Blue Flower

MESSIANIC JUDAISM GAINING MOMENTUM IN ISRAEL

In recent decades, Messianic Judaism, a movement of Jewish people who have accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah and continued to embrace their Jewishness, has been steadily growing. Jews have been coming to faith in Yeshua for centuries, increasingly so after Israel became a reality again in the late 1800s with the Zionist movement. After the Holocaust, when Israel became a nation again in 1948, the number of Jewish believers in Yeshua has been increasing worldwide, almost in lock step with Jewish immigration to Israel. But what is the state of Messianic Judaism in Israel itself?  Because Israel is in an extremely dangerous area of the world, surrounded by Arab countries that have threatened its extermination, Jews there live with a certain amount of anxiety. When would the next Intifada take place? Which country would declare its desire to push Israel into the sea? When would Hamas rockets fly again?

Living with those concerns, the people have become cautious about "outsiders," especially after nearly two millennia of "Christian" anti-Semitism. Thus, Christian missions to the Jews  often have been met with suspicion. Yet some have been successful, especially if they are sensitive to and support Messianic Judaism. But, as with most overseas missions, indigenous works have had the most success particularly in Israel. The primary evangelistic work in Israel is not through missions. It is being done through local Messianic congregations. There are 150-plus congregations in Israel with as many as 15,000 Messianic Jewish believers, of whom about 60% speak Russian as their first language. The growth in the number of congregations has increased over the last 20 years. Nearly every year, more indigenous congregations spring up, and as more and more Jews from around the world return home, this will only increase.

Israel is a small country so these congregations are easily noticed by their fellow Israelis. More and more, Israel is increasingly aware that there are Jews who trust Yeshua as the Messiah and saviour, much as it was in the New Testament era. These Messianic Jewish congregations are now led by Israelis, even though they may have a mix of Jews and Gentiles. Most services are in Hebrew (sometimes Russian, Amharic, French or Spanish). The music too is indigenous, as is the style of worship 要ery Israeli. The melodies have a distinctly Middle Eastern tone to them. Most meet on Saturday when Jews generally hold worship services. These congregations of Yeshua-followers are clearly Jewish. Messianic Jews are gaining more acceptance in Israel. Instead of being perceived as threats to the Israelis, due to prejudices going back 2,000 years, they are recognized as friends, fellow citizens, and an active part of Israeli society.

In part, the groundwork for this was laid by the benevolence work of groups such as Chosen People Ministries, The Joseph Storehouse, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America's Joseph Project and other similar works. Israelis, who have been especially challenged during the wars with Lebanon, Hamas and the high taxes used to pay for defence, are grateful to Messianic Jews, sometimes in spite of themselves, for food, clothes, medicine and other supplies. They need our help. This is a very tangible expression of the love of Messiah. Messianic Jews are being trusted enough to allow them to materially assist Israel during her most difficult times. It is known that there are many Messianic Jews serving in the army洋ostly the children of immigrants from the United States and Europe謡ho were raised in Israel.

This shows unity with the people, so much so that the funeral of one Messianic Jewish soldier killed in the last war was well attended by Israel's leaders. The newspapers noted that he was a Messianic Jew, part of a congregation in the Haifa area. A television special featuring interviews of members of the Christian Moshav, Yad Hashmonah, was widely watched. It included a Messianic Jewish family celebrating Shabbat, etc., giving a very good impression of Messianic Jews in Israel. No longer are followers of Yeshua seen as people to stay away from. Now, they are embraced as fellow strugglers in Israeli life. Over the past centuries, because of all the atrocities done to Jews in the name of Jesus, Jewish people have avoided having anything to do with Him, His followers, or His teachings. It was too costly, too risky. And in Israel, where people are more vulnerable to attacks, this is acutely so.

But Messianic Judaism is changing things. Now, Israelis are more open to talking about Yeshua and considering his claims to Messiahship. The congregational leaders in Israel need connections with pastors in the West. Western pastors have a lot to give to Israel's Messianic leaders by way of training and guidance, as well as prayer. Most Israeli pastors do not have much formal training and would benefit from partnering with non-Israeli pastors. Most Israeli pastors are pioneers and need more seasoned spiritual mentors to guide them. Encouragingly, the perception of Messianic Jews is undergoing a steady transformation in Israel these days庸rom one of mistrust and outright loathing to recognition and acceptance. Knowing the love of Yeshua in the Messianics' hearts, the bridge between them and Orthodox Jews is getting shorter all the time. Doors to hearts once closed are beginning to open wide. 

Source: Charisma News

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AN ANZAC MUSEUM TO BE BUILT IN BEERSHEBA

An ANZAC museum dedicated to the history of the Battle of Beersheba in which the Turkish forces were vanquished by Australian and New Zealand soldiers from the 4th and 12th Light Horse regiments, will be built by the Beersheba municipality in cooperation with the Australian Government, the Australian Embassy, the Australian-headquartered Pratt Foundation, and other donors, Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich has announced. Danilovich was speaking at Beersheba痴 Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery which in 2008 established the Park of the Australian Soldier that was donated to the City of Beersheba, and which continues to take an active interest in the development of the city. The park includes special facilities for children with physical and/ or mental disabilities, including a maze for blind children with signs in Braille.

A plot for the ANZAC museum has already been allocated and an architect commissioned, Danilovich said. The museum will be completed and officially inaugurated on October 31, 2017, which will mark the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba. Though primarily an ANZAC ceremony, the remembrance service is dedicated to all those who fought and fell during the Allied Campaign of World War I, including soldiers in the Turkish forces. A representative of the Turkish Embassy is always among the wreath layers, and there is a second ceremony at the nearby Turkish monument that was initiated by former Beersheba mayor Yaakov Terner. Danilovich who was born in Beersheba said that as a child he was always curious about the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and, at school, learned that Israelis owe their freedom to the heroic soldiers who fell in battle and are buried there.

Today, only one Jewish soldier, Captain S.I.H. Van den Bergh from the Middlesex Yeomanry, remains there. According to Haim Marantz, a professor of philosophy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, there were six other Jews buried in the cemetery, and when Shas became influential in Beersheba, the families of the deceased soldiers were persuaded to have the remains removed and re-interred in other cemeteries in which there are Jewish sections. Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma, referring to the upcoming centenary year of the Battle of Beersheba and the ANZAC museum, said Israelis will be hearing a lot about the battle over the next three years. Sharma presented a detailed review of the battle and said the fighting in this part of the world during the First World War was regarded as being of only peripheral importance in 1914 when war broke out.

By 1917 however the Middle East theatre had become critical to the outcome, and framed the shape of post-war settlement that still reverberates in the Middle East today. The reckless charge by the Australian and New Zealand Light Horse caught the Turkish infantry forces by surprise and they were convinced that they were being attacked by a whole brigade instead of a relatively small contingent. But the battle itself is not the only important historical landmark for Israel. On December 31, 1917, the British War Cabinet approved the text for what later became known as the Balfour Declaration, a declaration of sympathy for Zionist aspirations, Sharma said, noting that this set off a chain of events that eventually led to the creation of the State of Israel.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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NETANYAHU WARNS ISRAEL IS IN THE MIDST OF A WAVE OF TERRORISM

Israel is on high alert due to growing violence in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has even declared the Temple Mount off limits to Knesset members. Netanyahu warned his country that the flames of radical Islam burning throughout the Middle East are also reaching Israel. "We are in the midst of a wave of terrorism. Terrorists that have been incited and who are driven by hate are trying to attack our people, civilians and soldiers," Netanyahu told the nation. In just two days recently, Palestinians carried out 10 stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and other cities in Israel and the disputed territories, including two at the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem's Old City. Rock-throwing and fire-bombing cars are regular occurrences as well as rioters clashing with Israeli soldiers. Netanyahu and other government ministers went on live television to calm anxiety.

"Israelis are acting with bravery and composure to neutralize and eliminate the terrorists. This requires courage and resourcefulness and we are proud to be part of a country that has such citizens," he said. Netanyahu blames Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Movement, which he said, "is spreading lies regarding our policy on the Temple Mount." Earlier, Netanyahu declared the Temple Mount off limits to Knesset members in an effort to calm the situation. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on Israelis with gun permits to carry their weapons. Some schools went on strike because parents are afraid to send their children to school. Many are asking if this violence could be a third intifada Palestinian uprising. But Palestinian expert Pinchas Inbari, from the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, said Israel wants to deal with troublemakers and not create friction with the entire Palestinian population.

Source: CNB News

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ISRAEL AND RUSSIA COORDINATE MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN SYRIA

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and made the following remarks after their meeting: "The conversation revolved, first of all, on the issue that I raised regarding Syria, which is very important to the security of Israel. The conversation was substantive. A joint mechanism for preventing misunderstandings between our forces was also agreed to. The second issue that I raised is good news for many Israelis who are waiting on a pension from Russia. President Putin said that he would seek to advance the issue but it depends on a Russian budgetary outlay. He is determined to do this however and is looking to move forward and conclude this. Of course, I expressed my appreciation; this is important. He is determined to do justice for many people who are waiting and hoping for this moment, and I hope that we will be able to announce its implementation soon."

Prime Minister Netanyahu added: "I would say that the importance of preventing misunderstandings is very big. Israel is constantly working to prevent the transfer of advanced and deadly weaponry from Syrian territory to Hezbollah. Israel is not prepared to accept a second terrorist front that Iran is trying to build on the Golan Heights. Israel is taking action and when it does so it is important for everyone, including Russia, to know how we are taking action. It is no less important in order to prevent misunderstandings, and it is worthwhile to do so before they occur and not afterward. Therefore, I asked the Israel Defence Force Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, GOC Intelligence, and of course my Military Secretary, to join me in order to clarify things, first of all the facts, secondly our military and security policy, and thirdly to really try to establish the mechanism for preventing misunderstandings."

Source: Jerusalem Post

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NETANYAHU URGES CALM OVER TEMPLE MOUNT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly vowed to "maintain longstanding worship arrangements" on the Temple Mount. "Since the days of Abraham," said Netanyahu, "the Temple Mount has been the holiest site for our people, and with this, the Temple Mount is also the most sensitive kilometre on earth. Alongside our determined stance for our rights, we are determined to maintain the status quo for all the religions in order to prevent an eruption." A report in the Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu as also sending a message that Israel would not tolerate trouble-makers in the days and months ahead. "We will certainly oppose all systematic and continuing attempts by Islamic extremist elements to stir up unrest," he said. "They would like to set a religious fire in Jerusalem and thereby ignite the entire Middle East. The place they are most determined to ignite is the Temple Mount."

"They are disseminating lies," he added, "to the effect that we intend to destroy or harm the Al-Aqsa Mosque and that we intend to prevent Muslims from praying there. They are using verbal and physical violence in an effort to exclude Jews from going up to the Temple Mount. We will not allow this to happen; neither will we alter the worship arrangements and the access to the Temple Mount that has been customary for decades." In response to other incidents against worshipers, Israel recently approved a law that would enforce sentences of up to 20 years in prison for Palestinians who throw rocks at cars. According to a report, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas praised the Prime Minister for his stance in maintaining their longstanding worship arrangements, calling it a "step in the right direction."

Source: Ronen Zvulun

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