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Awards, Achievements, & Celebrations!

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16 Nov 2018
Awards, Achievements, & Celebrations!

Journey of Dreams – Joint Jewish-Christian Successes

One special evening at the Feast is the ICEJ's Israeli Guest Night, which provides moving highlights of Jewish-Christian cooperation and joint accomplishments. The ICEJ’s special effort in Aliyah moved the audience as they witnessed the trials and frustrations of a Jewish Ethiopian family, long awaiting an opportunity to immigrate to Israel before the family finally flew over Tel Aviv’s beautiful night-time cityscape to be reunited with their extended family in Ben Gurion Airport – all scenes from the ICEJ’s new documentary: “Journey of Dreams.” This was the beginning of a tour-de-force demonstrating to Israelis the impressive range of projects in which the ICEJ is involved, spanning aid work, public diplomacy and the unique home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa, a group of whom were actually present in the audience, and who received the entire arena’s standing recognition. The Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors also received gifts for 2 million and 1 million NIS from the ICEJ's German and US branches respectively, presented by National Directors Gottfried Bühler and Susan Michael.

Israel in the international arena
Likewise, Israel’s efforts in the international arena and the country’s very tangible blessings to the world were also highlighted in a CBN documentary about the time-honoured Jewish endeavour for “Tikkun Olam” (loosely translated as “repairing the world”). The efforts of private Israeli citizens among refugees, for example, and the Israeli government’s responses to natural disasters around the world all underscored that Israel cares and does so with a global impact.

The Paradox of Operation Good Neighbor
The crowning jewel of these joint successes was delivered by retired IDF Colonel Marco Moreno, who headed up “Operation Good Neighbor” on the Israeli-Syrian border, an effort aimed at providing aid and humanitarian relief to war-struck Syrians. Moving scenes of young IDF soldiers, trained to defend their country with force, but in this instance helping refugees reach safety in Israel passed over the screens. In one sequence, you see Moreno in the Golan Heights, close to the border with Syria: “You can hear bombing as we speak. That means that tonight our soldiers, our brave soldiers, will go and save lives.” Back in the arena, Moreno concluded, “It sounds like a joke: Christians and Jews helping Muslims, right? But it’s the reality”

Awards and Recognition
A prime function of this gala evening is to celebrate and recognise valuable contributions. This is why the ICEJ each year gives the Nehemiah Award to an individual who has served the Jewish people in exceptional ways. Because of the seminal move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, US Senator Jon Kyl, who originally sponsored the bill and legislation leading to the Embassy Act of 1995, was a most natural and worthy recipient of this year’s award.

The Cyrus Award and notable achievements
A new award, directly related to recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: the Cyrus Award, has also been instated by the ICEJ. This reward has been given to heads-of-state from nations taking the bold step to move their embassies to Jerusalem. These were highlighted by Mojmir Kallus, the ICEJ’s VP for International Affairs, who also mentioned smaller but very significant contributions from poor and minor countries around the world. The determination of local Christians in, e.g., Tanzania and Albania to bless Israel is truly heart-warming and set an example of a different kind. Such quiet efforts are equally inspiring and worthy as some of the headline-making contributions.

Personal addresses by Israel’s PM and The Jewish Agency’s chairman
Two personal addresses had been specially recorded to address the Feast Pilgrims on this festive evening. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened his address by stating, “I am delighted that there is a Christian Embassy.” He also stood by Israel’s relations to Christians in the Land, telling the audience that “Sometimes a profound truth is a simple truth. Here is a simple truth: Israel is the only country in the Middle East that protects the rights of Christians. Think of that. For thousands of miles around us, there is only one place Christians thrive. Right here in Israel.” He finished his address with deep-felt thanks: “Thank you for recognising Israel. Thank you for always supporting Israel.”

Another personal address was given by the newly elected chairman for The Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog, “I want to thank you for your support. Your support has been enormous. (…) and we are partners with you, the ICEJ. (…) Together we have brought 140,000 new immigrants to Israel - I think it is an enormous achievement.”


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