Israel and God.
Millions watch evangelistic videos in 2016. February 2017.
One for Israel website writes: ‘We feel incredibly privileged to be alive at this time in history, and to be directly involved in this wave of revival that is happening in Israel and among the Jewish people. Many others serving in Jewish mission are in agreement that we are in the throes of a serious move of God among the Jewish people. Congregations all across Israel are feeling the effects of the unusual number of Israelis who are coming to faith from all kinds of backgrounds – Orthodox, secular, high flying professionals, drug addicts and gangsters, young and old. Yeshua loves each one!
All together, our videos of Jewish testimonies, gospel explanations, and answers to tough questions have been watched well over 23 million times at our last count in December 2016!! What is possibly even more exciting than the vast numbers watching our videos in English is that our Hebrew language videos have been watched almost 9 million times at the last count in December 2016 – that’s a million more than there are people living in Israel! The most popular video in Hebrew is our ten minute explanation of the gospel, shot in Jerusalem. That has been seen almost 1.5 million times.
We receive many messages on a daily basis from Israelis who write in response to what they have seen. Here are some of them from the past year: “It all started when Shmuel saw an advertisement for your videos on YouTube, we then watched your video about how Yeshua taught to love your enemies, later we saw how the prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures point to Him… our parents are really aggressive against our belief, but we want to keep in touch and ask you questions from time to time.” (Two boys from an Orthodox background who have come to faith in Yeshua)
Three more like this came in on that same day, shortly after we released the video about the real origin of the rabbinic oral-law! Then there’s this one from a Jewish young man who works in a Jerusalem hospital: “I found Yeshua on YouTube, through one of your advertised videos about the falsehood of the rabbinic oral law. I felt that I had to check what it is all about and found a whole new world!! Yeshua changed my life and I’m thankful to Him and to you because of it. I want more Jews to know the truth, which is that Yeshua is the Messiah who we’ve been waiting for all along!”
“I once asked about Yeshua and was told right away never to ask about him again. I decided to asked him: ‘if you are real, help me.’ Then, I came across the videos that Eitan and Moti produced which helped me greatly. I also started reading the New Testament and found out how godly this book is. How could they tell me Yeshua was antisemitic? I also kept reading more of your articles, realizing how far modern Judaism is from Moses’ Bible. My family is religious, so I’m believing in secret.” (A Jewish lady from a strict Orthodox background)
“Today I found your videos, and I would like you to help me better understand. I am a Charidi (Ultra Orthodox) and attend a Yeshiva, but have stopped doing all the rituals. I don’t see a point in these rituals. I don’t understand why God would care what I eat or don’t or if I turn on the light [on Shabbat] or not? Help me find the truth. It’s not in my nature to believe in something just because that’s what I’ve been told. I want to know more!!!” (Ultra Orthodox man)
Bible is Israel’s defence. April 2017.
The shift towards Biblical language among the heads of Israel’s government was visible at a Washington event held at the annual AIPAC conference, with one politician proclaiming that the land of Israel was given to the Jews “not by Google and Wikipedia, but by the Bible.” The gathering, marking the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and the bringing of Judea and Samaria under Israeli control, was hosted by the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria (Yesha Council) and titled “Celebrate 50 Years of Rejuvenation in Judea and Samaria.” It was held as part of the national conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest pro-Israel lobby. In attendance were four Israeli ministers, two consul generals, leaders from Judea and Samaria, and approximately 350 AIPAC participants.
The event began with a speech by Yishai Fleisher, the International Spokesman for the Jewish Community in Hebron, who suggested a new approach to coping with challenges to Israel’s right to exist. “They say ‘you stole our land’,” Fleisher said to the crowd. “And we say ‘but we created the cell phone’”. Fleisher urged Jews to unapologetically tell the world that Judea and Samaria belongs to Israel. He stated that the Israel intends to retain these areas, to develop them, settle them, and even annex them.
The settler leaders, who are often painted as extreme fringe right-wingers, were joined by mainstream and secular Israeli politicians who did not hesitate to point directly to the Bible for proof of Israel’s right to the land. “Defence is important and security is important, but the most important thing is the moral claim of Israel,” said Minister of Communications Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), who is not openly religious. “We are committed to go forward with living in our ancient land, land that was given us not by Google and Wikipedia, but by the Bible; King David, King Saul, King David, King Solomon, Abraham . . . we are going to demand our right forever and ever.”
Rabbi dismisses Christian support for Israel as a scam. April 2017.
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is head of the Ateret Yerushalyim Yeshiva, and is among the more important leaders of the religious Zionist movement. Whatever he says, therefore, carries considerable weight among his many adherents. And his recent article “Christians Who Love Israel: The World’s Largest Scam” comes in the form of question and answer, which adds extra religious weight to it.
Aviner is concerned by increasing Christian financial support for Israel. He divides the Christian world to three groups: Catholics, liberal Christians and Evangelicals, whom he sees as the most dangerous group. Catholics, he says, see Israel as “the greatest disaster in history” because Catholics are the true Israel. Liberal Christians, who don’t care much for Catholics, are opposed to Israel under the pretense of championing human rights and equality. Evangelicals, who send the most missionaries, support Israel, but see the Jewish state merely as a stepping stone to the coming of Jesus. That’s why they “encourage Jews to come to Israel, live in Jerusalem and even build the Temple.” Aviner insists that Evangelicals believe that “after nearly all the Jews are killed, the remnant will convert to Christianity and peace will come … this is why they shower us with love and money.”
Love and money softens the traditional Jewish resistance to Christianity and makes it a legitimate option for Jews. As an example of this new, more effective tactic, Aviner points to the Christian Embassy, asking: “What’s more effective for spreading the Gospel, distributing leaflets or building a bomb shelter?” Aviner’s broad brush should rightly offend countless Christians who seek no reward for helping Israel. One wishes for a day when Jews realise that many millions of Christians love Israel simply because God loves Israel.
Messianic Presence at Hebrew Book Week Angers Ultra-Orthodox. June 2017.
Israel conducted Hebrew Book Week in June, an annual week-long event celebrating Hebrew literature. The event is marked with book fairs in cities across the country. The presence of Messianic book publishers at several of these fairs had ultra-Orthodox Jewish ‘anti-missionaries’ fuming. In fact, the often-violent anti-missionary group Yad L’achim filed an official police complaint after discovering a booth operated by the ‘HaGefen’ publishing house at the book fair in Rishon Letzion. HaGefen is a well-known Messianic publisher. Among its offerings at the book fair its series titled ‘The Testimony,’ which is a modern translation of the Bible with Israeli youths in mind.
Yad L’achim claimed that the books constituted ‘incitement and solicitation of minors to convert.’ What most bothers groups like Yad L’achim is that these books are not identified as ‘Christian.’ They refuse to accept that Messianic Jews are very much an integral part of the Jewish people as a whole and of Israel. ‘The innocent buyers do not know that these are missionary books that encourage conversion to Christianity,’ read the Yad L’achim complaint.
HaGefen issued a response noting that it has been a registered non-profit in Rishon Letzion for no fewer than 42 years. It further pointed out that the ‘offending’ series of books, ‘The Testimony,’ consist almost entirely of a literal modern translation of the Bible.