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ICEJ supports life-changing Women’s Shelter in Beersheba

Since the times of the Hebrew Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the town of Beersheba has always been viewed as a place of safety and respite for weary travellers. For those on the ancient paths through the Negev desert, it was the well of Beersheba which drew them, and gave renewed hope and strength for the remaining journey ahead.

Today, we see this becoming a reality once again. In the heart of modern Beersheba, Israeli women who are traumatized, troubled and alone can find a haven and source of refreshment in an ICEJ-sponsored women’s shelter located in the heart of the city.

Since May 2020, there have been 31 women along with their children who have found a secure refuge at the shelter to rebuild their lives. Depending on each woman’s needs, the shelter provides lodging for the short term (several days) or for longer periods of a year or more. In addition, they are provided such basics as food and clothing, while the shelter’s staff offer sound counselling and help the women resolve various health, social and legal issues in their lives.

Moreover, while staying in the Beersheba women’s shelter, the women are made to feel loved and precious in God’s eyes and in the eyes of others. This care and support are crucial, as most have seldom experienced these throughout their traumatic pasts. Along the way to rebuilding their lives, the women are encouraged to develop new skills and realize their talents and potential. They also learn about accountability and taking responsibility.

Nevertheless, this important work comes with many challenges. First, it requires trained staff who can invest a large amount of time to understand the women and the challenges they face. A personal approach is required for every individual to help them deal with serious emotional traumas. It can be a great challenge for women who have lost their hope to gain the motivation to start life anew. Despite all these difficulties, the work of the shelter has brought great benefit and is transforming the lives of many women. Here are a few brief stories:

*Nataliya, a Russian-Jewish immigrant, came from a detox facility, where she was getting help with her alcohol addiction. She had no social allowance, no money and nowhere to go, and she found a safe haven at the shelter for half a year. During this time, she got her documents in order, received disability recognition and government assistance, and finally moved from the shelter to a rented apartment.

*Lena is another lady who has been staying in the shelter for a year already. She came with a new-born child (the first child she was allowed to keep by the social services) and made beautiful progress. As a result the social services agreed to let her take back one of her older children who had been living in a foster family. What a joy to see a family reunited!

*Alexa is a mother of two children who came from another shelter for battered women. Her condition was so hopeless that social services were ready to take her children from her. Thankfully, after half a year in the shelter she was able to improve, and social services was pleased with her progress, especially the way she was taking care of her children. Finally, Alexa was able to rent an apartment and moved out of the shelter to begin writing a new page in her life.

When these ladies came into the Beersheba women’s shelter, they had no money, no social allowance, and no family or friends who were ready to take them in. At this crossroads in their lives, the shelter welcomed them with open arms and helped each one to ‘catch their breath,’ take time to rest, restore their physical and emotional strength, put their documents in order, and ask for government benefits and other help from social services. Even more importantly, the hope is that they will encounter true peace and healing which only comes from God.

Please consider a generous gift that will enable the ICEJ to help ‘Give a Future and a Hope’ for many Israeli women. You can offer them a fresh point to start over in their lives.


[*Names are changed to protect their privacy.]

ICEJ Expands Efforts to Bring Ukrainian Jews to Israel

As the brutal Russian shelling of Ukrainian cities continues, a massive operation is well underway to evacuate thousands of endangered Jews from the war-torn country and bring them to safety in Israel. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is at the center of the action, helping to fund the Jewish Agency For Israel’s urgent rescue and Aliyah efforts, while also engaging in parallel activities on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries, as well as assisting Ukrainian Jews who have already reached Israel.

Speaking on the ICEJ’s weekly webinar on Thursday, Roman Polonsky, the Jewish Agency ’s coordinator for the former Soviet Republics and Eastern Europe, said that over 1,000 Ukrainian Jewish immigrants arrived in Israel this week. But he added that thousands more are still making their way into neighboring countries, being housed and processed for immigration, and waiting for flights to Israel. He also said JAFI expects as many as 15,000 Ukrainian Jews to make Aliyah by the end of this year, with possibly even larger numbers coming from Russia due to the faltering economy there.

“This is a women’s Aliyah right now,” said Polonsky. “It is heart-breaking to see so many mothers and wives arriving without the men, who had to stay behind to defend Ukraine.” 

The Jewish Agency has opened two main routes for handling this mass Aliyah, Polonsky explained. One goes through Poland and Hungary, and one through Moldova and Romania. They have rented 4,000 beds in these countries to house people until they are ready to move on to Israel. He added that JAFI is having to hire many extra guards, because there are so many dangers and much looting right now along these routes of travel.

Polonsky shared several touching stories he encountered while constantly shuttling between Warsaw and Budapest this week. One involved two young Jewish sisters, aged 12 and 13, who had stood for twelve hours on an over-crowded train to reach Poland. The cabin car they were in normally seats 40 people, but it was crammed with some 400 fleeing refugees. The young girls were travelling alone, as their mother had to stay behind in Ukraine to take care of her aging parents. The sisters were met by the local Israeli ambassador, and they will arrive in Israel in coming days.

He also had an incredible encounter with Esther, a 67 year-old Ukrainian Jewish woman who made her way to Warsaw by herself and went straight to the airport to buy an airline ticket to Israel. But when the ticketing agent asked for $500, she said she had no money. Desperate, she tried calling an Israeli telephone number she had been given to inquire about moving to Israel, but could not get through. So, she prayed to the Lord for help, and then asked a passing gentleman if he could help her place the call. He recognized it was an Israeli number and asked what she needed. “To make Aliyah,” she replied. That gentleman happened to be Roman Polonsky himself, the person in charge of Aliyah for all of the FSU and Eastern Europe, and God had immediately answered her prayer in the best way possible.

Besides the funds we are channeling through JAFI to support the overall Ukrainian rescue and Aliyah operation, the Christian Embassy also has launched a number of supplementary efforts to help the cause. For example:

ICEJ-Ukraine national director Valeriy Alymov and his church are operating under difficult conditions in the capital Kyiv to shelter and feed hundreds of Jews and Christians in underground facilities, offering them beds, blankets, food, clothing and other relief aid.

ICEJ-Romania national director Pavel Antonesi and his team have hired a bus and several vans to transport Ukrainian Jews who have fled to Moldova and carry them over to Bucharest for temporary stays while they apply with the Jewish Agency to immigrate to Israel. On Thursday, their first convoy of Jewish refugees left Kishinev and crossed over into Romania. Pavel reports that there are currently hundreds of Ukrainian Jews stranded in the Moldavan capital, and with our assistance he can help get them to safety in Romania and then onward to the Jewish homeland.

ICEJ-Finland national director Jani Salokangas will arrive with a team in Poland on Friday to deliver a ton of relief aid requested by the Chief Rabbi of Warsaw to help the local Jewish community care for scores of Ukrainian Jewish refugees who have taken shelter with them. The Finnish team will remain in Poland for several days to assist war refugees and deliver more relief aid where needed. ICEJ-Finland also will continue to assist Russian Jews heading for Israel along the St. Petersburg-Helsinki route, which is expected to see a sharp increase of immigrants in coming months.

The ICEJ is working with JAFI and an Israeli charitable partner on the ground in Ukraine to identify and evacuate Holocaust survivors to safety, sponsor their flights to Israel, and help with assisting them once they are here. JAFI is giving Holocaust survivors priority and expediting their Aliyah to bring them straight to Israel. We already have a group of 27 Holocaust survivors en route out of Ukraine and 10 more are packing their belongings. Some may take up residence in the Christian Embassy’s assisted-living Home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa.

The ICEJ in Jerusalem will be assisting the 90 Jewish children from a Chabad orphanage in the Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr who were welcomed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday. The Jewish National Fund is providing temporary housing and food for the youths, aged 2 to 12, and the ICEJ is exploring practical ways to support their future growth as orphaned children and help them adjust to living in Israel.

Finally, the Yad Rosa emergency call centers for Holocaust survivors which the ICEJ sponsors in Jerusalem and Haifa will now be connected to the Jewish Agency’s special hotline number recently set up for Ukrainian and Russian Jews to inquire about making Aliyah. Additional volunteers who speak Ukrainian and Russian have already come forward to help staff the Yad Rosa call centers. This was done at the urging of Prime Minister Bennett to help JAFI handle the high volume of calls now being received on their hotline. Since the hotline was set up about two weeks ago, it has already received over 16,000 calls, including nearly 7,000 calls inquiring about making Aliyah to Israel.

So, here is your chance to be part of an urgent, historic and even prophetic wave of Aliyah. Please give your best gift today to help support our expanding efforts to evacuate Jews from Ukraine and bring them home safely to Israel.


ICEJ Welcomes First Flights of Rescued Ukrainian Jews to Israel

With the Russian war against Ukraine now approaching two full weeks and causing the largest refugee crisis in Europe in over 75 years, Israel is scrambling to rescue thousands of Ukrainian Jews in harm’s way and bring them home to safety in Israel. The first flights bringing these Jewish war refugees to Israel landed on Sunday in what has been dubbed “Operation Israeli Guarantee,” and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is doing our part to help fund this urgent and historic rescue Aliyah effort.

Last week, hundreds of Israeli citizens living in Ukraine began returning home on daily flights from Eastern Europe to escape the widening Russian invasion. But on Sunday, the first flights bringing Ukrainian Jewish immigrants to safety in Israel landed at Ben-Gurion Airport. The 300 Jewish olim (newcomers) who arrived on Sunday were evacuated from across Ukraine over recent days and then held in temporary housing in Poland, Romania and Moldova until their Aliyah process could begin.

The first Aliyah flight landed mid-day with some 90 Jewish children from a Chabad-run orphanage in the central Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr. The youngsters, aged 2 to 12, had walked through freezing cold and snow to cross the border into Romania several days ago. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was waiting on the tarmac to greet them, having just returned from a surprise weekend meeting in Moscow with Russian ruler Vladimir Putin in a bid to secure safe passage routes for refugees in Ukraine and help mediate an end to the conflict.

Later in the afternoon, two more flights with another 200 Ukrainian Jewish immigrants landed at Ben-Gurion Airport, where they were warmly received by a welcoming party which included Israeli officials as well as Nicole Yoder, the ICEJ’s VP for Aid & Aliyah. Nicole noted that the vast majority of the arriving passengers were women and children and the elderly, as Ukrainian men between 18 and 60 were required to stay behind and join the battle to defend their country.

Israeli authorities and the Jewish Agency for Israel are organizing the urgent evacuation and Aliyah operation to rescue endangered Ukrainian Jews, with financial support from many Jewish and Christian donor organizations, including the ICEJ.

Speaking to media outlets covering Sunday’s arrival ceremony, Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod, thanked Christians for joining with Jewish communities worldwide to help fund the immense task of evacuating Jews from Ukraine.

“It’s unbelievable to see this outpouring of help and support,” said Grundwerg. “And I want to send from here in Israel blessings to all of our friends who are rising to the occasion to help us in this dark hour, but will end up being, when we look back, also a moment that we shine brightly thanks to your help and support.”

Thousands more Ukrainian Jews are already making the long and treacherous journey to reach Ukraine’s western border and cross over to safety in neighboring countries, where they will be placed in temporary accommodations while opening the process to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return. Thus, many more Ukrainian Jews will be arriving on rescue Aliyah flights to Israel over coming weeks. They are being classified as “war refugees,” which means they will receive extra government assistance, but Israel and the Jewish Agency also are appealing to their Christians friends and supporters to help fund this mammoth rescue operation.

With millions of Ukrainians fleeing the intense shelling of their cities and Russia’s economy also tanking under the mounting pressure of international sanctions, Israeli officials say they expect as many as 100,000 Ukrainian and Russian Jews to make Aliyah in the coming year or so, depending on how the conflict plays out. Counting those who are Jewish and their immediate families, there are an estimated 200,000 Ukrainians and more than 600,000 Russians who are eligible to immigrate to Israel.

As the Christian Embassy continues to do our part in “Operation Israeli Guarantee,” we will be placing a special priority on trying to rescue aging Holocaust survivors from Ukraine, which saw some of the worst atrocities of the Nazi genocide against the Jews of Europe in World War II. We are exploring ways to locate and bring out safely many Holocaust survivors and fly them to Israel. The hope is that some will even begin their new life in Israel at the ICEJ’s unique Home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa, where our team of Christian volunteers are already waiting to help care for them.

So, please give today to this very urgent effort to save Ukrainian Jews.

The Rescue of Ukrainian Jews is Underway!

For over a week now, we have all watched the Ukrainian people bravely battling to stave off invading Russian forces. The intense fighting has already forced at least one million people to flee the country. Amid this raging conflict, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is working with the Jewish Agency for Israel to help evacuate thousands of Ukrainian Jews and bring them safely to Israel. And thanks to the generosity of many caring Christians worldwide, we are making a real difference for scores of Jewish families seeking to escape the encircling threat of war and make it to safety in Israel.

So far, some 3,500 Ukrainian Jews have applied for urgent immigration to Israel since the war began, but the numbers are expected to quickly rise to over 10,000.

Some 540 of these applicants have already been evacuated, processed and approved for immigration to Israel. Buses packed with more Ukrainian Jews are making it across the border every day, where they are sent to temporary housing centers in neighboring Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova until they can be flown to Israel.

On Sunday, Israel will welcome the first flights of Ukrainian Jewish olim since the Russian invasion began, bringing an initial group of 300 Jewish war refugees to safety in Israel. They will be placed in absorption centers and hotels for several months as they adjust to their new life in the Jewish homeland.

The ICEJ is providing funds to help JAFI with the entire evacuation and Aliyah process, including the expenses of bus transport out of Ukraine, temporary shelter in neighboring countries, any necessary medical attention, the flights to Israel, and the urgent integration needs of the new immigrants.

The Jewish Agency has representatives on the ground arranging all of these steps under very difficult circumstances. Due to the raging conflict and its attendant risks, the costs of hiring buses has jumped significantly in the past week, and fuel is expensive and in short supply. The journey to the border also can take several days, with numerous checkpoints along the way, and the ever-present threat of Russian attacks. And once at the border crossings, there are agonizingly long waits due to the massive human logjams, with many having gone without food or water for days.

But JAFI has teams on both sides of the border, and the assistance of a network of Jewish and Christian volunteers inside Ukraine helping to evacuate the Jewish families, feed and care for them, and then send them on their way to Israel.

This is a desperate moment for everyone in Ukraine, but it is also an opportunity for Christians to arise and show mercy to Ukrainian Jewish communities who have suffered enough in exile and now want to reach the safety of the Land of Israel. Their lives and futures are in our hands, so please respond with your best gift today!

ICEJ Assisting with Rescue of Jews from War in Ukraine

Amid the immense tragedy unfolding in Ukraine right now, there are many inspiring examples of courage in the face of brutality, as well as valiant efforts to get civilians to safety in neighboring countries. One such effort now underway involves Israel and the Jewish Agency desperately working to bring out endangered Ukrainian Jews and send them on to Israel. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is helping fund these urgent rescue and Aliyah operations, and thanks to our many faithful Christian supporters worldwide we are rising to the challenge of this hour.

When Russian forces began invading Ukraine last Thursday, the Jewish Agency quickly set up a free hotline for Ukrainian Jews to request assistance with making Aliyah, and so far they have received calls from more than 5,000 Jews interested in immigrating to Israel. But with the war spreading to so many areas, and a mass exodus of civilians heading west towards safety, bringing these Jewish families out is proving difficult.

To meet the challenge, the Jewish Agency and Israeli embassies in the region have already set up six processing stations at Ukrainian border crossings with Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary, and officials are on the ground on both sides of these borders to help process those on their way to Israel. In fact, due to their long experience in the field, as well as the help of a nationwide alliance of local Christian volunteers, Israel is in a better position than probably any other nation now scrambling to assist their nationals and other refugees to leave the country.

Not only that, but there are reports that the Israeli rescue network is even helping citizens of Arab countries flee to safety, including Egyptian, Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian students fleeing the heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine.

For the Ukrainian Jewish evacuees, after crossing the border they will be temporarily housed in neighboring countries for several days or weeks, as necessary, and then flown to Israel, where hotels and absorption centers are being prepared to welcome them for their first months in the Land. This entire process will require funding from numerous sources and the ICEJ is committed to doing our part.

Thankfully, in just four short days since our urgent appeal went out last Friday, we have been able to collect enough funds to hand over an initial donation of NIS 1 million shekels (US$ 320,000) to the Jewish Agency to help with the rescue and Aliyah of Ukrainian Jews. The immediate response from Christians in so many nations has been amazing, and we deeply appreciate it!

Israel is planning to take in an initial wave of 3,000 Ukrainian Jews in coming weeks, and thousands more are expected to keep coming after that. Counting those who are Jewish and their close relatives, there are an estimated 200,000 people remaining in Ukraine who are eligible to make Aliyah.

The ICEJ already has a long and productive record of assisting Ukrainian Jews to make Aliyah, as we have helped nearly 50,000 Jews reach Israel from Ukraine since the Iron Curtain fell in 1989. But for those who remain, the need has never been greater to help bring them to safety in Israel. So, we say “thank you” to those who already have given to this urgent cause, and we urgently appeal to everyone to consider once more what you can do to help!


Urgent Appeal for Ukrainian Aliyah

“Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,” says the Lord, “Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity…” (Jeremiah 30:10a)

Dear Friends and Supporters,

What turbulent times we live in! The global corona health crisis finally seems to be waning and suddenly there is a major war between Russia and Ukraine.

The separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine has been smoldering since 2014, but now it has been deliberately escalated with the Russian military’s multi-pronged invasion of their democratic neighbor. There is widespread shock and fear as many in Ukraine did not expect the raging battle to come so close so quickly. And once unleashed, who knows where this war may lead.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brazen orders to crush Ukraine’s independent spirit harkens back to the ominous Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia to snuff out the Prague Spring in August 1968. This aggression also represents a dangerous flaunting of the global order and could have very serious consequences, especially for Israel and the Middle East.

Until yesterday, Israeli leaders had been very cautious about weighing in on the growing Russia-Ukraine crisis due to the delicate balancing act Jerusalem must play. There are still large Jewish communities in both countries, and Russia could easily harm Israeli interests through its military presence in Syria and strategic alliance with Iran.

Meantime, we at the ICEJ are concerned for the peoples of both Ukraine and Russia, and especially for the Body of believers in each nation who have been united and reconciled by their identity in Christ. We certainly pray for all their safety and that they may have courage and absolute trust in God at this time. We also are praying for true peacemakers to arise in this volatile crisis to bring a quick end to the violence and bloodshed.

The sharp escalation of the Ukraine conflict is an unfolding tragedy, but it also presents Christians who love Israel with an opportunity to help Jewish communities fleeing the fighting in Ukraine.

The ICEJ has been involved in the Aliyah from Ukraine since the 1980s. We were especially active in the early 1990s when we helped transport over 35,000 Ukrainian Jews on their way to Israel by sponsoring the Exobus project. Another 7,000 later came out in special van convoys regularly sent into western Ukraine by the ICEJ’s Swiss branch. And since the conflict in eastern Ukraine first erupted in 2014, the Christian Embassy has assisted with the Aliyah of over 2,000 more Ukrainian Jews seeking to reach Israel.

Now, the Jewish Agency For Israel has requested the ICEJ’s help with their urgent plans to evacuate imperiled Jewish families from Ukraine and fly them to Israel. Counting those who are Jewish and their close relatives, there an estimated 200,000 people remaining in Ukraine who are eligible to make Aliyah.

The areas of immediate need right now are three-fold:

1) Evacuation and Shelter: An initial 3,000 potential Jewish immigrants need to be rescued and provided refuge for up to 2-3 weeks, likely in a third country, until they can be airlifted to Israel. The expected costs will be US $850 per person.

2) Rescue Flights: The costs to fly some 3,000 Jewish immigrants to Israel will be US $805 per person on average. This includes airline tickets and bus transport to the airports.

3) Emergency Housing and Care in Israel: Once they arrive in Israel, it will cost about US $1,250 per person to house and feed these refugee immigrants for up to three months at absorption centers and other emergency accommodations.

Please give generously to this urgent need to rescue Jewish families caught up in the fighting across Ukraine and help them reach safety in Israel. You can make a real, timely difference in rescuing Jewish lives from danger.

Also, keep in mind that these evacuation efforts will be difficult and even dangerous for those involved. So, please be praying for divine protection over the Israeli and JAFI representatives, and all the local Jewish and Christian volunteer workers on the ground in Ukraine, as well as the Jewish families themselves as they make their way to Israel.



Time for a Haifa Home update

Here is the latest news from the ICEJ’s unique Home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa, where our team of Christian volunteers help care for dozens of Jewish survivors of the Shoah.

More lockdowns
After a brief return to ‘normal’ life and enjoying each other’s company, our Haifa Home residents recently had to start eating their meals in their rooms once again due to a peak in the Omicron virus. Two residents and several staff also tested positive. Fortunately, everyone has now completely recovered!

For many Holocaust survivors at our Haifa Home, the fear of becoming ill with coronavirus is even worse than the sickness itself. Many of their friends and family have gotten COVID, and they are so afraid of getting it, too. Plus, the isolation they are experiencing is equally hard to bear, as they are mostly stuck at home again.

“I only speak to my caregiver and almost forget how to even speak. Can you please visit me more often?” Rivka pleaded.

Our team of Christian volunteers does everything possible to help them during these difficult times. We visit their apartments, help them make doctor and dentist appointments, and take them out for walks. With Israel experiencing a very cold, wet winter, they are hesitant to venture outside for a stroll. But Birgit, our physiotherapist, tries to get the survivors moving as much as she can. Some residents enjoy doing gymnastics in small groups, while Will Setz pops in with his guitar at times to bring a little music and joy!

Adapting our Birthday Celebrations
Instead of celebrating birthdays together in the dining hall, we now are going to the residents, bringing them a cake and a moment of joy through music. Yaacov, a long-time resident, just celebrated his 98th birthday, while Lydia just turned 84.

Yehuda moves in for now
Yehuda, an elderly Moroccan Jewish survivor, recently was referred to our Home by people who knew about our caring community for Holocaust survivors. Yehuda’s life has not been easy after he became deaf as a youth due to an illness. For many years he lived mostly on the streets, his few possessions stuffed in plastic bags inside a shopping cart.

We have housed Yehuda temporarily to see if the Home is a suitable place for him. Our social worker, Fadi, is trying to collect more details about Yehuda before a decision is made on where is best for him. Meantime, our ICEJ volunteer team helped Yehuda decorate his room and turn it into a home. Several times Yehuda broke down, emotionally overwhelmed by the love and care showered upon him.

According to an Israeli government report released in January, most Holocaust survivors left in the world now live in Israel, numbering some 165,800. Over 90% of these Holocaust survivors are 80 years and older. There are 950 survivors who are more than 100 years old.

A full 25% currently live in poverty and 30% are living alone.

The ICEJ’s Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors is a warm environment where residents can live out their remaining years in dignity and comfort, with all their needs cared for by loving staff, including our dedicated team of Christian volunteers.

Envision brings timely messages to a ‘World at the Crossroads’

This year, the ICEJ held its annual Envision pastors and leaders conference under an entirely new format to better fit the busy schedules of church and community leaders worldwide. Through our special online streaming platform, Envision 2022 was expanded from our normal four-day conference to a month-long event spread out from 24 January to 17 February. For four weeks, we offered regional and global prayer sessions, virtual live visits to key places in Israel, informative webinars, keynote messages, and an array of seminars on fascinating biblical and current themes.

This year, Envision brought together nearly 900 pastors and ministry leaders from more than 50 nations under the conference theme “A World at the Crossroads”.

The annual gathering was timed once more to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, to better inform Christian leaders on the Holocaust and the need to stand with Israel today. It was thus appropriate that the first of our four live-streamed visits to key locations around Israel was to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial and museum. The Christian Embassy marked the occasion with a special wreath-laying ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem and a very memorable live interview with the museum’s new Chairman Dani Dayan.
In the second week, we came live from Misgav Am, a Jewish community right on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where we focused on the growing threat from Iranian-backed terror militias in Lebanon and Syria, and the urgent need for more bomb shelters in the northern region.
In week three, our live visit took us to the Knesset for one of the first-ever live-streamed events by an outside organisation from Israel’s parliament. We spoke about the importance of Christian support for Israel with Josh Reinstein, Director of the Knesset Christian Allied Caucus, as well as two new Knesset members, MKs Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionism party) and Moshe Tur Paz (Yesh Atid party). “Faith-based diplomacy has become the most important weapon that we have in our diplomatic arsenal”, noted Reinstein.
The final week took us north again to Nazareth to discuss the relations between Israeli Jews and Arabs, and the continuing impact of the Abraham Accords. Local Arab pastor Saleem Shalash was a great host and representative for the Arab Christian community, while ICEJ Middle East Coordinator Tom Craig gave an update on the prophetic vision of the Isaiah 19 Highway. We also spoke with local Arab Christian and i24 News reporter Yoseph Haddad for his perspective on how Israeli Arabs have responded to the recent reconciliation between several Arab countries and the Jewish state.

At the weekly Global Prayer Gatherings during Envision, we heard encouraging messages from former ICEJ executive director Malcolm Hedding, Fijian pastor Manasa Kolivuso, South African evangelist Angus Buchan, and Mike Bickle of IHOP-Kansas City.

Meantime, the weekly webinars featured international lawyer Andrew Tucker, noted Bible scholar Dr. Brad Young, Israeli security analyst Major (Res) Elliot Chodoff, and a discussion by the ICEJ leadership team in Jerusalem on the excellent new book entitled “A Short History of Christian Zionism”, by Canadian author and church historian Donald M. Lewis . [This highly recommended book will be available soon at the ICEJ’s online store.]

Each week of Envision then ended with powerful messages on leadership in our pivotal times from our keynote speakers, which included ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler, ORU President Dr. Billy Wilson, Israeli pastor Peter Tsukahira, and Jordanian pastor Afeef Halasah.

We also aired special Envision greetings received from several government leaders, including President Ilir Rexhep Meta of Albania, Princess Siu’ilikutapu of the Kingdom of Tonga, and US Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

Finally, there were dozens of seminar teachings, briefings and interviews available on our Envision platform covering a variety of timely subjects, such as Leadership at the Crossroads, The Church at the Crossroads, The Church and Israel, and The Restoration of Israel. The seminar speakers ranged from Israeli hi-tech expert Avi Jorisch, to Bible scholars Dr. Brad Young and Dr. Gerald McDermott, Israeli pastors Wayne Hilsden, Asher Intrater and Israel Pochtar, Arab pastors Steven Khoury and Samuel Aweida, Ukrainian pastor Boris Grisenko, and Nigerian minister Mosy Madugba.

While the live portions of the Envision conference have now ended this week, all the content will still be viewable on demand until 30 April 2022, all for only US$20.00 for the basic conference package. If you have not registered yet, you still have time to do so until midnight (Israel time) on 28 February 2022. 



“I want to say to Christian leaders around the world that without faith, you will not finish this race.”
Angus Buchan, South African Evangelist
“As we emerge from the pandemic, God is personalising again the Great Commission… Many times God leads us to the one in order to reach everyone… We never know when we reach one, what it may mean to our family, to our world and to world evangelisation.”
Dr. Billy Wilson, ORU President & Global Co-Chair of Empowered21
“We need all the friends that we can get and we should encourage connections with anyone who wants good for Israel, wants good for the region and wants good for everything that’s important here... I thank you as an organisation for all the work you are doing to get people out of this wrong conception of what Israel is, what Israel should be and how other organisations and countries treat the state of Israel.”
MK Simcha Rothman, Religious Zionism party

“We’re at a great turning point for the Church today. The pandemic has given us a pause to look at the forms and the functions the modern church… I believe it is a time of restoration, when God is restoring the smaller groups that were filled with the vitality of the Holy Spirit… The purpose of the Church in every age is to make disciples and ultimately to make them in all nations.”
Peter Tsukahira, Co-Founder of Carmel Assembly


Enduring Love in Testing Times

When the German army invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, young Anna’s father was convinced that Moscow would be occupied and the safest place for his wife and four children would be with their grandfather, some 300 kilometers away. However, as happens in the tide of war, not only was his village captured but his house was seized as a residence for high-ranking German officers, forcing the family to live in the cellar.

Still innocent at three years old, little blond-haired, blue-eyed Anna was not afraid of the soldiers and knew nothing of war. But she did know about hunger and would sneak into the house to stand near the table, her head just showing above it. Her charm softened her enemies’ hardened hearts, so they would give her food, which she promptly shared with her mother and siblings in their underground shelter. It supplemented the potatoes and onions that Anna’s mother pulled from the frozen ground during the bitterly cold winters.

Anna’s mother must have just been pregnant when she and her children were sent the grandfather’s village as into these harsh conditions a fifth baby was born. Her mother rejected the advice of well-meaning neighbours who suggested to leave the tiny life outside in the -40C weather. A mother’s love is strong. She washed diapers in cold water, putting them around her body to dry. Anna’s father had been sent to work at an arms factory at the beginning of the war and did not know another child had been born. He even assumed that when their grandfather’s home village had been taken over by the Germans, his family was likely murdered. In his despair he joined the Red Army, only to be killed at the front.

After the German army left the family home, local Fascists were afraid it had been booby-trapped and burned it to the ground. Anna’s mother, just in her early thirties, fled to Kazakhstan to look for work. She worked hard, even undertaking men’s jobs to feed her children. Sometimes with a smile, often with tears, Anna recalls her mother’s overflowing heart, full of love for her children as she tried to lift them above their poverty.

The strength of her mother’s love has been instilled in Anna. She met and married Holocaust survivor Evgeni, who had spent the war in hiding with his family. Together, they delighted in the achievements of their only child, Julia, who - despite the ever-present antisemitism in Russia - became a professional journalist with a promising career ahead.

But Julia’s life suddenly took a drastic turn one day when serious health issues arose. Doctors made a quick decision to operate, which did not go well. From then on, her condition deteriorated, and no other treatments helped. She lost her health, work, hopes and dreams, and became fully dependent on her parents, now in their eighties. After Aliyah, Israeli doctors tried to reverse the damage to her health done back in Russia, but to no avail. Out of this very challenging and heart-breaking situation, Anna has been caring for her daughter Julia with the same strength and love she received from her own mother.

For the past twenty years, ICEJ Homecare has been privileged to support this heroic family, with weekly visits, nursing assistance and supplemental support towards expenses. Anna says of their situation, “We couldn’t do it without your help. You are part of us, you have a place in our heart.”

ICEJ delivers bomb shelters to the Golan Heights

Those who have visited Israel’s Golan region in recent years often thought they heard the hollow echo of explosions in the distance. It turns out this was not just their imagination running away with them!

With the Golan Heights situated so close to Syrian border, the sounds of explosions and gunfire could often be heard from inside Israel because of Syria’s civil war, which has been raging there since 2011.

Although this region has been relatively quiet over the last 30 years, it is an increasingly sensitive security zone due to the Syrian conflict and the presence of the Hizbullah terror militia operating a stone’s throw away from Israel's border with Syria and Jordan.

Recently, the ICEJ Aid team had a very important reason for visiting Moshav Meitzar in the Golan region. This farming village is situated in the Yarmuk valley only 1.2 kilometers from Israel’s border with Syria and Jordan.

Standing on the plateau of the Golan, with an amazing view across the rolling green mountain range into Syria, Chen Levy – the Israeli security chief for Moshav Meitzar, talked about his concerns for the area with Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for AID & Aliyah. He noted that in the past, the moshav had experienced an attempted terrorist infiltration as well as gunfire from across the border. This should come as no surprise, as for several years now members of Daesh – affiliated with the Islamic State terror network – were in control of the adjacent corner of southern Syria.

“We have to be very vigilant here and change our perspective, as it was very quiet but now we are in a different situation,” explained Chen. “Although over the last two years the civil war has subsided, we still encounter hostile forces roaming the area, so we have to remain very vigilant.”

In light of its situation, it is no wonder that this moshav is regarded as an extremely vulnerable area, with the IDF believing that it will be a hot spot should any future conflict erupt.

The moshav hosts two very special programs. One brings in young people to attend a leadership and training year prior to entering the Israeli army. Currently, there are approximately 82 young people involved in this program coming from all over Israel, and even some participants from abroad who may consider making Aliyah after their year in the Golan.

The other program caters to juveniles and youths-at-risk who want to turn their lives around, rather than succumb to their tough circumstances or potentially face jail time. This program presently helps ten youth, each with at least two counsellors assisting them. The youth come from all over Israel, and part of their rehabilitation work is in the field of agriculture.

“The farm where they work is right on the border, 200 meters from the border fence, in a problematic spot,” noted Chen.

When the ICEJ heard of the lack of bomb shelters in Moshav Meitzar, there was no hesitation in agreeing to place several mobile shelters in this community. Thanks to very generous donors from the Netherlands and Switzerland, the Christian Embassy was able to purchase two much-needed bomb shelters and the location for placing them was carefully selected.

“We want you to know that our Christian friends around the world thought of you and wanted to do something to help you in the important work that you are doing to protect your community,” Nicole shared with Chen, who was a bit surprised.

“We expect the government to provide us with shelters, but when we receive them from friends outside the country, that is something special,” he told Nicole in response.

One portable shelter was placed by a bus stop near the entrance to the community, and the other was placed near the living quarters of the youth in rehab.

“Thank you very much,” added Chen. “I hope it will stay quiet, but again we will put them to good use. Thank you very much for the consideration.”

Many more communities located along Israel’s borders remain vulnerable, lacking sufficient shelters to protect them against an onslaught of rocket fire. Please consider donating towards more life-saving bomb shelters for Israelis in harm’s way.


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