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Israel Newsletter No. 3

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.

-Isaiah 62:1

Shalom!

After of a long period of waiting, I am thankful to God to be able to inform you that there is an office in Jerusalem for AWMI (Authentic Word Ministries – Israel). The office is in an apartment located in Jerusalem on a street named Hatzionut, the meaning of which is Zionism. What a wonderful name and how symbolic! The movement (AWM) that loves Israel, supports the state of Israel and prays for Israel receives an office in a street with the name ZIONISM.

A few words about Zionism: The Zionist movement has begun in the second half of the nineteenth century (about 150 years ago). It was initiated by a strong internal and spiritual feeling within Jews and Christians that the time to renew the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel had arrived. Now it is time to go back home, to the Land of Israel, and make the wilderness bloom. The vision was to establish a Jewish state which all Jews can come to and not be persecuted anymore because of their Jewishness.

Welcoming Jewish Immigrants to Israel

In 1882, groups of Jewish families from east Europe started coming to the land of Israel. Their goal was to cultivate the land, to make a living from it and to establish an initial infrastructure for the future establishment of a Jewish state. This first immigration received the name “The First Aliyah”.  Even today, many Jews around the world are deciding to immigrate to Israel. This is often a reaction to the growing antisemitism in the world. Today (in 2015) living in Israel are around 6,250,000 Jews. These Jews in Israel represent about 45 percent of the Jewish people in the entire world. Below is a table which illustrates the number of Jews in Israel in comparison to the total number of Jews in the world throughout the last 200 years.

The Jewish-Arab Conflict

Unfortunately, the security situation her in Israel remains unstable. The number of casualties is constantly increasing and it is difficult to determine when the current wave of violence will end. Some name the current wave of terror as the “Intifada of knives” because of the many stabbing attacks. The number of victims from September to December (2015) is 25 dead and 250 wounded. The Palestinian side also suffered a great deal, due to the lack of willingness on their part to stop the hostilities and incitement. Of course, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not new (it is about 100 years old) and originated from the time before the founding of the state of Israel. It started with the growing Zionist immigration to the Promised Land and accelerated during the British mandate period (1917-1948). The Balfour Declaration of 1917 (made at the beginning of the British Mandate) demonstrates the issue:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Israel, and try their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object…”

The Arab inhabitants who were the majority in Israel at that time strongly opposed the declaration and began hostile and political activities against the Jewish community. These murderous activities intensified over the years. Today, mutual hatred between Jews and Palestinians is growing. Our challenge as believers in Yeshua the Messiah who live in the country is to live according to what Yeshua taught us:

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” (Matthew 5:44-45)

A Site in Israel: Qasr el Yahud

Qasr el Yahud is the name of a baptism site by the Jordan River. This site is modest yet very important. Its Arabic name means “Palace of the Jews”, indicating an important link to Jewish history at this site. This charming site is located north of the Dead Sea, not far from the city of Jericho. On this site, John the Baptist called for repentance and baptized with water. Most significantly, our Lord Yeshua was baptized there by him. This site is also the very place where the Israelites crossed the Jordan river and entered the Promised Land in order to possess it (Matthew 3:5-6, 13, and Joshua 3:15-17).

Do not expect to see here a great and spacious river. This river is modest in size but rich in history! Our God often chooses the least impressive to glorify His name. Na’aman the leper, a commander of the army of Aram, looked down at the River Jordan and was even offended after Elisha had asked him to take a dip in the river seven times in order to be healed.

“‘Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So he turned and went off in a rage.” (II Kings 5:12)

But God chose instead, the humble River Jordan to cure this old foreigner.
“So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy” (II Kings 5:14). Another Biblical event related to this site is the story of the Prophet Elijah that was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. Elijah struck the water of the River Jordan with his cloak and a miracle happened. The river split in two and Elijah and Elisha crossed on dry ground. Similarly, the children of Israel also walked on dry ground when they entered the Promised Land.

The baptism Site “Qasr al-Yahud” had been closed since 1967 (The Six Day War) due to the problematic security situation in the area. Right in the middle of the river is the border between Israel and Jordan. The peace agreement signed with the Jordanian kingdom in 1994 made it possible to gradually develop the site and prepare it for visitors and baptizing. Since 2011, the site is open and the entrance is free for all. As a result, thousands of tourists are visiting every year. Welcome!

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PRAYER REQUESTS:

1. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

2. Pray for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government and for the heads of the security forces, to have the wisdom to take care of this wave of terrorism.

3. Pray against the lies and the incitement which the Palestinian leadership and the haters of Israel are spreading against her.

4. Pray for the salvation of the Palestinians, that they will know Yeshua the Messiah and that His gospel shall spread among them.

5. Pray for the body of Messiah in Israel, that we can stand firm against the evil forces of darkness at this time.

6. Pray against the fear that this terror is spreading among the people.

7. Pray for the work of Authentic Word in Israel and the new office in Jerusalem

8. Pray for Felix who could succeed with his study and be an effective tool in the service of the Lord.

9. Pray that more and more Israelis will look up to the Lord and ask for His salvation.

 

Best Regards,

Boaz Fastman
Director, Authentic Word Ministries-Israel
fastmanboaz@gmail.com

© 2016, paulgitwaza. All rights reserved.

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