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Special Reports

Preparing for a Feast Like No Other!

Late last year, the ICEJ began to prepare for the Feast of Tabernacles 2020, which would be special as it marks our 40th Anniversary. Yet little did we know then the impact COVID-19 would have on Israel and the entire world just a few months later. As Israel’s borders remained closed to tourism month after month, the ICEJ leadership sought the Lord on how to “keep the Feast”, as Zechariah 14:16 commands, even with the shutdowns and travel restrictions.

“If people cannot come to celebrate Sukkot with us in Jerusalem, we felt to broadcast the Feast from Jerusalem and make it available for viewing in every living room, church and nation”, said ICEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler. “We quickly saw the opportunity with an online Global Feast to reach more people with more Feast content than we have ever offered before. This now will include seven daily live worship services from Jerusalem and over 80 seminar sessions, all featuring an anointed array of Israeli and international speakers and worship artists.”

See List of Feast Speakers 
See List of Feast Worship Artists 
See List of Feast Seminars

To bring this vision to pass, the ICEJ has been working with major Christian TV channels TBN and GOD TV, among other partners, and employed the skills of Israeli software experts to create an online conference platform which will not only take the Feast around the world, but also serve the ministry for years to come.

Taking it ‘Global’
What exactly does it look like to take Israel’s largest annual Christian gathering, which has attracted thousands of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem from over 100 nations every year since 1980, and now adapt it to become a virtual, online event?

With Israel’s borders closed to foreign visitors this year, it fell on every department to shift the way we prepare for this Feast: From the TV team scouting venues and our social media team producing new virtual promotional content, to the contributions of ICEJ branches producing seminar videos in various languages, this Feast is truly a global collaborative effort.

Feast webinars recount Feast miracles
In another ‘first’ for Feast 2020, we have been hosting special local and international guests for a weekly Feast Webinar, streamed on ICEJ social media. These episodes have featured South African evangelist Angus Buchan, Egyptian worship leader Hossam Nabil, Hananya Naftali of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, Apostle Alberto Magno from ICEJ-Bolivia, James Lunney and Adam Gabeli from Canada, and Jani Salokangas from ICEJ-Finland, and many others.

Local partners and hi-tech solutions
At the center of this transition to a virtual Feast is an online conference platform designed specifically for the ICEJ in cooperation with Sar-El Media, an Israeli production company operated by local believers. Once complete, the ICEJ will utilise this platform for future Feasts and other special events and initiatives as well, making our Israel-related content from Jerusalem more widely available than ever before!

Developing a platform like this from scratch in two months is a major feat. For this year’s Feast, we will be able to offer simultaneous translations of live events in 10 languages, plus additional language capabilities, making sure the content is widely available around the globe. The live shows plus the seminars and all other special content also can be viewed on demand through the end of 2020 (or October 2021, depending on your selected Feast package).

This year’s Feast also will feature virtual tours of Bible sites throughout Israel, as well as a 24/7 Zoom Virtual Prayer Room, with watches focusing on different language groups and regions of the world. If you would like to represent your nation during one of these prayer watches please contact ICEJ Prayer Coordinator Joshua Gooding at

Even with all the new and daunting challenges of producing this year’s Feast, its essence will remain the same. Believers from many nations will still gather together, albeit online, to worship the Lord and to keep this Feast of joy, of God’s faithfulness, and of the soon coming of Jesus.

We invite you to “appear in Zion” this year by joining us for the online Global Feast of Tabernacles 2020, as we all “Prepare the Way of the Lord!”

Register Today at:





Comforting Israel at the Feast

This month, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is marking the 40th anniversary since our ministry was founded at the first public Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in September 1980. The ICEJ was established with a clear calling from Scripture to be a ministry of comfort and blessing to the restored nation of Israel, based on the prophetic mandate of Isaiah 40:1-2.

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”

As we look back over the past four decades, one of the remarkable ways God has used the Christian Embassy to comfort the Jewish people is through the Feast itself. Each year, thousands of Christian pilgrims have faithfully come up to Jerusalem to express their love and solidarity for the Jewish state and people. And some years have especially stood out for the way they have brought comfort to Israel in troubled times. As we recall a few of these very special moments at the Feast, we hope it will stir you to make sure to join us for this year’s online Global Feast 2020. [Learn more at:]

Feast 1980 – Christian Embassy Founded in Solidarity with Israel
The ICEJ actually was birthed out of the first Feast of Tabernacles held in Jerusalem in September 1980. As the Feast organizing committee was preparing for this gathering that summer, a diplomatic storm erupted over the Israeli government’s declaration that reunited Jerusalem was the eternal capital of the Jewish state. By the time Christians showed up in Jerusalem for the Feast, the last 13 national embassies had left the city for Tel Aviv under the threat of an Arab oil embargo. In response, the Feast organizers quickly decided to establish a permanent expression of Christian support for Israel and its claim to Jerusalem. By the third day of that week-long biblical festival, a building was located to serve as the new “International Christian Embassy Jerusalem”. The city’s venerable mayor Teddy Kollek presided over the dedication ceremony, which was attended by 1,000 Christians from 32 nations. He described it as one of the most moving experiences in his entire life. And Israel’s chief rabbi Shlomo Goren blessed the Christian pilgrims with the traditional Feast greeting from Psalms 118:26 – “Blessed are those who come in the name of the Lord.”

Feast 1982 – Feast Grows to 5,000 Despite Lebanon War
Ahead of the third Feast in 1982, the event was moved to the large Jerusalem Convention Center, but ICEJ leaders did not expect a big crowd once the First Lebanon War broke out that summer. However, some 5,000 Christian pilgrims from nearly 100 nations showed up, many at the last minute, which gave a huge boost to the Israeli public – especially in the Jerusalem March. Israelis had held the traditional March through the streets of Jerusalem during Sukkot since the early 1970s, but by this time it was losing steam. In fact, the IDF said they had no budget for bringing troops to the city to join the March as usual, and the Jerusalem police preferred to be with their families during the holidays rather than on overtime duty guarding the March. So city officials were ready to cancel the Jerusalem March. Yet once our Christian delegations started joining the March, it became an attraction again. And in 1982, with the nation anxious about the fighting in Lebanon and facing heavy criticism abroad, thousands of friendly Christians marching through the streets of Jerusalem at Sukkot was an incredibly uplifting sight. Ever since, the Jerusalem March has become a very popular Feast event for Christian pilgrims and Israelis alike.

Feast 1991 – Record Crowd Despite Intifada
The first Palestinian intifada erupted in late 1987 and by 1991 it had taken a toll on Israeli tourism. In addition, that was the year of the First Gulf War, when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein fired dozens of Scud missiles at Israel, and everyone had to wear gas masks. Yet the 1991 Feast of Tabernacles drew a record crowd of nearly 8,000 participants. The Feast had become Israel’s largest annual tourist event – even in times of terror and rocket threats.

Feast 1996 – PM Netanyahu Delivers Key Message at ICEJ Feast
Just ahead of the 1996 Feast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had authorized the opening of the Western Wall tunnel through a doorway onto the Via Dolorosa. Palestinian leaders used it as a pretext to incite violent protests, which left some 100 Palestinians and 25 Israeli soldiers dead. Once again, thousands of Christians showed up in Jerusalem for the Feast, despite the outbreak of hostilities. Under mounting international pressure to close the Western Wall tunnel, Netanyahu chose his appearance at that year’s Feast of Tabernacles to announce that the Hasmonean-era tunnel would remain open for tours, and the riots quickly subsided.

Feast 2000 – Packed Gathering Despite Palestinian Uprising
In late September 2000, Palestinian leaders launched an armed uprising against Israel following the collapse of the Oslo peace talks. Despite the raging violence in the Land, thousands of courageous Christians showed up at our Feast of Tabernacles just a few weeks later to express solidarity with Israel. The Embassy presented Mayor Ehud Olmert with a petition signed by more than 120,000 Christians from over 100 nations in support of a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. Israeli Opposition leader Ariel Sharon, who many were blaming for the outbreak of the “second intifada”, ended two weeks of media silence on the issue by coming to address the Feast gathering and to thank Christians for their support. “We regard you to be our best friends that we have around the world”, said Sharon.

Feast 2002 – Brave Pilgrims Encourage Israelis
The 2002 Feast was held during the peak of the armed Palestinian uprising, which had chased away nearly all foreign tourism to Israel. However, more than 2500 Christians showed up for the Feast that year. When a suicide bomber slipped into Jerusalem to target our Feast pilgrims in the Jerusalem March, all the major world media were on hand expecting a significant terror incident. But our national delegations bravely marched anyway, and the demonstration of support and courage not only touched Israelis, but also gained respect from the global press. “Through the streets of Jerusalem, a powerful movement, marching for the Jewish state”, a CNN reporter said in his coverage of the Feast broadcast worldwide.

Feast 2014 – Pais Arena Filled Despite Gaza Rocket War
The Feast of 2014 was the first international gathering in the spacious new Jerusalem Pais Arena. The move to the just-completed facility required faith as it was not sure if the Arena would be finished in time. In addition, there was some uncertainty just how many Christians would come to the Feast, since there was a prolonged rocket war with Hamas in Gaza that summer which saw Jerusalem also targeted for the first time. But the crowds of Christians came once more from all over the world to express their love and concern for Israel. That year, the Embassy welcomed on stage Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder, 25 pro-Israel parliamentarians from 17 nations, and 300 IDF troops who had just fought in the Gaza conflict.

These are just some of the instances when the ICEJ’s Feast celebration proved to be a timely comfort and encouragement to Israelis, even when Jewish people were afraid to visit the country. It has proven over and over again that we are not just fair weather friends, but genuine and caring supporters of the Jewish state and people.

No doubt, if Israel would allow foreign guests into the country right now, thousands would come despite the Coronavirus outbreak. But for the first time, we will all have to celebrate the first from our own countries. Yet you can “appear in Zion” this Sukkot by joining us for the online Global Feast 2020. You will be blessed by the powerful preaching and anointed worship experience, and you will enable us to bless and comfort Israel once more this Feast of Tabernacles.

Learn more about this year’s Feast and register today at:



Haifa Home Residents Slowly Emerge From Lockdown

“All of the sudden I felt like I was imprisoned. I couldn’t do the things anymore that I used to do like visiting friends, going out for coffee… The light in the midst of this dark time was the daily knock on the door and the visit of the ICEJ team. They took me out for a walk, brightening up my day with good talks and laughter when I felt depressed and taking care of my needs. I am very grateful." - Rita, a resident at the ICEJ Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors

The seventy elderly residents at the ICEJ’s assisted-living home for Holocaust Survivors in Haifa are slowly, cautiously emerging from the isolation of a nine-week Corona lockdown in their rooms. They are relieved to be alive and well, happy to see each other, and grateful for the daily loving care provided by our Christian team on-site all these many weeks.

Retirement homes in Israel and worldwide were hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, with some decimated by the virus that has particularly targeted the elderly. But we are elated to report that not one of the Holocaust survivors under our care at the Haifa Home contracted the Coronavirus. And in fact, they have all been remarkably healthy for their age over the past two months of the lockdown, thanks to all the hearty meals, vitamins, medical checks and daily visits provided by Yudit Setz and her six Christian co-workers at the home.

When the quarantine period began in March, the residents had great difficulties with the sudden isolation. Instead of sharing meals together each day at the community cafeteria, they had to stay in their apartments and eat alone. Instead of celebrating Passover and Israel’s Independence Day with their families and friends, they had to celebrate alone. Their only contact was with our Christian staff and volunteers, who rotated shifts over the prolonged lockdown period to provide the care they needed.

“Our ICEJ team became their only lifeline to the outside world and their main caregivers seven days a week”, explained Yudit Setz, who heads our Haifa Home team.“We visited their homes daily to find out how they were coping, took them out for little walks, did physiotherapy, checked their medical needs, and repaired things in their homes. These may seem like small things, but they often made a huge difference in their day-to-day lives. They looked forward to our knock on their door and the human contact that broke the loneliness and brightened their day.”

As the health restrictions slowly lift, a new activity room has now opened which is giving the residents a welcome place to finally see each other again, play games, exercise, create art, and just come for a drink and normal conversation. The residents and staff are still abiding by the social distancing rules, but this wonderful activity center is providing a warm, safe, lively hub for camaraderie and fun.

Who Needs A Haircut?
Due to the quarantine conditions, many of the residents and even the staff are in dire need of a haircut. So, where do you go when your hair salon is closed? Well, no worries because one of the Haifa Home residents, 92-year-old Fanny, has been a hairdresser for almost 50 years! Eli, one of the volunteers, was desperate for a haircut, so Fanny happily and confidently gave him a nice trim. Even something so small was so rewarding for her!

Commemorations and Birthdays
In late April, the Haifa Home went ahead with hosting a ceremony to mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Instead of the usual crowd of survivors, family, police and soldiers, the ceremony was held with only a few residents and guests in attendance, sitting two meters apart. Shalom Stamberg (age 97) and Miriam Linial (98), both survivors of Auschwitz, lit the remembrance flame, and Shlomo Shertzer (94) recited the prayer of mourning.

Yudit Setz led off the ceremony with a heart-felt message.

“Dear Holocaust survivors, for you this is such a difficult day and I embrace you with a warm and huge embrace in the name of thousands of Christians who admire you, who think about you and pray for you at this time. I have the great privilege of seeing you almost every day, and you have taught me so many things ... How to never give up regardless of the difficult circumstances … To live with hope amid the biggest storm, knowing that one day the sun will shine again ... To love instead of hate…”

Just a few days later, the Haifa Home residents were able to enjoy a scaled-back celebration of Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day! The ICEJ team visited each resident, sang joyful songs, and talked with them about their hopes for Israel. Rita shared that she longs for the day when the Corona is fully behind us, “so that we will continue to be a free people in a free country.”

“I wish for peace and health for all of Israel and blessings to the IDF who protect us”, said Motke. “May we have less arguments together and agree more as a people”, he added.

Our Moral Duty to Help
Should the worst of the Corona crisis now be behind us, we will always look back at this unique moment as a special time when a handful of Christians were in the right place at the right time to help these dear Holocaust survivors through a very trying ordeal late in their lives. But the daily work of caring for these survivors continues, and the opportunity is there for you to show God’s love to the Jewish people by supporting the Haifa Home.

Galina, a resident from the Haifa Home expressed her deep gratitude for the help she has received: “This Corona time has been a very special time for me. I have felt so protected, safe and important because of all the attention and care I received. Meals were brought to my doorstep, all my personal needs were met and medically I was taken care of. I have felt so loved. It feels like one of the best times of my life! Thank you so much!”

“We have a moral duty, not only to remember the Holocaust, but also to take care of those who survived and are still with us today, to let them live out their lives in dignity, respect and love”, said Yudit Setz. “We will continue to do so with the help of God and of those He is calling to support this sacred work.”

We invite you to partner with us in making a difference in the lives of Holocaust survivors today. Learn more about how you can help by clicking here!

Southern Israel Ablaze in August




It is a beautiful blue-sky day with only a slight breeze. But wait, what is that in the distance? Coming closer… balloons, balloons, and more balloons gently floating through the air. The bright, colorful kind normally used for joyful occasions. But not this time, and certainly not for Israelis living near the Gaza border!

Sadly, as you read this, terrorists from Gaza are inflating balloons, attaching fire-bomb devices to them, and waiting for the sea breeze coming off the Mediterranean to carry them eastward across the border to sow destruction in nearby Israeli communities.

The Gazans who send them watch with glee as the incendiary balloons land in the farmlands of southern Israel, and set the fields and orchards alight. The month of August is the peak of the summer dry season in Israel, and the southwest trade winds pick up every day. Conditions are perfect for wildfires to ignite and spread quickly. It is hard to imagine the tension of living like this – not knowing where the next fire will start, or whether your child will be drawn to the colorful fire balloons or the kites laden with explosives that could detonate in their hands.

This is the third summer now that Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza have been using this twisted tactic to scorch the fields and orchards of their Israeli neighbors. The local security chiefs in southern Israel have had their hands full over the past month as the use of fire kites and balloons has jumped dramatically. In the Sha’ar HaNegev region, first responders have faced more than 425 brush fires in the last two weeks alone. Meanwhile in the adjacent Eshkol region, security officer Elan Isaacson confirmed that they too are experiencing 25 to 30 fires a day!

“Beautiful forests and nature reserves being ruined,” Isaacson told ICEJ. “Pomegranate and avocado orchards have been destroyed.”

For the local Israeli farmers, this is a devasting loss of the fruit of their labors. Pomegranate trees take at least two to three years to bear fruit and another seven months for the fruit to mature. The pomegranate also is an important symbol for the upcoming Jewish holidays of Rosh HaShana and Sukkot. And the loss of the avocado harvest is heart-breaking, as these fruit trees take up to six or seven years to bear fruit.

When these acts of arson first began in 2018, the ICEJ was asked to help the affected Israeli communities combat the fires destroying their livelihoods. Thanks to our many generous Christian donors, we were able to provide 18 fire-fighting trailers and five specially-equipped ATVs to the towns and villages along the Gaza border.

The fire-trailers are each equipped with a large water tank, pump, generator and hoses which can be hooked to 4x4 vehicles so they can reach all kinds of terrain. The ATVs also have similar fire-fighting equipment, and are quicker and even more agile to get to the back of the fields and orchards within minutes. These fire-fighter trailers and ATVs are now stationed every two kilometers or so along the Gaza border. And they are being put to daily and even hourly use to fight the on-going rash of fires started by incendiary balloons.

“It is so gratifying to know that all this fire-fighting equipment we provided over recent years in being put to such good use every day,” said Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for Aid and Aliyah. “Our donations have enabled these communities to respond in real-time whenever emergencies arise, strengthening our friends and helping bring a sense of security to those living so close to danger.”

There is still a need for more fire-fighting trailers and other emergency equipment which will enable the local first responders to protect their fields and families even better. So please consider giving to our Israel in Crisis fund.

Your prayers also are greatly appreciated, as many of the fire-fighters and security officials in the region are near exhaustion due to the need to stay on a constant high alert for the fires.

So please pray! And also give your best gift today to the ICEJ’s Israel in Crisis fund.

Donate at: 

The Christian role in the great Ingathering of Israel

Since our founding in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has assisted nearly 160,000 Jewish people in making Aliyah to Israel. That represents more than ten percent of the Jews who have made the journey home to Israel in the past four decades. They are coming from the north, south, east and west – just as the Bible promised.

These Aliyah efforts were largely done in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel, a unique quasi-governmental organization which has overseen Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel since even before the state was founded in 1948. Last week, JAFI chairman Isaac Herzog hosted ICEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler in his offices to talk about the history of the organization and its work with Christians to help Jews returning to the land of their forefathers.

Herzog recounted that it was actually the League of Nations in 1922 which mandated that a “Jewish agency” be created to help secure the Jewish homeland. This agency was to represent Jewish interests in the Land of Israel, on behalf of both those living there as well as Jews still in the Diaspora.

“We have brought in almost 4 million new olim – Jews immigrating back home”, explained Herzog. “Last year, we brought in 35,000 from 45 countries. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we only have had 3,500 from about 25 countries. Yet the engine of Aliyah goes on and on and on, and this is our main mission.”

“That’s interesting”, said Dr Bühler. “We have sponsored flights for 1,350 of those Jewish immigrants this year. So that’s over one-third of the new arrivals in 2020.”

“I respect the Christian Embassy for the great work you are doing. Thank you”, Herzog responded.

Herzog stressed the strategic importance of working with the ICEJ and other Christian groups to fulfill the prophetic Return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland.

“I believe the Christian world has a major role to play in bringing about the fulfillment of the [biblical] prophecies”, Herzog stated. “And we are grateful to kind Christians who support the idea of bringing Jews back to their ancient homeland and in the Ingathering of the exiles.”

That Christian assistance is going to be more important than ever, Herzog added, since the Jewish Agency is forecasting a huge wave of Aliyah ahead. In fact, they expect as many as 250,000 Jews to move to Israel over the next three to five years, as the Corona crisis eases.

“From the beginning of this year, we had almost 100,000 phone calls inquiring about Aliyah”, Herzog said. “Much of this 400% rise in interest in Aliyah came from North America, and we have a rise in requests for Aliyah coming from all over the world. We are working with the Israeli government to complete a national plan for the next five years to meet this challenge.”

When Herzog described how he believes Christians have a major role to play in the Ingathering of the Jewish exiles, this thought comes straight from the pages of Scripture. Indeed, the prophet Isaiah foresaw a time when God would “beckon to the nations” to “bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips.” (Isaiah 49:22-23)

Indeed, we are invited to partner with God in the modern-day restoration of Israel. This has been a core mission of the Christian Embassy for forty years now, and it has not stopped during the COVID crisis. We are still bringing Jews home to Israel every week, and we invite you to be a part of this prophetic work by joining our “Rescue250” campaign.

The Rescue250 campaign is a challenge to Christian supporters of Israel around the globe to partner with the ICEJ in keeping up our current pace of flying at least 250 Jews home to Israel each month. With most global travel halted, these “evacuation flights” are bringing Jews caught in desperate circumstances due to Corona. Many had already quit their jobs and left their apartments expecting to move to Israel and then Corona hit and left them in limbo. So this is both a prophetic mandate and a humanitarian mission, and we welcome your generous help in bringing them home to Israel as soon as possible.

Give to our Rescue250 campaign today at:



Why Christians Celebrate the Feast - FOT 2020

The presence of believers from around the world in Jerusalem at Sukkot is a great prophetic sign of the times in which we live. It is a powerful foreshadowing of even more glorious days ahead.

In 1979, as Merv and Merla Watson planned the first Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem, they were uncertain about exactly how Gentiles should celebrate this biblical feast, so they asked the advice of a senior rabbi in Israel. After receiving his practical guidance, they were just about to leave when the rabbi called them back. 

“Mr and Mrs Watson”, he said. “That you, as Gentiles, came here to ask me how to celebrate Sukkot is quite unusual. Our prophets declare that in the Messianic times, all Gentiles will come to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast with us. When you asked me today how to celebrate Sukkot, I am hearing the footsteps of Messiah, that he is coming.” 

And this is what the Feast of Tabernacles is all about. The ICEJ has been privileged to organise this incredibly unique event for 40 years now. And it is indeed not just another Christian conference, but a prophetic declaration to Israel and the Church that Messiah is coming soon. In the end, it is all about Jesus. It is not about us, nor even about Israel, but about the returning King. 

And so, this Feast of Tabernacles 2020, ICEJ “Prepares the Way” for the return of Jesus, the King above all kings, to His city: Jerusalem.


PREPARE THE WAY - Feast of Tabernacles 2020

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God… The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:1,3

For 2000 years, the stones of antisemitism blocked the path between Jews and Christians. How do we overcome that? 

Forty years ago, Christians from 32 nations gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles just as the last national embassies were abandoning the city. In response, these Christians stepped out and offered a hand of friendship and solidarity to Israel and the Jewish people. From this pivotal moment, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was born. 

Today, we continue to follow the path of those Christians who have gone before us. Isaiah spoke of a ministry of comfort and a prophetic work to prepare a highway for the Lord – a work of removing the stones and obstacles which have, in the past, separated Jews and Christians. 

The prophet Isaiah also foretold of a day when a highway would connect Egypt and Assyria with Israel – and become a blessing in the midst of the earth. Today, we see believers from these nations coming together; pages of the Bible coming to life before our very eyes. The ancient division between Arab and Jew is being reconciled. 

“Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” - Isaiah 40:4-5 

At the Feast of Tabernacles 2020, the ICEJ will be marking 40 years of comforting and blessing Israel and working toward reconciliation between the Jewish people and the Gentile nations, especially in the Arab world. 

We invite you to come up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with us. Come clear the path; remove every hindrance between you and an encounter with the God of Israel.

Helping Jewish Immigrants Find a Path Forward

In a time of rising antisemitism and economic uncertainty, the opportunity for Jewish people to make Aliyah to Israel is more important than ever. However, Israel also is struggling with high unemployment rates and other economic woes. Many families here are feeling the pinch of the Corona health restrictions, especially those just putting down roots in the Land.

As anyone who has made the move to a foreign land will know, successful integration in a new country usually takes more than a few months or even years. Often, immigrant families require steady support to overcome the many barriers – some of which may be internal. Recognizing this reality, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is not only bringing Jewish people home to Israel, but also helping them to get securely settled in the Land. To do this, the ICEJ is sponsoring professional mentors who are currently counselling dozens of immigrant families during their first years in Israel. The mentors are proving to be especially vital to these recently arrived families in such unstable times.

“Immigrants to Israel often have no family here and the social workers rarely call”, explained Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for Aid and Aliyah. “If these mentors we sponsor do not help them, they have no one. It is a full-time job!”

For *David and *Hannah and their two children, life in Israel has not been easy. Caught in a bureaucratic snag over her residency, Hannah is still unable to legally work in Israel. Sadly, with just one wage-earner, the family found themselves in a downward spiral as their debts began piling up. As a result, any money deposited in their bank account was requisitioned to cover their debts, leaving the family in dire straits. David found employment in a confectionary factory willing to pay him directly, however, the commute distance meant he had to leave home at 4 AM, then work 10 to 12 hours a day, for just 7,500 shekels ($2,194) per month. For David and Hannah, joining the ICEJ-sponsored mentoring program for recent immigrants was a lifesaver.

David actually wanted to work at an outdoor market near his home but needed to be paid directly. His mentor advised David on reaching a debt consolidation agreement which allowed his bank account to be re-opened. This accomplished, David then scored another jubilant victory – he was hired at the nearby job he wanted for a higher salary and with reduced working hours!

Meantime, plans for Hannah to find employment have been put on hold due to the Coronavirus outbreak, which requires her to stay home with the children. However, a social worker is now involved and hopefully that situation also will improve soon. The support this family has received is quite literally changing their lives. Although David occasionally needs to work an extra day to bring in additional funds, being closer to home means he enjoys more quality time with his family.

Another recent arrival, *Avital, was a broken woman, both physically and emotionally, before getting help from a mentor. Going through a painful, complicated divorce, she found herself a single mother to three little children. Despite a court order for her to receive child support, the father refused to comply. Avital was afraid to pursue the matter as she feared the father would not want to have anything to do with their children. Besides having to provide for her family on her own, she also had strained relations with her mother and sisters.

Nevertheless, her mentor, *Bat-El, soon discovered that prior to having children, Avital had worked in the cosmetics industry. Good memories from her previous job made it clear this was her dream job. However, she knew nothing about how to start a business. Having a mentor to guide her along the process gave confidence and gradually Avital began to believe she could realize this dream. A donated computer now means Avital can begin working on a business plan. Meanwhile, she is looking for temporary work until the business takes off.

In addition, Avital now knows how to balance her budget and read her bank statement. With guidance from her mentor, she also got a reduction in insurance payments and bank charges. Her self-esteem vastly improved, Avital has learned to take the initiative to meet her needs, like purchasing a second-hand sofa and pro-actively writing to a social housing firm to request a higher rental stipend. Today, she also understands that the father has his own responsibility to their children, and after pursuing the matter she now receives child support. In addition, relations with her mother and sisters are slowly improving.

The Corona crisis has led to unemployment or under-employment for many, and it is difficult to get help. Nevertheless, Bat-El told the ICEJ AID team: “It is important to find a path forward, despite the challenges. We know that the crisis will get much worse before it gets better. The stress has caused additional problems to pop up in many families and most need basic assistance. We let people ask questions and try to direct them on moving forward. They need help to develop skills and increase opportunities.”

Your giving ensures that recent immigrants to Israel like these families are not alone in their struggles in a new land. Together, we can give them someone to walk alongside them as they navigate the many challenges of getting settled in Israel.

Please give today to the Aliyah and Absorption efforts of the ICEJ.

Donate Here: Immigrant assistance

[*Names and photos withheld by request to protect privacy.]

ICEJ Flight Reunites Parents with a Daughter in Need

Aliyah is the fulfillment of God's promises to one day return the Jewish people back to their Promised Land. Over three million Jews have immigrated to the Land of Israel in modern times, and behind each one is a unique life story.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been a part of this prophetic return, assisting nearly 160,000 Jews in making Aliyah in the past four decades. And amazingly, the Aliyah has not stopped amid the Corona crisis, as we have brought 1,350 Jewish people on emergency flights just in the past five months. Those on board are being given priority based on urgent health concerns, rising antisemitism, poor socio-economic conditions, and other humanitarian factors.

Among the recent arrivals brought by the ICEJ are the parents of Olga Mursalieva, who is going through a very difficult period in her life and needed her father and mother here at her side. Olga made Aliyah from Russia herself in November of last year. She came as a single mother with three children and settled in the city of Haifa. From that moment, her life should have been full of hope for a brighter future. But shortly after landing in Israel, she received shocking news. Olga was diagnosed with cancer and is now receiving life-saving treatments.

In this difficult situation, it was encouraging for Olga to know that her parents, who were still living in Russia, also quickly decided to move to Israel to be near their daughter at this critical time. When they learned of their daughter’s diagnosis, they immediately began the Aliyah process and by the beginning of April everything was ready for them to make the move. They had quit their jobs, sold their house, said goodbye to everyone, packed their belongings and were ready to leave. Then, literally on the way to the airport, they were overtaken by shocking news once more.

Due to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus in Russia at that time, flights in and out of the country were suspended. Suddenly, the skies were closed and they had to turn around – but to where? They also were very anxious about how to share this news with Olga, who they feared would fall into despair, not knowing when her parents might arrive.

They returned to their home city of Saratov, where they restlessly sought a way to reach Israel and care for their daughter. And thanks to help from the Jewish Agency and the Christian Embassy, soon Olga's parents could fly on one of the evacuation flights we are sponsoring to Israel. They made it into the country in June and after two weeks of quarantine, they were reunited with their daughter Olga and their three grandchildren. The fact that it happened so quickly seemed like a miracle to them.

Now they are caring for their three grandchildren and are so grateful to be here in Israel as a family together. Olga is currently in the Rambam hospital in Haifa, where she is preparing for an operation. She is hopeful knowing she is in the best of hands with her doctors, her parents, and her faith in God.

There are many more Jewish families desperate to reach Israel amid the Corona crisis. Thanks to Christian donors around the world, the ICEJ has managed to bring an average of over 250 Jewish immigrants per month on evacuation flights to Israel since March of this year. We have launched a special ‘Rescue250’ campaign to challenge Christians to help us maintain that current pace of bringing at least 250 Jews on flights to Israel each month until the Corona threat subsides.

You can help reserve a place today for a Jewish family in urgent need of boarding a flight to Israel! Please join our ‘Rescue250’ campaign!

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Prepare the Way – Part II

Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament in our Christian Bible. This prophet represents the very last words of the Old Testament era. Some theologians call the following 400 years the ‘time of silence’, when God would not speak again until His son Jesus came. This is how the Old Testament ends:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:5-6/ESV)

It is the second “I will send” message in the book of Malachi. Already in verse 3:1, God declares: “I will send My messenger and he will prepare the way before Me” – a clear reference to John the Baptist (Matthew 11:10). At the very end of the book, God again declares: “Behold I will send!” – revealing another facet of the ministry of John the Baptist, the one who came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17).

There are two underlaying principles which define this Elijah ministry: First, it is a God-initiative. This is not a plan of man, but God says, “I will do it!” That leaves us with great hope, since it is not dependent upon man but God, its success is secured! We just need to align and submit ourselves to this great plan of God.

Secondly, this Elijah ministry needs the maximum attention possible. Malachi warns that the success of this Elijah figure will be of vital importance, otherwise God will “strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” That means we cannot underestimate the importance of the Elijah ministry in the end times. It requires everyone’s attention; not only pastors and leaders but every member of the body of Christ needs to submit to this heavenly agenda.

The mission of this Elijah spirit seems rather unexpected. Elijah’s calling is focused on family relations. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Fathers and sons. Mothers and daughters. It is the generational and familiar relationships that matter to God in a great way.

In our individualistic Western societies, families are losing their importance. The family structure today is more under attack than ever before. Even the policies of many governments around the world undermine the biblical concept of a godly family, of a father and mother bearing and raising upright offspring. The biblical concepts of man and woman are under attack. Divorce rates are at record highs. Meanwhile, the mother’s womb was once a proverbial symbol of safety, but now it has become the most insecure place for an unborn child as millions of babies are killed in their mother’s womb before they have a chance to live.

The relationship between fathers and sons, and between God the Father and His children, can be defined through three different levels which all apply to our lives.

1) Personal Family Calling
When God called Abraham to be a blessing to the world and to father a people who would bring salvation and faith to the ends of the earth, He made it clear that this blessing was not just a blessing of a few individuals. Rather, God declared, “in you all the Families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

It is important to note that even the very purpose of God in calling Abraham focused on his own family relationship: “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” (Genesis 18:19) It was essential for Abraham’s calling that he would not serve just as an individual, but God saw the generational family bond as central in that calling.

Undoubtedly, the Jewish people today are an example to all the world of a faith and tradition that is not just kept individually, but it is passed on to the next generation through study (the first book children in observant families learn to read is Leviticus) and ceremony (e.g., the bar mitzva).

This did not change when they got to New Testament times. Often, we hear that whole households got saved and baptized. When God called Cornelius, the very first Gentile to receive the Gospel, He promised him… “you shall be saved, you and your household” (Acts 11:14). Paul gave the same promise to the jailor at Philippi… “you will be saved, you and your household” (Act 16:31).

My own family experienced this when God invaded the Bühler home some 80 years ago. He sovereignly touched my grandmother, and her whole family got saved. And this blessing carries on even to all her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

As you read this, I ask you to have faith in God not just for your own salvation but for your whole household. God wants “all the families of the earth” to be blessed.

Also, it means fathers in particular, you must assume your role as a priest over your family. The priestly role is to pray for your children and to teach them the ways of God. Do not leave this important task just to the church in Sunday school. Fathers are the most important role models in the life of a child.

Of course, the same role applies to mothers regarding their children. As I write this, I am still mourning the passing of my mother just a few days ago. Both my parents were models to me as they followed Jesus. Make the decision today like Joshua did: “Me and my house, we will follow the Lord!”

And of course, the same passage also applies for children. God engraved the relationship of children to their parents at the center of the Ten Commandments. “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). Paul makes a point that this commandment is the first one which carries a blessing – one of long life. He also reminds us that in the last days this biblical value and commandment will be undermined, as children will be “disobedient to parents” (Romans 1:30). As children, we are called to honour our fathers and mothers no matter how old we are or how old they are!

Much more can be said about this, but there is another level of this Elijah restoration that applies to us which we must consider.

2) The Faith of Our Fathers
There is another relationship concerning fathers, namely the “faith of our fathers”. In Malachi 2:10, God admonishes Israel about forsaking the “covenant of our fathers”.

Now the faith of the Bible is a faith of ‘new things’. It is a faith where every generation must find the way to serve God in their own way. God repeatedly announces throughout the prophets that He is doing a “new thing” (Isaiah 42:8; 43:19). He consequently rebukes people who never change but get stuck in their old traditions and ways of doing things (Jeremiah 48:11).

At the same time, change should never, ever alter or shake the foundations of our faith as revealed in the word of God. One thing which never changes is biblical truth, values and doctrines, simply because God does not change. Our means of communication, musical and rhetorical styles, or our order of service might change, but the message itself must never change. What God called “sin” two thousand years ago is still sin today. What God called “righteous and just” in the Bible will not be unrighteous and unjust today.

Churches and believers do well today to find their orientation in the early Church in Jerusalem, the model church established by the first apostles. The four great principles of the early Church – the apostles’ teachings, fellowship of the saints, the breaking of bread, and prayer – are indispensable for any church or community that seeks a move of God. This is why Israel’s prophets called upon “you who pursue righteousness […] look to the rock from which you were hewn […] look to Abraham your father and Sarah who bore you…“ (Isaiah 51:1f)

The truths that brought revival 200 years ago will not be abandoned today. Repentance and prayer are as essential today as they were in past revivals. There is no quick-fix, downloadable, instant revival which suits our modern lifestyle. The lives of John Wesley, George Whitefield, William J. Seymour or Reinhard Bonnke might significantly differ in style, but all carried the same DNA of a holy and dedicated life to Jesus. The old rugged Cross is still old and rugged today. But as we hold fast to it and proclaim it, the Cross will release its power full and fresh even in our post-modern world.

The call of Elijah is to uncover old wells that might have been stopped for decades and even centuries but, as we do, those wells will flow anew with fresh, living waters. This is what Elijah did when he re-erected the altar of God that was laying in ruins (1Kings 18:30).

Foundations are so central to our faith that the heavenly Jerusalem holds an unshakable and unchanging foundation of the twelve Apostles, and the twelve entry gates to the city are even more ancient as they have the names of the twelve tribal leaders of Israel.

It was likely for this reason that the angel who appeared to Zechariah slightly altered the quote of Malachi 4:5: “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). John the Baptist arrived in a generation that desperately needed to turn back to the principles of old. They had departed so much that the angel called them “disobedient”. John’s main message, therefore, was one of repentance. This ‘repentance’ in the Hebrew language means both to reverse and to turn in the direction you came from.

The spirit of Elijah thus represents not just a great hope and expectation for revival and signs and wonders, but it also represents lives of radically devoted believers who will uncompromisingly walk in the paths of the fathers and in doing so they will conquer new land!

3) The Fathers of Our Faith
The third implication relates to an area which the Church has struggled with for most of its history. It has to do with our relationship to the Jewish people.

A search in your computer Bible program or concordance will quickly show that the word ‘fathers’ (plural) is mainly used throughout the New Testament in a very particular way. From the 57 occurrences of “fathers” in the NKJV, for example, over fifty refer to the fathers of Israel. Thus, “the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers” (Acts 3:13); “your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness” (John 6:49); “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers” (Acts 28:25). Altogether, some fifty New Testament passages relate to the Jewish people of Old Testament times. Paul declares concerning Israel, “of whom are the fathers’ (Romans 9:5).

That means Israel in all their generations – from Abraham to Moses to the prophets – are to be considered as our fathers. This is a traditional understanding which has characterised Israel for centuries, to such a degree that the Talmud titles a whole book Pirkei Avod which means “the sayings of the fathers.”

Now you might argue that this may be true for only the ‘good Israelites’, like Abraham, Moses, etc. But two New Testament passages are especially noteworthy. In the book of Acts, both Stephen and Paul face very hostile crowds that want to kill them. Both preach to these mobs before they attack. And both address them the same amazing way: “Brothers and fathers, listen…” (Acts 7:2; 22:1). This reminds us of what Paul also declared about Israel: that even though they might be enemies of the gospel, they are “still beloved for the sake of the fathers” (Romans 11:28).

Further, when we look at how the New Testament portrays the Church, we find that Jesus called his disciples “children” (e.g., John 21:5) and Paul and John both address the Church as “children” (Galatians 4:19; 1 John 2:1).

This means the relationship between the Church and the people of Israel can be viewed as one between fathers and children. The recent line of Catholic popes often refers to the Jewish people as “our elder brothers”. Nor would it be incorrect to call them our fathers. This is how the Apostles called them.

Christianity was born out of the covenant of God with Israel. All that defines our faith today was given to us by the Jews. Our Bible was written by Jews – Jewish patriarchs, prophets and apostles all pointing us to a Jewish Messiah, who in heaven is still called the “Lion of the tribe of Judah”. That is why Jesus declared to the Samaritan woman that “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

This means our relationship as the Church to Israel is as important as the relationship between fathers and children. Of course, the same is true the other way around. But it was mainly the Church which over the centuries dishonoured their fathers in many ways. It is time not only to repent but to show the “fruit of repentance”, as John the Baptist sought.

This Elijah ministry is an end-time ministry, and as such it means that no believer or church can ignore it in these last days. I believe the last-days Church, the Bride of Christ, cannot afford to ignore or side-line the family of Jesus, the Jewish people, any longer. The spirit of Elijah urges us to be in right relation with the fathers.

This relationship is unconditional and cannot depend on how good they are, if they believe like we want them to believe, or if the government in Israel is a perfect government. In the natural our fathers are not perfect, yet we are still commanded to honour them. The same applies to Israel. We must honour, love and bless them.

This spirit of Elijah will help us and teach us to be rightly connected with God’s people and to rightly relate to the Land of Israel which God promised to them through an eternal covenant. Otherwise, as Paul warns, we are endangering the very root of our existence – and that can be fatal (Romans 11:16ff). In light of the fifth commandment, we might forfeit the blessing that comes with honouring our father and mother.

The theme for this year’s Feast of Tabernacles is “Prepare the Way”, which has much to do with this Spirit of Elijah. It has to do with family and generational restoration. These are important to God because they are rooted in the very nature of God. He is our Father! And this fatherly concern is expressed most powerfully through the prophet Malachi:

“A son honours his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honour?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the Lord of hosts…” (Malachi 1:6)

Honouring God as our father, honouring our natural fathers, reconnecting to the faith of our fathers, and honouring the fathers of our faith – this all has to do with reflecting God‘s character.

Let us together invite the Lord to release this Elijah anointing upon our lives and even nations. Please pray with us for the Feast of Tabernacles, that this word will be heard as a clear and loud shout around the world. Let us together ‘prepare the way’ of the Lord!      

If you would like to read "Prepare the Way – Part I" go to

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Somebody to Lean On!

We all need somebody to lean on! This may sound like lyrics from a song, but these words ring true when you find yourself in a foreign country feeling completely overwhelmed by a different culture, especially if you barely know the language. Even simple tasks like making phone calls, reading a bill, or opening a bank account can suddenly become extremely challenging.

This is the case for so many new Jewish immigrants to Israel. Although the government provides some assistance to new arrivals, only a small percentage are taken to absorption centers which offer a softer landing. Having left family and friends behind, immigrants often feel alone and struggle to integrate into society. Many find their professional qualifications are not recognised in Israel. Needing to upgrade credentials or even change professions brings added stress to the job search – particularly for those still struggling to learn Hebrew.

Knowing these difficulties, the ICEJ is helping to sponsor four professional mentors across Israel who are currently counselling 55 immigrant families during their first years in the Land. “Appropriate assistance upon arrival can save families a lot of grief by helping them find opportunities and get on the right track from the start”, notes Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for Aid and Aliyah.

Originally from South Africa, *Michael and *Leah and their two sons arrived in Israel in February 2019 and were sent to an absorption center in Beersheva. When we met them recently, they shared how their mentor had been a lifeline for them.

Settling their youngest son into school was very challenging. A quiet and introverted lad with few close friends, he suddenly found himself as the only English-speaking child in a Hebrew class filled with Russian-speaking immigrant children. The teacher also came from Russia and often gave explanations in Russian, so he missed out on learning and struggled to make friends. Before long, negative feelings about school and the family’s move to Israel began to creep in.

But when their mentor Lital came, she helped the family find a private Hebrew tutor. Soon, the son started making progress and friends, resulting in a much happier child. She also guided the eldest son through the bureaucracy of entering the army while also finding a temporary job.

In South Africa, the family could afford to live solely off Michael’s income, but in Israel this was not enough. With assistance, Leah also found work as an English teacher but soon lost it when Corona health rules shut down classes.

Lital told our AID team how complicated it is for new immigrants – especially during the Corona period. They already lack understanding on how to operate in the local culture, she explained, and once Corona hit any advances disappeared. They usually have no one to lean on, especially after leaving the absorption center.

“The truth is that the State doesn’t count immigrants now because there are so many other enormous and pressing needs”, Lital noted. “There is no specific help for them and their needs. Anyone working less than six months at their job when the crisis hit was laid off and are without an unemployment safety net to fall back on. Immigrants must put out a lot of effort to make it and it is not easy. You cannot just ignore the Corona crisis… it affects the whole integration process.”

Setting goals are an important part of the mentoring program, and despite some setbacks Michael and Leah are elated at each step of progress. Recently, they moved into their own apartment near other South African immigrants and are thrilled to have found a place in the neighbourhood they wanted. Leah described her relief to be there.

“We love being in Israel and are enjoying a new sense of freedom and security here. It is so wonderful to be able to walk home alone from the bus stop without fear”, she said.

Although they still have a long road ahead – learning Hebrew, finding the right job, getting settled in their new community – they are so grateful for the extra help and mentoring along the way, and look forward to exploring the country. Michael and Leah also added their warm thanks to all the Christian donors who made the mentoring program possible.

Meanwhile, *Dana is a 27-year old single mother to a four-year-old son with special needs. She made Aliyah from India as a teen with her parents, and now must live with them to make ends meet. In talking with her, another ICEJ-sponsored mentor discovered large gaps between Dana’s dreams for the future and her current situation. Together they set attainable financial goals, reviewed employment options, and explored her eligibility for other welfare benefits – such as a disability stipend for her son.

As a result, Dana has applied for public housing and rental assistance ahead of moving to her own place. Now an apartment search is underway, where the rent will be within her budget. Step-by-step, Dana is making a complete turn-around, reaching her goals and gaining self-confidence. Ready for a new chapter in her life, she also is overjoyed to have found a young man she hopes to marry soon.

The ICEJ is not only bringing Jewish people home to Israel, but also helping to plant them firmly in the Land – just as God promised to do (Jeremiah 32:41). Your giving ensures that newcomers like these are not alone, but have someone walking alongside them as they navigate the challenges of getting settled in Israel.

Please give today to the Aliyah and Absorption efforts of the ICEJ.

Donate Here: Immigrant assistance

[*Names have been changed to protect privacy.]


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