understood like ‘ben’ [son], as it is written in Proverbs 31:2: “What, my son (beri), what, son of my womb (bar-bitni), what, son of my vows (bar-nedarai) [shall I tell you?].” Obviously in this Hebrew text the word ‘bar’ is used three times meaning ‘son’. Radak then paraphrases the statement of the messianic personality in Psalm 2:12 as follows: “What do you have against me? I am pure-hearted. There is no fault in me that you come to me and fight against me. Instead, you should kiss me, pay homage to me, and acknowledge gratefully, that I am king by order of God.” That the Gentile nations, rebelling against the living God and His Messiah, are called upon to kiss the Son, may be acceptable on some of the hermeneutical levels explained at the beginning of this interpretation of Psalm 2. But does that apply to all suggested levels? It is conceivable that the Philistines had to pay homage to King David. Similarly, that the Gentiles had to submit to the Judean king. For Christians, it is also comprehensible that Psalm 2:12 describes the worship of the Christ Jesus, in whose name all knees shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth. Every tongue will once confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). But does this ‘kiss the Son’ also apply to Israel as Son of God? Does this even apply to the relationship of Gentile nations with the Jewish people? May it even be giving a guideline for the attitude of the Christian church towards the nation of Israel? A similar picture like Psalm 2:12 can be found in Isaiah 49:23. There, Gentile peoples and their kings and queens come and fall down before Israel. The Prophet foresees: “With their nose on the ground, they worship you and lick the dust of your feet.” The consequence of this attitude of Gentile believers in the God of Israel on the side of the Jewish people will be: “There you will realise: I am the Lord. Whosoever ho pes for me will not be ashamed.” Could it be that we as non-Jews are called upon in Psalm 2:12 to pay homage to the Jewish people, ‘to kiss’ them, ‘to lick their feet’? And maybe we should do that, not because we idolize some human beings, but simply because we take seriously God’s choice: His plan and the salvation-historical causal relationships–that His word reveal to us? And maybe we should behave like that because we care about the relationship between the people of Israel and the God of Israel; because we long to see Israel come ‘to know’ that the Lord is God. Maybe that should be more important to us than being right or respected or honoured? Perhaps, we should also allow Israel the honour given to it by the living God Himself, ‘lest He be angry’ and we ‘perish on the way’ (Psalm 2:12b-c). For the living God is a holy God who ‘cannot be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap.’ This is not a statement about an ‘Old Testament God’ whose wrathful nature has been ‘surmounted’ on Golgotha. Paul wrote it to Gentile believers in Yeshua who lived in Galatia in Asia Minor (Galatians 6:7). ‘For his wrath is kindled shortly’ (Psalm 2:12d). The full text of this article, including extensive footnotes, can be found at www.c4israel.org/teaching-articles/ Biblical Reflection 6 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 The Outcry - Psalm 2 - Part 7b Prayer shawl - Tallit Jewish religious symbol and Jewish Prayer | Photo: Shutterstock Dr James E Patrick n Author | Theologian | Speaker Increasing numbers of Christians who value their Jewish spiritual heritage are turning away from Christmas, believing it to have been derived from a winter solstice festival established on 25 December in AD 274 by the pagan Roman emperor Aurelian as natalis solis invicti, the birth of the Unconquerable Sun. This is the time when the days start to become longer, and the sun god supposedly proves his strength. The argument about pagan origins for Christmas was first made by a mid- eighteenth-century Protestant theologian, who wanted to prove that Christ-mass was a degenerate Catholic superstition that should be rejected. A century earlier, Puritans had similarly banned Christmas as too boisterous and too Catholic. Nowadays the supposed pagan derivation of Christmas has been taken up eagerly by atheists and pagans who want to take credit for the popular winter festival. But does history bear out their claim? It is true that the (in)famous emperor Constantine, who converted the Roman empire to Christianity from AD 312 onwards, had earlier been a keen worshipper of Sol Invictus. No doubt this influenced his observation of 25 December as the birthday of his unconquerable god Jesus Christ. But Christmas apparently had good Jewish- Christian roots, long before its association with sun- 1 worship. Rabbis in the Talmud ( b. Rosh Hashana 11a; b. Kiddushin 38a) observed that Moses apparently died on the day of his birth (Deuteronomy 31:2, 32:48-50), concluding that this perfect numerical fulfilment is granted to all truly righteous people (Exodus 23:26). Early Christians were influenced by Jewish traditions, but in Luke 1–2 they also saw God’s emphasis on the conceptions of John the Baptist and of Jesus six months later, both following angelic visitations. They recognised that God actually treats conception rather than birth as the start of life, since John the Baptist rejoiced in Jesus’ presence even before birth. In that case, they decided that the accepted date of Jesus’ crucifixion on 14 Nisan must have been His conception date too, since He was the righteous ‘prophet like Moses’ (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Eastern (Greek-speaking) and Western (Latin-speaking) Christians differed over the date of the crucifixion in the Roman calendar, settling on 6 April and 25 March respectively. With this date for both His death and His conception, birth would happen exactly nine months later. The Jewish Origins of Christmas Continued on page 10

2. 14 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Editorial 2 Colophon Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel Mission Our mission is to bring Biblical understanding in the Church and among the nations concerning God’s purposes for Israel and to promote comfort of Israel through prayer and action. Editorial Team Andrew Tucker International Editor-in-Chief atucker@c4israel.org Cathy Coldicutt Managing Editor newspaper@c4israel.org Marloes van Westing International Communications Manager international@c4israel.org Ian Worby, Bryce Turner, Rita Quartel, James Patrick, Marie-Louise Weissenböck and Marijke Terlouw Scripture references: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. C4I Offices Christians for Israel International Leon Meijer, Chairman Rev. Willem J.J. 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Box 1100 | 3860 BC Nijkerk, The Netherlands | Tel: +31 33 422 0405 info@c4israel.org | www.c4israel.org The English Edition of Israel & Christians Today is published by the following English speaking branches: Christians for Israel - Australia Ian Worby, National Leader PO Box 1508, Springwood Q ueensland, Australia 4127 Tel: +61 402 277 930, info@c4israel.com.au www.c4israel.com.au Christians for Israel - New Zealand Bryce Turner, National Executive Director PO Box 12 006, Penrose, Auckland, New Zealand 1642 Tel: +64 9 525 7564, info@c4israel.org.nz www.c4israel.org.nz Christians for Israel - United Kingdom PO Box 789, Sutton Coldfield West Midlands B73 5FX, United Kingdom Tel: +44 121 647 3710, ukinfo@c4israel.org Christians for Israel - USA Fred J van Westing, CEO PO Box 2589, Manteca, CA 95336, USA Tel/Fax: +1 209 665 4280 fredvanwesting@c4israel.org www.c4israel.us DISCLAIMER - Articles printed in Israel & Christians Today expr ess the views of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Editors or that of the Board of Christians for Israel. The printing of articles or advertising in Israel & Christians Today does not necessarily imply either endorsement or agreement. ©Christians for Israel International Reproduction, or storage in a retrieval system or in any other form, is prohibited without permission. Please contact the Managing Editor should you wish to syndicate or r epublish any articles or materials appearing in Israel & Christians Today. www.facebook.com/c4israel Prayer Points By Pieter Bénard Israel l Pray that Israel will soon have a new government; that the new government will govern the country well and that it will trust in God, not in man. l There is again tension in the borderlands of Turkey and Syria. Israel's enemies see opportunities to increase their territories with force, creating instability in the region. Pray that God will protect Israel through it all. l “For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). Thank God for His calling of and His faithfulness to Israel. l The Jewish people will celebrate Hanukkah, the feast of the renewal (cleansing) of the Temple, from 22-30 December. The lesson that we as Christians may learn from this feast is victory of light over darkness. Pray for safe and good festival days. Israel & the Nations l The growing threat of Iran is a source of concern in Israel. Iran not only threatens Israel directly but also through terror organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Pray that Iran will not attack Israel. If Iran does, then pray for Israel to respond appropriately and that there will be no casualties. l Anti-Semitism in many European countries is on the rise. Many countries are considering adopting laws that ban ritual slaughter and circumcision. Pray for protection of Jews in Europe and around the world, that they will have religious freedom. l “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts” (Psalm 46:6). Thank God that He is much more powerful than the nations of the earth. Pray that the nations will know who God is and that He takes care of His people. Christians for Israel l Praise God for all the opportunities Christians for Israel has in many nations to spread the message of God’s faithfulness to Israel. l Give thanks that we have the opportunity to be involved in aliyah in a practical way. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips.’” (Isaiah 49:22). Let this be our active response. For daily Prayer Points, go to our website www.c4israel.com.au Andrew Tucker n International Editor | Christians for Israel The fourth beast with ten horns (Daniel 7) The past two months have seen some very significant geopolitical developments. The global landscape is changing dramatically, and a number of new global power blocks are emerging. Since the exit of foreign policy hawk and regime-change advocate John Bolton, under President Trump, the US is pursuing a policy of non-intervention in the Middle East. The US sudden pull-out from northeast Syria in October gave room to Turkey to move in and wipe out Kurdish populations. Notwithstanding the various US initiatives to support Israel in its negotiations with the Palestinians (e.g. the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, and the latest policy announcement that the US no longer considers Israeli settlements to contravene international law), many in Israel are sceptical of how far Israel can rely on this Administration. Turkey, in fact, is emerging out of all of this as a major player in the region. Even President Trump is flirting with President Erdogan, whom he calls “a hell of a leader”. At the same time, Erdogan met in October in Sochi with Russian President Putin, who is no friend of the West. As commentator Con Coughlin has observed, “the two countries have agreed to work together on the post-conflict carve-up of Syria, one that is designed to bolster the interests of both Russia and Turkey at the expense of the Syrian Kurds who were, until recently, regarded as vital allies of the US and other NATO member states in the fight against ISIS.” International relations analyst Emil Avdaliani recently observed that Russia could emerge from the chaos in Eurasia as the dominant player: “The geopolitical landscape is changing fast across the Eurasian landmass. As it did over the centuries, Russia will continue to position itself at a distance from the rising warring camps of China and the Western powers. Each needs Moscow, and the Kremlin knows it. Chaos in the super-continent could usher in an era of a much stronger Russian role in northern Eurasia, though it would have a more limited scope than that envisioned among the Kremlin elites.” In the meantime, on Israel’s northern border, Lebanon is imploding. Facing massive protests, the government has resigned, and the country has fallen into economic and political crisis, with (at the date of writing) no sign of a new government yet. This could open up a vacuum to be filled by Hezbollah. With an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, Iran’s proxy Hezbollah is committed to Israel’s destruction. Europe, as usual, turns a blind eye to these dangers and is persisting in its policies which run counter to Israel’s interests. One of those is its determination to impose the two-state solution, based on the ‘1967 lines’. The other is Europe’s commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) with Ira n, and policy of downplaying Iran’s nuclear program and fostering economic relations with Iran. This is problematic to Israel because Iran – in coordination with its proxies close to Israel’s borders, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad - is the main existential threat to Israel. Former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren has described in alarming detail how a conflict between Israel and Iran could easily be sparked and descend into a massive conflagration, devastating Israel and other countries in the region. Israel is already girding for a war wit h the Islamic Republic and has carried out hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked targets in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. A single miscalculation during one of those airstrikes could draw retaliation by Iran, Oren wrote in a column recently published in The Atlantic. “Israeli troops, especially in the north, have been placed on war footing. Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time. And it’s not hard to imagine how it might arrive. The conflagration, like so many in the Middle East, could be ignited by a single spark.” Th is might sound like scaremongering, but Oren is not alone in warning of the possibility of large-scale conflict in the region. Of course, we don’t know how all of this is going to play out, but the kings of Daniel 7 may be emerging. Possibly we are seeing the gradual fulfilment of the prophecies in chapters 38 and 39 of the book of Ezekiel concerning ‘Gog and Magog’ – which, one way or another, will involve Russia, Turkey and Iran, as well as Libya (Put) and Sudan (Cush), moving against Israel. We should definitely keep our eyes on these developments, ask the Lord for discernment, and pray with increasing fervour for the peace of Jerusalem. Fourth Beast with Ten Horns Israeli citizens of different political stripes demonstrate outside the Knesset, Israeli Parliament, to demand the creation of a unity government on November 18, 2019

23. 23 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Theology 10 Hanukkah The Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the Festival of Lights 23 - 30 December 2019 Hanukkah ( pronounced Hanu’ka in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah or Chanuka) also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. Chanukah begins at sundown on Sunday 22 December 2019. Asara B’Tevet Fast commemorating the siege of Jerusalem 7 January 2020 Asara B’Tevet is the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, a minor fast day in Judaism. ĥe fast commemorates the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia. Like other minor fasts, Asara B’Tevet begins at dawn (first light) and ends at nightfall (full dark). Jewish Festivals Kees de Vreugd n Theologian | Christians for Israel International & Editor | Israel & the Church In this article, we continue our discussion of the ‘Twelve Theses of Faith on Israel’ published by Christians for Israel. Thesis 11: We believe that the Son of man will sit in judgment over the nations when the Kingdom comes and will ask them how they have treated Israel and the Jewish people. Elaboration: We understand and believe that before the ultimate Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness is established, there will be a Day of Judgment upon the nations. The main question that the nations will have to answer is the question asked by Jesus: “What did you do to the least of these brothers of Mine?” (Matthew 25:40) . His calling for solidarity with the poor and suppressed of this world regards in the first place our attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people. The divine commandment given to us by the mouth of Isaiah is: “‘Comfort ye, Comfort ye My people’, says your God.” Clarification: Unfortunately, many Christians seek to prove themselves right in criticising Israel. But we will stress the point that it is not Israel in the first place that caused the suffering of the Palestinians; that happened after the establishment of the State of Israel. It cannot be deni ed that, above all, they have become victims because of the failing policies of their own leaders. Even our Arab brothers and sisters in Christ suffer because of the Palestinian leadership. Respectfully, we will ask the Israeli’s to pay attention to injustices that sometimes happen, without lecturing them from an attitude of superiority and pride. In many cases, they do listen respectfully, because we come as friends. However, our main task is to carry out the Biblical remit: “comfort, comfort ye My people...”; to encourage them; to love them; and to stand with them. Most are totally convinced that the whole world hates them. We will tell them that we will stand at their side over and against those who hate Israel and the Jewish people. Pellumb Ranxha n Representative | Christians for Israel Albania As Christians, we rejoice in our salvation through the Cross and resurrection of our Lord. Now reconciled with God, we won’t be subject to judgement on judgement day, John 5:20-24. Saving and judging authority is given by the Father to the Son, the Messiah of Israel. Yet we are accountable to God for what He has entrusted to us; 2Corinthians 5:10. We see a vivid portrayal of that accountability in Joel 3, where the Lord proclaims His judgement on the nations. Perfect love is manifested in the cross; almighty power is pictured in that judgement. Why such a judgement? Because the nations have scattered His people, divided their land and badly treated their young ones, Joel 3:2-3. They have insulted and arrogantly treated the people of the Lord, Zephaniah 2:10. Nowadays the nations act against Israel in the UN, threaten war, a nd try to stop God fulfilling His promises for and through Israel. Thus, the nations fail to contribute to the restoration of Israel. It is a painful truth; they act in rebellion to God by mistreating Israel, while the Lord wants to bless them through Israel! (Romans 11:12,15) In one way this is a call for repentance for the nations. On the other hand, it is a message of hope, joy, and comfort for God’s people. The Lord comes back with His saints; revokes His judgement against Israel; the King of Israel dwells forever among the people of Israel; and they come to know Him. He removes their shame a nd fear, breaks the evil powers, and sets free the prisoners. Surely after the dark days, bright times are ahead for His people. Rejoice, daughter of Zion! (Zephaniah 3:12-20) Therefore, we pray: Ÿ that the church will comfort His people, Isaiah 40:1 ; proclaim the truth about Israel; and repent of the church’s past and present sins towards Israel Ÿ that our nations will do more for these little ones (Israel), Mathew 25:40 Ÿ for a repentant heart among nations in their relations with Israel Ÿ that Israel will meet their Messiah when He comes and will rejoice in Him. The Lord has spoken, Joel 3:8-9 ; may our nations hear! th 11 Thesis: Judgment December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 For Western Christians, 25 December became the official birthday of Jesus, but even so, we also acknowledge 6 January (Christmas Eve for Eastern Orthodoxy) as the Feast of Epiphany, resulting in the familiar ‘twelve days of Christmas’. The conception of Jesus is likewise celebrated on 25 March as the Feast of the Annunciation (to Mary). Evidence for Christian belief that Jesus was born on 25 December goes back at least as early as the Commentary on Daniel (4.23.3) by Hippolytus of Rome in AD 202: ‘He was born in Bethlehem, eight days before the kalends of January [December 25th]... He suffered in the thirty third year, 8 days before the kalends of April [March 25th].’ In that case, emperor Aurelian was not the first to choose this date, seven decades after Hippolytus. Earlier Roman sun worshippers had celebrated a couple of dates in August, but they seem to have had no interest in either solstices or equinoxes at all. As for the other older Roman winter festival of Saturnalia, this ran from 17 to 23 December, so a Christian holy day on 25 December could hardly have been intended as its replacement. Presumably it was Christians who first noted the solar significance of the date of Christ’s birth, calculated independently but coincidentally falling on the winter equinox in the Julian calendar. Jesus was truly the ‘sun of righteousness’ who had risen with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2). Aurelian was hostile to Christianity, since its success was damaging worship of the Roman Empire’s traditional gods. So what better way to re-unite the various pagan cults around one annual festival, and at the same time recapture the winter equinox from the ‘heretical’ Christians, than to celebrate the sun-god on 25 December as a picture of Rome’s unconquerable paganism? Less than forty years later, Rome itself submitted to Christ. So when was Jesus actually born? The date is not given in the Bible, and would sheep really have been out in the fields near Bethlehem in mid-winter? John 1:14 says that ‘the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us’, which many take as a hint towards Sukkot. However, Messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn has recently noted that one (uncensored?) manuscript of Hippolytus’ commentary in the Vatican Library also preserves a contradictory observation that Jesus was born in the springtime. He points out that there is another biblical ‘tabernacle’ date at that time of year. The ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ is actually about ‘booths’, whereas the true Tabernacle (mishkan) was constructed by Moses on 1 Nisan (Exodus 40:2, 17), having been ‘conceived’ by God about nine months earlier on Mount Sinai. Jesus Himself compared His body to God’s sacred dwelling (John 2:18- 21). Nisan also happens to be lambing season, when shepherds keep watch for new births in the fields even at night; so those near Bethlehem were ready to welcome the Lamb of God. Whenever Jesus was actually born, we do not need to worry that celebrating His birth at Christmas makes us complicit with paganism. Whether on 25 December or 1 Nisan, we can rejoice that the Light of the World and Lamb of God truly came into the world to be our Tabernacle/Temple and make atonement for our sins – Yeshua our ‘salvation’. 1 See the article by William Tighe, <www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v>, derived from Thomas J. Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991): 88-99. <www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptlsXtTf6n0>; see also his documentary The Mishkan Clue. The Jewish Origins of Christmas continued from page 6 Shepherds field with view of Bethlehem. | Photo: Shutterstock Theology 11 Mandy Worby n Christians for Israel Australia In the last article, we began looking at what it means to walk in the dust of our Rabbi, and we took a look at the difference between the Greek and Hebrew mindsets. Because the Hebrew mindset is primarily practical, physical and literal, it’s important that we understand the correct context of the Bible and the events listed in it so that we don’t inadvertently misunderstand what it means. We learned that the Greek mindset is largely spiritual and analytical, but to be fair, that’s not 100% of the time, gaining and remembering knowledge is important, but there has to be a practic al outcome so that life skills are the end result. Basically, the premise is: you are told information, you study the information, you remember the information, and then you’re tested to see how much information you remember and from those results you’re deemed qualified or not. The Hebrew mindset is practical and one of teacher and student, Rabbi and disciple, professional and apprentice. The teacher does something, the student observes and then replicates, and he keeps doing it until he gets it right and only then is he deemed qualified. He then, in turn, teaches others what he ’s learned. With regard to Rabbis and their disciples, Jewish disciples didn’t automatically join a Rabbi’s classes; they had to be personally hand-picked and chosen by the Rabbi individually; and once they responded and accepted the offer of a discipleship, they were then committed to learn everything from the Rabbi, following him everywhere, watching every nuance, absorbing every word, obeying implicitly every tiny instruction until the students finally looked and sounded exactly like their Rabbi. Somebody should be able to watch and observe them and be ab le to tell which Rabbi they followed. This is why various different groups among Orthodox Jews have specific dress codes because it connects them to specific Rabbis that they follow. Walking in the dust of the Rabbi conjures up the image of a disciple walking so closely to his Rabbi that the dust stirred up by the Rabbi’s steps settles all over the disciple; he literally steps into the very footprints of his teacher following him ever so closely so as not to miss a single word, or look, or expression. When Jesus called His disciples and said “Follow Me”, He was literally calling them to ‘walk after’ Him , live alongside Him day and night and learn from Him every moment of every day. To follow Him meant to emulate Him in every aspect of His life, His actions, His conversations, His mannerisms; they were, in fact, meant to become little mirrors of Him. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognised that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) Jesus didn’t hand them a textbook, although He did teach them constantly from the Scriptures; He didn’t have them sit exams; His teaching was akin to an appren ticeship. Again, this is the Hebrew mindset while the Greek mindset is to study information, retain the information in your head, and answer an exam and with a passing mark, then you are declared qualified. To the Jewish mind, you walk alongside, you watch, you listen, you apply, and you replicate what you see under the supervision of your teacher, and you keep doing it until you master it. You have more than a head full of knowledge; yes, you have knowledge, but you also have the practical understanding and application; and you are then able to teach and train others to both understand and do . If the Rabbi says it, it’s true and must be obeyed. This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. As a disciple walks closely after his Rabbi, his heart begins to change, he learns to love his Rabbi, to understand what motivates his Rabbi and what moves his Rabbi. The disciple’s love for his Rabbi grows and alters his own motivations and his great desire is to please His Rabbi. He begins to adopt mannerisms and phrases and habits that mimic his Rabbi and even begins to talk like His Rabbi, repeating His words to those with whom he comes in contact with. That’s what the disciples did and the general communi ty could tell when they were observed that they knew and had spent time with Jesus. We are to walk as closely as we can to Jesus: obviously not physically because His physical presence is seated beside His Father in glory; but we have the Word of God - and every single word in both the Old and New Covenant Scriptures is the expression of Jesus Himself. Part 3b will be published in the February 2020 Israel & Christians Today. These studies are based on the book ‘Walking In The Dust Of Rabbi Jesus: How The Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life’ by Lois Tverberg. www.ourrabbijesus.com Walking in the Dust of Our Rabbi - Part 3a December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Marry the Land Rev Willem JJ Glashouwer n President | Christians for Israel International And they will return from the land of the enemy.” (Jeremiah 31:16 NASB) Basically, the ‘lands’ and the ‘nations’ from which the Jewish people have been returning to the Promised Land for over a hundred years now, are the lands of ‘the enemy’. Deep down the nations and the countries hate the Jewish people and Israel. They are not ‘neutral’ but are ‘the enemy’. Time and again this hatred will flare-up: verbally and physically. The only safe place for the Jewish people is Israel. Praise God – Baruch Hashem – the time has finally come that the Jewish people are able to ‘return’ to the La nd of Israel. God Owns the Land Who is the owner of the Land of Israel? Israel? No! The Lord God is the Owner of the Land. “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine and you reside in My land as foreigners and strangers” (Leviticus 25:23). Only He has the right to give it or rent it out to people. Even Israel has no right to give this Land away, or to sell it, for they do not own the Land. He is the Land- Lord, the rightful owner. Israel is allowed to live in the land because He has decided to give it to them, as ‘foreigners and strangers’. He gave the Land to Israel: “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit” (Psalm 105:8-11). When other strangers conquered the Land, occupied it for almost 2,000 years, the Land became utterly forsaken and desolate. It was ‘possessed’ by others, but not loved or taken care of by them–occupied territory. A Love-Relationship The land was utterly forsaken, until the Jewish people started to return, to fulfil the prophetic promise: “You shall no longer be termed ‘Forsaken’, nor shall your land any more be termed ‘Desolate’. But you shall be called Hephzibah (my delight is in her), and your land Beulah (married). For the Lord delights in you, and (to Him) your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:4-5) . It is a love-relationship between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. The Jewish people are marrying the Land of Israel. They are not brought back by Almighty God to possess or occupy the Land that He owns, but to ‘marry’ the Land. In the process, God is marrying the Land of Israel and the City of Jerusalem. He is preparing the City of Jerusalem to be again His dwelling place on earth. To bless the world through His people from His Land and from His City. For centuries, Western nations occupied and colonised big parts of land all over the world; to possess and plunder them for their own benefit. To give the name ‘colonists’ to those pious Jews who return to own the Land God has given to them rightfully is a ‘chutzpah’: an unbelievable brutality. Like someone who murdered his father and mother and then asks the judge to be lenient to him because he is an orphan. The truth upside down. Our Responsibility “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:5-7). The prophet Isaiah does not say: Look, how the Jews are coming back home to Israel from the four corners of the world. But the prophet Isaiah does say: Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth. Let us all realise our responsibility in this process and continue to bring them home to Israel. Rabbi blessing Jewish bride and bridegroom in modern Orthodox Jewish wedding ceremony in a synagogue. | Photo: Shutterstock

3. 15 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Editorial 2 Colophon Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel Mission Our mission is to bring Biblical understanding in the Church and among the nations concerning God’s purposes for Israel and to promote comfort of Israel through prayer and action. Editorial Team Andrew Tucker International Editor-in-Chief atucker@c4israel.org Cathy Coldicutt Managing Editor newspaper@c4israel.org Marloes van Westing International Communications Manager international@c4israel.org Ian Worby, Bryce Turner, Rita Quartel, James Patrick, Marie-Louise Weissenböck and Marijke Terlouw Scripture references: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. C4I Offices Christians for Israel International Leon Meijer, Chairman Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer, President Rev. Cornelis Kant, Executive Director P.O. Box 1100 | 3860 BC Nijkerk, The Netherlands | Tel: +31 33 422 0405 info@c4israel.org | www.c4israel.org The English Edition of Israel & Christians Today is published by the following English speaking branches: Christians for Israel - Australia Ian Worby, National Leader PO Box 1508, Springwood Q ueensland, Australia 4127 Tel: +61 402 277 930, info@c4israel.com.au www.c4israel.com.au Christians for Israel - New Zealand Bryce Turner, National Executive Director PO Box 12 006, Penrose, Auckland, New Zealand 1642 Tel: +64 9 525 7564, info@c4israel.org.nz www.c4israel.org.nz Christians for Israel - United Kingdom PO Box 789, Sutton Coldfield West Midlands B73 5FX, United Kingdom Tel: +44 121 647 3710, ukinfo@c4israel.org Christians for Israel - USA Fred J van Westing, CEO PO Box 2589, Manteca, CA 95336, USA Tel/Fax: +1 209 665 4280 fredvanwesting@c4israel.org www.c4israel.us DISCLAIMER - Articles printed in Israel & Christians Today expr ess the views of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Editors or that of the Board of Christians for Israel. The printing of articles or advertising in Israel & Christians Today does not necessarily imply either endorsement or agreement. ©Christians for Israel International Reproduction, or storage in a retrieval system or in any other form, is prohibited without permission. Please contact the Managing Editor should you wish to syndicate or r epublish any articles or materials appearing in Israel & Christians Today. www.facebook.com/c4israel Prayer Points By Pieter Bénard Israel l Pray that Israel will soon have a new government; that the new government will govern the country well and that it will trust in God, not in man. l There is again tension in the borderlands of Turkey and Syria. Israel's enemies see opportunities to increase their territories with force, creating instability in the region. Pray that God will protect Israel through it all. l “For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). Thank God for His calling of and His faithfulness to Israel. l The Jewish people will celebrate Hanukkah, the feast of the renewal (cleansing) of the Temple, from 22-30 December. The lesson that we as Christians may learn from this feast is victory of light over darkness. Pray for safe and good festival days. Israel & the Nations l The growing threat of Iran is a source of concern in Israel. Iran not only threatens Israel directly but also through terror organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Pray that Iran will not attack Israel. If Iran does, then pray for Israel to respond appropriately and that there will be no casualties. l Anti-Semitism in many European countries is on the rise. Many countries are considering adopting laws that ban ritual slaughter and circumcision. Pray for protection of Jews in Europe and around the world, that they will have religious freedom. l “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts” (Psalm 46:6). Thank God that He is much more powerful than the nations of the earth. Pray that the nations will know who God is and that He takes care of His people. Christians for Israel l Praise God for all the opportunities Christians for Israel has in many nations to spread the message of God’s faithfulness to Israel. l Give thanks that we have the opportunity to be involved in aliyah in a practical way. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips.’” (Isaiah 49:22). Let this be our active response. For daily Prayer Points, go to our website www.c4israel.com.au Andrew Tucker n International Editor | Christians for Israel The fourth beast with ten horns (Daniel 7) The past two months have seen some very significant geopolitical developments. The global landscape is changing dramatically, and a number of new global power blocks are emerging. Since the exit of foreign policy hawk and regime-change advocate John Bolton, under President Trump, the US is pursuing a policy of non-intervention in the Middle East. The US sudden pull-out from northeast Syria in October gave room to Turkey to move in and wipe out Kurdish populations. Notwithstanding the various US initiatives to support Israel in its negotiations with the Palestinians (e.g. the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, and the latest policy announcement that the US no longer considers Israeli settlements to contravene international law), many in Israel are sceptical of how far Israel can rely on this Administration. Turkey, in fact, is emerging out of all of this as a major player in the region. Even President Trump is flirting with President Erdogan, whom he calls “a hell of a leader”. At the same time, Erdogan met in October in Sochi with Russian President Putin, who is no friend of the West. As commentator Con Coughlin has observed, “the two countries have agreed to work together on the post-conflict carve-up of Syria, one that is designed to bolster the interests of both Russia and Turkey at the expense of the Syrian Kurds who were, until recently, regarded as vital allies of the US and other NATO member states in the fight against ISIS.” International relations analyst Emil Avdaliani recently observed that Russia could emerge from the chaos in Eurasia as the dominant player: “The geopolitical landscape is changing fast across the Eurasian landmass. As it did over the centuries, Russia will continue to position itself at a distance from the rising warring camps of China and the Western powers. Each needs Moscow, and the Kremlin knows it. Chaos in the super-continent could usher in an era of a much stronger Russian role in northern Eurasia, though it would have a more limited scope than that envisioned among the Kremlin elites.” In the meantime, on Israel’s northern border, Lebanon is imploding. Facing massive protests, the government has resigned, and the country has fallen into economic and political crisis, with (at the date of writing) no sign of a new government yet. This could open up a vacuum to be filled by Hezbollah. With an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, Iran’s proxy Hezbollah is committed to Israel’s destruction. Europe, as usual, turns a blind eye to these dangers and is persisting in its policies which run counter to Israel’s interests. One of those is its determination to impose the two-state solution, based on the ‘1967 lines’. The other is Europe’s commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) with Ira n, and policy of downplaying Iran’s nuclear program and fostering economic relations with Iran. This is problematic to Israel because Iran – in coordination with its proxies close to Israel’s borders, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad - is the main existential threat to Israel. Former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren has described in alarming detail how a conflict between Israel and Iran could easily be sparked and descend into a massive conflagration, devastating Israel and other countries in the region. Israel is already girding for a war wit h the Islamic Republic and has carried out hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked targets in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. A single miscalculation during one of those airstrikes could draw retaliation by Iran, Oren wrote in a column recently published in The Atlantic. “Israeli troops, especially in the north, have been placed on war footing. Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time. And it’s not hard to imagine how it might arrive. The conflagration, like so many in the Middle East, could be ignited by a single spark.” Th is might sound like scaremongering, but Oren is not alone in warning of the possibility of large-scale conflict in the region. Of course, we don’t know how all of this is going to play out, but the kings of Daniel 7 may be emerging. Possibly we are seeing the gradual fulfilment of the prophecies in chapters 38 and 39 of the book of Ezekiel concerning ‘Gog and Magog’ – which, one way or another, will involve Russia, Turkey and Iran, as well as Libya (Put) and Sudan (Cush), moving against Israel. We should definitely keep our eyes on these developments, ask the Lord for discernment, and pray with increasing fervour for the peace of Jerusalem. Fourth Beast with Ten Horns Israeli citizens of different political stripes demonstrate outside the Knesset, Israeli Parliament, to demand the creation of a unity government on November 18, 2019 News 3 More than Hummus The demand for vegetable products is increasing. A growing number of people realise that animal products harm the environment. Hummus, the typical Middle Eastern chickpea paste is already hugely popular. The Israeli company InnovoPro pioneered possible applications for chickpeas and developed chickpea milk, which has no after-taste and has various uses . | Photo: InnovoPro Solar Park in Mozambique Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. One of the obstacles to escaping poverty is the lack of electricity in large parts of the country. The Israeli o rganisation Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development has joined forces with multinational Gigawatt Global and the national Anglican Church. Together they want to create a solar park from which many inhabitants of the area will be provided with a stable source of electricity. World Cup 2022 If the history of sports tells us anything about the Arab world, it is that Israeli sportsmen are not particularly welcome. Therefore StandWithUs is worried about the World Cup 2022 that will be held in Qatar. The organisation fears that Israeli supporters are not welcome or safe in the Gulf State. By addressing the international football union FIFA, the organisation hopes that access and security will be guaranteed for Israelis. | Photo: AFL Architects Clay Seal of Adonia During archaeological excavations in the City of David in Jerusalem, the place where King David’s royal palace stood in Biblical times; a clay seal was recently found inscribed as belonging to “Adonia, the royal stadtholder”. In those excavations many archaeological finds have been made that endorse Biblical history. Online Exhibition September 2019 marked eighty years since the start of the Second World War which began with the German invasion in Poland. Yad Vashem has established an online exhibition focusing on the events which occurred at the time, based on memories and testimonies of survivors. Short News December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Tomas Sandell n Founding Director | European Coalition for Israel (ECI) The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday 12 November that EU law requires that products from Jewish settlements in the so-called West Bank cannot carry the label ‘Made in Israel’ but must be labelled as a product originating from an ‘Israeli settlement’. The ruling came only two days after Jewish communities across Europe have commemorated the 81st anniversary of the ‘Kristallnacht’ on 9-10 November 1938, during which over 7000 Jewish businesses across Germany were marked, damaged, looted or completely destroyed. The EU court ruling is counterproductive to peace and a gift to radical forces in Europe and the Middle East who want to isolate, boycott and delegitimise the State of Israel and demonise the Jewish people. When the European Commission, in November 2015, adopted an ‘interpretative notice’ on the indication of origin of goods from the West Bank territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, it was said to be motivated by consumer protection. In the ruling, the court added that this consumer information “could influence consumers’ purchasing decisions”, some of whom choose not to buy products because of “ethical considerations and considerations relating to the observance of international law”. That statement echoed calls from some of the darkest chapters of European history when the labelling of Jewish businesses with a Star of David was also seen as a form of consumer information. The Court’s latest ruling sends the wrong message to European citizens at a time when anti- Semitism has reached alarming levels in the EU-member countries, and where the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians is seen as a catalyst for fuelling Jew-hatred. In a recent survey in Sweden, over 85% of those polled considered that the current Middle East conflict directly influenced how they view the domestic Jewish population. By insinuating that Israeli economic activities in the disputed territories are unethical, and require s pecial labels, the EU helps fuel this sense of suspicion. Instead of promoting economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, the EU seems to prefer to advance division by making industrial activities in the territories increasingly difficult. Following the ‘interpretative notice’ from the European Commission in 2015, the Israeli company Soda Stream had to relocate their factories from the disputed territories, leaving behind 600 unemployed Palestinians. It is estimated that up to 25,000 Palestinians are dependent for their livelihood on jobs in Israeli companies in the disputed territories of the West Bank. The court decision is a blow to these Palestinians and to all other moderate forces in the region who want to see business cooperation as a tool for peace and co-existence. The US State Department has expressed grave concern over the court decision in that it exposes an anti-Israel bias and encourages the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Meanwhile a spokesperson for the European Commission defended its position by stating that “the EU rejects any form of boycott or sanctions against Israel.” For more information, visit: www.ec4i.org Israeli Labelling Rules by EU EU and US Clash on Legality of Settlements Andrew Tucker n Director | The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation (thinc.) The EU and US now have diametrically opposed views on whether Israeli policy on settlements in the “occupied territories” is legal. The European Court of Justice decided on 12 November 2019 that the ‘occupied Palestinian territories’ are not part of Israel. Therefore products imported into Europe from those territories may not be labelled ‘made in Israel’. In the Court’s view, Israeli settlements are ‘illegal’, and products from settlements must be labelled as such. The Court said that consumers need to be in formed if the place from which the products emanate somehow is in breach of fundamental rules of international law. This is a far-reaching decision. It means all ‘occupied’ territories – such as Taiwan (China), Ukraine (Russia), Western Sahara (Morocco) and Tibet (China) - do not belong to the occupier, and ‘settlements’ in those territories could be illegal. As Psagot’s lawyers argue, the case opens up a ‘Pandora’s box’ of problems. How are European importers of products to know when international law is being breached, or determine what consumers want to be in formed about? The EU position that Israeli settlements are illegal stands in direct contrast with the announcement several days later on 18th November by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the US no longer considers the establishment of Israeli settlements ‘per se inconsistent with international law’. The announcement goes back to the policy of the Reagan administration and reverses the policy implemented by President Obama. Pompeo said: “After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan . The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.” Pompeo said “we recognise that, as Israeli courts have, the legal conclusions relating to individual settlements must depend on an assessment of specific facts and circumstances on the ground. Therefore, the United States Government is expressing no view on the legal status of any individual settlement.” Pompeo also stressed the US is “not addressing or prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank. This is for the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate. International law does not compel a particular outcome, nor create any legal obstacle to a negotiated resolution...The conclusion that we will no longer recognise Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law is based on the unique facts, his tory, and circumstances presented by the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank. Our decision today does not prejudice or decide legal conclusions regarding situations in any other parts of the world.” Pompeo concluded that “calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t worked. This highlighted area is Judea and Samaria. This is also known as the West Bank by the rest of the world. Continued on page 4

7. 19 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Johannes Gerloff n Theologian, Journalist, Lecturer & Author This article is the seventh instalment (second part) in a series of contributions to the interpretation of Psalm 2. The psalmist pleads: first, “Come to your senses!” (verse 10); second, “Serve the Lord” (verse 11) ; and third, “Kiss the ‘Bar” (verse 12a). Who is the ‘Bar’? And what does it mean to kiss him? To kiss is equivalent to do homage. Samuel kisses Saul (1 Samuel 10:1), saying that thereby he does homage to him. In Acts 10:25-26 the Roman centurion Cornelius falls to the ground before Peter, paying homage to him. Radak recalls the ancient custom of slaves kissing their master’s hand. According to Amos Hakham, ‘Kiss Bar’ is to be interpreted according to Psalm 18:21. There it says, ‘According to the purity of my hands (kevor yadai) reward me.’ ‘Bar’ is written in Hebrew exactly in the same way as the word ‘purity’ (bor) in Psalm 18:21. Hakham decides: ‘Kiss Bar’ is to be interpreted as “‘kiss purity’, because in worship there is no room for a real kiss, but only for a symbolic kiss, in order to adhere to purity.” In these statements, the Israeli exegete follows a broad tradition of interpretation, which can be traced back both in Judaism and Christianity. Martin Luther points out that “Jerome had translated in the Hebrew Psalter: Worship in a pure way, because [bar] also means pure and chosen.” Ibn Ezra derives the request ‘kiss’ (nashqu) from the Hebrew word for ‘weapon’ (nesheq) and suggests: “That would then mean: put on the weapons of the son, that is, pure weapons”. This medieval Spanish linguist and interpreter thus returns again to ‘bar’ as ‘barei levav’, that is, those who are of ‘purity in heart’. Luther originally had translated Psalm 2, 12a: “Kiss the Son, that He may not be furious, and you may perish on the way.” For this translation He also refers to Jerome in his Latin commentary: “‘Kissing’, however, they explain as paying homage, so that the meaning is: ‘Kiss the Son’, i.e., receive with honour and humility the King and Lord Christ.” Some interpreters are against this translation for grammatical reasons. However, Ibn Ezra points to the fact, that in terms of content the ‘serve the Lord’ (verse 11) corresponds with the ‘against the Lor d’ (verse 2), as likewise the ‘kiss the son’ corresponds with ‘against his Anointed One’. And Radak explains, that ‘bar’ ‘is to be understood like ‘ben’ [son], as it is written in Proverbs 31:2: “What, my son (beri), what, son of my womb (bar-bitni), what, son of my vows (bar-nedarai) [shall I tell you?].” Obviously in this Hebrew text the word ‘bar’ is used three times meaning ‘son’. Radak then paraphrases the statement of the messianic personality in Psalm 2:12 as follows: “What do you have against me? I am pure-hearted. There is no fault in me that you come to me and fight against me. Instead, you should kiss me, pay homage to me, and acknowledge gratefully, that I am king by order of God.” That the Gentile nations, rebelling against the living God and His Messiah, are called upon to kiss the Son, may be acceptable on some of the hermeneutical levels explained at the beginning of this interpretation of Psalm 2. But does that apply to all suggested levels? It is conceivable that the Philistines had to pay homage to King David. Similarly, that the Gentiles had to submit to the Judean king. For Christians, it is also comprehensible that Psalm 2:12 describes the worship of the Christ Jesus, in whose name all knees shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth. Every tongue will once confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). But does this ‘kiss the Son’ also apply to Israel as Son of God? Does this even apply to the relationship of Gentile nations with the Jewish people? May it even be giving a guideline for the attitude of the Christian church towards the nation of Israel? A similar picture like Psalm 2:12 can be found in Isaiah 49:23. There, Gentile peoples and their kings and queens come and fall down before Israel. The Prophet foresees: “With their nose on the ground, they worship you and lick the dust of your feet.” The consequence of this attitude of Gentile believers in the God of Israel on the side of the Jewish people will be: “There you will realise: I am the Lord. Whosoever ho pes for me will not be ashamed.” Could it be that we as non-Jews are called upon in Psalm 2:12 to pay homage to the Jewish people, ‘to kiss’ them, ‘to lick their feet’? And maybe we should do that, not because we idolize some human beings, but simply because we take seriously God’s choice: His plan and the salvation-historical causal relationships–that His word reveal to us? And maybe we should behave like that because we care about the relationship between the people of Israel and the God of Israel; because we long to see Israel come ‘to know’ that the Lord is God. Maybe that should be more important to us than being right or respected or honoured? Perhaps, we should also allow Israel the honour given to it by the living God Himself, ‘lest He be angry’ and we ‘perish on the way’ (Psalm 2:12b-c). For the living God is a holy God who ‘cannot be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap.’ This is not a statement about an ‘Old Testament God’ whose wrathful nature has been ‘surmounted’ on Golgotha. Paul wrote it to Gentile believers in Yeshua who lived in Galatia in Asia Minor (Galatians 6:7). ‘For his wrath is kindled shortly’ (Psalm 2:12d). The full text of this article, including extensive footnotes, can be found at www.c4israel.org/teaching-articles/ Biblical Reflection 6 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 The Outcry - Psalm 2 - Part 7b Prayer shawl - Tallit Jewish religious symbol and Jewish Prayer | Photo: Shutterstock Dr James E Patrick n Author | Theologian | Speaker Increasing numbers of Christians who value their Jewish spiritual heritage are turning away from Christmas, believing it to have been derived from a winter solstice festival established on 25 December in AD 274 by the pagan Roman emperor Aurelian as natalis solis invicti, the birth of the Unconquerable Sun. This is the time when the days start to become longer, and the sun god supposedly proves his strength. The argument about pagan origins for Christmas was first made by a mid- eighteenth-century Protestant theologian, who wanted to prove that Christ-mass was a degenerate Catholic superstition that should be rejected. A century earlier, Puritans had similarly banned Christmas as too boisterous and too Catholic. Nowadays the supposed pagan derivation of Christmas has been taken up eagerly by atheists and pagans who want to take credit for the popular winter festival. But does history bear out their claim? It is true that the (in)famous emperor Constantine, who converted the Roman empire to Christianity from AD 312 onwards, had earlier been a keen worshipper of Sol Invictus. No doubt this influenced his observation of 25 December as the birthday of his unconquerable god Jesus Christ. But Christmas apparently had good Jewish- Christian roots, long before its association with sun- 1 worship. Rabbis in the Talmud ( b. Rosh Hashana 11a; b. Kiddushin 38a) observed that Moses apparently died on the day of his birth (Deuteronomy 31:2, 32:48-50), concluding that this perfect numerical fulfilment is granted to all truly righteous people (Exodus 23:26). Early Christians were influenced by Jewish traditions, but in Luke 1–2 they also saw God’s emphasis on the conceptions of John the Baptist and of Jesus six months later, both following angelic visitations. They recognised that God actually treats conception rather than birth as the start of life, since John the Baptist rejoiced in Jesus’ presence even before birth. In that case, they decided that the accepted date of Jesus’ crucifixion on 14 Nisan must have been His conception date too, since He was the righteous ‘prophet like Moses’ (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Eastern (Greek-speaking) and Western (Latin-speaking) Christians differed over the date of the crucifixion in the Roman calendar, settling on 6 April and 25 March respectively. With this date for both His death and His conception, birth would happen exactly nine months later. The Jewish Origins of Christmas Continued on page 10 C4I Happenings 7 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 Marie-Louise Weissenböck n Christians for Israel Austria The largest Menorah of Europe reached its final destination in September: in the city of Sderot. It will be officially inaugurated on 17 December, five days before Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Background Seven years ago, three Dutch entrepreneurs accepted the challenge of Christians for Israel Netherlands and Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs to build the largest menorah in Europe. Just a few weeks later, the twelve-meter-high menorah (an eight-armed Hanukkia) was erected in front of the head office of Christians for Israel, as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish community. It was inaugurated at Hanukkah by Chief Rabbi Jacobs and the then Israeli Ambassador to the Netherlands, H.E. Haim Divon. In the following six years the Menorah travelled to different places in the Netherlands: It stood in the cities of Lelystad, Leeuwarden, Urk, Maastricht and even in front of the Peace Palace in The Hague. Every year many people who love and support Israel came to see the Menorah. Final Destination Together with the Jewish Agency for Israel, the leadership of Christians for Israel Netherlands decided about a year ago that it was time to bring the Menorah to a place where it can be seen every day, to a place where it belongs: Israel! Its permanent location is an area that is continuously threatened by terror and rockets from Gaza. The light of the menorah in Sderot serves as an encouragement for the people who have been living with terror attacks for many years. "After unspeakable suffering, the horrors of the Holocaust and the recent attacks on Israel, the Jewish people may feel alone. This is our way of saying you are not alone, we stand with you," said Arjen Lont, entrepreneur, when the menorah was erected in Sderot in September. The Menorah stands in the middle of a roundabout in a residential area. Inauguration: 17 December The Menorah will be inaugurated at nightfall on 17 December in the presence of the Dutch Chief Rabbi, Binyomin Jacobs, the Mayor of Sderot, Alon Davidi, board members of Christians for Israel, Heads of the Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod, as well as friends from Israel and from all over Europe. “May the light of the Menorah brighten the lives of the people of Sderot,” is the wish of Roger van Oordt, Executive Director of Christians for Israel Netherlands. “As Jews and Christians, we want to exalt the God of Israel and spread His light”. The Light of the Menorah to Israel The Women International Zionist Organisation (WIZO) has awarded one of its prestigious Gold Awards to Marie-Louise Weissenböck. Marie-Louise Weissenböck, a musician who was born and raised in South Africa, is Austrian Chairperson, European Director and International Board member of Christians for Israel International - a global network of Christians who seek to bring Biblical understanding in the Church concerning God’s faithfulness to the nation of Israel and to promote comfort of Israel and the Jewish people through prayer and action. The award was given at the WIZO One Night for Children event in the Viennese City Hall, under the patronage of the Mayor of Vienna, on Sunday evening, 6 October, 2019. The keynote speaker at this event was Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch in Geneva. WIZO was founded in 1920 in direct response to the needs of women and children in Israel. WIZO continues to identify the needs of Israeli society and creates solutions to meet them. With 250,000 members, WIZO is a prominent global Zionist organisation, and an important agent of change for women, children and youth in Israel. Three people were awarded the WIZO Gold Award in Vienna: H.E. Talya Lador-Fresher, Ambassador of Israel to Austria; Hillel Neuer; and Marie-Louise Weissenböck. Chairperson of the WIZO board, Caroline Shklarek- Zelman, praised Weissenböck’s outstanding commitment to Israel, her special relationship with the Jewish community in Austria, and her many initiatives over recent years to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. The event was attended by Austria’s Chief Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg; President of the Jewish community in Vienna (Israelitische Kultusgemeinde) Oskar Deutsch; and Jewish friends of WIZO. In response, Weissenböck said “I want to thank WIZO and the Jewish community in Vienna for this award. It is such an honour and privilege as a Christian to be able to serve the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and to show our love in acts of solidarity and service.” C4I Europe Director Receives WIZO Award Cornelis Kant n Executive Director | Christians for Israel International A new country has been added to the list of countries that are publishing the Christians for Israel newspaper, Israel & Christians Today, in their native language: South Korea. We are very grateful for that. Pastor Paul Jung has a Korean background and has been serving Korean churches in Sydney, Australia, for many years. He has a warm heart for Israel and the Jewish people. Years ago, he ensured the books of Rev. Willem Glashouwer Why Israel? and Why End Times? were translated into Korean, and is now keen to publish our newspaper for Korean readers in Australia and South Korea. In a special Church service in a Presbyterian Church in Seoul, Paul Jung presented the newspaper on Sunday, 17 November. On Monday, 18 November a special conference took place in the Sarang Church in Seoul, which was attended by pastors, professors, and church leaders. During this conference Cornelis Kant spoke about the existence of a Christian theology in which Israel had no significance anymore and Paul Jung spoke about the relationship between Christians and Jews in Australia. The Korean edition of our Israel & Christians Today newspaper was presented and well received. South Korea has about 50 million inhabitants, and 30% of them are Christian. Seoul has big congregations with tens of thousands of members with many church services on Sundays. It would be wonderful if many of them would be willing to distribute the Korean edition of our newspaper. South Korea has a variety of Israel-related organisations but our newspaper, with its balance of profound articles about Israel from a biblical perspective, is unique in its kind. In 2020 three editions will be published. Paul Jung has established a small team of pastors and friends who are dedicated to promote and distribute the newspaper, who need need our support and prayer. We pray the newspaper may contribute to a deepening of the reader’s awareness of God’s wonderful plan for Israel and the world. C4I’s Newspaper Launched in South Korea Paul Jung presenting the Israel & Christians Today newspaper in Seoul

28. 28 December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 2 3 Koen Carlier n Aliyah Fieldworker | Ukraine Will You Help Masha? Food Parcel Campaign 2019-2020 In Ukraine, thousands of elderly Jewish people still live in great poverty in cities and rural areas. They often live in dreadful conditions, like Masha in the photo. It’s cold in her clay house, but she warmly welcomes us. The food parcels we bring are desperately needed to get through the winter. With your help, we hope to put together 30,000 food parcels this winter and distribute them to Jewish families and Holocaust survivors. Will you help? Poverty Among Jews in Ukraine In Ukraine, there is an old folk song that starts with ‘When there’s no more water coming from the faucet, it is the fault of the Jews’. It shows how deeply rooted the hatred of Jews is here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end with ‘innocent’ songs. In the past year, several Jewish cemeteries were defaced with paint and destroyed, while statues were erected for anti- Semitic national heroes from the past. In these fearful times, the visits we make are a tremendous encouragement for Jews. Especially for the elderly, who are often lonely because their families were murdered during the Holocaust. For example, I recently visited an elderly lady, together with my good friend Rabbi Mendel Cohen from Mariupol in Eastern Ukraine. After the visit, the rabbi said: “She has be en lonely all her life, but now she can die knowing that people are praying for her.” At each and every visit, we testify of God’s faithfulness to His people Israel, and of the promises He makes in the Bible. Promises about hope and the return of the Jewish people to Israel! Will you help? One food parcel costs AUD $15. We can get the products for a good price because the wholesale company knows that we use them for a good cause. You can donate by filling out the coupon. On behalf of the Jewish community, thank you for your support! Our Projects 16 Masha Will Be Alone this Winter December 2019 | Israel & Christians Today Kislev - Tevet 5780 “I am especially happy with the tea. It’s so nice and warm, that’s why I love to drink it.” -Masha One food parcel contains: 1kg flour 1kg rice 1kg sugar 2kg macaroni 1kg grits 1kg porridge 1 tin of peas 1 tin of corn 1 tin of fish 1 tin of chicken 500g oats 1L cooking oil 70g coffee 1 pack of tea Koen Carlier: “The plan is to deliver 30,000 food parcels this winter. Your contribution is so important.” PLEASE COMPLETE FORM & RETURN TO: Christians for Israel Australia, PO Box 1508, Springwood, QLD 4127 or you can donate securely online www.c4israel.com.au/donate Yes, I would like to make a donation towards... C4I MINISTRY 1 SOCIAL WELFARE PROJECTS ALIYAH - BRING THE JEWS HOME TEACHING RESOURCES & PREMIUM GIFTS DONATION DONATION SEE OUR FULL RANGE AT: C4ISRAEL.COM.AU/STORE QUANTITY SUB TOTAL $___________ SUB TOTAL $___________ MY TOTAL DONATION $___________ $___________ My donation for general admin costs (inc print & post) $___________ Hineni soup kitchen & Holocaust survivors in the Ukraine $300 One Person* $5000 One Busload (25 persons)* $1350 Bnei Menashe - Asian Jews (1 person) $___________ $___________ First Home in the Homeland ($350 pp) Bless Bethlehem Appeal $1000 One Family (5 persons)* $______ ___________ Israel and Christians Today Paper (free or by donation) Riding Into History (BOOK) by Barry Rodgers Light Horse History Bundle (BOOK + DVD) by Barry Rodgers $50 each ___________ $100 each Adi Watches (Mens) (Ladies) ___________ $12 each The Signs of the Times (BOOK) by Willem J.J. Glashouwer ___________ ___________ ___________ The Light Horse Century (DVD) by Barry Rodgers $30 each ___________ Anti-Israel Agenda (BOOK) by Alex Ryvchin $___________ 1=$15 3=$45 5=$75 10=$150 Food Parcels $46 each ___________ Israel on Trial (500p Reference BOOK) by Andrew Tucker $20 each ___________ Why Jerusalem? (DVD) by Rev. Wilem Glashouwer $15 each ___________ Why Jerusalem? (BOOK) by Rev. Wilem Glashouwer 3 Ar e Israeli Settlements Illeg al? Understanding Israel and world events from a Biblical perspective & Christians Today ISRAEL Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel 6 J ewish Ori gins of Christmas 7 C hristians for Israel in Kor ea 12 Bless Bethlehem Israeli soldiers close the gate leading to the Island of Peace in Naharaim, northern Israel, on the border with Jordan, on 9 November 2019. This is one of the parcels of land of which Jordan did not extend the lease. | Photo: Flash90 Is Peace Gone Between Israel and Jordan? Yochanan Visser n Christians for Israel Correspondent in Israel Not only has the peace between Jordan and Israel turned cold, but it also looks to be on the verge of collapse. Jordan recently ‘celebrated’ the 25th anniversary of its peace treaty with Israel by recalling its ambassador to the Jewish State. The move is highly symbolic of the state of relations between Israel and Jordan, 25 years after the peace agreement was signed by the late King Hussein and the slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in the presence of former US President Bill Clinton. In Israel, there are those like Ksenia Svetlova of Mitvim, The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, who agree with Jordanian anti-Israel activists that the deterioration in the relations between the two countries is solely on the fault of the Netanyahu government which allegedly misses every opportunity to increase cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom. Ariel Kahana, writing for Israel HaYom, strongly disagrees with Svetlova and claims the cold peace has its advantages. “Israel offers Jordan the strategic backing it needs to deal with the threats it faces; it supports the preservation of Jordan as the Hashemite Kingdom, and it opposes the ‘Jordan is Palestine’ concept,” Kahana wrote. “Israel further lends Jordan a powerful status on the Temple Mount, sells its natural gas at floor rates and provides it with significant water supply, as well as enables European goods heading to Jordan to pass through the Haifa port and land crossings,” he added. On the other hand Kahana claims that Jordan keeps the tensions with the Palestinians from boiling over, and adds that this is particularly true when it comes to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “Why is the climate acerbic? Because every public step King Abdullah takes to signal warming ties with Israel will meet with scathing domestic criticism, to the point of rattling the throne,” according to the Israeli journalist. The Jordanian King is dealing with increasing opposition to his regime, something that has been under-reported by both Israeli and international media. Take, for example, what happened in Jordan when protesters in Ramtha threw shoes (a very humiliating act in Muslim countries) and stones at giant billboards with photos of King Abdullah. The protests were followed by gun battles between opponents of Abdullah’s regime who are members of the Bani Hassan tribe, and regime forces in the city of Zarqa, Jordan’ s third-largest city. To divert attention from the many failures of his regime to solve severe economic and social problems Abdullah uses the Palestinian issue to protect his rule over Jordan which is home to a Palestinian majority and roughly 1.5 million Syrian refugees who were taught to hate Israel. In March this year, the King made clear he sees himself as the patron of Jerusalem, which he still seems to regard as a part of Jordan. “Jerusalem and the future of Palestine are a red line for Jordan. I don’t think I can make it any clearer... As a Hashemite, how could I (possibly) relinquish Jerusalem? That is impossible. It is a red line. (I say) a resounding no to (relinquishing) Jerusalem,” Abdullah said at the time. Jordan announced last year that it would not extend the lease of the two parcels of land because of domestic opposition against the peace deal with Israel. At th e same time, Jordan is careful not to end security cooperation with Israel because it fears an influx of Islamists from Syria. For this reason, both Jordan and Israel asked President Donald J. Trump to keep some US Special Forces in southern Syria near the Jordanian border. AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA www.c4israel.com.au | info@c4israel.com.au December 2019 Kislev - Tevet 5780 3 Are Israeli Settlements Illegal? Understanding Israel and world events from a Biblical perspective & Christians Today ISRAEL Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel 6 Jewish Origins of Christmas 7 Christians for Israel in Korea 12 Bless Bethlehem Israeli soldiers close the gate leading to the Island of Peace in Naharaim, northern Israel, on the border with Jordan, on 9 November 2019. This is one of the parcels of land of which Jordan did not extend the lease. | Photo: Flash90 Is Peace Gone Between Israel and Jordan? Yochanan Visser n Christians for Israel Correspondent in Israel Not only has the peace between Jordan and Israel turned cold, but it also looks to be on the verge of collapse. Jordan recently ‘celebrated’ the 25th anniversary of its peace treaty with Israel by recalling its ambassador to the Jewish State. The move is highly symbolic of the state of relations between Israel and Jordan, 25 years after the peace agreement was signed by the late King Hussein and the slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in the presence of former US President Bill Clinton. In Israel, there are those like Ksenia Svetlova of Mitvim, The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, who agree with Jordanian anti-Israel activists that the deterioration in the relations between the two countries is solely on the fault of the Netanyahu government which allegedly misses every opportunity to increase cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom. Ariel Kahana, writing for Israel HaYom, strongly disagrees with Svetlova and claims the cold peace has its advantages. “Israel offers Jordan the strategic backing it needs to deal with the threats it faces; it supports the preservation of Jordan as the Hashemite Kingdom, and it opposes the ‘Jordan is Palestine’ concept,” Kahana wrote. “Israel further lends Jordan a powerful status on the Temple Mount, sells its natural gas at floor rates and provides it with significant water supply, as well as enables European goods heading to Jordan to pass through the Haifa port and land crossings,” he added. On the other hand Kahana claims that Jordan keeps the tensions with the Palestinians from boiling over, and adds that this is particularly true when it comes to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “Why is the climate acerbic? Because every public step King Abdullah takes to signal warming ties with Israel will meet with scathing domestic criticism, to the point of rattling the throne,” according to the Israeli journalist. The Jordanian King is dealing with increasing opposition to his regime, something that has been under-reported by both Israeli and international media. Take, for example, what happened in Jordan when protesters in Ramtha threw shoes (a very humiliating act in Muslim countries) and stones at giant billboards with photos of King Abdullah. The protests were followed by gun battles between opponents of Abdullah’s regime who are members of the Bani Hassan tribe, and regime forces in the city of Zarqa, Jordan’ s third-largest city. To divert attention from the many failures of his regime to solve severe economic and social problems Abdullah uses the Palestinian issue to protect his rule over Jordan which is home to a Palestinian majority and roughly 1.5 million Syrian refugees who were taught to hate Israel. In March this year, the King made clear he sees himself as the patron of Jerusalem, which he still seems to regard as a part of Jordan. “Jerusalem and the future of Palestine are a red line for Jordan. I don’t think I can make it any clearer... As a Hashemite, how could I (possibly) relinquish Jerusalem? That is impossible. It is a red line. (I say) a resounding no to (relinquishing) Jerusalem,” Abdullah said at the time. Jordan announced last year that it would not extend the lease of the two parcels of land because of domestic opposition against the peace deal with Israel. At th e same time, Jordan is careful not to end security cooperation with Israel because it fears an influx of Islamists from Syria. For this reason, both Jordan and Israel asked President Donald J. Trump to keep some US Special Forces in southern Syria near the Jordanian border. AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA www.c4israel.com.au | info@c4israel.com.au December 2019 Kislev - Tevet 5780 3 Are Israeli Settlements Illegal? Understanding Israel and world events from a Biblical perspective & Christians Today ISRAEL Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel 6 Jewish Origins of Christmas 7 Christians for Israel in Korea 12 Bless Bethlehem Israeli soldiers close the gate leading to the Island of Peace in Naharaim, northern Israel, on the border with Jordan, on 9 November 2019. This is one of the parcels of land of which Jordan did not extend the lease. | Photo: Flash90 Is Peace Gone Between Israel and Jordan? Yochanan Visser n Christians for Israel Correspondent in Israel Not only has the peace between Jordan and Israel turned cold, but it also looks to be on the verge of collapse. Jordan recently ‘celebrated’ the 25th anniversary of its peace treaty with Israel by recalling its ambassador to the Jewish State. The move is highly symbolic of the state of relations between Israel and Jordan, 25 years after the peace agreement was signed by the late King Hussein and the slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in the presence of former US President Bill Clinton. In Israel, there are those like Ksenia Svetlova of Mitvim, The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, who agree with Jordanian anti-Israel activists that the deterioration in the relations between the two countries is solely on the fault of the Netanyahu government which allegedly misses every opportunity to increase cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom. Ariel Kahana, writing for Israel HaYom, strongly disagrees with Svetlova and claims the cold peace has its advantages. “Israel offers Jordan the strategic backing it needs to deal with the threats it faces; it supports the preservation of Jordan as the Hashemite Kingdom, and it opposes the ‘Jordan is Palestine’ concept,” Kahana wrote. “Israel further lends Jordan a powerful status on the Temple Mount, sells its natural gas at floor rates and provides it with significant water supply, as well as enables European goods heading to Jordan to pass through the Haifa port and land crossings,” he added. On the other hand Kahana claims that Jordan keeps the tensions with the Palestinians from boiling over, and adds that this is particularly true when it comes to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “Why is the climate acerbic? Because every public step King Abdullah takes to signal warming ties with Israel will meet with scathing domestic criticism, to the point of rattling the throne,” according to the Israeli journalist. The Jordanian King is dealing with increasing opposition to his regime, something that has been under-reported by both Israeli and international media. Take, for example, what happened in Jordan when protesters in Ramtha threw shoes (a very humiliating act in Muslim countries) and stones at giant billboards with photos of King Abdullah. The protests were followed by gun battles between opponents of Abdullah’s regime who are members of the Bani Hassan tribe, and regime forces in the city of Zarqa, Jordan’ s third-largest city. To divert attention from the many failures of his regime to solve severe economic and social problems Abdullah uses the Palestinian issue to protect his rule over Jordan which is home to a Palestinian majority and roughly 1.5 million Syrian refugees who were taught to hate Israel. In March this year, the King made clear he sees himself as the patron of Jerusalem, which he still seems to regard as a part of Jordan. “Jerusalem and the future of Palestine are a red line for Jordan. I don’t think I can make it any clearer... As a Hashemite, how could I (possibly) relinquish Jerusalem? That is impossible. It is a red line. (I say) a resounding no to (relinquishing) Jerusalem,” Abdullah said at the time. Jordan announced last year that it would not extend the lease of the two parcels of land because of domestic opposition against the peace deal with Israel. At th e same time, Jordan is careful not to end security cooperation with Israel because it fears an influx of Islamists from Syria. For this reason, both Jordan and Israel asked President Donald J. Trump to keep some US Special Forces in southern Syria near the Jordanian border. AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA www.c4israel.com.au | info@c4israel.com.au December 2019 Kislev - Tevet 5780 Please post cheque or money order to: Christians for Israel Australia Inc (don’t use staples) NEW INTERNET BANKING DETAILS: BSB: ANZ BANK – 014-279 Account No: 405318543 Ref: Your name & donation purpose. Please confirm by emailing info@c4israel.com.au MY DETAILS Name: _________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________ Phone: _________________ Email: __________________ Christians for Israel Australia ABN: 79 941 819 693 *NOTE: Certificates for individuals and families from the Ukraine only. $35 each 2 for $60 4 for $100 $25 each 2 for $40 4 $___________ CFOIC (Judea and Samaria) Heartland

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