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15. 5 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Political Analysis Dr Ron Weiser AM Hon Life Pres of the Zionist Council of NSW Prime Minister Netanyahu has suddenly shifted the goal posts and his political future may depend on how his imaginative and daring initiative shapes up. Over the past two years in what is effectively the one election cycle being played out now for the fourth time, I have continuously described the Israeli elections being, in the main, about one issue or more specifically, one person. Better being described as the two sides of that one person—Prime Minister Netanyahu the statesman versus Bibi the person. In the main that meant being about Netanyahu’s external policy and achievements with his profile and influence on the world stage as opposed to his legal troubles, character and internal policy paralysis at home. This time against the background now of his and Israel’s major foreign policy triumphs— normalisation with four Arab countries— ironically, these are hardly a factor in the elections due on the 23rd of March. Absent some major moves on the Iranian front, or actions by Iran’s proxies—it’s all about Bibi the man and in parallel, Covid. In Israel there is a great concern around the rising numbers of deaths and about the economic destruction, that occupies people’s lives and minds. Whilst the polls to date show it will be difficult for Netanyahu to win, they do not show an easier path for anyone else. Netanyahu has turned his statesmanship and leadership skills to internal issues and produced a bold plan that is both sweeping and grand. For the first time, in this fourth election in the cycle when we refer to the Netanyahu versus Bibi paradigm, we are not talking about foreign policy versus internal issues. Just internal issues. Israel’s governmental dysfunction has meant that there has not been a rational, unified and manageable Covid policy and with Israel now in yet another lockdown. Re-enter the newly energised and focussed Netanyahu. The statesman and leader skill set, with his visionary policy. That is, for Israel to be the first country in the world to be as close to fully vaccinated against Covid as possible. Not to just deal with the pandemic, but to defeat it!! With a relatively small population of just over 9 million, a nationalised health care system and logistical first world ability, Netanyahu effectively sold the proposition to Pfizer, that Israel, to put it crudely, could be the world’s biggest vaccine test case. That Israel could be ‘the light unto the nations’ and that other countries would be able to be encouraged to have greater confidence in the vaccine and to learn from the Israeli experience. By the election date, barring unforeseen circumstances, most of Israel will be vaccinated. Once again, Iran developments aside, the success or otherwise of the vaccine will potentially determine Netanyahu’s political and legal future. The move to vaccinate the country—and to be the first in the world to do so—is all Netanyahu. How people will feel about the future, whether they will already be forgetting 2020 if life will be returning to normal or can be seen to, will likely be a major factor in the coming elections. In Israel, the general view of the body politic, even amongst those who vehemently oppose Netanyahu and who think him unfit for office, is not to reject any and all of his policies outright just because they come from him. People can support his achievements and simultaneously believe his political time should end. This however was not reflected in the USA when it came to President Trump. We should be able to look at the positive things Trump and his administration have done for Israel and the Middle East and at the same time reserve the right to criticise him and especially decry the events of the dying days of his presidency which have been universally condemned and were shocking to observe. Democracy was damaged, but perhaps no-one or nothing more than Trump himself. Whilst Trump’s territorial plan for Israel and the Palestinians will likely be shelved as with previous president’s plans, Biden is unlikely to reverse the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital— something however Biden, nor perhaps any other president other than Trump, would themselves have initiated. The Abraham Accords, arguably in a practical sense, even more important, have changed the Middle East forever. And on Iran, Trump’s breaking of the very bad JCPOA agreement has meant that even if Biden will make a new deal with Iran, it is likely to be a better one than the one made by Obama. Trump was a Middle East game changer. And for this he should be recognised. Inside Israel, pre-election, people are moving from one party to another and new parties seem to pop up frequently. Perhaps most damaging to Netanyahu in one sense, is the defection by Ze’ev Elkin to Gideon Sa’ar’s new party. The dour Elkin was one of Netanyahu’s closest and staunchest allies and a true insider. The manner of his departure was particularly harsh with his condemnation and assessment of Netanyahu. We will see if Elkin is the proverbial canary in the coal mine or not. Whatever happens, the game post- election will be who is first asked to form a government? And then if it will be Netanyahu whose party is still polling ahead of all others, who will or will not join him? So far, of the main potential coalition partners, Sa’ar has vowed to never join Netanyahu in government as Prime Minister, whereas Naphtali Bennett has been hedging his bets and refuses to state clearly one way or the other. Has Sa’ar painted himself into a corner or is it a clever strategy to lead the anti-Netanyahu forces? We will know in due course. In the meantime, Netanyahu has a double interest in seeing the vaccination program’s success against the pandemic— for the nation and for himself—and that is indeed a great motivation to see it succeed. ________________________________________________________ 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. Two Sides of Netanyahu: The Statesman vs. the Person Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Photo: Roman Yanushevsky / Shutterstock.com the success or otherwise of the vaccine will potentially determine Netanyahu’s political and legal future

7. Israel News 5 Israel’s Colourful Society February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Short News Israeli Aid Delegation Assisting Honduras A delegation from Israel travelled to the Republic of Honduras to help the country following the devastation left behind by hurricanes. Part of their mission was to assist cities suffering from hurricane damage and providing guidance to local leadership. The delegation was formed after the government of Honduras requested help from Israel’s government and consisted of Israel’s Home Front Command and the Foreign Ministry delegates. Col. (res.) Golan Wach, commander of the Search and Rescue National Unit, stated: “Israel and the Home Front Command will continue to lend a hand to any country that needs our help anywhere in the world.” | Photo: © Ministry of Foreign Affairs Israeli Sign Language Academy Israel will establish a Sign Language Academy. This decision was made to boost equality and help those with disabilities fully integrate with society. Israeli sign language shares a long history with the State of Israel. Sign language speakers developed Israeli sign languages alongside the building of the state and the ingathering of Jews from the Diaspora. Israeli sign languages connect the deaf community in Israel, regardless of their nationality or sector. It is the main mode of communication for most deaf people in Israel, including Jewish, Muslim and Christian Arabs, Druze and Bedouins. Recycling Face Masks Israeli clean-tech startup UBQ converts used face masks into eco- friendly material. The donning of single-use masks has skyrocketed globally since the onset of the corona pandemic. The masks can be potentially harmful to the environment when not disposed of properly, so recycling them is very important. UBQ has developed a way to transform unsorted household waste, including single-use masks, into an additive for the plastics industry that can be used in products like furniture, toys and car parts. | Photo: Flash90 Amit Barak n Elias Zarina is an Arabic-speaking Christian born in the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. Elias works in the hotel industry in the city. More than once he told me that he met with pilgrims (Catholics or Orthodox) at the hotel and Elias repeatedly proves them wrong. When they hear that he is an Israeli Christian, they react in amazement, because the impression they came with is that in the Holy Land there are only Jews, Muslims and conflict. Those who read only the usual headlines in the media can be excused for such thinking. Those who read a little more, however, will discover a very different picture. In order to get to know how diverse Israeli society is, you really have to sit down and study or travel in Israel, on a trip that departs from the conventional tourist routes. Israeli society comprises a rich fabric of different religions, denominations and groups livi ng side by side. This is possible because of the strong Israeli democracy that draws its power from Judaism and Zionism. While 74% of the population in Israel are Jews, the truth is that Jewish society is complex and diverse. Further, the other twenty six percent are minorities and others without classification (about 4.8%). The majority group within the minorities are the Arab Muslims (about 1.6 million), among them about 395,000 Bedouin. The Arabs live mostly in Arab cities and villages and preserve their religious and cultural way of life (Jews can hardly be found in Arab localities because selling homes to Jews in Arab villages is taboo for the Arab society). Others live alongside Jews and Christians in mixed cities like Haifa, Beersheba, and Jaffa. Arab society maintains a certain distance from the State of Israel in the national aspect, many preserving a distinctly Palestinian identity. But in the economic, employment, academic, sports, educational, and cultural fields they are fully integrated. You can find Arab Muslims in senior positions in all professions - in the courts, in hospitals, in government offices, in banking, in natio nal sport teams. You can also find Arab MKs in the Knesset (most of whom are hostile towards the State of Israel). In recent years, more and more Muslim Arab men and women can be found in the National Service, which is also considered by Israeli society as a parallel service to the army. At the request of the Arabs (as well as at the request of some ultra-Orthodox Jews), this service is called today the National Civil Service. The word ‘Civil’ was added because they are more comfortable identifying with civil society in Israel than with Israeli nationality. In any case, the state has decide d that it is a step that builds trust, and a change of this sort, increasing the inclusion of Arabs into National Service, needs to be implemented step-by-step. However, most of them are absent (except a few and brave) from the symbol most identified with Israeli-ness, and which is seen as a final entry ticket into Israeli society,: service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). The Bedouin - with their own cultural characteristics - live mainly in the north of Israel and in the Negev (in Israel’s south). The Bedouin living in the north have much more Israeli identity than the Bedouin in the Negev. The northerners integrate into society and enlist in the IDF more easily, and this is acceptable in their community. Among the Bedouin in the south, an ideological struggle is taking place between the State of Israel and the Islamic Bedouin movement. The second group among the minorities are the Christians. In Israel there are about 175,000 Christians, most of whom are Arabic-speaking. This group also includes Armen ian Christians (about 3,000), Aramaeans and others. Most of them live in and around the Galilee and Haifa, others in central Israel (Jaffa, Ramla, Lod) and Jerusalem. Most Christians live in towns and villages with a Muslim Arab majority or in mixed cities. They are represented in all aspects of Israeli society - as individuals, judges of the Supreme Court, director of a hospital in the Galilee, in sports, members of parliament, senior executives in the high- tech industry. Even the Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan is an Arab Israeli Christian. In 2012, following the gen ocide and persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth, Father Gabriel Naddaf, called on the young members of the Christian community to volunteer for the IDF and National Service. He encouraged them to integrate into Israeli society in all aspects, and to be partners in building the State of Israel. He spoke to them as representatives of the Christian community, as a collective and not just as individuals. Many responded to his call and activities, and today enlistment in the army for national service is more acceptable amon g Christians than in the past. Many have become interested in their biblical and historical connection with the people of Israel. A large part of Israel’s Christian population, the Aramean Christians, have rediscovered their historical roots in the land. Another group are the Druze - about 145,000 were integrated into the State of Israel and IDF under a law in 1956 enacted with the consent of the community leaders and the Druze religious leadership. The Druze live on Mount Carmel near Haifa and in the Galilee. They speak Arabic, and while their culture is similar to the Arab c ulture, it is a separate and independent religion and community, with unique traditions. They also have a connection to the Jewish people through Jethro. Jethro is viewed as a Prophet in Druze belief, named in Arabic Nabi Shu’ayb. Druze men serve in the IDF, most of them in combat units, and many senior officers can be found among the Druze. Druze women do not serve in the army but in recent years more and more have decided to volunteer for National Service. In Israel you can find other small and special minority groups. For example there are the Circassians in Israel - about 4,000 people ar e Sunni Muslims from the Caucasus who came to Israel in the 19th century. They are, in fact, in the same position as the Druze, under the same law from 1956. They live in two villages in Israel, with their own language and traditions. One of the things that characterises their villages is the cleanliness of the streets. They are fully integrated and serve in the IDF. Approximately 2600 Alawites all live in one village in the north, the border between Israel and Lebanon crossing the village. There are only about 850 Samaritans today. Half of them live on Mount Gerizim and half in Holon near T el Aviv. Those who live in Holon are Israelis in every way and serve in the IDF, while those who live on Mount Gerizim hold Israeli citizenship, a Jordanian passport and are also citizens of the Palestinian Authority. Samaritan- owned factories also suffer from BDS and restrictions in Europe. The Baha’is living in Israel today are volunteers who come for a limited time to serve in the World Baha’i Center in Haifa and Acre. On average, there are about 650 volunteers from 75 different countries in Israel at any given time, with about a third of them changing every year. There are also several hundred Vietnamese living in Israel, who were absorbed by Israel between 1977 and 1979, after they fled Vietnam after the Communist takeover in 1975. In the Muslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, you can find a small number of Gypsies; even Israelis hardly know this. Several thousand families of the former South Lebanese Army live in Israel. They arrived in Israel as refugees from Lebanon in 2000 after Israel withdrew from Lebanon. Most are Christian Maronite and Greek-Orthodox Christians, others are Druze, and both Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Most of them - especially the second generation - have integrated into Israeli society much better than Arabs and Christians born in Israel. With this colorful cultural diversity, there is a lot to see, hear and eat in Israel. Amit Barak was one of the initiators of the historical movement to integrate Christians into the IDF and Israeli society. Amit is an expert in Christian-Jewish relations, Co-founder of Jerusalemite Initiative, and Innovation Ltd. Druze women seen walking by an Arab vendor selling begele (bagels) in Jerusalem’s Old City. | Photo: Flash90

8. 6 Aliyah Rita Quartel n Christians for Israel Netherlands It was 21 January 1991 when Elena Kovarksy (born 1962), her husband and little daughter left the Soviet Union to build a new life in Israel. Their destination was Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh in the Negev. To this very day, Elena remembers the warm welcome they received from the people at the kibbutz. It made all the difference. And it is for good reason that this welcoming spirit has become one of the pillars of the First Home in the Homeland programme, of which Elena has been the director since 2007. Elena grew up in Moscow in a family with one younger brother. Although her parents and grandparents on both sides were Jewish, it wasn’t really part of their daily life. Society was imbued with the communist, secular mentality, including the doctrine ‘religion is the drugs of capitalism’ (‘religion is the opium of the people’). Elena: ‘We didn’t celebrate Shabbat or Pesach; I didn’t even know the word ‘Pesach’. My grandmother sometimes managed to get matzah to prepare a tasty meal. But if you would have asked me at age ten what the connection was between Pesach and matzah, I wouldn’t have known. It was only when I was a student, that I learned more about Jewry. It was a friend, who turned out to be Jewish, who told me about Pesach, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur etc. I started going to the synagogue twice a year, not because I decided to become religious or more Jewish, but to meet some Jewish people. My parents hardly spoke about us being Jewish, but there was an unwritten rule that said if I wanted to marry someone, he had to be Jewish. The second thing we were taught was that we had to be the best. I will never be a big director but I want to be a wise director and to achieve that position, I must be the best. Being the best was very important for all Jews in the Soviet Union. I know my husband and Jewish friends experienced the same.’ February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Life in a Kibbutz Aliyah When a friend introduced Elena to Lev, they started dating and got married in 1983. Elena studied Spanish and English and trained to be a teacher. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, the prospect of making Aliyah suddenly became more realistic and appealing, especially with the terrible situation in Moscow after the perestroika. Elena: “There were so many changes to our everyday life, we were afraid to stay.” Our Aliyah preparations took about a year. At that time there was no Jewish Agency in Moscow or an Israeli e mbassy. “We knew that the Israeli consul was meeting people wanting to make Aliyah in the Dutch embassy in Moscow. So we collected the necessary paperwork, went to the embassy and stayed for two days to get our documents. The consul gave us the Aliyah visa on the spot. He said: ‘You have the right to make Aliyah, here is your visa.’” Decision As it would take at least another six months before any flight connection between Moscow and Tel Aviv would be available, the consul suggested buying a train ticket to one of the major railway stations in Eastern Europe, like Budapest (Hungary) or Bucharest (Romania). So that’s what they did. They opted for Budapest, and the first available date was 21 January 1991. In Budapest, they were met by Israeli people who helped them – on behalf of the Jewish Agency – to fly to Tel Aviv. For Elena and her family, it was the first time outside the (Former) Soviet Union, and it wasn’t easy to leave. “It was hard and also a bit scary. We didn’t know what to expect, especially taking into consideration that four days before our departure, Operation Desert Storm (part of the Gulf War) started. Our parents were terribly worried about us leaving. My mum went crazy. She was crying and begging us to postpone, but we decided to go. We didn’t want to wait any longer. My husband said: ‘We don’t belong here anymore, we will go and I believe that everything will be fine.’” Frightening Arrival Unfortunately, their arrival in Israel turned out to be anything but fine. “We landed on 22 January at 10 pm and walked from the plane to the Absorption Ministry hall. We were given boxes with gas masks, and someone from the IDF was explaining in Russian how to use them. Suddenly the siren went off, and we were told to run to the shelter at the end of the corridor, leaving everything behind. In the meantime, we had to put the masks on (my husband helped our daughter), and I noticed they were different from the ones we knew from the civil defence in Moscow. My daughter started to cry, but we didn’t know what was wrong as we couldn’t see her face. All of a sudden someone came our way, and without saying a word, pressed a button on her mask. I then realised that the children’s masks had some kind of motor which needed to be activated to let the air in. My daughter had been without air to breathe, and as soon as I understood that I had almost killed my own child, I lost consciousness. I fell on the floor; everybody stopped running and came to help me. Soon we heard the announcement that things were back to normal and we could pick up our belongings. When we left the airport, our daughter was still crying, but we had no time to deal with her. We were pressed to leave as the IDF were afraid the airport would be bombed. In the end, the procedure at the airport only took 20 minutes. Normally it takes two to four hours.’ Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh “It was such a relief to live in the kibbutz” Elena Kovarsky, Director First Home in the Homeland

16. 6 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Biblical Commentary Through Jewish Eyes Enoch Lavender Pastoral leader of Shalom Israel and Assistant Pastor at Living Way Christian Network. This article is drawn from our new book “Hope Fulfilled: Our Journey to Marriage”. The book takes you through Sarah and Enoch’s journey of receiving a promise from God and yet having to wait many years to see it come to pass. It also dedicates an entire section to looking at the links between ancient Jewish wedding customs and the teachings of Jesus (Yeshua) about End Times. To illustrate this significance, the marriage of Tali and Brayden Waller is given as an example. Marriage is intended to be a picture of a far greater reality: the love of the Messiah for His Bride—us, His chosen people. In this way, each marriage, each love story, and even the longing to find a mate, I believe, is intended by God to point us to a far greater love story. To further understand the prophetic symbolism of marriage, we turn to the modern day story of Brayden and Tali Waller who chose to go through a uniquely prophetic journey to marriage. This young couple—with the blessing of their parents—hosted a beautiful and emotional betrothal ceremony attended by family and friends. After the couple pledged their love to each other, washed each other’s feet, publicly read their marriage ketubah (covenant) and shared in communion together, the ceremony ended on a sad note as Brayden solemnly rose to his feet to announce that he was leaving. The camera followed Tali’s face as Brayden left the room, and from that point onwards, the young couple had no direct face to face contact until the time of their marriage ceremony. Being a builder, Brayden quite literally went to work on building their future house during this waiting period. As the months went by, it was increasingly evident how much Tali was yearning and longing to be with her future husband. Finally Brayden completed the house and arrangements were made for the families on both sides to spend a week at a camping ground. In keeping with the ancient Jewish tradition, the groom would appear at an unspecified time during the week and the bride would have to make sure she was ready. The excitement and longing was increasingly intense during this week, until finally everyone heard the sounding of the shofar (trumpet) echoing through the camp grounds. The crowd quickly gathered at the appointed meeting place, waiting in anticipation for what was about to happen next. Gasps and applause arose from the crowd as they spotted in the distance the groom himself, riding on a stunning white horse and flanked by his groomsmen carrying their shofars. Arriving at the crowd, Brayden descended from his horse and embraced his beloved, Tali. As Brayden and Tali finally met again, they quite simply couldn’t stop smiling as they gazed into each other’s eyes. Finally the journey was complete, the separation was over and they would now spend the rest of their lives together. The Waiting Period You and I are like Tali, waiting for our future bridegroom. But unlike Tali, we are waiting for the most glorious bridegroom of all history, Jesus: One who loves us with the greatest love ever possible. Having just got married myself, I know that at a wedding, it is not just the bride who is excited. The groom can hardly wait to finally see and be with His beloved bride. Jesus has been waiting all this time for His Father to give Him the go ahead to go and fetch His beloved bride—you. He loves you intensely and passionately and is more excited over you than you can ever imagine. He can’t wait to see you, clothed in white and in splendour, and to be with you. He is Faithful and Just Yet many Christians walk through life with their heads bowed in shame. They feel condemned over their past, they feel inferior, and some even feel like failures. They may have heard that Jesus is coming, but their guilt and shame hinders them from embracing His return with the confident excitement of a bride. One of my favourite Scriptures which helped me overcome this issue is found in 1 John 1:9: “...if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As I have pondered this Scripture over the years, I agreed that God is faithful to forgive our sins as we confess them but I kept stumbling over the part of the verse that says that He is “just” to forgive our sins. “What is just about forgiving me?” I thought to myself. “After all, justice would demand that I would pay for my sins.” One day I unexpectedly found the answer to my question at a local coffee shop. I had met a friend for coffee, and when I went to pay, the shopkeeper declined my payment, saying it had already been paid. I asked my friend and she hadn’t paid for it either. It turned out that an unknown person had paid in advance for me to have that coffee. Reflecting on this, I realised that the shopkeeper could not have received my payment for the coffee. That would have been unjust as it had already been paid for. In the same way, God can’t accept my payment for my sins because they have already been paid for. In this way, God’s justice is satisfied and I receive unmerited and undeserved forgiveness. This verse has been a life-changer for me, by removing shame and condemnation, and giving me confidence in the Lord. Waiting with Expectation We can therefore have assurance that we are forgiven and that we are now clothed in those beautiful white robes of righteousness, ready for our heavenly wedding day. From Heaven’s perspective, you and I are truly part of the glorious bride and our heavenly bridegroom can’t wait to see us when He returns. May that Day come soon! ________________________________________________________ Ps. Enoch Lavender Enoch is the Pastoral leader of Shalom Israel and serves as Assistant Pastor at Living Way Christian Network. Sarah is a graduate of the Caleb Company training program and has led a ministry tour to Israel and been involved in many aspects of local church ministry. Hope Fulfilled [Yeshua] loves you intensely and passionately and is more excited over you than you can ever imagine.

6. News 4 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Caroline Glick n Columnist Israeli journalist Caroline Glick has expressed concerns that a number of incoming Democrat President Biden’s appointments may seek to resurrect policies they were responsible for under the Obama Administration that are hostile towards Israel. Iran Biden has restated his intention to return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Glick writes: “Media reports over the past few weeks have detailed some of Israel’s plans to convince the incoming administration to reconsider its position. Among other things, the government intends to use documents from Iran’s nuclear archive, that Mossad agents spirited out of Tehran in 2018, to show Biden and his advisers that the 2015 deal was based on the incorrect assumption that Iran’s nuclear program was defensive and civilian... Although Israel’s case is rock solid, it is unlikely to convince the Biden team to change course. Israel shared that evidence with the Obama administration, and Barack Obama and his advisers didn’t care. They drove forward and demonised Israeli leaders and their American supporters as warmongers. The same people who dismissed Israel’s evidence then are now leading Biden’s national security team.” In particular, Glick is concerned about Biden’s appointment of William Burns as CIA Director and Jake Sullivan as his National Security Advisor. “Obama appointed Burns and Sullivan to hold secret nuclear talks with Iran behind the backs of US allies Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Those talks led to the deal which provided Iran with an open path to a nuclear arsenal by 2025. It permitted the regime to enrich uranium. It didn’t touch Iran’s ballistic missile program. It gave Iran the power to decide which nuclear sites UN inspectors could enter. And it gave Iran a direct payoff of $150 billion including $1.7 billion in cash.” Israel/Palestinian Negotiations Glick: “In September 2000, the Palestinians launched a massive terror onslaught against Israel that lasted for four years. Every day, Israelis were subjected to acts of murderous terrorism that ranged from roadside stonings, shootings and bombings to mass shootings to suicide bombings, to mortar and missile assaults. The Palestinians launched their terror war after rejecting Israel’s offer of peace and statehood at the Camp David Peace Summit in July 2000. Yet in 2001, Burns was instrumental in convincing then-president Bush to become the first president to support Palestinian statehood.” Biden has appointed Obama’s former UN ambassador Samantha Power to serve as administrator of USAID. Glick: “Power played a central role in conceiving and passing UN Security Council Resolution 2334 in December 2016 which referred to Israeli communities and installations beyo nd the 1949 armistice lines in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria as “a flagrant violation of international law.” As USAID administrator, Power will be responsible for providing US financial support to the endemically corrupt and terror-supporting Palestinian Authority and to international organisations that facilitate Hamas’s terror regime in Gaza.” Anti-Semitism The Biden Administration may seek to undermine the Trump Administration’s advancement of the recent International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism as the basis for criminal prosecution of anti-Semites and protection of their Jewish communities. This definition includes a provision stating that denying the Jewish people their right to self- determination is a form of anti-Semitism. “The US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is the government body responsible for fighting anti-Semitism. This week Biden appointed Kristen Clark, an African American attorney and advocated to serve as head of the division. Following her appointment, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson reported Clark’s troubling past promotion of both racial bigotry and Jew-hatred.” Glick concludes: “Thanks in large part to Trump’s extraordinary friendship, Israel is much more powerful than it was when Obama left office, but it is still vulnerable. Whether it has the power to persuade Biden and his advisers to change course remains to be seen. But what power Israel does have will have to be used to protect itself from the coming storm in its relations with the United States.” Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.” Her full article can be accessed at www.carolineglick.org Israel-US Relations - a ‘Coming Storm’? Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu with United States Vice President Joe Biden in 2016. | Photo: Flash90 Maurice Hirsch n Palestinian Media Watch Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has announced elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council will take place on 22 May 2021, followed by elections for the PA President/Chairman on 31 July 2021. According to the PA Elections Law elections, the position of ‘President’ must be held every four years. Elections for the PA President/Chairman were last held in January 2005. The last general elections for the Palestinian Parliament were held in January 2006. In those elections, Hamas - an internationally designated terror organisation - won the popular vote in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and a majority of the parliament seats. Hamas won 74 seats out of the 132 seats. Following the electoral success, Hamas’ leader, Ismail Haniyeh, formed the new PA government. Emboldened by the electoral win, from the beginning of 2006, Hamas substantially increased its terror attacks on Israel. These attacks reached their peak on 25 June 2006, when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel from Gaza, killed two Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit. In response, Israel arrested most of the Hamas members of government. Abbas seized the opportunity, deposed the remainder of the government and replaced it with a so-called ‘technocrat’ government, which was dominated by Fatah and would continue and increase to be so over time. Hamas, angry with Abbas’s actions, seized control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007. Since then, de facto, the lawfully elected Palestinian parliament stopped functioning. H amas has continued its control of the Gaza Strip ever since, while Abbas and Fatah c ontrol the PA areas in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. A recent survey by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey R esearch indicates that in a presidential race between Fatah’s M ahmoud Abbas and Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh, most Pale stinians would vote for terror head Haniyeh. This is not necessarily a r eflection of the widespread Palestinian support for terror, but more likely a reflection of most Palestinians’ demand (66%) that Abbas resign. It is also p robably the result of the belief of the majority of the Palestinian public (52%) that Abbas is t he wrong candidate and that Fatah has better options. According to the poll, the most dominant of the alternative Fatah candidates is Marwan B arghouti. Barghouti has been convicted for h is involvement in the murder of 5 Israelis, and is curre ntly serving five consecutive life s entences plus an additional 40 years in an Israeli prison. If Barghouti were to face Hamas’ H aniyeh in presidential elections, Barghouti would receive 61% of the vote as opposed to 3 7% voting for Haniyeh. Whether those elections will ever take place, and whether the results of the elections will indeed affect any change, remains to be seen. However, the interim period raises a number of fundamental questions, not only for the Palestinians, but predominantly for the new Biden Administration, the European Union, and other major supporters of the PA. While the Palestinians consider Hamas and the PFLP to be legitimate ‘Palestinian factions’, both organisations are designated by the US and the EU as terror organisations. If reason and basic morality were to prevail, the Biden Administration and the EU would make it clear that they do not accept, in any shape or form, the participation of US and EU designated terror organisations in the Palestinian elections, and that they are unwilling to facilitate - in any manner - such a decision. This is an abbreviated version of an article by Maurice Hirsch Adv. of Palestinian Media Watch. For the full article see: https://palwatch.org. Republished with permission. Palestinian Elections Present West with Many Challenges

3. Life in a Kibbutz - 6 7 4 Palestinian Elections Understanding Israel and world events from a Biblical perspective & Christians Today ISRAEL February 2021 Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel 8 Tulips from the Netherlands 15 The Arrival of Bnei Menashe was a Hanukkah miracle Israel began vaccinations on 19 December 2020 and is delivering jabs to about 150,000 people a day, with priority given to the over-60s, health workers and people who are clinically vulnerable. By mid-January, about 20% of the population had been vaccinated. The BBC reported that Israel has given vaccinations against Coronavirus to more than one million people, the world’s highest rate, as global immunisation efforts step up. At the end of 2020, Israel had a rate of 11.5 vaccination doses per 100 people – followed by Bahrain at 3.49 and the UK at 1.47, according to a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University. As at mid-January, about 4000 people had died of Coronavirus in Israel. In January the country was in its third lockdown, amidst a new surge in infections, and even considering bans on incoming travel. Israel secured supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following negotiations early on in the pandemic. According to an article in New York Times, “Israel’s heavily digitised, community-based health system — all citizens, by law, must register with one of the country’s four Health Maintenance Organisations — and its centralised government have proved adept at orchestrating a national inoculation campaign, according to Israeli health experts.” “With a population of nine million, Israel’s relatively small size has played a role as well”, said Professor Balicer, who is also the chief innovation officer for Clalit, the largest of the country’s four Health Maintenance Organisations. An aggressive procurement effort helped set the stage. The health minister, Yuli Edelstein, said in an interview that Israel had entered into negotiations with drugmak ers as an ‘early bird,’ and that the companies were interested in supplying Israel because of its reputation for efficiency and gathering reliable data. “We are leading the world race thanks to our early preparations,” he said. Some people fear that Israel has moved too quickly and that it has allowed the vaccine manufacturers to use it as a ‘guinea pig’ to try out untested vaccines. Aviel Schneider at Israel Today, in Jerusalem, rejects these criticisms. “Everything is a risk, including the accelerated Israeli vaccination effort”, he said. “But isn’t Israel’s very existence in the Middle East at risk daily? The people of Israel are a conditioned people who have survived one risk after another for generations. From a biblical and spiritual standpoint, with God’s help, Israel has repeatedly overcome all risks. This may not have been easy and may have had its consequences, just as the year of Coronavirus will have economic consequences.” According to Schneider, the fears are unfounded. “Israel will survive the Pfizer vaccinations. And the faster everyone in the country is vaccinated, the faster the borders will be reopened. You will be able to visit Israel again. Nor can I imagine God sacrificing His chosen people as guinea pigs for Pfizer, or you. On the contrary, in this case, Israel is an example for others, a light to the nations. It is Israel that is encouraging and motivating other nations not to be afraid of a syringe.” Israel World-Leader in Covid-19 Vaccinations Medical worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine injection, at a vaccination center in Jerusalem. | Photo: Flash90 AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA www.c4israel.com.au | info@c4israel.com.au

10. Christians for Israel n Netherlands Every year Christians for Israel Netherlands distributes ten thousand Dutch tulip bulbs in Israel as a symbol of friendship and solidarity. The Tulip Tour whisked through Israel again in November 2020. Since no Dutch ‘Tulip Teams’ could travel to Israel because of corona measures, local friends did the honours, sometimes even in Dutch style! Many tulip bulbs were given out in Jerusalem, among others to Mayor Moshe Lion. He has been mayor of Jerusalem since 2018 and is close friends with Benjamin Philip, the director of the Hineni soup kitchen who originally came from the Netherlands. The 60,000 tulip bulbs Mayor Lion received are intended primarily for city parks and green spaces. Benjamin Philip’s children presented the bulbs to Lion while wearing traditional clothing from the Dutch fishing village of Volendam. Even though there are no Dutch Tulip Teams this year, it doesn’t get more Dutch than that! “Thank you so much for all the tulip bulbs that you have donated to the city of Jerusalem as friends”, said Mayor Lion. “We will make sure that they are planted in a good spot, as a sign of our blossoming friendship.” As the children walked through Jerusalem’s city hall, they drew a lot of attention... Encouraging and Connecting Two important goals of the Tulip Tour are to encourage Israel and to connect the people living there with each other and with their Dutch friends. The photo below from the kibbutz HaGoshrim is a great example, as well as the photo of a grandmother planting Dutch tulip bulbs with her granddaughter, just a few kilometres from Lebanon’s troubled border. We especially want to encourage people who live in places like this, where few others visit! A delegation from the Jewish Agency visited the absorption centre in Karmiel, where young immigrants (primarily from the former Soviet Union) are welcomed and prepared for life in Israeli society. Soon the garden will be brightened by Dutch tulips: the young people planted lots of tulip bulbs. Another place where the tulip bulbs mean a lot and are always gladly accepted is in Israel’s heartland, the Biblical areas of Judea and Samaria. The people here often feel like the whole world is against them, so a symbol of friendship is a real boost. 8 C4I News February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Tulips from The Netherlands Subscribe for Free Prayer Points & Weekly Update Would you like to receive the Israel & Christians Today Weekly Update and/or the bi-monthly Prayer Points directly into your inbox? Email info@c4israel.com.au, include your full name and email address, and let us know which one (or both) you would like to subscribe to. AUSTRALIA www.c4israel.com.au info@c4israel.com.au Israel Prayer Calendar December 2020 & January 2021

14. 4 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Modern Day Fulfillment of Prophecy! Does Harvesting Grapes on the Mountains of Samaria Sanctify Gods Name? “LORD, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) The longing and excitement the disciples felt at the possibility that NOW was the time to restore the Kingdom of Israel through Messiah Yeshua sitting on the throne of David never spoke so clearly to us as this past harvest trip to the mountains of Israel. As believers who have long been excited about the restoration of the people and Land of Israel happening in our generation before our eyes, the year of 2020 with the Coronavirus crisis changing the world as we know it, really awakened our longing for His Kingdom! Is NOW the time LORD? In Ezekiel 36 the LORD declares that He has concern for His Holy Name and will sanctify His great Name through His people Israel in the last days by bringing them back to His Land and restoring the Land. The prophets of the Bible all prophesy about the glorious time when the LORD restores His Name on the earth by restoring the Kingdom of Israel to His people, when ancient ruins are rebuilt, vineyards are planted on the mountains and wine is dripping from the mountains (e.g. Amos 9). He will also give the foreigner, or those from the nations who love His Name, opportunity to partake in this restoration of the people and Land to glorify His Name. The LORD says in Isaiah 61:5 that the foreigner will be your ploughmen and vinedressers. In view of these Scriptures and many similar, the grape harvest of 2020 on the mountains of Israel become extremely significant and exciting. All nations on earth closed their borders and restricted travel because of the coronavirus, Israel being no exception. No foreigners were permitted to enter Israel for most of 2020. But the Word that goes forth from the Mouth of the LORD will accomplish what He intends (Isaiah 55:11). In Jeremiah 31:4 the LORD says that vineyards will be planted on the mountains of Samaria. A few courageous and God fearing Jews acted on this word in Jeremiah and planted vineyards on the mountains of Samaria just under 20 years ago. These vineyards flourished and today are producing internationally award winning wines. The grapes of these vineyards are harvested every year by Christian volunteers from the nations, through an organization called HaYovel. During 2020 there was great concern for the grape harvest, as no foreigner was permitted to enter Israel to harvest these very significant grapes. But the LORD is faithful to accomplish His Word and Israel granted 70 volunteers representing 7 nations entry to harvest these grapes. The grapes also ripened four weeks later than usual to give the volunteers time to finish quarantine! Praise the LORD that Australia was represented as one of those 7 nations. After the grape harvest the volunteers were also able to start planting a new forest on the mountains of Samaria. We were able to remove the briers and thorns, and so called widows garment, from the ground to plant in excess of 2000 native trees. HalleluYAH! Isaiah 55:12-13 says: “For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an EVERLASTING SIGN that shall not be cut off.” We believe that the seemingly impossible grape harvest during 2020 happened... ’to the LORD for a Name’ , for an everlasting sign. The LORD is sanctifying His Great Name in the earth through the restoration of the Land and people of Israel, today and in our times. HalleluYAH! We are starting to identify with the longing and excitement of Yeshua’s disciples when they asked Him just before His ascension... Is it NOW the time to restore the Kingdom to Israel? Amen, may we focus our hearts and actions to participate in Biblical prophecy and the restoration becoming reality in our time. ________________________________________________________ Harvest 2021 is significant as it is the last harvest before the Shabbat year or Shmita year, promising to be a threefold harvest. If you want to partner with us in this glorious work and be the Christian foreigner the prophets wrote about, please reach out to us at: deon@hayovel.com or www.serveisrael.com Israel granted 70 volunteers representing 7 nations entry to harvest these grapes... Praise the LORD that Australia was represented as one of those 7 nations. Leoni van Baalen Australian Advocate for HaYovel

20. 10 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Opinion Piece from the Jerusalem Watchman Unstoppable Zionism & the Biden-Harris team “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” – Isaiah 5:20 On November 3, in the US—after four years of fresh air and a new hope that streamed from Washington towards Jerusalem— the ground shifted. On January 20, that repositioning was formalised in ceremony. Darkness masquerading as light has officially descended on the United States. Proclamations of the victory of democracy and appeals to love and unity have been dressed up—by the very people who dug the deepest spade cuts of discord into the heart of the country—as the dawning of a new day. But it was night that fell. For now, the Democrats have succeeded in vanquishing Conservative America to the back halls of governance; the mainstream media is waging a thorough assault on Donald Trump’s political legacy; and those who celebrated the previous president’s unparalleled pro-Israel policies worry about how the new administration will behave towards the Jewish state. What we do know is that President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, set to govern America as “co-equals”, and professing to be Israel’s friends are, in fact, both enemies of Zionism. In critical ways, both contest the return of a long- wronged indigenous people to all of their ancestral home, and the restoration of that home to them. The Biden-Harris administration opposes the existence and growth of Jewish population centres in Judea and Samaria. It advocates the ethnic cleansing of these Jews (from the land after which they are named) via the globally-backed land-theft policy deceptively called the Two State Solution. Biden-Harris have said they will throw America’s weight back behind achieving this goal. Just what this duo plans to do in regard to the genocidal nuclear intents of Iran against Israel (and the US) we shall soon learn. Israel’s general hopes in this regard were expressed in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s congratulatory message to the new administration. “Bibi” must surely have qualms, given that Biden has expressed a desire to re-enter the Iran deal, and that the ‘new’ White House staff line-up is looking very much like a reassembly of the Obama team, including those who negotiated the deal, and numerous identities hostile to Israel, who will push for a return to the fiasco of Oslo. This remarshalling of forces is the red flag. Obama was hands-down the most anti- Israel president ever to occupy the Oval Office. He was and is the antithesis of Trump, and there are many who believe that we are facing, in effect, Obama’s de facto third term. This means a dial-back on Israel-US relations to the Obama era and question marks over the core issues: Iran; sovereignty; Israeli-Arab regional relations. CNN Correspondent Sam Kiley, on January 19, crowed that, “If the Obama administration is anything to go by, there’s no question [but that] the Biden administration [will turn] the screws, getting aggressive, putting heavy pressure on the Israelis.” If destined to be adverse, the Biden-Harris assault will likely not start off too fiercely, but will intensify as resistance grows. How will the Jewish state counter this? In less than two months, Israel is due to hold its fourth general election in half as many years. While Netanyahu’s retention of the premiership is not guaranteed, the country is trending towards installing what some political pundits say could be the most right- wing government in the nation’s modern history. Despite the chagrin expressed by friends of Israel who believe that yet another election is the last thing a Covid- 19-hammered economy needs, there is the hope that a right-weighted coalition victory, representing the freshly-expressed will of the Israeli electorate, will be best able to weather the coming political cold- front from Washington. The current race to have all Israel coronavirus-vaccinated before voting day is seen as a potential winner for the right. There is a general perception that Israel is in a stronger position after one term of Trump in office than it was before 2016. Should the right prevail in March, there is a policy base it can stand on to strengthen its position in the face of a hostile US administration. That policy base is the land base. The land issue alone, as staked-out common ground, as it were, has the power to be bedrock for the right if they will set their differences aside for the sake of the nation. The organisation called Women in Green said it best; I referred to their principles for sovereignty in C4Israel Australia’s Oct-Nov Newspaper edition and I will revisit that portion again here. They wrote: “The Land of Israel has warmly welcomed the returning Jewish people [as] is manifest in agriculture, industry, hi-tech, medicine, and countless other areas. If only we continue to adopt the ways of the Zionist return of the people to its land, we will receive an exponentially greater return from the yield of the land and from the yield of the ingathering of the exiles to it. During this period, we must, to a certain extent and for a while, place our global aspirations on the back burner[and] focus on nationalism... We cannot skip this stage. We cannot expect that a people that does not appreciate its essence and does not invest in it will have the ability to stand as a lighthouse for the nations.” (Read the Women in Green’s “Basic principles of the aspiration for sovereignty” here: www.ribonut.co.il/ BlogPostID.aspx?BlogPostId=501&lang=2 ) If the right can actively choose to band together to stand on the land, and furthermore to politically pre-empt an antagonistic US, then they will be a buffer and a defence for the Jewish State of Israel. Before Biden-Harris attempts to backtrack to Oslo; before they court the PA and reinstate the Palestinian veto; before the thumbscrews are turned on Israel to force a formal land yield (I say ‘formal’ as opposed to the wide-reaching, ‘informal’ land grab in Judea and Samaria that the PA, with EU funding, has been getting away with for years) to an entity that desires not ‘co’-existence with Israel but the ‘non’- existence of the Jewish state... ...And moving into the space created by Donald Trump’s Deal of the Century— while the new administration is focused on its pledge to see 100 million Americans vaccinated by April 30—Israel could make a crucial and important investment in nationalism, and declare its sovereignty over Samaria and Judea—the Jews’ historical patrimony that no other nation has ever had as a country. Israel’s right to do so is supported by the Bible; by its 4000-year-old history; by its Newly elected President of the United States of America Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Stratos Brilakis / Shutterstock.com Stan Goodenough Journalist and an Israeli-accredited tour guide The godless, globalist left in the US can be as convinced as they like that they have secured the way forward... But we are watching God.

25. 15 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 From Despair to Deliverance – Rescue at Entebbe Speaking Tour Historical Reflections + Speaking Tour 27th June 1976—Air France Flight AF 139 carrying 248 passengers and 12 crew, was hijacked by 4 terrorists while en-route from Tel Aviv—via Athens—to Paris. In Athens 4 terrorists boarded the plane, re-directing it to Bengasi in Libya, where it was re-fuelled, then flown to Entebbe in Uganda. Passengers and crew were held hostage in the old airport terminal at Entebbe. Selection occurred next day with the separation of Jewish and non-Jewish passengers—All non-Jewish passengers, were later released. Captain Michel Bachus and his flight crew chose to remain as hostages. The ‘masterminds’ of the hijacking demanded millions of dollars and the release of 53 terrorists—with the Ultimatum that ALL hostages would be killed if demands were not met. Israel maintained negotiations with them, while quietly planning to fly a team of elite commandos 4000 km to Entebbe, in a daring rescue mission codenamed ‘Operation Thunderbolt’. RAMI SHERMAN, Retired IDF Major, Commander and Operations Officer , is part of this Inspirational Story . The son of Holocaust survivors, he was born and raised on Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan in Northern Israel, near the Syrian border. Rami joined the Israel Defence Force in 1972, becoming part of an elite Unit named Sayeret Matkal—known simply as ‘The Unit’. As Operations Officer, Rami was part of the first assault group of 33 officers and soldiers, who fought to free the hostages in the Old Terminal. He was also responsible for leading the rescued hostages to the waiting Hercules. As the son of Holocaust survivors, he said this part of the rescue caused emotions he found hard to put in words. 4th July 2016 marked the 40th Anniversary of Operation Thunderbolt, which was renamed Operation Yonatan one week after the mission, in honour of Yoni Netanyahu (z” l) who was killed in the Operation. An official commemoration was held at Entebbe Airport, with dignitaries from Israel and Uganda attending. Captain Michel Bachus , pilot of the hijacked plane, was Christian. He and his crew remained behind in solidarity with the Jewish hostages, and along with their Israeli Army rescuers, showed exemplary courage in life-threatening circumstances, by doing what was right in the face of something that was terribly wrong. . . . Captain Bachus was held in high regard for the integrity he displayed during the hostage crisis. He said he would do the same thing again, if given the same choice. He passed away in March 2019 aged 95. The Israeli National Anthem ‘Hatikvah’ [The Hope] was played at his funeral, as he had requested. Bruce Mackenzie , a Kenyan official with Christian values, persuaded the Kenyan government to lend vital assistance to the Israel Defence Force, making what seemed an impossible mission, miraculously achievable. Israel’s actions dramatically reduced hijackings worldwide and inspired the people of Uganda to ultimately overthrow the brutal dictator, Idi Amin, who was complicit in the hijacking. “AM YISRAEL CHAI” ________________________________________________________ To Contact Rami Sherman: Ramishermanlh@gmail.com + 972-52-227-2967 MOBILE + WHATSAPP Retired IDF Major Rami Sherman was involved in the planning and execution of a rescue mission that stunned the world with its audacity and amazing success. The rescue of over 100 mainly Jewish hostages at Entebbe in 1976 is an inspirational story that has enduring relevance. Rami gives an interesting, first-hand account of this rescue in a thought-provoking presentation. He is hoping to have his “boots on the ground” in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific in the latter part of 2021— circumstances permitting. If you would like to host Rami Sherman, to speak in your Synagogues, Churches, Organizations, Colleges, Schools, Small Groups etc, please contact Pamela Hecht at: talk.tour.info@gmail.com The Entebbe Story on the ramp in front of control tower at Entebbe Airport. Wikipedia.com Rami Sherman with Uganan Guards at the Entebbe Airport. Rami Sherman Inspiring True Story Of the daring rescue of Jewish hostages by the Israeli Defense Force

24. 14 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Israel News ”We are fulfilling another, larger purpose: to unify Americans around our foundational principles and values.” The City of David was recognized as a “testament to America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and founding principles” by the US Embassy in Jerusalem and the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad at a special ceremony on Monday. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad Paul Packer dedicated a plaque recognizing the “seminal role” the City of David plays in connecting visitors to “the origins of the values that helped shape America.” “In modern America, we are inspired by many monuments that remind us of the history of our Republic,” said Friedman at the ceremony. “I’ve often wondered, what monuments inspired our Founding Fathers. When the drafters of the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that our Creator had endowed each and every American with certain unalienable rights, what monuments inspired them? I suggest that those monuments are located right here, in the ancient City of Jerusalem. We have given this plaque to the City of David Foundation with the hope that it will prompt all who read it to think of the Judeo-Christian values upon which our country was founded and how those values were inspired by ancient Jerusalem and its inhabitants.” “With the unveiling of this plaque and the recognition of the City of David for its contribution to America’s heritage, we are fulfilling another, larger purpose: to unify Americans around our foundational principles and values,” said Packer. “The City of David serves as a living testament to those enduring values, and it is our duty to ensure it remains for generations to come.” The new plaque dedicated during the ceremony reads: The City of David brings Biblical Jerusalem to life at the very place where the kings and prophets of the Bible walked. It is the site where internationally acclaimed archeological discoveries have been unearthed, including the Pool of Siloam, the Pilgrimage Road, the Gihon Spring and Hezekiah’s Tunnel. As the prophet Isaiah said, “Out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The spiritual bedrock of our values as a nation comes from Jerusalem. It is upon these ideals that the American Republic was founded, and the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel was formed. The City of David serves as a proud reminder of the glorious heritage of the United States of America. “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.” — Psalm 122:1 – 2 ________________________________________________________ The original article can be found online: www.jpost.com/israel-news/city-of-david- recognized-as-testament-to-uss-judeo- christian-heritage-655852 City of David Recognized as ‘Testament’ to US Judeo-Christian Heritage Jerusalem Post jpost.com Originally posted on January 18, 2021 The City of David plays [a seminal role] in connecting visitors to the origins of the values that helped shape America.” Givati Parking Lot Excavation at the City of David, Jerusalem. (photo credit: ROSSELLA TERCATIN) US Embassy dedicates plaque at City of David in Jerusalem, Jan. 18, 2021 (Credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy Jerusalem) Plaque dedicated by the US embassy at the City of David in Jerusalem (Credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy Jerusalem)

18. 8 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Holocaust Survivors—Inspiring Stories of Hope Anemone Rüger Christians for Israel Coordinator for Holocaust Survivors & Elderly Sponsorship Program in Ukraine The second wave of the corona pandemic has hit Ukraine particularly hard. The already ailing health system is overwhelmed, while the unreliability of official information has added to the general anxiety. The lonely elderly have become even more lonely and at the same time more dependent on external help than ever. While the soup kitchens operated by Jewish communities have remained closed for visitors for months, the local team of Christians for Israel Ukraine, is constantly on the road delivering warm meals and food parcels to the needy. Vladimir didn’t have a nice childhood. He wasn’t good at school, sports lessons were a nightmare. Over time he got used to constant teasing by his classmates. Vladimir’s clearest childhood memories are the beatings by his father, who had been sent to the battlefront along with the Soviet Red Army and returned wounded; his mother survived with relatives near Moscow. One day his mom put an accordion in Vladimir’s hands and sent him to the local music school for an audition. As it turned out, the boy was talented. He studied accordion and became a musician. My colleague Alina discovered severely ill Vladimir in summer in the Ukrainian city of Kirovograd during a series of visits for our sponsorship program, spotting a pile of dusty notes in a corner of his run- down apartment, along with Vladimir’s broken instrument. Several weeks later we were looking for the entrance to the old Soviet housing block, then took the steps to Vladimir’s apartment, loaded with a large food bag and—his accordion which had been thoroughly repaired in the district capital of Vinnitsa. We heard the shuffling of steps, then the door opened and Vladimir asked us in. It was chilly; the central heating hadn’t been turned on yet. Vladimir had to make do with hat and coat. The wallpaper was coming off; the furniture in the living room and the pots in the kitchen seemed as old as Vladimir. With tense excitement he inspected the keys and buttons of his accordion that had followed him around all his life. Then Vladimir started playing, looking off into the distance, his facial expression changing. First a Jewish lullaby, then a march, then “Mayn Shtetele Belz.” A fugitive smile appeared on his face. He looked at us for a moment, then returned to a far-away world where his songs live... “My grandmother called me over,” said Vladimir, remembering how it all started with the music. “She said, ‘Come here, boy. Listen, I will die soon. I will teach you the Yiddish songs. Write them down so they won’t be forgotten!’ And this is how I learned to play.” He proudly showed us the concert posters with his name in big letters, from times long past. When Vladimir plays, he is a king. His dilapidated flat turns into a concert hall. For hours we stood around his table, unable to get ourselves to leave. Vladimir played and played, nearly without a break, worried we might go. “You know, I’m all alone now,” Vladimir eventually said. “Nobody comes to visit me. The fact that you have come today is so amazing for me that I will keep playing for hours even after you have left.” Driving three hours to the south toward the Black Sea, one passes the city limits sign of Nikolayev, a sizeable industrial city that once claimed a Jewish population of 25,000. The repetitive pogroms of the late 19th century culminated in the bloodshed of World War I and the Bolshevik revolution, which subsequently forced religious life underground. The Old Synagogue became the House of Atheists. The 1930s known for Stalin’s terror against his own population were followed by the Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941. Nikolayev was taken in August; the first public executions of Jews followed immediately. In September of that year most of the remaining Jewish population who had not been able to escape were shot. Yet thousands who had survived in the eastern republics of the vast country returned after the war. Many eventually left for good in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today about 5,000 mostly elderly and needy Jewish people remain in the city. One of them is Eduard. When his Jewish father was called up to the battlefront by the Red Army, his mother took her two young children and managed to get on a freight train taking them 2000 kilometers east to Tatarstan, where they survived the hungry and cold war years. Upon return she found out her elderly relatives had been shot. More recently, the military conflict and economic tensions with neighboring Russia, as well as mismanagement of local resources have further worsened living conditions. Many have left the country; it’s the old and sick who stay behind—those who don’t have anybody to help them start anew somewhere else. Eduard just buried his wife and is struggling to get back on his feet. His pension is barely enough to cover basic food items, let alone medical services which also have to be paid out of pocket as there is no health insurance. But his life is about to change. He has recently been assigned a sponsor from Australia who will make sure he can come to the synagogue for a daily warm meal, not only filling his stomach but also breaking up the loneliness. Eduard, too, has an accordion waiting to be played for guests who will care about his music. Vladimir and Eduard are just two out of hundreds of needy Jewish seniors in Ukraine who are supported on a monthly basis through Christians for Israel’s sponsorship program. We would like to invite you to support this work with a donation for food parcels or a long-term sponsorship for a Jewish elderly person. ________________________________________________________ Please see over for details on how you can sponsor a Holocaust Survivor like Vladimir and Eduard today! To see more photos as well as videos of Vladimir and his unique talents at playing the accordian got to: c4israel.com.au/soul-food-for-the-survivors Soul food for the Survivors: Tackling hunger and loneliness through C4I’s sponsorship program in Ukraine Vladimir (r.) and Eduard, who have recently been accepted into the sponsorship program, playing their accordions for the C4I team in Ukraine during a recent visit. Eduard just buried his wife and is struggling to get back on his feet. His pension is barely enough to cover basic food items...

30. Influential Israelis 12 Kay Wilson n Israeli Tour Guide | Author | Cartoonist Simcha Blass, a Polish Jew who emmigrated to Israel a decade before World War II, changed the world forever. Growing up in Warsaw, antisemitism and poverty so impacted him and his other fellow Jews that Simcha was prompted to ‘check out his future’ in the Jewish homeland, which was then under British control. Before his exploratory journey, he devoted much time to thinking about how he could contribute to his people, and what would make his Promised Land thrive. While in Warsaw he invented an agricultural device that he believed would ensure the success of Zionism in British Mandate Palestine. Used for planting wheat, it could increase crops by a massive 300%. Wheat would release the Jews from British or Arab dependency and favours. However, like every genius, Simcha did not know how to market his own product. His invention failed to be implemented. With Hitler’s rapid ascension to power, Simcha returned to Poland to bring his wife to the Land of Israel from the city of Bialystok. Far away from the impending and unprecedented catastrophe that was about to strike his people, they settled in the pastoral Kibbutz Deganyah Bet, on the shores of Lake Kinneret. It was here that Simcha came to the conclusion that the primary problem in the Jewish homeland was not enough wheat, but rather a lack of accessible water. After the war, with political turmoil rife under the British, and a future Jewish st ate looking less and less likely, Simcha set about building the first pipeline in the Negev Desert. His goal was to make the desert bloom, to make every patch of land suitable for human habitation. First, he got hold of the water pipes the British used during the Blitz for putting out the fires. Then he laid them in the Negev Desert, enabling water to flow in abundance. The result was eleven new communities. It was this new, against-all-odds, blooming desert that influenced the United Nations to include most of the Negev within the boundaries of the recommended Jewish state. Years later, Simcha one day noticed a large tree flourishing among a group of barren trees all on dr y land. Digging below the dry surface to find out how this could be, he discovered a leak coming from a buried mechanical coupling. The hidden water was dripping onto the roots of this one tree and not the others around. Thus was born drip irrigation, a device that opened up a world of possibilities, and possibilities for the world. Simcha and his family moved to Kibbutz Hatzerim in the Negev with the specific goal of exporting this technology all over the world. The desert would give him land to work on and experiment with. In 1966, at already 70-years old, with his son Yeshayahu and several engineers, they began to develop and perfect the online dripper, which enabled Israel’s desert to bloom, and also deserts all over the world. Kibbutz Hazerim became the successful prototype for countries all over the world, demonstrating how to maximise from the minimum. Drip irrigation was a system that w ould go on to transform the lives of millions of farmers in over 150 countries, enabling higher yields to be produced from any land, while saving water, fertiliser and energy. Thus it took just one man, one Zionist Polish Jew, to ensure that millions would now have enough to eat. | Photo: Shutterstock A Polish Jew Who Made the Desert Bloom February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Simcha Blass His goal was to make the desert bloom, to make every patch of land suitable for human habitation. Poppy anemone blooming in the Negev Desert. | Photo: Shutterstock Israel’s Geography in Figures Land Use (2013) Built-up area 5.6% Agricultural area 20.0% Woodland and parks 7.3% Bare land, rocks, shrubs, and excavated land 64.7% Water 2.4% Area State of Israel area 2 22,072 km Land area 98.0% Area of lakes Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea 2.0% Facts Speak Source: Israel in Figures 2019, Central Bureau of Statistics

12. 2 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Pastoral Insights: A Series on Tabernacling with God Keith Buxton Former National Director for Bridges for Peace Australia Third Encouragement: The sukkah protection shows us that God is our shelter and provision A continuing theme throughout the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles is the joy that comes from knowing that we can rest and be safe within the protective shelter of God’s unchanging love. Truly He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who will provide. That is something to both affirm and celebrate! A sukkah must have plenty of shade (the word itself comes from a verb that means basically “to cover”), but with enough gaps in the roof to see the stars. Living in the shade symbolises confidence in God’s protection, as expressed by the psalmist, “hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8). We live in a world in which at times many can feel very vulnerable. Innocent people are exploited in countless appalling ways. There is an increasing awareness these days that in our modern western societies we are struggling to protect adequately those who are most vulnerable, such sadly is our self-absorption and excessive concern with ourselves and our own needs. It has often—and rightly—been said that one of the genuine marks of a civilised and mature society is its commitment to caring for and protecting its weakest members. But God never intended any society to do that apart from Him. He is our true shelter and our protection, and the commandment to the Jewish people to dwell in booths during the Feast of Tabernacles was designed to affirm just that. Everything in life starts with God and our relationship of dependence upon Him. Listen to Psalm 27:5— “For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” And then, regarding those who fear the Lord, the psalmist (Psalm 31:20) writes: “In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from the intrigues of men; in Your dwelling You keep them safe from accusing tongues.” A week in a sukkah, including meals and fellowship together as a family, and even sleeping there, certainly brings home an awareness of our dependence upon God. And flowing from that we can also see how the Holy Spirit would inspire and enable the booth-dweller to care genuinely for others in need. As we receive, so we give. And then as we give, so we receive. I think Christians can get a bit uneasy sometimes about the idea of reward in the Christian life. But this principle can be found in many places in the Bible, as for example in the opening verses of Psalm 41— “Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble. The Lord will protect him and preserve his life.” In other words, acknowledge your need, let God be your protection and your shelter, call upon Him and cast pride out the window, reach out to others in need (the Holy Spirit will show you who—and how), and see how the Lord continues to watch over you. The truth is that we will learn to be protectors of the weak and vulnerable (a major theme in the Bible, and sadly often neglected by believers) to the extent that we recognise our own need of God’s daily protection, shelter and provision. Unfortunately, there is something called pride that tends to lurk deep (and sometimes not so deep) within us that prevents us from acknowledging our own dependence upon the Lord, and our daily need of Him. We miss out then on the joy of receiving—the joy of receiving blessing from the Lord. As a consequence, our hearts are hardened to the struggles and pain of others, our eyes are blind to the poverty of their lives, and our ears are deaf to their cries. Listen—God loves you! He is determined to protect you! He is your daily shelter! He delights in providing for you! Get used to it! On this matter of providing for us, we saw earlier how the Lord watched over His people in the 40 years of their wilderness wandering. Listen to the confession of God’s people in Nehemiah 9:20-21— “You did not withhold Your manna from their mouths, and You gave them water for their thirst. For forty years You sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.” Related to this theme of God’s provision and care is the fact that the Feast of Tabernacles has also an agricultural aspect. In Exodus 23:16 it is referred to as the Feast of Ingathering, as the feast is celebrated at the time of the final harvest of the year, the harvest of the produce of the orchards and vines. That is why you will see booths decorated with fruit hanging on strings from the roof. There is a prophetic element here, as the final harvesting of crops speaks also of the final, joyful ingathering of believers, which includes the restoration of Israel as well as the end-time gathering of the nations to the Lord. This future dimension seems to be the best way to understand Zechariah 14:16— “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” So Tabernacles has always been a time to thank God for the provision of the rains that are needed for the fields to produce their crops. We read in Leviticus 23:39— “So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days...” The first day of the feast was a Sabbath day, and so the Israelites were called to rest after the work of gathering the crops. It was indeed, and still is, a time for rejoicing! It is a joyous thing to be able to celebrate the goodness of God evident in so many ways! Never take His blessing for granted—give thanks to Him continually! Whenever the Feast of Tabernacles approaches, make it your resolve to rejoice in the goodness of your God. Indeed, as Paul urged the Philippian believers, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” In Jesus’ time around a million Jews would gather in Jerusalem—many from far away —and dwell in tents. It must have been an amazing and truly joyful sight! The rabbis had a saying then: “If you have not seen Jerusalem at Sukkot, you don’t know what joy is.” When joy overflows, it does not translate into self-centred indulgence. As we have seen, and I cannot emphasise this enough, the true joy of the Lord finds expression in our honouring Him with our very lives. We do that by giving back to Him, and by blessing those who are weak and in need, even as we have been blessed. That is the life of the Spirit of God flowing through His people! The Biblical principle of “blessed to be a blessing” has never changed! May the sukkah protection, which shows us that God truly is our shelter and provision, never cease to find expression in God-honouring lives. That, I can assure you, will result in a never- ending cycle of the joy of the Lord! ________________________________________________________ Keith Buxton is an ordained pastor. He currently serves on the C4I Australia management committee and is a liaison with C4I Oceania Island affiliates Whenever the Feast of Tabernacles approaches, make it your resolve to rejoice in the goodness of your God.

13. 3 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Biblical Perspectives ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.’ Jn 18:36 NASB We have just witnessed the inauguration of a president in the US who is likely to be far less pro-Israel, pro-life or pro-freedom than the last. Many intercessors, who have believed the consensus of prophetic voices, are disappointed and confused. Israel is heading for its fourth election in two years as opinions left and right refuse to cooperate for the good of the country. In Victoria, it may soon be a crime to pray for, counsel or preach against homosexuality— even if a person seeks help. In similar days, Habakkuk cried out to the Lord, ‘ADONAI, how long must I cry without your hearing? ‘Violence!’ I cry to you, but you don’t save... Therefore Torah is not followed; justice never gets rendered, because the wicked fence in the righteous. This is why justice comes out perverted.’ Hab 1:2,4 CJB God’s surprising answer was not what the prophet wanted to hear. ‘I am raising up the Kasdim, that bitter and impetuous nation, who march far and wide over the earth to seize homes that are not their own. Fearsome and dreadful they are; their rules and strength come from themselves.’ v 6-7 CJB When a righteous prophet asks for mercy and justice, how can God send the Babylonians, a people even more wicked, to execute His judgement? Yet in the midst of the storm God gave Habakkuk a mighty revelation of who He is. God is more concerned about our hearts than fixing the political mess that occupies our attention. What should our attitude be to those in authority when we often see that ungodliness and unrighteousness rule? David David was anointed to be king at an early age, but he never tried to grab power from his jealous predecessor. ‘So he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of the LORD that I would do this thing to my lord, the LORD’S anointed, to reach out with my hand against him, since he is the LORD’S anointed.” I Sam 24:6 David still saw Saul as God’s anointed even when he had fallen into disobedience and was pursuing David for his life (Rom 11:29). He also refused to exert his authority to stop his ambitious son from seizing the kingdom from him. Israel had more bad kings than good, especially in the northern kingdom. How can we be sure that the leaders we think are bad are not sent by God? Gene Edwards asks the question in A Tale of Three Kings —a poetic study of King David’s attitudes as he lived under the rule of King Saul and Absalom. ‘Sauls are often the Lord’s anointed... No man can really know which of the two [order of King Saul or King David] is correct...God knows. But He won’t tell.’ P 43-44 (brackets added). Life under Roman Rule The Roman government in Jesus’ lifetime and the early church was brutal—murders, uprisings, crucifixions. Jesus, John the Baptist, James, Paul and Peter were all killed. None of them suggested raising up a rebellion (2 Cor 11:25). Jesus In the face of injustice, Jesus did nothing to defend himself against false accusations. ‘He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.’ Is 53:7, Acts 8:32 He forgave his executioners and chose to suffer (Lk 23:34). When the disciples wanted to use violence, Jesus stopped them (Matt 26:52, Lk 9:53- 55). Even after the resurrection, the disciples wanted Jesus to be a political leader, but instead He gave them anointing of power from the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses in a violent world and to lay down their lives for others as He had for them (Acts 1:6-8). How should we respond? God’s Sovereignty His ways are not our ways and He is in control (Is 55:8-9). Just maybe we need a bit of the same treatment as in the days of Habakkuk to wake us up. In the midst of the difficulties, Habakkuk received a mighty revelation of who God is. Perhaps this should be our focus, rather than telling God how to run His universe! He is well able to change the political scene if He chooses. It is He who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. ‘Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble.’ Is 40:23-24 In the meantime, we need to remain faithful to God (James 1:2-4), respect and honour the authorities whether we agree with them or not (Rom 13:1-5), render our service as to the Lord with excellent behaviour, remembering that God is the One who will reward us (Eph 6:5-8, I Pet 2:12), keep witnessing with boldness (Acts 4:15-20, 29-30), and standing for truth against the tide of unrighteousness that is crashing towards us and pray for our leaders rather than criticising them (I Tim 2:1-2). Gene Edwards, offers some wise words, speaking as King David. ‘No man knows his own heart. I certainly do not know mine. Only God does. Shall I defend my little realm in the name of God? Shall I throw spears and plot and divide... and kill men’s spirits if not their bodies... to protect my empire? I did not lift a finger to be made king. Nor to preserve a kingdom. Even the Kingdom of God! God put me here. It is not my responsibility to take, or keep authority. Do you not realise it may be His will for these things to take place? I suspect that, if He chose, God could protect and keep the kingdom even now. After all, it is His kingdom.’ (Ibid. P 77) His kingdom is not of this world. Jesus is and will be King. We rule with Him in His way of servanthood. God’s purposes cannot be thwarted (Is 55:10-11). ________________________________________________________ Jill Curry is author of ‘The Anzac Call.’ Jill Curry Jewish & Israel Prayer Focus Cooordinator A Kingdom Not of this World God is more concerned about our hearts than fixing the political mess that occupies our attention.

9. First Home in the Homeland Upon return to Mashabei Sadeh in 2005, Elena became the Director of Marketing for the kibbutz factory, when two years later, she was offered the position of Director of First Home in the Homeland, which at that time was in a terrible state. The kibbutzim no longer wanted to be involved, and the programme came to a halt. The Jewish Agency decided to restart the programme, and it was Elena’s job to get all parties back on the same page. “It was far from easy. It took me a whole year to visit all the kibbutzim and tell them to accept anyone who wanted to stay. They couldn’t say no to anyone, even difficult social cases (e.g. a single mum with three children without any education or elderly people etc.). We had to show people that our programme worked and we were to be trusted. If you promise something, you need to keep your word! It was hard the first year but the second year was easier, as was the third year. It took a lot of effort, but it worked.” Christians for Israel For a number of years, Christians for Israel (C4I) has also been involved in the First Home in the Homeland programme. The relationship started with a friend of Elena’s in Kiev who also happened to know Koen Carlier (C4I Ukraine). “This friend believed in our programme but also knew that it was about to stop soon due to a lack of sponsors. The programme used to be sponsored by the Jewish Federation in the USA, but because of a financial crisis, they had to pull out. He had some ideas about new sponsorships and suggested to meet with Koen. We went to Vinnitsa to visit Koen, and he explained what Christians for Israel was doing. I told him that the work of C4I in Ukraine is critical, helping people ‘to get on the plane’. But I also said, ‘Do you ever think of people getting off the plane in Israel and what their start in Israel will be like?’ Koen then introduced the ideas of First Home in the Homeland to the directors of Christians for Israel. In 2013, when Christians for Israel had its biennial international conference in Jerusalem, all of the participants (about 70) came for a 2-hour visit to Mashabei Sadeh. Some olim (immigrants to Israel) shared their personal (Aliyah) story, and the people were impressed by what they heard and saw. After that Christians for Israel decided to start sponsoring our programme. I couldn’t have asked for better partners. There is now a strong relationship between the two organisations which I really value.” Challenges Of all olim who take part in the First Home in the Homeland programme, 25% stay on for another year. Some stay for two or three years. About 10% stay for life. The main reason for short-term stays isthat the kibbutz is a perfect place for children to grow up. It also provides a safe haven to integrate, which is not always easy generally speaking. “Olim from the Former Soviet Union/ Belarus/Ukraine are highly motivated to integrate, and they are not afraid to face difficulties as they come from societies where difficulties are part of daily life. But olim from South America and Europe are a different story, as they are not as ready to face the challenges.” One of those challenges is finding a job (outside the kibbutz). “I know a lot of people who find an excellent job immediately after they finish the programme. But we also have highly qualified people who can’t find a job. In spite of all the challenges, Elena wants to encourage all who consider making Aliyah. “Don’t wait, don’t waste time, do it right now. Another year spent in your native country doesn’t give you anything. Every year here in Israel helps you to advance your future.” Kibbutz The next stop was Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh, south of Beersheva. It’s a place they still call their home after so many years. “We had a couple of friends who made Aliyah three months before us and they went through the interview programme of First Home in the Homelan d in Tel Aviv and the kibbutz movement. They were placed in Mashabei Sadeh and were very positive. While we were still in Moscow, we spoke with the director of the kibbutz. He happened to be fluent in Spanish, so I could communicate in Spanish and explain who we were and what our plans were. He invited us to stay and said: ‘Don’t worry; we’ll prepare a place for you.’ When we arrived at the kibbutz, the apart ment we were supposed to get was given to someone else who had fled the war. We got another apartment, small but very nice. It was such a relief to live in the kibbutz because it was relatively safe and the people of the kibbutz were very welcoming, nice and supportive. I have never forgotten their generosity, it made all the difference.” Membership It took Elena and her family about half a year to feel at home in Israel. They started learning Hebrew and were dedicated to intense studies for the next six months. To their surprise they were considered candidates for the kibbutz membership, being the only family from the Former Soviet Union to be offered that option. “Normally it takes two years to finish the candidateship and become official members (with the right to vote) of the community. You don’t have to pay for living at the kibbutz but need to work there, and your children receive free education. During those two years, we worked at different places in the kibbutz. I worked in the kitchen, the kindergarten but also in the factory as Import and Export Manager. My husband was as a technician involved in the maintenance of the machinery of the factory. And before we got accepted, he already held the position of engineer, which he used to be in Russia as well.” Argentina In 2002 Elena faced a new challenge. The Jewish Agency offered her a job as their representative in Argentina, knowing that she was fluent in Spanish and Russian. Elena and her family of five (two more children were born in the kibbutz) decided to accept the offer and moved to South America for the next three years. “I found myself at the right place at the right time. Accepting the job was an excellent decision. It opened a lot of doors for my family regarding culture, language etc. All of my children are fluent in Spanish and know all about South America. Not everyone knows this, but a lot of people from the Former Soviet Union emigrated to Argentina in the 1990s because of the terrible economic situation. However, in 2001, there was a major crisis in Argentina and some of those who had immigrated remembered their Jewish roots and came to the Jewish Agency as they wanted to make Aliyah. Hence why the Jewish Agency needed someone who spoke Russian and Spanish to help these people.” 7 Aliyah February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Hebrew language sessions in Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh Olim in Mashabei Sadeh who made Aliyah from Ukraine Elena Kovarsky, Director of First Home in the Homeland “I am extremely proud to belong to this country, and I want to be here when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the State of Israel!” 6 Aliyah Rita Quartel n Christians for Israel Netherlands It was 21 January 1991 when Elena Kovarksy (born 1962), her husband and little daughter left the Soviet Union to build a new life in Israel. Their destination was Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh in the Negev. To this very day, Elena remembers the warm welcome they received from the people at the kibbutz. It made all the difference. And it is for good reason that this welcoming spirit has become one of the pillars of the First Home in the Homeland programme, of which Elena has been the director since 2007. Elena grew up in Moscow in a family with one younger brother. Although her parents and grandparents on both sides were Jewish, it wasn’t really part of their daily life. Society was imbued with the communist, secular mentality, including the doctrine ‘religion is the drugs of capitalism’ (‘religion is the opium of the people’). Elena: ‘We didn’t celebrate Shabbat or Pesach; I didn’t even know the word ‘Pesach’. My grandmother sometimes managed to get matzah to prepare a tasty meal. But if you would have asked me at age ten what the connection was between Pesach and matzah, I wouldn’t have known. It was only when I was a student, that I learned more about Jewry. It was a friend, who turned out to be Jewish, who told me about Pesach, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur etc. I started going to the synagogue twice a year, not because I decided to become religious or more Jewish, but to meet some Jewish people. My parents hardly spoke about us being Jewish, but there was an unwritten rule that said if I wanted to marry someone, he had to be Jewish. The second thing we were taught was that we had to be the best. I will never be a big director but I want to be a wise director and to achieve that position, I must be the best. Being the best was very important for all Jews in the Soviet Union. I know my husband and Jewish friends experienced the same.’ February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Life in a Kibbutz Aliyah When a friend introduced Elena to Lev, they started dating and got married in 1983. Elena studied Spanish and English and trained to be a teacher. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, the prospect of making Aliyah suddenly became more realistic and appealing, especially with the terrible situation in Moscow after the perestroika. Elena: “There were so many changes to our everyday life, we were afraid to stay.” Our Aliyah preparations took about a year. At that time there was no Jewish Agency in Moscow or an Israeli e mbassy. “We knew that the Israeli consul was meeting people wanting to make Aliyah in the Dutch embassy in Moscow. So we collected the necessary paperwork, went to the embassy and stayed for two days to get our documents. The consul gave us the Aliyah visa on the spot. He said: ‘You have the right to make Aliyah, here is your visa.’” Decision As it would take at least another six months before any flight connection between Moscow and Tel Aviv would be available, the consul suggested buying a train ticket to one of the major railway stations in Eastern Europe, like Budapest (Hungary) or Bucharest (Romania). So that’s what they did. They opted for Budapest, and the first available date was 21 January 1991. In Budapest, they were met by Israeli people who helped them – on behalf of the Jewish Agency – to fly to Tel Aviv. For Elena and her family, it was the first time outside the (Former) Soviet Union, and it wasn’t easy to leave. “It was hard and also a bit scary. We didn’t know what to expect, especially taking into consideration that four days before our departure, Operation Desert Storm (part of the Gulf War) started. Our parents were terribly worried about us leaving. My mum went crazy. She was crying and begging us to postpone, but we decided to go. We didn’t want to wait any longer. My husband said: ‘We don’t belong here anymore, we will go and I believe that everything will be fine.’” Frightening Arrival Unfortunately, their arrival in Israel turned out to be anything but fine. “We landed on 22 January at 10 pm and walked from the plane to the Absorption Ministry hall. We were given boxes with gas masks, and someone from the IDF was explaining in Russian how to use them. Suddenly the siren went off, and we were told to run to the shelter at the end of the corridor, leaving everything behind. In the meantime, we had to put the masks on (my husband helped our daughter), and I noticed they were different from the ones we knew from the civil defence in Moscow. My daughter started to cry, but we didn’t know what was wrong as we couldn’t see her face. All of a sudden someone came our way, and without saying a word, pressed a button on her mask. I then realised that the children’s masks had some kind of motor which needed to be activated to let the air in. My daughter had been without air to breathe, and as soon as I understood that I had almost killed my own child, I lost consciousness. I fell on the floor; everybody stopped running and came to help me. Soon we heard the announcement that things were back to normal and we could pick up our belongings. When we left the airport, our daughter was still crying, but we had no time to deal with her. We were pressed to leave as the IDF were afraid the airport would be bombed. In the end, the procedure at the airport only took 20 minutes. Normally it takes two to four hours.’ Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh “It was such a relief to live in the kibbutz” Elena Kovarsky, Director First Home in the Homeland

2. Informs • Inspires • Comforts TEL. 07 3088 6900 EMAIL info@c4israel.com.au www.c4israel.com.au Visiting address: 3398 Pacific Highway Springwood QLD 4127 P.O. Box 1508 Springwood QLD 4127 Australia ABN: 79 941 819 693 Christians for Israel Australia Inc. / Other Easy Ways To Donate Name on card: My Donation Today: $ Exp Date The 3 digits of the reverse of your credit card. (4 digits if using Amex) Card No Visa Mastercard Amex (Payable to Christian’s for Israel Australia Inc) Cheque/Money Order Credit Card *CVC Cardholder’s signature: Over the Phone 07 3088 6900 (during office hours) Securely Online c4israel.com.au us an opportunity to demonstrate His love for “the least of these My brethren” as we read in Matthew 25:37-40 We launched the new humanitarian project ‘Adopt a Holocaust Survivor’ in December and I’m thrilled to say that over 22 Ukrainian Jews have been adopted by our compassionate Australian readers! I would ask in the true spirit of Christian charity, if you’ve not yet joined this new programme to please consider generously sponsoring one of these remaining survivors? You can shine a light into a very dark chapter of human history and express the Love of God who said through the Psalmist: “I once was young and now am old, yet never have I seen the rig hteous abandoned or their children begging for bread.” – Psalm 37:25 If you can’t commit to a monthly gift, we understand—please act as the Lord leads and provides. Perhaps you could donate a food parcel to feed a poor Jewish person for a week for just $10 or $15? It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere and many are cold and hungry in Ukraine and Israel—with bitterly freezing winter conditions, while we enjoy summer here in Australia. I’ll now take this opportunity to pray another special blessing over you and your family for 2021. It’s from Psalm 1:1-3 and it references how the Almighty will make us like a strong and fruitful tree: “Blessed are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law o f the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the rive rbank, bearing fruit.” Ian Worby, National Leader PS We believe in the principle Yeshua taught: freely you have received, so freely give (Matthew 10:8b). That’s why the newspaper is free-of-charge to those who ask for it—we don’t want money to be a stumbling block for people to receive the truth. However, It does cost to make this newspaper, so if the Lord enables you, please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry with a financial gift—you can give securely online or use the form below. Bank Transfer BSB: 014-279 ACC: 405318551 REF: Member Number Vladimir having his accordion mended by one of the C4I Ukraine field-workers—made possible by generous Aussie donors who decided to ‘Adopt a Holocaust Survivor’. You can see videos and more photos of Vladmir online: www.c4israel.com.au/soul-food-for-the-survivors One food parcel contains: 1 kg of sugar 2 kg of flour 1 kg of rice 1 kg of grits 1 kg of bulgur 2 kg of macaroni 1-litre cooking oil 500 gm oats 1 tin of peas 1 tin of corn 1 tin of fish 1 tin of chicken 1 pack of coffee 1 pack of tea

1. Please send mail-in donations to: Christians for Israel Australia PO Box 1508 Springwood QLD 4127 AUSTRALIAN EDITION EMAIL: info@c4israel.com.a u PHONE: 07 3088 6900 ABN: 79 941 819 693 Thanks for your financial sup port $ ____________ MY TOTAL DONATION TO: Christians for Israel Australia Inc. See over for credit card and other giving options My Gift Your latest edition of Israel & Christian’s Today is enclosed. We hope you enjoy and are greatly encouraged by the latest News articles and stories. Simple. Just visit myaccount.c4israel.com.au and login with your username and password. Haven’t setup your online account? Go to myaccount.c4israel.com.au/page/ registeremail and follow the instructions. Need to change your address or Newspaper order? 15 February 2020 Full Name:_______________________________________________ Member Number (If Known): __________________________ You’re Bringing Comfort to God’s People! Dear friends , I hope and pray this February edition has arrived on time. As I write we are celebrating ‘Tu BiShvat’ which is a Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is also called ‘Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot’, literally ‘New Year of the Trees’. In contemporary Israel, the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration. We learned that after the expulsion the Jews in 70 AD the land became barren and unfruitful to any of the foreign occupiers. When the Jews started returning they planted millions of trees every year, and today, we see the fulfi lment of Bible prophecy. The desserts now bloom and the mountains of Judea and Samaria drip with wine. Even the Gentiles come and help with the harvest as you will read inside this exciting edition. As we enter 2021, lets continue to explore ways we can help see the fulfi lment of Israel’s restoration by comforting the Lord’s people—especially those who have endured such pain and isolation as the holocaust survivors in eastern Europe. On page 8 of this edition is a particularly moving report from our Christians for Israel fi eld-workers in Ukraine. You’ll see how the lonely, cold, and hungry respond to a touch of kindness made possible by generous supporters. One such survivor is Vladmir. Once a well known and popular musician, his family and fame are all gone and he has no friends—save the regular visitors from C4I Ukraine who stop by to give him a bag of food and repaired his broken accordion. I wept as I read the story and rejoiced that God is giving continued over... LeN0221 Yes Ian, I’d like to give a special one-off donation towards... $__________ Aliyah: $350=1 person $1250=5 people $6250=25 people $__________ Food Parcels ($15 per parcel–see over for what’s included) $__________ for Newspaper Printing & Postage *please don’t use staples*

31. Influential Israelis 12 Kay Wilson n Israeli Tour Guide | Author | Cartoonist Simcha Blass, a Polish Jew who emmigrated to Israel a decade before World War II, changed the world forever. Growing up in Warsaw, antisemitism and poverty so impacted him and his other fellow Jews that Simcha was prompted to ‘check out his future’ in the Jewish homeland, which was then under British control. Before his exploratory journey, he devoted much time to thinking about how he could contribute to his people, and what would make his Promised Land thrive. While in Warsaw he invented an agricultural device that he believed would ensure the success of Zionism in British Mandate Palestine. Used for planting wheat, it could increase crops by a massive 300%. Wheat would release the Jews from British or Arab dependency and favours. However, like every genius, Simcha did not know how to market his own product. His invention failed to be implemented. With Hitler’s rapid ascension to power, Simcha returned to Poland to bring his wife to the Land of Israel from the city of Bialystok. Far away from the impending and unprecedented catastrophe that was about to strike his people, they settled in the pastoral Kibbutz Deganyah Bet, on the shores of Lake Kinneret. It was here that Simcha came to the conclusion that the primary problem in the Jewish homeland was not enough wheat, but rather a lack of accessible water. After the war, with political turmoil rife under the British, and a future Jewish st ate looking less and less likely, Simcha set about building the first pipeline in the Negev Desert. His goal was to make the desert bloom, to make every patch of land suitable for human habitation. First, he got hold of the water pipes the British used during the Blitz for putting out the fires. Then he laid them in the Negev Desert, enabling water to flow in abundance. The result was eleven new communities. It was this new, against-all-odds, blooming desert that influenced the United Nations to include most of the Negev within the boundaries of the recommended Jewish state. Years later, Simcha one day noticed a large tree flourishing among a group of barren trees all on dr y land. Digging below the dry surface to find out how this could be, he discovered a leak coming from a buried mechanical coupling. The hidden water was dripping onto the roots of this one tree and not the others around. Thus was born drip irrigation, a device that opened up a world of possibilities, and possibilities for the world. Simcha and his family moved to Kibbutz Hatzerim in the Negev with the specific goal of exporting this technology all over the world. The desert would give him land to work on and experiment with. In 1966, at already 70-years old, with his son Yeshayahu and several engineers, they began to develop and perfect the online dripper, which enabled Israel’s desert to bloom, and also deserts all over the world. Kibbutz Hazerim became the successful prototype for countries all over the world, demonstrating how to maximise from the minimum. Drip irrigation was a system that w ould go on to transform the lives of millions of farmers in over 150 countries, enabling higher yields to be produced from any land, while saving water, fertiliser and energy. Thus it took just one man, one Zionist Polish Jew, to ensure that millions would now have enough to eat. | Photo: Shutterstock A Polish Jew Who Made the Desert Bloom February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Simcha Blass His goal was to make the desert bloom, to make every patch of land suitable for human habitation. Poppy anemone blooming in the Negev Desert. | Photo: Shutterstock Israel’s Geography in Figures Land Use (2013) Built-up area 5.6% Agricultural area 20.0% Woodland and parks 7.3% Bare land, rocks, shrubs, and excavated land 64.7% Water 2.4% Area State of Israel area 2 22,072 km Land area 98.0% Area of lakes Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea 2.0% Facts Speak Source: Israel in Figures 2019, Central Bureau of Statistics Modern Israel 13 Bryce Turner n Christians for Israel New Zealand 2021 brings the tenth anniversary of the famous ‘Iron Dome’, one of the most well- known of Israel’s defence super-weapons. Now fondly referred to as something of an icon of Israeli national pride, the Iron Dome system has allowed countless Israelis to sleep peacefully at night, relaxing in the knowledge that the system’s 90% success rate provides the best protection of any such defence system in the world. Developed in response to increasing numbers of Hezbollah rocket attacks, the technology was fast-tracked during the second Lebanon war, being taken from concept to functional testing in only four years – a phenomenal achievement. In 2004, Brig. Gen. Danny Gold, the head of Maf’at at the time, started the programme that would research and design the intercept system, culminating in a demonstration of the functional system. Israel subsequently commissioned the development of Iron Dome in 2007, appointing Israeli contractor Rafael to the task. Another Israeli company mPrest Systems, was selected to handle programming the core of the Iron Dome’s management system. Since Brig. Gen. Danny Gold posed the initial concept, the Iron Dome Air Defence System has now been deployed over 2000 times, dramatically reducing the Israeli casualties of enemy rocket attacks. However, this peace comes at a huge cost with each defence battery reportedly costing over fifty million (USD), and each individual missile costing $40,000-50,000 (USD). The initial order for 2-3 batteries has now been increased to 10 operational units, and it is claimed that this gives air defence coverage to the whole of Israel’s land area. The system is now well proven, and it is believed there are plans to purchase further batteries Partnerships with the USA and other countries have seen the Iron Dome programme expanded. Currently Azerbaijan, India and Romania are reported to have purchased Iron Dome Systems, Singapore has purchased the advanced radar control technology and is believed to now have a functional Iron Dome battery, and a partnership between Israel’s Rafael and the US Raytheon has seen extensive joint development. The US recently took delivery of its second complete Iron Dome battery. The technology has also now expanded to the sea, with the development of the C- Dome – the naval version of the Iron Dome Air Defence System. In 2020, photos showed the Israeli Navy’s Sa’ar 5 class corvette Lahav, armed with two Iron Dome air defence system launchers for what is believed to be the first time. The Israeli Navy’s new Sa’ar 6 class, the first of which was completed and delivered at the end of 2020, are to be fitted with the latest C- Dome as part of a breathtaking arsenal of cutting edge defence, detection and surveillance systems. The Iron Dome Air Defence System is designed to identify and destroy projectiles before they land in Israeli territory and is now one of the most effective anti-missile systems in the world. According to manufacturer Rafael’s website ‘The multi-mission system effectively counters rockets, mortars and artillery shells, as well as aircraft, helicopters and UAVs at very short ranges’. The system is comprised of three components: the design and tracking radar built by Elta, an Israeli defence company and subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, and by the IDF; the battle management and weapon control system designed by the mPrest Systems software company; and the missile firing unit manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd. The Iron Dome works by first detecting incoming projectiles –especially rockets, mortars, and artillery shells – and then calculating the trajectory and target. The advanced software then determines whether the target area is likely to be a critical zone – an area of population or other significant resource – or if it is likely to land in an unpopulated area causing minimal damage. The system then launches interceptor missiles with pinpoint accuracy. Each interceptor then refines and controls its own flight path before detonating at a precise distance from the incoming projectile, destroying it and preventing it from killing Israelis and damaging essential resources. Given the extremely close proximity of Hezbollah, Hamas and other hostile terrorist groups who regularly launch projectiles into Israel, the Iron Dome has to perform its complex air defence function at incredible speed. Even with the interceptors travelling at 2.5 times the speed of sound, the system has only seconds to detect, calculate and launch the interceptors in order to neutralise the threat of the incoming projectile effectively. The Iron Dome has had some very visible successes, with many rocket interceptions captured on camera and shared throughout the world by social media. Israeli society’s effect has been significant, especially in those towns and cities most often targeted by terrorist projectiles. Whilst there is still opposition to the Iron Dome programme, and some may still challenge its effectiveness, even the psychological advantage that it has brought to the regular Israeli citizen has been profound. Memories remain fresh of hundreds of thousands of Israelis evacuated during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, and over a million who were forced to spend countless hours in bomb shelters. During that conflict, over 4000 rockets were launched by Hezbollah into the northern parts of Israel, whilst a further million Israelis faced a barrage of over 8000 rockets in the south. Iron Dome is yet another in an ever- growing list of Israeli innovations and technology, developed even whilst under rocket attacks from hostile neighbours. Many point out that the Iron Dome by itself is not a solution, not an instrument of peace in the Middle East. For the last ten years, however, Israelis have felt safer living, working, and sleeping under the Iron Dome. The anti-missile system Iron Dome deployed in Ashkelon, Israel in 2011. The $200 million anti-rocket system was created by Israel against rocket attacks from the Gaza strip. | Photo: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock Anniversary of the Iron Dome Short News A Legendary Loss for the World Just a few days ago, the world lost an exceptional individual. Sheldon Adelson’s philanthropic impact was legendary - countless non-profit organisations benefited from his donations, such as Israel’s national Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces. He has also expressed an immense effort in ending cancer and the devastating pain it causes people around the globe by creating a cancer research programme with his wife. Sheldon Adelson leaves behind an incredible legacy of philanthropy. | Photo: Getty Images DIY Covid Test With One-Hour Results A new revolutionary Covid-19 test has been developed by the Israeli Institute of Technology, which delivers results in less than an hour. To take this test, one simply donates a saliva sample that is introduced to a specially- developed enzyme. The mixture then gets heated and changes the color which shows the test result. This test, known as the NaorCov19, is currently used by the Technion and may soon be available to the public. It is yet another incredible innovation we have seen made in Israel to keep people safe. 2000-Year-Old Lamp Found in Jerusalem A City of David archaeologist recently discovered an intact, complete oil lamp dating back to the Second Temple period – from the 1st or 2nd century BCE, between the Hasmonean and Roman periods. The lamp was found on the Old City of Jerusalem’s Pilgrimage Road, which goes from the Shiloah Pool to the area adjacent to the Western Wall. | Photo: City of David archives Israel’s Population Continues to Grow Latest population figures shows that the Jewish nation continues to grow. Overall, the population increased by 1.7% in 2020. 84% of the population growth came about through births, and 16% through immigration. February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781

11. Dear Faithful readers and friends (Chavorim), Welcome to this first edition for 2021. We all hoped and prayed that perhaps we might leave the uncertainty and disruption of 2020 behind us as we looked for better days ahead. However looking across the geopolitical landscape it would appear that we are heading into a possible dark winter period. (See the political commentaries from our Jewish and gentile friends inside this edition to gain perspective on the times ahead). Keeping our Hope anchored in the Sovereign God of the Universe As believers, we know our hope is not in any man or political party, but rather in the divine providence of the Almighty. Yet even the Psalmist asked “If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) And King Solomon observed... “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2) So as Jesus and the prophets told us, we need to busy and prepared to do the Lords work while it is still daylight—before it gets dark when no work can be done. (John 9:4, Jeremiah 23:12) As the weeping prophet Jeremiah lamented after the people ignored the warnings and they were carried off into captivity: ‘Listen to the cry of the daughter of my people from a land far away: “Is the LORD no longer in Zion? Is her King no longer there? Why have they provoked Me to anger with their carved images, with their worthless foreign idols? The harvest has passed, the summer has ended, but we have not been saved.’” – Jeremiah 8:20 I share all that with you not to be negative, down trodden or overcome with hopelessness, but to provoke us to action and awaken us all from our slumber and stir up the mighty men to action. The Mission of Christians for Israel , is to bring Biblical understanding in the Church and among the nations concerning God’s purposes for Israel, and to mobilize Christians to comfort the nation of Israel through prayer and action. God is not overwhelmed or taken by surprise—He will keep His covenant with Israel and with us. The current situation seems bleak. We are limited in our ability to travel and to hold public meetings and gatherings as we have done in the past. See our comments and articles on travel and tours and visiting speakers on pages 4 , 13 and 15 . We need to find new and innovative ways to fulfil our assignment to Inform, Inspire and Comfort Israel. I have said it before but its worth saying again. This Newspaper you are reading is a very powerful tool to help accomplish much of what the ministry of Christians for Israel was established to achieve—even in troubled and uncertain a time as this. With your faithful prayerful and generous support we can continue to publish... • Up-to-date relevant news and inf ormation • Articles filled with Bibli cal truth, wisdom and knowledge • Inspiring stories of people doing amazing exploits f or God in reaching out and comforting the Lords people. ...all being delivered directly into the hands of fellow believers and supporters of Israel. Online content for learning and sharing with others In this technological age, we now have new and innovative ways to amplify and spread the message in this newspaper far and wide. • You can order extra copies to give to friends, neighbours and chur ch members. • You can also download copies to read on your tablets, phones and computers— even past editions. • There are lots of video teaching materials fr eely available on our website or our free mobile app. You can also access premium resources on our new video streaming service: c4israel.com.au/on-demand or via our online store: c4israel.com.au/store Humanitarian Projects We also have lots of different projects available for you to consider supporting. You can choose to help feed, clothe, transport and care for many poor and needy people in Israel or those still out in the foreign lands of the diaspora. These Jews were scattered centuries and even millennia ago, now awaiting for the fulfilment of the promise to bring them home. Many have and will be bought home by gentiles because God has called the nations to come and help. Read Isaiah 49:22 and see yourself in fulfilment of this promise. Many of the articles in this edition will inform and guide you with new understanding and inspire you to use your love and compassion to be part of what the Lord is doing in these prophetic times—to bring comfort and loving kindness to His brethren as we read in Matthew 25:31-46 Your donations are making an eternal difference I’m pleased to report that just a few weeks ago we were able to send a very generous gift of over $70,000 via our International office to help many Jewish people to make Aliyah and return to their ancient homeland of Israel. We were also able to send funds to feed and give aide to the hungry, poor, frail and elderly—to bring comfort and warmth to the cold and lonely. These funds also help families of Jewish heritage learn the language of their forebears and give them a chance at a new life in the land of promise. This was from the donations we received from October to the End of December in 2020 from readers of this newspaper— regular people just like you being used by God. These dear Jewish people now know God sees them and has called many caring Christians from Australia—even the uttermost parts of the earth—to faithfully and generously give and pray for them. They see our motivation is simply because we love their God who made them and we recognise God has given them a hope and future—the same God who gave us the Bible with His Word and the salvation we did not deserve, all because of His amazing grace. As you read the story of Vladimir and Eduard—two old men from Ukraine— you’ll weep and rejoice at God’s goodness in reaching them through the inspiring and faithful support of many supporters just like you, pulling them out of despair to give them new hope and purpose. See pg 8. There are many more people like these who need a caring smile, a warm meal, a drive to the airport to fly back home and so much more. Will you be that person? Will you share the love of God with His precious sons and daughters? Will you help encourage, inform and inspire others to bring comfort to the Lord’s people by sharing this newspaper or helping to have more printed and posted? The days maybe getting shorter, colder and darker, but God says there is still time today —while it is yet light—for an opportunity to make a big and eternal difference for His sake. God bless you as you prayerfully consider what the Lord would have you do . Every special Blessing in Yeshua (Jesus), the precious and mighty name our soon and coming King. Amen. _____________________________________ Ian Worby National Leader & Regional Director for Christians for Israel Australia & Oceania. PS We’ve had over 22 Holocaust Survivors sponsored since the last newspaper was delivered in December. Many more are waiting for your generous support. If you aren’t able to commit to a monthly amount of $45, then a one-off gift of $10 will bring a hot meal to a cold man or woman and $15 will provide a bag of emergency food for a week. We also have need for our First Home in the Homeland project as you read on page 16. There are also other projects on the back page for you to prayerfully consider what the Lord wants you to do? Any general donations will be used for printing and postage of this newspaper so others can get copies as needed, even our neighbours in the islands of the Pacific. February 2021 Report From Our National Leader Comforts Informs Inspires Ian Worby C4I Australia National Leader and Regional Director for Oceania Ian and Mandy Worby at Mt Nebo, Jordan, looking into the Promised Land. Vladimir, a Jewish man in the Ukraine now being sponsored through our new Holocaust Survivor Programme—thanks to people like you!

22. 12 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Something to thinc. about with our new C4I strategic ministry partner There are those who use international law to condemn and criticize Israel. And there are those who use international law to defend Israel and the Jewish people. This can be very confusing. How do we discern who is “right” and who is “wrong”? Law, politics and ideologies One answer is that there are very few “rights” and “wrongs”. Finnish diplomat and legal philosopher Martti Koskenniemi explains that we should not see international law as a set of rules, but rather as a kind of political “language”: it is “an expression of politics much like Christianity constitutes one type of expression of religious spirituality”. He says that “issues of justice cannot be solved by the application of ready-made rules or principles” . Koskenniemi emphasizes that legal reasoning is a necessary part of international relations and politics, and so constantly oscillates between “idealism” and “realism”, reflecting the ideological position of those who use it. This is a very important insight. It means that international law contains relatively few binding rules, and that when people refer to “international law” to support a particular position, they are usually using legal language to express what in fact are political or ideological preferences. International law is not a magic box; it does not give clear-cut answers to complex problems. This is especially relevant when it comes to the so-called “Israel-Palestine conflict”. Idealism and realism There are traditionally two main ways that those involved in international relations approach international law. The first is realism . Realism accepts that while international law may express lofty ideals, it does not give clear answers to all questions; international institutions may be important, but they cannot resolve complex conflicts. It emphasizes that the protagonists themselves are primarily responsible for reaching mutually-satisfactory arrangements to ensure their peaceful coexistence. In short, realism downplays the role of international law and institutions, and emphasizes pragmatism. In the context of the Israel/Palestine conflict, realism understands that the Middle East is a very complex place comprising many different ethnic, cultural and religious groups, each of which claims a connection with certain territory, each with its own (evolving) self-awareness, history and political and religious goals. One of these groups is the Jewish nation, which was born 3,500 years ago in the territory now known as Palestine. The majority of this nation (Jews) have lived in the diaspora for over two millennia, while retaining a strong national and religious tie with the land. The realist also accepts the existence of the Palestinian people, who feel that they have been uprooted by Zionism. It understands that the only way peace will eventuate in this region is when Jews, Arabs and all who live there are able and willing to live together. Idealism , on the contrary, looks to law and legal institutions as the means to achieve a perfect world. It tends to promote global governance and advocate an expansive role for human rights law and institutions. An idealist thinks there is an Israel/Palestine conflict consisting of a perpetrator and victims: Israel is an “occupying power”, and the Palestinians are victims living under an oppressive occupation. This simplistic paradigm looks for solutions that will “punish” the oppressor and “liberate” the victim. This line of reasoning places all responsibility on Israel, but ignores the role that the Palestinians themselves have played in creating the conflict, and their responsibility for finding solutions to their own problems. The new world order Since the mid-20th century, an idealistic mindset has dominated European politics and the legal academic world, advocating a “new world order” in which human rights provide the answer to the world’s problems. This ideology argues that the sovereignty of states should be limited, and the jurisdiction of international institutions should be expanded, in order to achieve global “justice”. This is reflected in three main global developments. The first is the explosive development of human rights law, including institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and the multitude of Non-Governmental Organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. This in turn led later led to the creation of international criminal law , building on the Nuremburg trials. These institutions and organisations constantly and overwhelmingly condemn Israel for breaching its human rights obligations. The second is the development of international humanitarian law , especially the adoption in 1949 of the Geneva Conventions, including the Fourth Geneva Convention on the law of belligerent occupation. This body of law has been used to restrict Israel’s capacity to defend itself against terror. The third has been the gradual crystallization since the early 1960’s, of the rights of peoples to self-determination , as a legally-binding principle. This has resulted in the recognition of the Palestinians as a “people” after 1973 within the UN, and of the PLO as their sole legitimate representative. Then this is used to (automatically) justify a Palestinian state. A new approach? Idealism has failed to provide a “solution” to the Israel/Arab/Palestine conflict. Realists would argue this is because it underestimates the complexities of the situation, and overestimates the capacity of law to provide solutions. Yet realism also has its limitations, because it is often used as an excuse to avoid responsibility for “the other”, and to justify the maintenance of the status quo. Neither idealism nor realism is inherently wrong. Yet neither provides the whole answer. The truth is we live in a global world; the conduct of states and other international actors affect each other, so they cannot simply withdraw behind their borders and ignore their responsibilities. But, equally, the common search for a world of “peace” and “justice” needs to be tempered by an acknowledgement that most conflicts are complex, that law is an imperfect instrument for effecting change, and that at the end of the day the protagonists themselves are responsible for solving their own problems. International law helps the parties to reach and implement agreed solutions. Let’s hope 2021 will be a year of “realistic idealism”. ________________________________________________________ Andrew Tucker is Director of The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation ( thinc. ) – a global initiative to advance the fair and just application of international law. For more information: www.thinc.info If you are keen to support the initiative of fighting misinformation and “lawfare”, defending the rights of Israel and the Jewish people, and promoting a new legal framework for peace in the Middle East, please consider donating funds to assist Andrew and the team at thinc. Your gift of $30, $50 or your best gift will help them be a powerful and credible voice to the nations including the International Criminal Court in the Hague where Israel is often unfairly attacked and marginalized. See the back page or visit www.thinc.info Balancing Realism and Idealism Andrew Tucker Director, The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation (thinc.) International law is not a magic box; it does not give clear- cut answers to complex problems.

26. 16 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 First Home in the Homland Success Stories Have you downloaded the FREE C4I app yet? • Read the latest editions of Israel & Christians Today, plus past editions. • Easily access all current and past topical articles. • Listen and watch teaching resources about Israel and the Church from a Biblical perspective. • Access current and past prayer calenders , so you know what and how to pray for our ministry. • Make secure online donations towards Israeli Projects, C4I Australia and teaching resources. • You can also stay in touch by sending secure messages via a simple form. SEARCH: ‘C4I’ in your app store DOWNLOAD TODAY! Inspiring and informative content, wherever you are. “Let the Eternal, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may come in before them, and who may lead them out, and who may bring them in.” – Numbers 37:15-16 The former oleh from France hosts the religious olim families on the kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. The First Home in the Homeland program works with many kibbutz over Israel. One of the few religious kibbutz that hosts religious olims—Sde Eliyahu, is located in the Beit Shean Valley. It was founded in 1939 by olim from Germany and today it is home to more than two hundred families—four of them are former and actual participants of FH program (more extended information about this kibbutz you can find here www.sde.org.il/Pages/12/About_Us ). We usually write about olim, but this article is dedicated to one of those, who is on the other side of Aliyah—Rafael Tserfati. Rafael is the representative of the Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu for the Program. He made Aliyah from France in 1974 after the Fourth Arab-Israeli War (Yom Kippur War). About 10 years after graduating the ulpan (learning to speak and read Hebrew), he was elected Chief Secretary of the kibbutz and was the first former ulpan student elected to this position. He promoted various social initiatives. For example, the rehabilitation of prisoners. After all, they really need support and faith in them. Thanks to Rafael, many former prisoners left behind their criminal past and embarked on a righteous path. Another of his initiatives was to stimulate family Aliyah directly to the kibbutz. “All these years I have seen the importance of Aliyah. For me it is very important, that olim feel confident and safe enough to come to Israel and stay here,” Rafael says. “I consider the first year as the most important. Let’s say critical, for their future life in Israel,” Rafael recalls. “The fact that all the olim families, that stayed for one year on the kibbutz, were able to find good jobs and became active members of the Israeli society, shows, that the program is wise”. During the last five years families from France, Argentina, Germany and Great Britain made Aliyah to Sde Eliyahu. Most of them moved to cities, but they still maintain the connection with the kibbutz and personally with Rafael. Rafael cares about olim “like about his own kids” (he has 7 sons and 1 daughter). “I don’t mind receiving a phone call in the middle of the night, solve their problems and give olim families the feeling, that we care about them every moment and that we are here to facilitate their ‘smooth and soft’ absorption,” Rafael says. The olim treat him as their own father as well, sharing with him all their celebrations and other moments of their life. Let’s pray that Rafael will stay healthy, full of strength and energy, and keeps representing our program on the kibbutz Sde Eliyahu for many years. Indeed, it is thanks to people like him the olim find in Israel not only the “first home”, but also the “first family”. ________________________________________________________ Written by Anna Klechenova . First Home in the Homeland & The Jewish Agency for Israel. annakl@jafi.org If you’d like to give to First Home in the Homeland see our back page or visit our website: c4israel.com.au/israeli-projects On the Other Side of Aliyah Anna Klechenova First Home in the Homeland & The Jewish Agency for Israel One family of Olim helping to get settled with the help of Rafael. Rafael Tserfati.

28. Theology 10 Jewish Festivals Ta’anit Esther Fast of Esther 25 February 2021 The Fast of Esther is a Jewish fast from dawn until dusk on Purim eve, commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim. If the date of the Fast of Esther falls on Shabbat (Saturday), the fast is instead observed on the preceding Thursday. Ta’anit Esther begins at dawn (first light) and ends at nightfall (full dark). Purim Festival of Lots 26 February 2021 Purim (from the Hebrew word pur, is also called the Festival of Lots); is a Jewish holiday which commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman in the ancient Persian Empire, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther). Purim begins at sundown on Thursday, 25 February and ends at nightfall on Friday, 26 February 2021. Shushan Purim Purim celebrated in Jerusalem and walled cities 28 February 2021 Shushan Purim begins at sundown on Saturday, 27 February and ends at nightfall on Sunday, 28 February 2021. Ta’anit Bechorot Fast of the First Born 25 March 2021 Fast of the Firstborn (Hebrew: Ta’anit B’khorot or Ta’anit B’khorim) ; is a unique fast day in Judaism which usually falls on the day before Passover. Usually, the fast is broken at a siyum celebration (typically made at the conclusion of the morning services), which, according to prevailing custom, creates an atmosphere of rejoicing that overrides the requirement to continue the fast. Unl ike most Jewish fast days, only firstborns are required to fast on the Fast of the Firstborn. T a’anit Bechorot begins at dawn on Thursday, 25 March 2021. Passover Feast of the Unleavened Bread 28 March - 4 April 2021 Passover (Hebrew: Pesach) commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays. Passover begins at sundown on Saturday, 27 March in the Diaspora and ends at nightfall on Sunday, 4 April 2021. ,ees de 7reuHd n 5heoloHian | Christians for Israel International  &ditor | Israel  the ChurDh ‘Peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.’ (Galatians 6:16) This verse is a bit of a peculiar sentence, almost at the closure of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Who is Paul speaking about? Most English translations connect the two parts of the sentence with the conjunction ‘and’, suggesting that the text points at two different groups: the one denoted as ‘them’, the other as the ‘Israel of God’. The word ‘them’ refers to the first part of the verse: ‘Those who will walk by this rule’. The Living Bible changes the whole sentence, apparently in an attempt to avoid mentioning Israel, and reads: ‘May God’s mercy and peace be upon all of you who live by this principle and upon those everywhere who are really God’s own.’ That translation is a clear example of how this scripture is often interpreted: the Israel of God is not the people of Israel, but instead is the church of Christ, whether you are Jew or non-Jew. While Paul has indeed said that neither circumcision is anything, nor uncircumcision, an alternative way of understanding might be preferable. Let us have a closer look at the text. Which rule, which principle does Paul mean? He described that principle in the previous verse: In Christ, ‘neither circumcision is anything nor foreskin, but a new creation!’ He wishes peace and mercy to those who hold firm to that principal. And he wishes that also to the Israel of God. Now we need to consider what the whole purpose of this letter is. Some found that the believers of Gentile origin had to be circumcised and to take upon themselves the rules of Judaism, such as the feasts, dietary laws, and so on. Paul combats this requirement strongly. A non-Jew does not need to become a Jew, and a Jew remains a Jew, but there is unity in the Messiah. In Him, we are even a renewed creation. The opposition, the enmity between Jew and non-Jew has been overcome. The difference is not dissolved, but reconciled, for peace has come. And the non-Jew, too, shares in God’s mercy. If that is the case, would that not also be valid for all Israel, then? Israel is and remains God’s own property, after all. Another possibility is to translate the Greek conjunction kai as ‘even’. Then, both parts of the sentence refer to the same group: those who follow this rule are the Israel of God. Those believing Jews, who recognise that Gentiles need not be circumcised in order to belong to God, are the Israel of God. This would be true for rabbinic Judaism, too, by the way. Rabbinic Judaism judges that for Gentiles to receive salvation, it suffices to live according to the so-called Noahide laws, which do not include circumcision. This rabbinic concept was elaborated in the Talmud, but an echo of the Noahide laws is heard in Acts 15:20. The congregation in Jerusalem may have been familiar with an early form of this concept. So, even for rabbinic Judaism, gentiles need not become Jews to inherit eternal life. Whatever interpretation we prefer, it is important to understand that Israel never means anything else than Israel throughout the Bible. So, we must bring strong arguments if we would want to spiritualise Israel’s meaning in Galatians 6:16. But both from the logic of the letter to the Galatians, and from the logic of the New Testament as a whole, it is inevitable that here, too, Israel is Israel. In Romans 9, there seems to be a split in Israel. H owever, chapter 11 makes clear that also those who have stumbled are still the Israel of God. Would it be different in Galatians? It is time for the church worldwide to bless the people of Israel as the Israel of God. The Israel of God February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Gethsemane Garden on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. | Photo: Shutterstock Book Review By Andrew Tucker Former President Barak Obama has released part one of his Memoires chronicling his terms as President of the United States. ‘A Promised Land’ is a thought-provoking account of a critical period of history. It will influence many people. During his Presidency, Obama said many positive things about the Jewish people. But at the end of the day, when it came to action, he was deeply hostile towards the Jewish State of Israel. Obama’s tragic misreading of the Middle East during his Presidency (recall his Cairo speech in 2009, his failure to confront Syria’s President Assad when it became clear he was guilty of massive crimes, and the Libya debacle) is reflected in his recounting of the history Israe l and the Jewish people. Former Member of Israeli Knesset Dov Lipman has written a scathing critique, saying the book “is filled with historical inaccuracies” and “a flawed understanding of the region—which clearly impacted his policies as president—but misleads readers in a way that will forever shape their negative perspective of the Jewish state”. Lipman analyses and rebuts one- by-one the many instances in which Obama portrays Jews as outsiders in the region, pawns of white European colonialism, Israel as an aggressor, and the Palestinians (and Arabs and Muslims generally) as their victims. According to Michael W. Schwartz, this is because Obama himself was “miseducated”: “The version of events he puts forward in A Promised Land unmistakably calls to mind the accounts associated with the late Edward Said, who was on the faculty at Columbia during Obama’s years there. Indeed, it was shortly before Obama entered Columbia that Said published his The Question of Palestine, which, as Mideast scholar Martin Kramer has said, “set the parameters within academe for what one could and couldn’t say about the Palestinians and Israel.” Said’s Palestine book appeared just a year after the appearance of his magnum opus, Orientalism, which essentially remade the world of Middle Eastern studies by positioning the Arabs as the victims of their own “ism”—both physical occupation and exploitation and then intellectual despoliation—with the plight of the Palestinians being “Exhibit A” of the existence and extent of this two-fold exploitation.” It is a pity Obama’s miseducation will now mislead millions more people who will read what is otherwise a fascinating book. Lipman and Schwartz’s reviews of the book can be accessed at www.jns.org. Barak Obama. A Promised Land - Penguin Random House 2020 Barak Obama, A Promised Land

27. 9 Analysis February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Rev Willem JJ Glashouwer n President | Christians for Israel International It came unexpectedly. Israel and the United Arab Emirates concluded a bi-lateral agreement under supervision of the United States of America. This is quite exceptional because Israel maintains only diplomatic ties in the Middle East with Jordan and Egypt. The deal is called ‘The Abraham Accords’ after the common ancestor Abraham of both Jews and Arabs. However, the following should be noted. Peace is better than war. Every right-minded man will agree with that. Except when peace talks are held as another form of warfare, during which one party tries to achieve goals, you cannot attain militarily because you are too weak. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. Peace is better than war. There is no reason why Isaac’s offspring (ancestor of the Jewish people) and Ishmael (ancestor of the Arabs) should not be able to interact in a friendly manner. They had the same father – Abraham – but different mothers, respectively Sarah and Hagar. One received the Covenant, the other God’s blessing. Read Genesis 17:15-22. The Bible calls Isaac the son of the promise, and Ishmael, the son of the flesh. These two boys buried their father Abraham together. Read Genesis 25:9-10. Islam has always been the blocking factor to bring about peace with Israel. I write extensively about ‘Jerusalem and Islam’ in chapter 7 of my book Why Jerusalem. In my opinion there can be no question that a nation like Israel that was under Muslim domination once, would ever return under religions that were considered to be a bypassed station by Islam, like Judaism or Christianity. Or that the third holy city in Islam – Jerusalem – would be in Jewish or Christian hands. In the Middle East conflict, it is ultimately not a question whether a Palestinian State will be established on the West Bank of the river Jordan, with East Jerusalem as its capital. It involves the whole of Israel and the whole of Jerusalem. Allah will not settle for less. Yes, once the whole world will be under Allah. That is what he has promised through his prophet Mohammed. There are only two possibilities for the devout Muslim: you either live in the house of war or live in the house of peace. The house of peace is where Allah rules. The house of war is where Allah does not rule. So, if there is any mention of ‘peace’ talks with Israel, the devout Islamist means the peace of Allah. That is what Israel is offered, but it means that the entire territory of Israel returns in the lap of Islam. Then, there can be a second-rate existence as second-rate citizens – dhimmis – in relative freedom for Jews or Christians living there. But suppose you want to know what that relative freedom means. In that case, you should look at that in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan and other countries in south-east Asia. These former Soviet republics are all Islamic, in large areas of Africa, the Middle East, etc. These peace accords in no way imply that these Islamic states recognise that Israel has the right and is entitled to be an independent Jewish State. They only accept the fact that this is momentarily only political reality. The same goes for the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. What will happen when Donald Trump is not re-elected in the USA? It seems to be very likely that Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States of America. What will his policies in the Middle East hold? If it is more of the same as it was under Barack Obama, then Israel is in for an uncertain future. The Old Testament prophets warn Israel time and again not to seek refuge in political alliances with their days’ surrounding powers, like Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, etc. The prophet Jeremiah says in chapter 6:14 and 8:11 “Peace, peace, they say, when there is no peace.” Similarly, Ezekiel 13:10 when he warns against the false prophets. The Bible talks of wars that will affect the Middle East. Prophecies, not yet fulfilled until the present day. For example, Isaiah 17:1-2, which speaks of th e total destruction of Damascus, the capital city of Syria, which you can see from the Golan Heights in Israel. Or I saiah 19:16-17 in which Egypt will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand of the Lord, because of the terror the land of Judah will bring to Egypt. Or Psalm 83, with a first ring of nations around Israel with Assyria in the background – who jointly and unanimously say: “Come, let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” Or Ezekiel 38 and 39, with a second and wider circle of nations around Israel (Syria and Egypt are no longer mentioned here!) that want to wipe Israel off the map. With Turkey and the former Soviet republics and Russia in the background? An Islamic holy war, a jihad, against Israel? And Z echariah 12 and 14 in which finally all nations, one could say in our days: The United Nations, will try to lift that troublesome rock called Jerusalem. In short: Ÿ Israel does well never to let her guard down. All of a sudden, everything can change. Ÿ However: peace is better than war. And one day this will be the political reality, like Isaiah 19:23-25 says: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” M ay the Prince of Peace come soon! The Abraham Accords The flags of the US, United Arab Emirates, Israel and Bahrain were screened on the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City in September 2020. | Photo: Flash90 These peace accords in no way imply that these Islamic states recognise that Israel has the right and is entitled to be an independent Jewish State. Torah Scroll In this series, ‘Signs of Faith’, objects that express Jewish faith are explained and discussed. Israel is set apart from the nations by the Torah. The Torah is holy and treated with the greatest possible reverence. In the synagogue service, therefore, the Torah is not simply read from a printed book. A special scroll is taken from the Torah chest. Sometimes, there is more than one reading from the Torah in the service. If possible, for each reading, a separate scroll is used. In every synagogue, therefore, several scrolls are present. After the reading, the scroll is rolled up again, clothed in a Torah cloak, and put behind a double curtain in the ‘Holy Ark’, the Torah chest. The Torah scroll is made of parchment and handwritten by a specially trained writer, the sofer. Before he sets himself to writing, he immerses himself in the mikveh, the ritual bath, to devote himself to this special task. Writing a Torah scroll is a particularly precise job, as no mistakes can be made. No letter may be forgotten or added. Only the consonants are written. The vowel and cantillation marks that were added to the original consonant text are found in the printed Chumash (Pentateuch), but not on the scroll. The Baal Qore, the lecturer in the synagogue, has to be well prepared. Besides, there is a special way of writing the letters, that sometimes slightly differs from the well-known printed letters. The parchment is made from the skin of a kosher animal. The parchment sheets are needled together with a thread made of a kosher animal’s tendons. The scroll is rolled around two wooden sticks, called atsei chayyim (plural of Ets Chayyim, Tree of Life). The ink used for writing is also of a special composition, which is the secret of the s oferim (plural of sofer ). Writing a complete Torah scroll takes about a year and a half. Therefore, a Torah scroll is an expensive object. It is customary to have a scroll written on the occasion of a special event or a jubilee. The one who has given the assignment may write the last words on the scroll. The handover and inauguration is a festive happening. Signs of Faith By Kees de Vreugd Reading the Torah at the Western Wall. | Photo: Shutterstock

19. 9 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Details on How to Adopt a Holocaust Survivor Adopt a Holocaust Survivor Bring hope! Adopting a Holocaust Survivor for a fixed period of 1 or 2 years is easy. The preferred method to use is regular monthly deductions from your Credit/ Debit card. Once setup, this is automatically managed by our secure systems. There are four simple steps. 1. Register your intention: myaccount. c4israel.com.au/adopt with the desired period. 2. Login to the Donor Portal and register your Credit/Debit card. PLEASE NOTE: Card numbers are not stored on our systems. Our payment gateway provides us a unique token that can only be used with Christians for Israel and only with your account. Registering your card details this way is the safest way to manage your subscription payment. No card details need to be sent in the mail or passed over the phone. 3. Await allocation of your Holocaust Survivor. This can take 1-2 business days or even longer if a name isn’t readily available. Your subscription will only become active once a Holocaust Survivor has been personally assigned to you. 4. You will receive email notification of your sponsorship once it is started. Using the Donor Portal. You must have a registered email address to use the Donor Portal. If you haven’t used the donor portal before, you can simply request a new password from the login screen: myaccount.c4israel.com.au/web/login Your email address is the one registered with us when your account was opened. Once the new password is requested you will receive a link via email. Click this link, enter in all your details with the new password and you will gain access to the portal. If you are unsure if your email address is registered with us, simply call 07 3088 6900 to discuss. Using the Donor Portal is safe, automates a number of activities and is used to provide access to documents and updates on the Holocaust Survivor Program . Email communication and the Donor Portal are central to the operation of this program. What if I don’t use email or the Internet, however, want to sponsor a Holocaust Survivor? On a limited scale, we are able to manually manage alternative forms of payments, including EFT, Cheque and bank deposits. However, it is necessary that this be pre-organised with us. Please call Rudy or Eric to discuss. Once setup, you will be provided with a unique reference number that must be used with all payments to ensure that funds are correctly allocated. This will only be issued once a sponsorship has been activated. Please DO NOT send donations for the Holocaust Survivor Sponsorship Program without having been assigned a reference number first. Adhoc Donations Adhoc Donations that are received marked for the Holocaust Survivor Sponsorship Program where no sponsorship is place will automatically be assigned to either Food Parcels or Meals on Wheels Projects in Ukraine. These programs help the most needy, many of whom are Holocaust Survivors. My Sponsorship Activation has been delayed? Adopting a Holocaust Survivor is a one to one relationship between you and the adoptee. While there are many possible candidates for this program, it takes time to build relationships and trust with Jewish communities in the Ukraine before suitable candidates for the program can be identified. Our teams on the ground like to know that when they offer sponsorship services, there are willing sponsors on standby. There is a fine balance to be kept between available sponsors and identified Holocaust Survivors. If you receive notification that the activation of your sponsorship has been delayed, no money will be deducted from payment systems until it becomes active. To date, delays can be from two weeks to three months. If you have any more questions or concerns about becoming a sponsor or about the process, please send your questions to info@c4israel.com.au or call 07 3088 6900 during office hours and I or one of our friendly team of volunteers will be happy to assist you in any way possible. Eric Belcher C4I Australia Secretary & Technical Support Enter Your Details Enter your name and login email address used to access your C4I Donor Portal Step 1. Step 3. Register your Credit/Debit card to generate a payment token (Note Card details NOT stored) Register Your Card Step 4. C4I will allocate your adoptee and setup a recurring payment as per Step 3. You will then be notified via email of the details. Await Advice Step 2. Select the length of your sponsorship • 1 Year (12 Payments of $45) • 2 Years (24 Payments of $45) Select Period Adopt a Holocaust Survivor today! Go to c4israel.com.au/adopt and follow these 4 easy steps*: Eduard Litvak DOB: 29/12/1940 Eduard was born in 1940 to Jewish parents in the Ukrainian town of Melitopol in the south of Ukraine, about two hours south of Zaporozhe. His fathe r’s name was Grigory, his mother’s Berta. He had one sister. Melitopol had a Jewish community as early as the mid-19th centu ry. More than 6,000 Jews had settled there by the turn of the century, making up ha lf of the town’s population. Melitopol turned into an important city of metallur gical industries, employing many local Jews. In 1905 a wave of pogroms washed ove r Ukraine, leaving many Jews injured and shops looted in Melitopol. The rising persecution also fired up Zionist hopes. Joseph Trum peldor, one of the first Zionist leaders, organised the Halutzim youth movement pr eparing young people for Aliyah to then Palestine. The havoc of World War I brought thousands of refugees to Melitopol. Following the Bolshevik revolution, much of relig ious Jewish life had to go underground, and synagogues were gradually closed. When Germ an troops invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941, taking the war to Edu ard’s hometown, all men of military age were drafted by the Soviet Red Army and sen t to the battlefront, including also Eduard’s father. “Mom was evacuated with us two children,” Eduard shares from hi s story. “Evacuation,” in clearer terms, meant fleeing at a moment’s not ice, often taking along only what one was wearing, escaping on foot, by horse cart, by freight train, along with thousands of panicking refugees moving toward the east, ge tting attacked by German air raids. “We were taken to a small village called Vasilyevka in the Ru ssian Republic of Tatarstan, where we survived the war – always hungry, always co ld...” Eduard said. Tatarstan was some 2,000 kilometres away from home, northeast o f Melitopol. Along with Eduard’s family, millions of refugees from the western par ts of the Soviet Union sought refuge in the Soviet empire’s remote cities, which furth er increased the shortage of supplies as everything was invested in the war effo rt. Page 1 of 2 *If you don’t have an email address or if the online setup is not your preference you can call our team during office hours on 07 3088 6900 and they’ll assist you over the phone. Eric Belcher and his wife Lorraine at the Mevasseret Zion Absorption Centre in Israel. Eric has been passionately involved in bringing comfort to the Jewish people and supporting programs that accomplish this vital ministry and outreach to the Lord’s people.

23. 13 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Touring in 2021 and Beyond As this extensive list of protocols indicates, the tourism industry of Israel has left no stone unturned (pardon the archaeological pun) in preparing Aussies and Kiwis for a safe return to visiting the Holy Land as soon as is possible. Israel is going to great lengths to get trained in updated sanitary and wellness protocols and the entire travel industry is adhering to these guidelines in preparation for the reopening. All travel industry suppliers will be required to adhere to the following Israel ministry of health guidelines: Flights & Airports • This is a fluid, dynamic situation that needs constan t surveying. • Airlines, airports and governments open/ cl ose borders/operations regularly and stipulate entry and quarantine regulations. • Currently, E mirates, Etihad or Qatar loom as the best options for air travel between Australia/NZ. • The non-stop El Al flights between A ustralia and Israel is currently on the back burner whilst El Al deals with it’s financial woes, new investor and refunds policy. • Government exemptions can be granted in certain circumstances. • Readers are welcome to contact me and our friendly team of Israel experts at Olive Tree Travel on 1300 550 830 or info@olivetreetravel.com.au for advice, bookings or questions. Hotels: • Full sterilisation of all hotel facilities prior to guests arrival • Sterilising furniture and surfaces every hour in public p laces and toilets using disinfectants approved by the ministry of health. • Providing good quality hygiene and sterilisation facilities f or guests throughout the property. • Hotel employees to wear face masks and sterilise hands r egularly Implementing social distancing procedures between employees and workers inside the facilities of the tourist establishment. Tour Buses: • Full sterilisation of all bus surfaces including: all glass, air ventilators, ligh ts and buttons, handles and shelves. • Operating at lower bus capacity to allow easier social distancing and in accordance with prevalent health guidelines. • Providing hand sanitiser at the entrance of tourist buses. Tour Guides: • Guides are to wear face masks and gloves. • Guides will maintain a 2m distance from the tourists. • Guides will do their best to avoid crowded and cl osed-in spaces where possible. Restaurants: • Pre-work sterilisation of workplace (compr ehensive sterilisation) by specialised companies. • Employees must be certifi ed to be in good health by a physician. • Will provide employees with h ygiene supplies such as liquid soap, disinfectants and sanitary napkins at points distributed in the restaurant. • Good ventilation will be ensured within all areas of the restauran t. Rental Cars: • Full sterilisation of vehicles prior to deliver y. • Protective gear and informative handouts to be provided to customers. ________________________________________________________ Steven Green is the Director of Olive Tree Travel — the trusted travel agents of many fine organisations including Vision Christian Tours. Aside from their Israel tours, check out their growing portfolio of local Aussie/Kiwi Christian tours: www.olivetreetravel.com.au/australia-nz-travel/ or call 1300 550 830 for enquiries. Israel’s Covid Protocols: Helping prepare you for your next trip to Israel Steven Green Director at Olive Tree Travel, specialising in tours & travel to Israel. A group of tourists near the Mediterranean beach and Tel Aviv, Israel boardwalk with the city sky line and towers in the background. dnaveh / Shutterstock.com from $8990 * JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME TO THE PROMISED LAND 15 NIGHTS – DEPARTING 30 SEP 2021 FOR MORE DETAILS CALL 1300 550 830 ( Olive Tree Travel , our partner travel agency ) vision.org.au/tours “As a result of doing the tour I feel there is more of a richness to what I read in the Bible.” – Rosemary 2019 Tour Overlooking Magdala, Capernaum and the Galilee from Mt Arbel Are you ready to travel? *Twin share. Includes return economy airfares+airport taxes, 4 star plus hotels, buffet breakfast and dinner each day and some lunches, site entry fees, luxury coaches and much more. Please contact us for all terms and conditions including details on refund. ENQUIRE TODAY All fees are fully refundable if tour is cancelled due to COVID19 Optional Extension 7 NIGHTS IN EGYPT (Pre-tour) See where God displayed His wonders through the patriarchs Joseph, Moses and Aaron— redeeming His people from bondage. 30+ Aussies have already payed their deposits for this years tour. This means the tour will proceed, as long as COVID does not become an issue. There’s still time for you to join like-minded belivers in the Holy land— express your interest today!

17. 7 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Resources to Equip You in Your Faith $20 (includes p+h) NEW! Are you waiting for the fulfilment of a promise from God? Join Enoch and Sarah as they share with you their story of waiting to see God’s promise of marriage come to pass in their lives. Hope Fulfilled covers the challenges they faced, the powerful lessons they learned along the way, as well as their story of finally receiving what God had promised. This book also features key insights into ancient Jewish wedding practices and End Times. “If you are waiting, or know someone who is, do yourself a favour and read Hope Fulfilled.” — Rev. Kameel Majdali, PhD, Director, Teach All Nations Hope Fulfilled: Our journey to marriage Paperback: Approx. 80 pages by Ps Enoch and Sarah Lavender $15 (includes p+h) PAPERBACK | by Edda Fogarollo Edda retraces the principal events, emotions, efforts, adversities and the protagonists who enabled the Jewish people to become a nation after a diaspora lasting for two hundred years Page after page, one experiences the narration of the accomplishment of something that is much more than a collective dream: a miracle announced by the prophets and fulfilled before our very eyes. $15 (includes p+h) DVD Series | by Enoch Lavender Israel and the Church have both experienced momentous changes in the past 100 years. Join Ps Enoch Lavender in the TBN Pacific TV Studio as he examines how the stage is being set for the Lord’s return. Learn about the dual restoration of Israel and the Church as well as recent developments surrounding the Temple Mount. The worldwide regathering of the Jews from the four corners of the earth is one of the most remarkable events of the past century. 90 minutes. $20 (includes p+h) PAPERBACK | by Rev. William Glashouwer For many people today there is no certainty anymore God exists, or if He does, has anything to do with me or this world. Rev. Glashouwer demonstrates how the Christian claims of deliverance, redemption and spiritual freedom are real and that it’s possible to live a life of victory. The Holy Spirit empowers our new life to bring forth the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit. That’s not a fanciful dream—its’ a Biblical promise! $20 (includes p+h) 2 DVD Set | by Enoch Lavender This series looks at: The Passover in Jesus day. How the feasts set the exact timing and sequence of events in Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. How the remaining three feasts provide a unique prophetic preview of End Time events. Practical lessons from the feasts about preparing for the Lord’s soon return, how to pray for Israel and how to intercede even for those who persecute us. 4 x 30 min sessions. $36 (includes p+h) PAPERBACK | by Rev. William Glashouwer Is the last book of the Bible—The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John—only understandable to theologically trained people? Rev. Glashouwer presents ‘Revelation’ in a new light. Study God’s roadmap for the future, step-by-step. You only need a couple of minutes each day to study one or two verses to better grasp its meaning. You will discover God is the beginning and the end—Who is and Who was and Who is to come. $30 (includes p+h) PAPERBACK | by Kelvin Crombie During 1933-1945 Jews throughout Europe were persecuted by the Nazi regime and some six million were murdered. What’s not so well known is the tens of thousands of Jewish Christians who also suffered. The Jocz family was typical of such treatment by the Nazis and their allies—some of whom survived. This book provides insight into the collective story of these over-looked Jewish victims of the Holocaust. B a s ic V esion CTZ Logo M in im u m V esion CTZ Logo Mens Watch SKU: 2092GFT Ladies Watch SKU: 173GFT A gift your loved ones will treasure for a lifetime! RRP $125ea $90 * our gift to you for your gift of: “...for such a time as this.” *Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or general donation. While Stocks Last. SAVE $35 & FREE POSTAGE TO ORDER USE THE FORM ON THE BACK PAGE OR SECURELY ONLINE: C4ISRAEL.COM.AU/STORE NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW!

29. Theology 10 Jewish Festivals Ta’anit Esther Fast of Esther 25 February 2021 The Fast of Esther is a Jewish fast from dawn until dusk on Purim eve, commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim. If the date of the Fast of Esther falls on Shabbat (Saturday), the fast is instead observed on the preceding Thursday. Ta’anit Esther begins at dawn (first light) and ends at nightfall (full dark). Purim Festival of Lots 26 February 2021 Purim (from the Hebrew word pur, is also called the Festival of Lots); is a Jewish holiday which commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman in the ancient Persian Empire, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther). Purim begins at sundown on Thursday, 25 February and ends at nightfall on Friday, 26 February 2021. Shushan Purim Purim celebrated in Jerusalem and walled cities 28 February 2021 Shushan Purim begins at sundown on Saturday, 27 February and ends at nightfall on Sunday, 28 February 2021. Ta’anit Bechorot Fast of the First Born 25 March 2021 Fast of the Firstborn (Hebrew: Ta’anit B’khorot or Ta’anit B’khorim) ; is a unique fast day in Judaism which usually falls on the day before Passover. Usually, the fast is broken at a siyum celebration (typically made at the conclusion of the morning services), which, according to prevailing custom, creates an atmosphere of rejoicing that overrides the requirement to continue the fast. Unl ike most Jewish fast days, only firstborns are required to fast on the Fast of the Firstborn. T a’anit Bechorot begins at dawn on Thursday, 25 March 2021. Passover Feast of the Unleavened Bread 28 March - 4 April 2021 Passover (Hebrew: Pesach) commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays. Passover begins at sundown on Saturday, 27 March in the Diaspora and ends at nightfall on Sunday, 4 April 2021. ,ees de 7reuHd n 5heoloHian | Christians for Israel International  &ditor | Israel  the ChurDh ‘Peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.’ (Galatians 6:16) This verse is a bit of a peculiar sentence, almost at the closure of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Who is Paul speaking about? Most English translations connect the two parts of the sentence with the conjunction ‘and’, suggesting that the text points at two different groups: the one denoted as ‘them’, the other as the ‘Israel of God’. The word ‘them’ refers to the first part of the verse: ‘Those who will walk by this rule’. The Living Bible changes the whole sentence, apparently in an attempt to avoid mentioning Israel, and reads: ‘May God’s mercy and peace be upon all of you who live by this principle and upon those everywhere who are really God’s own.’ That translation is a clear example of how this scripture is often interpreted: the Israel of God is not the people of Israel, but instead is the church of Christ, whether you are Jew or non-Jew. While Paul has indeed said that neither circumcision is anything, nor uncircumcision, an alternative way of understanding might be preferable. Let us have a closer look at the text. Which rule, which principle does Paul mean? He described that principle in the previous verse: In Christ, ‘neither circumcision is anything nor foreskin, but a new creation!’ He wishes peace and mercy to those who hold firm to that principal. And he wishes that also to the Israel of God. Now we need to consider what the whole purpose of this letter is. Some found that the believers of Gentile origin had to be circumcised and to take upon themselves the rules of Judaism, such as the feasts, dietary laws, and so on. Paul combats this requirement strongly. A non-Jew does not need to become a Jew, and a Jew remains a Jew, but there is unity in the Messiah. In Him, we are even a renewed creation. The opposition, the enmity between Jew and non-Jew has been overcome. The difference is not dissolved, but reconciled, for peace has come. And the non-Jew, too, shares in God’s mercy. If that is the case, would that not also be valid for all Israel, then? Israel is and remains God’s own property, after all. Another possibility is to translate the Greek conjunction kai as ‘even’. Then, both parts of the sentence refer to the same group: those who follow this rule are the Israel of God. Those believing Jews, who recognise that Gentiles need not be circumcised in order to belong to God, are the Israel of God. This would be true for rabbinic Judaism, too, by the way. Rabbinic Judaism judges that for Gentiles to receive salvation, it suffices to live according to the so-called Noahide laws, which do not include circumcision. This rabbinic concept was elaborated in the Talmud, but an echo of the Noahide laws is heard in Acts 15:20. The congregation in Jerusalem may have been familiar with an early form of this concept. So, even for rabbinic Judaism, gentiles need not become Jews to inherit eternal life. Whatever interpretation we prefer, it is important to understand that Israel never means anything else than Israel throughout the Bible. So, we must bring strong arguments if we would want to spiritualise Israel’s meaning in Galatians 6:16. But both from the logic of the letter to the Galatians, and from the logic of the New Testament as a whole, it is inevitable that here, too, Israel is Israel. In Romans 9, there seems to be a split in Israel. H owever, chapter 11 makes clear that also those who have stumbled are still the Israel of God. Would it be different in Galatians? It is time for the church worldwide to bless the people of Israel as the Israel of God. The Israel of God February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Gethsemane Garden on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. | Photo: Shutterstock Book Review By Andrew Tucker Former President Barak Obama has released part one of his Memoires chronicling his terms as President of the United States. ‘A Promised Land’ is a thought-provoking account of a critical period of history. It will influence many people. During his Presidency, Obama said many positive things about the Jewish people. But at the end of the day, when it came to action, he was deeply hostile towards the Jewish State of Israel. Obama’s tragic misreading of the Middle East during his Presidency (recall his Cairo speech in 2009, his failure to confront Syria’s President Assad when it became clear he was guilty of massive crimes, and the Libya debacle) is reflected in his recounting of the history Israe l and the Jewish people. Former Member of Israeli Knesset Dov Lipman has written a scathing critique, saying the book “is filled with historical inaccuracies” and “a flawed understanding of the region—which clearly impacted his policies as president—but misleads readers in a way that will forever shape their negative perspective of the Jewish state”. Lipman analyses and rebuts one- by-one the many instances in which Obama portrays Jews as outsiders in the region, pawns of white European colonialism, Israel as an aggressor, and the Palestinians (and Arabs and Muslims generally) as their victims. According to Michael W. Schwartz, this is because Obama himself was “miseducated”: “The version of events he puts forward in A Promised Land unmistakably calls to mind the accounts associated with the late Edward Said, who was on the faculty at Columbia during Obama’s years there. Indeed, it was shortly before Obama entered Columbia that Said published his The Question of Palestine, which, as Mideast scholar Martin Kramer has said, “set the parameters within academe for what one could and couldn’t say about the Palestinians and Israel.” Said’s Palestine book appeared just a year after the appearance of his magnum opus, Orientalism, which essentially remade the world of Middle Eastern studies by positioning the Arabs as the victims of their own “ism”—both physical occupation and exploitation and then intellectual despoliation—with the plight of the Palestinians being “Exhibit A” of the existence and extent of this two-fold exploitation.” It is a pity Obama’s miseducation will now mislead millions more people who will read what is otherwise a fascinating book. Lipman and Schwartz’s reviews of the book can be accessed at www.jns.org. Barak Obama. A Promised Land - Penguin Random House 2020 Barak Obama, A Promised Land Rev Cornelis Kant n Executive Director | Christians for Israel International On February 25 and 26, Jewish people celebrate the Purim festival. A cheerful feast with good food and drinks and giving each other presents. Purim originated from the events recorded in the book of Esther. In the great Persian empire in the 6th century BC, Haman wanted to exterminate the Jewish people. But through the intervention of Queen Esther at the king’s court, genocide was thwarted. Let us dwell for a moment on a few memorable moments. Haman, a senior official in the Persian Empire, was offended that the Jew Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman. Haman was an Agagite (Esther 3:1). Agag had been a king of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15). Later Amalek became a generic name for the archenemies of Israel. Esther’s history is an example of the prevalence of anti- Semitism before and after her time. Mordecai’s refusal to bow down to Haman undoubtedly derived from his faith in the God of Israel. Haman’s annoyance with the Jewish religion, therefore played a role. How many times have we seen this throughout history? It is very striking that Haman immediately wanted to punish the entire Jewish people and carry out genocide straight away. And by royal decree. This is typical of what the Jewish people have endured through the centuries. Annoyance at Jews often leads to vengeance against the entire Jewish people immediately. How often did the entire Jewish people have to suffer because of what a few were accused of? And often by false accusations. The examples are numerous. Earlier, Mordecai had already discovered a conspiracy against the king and passed it on to the king. The king owed his life to Mordecai but had forgotten to thank him for it. Isn’t this symbolic of the many blessings that the Jewish people have brought to the world? Instead of thanking Israel for it, Israel is repeatedly falsely accused, and continues to receive numerous condemnations and resolutions against it. The Jewish girl Esther was incorporated into the king’s harem and later raised to the rank of queen. Mordecai pins his hopes on Esther. She must now stand up for her people. But by doing so, she is risking her life. She does it and goes to the king uninvited. Meanwhile, Mordecai fasts with all the Jews in Susa for three days. It’s beautiful how fasting and prayer are combined with courageous action. Later the king ordered that Haman and all those who intended to exterminate the Jews had to be killed. This reminds me of Joel 3, where the Lord says that at the end of times He will judge the nations that turned against Israel and the Jewish people. Esther, therefore, symbolises the history of the Jewish people throughout the centuries on their way to the coming of the Kingdom of Peace under the leadership of the Messiah. Theology 11 Mandy Worby n Christians for Israel Australia This article is the third instalment of the four-part series. The first article was published in the October 2020 issue. Last time we began looking at the issue of orphans and how God laid out very clearly in His Word that He expected His people to be compassionate and caring toward orphans. This is very important to understand because it demonstrates very clearly how God views all men who are estranged from Him. We also saw that Jesus fulfils the criteria as the ‘go-between’ so to speak, to bridge the gap between orphaned human beings and our God who is, in fact, a Father to those who are fatherless. We saw Jesus as our prophet, declaring the kingdom of God. He is our King, the Son of David – the Messiah who will come to set all things right in this world at the appointed time. We saw Him as our Great High Priest and Mediator not only making the offering on our behalf, but He was the offering given on our behalf ensuring our redemption. It’s important to understand that because of sin, humanity is Fatherless, we’re all orphans. Because of Him, we would no longer be fatherless...we would finally be reconciled to our Father, in fact, Scripture says we become ‘adopted’. Romans 8:15, ‘For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba Father!” Ephesians 1:3-6, ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, Messiah, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Messiah, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus our Messiah to Himself, according to the kind intentions of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.’ God knew that we’d rebel and sin against Him, He knew we’d become orphans, and still, He created us but in the process of that creation, He predestined us to adoption so we’d be restored to Him and we’d no longer be ‘Fatherless’. I’m talking about the sovereignty of God, and that’s a very deep rabbit hole to crawl into...if you can understand the sovereignty of God, you’re God! Is God sovereign? Yes, He is. Do we have the ability to choose for ourselves? Yes, we do. Are we accountable for those choices? Yes, we are. Did God predestine and ordain all that would unfold throughout human history? Yes, He did...He’s God. Is your brain stretching a bit thin? Mine is. Regardless of our ability to fully comprehend God’s sovereignty, His sovereignty is true and Biblical. It’s just the way it is. Slight diversion there. When you realise that Paul wrote these passages during the rule of the ancient Roman Empire, you understand that it was common knowledge and widely understood by the general populace, what adoption meant under Roman law. We’ll look closer at that next time. | Photo: Shutterstock The Spirit of Purim Orphans Part 3 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Jewish settlers wearing costumes take part in the annual parade marking the Jewish holiday of Purim in the town of Hebron. | Photo: Flash90

21. 11 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Stan’s Article continued... liberation of the land from an illegally occupying, belligerent Jordan in a war of self-defence; and by international law as promulgated in the 20th Century and which still stands in the 21st. Israel should not be afraid of the new, fraudulently elected American leadership whose anti-God agenda threatens to only lead the United States further into the night. As the Hebrew prophets foretell, the deeper the darkness descends on the nations, the brighter the light will shine upon Zion. (Isaiah 60:1-2) It is the greatest of chronological ironies, and the most irrefutable of timeless truths, that Israel’s wholly unique, impossible endurance as a people in the Diaspora, its rebirth as a nation in its own land, its survival against immense opposition and its astounding progress since independence—every step of this national journey has been along a road suffused with suffering and tried by tribulation. Nothing comes easy to Israel, but still Israel moves ahead. Zionism is on course, unstoppable. The Promised Land is being, and will be, fully restored to the Jews. Heaven has determined this. Though all of “the forces of Hell” are marshalled to stop it, they are doomed to fail. The godless, globalist left in the US can be as convinced as they like that they have secured the way forward, that this election outcome means ‘full steam ahead’ for all that they purpose. But we are watching God. And He who has chosen Israel as His very own is watching over His word to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12) “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11 ________________________________________________________ A Personal Word C4I National Director Ian Worby has invited me to write a personal update to my Australian friends—those made during my speaking tours of Australia, and the many I have had the thrill of guiding around Israel. You are missed! And I know how much many of you miss Israel! The last group I guided before the Covid-19 hammer fell was the March 2020 Vision Christian Tour; a wonderful experience even as the virus loomed so threateningly over us—rendering our futures unsure. As it did for so many people, everything changed overnight for us. After seeing off the Vision group I went into immediate quarantine and received the first of what soon became a string of cancellation calls; friends from the Sunshine Coast who I had been preparing to begin guiding just a couple of days later. Like dominoes, group after group dropped away. Following successive years of record- breaking tourism, it was like the hot eastern wind—the chamsin —that comes in after a wet winter, instantly evaporating the moisture and within days turning Israel from a lush Eden into a parched and emptying Land. Not only was I instantaneously out of work, but our three adult children, who were employed in the catering industry but still living at home—also lost their jobs. We were cast onto the mercy of God and have been there ever since, a testimony to His faithfulness and protection. We relocated to the Czech Republic where my wife, Franny shares property with her father, and it is here, in Central Europe— in our own private “Goshen”—that we are riding out the storm. Originally, I felt confident that within a few weeks I’d be able to commute to Israel (it’s a short flight) and begin guiding once more. But of course, that was not to be. Our oldest daughter contracted Covid, and the rest of us were quarantined once more. Thankfully we are all well now. Israel and the Czech Republic have gone through recurrent waves of the virus and been repeatedly locked down. Indeed, they are locked down as I write. On January 25, Ben Gurion Airport was hermetically sealed; no flights allowed in or out. Like many Israel-lovers, I too am now outside the Land; watching longingly from a distance the developments that continue to swirl in and around her. And so much is going on of which I shall write, God willing, going forward. With all the enduring uncertainties, it is impossible to predict when I will again be able to guide God’s Land. Nonetheless, I have blocked off dates for what will— with prayerful hope—be the first post- Corona Vision Christian Tour of Israel: vision.org.au/campaigns/israel-tour-2021/ Meanwhile I stay thankful to the Lord for His goodness, and pray blessing and protection over Israel and Australia. May it not be too long before we meet again— in the Center of the Earth, or Down Under. Shalom! ________________________________________________________ Stan Goodenough is an Evangelical (Gentile) Israel-accredited tour guide who for 30 years called Jerusalem home. After Covid-19 brought about the instantaneous collapse of Israel tourism, he moved with his family to the Czech Republic from where he will closely follow events tied to the unparalleled wonder of Israel’s ongoing restoration. When the borders re- open, he plans to return to guiding God’s Land. www.jerusalemwatchman.org and (coming soon www.israelvirtualtours.org EDITORS NOTE: If you feel led to sow into Stan and his family at this time, you can forward your love offering to: Lions Gate Ministries, BSB: 034664 Account No: 373163 by the end of March. This account is administered by Pastors Peter and Melissa Haigh from Cairns and they will then electronically transfer the amount to Stan. There is no tax deduction available for this, but receipts can be issued. Please remember to stipulate that your gift is for Stan and if a receipt is required email you address to: melissa@lionsgate.global or phone 0439352465 The last Goodenough Family photo before leaving Israel for the Czech Republic. Sign up a friend to ‘Israel & Christians Today’ Newspaper and receive the ‘ Israel 70 Years Magazine ’ or the new ‘ The Signs of the Times DVD ’ FREE * ! Your Full Name: ____________________________ Address: _________________________________ _________________________________________ State: ________________ Postcode: __________ Friends Full Name: _________________________ Address: _________________________________ _________________________________________ State: ________________ Postcode: __________ Number of Newspapers Bi-monthly: c 1 c 2 c 5 c Other: ______________________ *1 Magazine/DVD per person. limited offer. while stocks last. SEND DETAILS TO: Christians for Israel, Australia , PO Box 1508, Springwood, QLD, 4127 Israel 70 Years Commemorative Magazine Please choose ONE of the below gifts to receive upon successfully signing up a new friend to ‘ Israel & Christians Today’ Newspaper. The Signs of the Times DVD ( 7+ Hours Teaching) The friend/church you nominate to receive the Israel & Christians Today Bi-monthly Newspaper will also receive a complimentary copy of ‘The Signs of the Times’ DVD as well.

4. February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 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, 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 Queensland, Australia 4127 Tel: +61 (7) 3088 6900, 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 - South Korea Tel: +61 410 430 677 email: wijung@gmail.com www.c4israel.org/korea Christians for Israel - USA Fred J van Westing, CEO PO Box 2589, Manteca, CA 95336, USA Tel: +1 925 984 6671 usa-info@c4israel.org www.c4israel.us DISCLAIMER - Articles printed in Israel & Christians Today express 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 republish any articles or materials appearing in Israel & Christians Today. www.facebook.com/c4israelAUS Prayer Points By Pieter Bénard Israel l “The Lord is my strength and my defence; He has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14. Pray that Israel expects and seeks God’s help and guidance in the combat against the Coronavirus. Israel is in the process of vaccinating the entire population. Pray that this may make a major contribution to reducing the incidence of the virus. l In Israel, there will be elections for the third time in two years. Pray that after the elections, there will be a stable government that works well together. Many Israelis strongly long for this, after all the political wrangling of recent times. l The winter in Israel is very cold and windy at the moment, but there is not much rain and therefore, relatively dry. Pray for rain in Israel. Israel & the Nations l Israel has vaccinated over two million people against the Coronavirus. Instead of applauding this in the international media, Israel is being accused of withholding vaccines from the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. This is a bizarre accusation since Israel is not responsible at all for the healthcare in those areas. Israel hatred surfaces time and again. Pray for protection of Israel against this hatred. l Pray for good cooperation between Israel and other countries, like the United States that has a new government now and the Arab countries with which peace was made not long ago. Pray that these countries may be a blessing to Israel and vice versa. Christians for Israel l Pray for Christians for Israel’s (C4I’s) representatives in numerous countries that are affected by the Coronavirus. Give thanks that the work still can continue (online) and many people are reached. l “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink...” Matthew 25:35a. Last year Koen Carlier and his team handed out food parcels in Ukraine to poor, old Jewish men and women, often Holocaust survivors. Give thanks that many people are helped with a food parcel and pray that their poverty may be alleviated. Also, pray for a blessing on the work of Koen and his team. For daily Prayer Points, go to our website www.c4israel.com.au Andrew Tucker n International Editor | Christians for Israel Just before last Christmas, during the Jewish ‘festival of lights’ Hanukkah, the European Court of Justice ruled that a Decree by the Flemish Region of Belgium that requires animals to be stunned prior to slaughter to reduce their suffering does not contravene European law. The case concerned Belgian legislation that prohibits the slaughter of livestock unless they have first been stunned into unconsciousness. Both Muslim Halal and Jewish kosher rituals require the animal to be conscious when it is slaughtered. It is estimated that Belgium is home to about 30,000 Jews (many of whom are orthodox) and 350,000 Muslims, out of a total population of 11.5 million. According to Dr Matthijs de Blois, one of Europe’s leading experts on religion and law, “the judgment is a serious violation of the enjoyment of the freedom of religion in Europe by religious minorities.” Kosher slaughter is known as ‘shechita’, a procedure required by Jewish dietary laws (which are known as ‘kashrut’). It is performed by an approved person (shochet), who uses a very long sharp knife to sever the windpipe (trachea) and food pipe (oesophagus). In the case of cattle, the soft tissues in the neck are sliced through without the knife touching the spinal cord, in the course of which four major blood vessels are severed. No undue pressure may be applied to the knife, which must be extremely sharp. The procedure is executed with the intention of causing a rapid drop in blood pressure in the brain and loss of consciousness, to render the animal insensitive to pain and to exsanguinate in a prompt and precise action. The Court held that European national parliaments are entitled to restrict the freedom of religion that is guaranteed under European law (Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU), where that is necessary and proportionate to reflect ‘changes in values and idea’. This means Belgium was entitled to place animal welfare above the right of Muslims and Jews to follow their ancient religious customs. De Blois: “This openness to modern ideas adopted by the Court (in imitation of the European Court of Human Rights) endangers the freedom of religion which protects rituals that have existed for thousands of years. Against the dark background of European history, which is full of examples of the suppression of Jewish religious practices, including the prohibition of ritual slaughter, this is a sad observation.” The Court said that “a scientific consensus has emerged that prior stunning is the optimal means of reducing the animal’s suffering at the time of the killing.” But this is highly questionable. According to Dr Goldfeder, Director of the National Jewish Advocacy Center and founding editor of the Cambridge University Series on Law and Judaism, “there is no such scientific consensus. Research done by Dr Temple Grandin, perhaps the world’s leading expert on the humane treatment of animals for slaughter found that when shechita is done properly , the animals show little or no stress reaction to the ritual cut before losing consciousness. In her words, “It appears that the animal is not aware that its throat has been cut.” There is no evidence that kosher slaughter is in any way ‘crueller’ than stunning.” The Court’s reasoning can be contrasted with the United States, where it is recognised that stunning and Jewish ritual slaughter ‘are alternative methods,’ and that each ‘is supported by legislative history as a justifiable legislative determination that the stated method of slaughter is indeed humane.’ This case reflects a growing tendency of the European Court of Justice to allow European and national legislators to override the religious beliefs of Jews and Christians in Europe. In November 2019, the Court ruled in the Psagot Wineries case that the E uropean Commission is entitled to require importers of products from Judea and Samaria to label these as ‘made in the West Bank’ – thus imposing a particular political interpretation of history that effectively ignores the millennia-long connection between the Jewish people and the territory known for centuries as ‘Judea and Samaria’. All of this is further evidence of the fact that step by step, Europe is abandoning its own Judeo-Christian background, heritage and values. The lights in Europe are being turned off. Herding cattle at the Gamla Farm, in the Golan Heights, Northern Israel. | Photo: Flash90 Lights Turned off in Europe

32. Walk through the Land 14 Kameel Majdali n Director | Teach All Nations Inc. Just hearing the name can make you sober, even shiver: Armageddon. One thinks of the last end-time battle with bloodshed up to the horses’ bridle. If you want to understand your Bible better and get the most from a future holy land tour, you need a good introduction to what we call ‘The Valley of Armageddon.’ It is a must-see site in any Biblical itinerary. The valley has various names: The Central Valley, tucked in the north, sandwiched between Samaria, Carmel, and Lower Galilee. Other names include Valley of Jezreel, a term used only three times in Scripture (Joshua 17:16; Judges 6:33; Hosea 1:5). Esdraelon and Valley of Armageddon are not found in the Bible but in extra-Biblical literature. Yet these terms all refer to the same place: The Valley (Hebrew: ha emek ). The valley has rich alluvial soil that washes from the mountains of Galilee, Samaria, and Mount Carmel. Annual rainfall is 500mm or 20 inches, with the hills getting 700mm. Travel through the winter is muddy but during the warmer seasons, you can grow barley and wheat, as well as oranges, white beans, watermelon, melon, chickpeas, green beans, cotton, sunflowers, corn, and grazing for cattle and sheep. Think of The Valley as an arrowhead pointed NW-SE. There are five passes in and out, with the Via Maris or Afro-Eurasian international highway (more like a dirt road), running right through it. That means trading caravans and conquering armies were familiar with this valley either travelling to Egypt or Mesopotamia. The Valley’s strategic location was even more important than its agricultural output. The tribes of Zebulon, Manasseh, and Issachar were allotted part of The Valley, but it eluded their grasp until the time of David. The narrow neck of the arrowhead is often called the Jezreel Valley. To the south of the ‘arrow neck’ is Mount Gilboa. Contained in the ‘arrow’s neck’ are the cities of Beth Shean and Jezreel, plus the Spring of Harod. Jezreel means ‘God sows.’ North of the ‘arrow neck’ is Mount Moreh (Judges 7:1), which houses three Biblical villages: 1. Shunem: Home of Abishag, David’s last woman (1 Kings 1:3, 15) and Elisha’s hospitable hostess, the unnamed Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:8-11). 2. En Dor: Saul visited the witch here on the eve of his ill-fated battle (1 Samuel 28:7-25). 3. Nain: Where Jesus raised to life, the widow’s son (Luke 7:11-16). The actual arrowhead is sparsely populated but contains the modern city of Afula, ‘Capital of The Valley’ with a population of 54,000. Further west is the archaeological site of Megiddo, one of Solomon’s chariot cities (1 Kings 9:15), which guarded The Valley entrance. It is from Megiddo that we get the name ‘Armageddon’ (Har Megiddo or mountain of Megiddo). Please note that Megiddo is not a ‘mountain,’ it is an archaeological tell (man-made hill) in the great valley. Right next to it westward is the Mount Carmel, which is actually a mountain range, rather than a single-peak. An Eventful Place This strategic valley has been the scene of around 200 battles throughout its long history, of which only a few are recorded in the Bible. It is one of the most bloodstained battlefields in the world. Consider some of the Biblical events, including battles, that occurred in The Valley: Ÿ Deborah and Barak : Their great victory against Jabin king of Canaan and his general Sisera happened at Mount Tabor (Judges 4). Ÿ Gideon: The menacing Midianite forces numbered 135,000 and wreaked havoc in Israel. The Spring of Harod, where Gideon’s 300 mighty warriors were identified, helped Israel defeat the ‘children of the East’ in Judges 7. Ÿ Saul’s Defeat (1 Samuel 31:1-6): The disastrous campaign at Mount Gilboa between Israel and the Philistines happened in The Valley. Saul consulted with the witch at En Dor the night before. His untimely death occurred on Mount Gilboa itself, and his decapitated body was temporarily hung on the wall of nearby Beth Shean. Ÿ Elijah and the Prophets of Baal: After his stunning victory on Mount Carmel, Elijah took the 450 prophets of Baal and slew them at the Brook Kishon (1 Kings 18:40), also in The Valley near Carmel. Ÿ Naboth’s Vineyard (1 Kings 21): Located by Ahab’s winter palace in Jezreel. Naboth refused to sell his vineyard to the covetous king. Thanks to Jezebel, he signed his own death warrant. This murder and theft would be avenged in due course. Ÿ Death of Jehoram and Jezebel (2 Kings 9): In fulfilment of Elijah’s prophecy, newly anointed king Jehu slew Jehoram king of Israel at Jezreel. He also got the eunuchs to throw Jezebel out of the window, and she met a grizzly death, as prophesied. Ÿ Josiah Slain: Good king Josiah of Judah confronted Pharaoh Necho and was slain at Megiddo (2 Chronicles 35:20-24). Ÿ Battle of Ain Jalut 1260 AD: One of the most important battles in history. The Mongols were building the world’s largest empire by brutal conquest. Until Ain Jalut, they had known only victory. Yet, right here in The Valley near the Spring of Harod, they met with their first defeat at the hands of Baibars, the Mamluk sultan. Ÿ Other battles in The Valley: Napoleon defeated the Ottomans in 1799, and the British fought the Turks and Germans during World War I. What about Armageddon? This is a big topic, and we only have a short space. In summary, Revelation 16:16 speaks of Armageddon as a ‘gathering place’ - not a battlefield. After ‘the gathering of the troops,’ the battle is probably elsewhere. Where? Afula? No, Jerusalem (Joel 3:1-2; Zechariah 12:2-14; 14:2-4). Once Christ intervenes, the game is up and the world’s kingdom becomes the (visible) Kingdom of God (Revelation 11:15). Whatever your eschatology, make sure to go Israel’s north and see The Valley, which has caught the world’s imagination. Valley of Armageddon View of The Valley of Armageddon from Mount Carmel. | Photo: Shutterstock February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Aerial panorama of the ancient city of Tel Megiddo archaeological park, site of the biblical Armageddon in Israel. | Photo: Shutterstock

5. News 3 Short News Collection of Postcards The Hebrew University in Jerusalem received a special donation: a collection of 130,000 postcards of Israel, Judea and Samaria from the end of the nineteenth century onwards. 82-year-old David Perlman collected the postcards. The postcards provide the University’s scientists with the opportunity to research the images and ideas about the Holy Land. | Photo: Flash90 Hand-width What exactly is the size of a ‘hand- width’ when this is mentioned in the Bible? This is an age-old question. But an Israeli study may shed some light on it. Three of the investigators noticed that the neck opening of the jugs remained the same for centuries. The shape of the jugs changed, but not the width of the openings: 8.9 centimetres – the width of an average male hand. Remarkably enough the size of the hand widths has not changed through the ages; it corresponds to the size of the gloves the US military orders for their military personnel. The First Woman on the Moon Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir wants to be the first woman on the moon. Since returning to Earth from the International Space Station in April 2020, she has been working on her travel plans. Meir was the 4th Jewish woman to travel to space and conducted the first all-female spacewalk together with fellow astronaut Christina Koch. According to Time magazine, Meir is one of the most Influential People of 2020. Malawi Plans Embassy in Jerusalem Malawi announced their plans to open in Embassy in Jerusalem in the summer of 2021. It would be the first African country to do so. Malawi is one of few African countries to have maintained continuous diplomatic ties with Israel since the central African country’s independence in 1964. | Photo: Africabriefing.org Lt.Col. (Res) Dr n Mordechai Kedar The year 2021 began with refreshing news: after three years of Qatar’s diplomatic and economic boycott accompanied by a land blockade, Saudi Arabia and Qatar will be signing an agreement that will bring the dispute to an end. The agreement was reached with Jared Kushner, Avi Berkowitz, Adam Buehler, and Brian Hook with the help of the American negotiating team. The dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar stemmed from several factors: Qatar’s support for Iran, with which it shares the largest natural gas field in the world; its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, nemesis of the Saudis; and its support for anti-Saudi propaganda media outlet Aljazeera. These factors went hand in hand with a historical element: the refusal of the Thani family, which rules Qatar, to join the Saudi kingdom despite the fact that in Qatar, as in Saudi Arabia, the Hanbali school of religious law and its Wahhabi branch hold sway. The quarrels between Riyadh and Qatar did not begin three years ago, but many years earlier. However, the Saudis were unable to contain Qatar’s opposition until the advent of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who discovered that Qatar was aiding the Houthi rebels in Yemen and decided to crack down. The ending of the dispute points to the reunification of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an organization comprising the states of the Arabian Peninsula (excluding Yemen). Over the past three years, messages have been passed between the Saudi and Qatari leaderships (mainly through the governments in Kuwait and Oman) in an effort to calm the tensions between the two states—both of which were aware that the dispute was weakening them in the face of Iran’s expansionism. The efforts of the Trump administration officials brought these contacts to fruition. Like the crisis that preceded it, this agreement stands under the heavy shadow of Tehran and was affected by some importan t developments. First, Joe Biden’s imminent entry into the White House is expected to change US policy toward Iran substantially. Second, Iran has started enriching uranium to 20%, a significant step in the direction of the bomb. Third, Saudi Arabia has failed to fend off the pro- Iranian militias in Yemen and Iraq and avert the threat they pose to the kingdom and its strained economic position. And finally, during the three years of the blockade, Iran provided aid to Qatar. The Iranian media reported on the Saudi- Qatari agreement without commentary or quotes from top Iranian officials. Those officials are in no hurry to respond, even though, given Iran’s deep intelligence penetration of the Gulf States as well as close ties with the Qatari leadership, they undoubtedly knew about the Saudi-Qatari contacts. Clearly, then, the agreement was reached with Iranian consent. One reason for Tehran to accept the easing of the Saudi-Qatari tensions could be fear of a US action against Iran during the last two weeks of the Trump presidency. Meanwhile, Iran seized a South Korean tanker on dubious grounds for the sole purpose of showing the world that no actor can bend Tehran to its will. This show of force is an indication of the kind of reception Iran is preparing for Biden as it seeks to forestall—even at this stage—any intention he or his negotiating team might hold to pressure Tehran into altering the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement. The question of interest to Israel is whether the Sa udi-Qatari thaw and possible reduced tensions between Riyadh and Tehran would allow Saudi Arabia to keep progressing toward mutual recognition with Israel without rousing too much anger among the Iranian leadership and in its proxy militias in Yemen and Iraq. It is too early to answer this question because the Iranian stance stems from several factors that cannot yet be assessed: the state of negotiations with the Biden administration on the conditions for a US return to the nuclear agreement; the future of US sanctions on Iran; Saudi activity in Yemen; Iran’s econ omic situation and the stability of the regime, and so on. However, the people and the leadership in Israel will need to understand that Jerusalem’s new ties with states of the Arabian Peninsula, including the UAE and Bahrain, are not etched in stone but subject to changes caused by the vicissitudes in those states’ relations with Iran. It must be borne in mind that the Middle East—and that includes Israel’s own politics—is built on sand dunes that change their shape according to the prevailing winds. This article was published on 15 January 2021 by Begin Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies www.besacentre.org. Reproduced with permission. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, right, welcomed the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, left, in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, 5 January 2021. Photo: Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Court, via EPA The Saudi Qatar Agreement February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Israel Heading for New Elections Israel & Christians n Today Staff On 2 March 2021, Israel will have its fourth elections in only two years. The elections were forced after the volatile Netanyahu-Gantz coalition collapsed last December. These elections may see the end of the political career of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009 – the longest-serving Prime Minister in Israel’s history. The main contender to form a coalition appears to be Gideon Sa’ar, who served under Netanyahu in various posts including Minister of Interior, but who left the Likud Party in recent weeks to form a new party called New Hope. Sa’ar is building a Centre-Right platform based on a commitment to replace the current government. Several Likud members have moved with him, including former minister Ze’ev Elkin and Member of Knesset Sharren Haskell. “I want a heterogeneous list, with people who are fitting,” he said. “I have been meeting people, mostly from outside politics, from different fields of work. I am not looking for candidates on the Left, because our party is Center-Right. Our candidates are Center and Right. I belong to the pragmatic Right.” At the time of writing, the parties on the right wing of politics were still in negotiations and discussions to determine which parties will run, who will be in them, and which potential partnerships can be forged. February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 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, 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 Queensland, Australia 4127 Tel: +61 (7) 3088 6900, 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 - South Korea Tel: +61 410 430 677 email: wijung@gmail.com www.c4israel.org/korea Christians for Israel - USA Fred J van Westing, CEO PO Box 2589, Manteca, CA 95336, USA Tel: +1 925 984 6671 usa-info@c4israel.org www.c4israel.us DISCLAIMER - Articles printed in Israel & Christians Today express 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 republish any articles or materials appearing in Israel & Christians Today. www.facebook.com/c4israelAUS Prayer Points By Pieter Bénard Israel l “The Lord is my strength and my defence; He has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14. Pray that Israel expects and seeks God’s help and guidance in the combat against the Coronavirus. Israel is in the process of vaccinating the entire population. Pray that this may make a major contribution to reducing the incidence of the virus. l In Israel, there will be elections for the third time in two years. Pray that after the elections, there will be a stable government that works well together. Many Israelis strongly long for this, after all the political wrangling of recent times. l The winter in Israel is very cold and windy at the moment, but there is not much rain and therefore, relatively dry. Pray for rain in Israel. Israel & the Nations l Israel has vaccinated over two million people against the Coronavirus. Instead of applauding this in the international media, Israel is being accused of withholding vaccines from the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. This is a bizarre accusation since Israel is not responsible at all for the healthcare in those areas. Israel hatred surfaces time and again. Pray for protection of Israel against this hatred. l Pray for good cooperation between Israel and other countries, like the United States that has a new government now and the Arab countries with which peace was made not long ago. Pray that these countries may be a blessing to Israel and vice versa. Christians for Israel l Pray for Christians for Israel’s (C4I’s) representatives in numerous countries that are affected by the Coronavirus. Give thanks that the work still can continue (online) and many people are reached. l “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink...” Matthew 25:35a. Last year Koen Carlier and his team handed out food parcels in Ukraine to poor, old Jewish men and women, often Holocaust survivors. Give thanks that many people are helped with a food parcel and pray that their poverty may be alleviated. Also, pray for a blessing on the work of Koen and his team. For daily Prayer Points, go to our website www.c4israel.com.au Andrew Tucker n International Editor | Christians for Israel Just before last Christmas, during the Jewish ‘festival of lights’ Hanukkah, the European Court of Justice ruled that a Decree by the Flemish Region of Belgium that requires animals to be stunned prior to slaughter to reduce their suffering does not contravene European law. The case concerned Belgian legislation that prohibits the slaughter of livestock unless they have first been stunned into unconsciousness. Both Muslim Halal and Jewish kosher rituals require the animal to be conscious when it is slaughtered. It is estimated that Belgium is home to about 30,000 Jews (many of whom are orthodox) and 350,000 Muslims, out of a total population of 11.5 million. According to Dr Matthijs de Blois, one of Europe’s leading experts on religion and law, “the judgment is a serious violation of the enjoyment of the freedom of religion in Europe by religious minorities.” Kosher slaughter is known as ‘shechita’, a procedure required by Jewish dietary laws (which are known as ‘kashrut’). It is performed by an approved person (shochet), who uses a very long sharp knife to sever the windpipe (trachea) and food pipe (oesophagus). In the case of cattle, the soft tissues in the neck are sliced through without the knife touching the spinal cord, in the course of which four major blood vessels are severed. No undue pressure may be applied to the knife, which must be extremely sharp. The procedure is executed with the intention of causing a rapid drop in blood pressure in the brain and loss of consciousness, to render the animal insensitive to pain and to exsanguinate in a prompt and precise action. The Court held that European national parliaments are entitled to restrict the freedom of religion that is guaranteed under European law (Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU), where that is necessary and proportionate to reflect ‘changes in values and idea’. This means Belgium was entitled to place animal welfare above the right of Muslims and Jews to follow their ancient religious customs. De Blois: “This openness to modern ideas adopted by the Court (in imitation of the European Court of Human Rights) endangers the freedom of religion which protects rituals that have existed for thousands of years. Against the dark background of European history, which is full of examples of the suppression of Jewish religious practices, including the prohibition of ritual slaughter, this is a sad observation.” The Court said that “a scientific consensus has emerged that prior stunning is the optimal means of reducing the animal’s suffering at the time of the killing.” But this is highly questionable. According to Dr Goldfeder, Director of the National Jewish Advocacy Center and founding editor of the Cambridge University Series on Law and Judaism, “there is no such scientific consensus. Research done by Dr Temple Grandin, perhaps the world’s leading expert on the humane treatment of animals for slaughter found that when shechita is done properly , the animals show little or no stress reaction to the ritual cut before losing consciousness. In her words, “It appears that the animal is not aware that its throat has been cut.” There is no evidence that kosher slaughter is in any way ‘crueller’ than stunning.” The Court’s reasoning can be contrasted with the United States, where it is recognised that stunning and Jewish ritual slaughter ‘are alternative methods,’ and that each ‘is supported by legislative history as a justifiable legislative determination that the stated method of slaughter is indeed humane.’ This case reflects a growing tendency of the European Court of Justice to allow European and national legislators to override the religious beliefs of Jews and Christians in Europe. In November 2019, the Court ruled in the Psagot Wineries case that the E uropean Commission is entitled to require importers of products from Judea and Samaria to label these as ‘made in the West Bank’ – thus imposing a particular political interpretation of history that effectively ignores the millennia-long connection between the Jewish people and the territory known for centuries as ‘Judea and Samaria’. All of this is further evidence of the fact that step by step, Europe is abandoning its own Judeo-Christian background, heritage and values. The lights in Europe are being turned off. Herding cattle at the Gamla Farm, in the Golan Heights, Northern Israel. | Photo: Flash90 Lights Turned off in Europe

33. Walk through the Land 14 Kameel Majdali n Director | Teach All Nations Inc. Just hearing the name can make you sober, even shiver: Armageddon. One thinks of the last end-time battle with bloodshed up to the horses’ bridle. If you want to understand your Bible better and get the most from a future holy land tour, you need a good introduction to what we call ‘The Valley of Armageddon.’ It is a must-see site in any Biblical itinerary. The valley has various names: The Central Valley, tucked in the north, sandwiched between Samaria, Carmel, and Lower Galilee. Other names include Valley of Jezreel, a term used only three times in Scripture (Joshua 17:16; Judges 6:33; Hosea 1:5). Esdraelon and Valley of Armageddon are not found in the Bible but in extra-Biblical literature. Yet these terms all refer to the same place: The Valley (Hebrew: ha emek ). The valley has rich alluvial soil that washes from the mountains of Galilee, Samaria, and Mount Carmel. Annual rainfall is 500mm or 20 inches, with the hills getting 700mm. Travel through the winter is muddy but during the warmer seasons, you can grow barley and wheat, as well as oranges, white beans, watermelon, melon, chickpeas, green beans, cotton, sunflowers, corn, and grazing for cattle and sheep. Think of The Valley as an arrowhead pointed NW-SE. There are five passes in and out, with the Via Maris or Afro-Eurasian international highway (more like a dirt road), running right through it. That means trading caravans and conquering armies were familiar with this valley either travelling to Egypt or Mesopotamia. The Valley’s strategic location was even more important than its agricultural output. The tribes of Zebulon, Manasseh, and Issachar were allotted part of The Valley, but it eluded their grasp until the time of David. The narrow neck of the arrowhead is often called the Jezreel Valley. To the south of the ‘arrow neck’ is Mount Gilboa. Contained in the ‘arrow’s neck’ are the cities of Beth Shean and Jezreel, plus the Spring of Harod. Jezreel means ‘God sows.’ North of the ‘arrow neck’ is Mount Moreh (Judges 7:1), which houses three Biblical villages: 1. Shunem: Home of Abishag, David’s last woman (1 Kings 1:3, 15) and Elisha’s hospitable hostess, the unnamed Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:8-11). 2. En Dor: Saul visited the witch here on the eve of his ill-fated battle (1 Samuel 28:7-25). 3. Nain: Where Jesus raised to life, the widow’s son (Luke 7:11-16). The actual arrowhead is sparsely populated but contains the modern city of Afula, ‘Capital of The Valley’ with a population of 54,000. Further west is the archaeological site of Megiddo, one of Solomon’s chariot cities (1 Kings 9:15), which guarded The Valley entrance. It is from Megiddo that we get the name ‘Armageddon’ (Har Megiddo or mountain of Megiddo). Please note that Megiddo is not a ‘mountain,’ it is an archaeological tell (man-made hill) in the great valley. Right next to it westward is the Mount Carmel, which is actually a mountain range, rather than a single-peak. An Eventful Place This strategic valley has been the scene of around 200 battles throughout its long history, of which only a few are recorded in the Bible. It is one of the most bloodstained battlefields in the world. Consider some of the Biblical events, including battles, that occurred in The Valley: Ÿ Deborah and Barak : Their great victory against Jabin king of Canaan and his general Sisera happened at Mount Tabor (Judges 4). Ÿ Gideon: The menacing Midianite forces numbered 135,000 and wreaked havoc in Israel. The Spring of Harod, where Gideon’s 300 mighty warriors were identified, helped Israel defeat the ‘children of the East’ in Judges 7. Ÿ Saul’s Defeat (1 Samuel 31:1-6): The disastrous campaign at Mount Gilboa between Israel and the Philistines happened in The Valley. Saul consulted with the witch at En Dor the night before. His untimely death occurred on Mount Gilboa itself, and his decapitated body was temporarily hung on the wall of nearby Beth Shean. Ÿ Elijah and the Prophets of Baal: After his stunning victory on Mount Carmel, Elijah took the 450 prophets of Baal and slew them at the Brook Kishon (1 Kings 18:40), also in The Valley near Carmel. Ÿ Naboth’s Vineyard (1 Kings 21): Located by Ahab’s winter palace in Jezreel. Naboth refused to sell his vineyard to the covetous king. Thanks to Jezebel, he signed his own death warrant. This murder and theft would be avenged in due course. Ÿ Death of Jehoram and Jezebel (2 Kings 9): In fulfilment of Elijah’s prophecy, newly anointed king Jehu slew Jehoram king of Israel at Jezreel. He also got the eunuchs to throw Jezebel out of the window, and she met a grizzly death, as prophesied. Ÿ Josiah Slain: Good king Josiah of Judah confronted Pharaoh Necho and was slain at Megiddo (2 Chronicles 35:20-24). Ÿ Battle of Ain Jalut 1260 AD: One of the most important battles in history. The Mongols were building the world’s largest empire by brutal conquest. Until Ain Jalut, they had known only victory. Yet, right here in The Valley near the Spring of Harod, they met with their first defeat at the hands of Baibars, the Mamluk sultan. Ÿ Other battles in The Valley: Napoleon defeated the Ottomans in 1799, and the British fought the Turks and Germans during World War I. What about Armageddon? This is a big topic, and we only have a short space. In summary, Revelation 16:16 speaks of Armageddon as a ‘gathering place’ - not a battlefield. After ‘the gathering of the troops,’ the battle is probably elsewhere. Where? Afula? No, Jerusalem (Joel 3:1-2; Zechariah 12:2-14; 14:2-4). Once Christ intervenes, the game is up and the world’s kingdom becomes the (visible) Kingdom of God (Revelation 11:15). Whatever your eschatology, make sure to go Israel’s north and see The Valley, which has caught the world’s imagination. Valley of Armageddon View of The Valley of Armageddon from Mount Carmel. | Photo: Shutterstock February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Aerial panorama of the ancient city of Tel Megiddo archaeological park, site of the biblical Armageddon in Israel. | Photo: Shutterstock From Our Projects 15 Part of our mission is to comfort Israel and the Jewish people through prayer and action. If you would like to support one of our projects you can complete the coupon on page 16 or make an online donation. Thank you very much for your support! Aliyah Aliyah is the Hebrew word for the return of the Jewish people to Israel. We support Aliyah mainly from Ukraine (and the former Soviet Union), but also from India and France. Furthermore, we help new immigrants (in Hebrew: olim ) to integrate into Israeli society. Hineni Soup Kitchen We help the poor of Israel, by providing them with food. We do this in partnership with the Hineni Center in Jerusalem, headed by Benjamin Philip. Your gift for the soup kitchen goes directly to the purchase of food. Holocaust Survivors We support impoverished Holocaust survivors in Israel and Ukraine through various projects which provide assistance to survivors of the Holocaust. Those survivors are elderly and will not be among us for long, and there is a growing demand for practical assistance. Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC) You can support the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the heart of Biblical Israel. The main purpose is to encourage the people in the Biblical Heartland and to show them that there are Christians throughout the world who support them and share the belief that the areas of Judea and Samaria are part of Israel’s inheritance. Food Parcel Campaign Ukraine We distribute food parcels amongst Jewish people in Ukraine. These parcels are handed out to Holocaust survivors, needy families, and the sick. Those food parcels are a sign of friendship that demonstrates your support for our Jewish brothers and sisters and that they are not alone. Arab Christians Life for Christians in Bethlehem is often not easy. Christians for Israel supports the First Baptist Church of Rev Naim Khoury in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The members of this church spread the gospel among Arabs and share their love and heart for Israel and the Jewish people. For country-specific or further information on our projects, go to our website, www.c4israel.com.au Overview of our projects February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 | Photo: The Jerusalem Foundation Café Europa Under Covid | Photo: The Jerusalem Foundation It’s at times like these that the difference between an ordinary social worker and a great one becomes obvious... Project Update ‘Non-stop’ Food Parcel Delivery in Ukraine Since we started our food parcel campaign at the end of October 2020, you could almost say that we have been packing and distributing food parcels non- stop. The response is heartwarming, for example Sveta from Kropivnitsky, Ukraine told us: “The fact that you also think of us in this corona time gives me comfort in my difficult situation!” To this we always answer: “It is a blessing to receive, but also a blessing to give!” Will you help to feed Jewish elderly people in need? Donate one or more food parcels. A food parcel costs NZ $17 | AU $15 | US $11 | €10. Thank you in advance on their behalf! The Jerusalem n Foundation 2020 was a difficult year for everyone. Across the globe, the coronavirus pandemic hit people hard and gave us new challenges to face. Here in Jerusalem, one incredible organisation brought vital support and a semblance of normality to one special group of people who were in need of help - Holocaust survivors. The Café Europa network provides social and support opportunities for elderly Holocaust survivors in Jerusalem. Each branch serves as a meeting place where survivors enjoy a social and cultural experience, as well as being a resource centre where professionals assist survivors in accessing the rights and services to which the city’s elderly are entitled. The Jerusalem Foundation is proud to have a long association with the Café Europa programme, as part of our wider support for some of the city’s most vulnerable populations. In the past months, we have found ourselves at the forefront of Jerusalem’s response to the pandemic. Together with the Municipality and other partner organisations, we have supported tens of thousands of people in Jerusalem. On 20 March 2020, an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor in Jerusalem was announced as the country’s first casualty of coronavirus, highlighting the vulnerability of Holocaust survivors and driving home the importance of providing a support network. Café Europa’s six branches across the city cater to hundreds of Holocaust survivors, including Russian and English-speaking immigrants and survivors from the ultra-Orthodox community. With the elderly being the group at highest risk from the coronavirus, combined with the loneliness and isolation of being at home, the branches have adapted creative ways to reach members at home. Many activities had to take place via Zoom, or in small groups in outdoor spaces. Transport had to be arranged to get elderly survivors to activities taking place in person, and extra support had to be arranged for those in need - including food packages and tablet computers for ongoing communication. On any given day, one could find dozens of elderly Holocaust survivors engaged in an exercise class or a lecture about Jewish life - an incredible range of activities that kept people connected with one another during this difficult period. Over and above the social activities, the network provided a telephone hotline staffed by volunteers that provided assistance and advice to help the survivors deal with logistic and health emergencies. As two elderly survivors commented: “Not only is your information helpful but you are as well. It is at times like these that the difference between an ordinary social worker and a great one becomes obvious... Thanks to you and Café Europa we are well provided for.” If you wish to support the elderl y Holocaust Survivors in Jerusalem during this difficult time, you can fill out the coupon and select: Holocaust Survivors: I’m Not Alone!

34. From Our Projects 16 February 2021 | Israel & Christians Today Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Michael Freund n Founder & Chairman | Shavei Israel After a long and tiring flight throughout the night, the band of new immigrants emerged from the El Al plane and made their way slowly down the stairs, their senses heightened by the early-morning chill as well as the knowledge that their cherished dream was coming true. As they reached the tarmac, setting foot on the land of their ancestors after centuries of exile, many knelt and passionately kissed the ground, vocally thanking the Creator for bringing them home to Zion. Surely even the hardest of hearts could not help but be moved by this powerful visual image as a scene wrought with Biblical overtones that has come to life. On 15 December 2020, a group of 250 Bnei Menashe from northeastern India touched down at Ben-Gurion Airport on a special charter flight. The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian Empire. Despite being cut off from the rest of the Jewish people for so long, the Bnei Menashe continued to preserve the ways of their ancestors, observing Shabbat, keeping kosher and adhering to the laws of family purity. They never forgot who they were or where they came from nor where they one day yearned to return. So far, more than 4,000 Bnei Menashe have made Aliyah. Another 6,500 Bnei Menashe remain in India awaiting the chance to immigrate to the Jewish state. The group of 250 which made Aliyah in December was the first to arrive in two- and-a-half years, and their homecoming is rife with moving personal stories. Among the arrivals was Miriam Singson, a widow from the Indian state of Manipur, along with her son Tzadok and daughter Rina. Miriam has two other children who made aliyah several years ago, and this week she was able to see her six Israeli- born grandchildren for the first time. Another heartwarming reunion took place with the aliyah of Yaffa Haokip and her two young sons, Alon and Hanan. Yaffa’s parents, Nehemiah and Nirit, moved to Israel 13 years ago and she hasn’t seen them since, nor have they ever had the opportunity to meet their own grandchildren. And then there is Azaria Kolny, who has lived in Israel for the past two decades and told me in advance of the aliyah that, “It is very hard to believe that I will have the chance to embrace my dear son and his family after a long gap of 20 years. I feel very happy and in shock... I can’t even express what my feelings are.” This aliyah was also the fruit of efforts by a wide range of Christian Zionists and lovers of Israel around the world. International groups such as Christians for Israel, Bridges for Peace, Ebenezer Operation Exodus, the ICEJ and Shalom Israel Asia Pacific, as well as many Christians from Scandinavia to Seoul, poured out their hearts in prayer and provided support to carry the sons of daughters of the Bnei Menashe back to Zion just as I saiah (49:22) foretold. It is fitting that the Bnei Menashe aliyah took place during Hanukkah when we celebrate the Hasmoneans’ discovery of the miraculous flask of pure oil which somehow managed to remain untainted. In this sense, the rediscovery of the lost tribe of Bnei Menashe, which maintained its fidelity to the God of Israel despite 27 centuries in exile, is a modern-day version of the Hanukkah miracle, Jewish faith and survival against all the odds. With God’s help, we will do everything in our power to ensure that all the remaining 6,500 Bnei Menashe will be able to call Israel their home. May it happen soon. Michael Freund is founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (www.Shavei.org) which assists lost tribes and hidden Jewish communities to return to the Jewish people. If you wish to donate to the Bnei Menashe, please complete the coupon below. The Arrival of the Bnei Menashe was a Hanukkah Miracle Photo credit: Eleonora Shilova Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption PLEASE COMPLETE FORM & RETURN TO: Christians for Israel Australia, PO Box 1508, Springwood, QLD 4127 or you can donate securely online c4israel.com.au/donate Yes, I would like to make a donation towards... C4I MINISTRY 1 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) Thinc. (New strategic ministry partner) $_______ ____________ Israel and Christians Today Paper (free or by donation) $15 each ____________ ____________ ____________ $36 each ____________ The End Times Through Jewish Eyes (DVD) by Ps Enoch Lavender The Final Countdown (DVD) by Ps Enoch Lavender NEW! Hope FulFilled (BOOK) by Ps Enoch Lavender NEW! Living A Life In Victory (BOOK) by Willem Glashouwer NEW! Behold He Comes (BOOK: 800 pages) by Willem Glashouwer NEW! Towards The Establishment of the State of Israel (BOOK) NEW! Bazyli & Anna Jocz (BOOK) by Kelvin Crombie $20 each ____________ $20 each ____________ $30 each $20 each $15 each ____________ Life in a Kibbutz - 67 4 Palestinian Elections Understanding Israel and world events from a Biblical perspective & Christians Today ISRAEL February 2021 Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel 8 Tu lips from the N etherlands 15 The Arrival of Bnei M enashe was a Hanukkah miracle Israel began vaccinations on 19 December 2020 and is delivering jabs to about 150,000 people a day, with priority given to the over-60s, health workers and people who are clinically vulnerable. By mid-January, about 20% of the population had been vaccinated. The BBC reported that Israel has given vaccinations against Coronavirus to more than one million people, the world’s highest rate, as global immunisation efforts step up. At the end of 2020, Israel had a rate of 11.5 vaccination doses per 100 people – followed by Bahrain at 3.49 and the UK at 1.47, according to a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University. As at mid-January, about 4000 people had died of Coronavirus in Israel. In January the country was in its third lockdown, amidst a new surge in infections, and even considering bans on incoming travel. Israel secured supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following negotiations early on in the pandemic. According to an article in New York Times, “Israel’s heavily digitised, community-based health system — all citizens, by law, must register with one of the country’s four Health Maintenance Organisations — and its centralised government have proved adept at orchestrating a national inoculation campaign, according to Israeli health experts.” “With a population of nine million, Israel’s relatively small size has played a role as well”, said Professor Balicer, who is also the chief innovation officer for Clalit, the largest of the country’s four Health Maintenance Organisations. An aggressive procurement effort helped set the stage. The health minister, Yuli Edelstein, said in an interview that Israel had entered into negotiations with drugmak ers as an ‘early bird,’ and that the companies were interested in supplying Israel because of its reputation for efficiency and gathering reliable data. “We are leading the world race thanks to our early preparations,” he said. Some people fear that Israel has moved too quickly and that it has allowed the vaccine manufacturers to use it as a ‘guinea pig’ to try out untested vaccines. Aviel Schneider at Israel Today, in Jerusalem, rejects these criticisms. “Everything is a risk, including the accelerated Israeli vaccination effort”, he said. “But isn’t Israel’s very existence in the Middle East at risk daily? The people of Israel are a conditioned people who have survived one risk after another for generations. From a biblical and spiritual standpoint, with God’s help, Israel has repeatedly overcome all risks. This may not have been easy and may have had its consequences, just as the year of Coronavirus will have economic consequences.” According to Schneider, the fears are unfounded. “Israel will survive the Pfizer vaccinations. And the faster everyone in the country is vaccinated, the faster the borders will be reopened. You will be able to visit Israel again. Nor can I imagine God sacrificing His chosen people as guinea pigs for Pfizer, or you. On the contrary, in this case, Israel is an example for others, a light to the nations. It is Israel that is encouraging and motivating other nations not to be afraid of a syringe.” Israel World-Leader in Covid-19 Vaccinations Medical worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine injection, at a vaccination center in Jerusalem. | Photo: Flash90 AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA www.c4israel.com.au | info@c4israel.com.au Life in a Kibbutz - 67 4 Palestinian Elections Understanding Israel and world events from a Biblical perspective & Christians Today ISRAEL February 2021 Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel 8 Tulips from the Netherlands 15 The Arrival of Bnei Menashe was a Hanukkah miracle Israel began vaccinations on 19 December 2020 and is delivering jabs to about 150,000 people a day, with priority given to the over-60s, health workers and people who are clinically vulnerable. By mid-January, about 20% of the population had been vaccinated. The BBC reported that Israel has given vaccinations against Coronavirus to more than one million people, the world’s highest rate, as global immunisation efforts step up. At the end of 2020, Israel had a rate of 11.5 vaccination doses per 100 people – followed by Bahrain at 3.49 and the UK at 1.47, according to a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University. As at mid-January, about 4000 people had died of Coronavirus in Israel. In January the country was in its third lockdown, amidst a new surge in infections, and even considering bans on incoming travel. Israel secured supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following negotiations early on in the pandemic. According to an article in New York Times, “Israel’s heavily digitised, community-based health system — all citizens, by law, must register with one of the country’s four Health Maintenance Organisations — and its centralised government have proved adept at orchestrating a national inoculation campaign, according to Israeli health experts.” “With a population of nine million, Israel’s relatively small size has played a role as well”, said Professor Balicer, who is also the chief innovation officer for Clalit, the largest of the country’s four Health Maintenance Organisations. An aggressive procurement effort helped set the stage. The health minister, Yuli Edelstein, said in an interview that Israel had entered into negotiations with drugmak ers as an ‘early bird,’ and that the companies were interested in supplying Israel because of its reputation for efficiency and gathering reliable data. “We are leading the world race thanks to our early preparations,” he said. Some people fear that Israel has moved too quickly and that it has allowed the vaccine manufacturers to use it as a ‘guinea pig’ to try out untested vaccines. Aviel Schneider at Israel Today, in Jerusalem, rejects these criticisms. “Everything is a risk, including the accelerated Israeli vaccination effort”, he said. “But isn’t Israel’s very existence in the Middle East at risk daily? The people of Israel are a conditioned people who have survived one risk after another for generations. From a biblical and spiritual standpoint, with God’s help, Israel has repeatedly overcome all risks. This may not have been easy and may have had its consequences, just as the year of Coronavirus will have economic consequences.” According to Schneider, the fears are unfounded. “Israel will survive the Pfizer vaccinations. And the faster everyone in the country is vaccinated, the faster the borders will be reopened. You will be able to visit Israel again. Nor can I imagine God sacrificing His chosen people as guinea pigs for Pfizer, or you. On the contrary, in this case, Israel is an example for others, a light to the nations. It is Israel that is encouraging and motivating other nations not to be afraid of a syringe.” Israel World-Leader in Covid-19 Vaccinations Medical worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine injection, at a vaccination center in Jerusalem. | Photo: Flash90 AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA www.c4israel.com.au | info@c4israel.com.au Life in a Kibbutz - 67 4 Palestinian Elections Understanding Israel and world events from a Biblical perspective & Christians Today ISRAEL February 2021 Sh’vat - Adar 5781 Israel & Christians Today is the premier publication of Christians for Israel 8 Tulips from the Netherlands 15 The Arrival of Bnei Menashe was a Hanukkah miracle Israel began vaccinations on 19 December 2020 and is delivering jabs to about 150,000 people a day, with priority given to the over-60s, health workers and people who are clinically vulnerable. By mid-January, about 20% of the population had been vaccinated. The BBC reported that Israel has given vaccinations against Coronavirus to more than one million people, the world’s highest rate, as global immunisation efforts step up. At the end of 2020, Israel had a rate of 11.5 vaccination doses per 100 people – followed by Bahrain at 3.49 and the UK at 1.47, according to a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University. As at mid-January, about 4000 people had died of Coronavirus in Israel. In January the country was in its third lockdown, amidst a new surge in infections, and even considering bans on incoming travel. Israel secured supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following negotiations early on in the pandemic. According to an article in New York Times, “Israel’s heavily digitised, community-based health system — all citizens, by law, must register with one of the country’s four Health Maintenance Organisations — and its centralised government have proved adept at orchestrating a national inoculation campaign, according to Israeli health experts.” “With a population of nine million, Israel’s relatively small size has played a role as well”, said Professor Balicer, who is also the chief innovation officer for Clalit, the largest of the country’s four Health Maintenance Organisations. An aggressive procurement effort helped set the stage. The health minister, Yuli Edelstein, said in an interview that Israel had entered into negotiations with drugmak ers as an ‘early bird,’ and that the companies were interested in supplying Israel because of its reputation for efficiency and gathering reliable data. “We are leading the world race thanks to our early preparations,” he said. Some people fear that Israel has moved too quickly and that it has allowed the vaccine manufacturers to use it as a ‘guinea pig’ to try out untested vaccines. Aviel Schneider at Israel Today, in Jerusalem, rejects these criticisms. “Everything is a risk, including the accelerated Israeli vaccination effort”, he said. “But isn’t Israel’s very existence in the Middle East at risk daily? The people of Israel are a conditioned people who have survived one risk after another for generations. From a biblical and spiritual standpoint, with God’s help, Israel has repeatedly overcome all risks. This may not have been easy and may have had its consequences, just as the year of Coronavirus will have economic consequences.” According to Schneider, the fears are unfounded. “Israel will survive the Pfizer vaccinations. And the faster everyone in the country is vaccinated, the faster the borders will be reopened. You will be able to visit Israel again. Nor can I imagine God sacrificing His chosen people as guinea pigs for Pfizer, or you. On the contrary, in this case, Israel is an example for others, a light to the nations. It is Israel that is encouraging and motivating other nations not to be afraid of a syringe.” Israel World-Leader in Covid-19 Vaccinations Medical worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine injection, at a vaccination center in Jerusalem. | Photo: Flash90 AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA www.c4israel.com.au | info@c4israel.com.au 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: 405318551 Ref: Your name & donation purpose. Please confirm by emailing info@c4israel.com.au MY DETAILS Name: _________________________________________ If you don’t know or hav e your Member ID please include: Address: ________________________________________ Phone: _________________________________________ Email: __________________________________________ Christians for Israel Australia ABN: 79 941 819 693 ICT0221 4 3 SOCIAL WELFARE PROJECTS $ ___________ Hineni soup kitchen ($10 per meal) $ ___________ First Baptist Church Bethlehem ($10 or your best gift) $ ___________ Meals on Wheels Ukraine ($15 per meal) $ ___________ First Home in the Homeland ($350 pp) $ ___________ Food Parcels ($15 per parcel) $ ___________ CFOIC (Judea and Samaria) Heartland ($30 or your best gift) 2 ALIYAH - BRING THE JEWS HOME $350 One Person* $6250 One Busload (25 persons)* $1460 Bnei Menashe - Asian Jews (1 person) $1250 One Family (5 persons)* *NOTE: Certificates for individuals and families from the Ukraine only. Office Phone Number: 07 3088 6900 Member ID (If Known) : C4IA

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