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ICEJ sponsors Aliyah flights for 1,000 Olim since February

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is funding an Aliyah flight for 57 Russian-speaking Jews scheduled to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday morning, which brings to 1,000 the total number of new Jewish immigrants the ICEJ has sponsored on flights to Israel arranged by The Jewish Agency for Israel since February, despite the Coronavirus outbreak.

These newest arrivals also needed a total of nine connecting flights, crossing some eight time zones all across the former Soviet Union, before flying in to Tel Aviv early this morning.

As global air travel has ground to a halt over recent months, many in Israel were expecting a pause in Jewish immigration due to the COVID-19 threat. But surprisingly the door of Aliyah has remained open, as interest in moving to Israel is on the rise. Many Jewish families worldwide even have decided to move up plans to immigrate to a country they view as safer and better positioned for economic recovery.

In response, Israeli and Jewish Agency officials have managed to arrange ‘evacuation flights’ over the past three months which are bringing the new immigrants home to Israel, in line with its history as a nation always open to Jewish immigration.

The Christian Embassy has supported these extraordinary efforts during the Corona crisis by funding Aliyah flights for 234 Ethiopian Jews and 766 Jews from across the former Soviet Union since February 20. This has required a total of 85 flights in all, including connecting flights for Russian-speaking olim coming from all across the vast regions of the FSU.

In addition, the ICEJ has covered many of the extra costs for making Aliyah over recent months, including two-week stays in Corona-mandated quarantine for 292 of the new immigrants once they have reached Israel.

Even with most regular international flights still suspended at this time, Israel and the Jewish Agency have been working to partner in emergency flights from nations around the world, which are bringing back stranded Israeli citizens as well as Jews from abroad who are approved for immigration to Israel.

Many of these recent Jewish arrivals are coming from regions of the former Soviet Union, where the local economies are struggling and the Corona threat is still peaking. Even travel within these countries is difficult and in some areas not even allowed. Yet Jewish families are making incredible efforts to board the flights for Israel. In several recent instances, pregnant mothers nearing term were determined to reach Israel in time to give birth in the Jewish homeland. And Israeli and Jewish Agency officials are exploring all avenues to safely funnel these people through airports even when most people are not allowed to fly.

“The Corona pandemic has brought much suffering and negative headlines all over the world, but one of the positive stories coming out of this crisis is the surprising surge in Aliyah, as many Jewish families are seeking a way to reach Israel as soon as possible”, said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “We are both honored and elated to play a key role in this unique chapter in the modern-day return to Israel, as even a global pandemic could not stop Jewish people from finding their way home to Israel.”

Since its founding in September 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has now assisted over 157,000 Jews in making Aliyah to Israel from dozens of countries worldwide.

Photos Courtesy of JAFI/ICEJ

Join us in helping the Jewish people come home to Israel!

ICEJ Helps With Unexpected Surge in Aliyah

Christian Embassy Supporting The Jewish Agency and Keren HaYesod with Unexpected Surge in Aliyah

ICEJ-funded flights this week will bring total to over 760 Jewish immigrants assisted since February

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is currently supporting The Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren HaYesod with bringing an unexpected wave in Aliyah even amid the Coronavirus crisis, as the ICEJ has already sponsored flights for 601 Jewish immigrants since February, and will bring another 160 Jews to Israel this week.

The newest arrivals include a group of 41 Jews from the former Soviet Union flying on Tuesday (19 May) from Moscow, with an additional 119 Jews scheduled to land at Ben-Gurion Airport on ICEJ-sponsored flights by week’s end.

This will raise the total to 761 Jewish immigrants the ICEJ has brought on flights to Israel since Corona travel bans were first imposed worldwide in February. For many of these recent arrivals, the ICEJ also is covering part of the added costs of their post-flight quarantine, which are the responsibility of The Jewish Agency.

As global travel has ground to a halt over recent months, many in Israel were expecting a pause in Jewish immigration due to the COVID-19 threat. But the nation is currently experiencing a surprising uptick in Aliyah, as many Jewish families worldwide are moving up plans to immigrate to a country they view as safer and better positioned for economic recovery. This is in line with Israel's history as a state always open to Jewish immigration.

The present influx of Jewish immigrants is expected from around the world, including Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union, among other regions. With most regular international flights still suspended at this time, Israeli and Jewish Agency officials have been working to arrange emergency charter flights which are bringing back stranded Israeli citizens as well as Jews from abroad who are approved for immigration to Israel.

Many of these recent Jewish arrivals are coming from regions of the former Soviet Union, where the local economies are struggling and the Corona threat is just peaking. Even travel within these countries is difficult and in some areas not even allowed. Yet we are hearing stories of Jewish families making incredible efforts to board flights for Israel. In several recent instances, pregnant mothers nearing term were determined to reach Israel in time to give birth in the Jewish homeland. And Israeli and Jewish Agency officials are exploring all avenues to safely funnel these people through airports even when most people are not allowed to fly.

On Tuesday, a flight will arrive from the former Soviet Union with 41 Jewish immigrants sponsored by the ICEJ. One Jewish couple on board has sped up their move here to be with their daughter, an Israeli mother of two who has been diagnosed with advanced brain cancer and will undergo emergency surgery in coming days.

At the request of the Jewish Agency, the ICEJ is currently raising funds from its global constituency to cover the flight costs for another 150 Jews from the former Soviet Union they hope to bring to Israel by early June.

“Despite all the bad news we hear about the Corona crisis, one of the positive stories is the surprising number of Jews looking for a way to come to Israel as soon as they can”, said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “We are privileged to play a key part in this unique wave of Aliyah, when a pandemic brought the world to a standstill but it could not stop the Jews from coming home to Israel.” 

Join us in helping the Jewish people come home to Israel!

ICEJ Assisting Israel Amid Corona Crisis

ICEJ Assisting Israel With Elderly, Aliyah Flights Amid Virus Threat

Christians Caring for Holocaust Survivors, Sponsoring Arrival of New Immigrants

Amid Israel’s urgent efforts to combat the Coronavirus threat, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is helping to feed and care for many elderly Israelis confined to the homes, including hundreds of Holocaust survivors, while also sponsoring Aliyah flights from Russia and Ethiopia due to arrive within the next 48 hours.

“While the government’s measures to fight the Coronavirus is impacting the whole country, I am glad we are still able to help Israel pull through this crisis in a number of ways,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “This includes packing and delivering food boxes to senior citizens, caring for Holocaust survivors, and bringing Jews home from Russia and Ethiopia at this very moment.”

On Sunday evening, a group of 26 Russian Jewish immigrants sponsored by the ICEJ will arrive on a flight from St. Petersburg and immediately go into a two-week self-quarantine due to the COVID-19 threat. This flight marks the 30th anniversary of the ICEJ’s sponsorship of Jewish families making Aliyah from the former Soviet Union.

The ICEJ also is sponsoring the flights of 72 Ethiopian Jews scheduled to land early on Tuesday morning from Addis Ababa. They will be taken to the Beit Alfa absorption center and enter quarantine for 14 days as well. In addition, the ICEJ will be funding Passover gift baskets with food, games, learning materials and other items for these and other recently arrived Ethiopian Jewish families as part of their integration process during the upcoming holiday season.

Meantime, the ICEJ has seven Christian staff and volunteers in Haifa who have been helping to pack and deliver food boxes to hundreds of senior citizens in the city, including many Holocaust survivors who are confined to their homes as a health precaution. The ICEJ team also was specially tasked with providing food and daily care, including medical checks, for the 70 residents at its Haifa Home for Holocaust survivors, who must stay in their rooms as well. These efforts, done in partnership with the Israeli charity Yad Ezer L’Haver, drew mention and praise from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at one of his daily press briefings on the Coronavirus last week.

In addition, ICEJ staff in Jerusalem packed and delivered food boxes this past week to a number of elderly and disabled Israelis who are regularly cared for by its team of skilled nurses.

This coming week, the Christian Embassy also will have staff working with the charities Latet and Ezrat Avot to pack and deliver food boxes to the front doors of hundreds of Israeli senior citizens who must remain in their homes to avoid the virus.

“We are working within the rules set by the Health Ministry to help Israelis as much as we can in this troubling time confronting the whole world,” said Dr. Bühler. “We know it is in difficult moments like these when our efforts to bless and comfort Israel count the most.”

In the midst of the crisis of the Coronavirus, the ICEJ is taking action by continuing to help the Jewish people make Aliyah, bringing food packages to the doors of Holocaust Survivors, and more!

Join us in blessing the Jewish people today!! 

Behind the 'Christ at the Checkpoint' Conference


Just when the annual “Israel Apartheid Week” campaign will be hitting college campuses across North America this week, Palestinian Christians will be hosting a five-day conference in Bethlehem which is expected to convey many of the same messages and aims of seeking to delegitimize Israel. What makes this “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference unusual is that it is largely an initiative of Christians from the Evangelical movement, whose ranks traditionally have held favorable views on Israel.

This briefing paper provides background information for the media on the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference [March 5-9, 2012], its objectives, sponsors, and the speakers involved.

Download this article in pdf format »

The annual “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference was first launched in 2010 at the initiative of the Bethlehem Bible College, an Evangelical institution established by local Palestinian Christian clerics and educators. Many of the core sponsors and speakers at that initial “Checkpoint” gathering were previously involved in events held under the auspices of the Sabeel Center, directed by local Anglican canon, Rev. Naim Ateek. Yet it appears that these Evangelicals have made a conscious effort in recent years to distance themselves from their past associations with Sabeel and to offer a forum more appealing to a wider Evangelical audience. Indeed, Dr. Ateek was a speaker at the inaugural 2010 Checkpoint gathering but has not been invited back since.

Christian Zionism & Social Justice

Rev. Malcolm Hedding examines the issues behind the 'Christ at the Checkpoint' Conference and why certain sections of the Evangelical church are claiming the moral high ground in advocating for “social justice.” Read more »

 Critics of Sabeel say it has espoused a radical brand of Palestinian Liberation Theology that would seek to justify violence by the “oppressed” Palestinians against the “oppressor” Israel on biblical grounds. In one sample of his radical rhetoric, Ateek once told followers in an Easter message: “In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.” (1)

Over the years, a number of Sabeel speakers have also denied the reliability and authority of Scripture or offered radical interpretations of biblical passages related to Israel. For instance, the late Prof. Michael Prior denounced the Bible as “a dangerous book” which legitimizes and mandates genocide. Prior also described the authors of the biblical narratives as “very narrow minded, xenophobic, perhaps militaristic… pin-headed bigots,” and ridiculed Joshua as the “patron saint of ethnic cleansers.” (2)

These are all positions that would make most Evangelicals quite uncomfortable and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev. Rowan Williams, turned down an invitation to speak at a Sabeel conference in Jerusalem in 2004 because he did not want to be  identified with “the wrong voices” – as his spokesman put it at the time. (3)

Thus the annual “Christ at the Checkpoint” conferences should be seen as a bid by local Palestinian clerics and their allies abroad to move away from Sabeel and offer a message more appealing to Evangelicals. This has included an effort to invite new voices into the conference more supportive of Israel. This year’s roster of speakers, for example, includes Rev. Wayne Hilsden of the King of Kings Community fellowship in Jerusalem and two local Messianic Jewish leaders.

Still, these voices will likely be drowned out by the overwhelming chorus of Israel critics at the conference, and the thrust of Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 will remain largely a one-sided message based on a deeply flawed historical narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and highly suspect theology.

Nonetheless, the conference has begun to achieve its aim of drawing more speakers and attendees from the Evangelical movement, though from its more liberal wing, such as Tony Campolo and Lynne Hybels. These Evangelical newcomers have begun expressing sympathies for Palestinian suffering as part of their wider advocacy for the cause of “social justice.” But they are largely novices regarding the history and complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and thus their views are often misinformed and easily misguided by anti-Israel propaganda.

A number of these new Checkpoint participants from the “Religious Left” signed the letter to US President George W. Bush in July 2007 seeking to distance themselves from the Evangelical mainstream’s more skeptical view of Palestinian intentions in the Middle East peace process. (4)

Meanwhile, the more veteran Evangelical critics of Israel involved in the Checkpoint conference consist mainly of native Palestinian Christian clergy with nationalistic motivations, along with a small group of Christian scholars from the West who have made a career out of maligning Israel and its Christian Zionist admirers.

Most of the local Palestinian Christian participants can claim genuine Evangelical credentials and some have personal family stories of loss and dispossession which they have utilized to elicit sympathy from Evangelicals abroad. The “Local Committee” for the Checkpoint conference is listed as Munther Isaac, Bishara Awad, Salim Munayer, Hanna Katanacho, Jack Sarah, Sami Awad and Alex Awad.

The veteran Evangelical scholars from abroad will include Stephen Sizer and Colin Chapman from the UK, and Gary Burge from Wheaton College, near Chicago. They were also previously involved with Sabeel events in years past and were among its most strident critics of Israel and of Christian Zionism. Sizer, for instance, has defended the provocative Gaza flotilla in May 2010, welcomed the caustic comments against Jews by veteran AP White House correspondent Helen Thomas which led to her dismissal, and has even been willing to appear at conferences alongside radical Islamist elements from Iran and Hizbullah who called for Israel’s elimination and denied the Holocaust. (5)

Based on past Checkpoint conferences, the listed speakers, and the topics to be addressed, the gathering can be expected to promote a series of disturbing positions, including:

Cloaked versions of Replacement theology: For many Evangelicals, the main concern with the Checkpoint conference lays in the theology espoused by various invited speakers which serves to undergird their one-sided and critical approach to Israel. Not wanting to be identified with Replacement theology and its abysmal fruits down through Church history, many now expound Fulfillment theology or other beliefs which deny Israel its rightful place in the land today. They maintain that with the death and resurrection of Christ, all the Old Testament promises to Israel were fulfilled. Yet this teaching winds up in the same place as Replacement theology by insisting that Israel has already served its purpose and the Church has now superseded the Jewish people as God’s redemptive agent in the world. This teaching does not give room for a unique and enduring national calling upon the Jewish people and rejects any notion that the modern-day restoration of Israel is the consequence of God keeping His eternal covenant with them. Rather they denounce Zionism as “man-made.” In doing so, they also abrasively assail Christian Zionist supporters of Israel without just cause. (6)

The Israel=Apartheid analogy: Many Checkpoint speakers have wrongly smeared Israel with the apartheid label and called for dismantling the Jewish state. For instance, conference speaker Ben White has authored a book entitled, “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide”. The fact that the conference is timed to coincide with Israel Apartheid Week only serves to reinforce this distorted message. The conference has also set aside special sessions to reflect on the Kairos Palestine document, co-written by conference organizer Yohanna Katanacho, which peddles the apartheid analogy as well as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions strategy. (7)  It is worth noting that some leading proponents of this BDS movement are now admitting its real aim is the elimination of Israel, not peace with the Palestinians.

The ‘Palestinian Jesus’: Many Palestinian political and religious leaders, including the late Yasser Arafat, have falsely portrayed Jesus as a Palestinian revolutionary fighting Roman oppression, and described Palestinians today as the Body of Christ suffering under Israeli oppression. Even the very name of the conference, “Christ at the Checkpoint,” plays into this distorted narrative of a Palestinian Jesus. A number of conference speakers have endorsed this twisting of the true Jewish identity of the historic figure of Jesus. For instance, co-sponsor Sami Awad once wrote that an Israeli incursion into Bethlehem during the second intifada was akin to the Roman massacre of infants in the same city as described in the Christmas story. He wrote of “passing by big Israeli army tanks and army personnel carriers each pointing their guns at us. Israeli army troops were being brought from all corners into Bethlehem like Herod's soldiers… We pray that the reign of Herod will come to an end and that the message of the Prince of Peace will again be a light from Bethlehem to all corners of the world.” (8)

One-sided Palestinian narrative: Conference speakers have repeatedly denounced Israeli “injustices” against the Palestinians while ignoring or falsifying the true course of events which led to Palestinian loss and displacement. That is, there is little or no acknowledgement that the Jewish people came to resettle their ancient homeland in peace and it was Arab leaders who ignited a war against the fledgling state of Israel in 1948. Further, there is no acknowledgement that Palestinian leaders have repeatedly rejected peace offers made by Israel and escalated the conflict instead, leading to more losses for their people. Conference speakers have consistently downplayed Palestinian terrorism and other security threats to Israel, while also ignoring radical Islam as a primary source of Palestinian Christian grievances. The conference’s use of the Israeli security “Wall” and IDF checkpoints as symbols of their suffering is indicative of this dishonest historical narrative. No calls for reconciliation and ‘social justice’ – as demanded by numerous Checkpoint speakers – can be built upon such untruths.

Beyond Anti-Israelism: Finally, certain speakers invited to the Checkpoint conference have taken stands that go beyond mere criticism of Israel and into outright anti-Semitism. Scholars have characterized the “new anti-Semitism” as obsessive efforts to highlight and condemn alleged injustices committed by the Jewish state while ignoring gross atrocities being committed elsewhere. In this regard, it should be noted that the Christ at the Checkpoint conference is being convened to focus on perceived Israeli injustices at a time when Arab regimes in the region have been openly slaughtering their own people.

In anticipation of the Checkpoint conference, Dr. Jürgen Bühler, Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, noted on Sunday: “While we do recognize and respect the organizers of the conference as our brothers in Christ, we do have strong disagreements concerning their theological approach, as it can easily lend itself to anti-Semitism and anti-Israel propaganda, as some of the Checkpoint speakers have proven in the past. Yet at the same time, we have to confess that too many Christian friends of Israel have neglected our Arab brothers in the Holy Land and beyond. We surely need to increase our efforts to prove that being pro-Israel does not mean being anti-Arab. Jesus loves both people groups and we do well to do the same.”



Footnotes:
1. An Easter Message from Sabel (Sabeel Article Archive)  
2. Paul Wilkinson, “Report of The 5th International Sabeel Conference, April 14-18, 2004
3. http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/ENS/ENSpress_release.pl?pr_number=042804-3
4. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/us/evangelical_letter.html
5. See: http://seismicshock.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/antisemitism-and-christ-at-the-checkpoint-2012.pdf
6. See: http://us.icej.org/news/commentary/israel-and-fulfillment-theology
7. http://www.kairospalestine.ps/; See also http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Article.aspx?id=164070
8. http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=9598

ICEJ Welcomes Trump’s Efforts for Peace, Warns Against Dividing Land

In response to US President Donald Trump’s unveiling of his long-awaited peace plan on Tuesday (28/01/2020), the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem commended President Trump for his efforts over recent years to forge a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, while also cautioning the Israeli people against permanently dividing the Land promised to them.

“President Trump has been a great friend of Israel and already has dramatically changed the dynamic of the failing Middle East peace process with his landmark decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “His plan is now trying to find a way forward to a brighter future for both peoples in this disputed land.”

The ICEJ applauded the Trump plan for finally reversing the trend of recent decades whereby the international community slowly eroded away at Israel’s rights and positions without requiring any Palestinian concessions, an unhelpful approach which eventually led to the extremely imbalanced UN Security Council resolution 2334.

Dr. Bühler added that “while Trump’s proposal is better by far than past peace plans and contains many elements which will benefit both Israel and the Palestinians, it is still a plan to permanently divide the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants.”

He also voiced concern that the plan holds out the possibility of statehood to a corrupt Palestinian leadership which remains firmly entrenched in its rejection of Israel and continues to squander the hopes and future of the Palestinian people.

“The release of Trump’s peace initiative now means the Israeli people are facing even more momentous decisions in their upcoming third election, and out of respect for Israeli democracy we urge all Christians to pray that they will unite around a wise course for their nation,” said Dr. Bühler.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in September 1980, at a time when the last thirteen national embassies left Jerusalem under threat of an Arab oil embargo. In response, over 1,000 Christians from 32 nations gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles decided to open the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem as an act of solidarity with the deep Jewish attachment to the city and the Land of Israel. Today, the ICEJ is considered the world’s largest pro-Israel Christian ministry, with branch offices in over 90 nations and a reach into more than 170 nations worldwide. 

For more information, contact:

David Parsons
Vice President & Senior International Spokesman
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

Auschwitz Survivor Urges German Students to Reject Antisemitism

Schools packed to hear ‘courageous’ Eva Erben on ICEJ-Germany speaking tour

With the world marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz this week, an 89 year-old survivor of the Nazi death camp, Eva Erben of Ashkelon, is touring public schools in Germany and telling enraptured students her life story of suffering and endurance on the perilous journey from Terezin to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Gross Rosen and finally the Death March.

In what has become an annual tradition around the January 27th Holocaust remembrance observances, the German branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is hosting a Holocaust survivor from Israel on a speaking tour in German schools and churches. But Eva Erben’s current visit has taken on added significance as Germany wrestles with its rising antisemitism in the wake of the shocking terror attack at the Halle synagogue on Yom Kippur last October.

While Eva managed to survive the Shoah, she lost her parents and all of her extended family after the Wehrmacht occupied her native Czech Republic. For forty years, she did not talk about her ordeal and refused to speak in German. Now an aging matriarch with nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, she is determined to tell her story to one-and-all, driven by an urgency to combat both Holocaust denial and the resurgence of antisemitism.

Eva with her parents - (Photo Credit: Courntesy of Eva Erben)

At a school near Stuttgart this week, hundreds of students were hanging on her every word as an emotional Eva showed them faded photos of her relatives and said: “I want to make you understand that these pictures of my family before the war are pictures of a normal, happy Jewish family. This story is not just about me, but more about my generation and the generation of my parents. Why did they have to murder us, the Jewish people?”

“And now look at the world today,” she added. “Has anything changed? The Jewish people and the State of Israel is again singled out. Antisemitism is growing, like a virus spreading rapidly.”

“But you are our future,” she tells the schoolchildren. “Some of you will become politicians or leaders in other areas. You can do something about antisemitism. Hatred gives only tears. Hatred is destructive and destroys humanity.”

“Why did I come to Germany to share with you? You are not responsible for the Shoah, not for what your grandparents did. However, you are our future. You need to know what has happened, and that this can happen again, unless we tell the story and learn from it. I hope that you will make the right choice,” she concluded.

There is never time to tell her whole story, but Eva told the German schoolchildren mostly about the last months of the war. She and her mother were evacuated with other Jews from the Gross Rosen concentration camp and sent on one of the infamous death marches by foot in dead of winter. Many were starving and sick, and many died along the way. This included Eva’s mother, who died in her arms.

“Eva, you need to continue,” she told her. She had always tried to give her daughter hope that life would return to normal for them one day. But now Eva was left to give one last hug and kiss to her mother, and continue on with a broken heart and very little hope or strength.

One night, Eva slipped away from the march and fell asleep in a barn tucked near a cow under some hay, seeking warmth due to the bitter cold and her thin clothing. The next day a boy woke her up and warned her that German soldiers were still around. She followed a train track and ran into a soldier who had deserted his unit and just wanted to go home. He gave her some bread and milk, but her stomach could not handle it and she almost died. Eva was down to only 25 kilos.

Later, she came across a German guard who pointed his gun at her ready to pull the trigger. But another guard quickly came and said, “Don’t waste your bullet, she will die on her own.” Shortly after, she passed out and the next thing she remembers is waking up in a barn, where a local Czech lady took her in and cared of her until the German army had withdrawn.

Eva Erben has compiled her entire life story in a book entitled “I Am Forgotten” (“Man hat mich vergessen” in German), which the ICEJ-Germany branch is supplying to every student who comes to hear her talk. They all wait in line for Eva to sign their copies, which she eagerly does, adding a trademark “Shalom” above her signature. Everyone lets Eva know they are glad she came.

Eva Erben signing copies of her book for each of the students. (Photo Credit: ICEJ)

“Thank you, Mrs Erben, for sharing your story,” one student remarked. “You are a courageous lady.”

“It touched me deeply what you have been through and your strength to live and help build up Israel,” said another. “Your story is a story of hope.”

“We have heard and read a lot about this war,” added a third student. “You share your story in such a way that I can picture it. I will never forget this and hope it will never, ever happen again.”

“Eva has a burning message on her heart as antisemitism is on the increase again,” noted ICEJ staff member Jannie Tolhoek, who is accompanying Eva on her speaking tour. “While she is sharing her story at the different schools, you can sense their rapt silence. No one wants to miss a single word. We believe it will make a difference in Germany’s future.”

ICEJ Welcomes US Position on Settlements, Blasts EU Labeling of Goods

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem welcomed on Tuesday the clarification of the United States administration that Jewish communities in the West Bank are not considered illegal, while also denouncing the sharply contrasting position of the European Union taken just last week that imported goods originating from the ‘settlements’ must be labelled.

“We commend the Trump administration for returning the United States to a sound approach regarding the legality of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “It is more attune with international law and with the historic rights of the Jewish people in these areas, and more conducive to peace. At the same time, the European Union has adopted a very troubling course with its recent labelling decision on settlement goods. This position not only undermines efforts at peacemaking and coexistence in the region, it also comes dangerously close to the German boycotts of Jews in the 1930s.”

The ICEJ noted that under international law, the West Bank is considered disputed territory whose ultimate status should be decided in direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Until then, the voluntary presence of Jewish communities in these areas is legal, especially given:

1) The historic Jewish claims to these lands, which were recognized by the League of Nations in 1922 as pre-existing rights and which remain valid today according to Article 80 of the United Nations Charter;
2) Israel acquired these territories in 1967 in an act of self-defense when invaded from these very areas;
3) The Palestinian Authority itself agreed in the Oslo Accords to accept the continuing presence of the settlements until a final peace accord is reached.

The ICEJ further noted that the American legal position on the settlements is far more sound than the EU view because it does not prejudge the issue of ultimate sovereignty over these areas. By denying Israel’s claims to the disputed territories, including eastern Jerusalem, the EU stance has only caused Palestinian leaders to harden their positions and demands in negotiations over these many decades.

ICEJ honored with Yakir Award

Photo Caption: ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler (center) receives the annual Yakir Award from leaders of Keren HaYesdod, given in recognition of the Christian Embassy’s long record of dedication to supporting Israel and befriending the Jewish people.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was honored to receive the annual Yakir Award, given by Keren HaYesod/United Israel Appeal in recognition of the ICEJ’s long record of dedication to supporting Israel and befriending the Jewish people.

“I was humbled to receive the Yakir Award from Keren HaYesod on behalf of the leadership and worldwide family of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “This recognition reflects the hard work and commitment of scores of Christians around the globe who have expressed their support for Israel in so many ways through our ministry over the past four decades.”

The ICEJ was founded in 1980 to represent Christians from all over the world who share a love and concern for Israel and who stand with the Jewish people in their enduring attachment to Jerusalem. Today, the Christian Embassy has branch offices and representatives in nearly 100 nations and a following drawn from more than 170 nations worldwide.

The ICEJ’s core activities include promoting tourism to Israel, assisting Jews to make aliyah, sponsoring social aid projects and humanitarian efforts for the needy and disadvantaged in Israeli society, combating antisemitism, and advocating for Israel in the media and diplomatic arena.

Over recent years, the ICEJ has donated several million US dollars through Keren HaYesod to help fund a variety of projects, most notably to assist Jewish families making Aliyah to Israel, including over 2,000 Jews from Ethiopia arriving on flights sponsored by the Christian Embassy.

Keren Hayesod/United Israel Appeal is the main fundraising arm of the Jewish Agency, which oversees projects to assist Jews in immigrating to Israel, to better Israeli society, and other worthy aims. The Yakir award is given each year to those who have distinguished themselves by their contributions towards the work and goals of Keren Hayesod both in Israel and throughout the Jewish world.

The Yakir award was presented to the ICEJ at Keren HaYesod’s annual awards banquet on Thursday, 9 May 2019 at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv. The dinner and awards ceremony also recognized five other Yakir recipients for their outstanding service to KH/UIA.
 

Christians Respond to Latest Gaza Escalation

Photo Caption: On Monday, an ICEJ delegation visited Israeli communities along the Gaza border area and viewed a new specially-designed ATV security vehicle donated through the ICEJ to a local moshav.

After Israel absorbed over 700 rockets fired from Gaza over the weekend, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem sent a delegation to the western Negev region on Monday to assess the updated security needs of the local Israeli communities and how best to help them prepare for any future escalations in the area.

The Christian Embassy has already donated over 75 portable bomb shelters to the Gaza periphery towns and villages, and today the ICEJ ordered another three bomb shelters for the region. The ICEJ also is donating 20 protective vests for Yatar volunteers from the Negev who risk their lives working alongside the regular security forces to keep everyone safe during times of tension. In addition, the ICEJ delegation viewed all-terrain firefighting equipment as well as brand new specially-designed ATV security vehicles which Christians have recently donated to local Israeli communities through ICEJ.

“Hopefully, the ceasefire reached last night will hold, but the terror militias in Gaza are notoriously unpredictable and untrustworthy,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “However, our team’s visit today has confirmed once more that our humanitarian investment in these vulnerable Israeli communities is comforting families and saving lives.”

Elan Isaacson, chief security officer for the Eshkol Region, told the ICEJ team that, “after 18 years of experience and all the bomb shelters which groups like you have placed around the region, the number of people killed and injured from the Gaza rockets is substantially down.”

Tamir Idan, mayor of the Sadot Regional Council, also hosted the ICEJ team in Kibbutz Alumim before heading off to an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the latest escalation in rocket fire from Gaza.

ICEJ Deplores UNHRC ‘Fixation’ with Condemning Israel

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem on Monday (18/03) denounced the United Nations Human Rights Council for its deplorable fixation on Israel as evidenced in today’s special session solely dedicated to unfairly condemning the Jewish state for acting to defend its citizens from constant threats of terror and violence.

“The UN Human Rights Council has undermined the cause of peace and brought discredit upon itself by once again yielding to the relentless campaign to delegitimize Israel,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “It is blatantly discriminatory to permanently single out one nation and subject it to the hounding which Israel faced today in the Agenda Item 7 deliberations. We join with those moral and sane voices calling for this obsessive targeting of Israel to stop.”

Today, Dr. Bühler sent a letter to Coly Seck, President of the UN Human Rights Council, and a letter to Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, urging them to halt the compiling and publication of a UN ‘database’ clearly intended to serve as a blacklist of companies doing business in the Israeli settlements.

In the letter, Dr. Bühler decried the UN blacklist initiative as an “unprecedented” action by the UNHRC “to encourage and facilitate boycotts and economic sanctions” against private companies. He added that the UNHRC decision to focus only on the Israeli settlements while ignoring other clear cases of illegal occupation was a “gross violation of its mandate to preserve on a universal basis human rights ‘for all people.’”

Dr. Bühler concluded his letter: “In essence, the UN Human Rights Council has allowed itself to be exploited by anti-Israel governments and NGOs to circumvent the UN Security Council and to assist them in accomplishing the delegitimization and eventual eradication of the Jewish State via other channels. We call upon you to reverse course and abandon this spiteful and misguided initiative.”

The Christian Embassy also has activated a number of its branches located in key nations which are members of the UNHRC to press their governments to halt this UN blacklisting effort. This includes Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Hungary, Italy, Philippines Slovakia, South Africa and Ukraine.
 

David Parsons
Vice President & Senior International Spokesman
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem


The ICEJ is committed to combatting anti-Semitism around the world. Help us show the Jewish people that they are not alone.

 

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