Special Reports

Christians send thousands of Bibles to UNESCO

Over recent weeks, Christians from around the world have responded to an ICEJ initiative by sending thousands of Bibles to UNESCO to protest its recent passage of a resolution which seemingly erased any Jewish or Christian connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

In what has become an annual ritual, the United Nations Educational, Science, and Cultural Committee (UNESCO) passed a resolution in October on “Occupied Palestine” which, among other things, charged Israel with endangering and hindering access to religious sites in the Holy Land. For the second year in a row, any references to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem used only the Muslim names for the site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Haram al-Sharif, while intentionally omitting the Jewish and Christian names for the same place – Har Habayit and Temple Mount. This was seen by many as a deliberate move by the Arab and Islamic states to erase the historic Jewish and Christian links to the Jewish temples which once stood there, while also raising concerns that other revered biblical sites in the Land of Israel could become “Islamicized” as well.

The UNESCO resolution was adopted right when the ICEJ was hosting thousands of Christians at its annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem in mid-October. As the Feast was concluding, ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler issued a challenge to Christians worldwide to send Bibles to UNESCO representatives in Paris in order to impress upon them the deep historical and spiritual connections which Christians and Jews have to these holy places in Jerusalem and throughout the Land of Israel.

Since then, thousands of Christians have responded to this challenge by posting Bibles to UNESCO, many of them with references to Jerusalem and other holy places highlighted. Sources at UNESCO have confirmed to the ICEJ that various officials at the international body have been inundated with Bibles and do not know what to do with them all. UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, alone, has received close to 500 Bibles along with over 50,000 emails protesting the seriously flawed anti-Israel resolution.

Though not a voting member, Bokova had expressed her own opposition to the resolution at the time of the vote, a position which drew angry reactions and even death threats from Islamist elements. She recently acknowledged that the Bibles and protest letters coming from Christians and Jews will help strengthen those within UNESCO who support a more balanced stand that affirms the irrefutable Judeo-Christian heritage in Jerusalem and throughout the Land.

Equipping Young Adults in Finland to Promote Peace

This past autumn, ICEJ-Finland launched an anti-BDS educational project which travels to the country's biggest cities. Called “Equipping Young Adults to Promote Peace, Justice and Solidarity in the Middle East” (YAPS), the project includes public lectures and workshops. The lectures, titled “Keys to Understanding the Middle East Conflict,” explore how international law is used as a weapon in Arab-Israeli conflict and how human rights are observed in the Middle East. Another theme is the BDS movement, its real background and goals. Two lawyers specializing in international law participated as lecturers and educators.

The lectures are held at neutral venues, like public libraries, in order to reach a wider audience, while workshops are open to smaller and more dedicated groups. The main target is building networks for further pro-Israeli activities, but we also rehearse argumentation and brainstorm for inventing practical and creative ways to influence on behalf of Israel and the truth. Each attendant sets some definite goals for him/herself to be reached within a set time-frame.

The need for this kind of activity is ever-growing in Europe. BDS ideology is being promoted by an increasing number of organizations. If we do not teach history, the basic facts of Israel's legitimacy, and justice in this conflict, we leave the field open to be conquered by these movements with their distorted message. We want to equip the next generation to meet the new spiritual era that is facing the western world, and to rise boldly equipped with the truth.

ICEJ connects with pastors in Ivory Coast and Liberia

Dr. Maiga Abdou, the ICEJ’s special representative for West Africa, paid a visit to the Ivory Coast in December to meet with the main leaders of the Protestant and Evangelical churches and unify them for more effective activities in support of Israel.

The top denominational leaders in Ivory Coast have formed a Consistory to promote unity and dialogue in the Body of Christ. Some of its members who met with Dr. Abdou in the capital of Abidjan included Rev. Gboagnon Appolinaire, Apostle Bouabre Janvier, Apostle Kpangui Bernard, and Rev. Zeze Raphael. They discussed ways to increase the ICEJ’s reach in their country and to grow the delegation of pilgrims from the Ivory Coast attending the Feast of Tabernacles each year.

As new leaders take on the ICEJ’s work in the Ivory Coast, they expect to see a wider embrace of the ICEJ's vision of supporting Israel while also spreading the Gospel in the nations. The hope is that the churches of Ivory Coast will realise how important it is to invest in acts of compassion and support for the Jewish people, and in prayer for Israel. The recent meetings will undoubtedly give the ICEJ a broader platform to mobilize greater spiritual and political support for Israel in the Ivory Coast.

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The new ICEJ national branch in Liberia recently held its own version of the “Envision” pastors’ conference hosted annually by our Embassy headquarters in Jerusalem. The event was considered an absolute breakthrough in connecting the main Evangelical churches of Liberia with Israel.

Organized by ICEJ-Liberia national director Rev. J. Aaron Wright, Sr., the Envision conference 
took place in December at the Holy Deliverance Church of God in Monrovia, and drew pastors from 50 different churches all across Liberia. Held under the theme “Bless, Comfort, and Support Israel to be Blessed and Prosperous”, the event was a unique opportunity for Liberian church leaders to interact and gain a fuller understanding of the importance of the restoration of Israel in our day. Participants also discussed the relationship between Israel and Liberia today, compared to what it was before the 14-year Liberian civil war.

The conference agenda also included meetings with Liberian government officials, including Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, who pledged his full support for the ICEJ’s vision, mission and mandate for Israel. Another meeting was held with MP Julius F. Berrian, who declared himself the “ICEJ Man” within the Liberian parliament. ICEJ-Liberia is now seeking to approach every Christian member of Parliament to become an ambassador for the ICEJ.

ICEJ reaches Kazakhstan with message of hope and reconciliation

The Republic of Kazakhstan, a transcontinental country bridging Central Asia and Eastern Europe, is the world’s largest “landlocked country” (with no access to seas or oceans) and is the ninth largest country in the world. Sharing borders with Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, the country is dominated by Islam, with more than 70% of the population identifying as Muslims. However, it is still a home to several thousand Jews and traditional Christians (predominantly Russian Orthodox) make up only 25% of the population.

The ICEJ decided to reach out to the local evangelical churches in Kazakhstan to bring a better understanding of Scripture and God’s plans for Israel. At the same time, we made contact with the remaining Jewish communities in the country to show our support to the Jewish People.

After very fruitful meetings with ten of the most influential pastors in Kazakhstan, Pastor Pavel Kuptsov was appointed as a representative of the ICEJ in northern Kazakhstan.

“It is a great privilege to be an ICEJ representative in our country and our region,” said Pastor Kuptsov after the meetings. “Our church is one of the biggest in our region. We have approximately over 500 members, including our branch churches in different cities in Kazakhstan. Our church loves and supports Israel, so we are hoping to have a group from Kazakhstan at the Feast 2017.”

We need your prayerful support for the work of the ICEJ in Kazakhstan during this unstable time in Middle Asia.

CLICK HERE to partner with us and support the international work of the ICEJ.

Christians attend Leadership Seminar on the Holocaust at Yad Vashem

The 10-day Christian Leadership Seminar at Yad Vashem at the end of November 2016, generously supported by the ICEJ and the Museum of the Bible, was attended by 26 Christian leaders from 9 different countries. One of the countries, Spain, was represented at the seminar for the first time since the program was launched.

It was an honor for us as Christians to partake in this high-level program, where different perspectives concerning the horrific events of World War II were presented. Scholars expert in the fields of history, politics, music and literature introduced us to the different parts of Jewish life in the ghettos, as well as in the death camps. A very precious moment for us was meeting Holocaust survivors, Mr. Nachum and Mrs. Genya Manor. They met and fell in love in the Schindler Factory, where their lives were saved. Their long relationship with Oscar Schindler continued even when they moved to Israel, where he visited them frequently until his passing.

I encourage every Christian leader to take this opportunity to learn and grow in our relationship with Israel. By attending the seminar, we can show the Jewish people that as Christians we acknowledge their suffering, and that we take a stand that many of our predecessors didn’t: the stand against any and every expression of anti-Semitism today.

Fruit of Prophetic Ministry of Dr. Dionny Baez at Feast 2016

The ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles 2016 was inaugurated once again at Ein Gedi, along the Dead Sea in Israel. The evening’s guest speaker was Dr. Dionny Baez, son of missionaries, who at a very young age began preaching, ministering and holding large Gospel crusades all across Latin America. Dr. Baez currently pastors a growing bilingual (Spanish and English) church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Under the stars on this warm desert night, Dr. Baez lead a very beautiful, powerful and anointed time of ministry, including worship with both old and new songs. Moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Baez shared words of knowledge and prophetic utterances received from the Lord, some of which were addressed to specific people, including ICEJ-UK Director Rev. David Elms.

Prior to the meeting, we learned that Rev. Elms was hospitalized in Liverpool, England, and had just undergone surgery for an aneurism, an often fatal swelling of a blood vessel. Dr. Baez led the gathering in a corporate prayer for Elms, and then prophesied that, at 10 PM England time that evening, there would be major improvement in Elms’ condition. Afterwards, Elms’ family members reported they received a call from the hospital exactly at the predicted time, informing them of great progress in Elms’ condition.

We are overjoyed to report Rev. Elms was discharged from the hospital in mid-November and today is at home, recovering from his near-death experience. Together with Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the ICEJ Executive Director, we were delighted to hear Elms’ laughter over the phone! The Lord Jesus was faithful to heal and His prophet had heard it right. We serve a wonderful and supernatural God who does wondrous works and miracles in an answer to our prayers!

Dr. Baez also prophesied to a group from Bolivia, who were part of this large, multinational gathering of about 3400 delegates, that soon they would experience a shift in their country on a national level. A few weeks later we learned that a unique prayer meeting took place in Bolivia, commemorating the Reformation from 500 years ago. In this meeting, Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, together with his cabinet and local pastors were lifting their hands up in prayer to God, publicly dedicating the nation of Bolivia to the Lord Jesus!

In this glorious and very gracious presence of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Dionny Baez also prophesied to the ICEJ Senior Spokesperson David Parsons, who was standing in the crowd, about a book concerning the Middle East and the Muslim religion, which in the Spirit he saw David Parsons writing. This word was later confirmed by David Parsons to be true.

Many more prophetic words were shared that evening by Dr. Dionny Baez – naming specific situations and people – which were also confirmed to be true. Towards the end of the service Dr. Dionny Baez encouraged everyone, citing the Letter to the Hebrews from the New Testament, to pursue the manifested presence and glory of the Lord Jesus, emphasizing the importance of praise and worship in order to experience it.

ICEJ Executive Director Returns After Health Challenges

Dear Friends of the ICEJ,

It is with great joy that we would like to announce to you that Dr. Jürgen Bühler, after a season of serious health challenges, has returned to office as the Executive Director of the ICEJ.

We thank God for carrying him through this difficult situation and for using gifted doctors to successfully treat him and restore his health. We are truly thrilled that he can now return to the work which the Lord has called him to.

I want to express my thanks to Rev. Juha Ketola who together with the ICEJ leadership team and the National Directors filled the gap of his absence in an outstanding manner. I also want to thank all of you who stood in prayer with us and the Bühler family during these challenging days.
 
Please continue to lift up Dr. Jürgen Bühler, his family, the ICEJ staff and the entire ministry in your prayers.

Remain blessed,
 
Ingolf Ellßel
Chairman of the Board, ICEJ

THE CITY OF GOD - Special Jubilee Feast 2017

This year’s Feast of Tabernacles will be an historic convocation with great prophetic significance. The year of 2017 will mark 50 years after the reunification of Jerusalem. Prior to 1967, Jerusalem was a divided city with the east part occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan. Jews that lived in the old city had been exiled to West Jerusalem and its Synagogues were destroyed. But in June 1967, Israel pre-empted a massive attack by Arab allied forces and not only miraculously survived as a nation but also regained control over the most holy sites of Judaism: The Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was reunited once again.

In his Olivet discourse, Jesus prophesied over the city of Jerusalem: “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) Jerusalem was indeed trampled down by the nations for nearly 2000 years. The Roman Empire exiled the Jews in the year 70 AD and the city was subsequently controlled by the Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Ottomans and finally the British. During that same period the Gospel of Jesus Christ spread to all four corners of the world. Indeed it was, and still is, the times of the Gentiles.

But June 1967 was the harbinger of a new area. For the first time in 2000 years Jerusalem was no longer ruled by the Gentiles but by its ancient people, the Jews. 2017 marks 50 years after a divided city became reunited. It is a Jubilee which roars like a lion that a new season is dawning for Israel and the church.

It is like a shofar blow calling the church to reach out for possibly one more final wave of world evangelisation, and at the same time to stand in friendship and comfort with Israel, united like never before. It is also a declaration to Israel that, unlike the past 2000 years, there is today a growing body of Christ that recognizes the calling of God upon Israel and the Jews.

You don’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience to celebrate this Jubilee feast in the “City of God” and to experience God talking to us in a unique way. Please inquire about our special rates if you want to bring a group or register for the unique land package offer of the ICEJ.

We look forward to welcoming you in Jerusalem – The City of God – in 2017!

Africa opening up to Israel

In late September, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu stood at the podium of the United Nations and delivered a shocking message: “Israel has a bright future at the UN.” Indeed the world body has been incessantly condemning Israel for decades, yet he now has good reason to believe things are changing. As an example Netanyahu cited his recent visit to Africa, where he was warmly welcomed by numerous national leaders and large crowds of admiring people.

In August, I was able to travel to the country of Tanzania and see firsthand the way Africa is now opening up to Israel as never before. I was joined by the ICEJ’s Nigerian director and our Coordinator for all Africa, Rev. Mosy Madugba, and together we inaugurated the new ICEJ-Tanzania branch. The official launch came during a nationwide conference on Israel attended by over 2,000 Christians from all across Tanzania as well as six other African countries. These believers were hungry for solid biblical teaching on Israel and the Church, and eager to bless Israel, which they did through much sacrificial giving. They also were very excited to learn more about modern Israel and its many innovations. Many proudly spoke of how the government of Tanzania is preparing to open a new embassy in Israel in order to improve relations between the two countries. This all demonstrated just how ready Africa is to renew and expand ties with the Jewish state.

The launch of the ICEJ’s new branch in Tanzania was spearheaded by our representative there for the past two years, evangelist Stanton Newton. He has spent the past decade educating himself about Israel and the ICEJ, especially about our biblical message and aid projects. Over the last year, Stanton travelled all across the country telling churches about the upcoming national conference on Israel and urging them to take up offerings for Israel and bring them to the gathering. As a result, almost US$9,000 was collected to “bless Israel.” Some of these donations were pledged towards our work to assist Holocaust survivors, while the bulk was designated to assist several families of Ethiopian Jews to make aliyah to Israel. As the different regions of the country lined up to present their offerings, time after time I knew I was holding the “widow’s mite” in my hand. Yet their profession of faith was very strong: If we bless Israel, we will be blessed.

Tanzania is a unique country in Africa as for several decades it was under the influence of communist China. This hindered development in some ways, but it also gave the people a collective sense of identity as one nation, so Tanzania has not experienced the same tribal conflicts which have plagued many other countries across the continent. There is also a unique sense of unity even within the Body of Christ in Tanzania, as the leading bishops from the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist and Pentecostal churches all stood in unison with Israel on the platform at the ICEJ conference.

This sent a strong message to their government leaders, who are already moving to strengthen ties with Israel. The president himself will travel to Israel to open the new embassy in November. Meantime a group of Christian business leaders, headed by the former foreign minister, has already acquired a 100-acre plot of land to build a model Israeli farm which will showcase all of the agricultural innovations available from the Jewish state. They expect government officials and farmers from all across Africa to visit the model farm in coming years.

In his UN address, Netanyahu highlighted Israel’s agricultural innovations as one of the reasons African leaders are now looking to the Jewish state for answers on how to feed and defend their people. He also cited Africa’s growing interest in Israel’s technological advances and its expertise in counter-terrorism and cyber-security. While in New York, he also held a summit with leaders from 15 African nations to discuss ways of increased cooperation.

Netanyahu’s remarks at the UN came on the heels of his historic visit to four East African nations this past summer to mark the 40th anniversary of the famous Entebbe raid in Uganda in which his older brother Yoni died. Heads of state from several other nations in the region also flocked to the ceremonies and engaged with the large Israeli delegation. Meantime, Israeli officials have entered negotiations with the main West African economic union to work out a favorable trade deal between them.

So the Israeli government has become very serious about restoring its historic ties with Africa, which were originally forged by Golda Meir in the 1950s and 60s. However, these ties were severed due to heavy Arab pressure following the 1967 Six Day War. But African leaders now realize that Israel has the innovations and technology their nations need to prosper and secure their own futures.

No doubt, the International Christian Embassy has been at the forefront of this recent development. Israeli leaders first saw the potential of renewed ties with Africa in 2011 when the ICEJ branch in Nigeria successfully lobbied their president not to recognize a unilateral Palestinian state in the UN Security Council, thereby blocking that diplomatic initiative. Since then, we have met with leaders of numerous African nations, including some with Muslim majorities, who have all asked us to take back messages to Jerusalem of their interest in restoring relations with Israel. Indeed, it is a day of great favor on Zion, and Africa’s time to be blessed!

Ethiopian Jews on the road to freedom

In early October, just in time for the Feast of Sukkot, 63 Ethiopian Jews arrived in Israel as precursors of the latest wave of Aliyah from Ethiopia. Thanks to the support of the ICEJ, they were finally reunited with relatives who came to Israel in the years past. The ICEJ, depending on Christian donors from every continent, vowed to bring many more Ethiopian Jews home, to reunite the families and provide a better future for the new generation of immigrants from the South.

On the day the first Aliyah flight from Ethiopia arrived this year, a state of emergency was put in place in this struggling African country. The Jewish families from Gondar need to be transported with great caution to Addis Ababa, the capital city 660 km away, where they can then board a flight to their Promised Land.

So far, with your faithful support, the ICEJ is able to sponsor the journey for the first 523 people. However, more Ethiopian Jews still need our help!

You can be a part of this miracle – CLICK HERE to help bring the Jews back to their land!

Settling in the Promised Land

In addition to helping with flights, the ICEJ will also help with absorption of Ethiopian Jews. In a way, their journey from poor villages in Ethiopia to the very developed country of Israel is like being transported 400 years into the future.

The new immigrants need a lot of help in understanding this new culture, so they are welcomed to absorption centers in various parts of the country where they learn the Hebrew language and Jewish history, such as the Holocaust and Israeli fight for independence. They also learn more about the Biblical holidays – Chanukah, Passover, and more – which many of them have celebrated in Ethiopia, thanks to oral traditions, but without understanding their history and significance.

‬Thanks to the Christian support through the ICEJ, the Ethiopian Jews are able to study and prepare for their future in the land of Israel. You can make a difference in their lives!

CLICK HERE to send your gift today!

 

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