As The World Turns... Against Israel

 

 
  Monthly Report: January 2006 Click for PDF

 

 

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By Shira Sorko-Ram

Last November 29, the UN hosted its 27th International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The UN website states that November 29 was chosen because of its “meaning and significance” to the Palestinian people. Exactly what meaning is the UN referring to? On that day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (II), which resolved that a Jewish state and another Arab state would be created out of what was left of Palestine (after over half of the Holy Land had already been awarded to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan).
 
The Jewish inhabitants accepted their tiny state. The Arabs would not and did not accept the UN resolution nor the existence of a Jewish state. Thus began the Palestinian obsession to “push the Jews into the sea.” And so while Israel remembers November 29 for the UN’s recognition of the legitimacy of a Jewish state - however tiny - the Arab world has memorialized it as “Al-Nakba,” the Disaster.

Now, each year the UN hosts a formal event and commiserates with the Palestinians over their misfortune from the UN’s passage of resolution 181! This year a map of the Middle East was presented at the event attended by Kofi Annan and the presidents of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, but the state of Israel was no where to be seen on the map!

PALESTINIANS SEE A TIPPING POINT AHEAD

Although the Arab nations have not been able to destroy Israel militarily, they now believe they are finally on their way to success. By pouring billions of dollars yearly into public relations with governments, the media, universities and churches throughout the world, Palestinians feel certain they are winning the war by turning world opinion against the legitimacy of the nation of Israel.

The Palestinian public relations war is bearing much fruit, especially in the West. One of their tools is launching campaigns to boycott all Israeli products and apply sanctions against international companies that do business with Israel.

Some Palestinian Christian ministers have targeted the church in their propaganda war, and the results have been astounding. Naim Ateek, a former Anglican canon, has fine-tuned a sophisticated message of active hatred toward Israel. Though based in Jerusalem, he refuses to state that the Holy City is in Israel. Rather he gives his physical address as Jerusalem, via Israel!

He preaches in liberal U.S. churches that the Israeli government’s “crucifixion system” is causing Palestine to become “the place of the skull.” Israel’s occupation of the Holy Land, he says, is “like the boulder sealing Christ’s tomb.” He charges, the Palestinian Christmas celebrations have been “marred by the destructive powers of the modern-day ‘Herods’ who are represented in the Israeli government.” (Jerusalem Post, 24June05)

WILL THE REAL FRIENDS OF ISRAEL STAND UP!

 

In the past, liberal theologians have warned Israelis and American Jews against evangelical Christians, charging that their love for Israel is not rooted in regard for the Jews, but merely “a byproduct of their desire to witness the Second Coming of Christ.”

However, Israel is not only increasingly appreciative of evangelical Christians, but is increasingly anxious about the all-out anti-Semitic war now being perpetrated by some liberal branches of Christianity and their Palestinian associates.

For example, one third of the Anglican’s church statements on human rights issues have been aimed at Israel, whereas, nations such as China, North Korea, Syria or Saudi Arabia who have intolerable human rights records have never even been mentioned.

In the last couple of years, many liberal churches have initiated anti-Israel campaigns - that is, they have resolved to withdraw investments from companies owned by Israelis, or that even do business with Israeli companies, and these churches suggest that all of their members do the same.

Last summer, a Presbyterian committee accused megacompanies such as Caterpillar, Citigroup and Motorola of contributing to the “ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine,” and pledged to use the church’s multimillion-dollar stock holdings in the businesses to pressure them to stop. The church has about 2.4 million members. (Ibid., 7July05)

 

Following the example of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., the World Council of Churches, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church have all suggested divestment from Israel in the past year. (Ibid.)

In June 2005, the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham, England, unanimously recommended the anti-Israel divestment policy around the world. Their resolution followed a decision by the U.S. Episcopal (Anglican) Church to take steps to prevent its churches’ investments from “inadvertently supporting Israeli occupation.” (Ecumenical News International, 5July05)

When the United Church of Christ was considering the introduction of anti-Israel divestment issues, a committee of anti-divestment speakers won a commitment from the UCC not to include a call for divestment against Israel. However, at the last minute, John H. Thomas, president of the UCC, held a clandestine late-night meeting, inviting only a select group of men, and pushed through a strong divestment resolution. He later wrote that had they not passed the resolution, “[It would have been] injurious to our relationships with Palestinian partners. In addition, we felt it would send the wrong signal to the Jewish community [i.e. they might think the UCC approved of Israel’s policies].” (http://www.ucctruths.com/2005 AugustArchive.html)

Divestment calls are being led by a network of dozens of Palestinian charities, unions and non-governmental organizations. Such organizations provide bridges to wide church involvement in this propaganda campaign. Even organizations such as Christian Aid, World Vision and War on Want use the ever-present double standard of singling out Israel for excessive attack but failing to even mention the terrorism that is dedicated to extinguishing the Jewish state. (J.P.17July05)

 

Of course, the World Council of Churches claims it is calling for divestment in order to work “for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.” American Jewish leaders like Rabbi David Rosen said, “The divestment call, far from furthering reconciliation only increases a climate of delegitimization of Israel, drawing an unjust parallel between Israel and South Africa.” It clearly gives encouragement to the Palestinian public that one day Israel will no longer exist. (Ibid.,2Aug05)

The outspoken Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, himself a Jew, condemned “the delegitimization and demonization of Israel.” He declared that this is nothing more or less than the classic anti-Semitic symbolism of Israel as the “poisoner” of the international “well” that has plagued Israel for 2000 years. (Ibid.,21July05)

 

And so we ask: Why are politicized church groups calling for divestment from Israel but not from countries well-known for their terrorism, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria?
Simple…fulfillment of scripture: And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. (Zechariah 12:3)


Maoz Partners write letters to the Government of Israel:

Sharon Andrews
700 Club UK & Europe Office

Sir, - We have just read about the persecution of the Messianic Jews in Arad by the Ultra-Orthodox Gur Hassidim.

We Evangelical Christians support Israel in every way we can, but we do not and will not look the other way while this persecution is happening to Jewish Believers in Jesus. If this situation is shown on the Christian media, and I believe it should be; then you will not be seen in a very favorable light by millions of Christians.

To allow this group of religious extremists to shout obscenities about Jesus - and especially at the children of Jewish Messianic believers - is absolutely deplorable! The police, who do nothing about it, are also as guilty.

The Gur Hassidim are not behaving in a Godly way. If this type of treatment was happening to Jewish people by other religious groups, then they would be called Anti-Semitic. Clearly the Gur Hassidim’s actions are no different!

We urge you to stop this persecution from happening and make such actions a criminal offence for them to do so in the future. You are a democracy and this activity should NOT be allowed to happen.

 
Margarita Sanderford
Alvarado, TX
Sir, - I recently read a sad account of Israelis persecuting their own people in the town of Arad. I was appalled to see and read of similarities of how the Germans treated the Jews not too many years ago. I have been so blessed to visit Israel twice and I so admire and love the people of Israel. Needless to say, it is incredible to see pictures and read and hear how atrociously fellow Jews are treating one another! Is the Israeli government intervening?
A much concerned tourist.
 
 
  
Sharon Sanders
Unknown
Sir, - I have been made aware of intense harassment of a small group of Messianic believers in Arad by the Orthodox Jews there called Gur Hassidim, even to the burning of one of their buildings. The local police and mayor are aware of the situation but will not do anything about it. Why is the situation being allowed in a democracy where freedom of religion is protected?

Alexandria Yeargan
Bakersfield, CA

Sir, - I am a Christian in the United States and was outraged while reading the monthly Report I get from Maoz Israel Ministries in regard to what is happening to the Messianic Jews in Arad, Israel. It is absolutely incredible, unacceptable and entirely non-democratic. The very intense persecution of Messianic Jews in the southern Israeli city of Arad, is by a large group of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews called the Gur Hasiddim. This all started taking place in March of 2004.

I am appealing to you to investigate this for yourself and all concerned: The mayor, the city government, and police force need to be held accountable for allowing this to happen.
 
  
Gary Curtis
General Manager of KTLW Radio Network
The Church On The Way
Van Nuys, CA
Sir, - I am terribly concerned about the reported intense, public persecution of Messianic Jews in Israel, especially in the southern city of Arad!

My understanding is that the Israeli authorities there turn a blind eye to the Haredi harassment, attacks, vandalism and even alleged arson in the burning of a chess-playing club owned by one of the Messianic minority. Newspapers report that even the police fear that there will soon be the loss of life in this wave of intense persecution against this religious minority.

Is there Freedom of Worship in democratic Israel or not?

I’m told that in the Jewish State of Israel you can be a Buddhist, a Bahai, or even a gay or lesbian - and your democratic rights are fully protected and upheld. But if you are a Messianic Jew, civil rights are overlooked; and authorities will only take action to protect your life and liberties if and when there is bloodshed. Is this correct? Is this correct in Arad??

If so, this is unacceptable in a free, democratic society!

I (and our many thousands of Evangelical Christian listeners to our radio network) urge YOU to actively respond to this trampling of the rights of the Messianic believers in all Israel and particularly in Arad. Please show the world that you have learned the lessons of the 1930s in Germany and that Freedom of Worship in Israel includes an active tolerance for the beliefs of all people—especially minorities like the Messianic Jews.

May I please request a response from you? Thank you.

Katrina Casey
Richmond, VA
Sir, - My name is Katrina and I am a 16 year-old American Jew. I am writing to express my concern for the residents of Arad who are being brutally persecuted by the Chassidim. Because I love and support Israel so much, it is deeply disturbing for me to see pictures of religious Jews screaming at Israelis and shouting obscenities reminiscent of Nazi persecution, only because they have differences of belief.

Israelis have enough persecution from terrorist groups and the surrounding nations - must Israelis also be attacked by their own brothers?

Moreover, I understand that upon the burning and destroying of a local Bible library/chess club belonging to these persecuted Messianic Jews, the police showed absolutely no concern for the people who were the victims of the terrorist-like acts that are being done in Arad.

This inhumanity and cruelty must be stopped immediately. If it is not, Israel’s foreign policy, tourism industry, trade, religious freedom, public security, reputation, and immigration will surely be drastically affected.

I am asking you, Israel’s government, to put an end to this violence and to the decidedly anti-democratic crimes which the Gur Chassidim are committing.

Mark Radcliffe
Shady Spring, WV

Sir, - Please enforce the Israeli Knesset Basic Laws in Arad, Israel. A large sect of Orthodox Jews is persecuting a small group of Believers in Jesus. It should be clear to everyone in Israel that Believers in Jesus are the best friends Israel has around the world. Gentile believers around the world know that Jesus was a Jew and came “to the Jews first.”

Politically, I support Israel because of my faith in Jesus. Millions of believers around the world support Israel because of their faith in Jesus. Why should Orthodox Jews persecute believers who support Israel? Why do Muslims get protection under the Israeli Basic Law but not followers of Jesus who support Israel? Muslims believe Israel must die but followers of Jesus believe Israel must live! Why don’t you support believers in Jesus who believe in Israel?! Do Orthodox Jews have a death wish for the state of Israel? Their actions in Arad are reminiscent of Nazi persecution of Jews before WWII! Please enforce the democratic safeguards of your Basic Law!

Yolanda Esquer
Masa, AZ
Sir, - Is the government there blind? I think not. This situation has been brought to the attention of Arad’s Mayor Brill. He has done NOTHING!! The newspaper reporter is quoted as saying, “While Mayor Brill buries his head in the sand, 200 Messianic Jews in his city are persecuted in a manner which is reminiscent of sights from the exile period.”

What is really frightening in the internet video [see November 2005 Maoz Israel Report] are the actions of the Orthodox children. A seed of HATE is being planted. You see one little boy sticking his tongue out and making faces. Those adults are transferring and planting a seed of hate. I think that this hatred is the greatest injustice.

Put out these sparks of anti-Semitism!!! Please do SOMETHING before someone dies or gets hurt. PLEASE!! These Messianic Jews should be afforded their rights to practice their beliefs in peace.

W.&D. B.
Australia
We have always been strong supporters of Israel and speak up for your nation in every way possible. Therefore we are greatly alarmed and grieved to learn of Jews persecuting Jews in Arad. This treatment of Messianic Jews is horrifying for a nation we had always believed to be fair and just to all its citizens. As news of this persecution reaches the media of Australia, what can we say as supporters of Israel? All peoples living in Australia, including Messianic Jews, can live in peace and worship according to their convictions. We call on you to rectify this situation and bring protection and normalcy in Arad so that all Israeli citizens can enjoy peace and justice. We look forward to hearing from you.

Barbara Garvin
Bradenton, FL
Sir, - This persecution is a violation of human rights to life and liberty, as well as a violation of the democratic right of freedom of worship and the right of economic freedom. Messianic Jews should not be denied these rights. They should be protected by the Jewish State of Israel at least as much as people of other religions and beliefs are protected.
“Shema Ysrael! Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might - and thy neighbor as thyself.”

You may send your own letter of protest by email to the Israeli Police spokesman at akam@police.gov.il or the Justice Ministry at yaelk@justice.gov.il

 

Return to Arad
by Cookie Schwaeber-Issan

It has been about three months since my last visit to Arad; and although I had hoped that things would have improved for the believers there, I soon discovered that the situation had actually worsened.

This time, returning with my husband who is the accountant for Maoz, our goal was to present much needed financial help to both the congregational leader, Yakim Figueras and also to Eddie and Lura, the owners of the King’s Men Chess Club and Bible Shop that had been tragically burned down.

We arrived at the very modest home of Yakim. In the kitchen, his wife who was eight-months pregnant, was home-schooling their four children. As Yakim began to update us on his situation ,it was clear from the onset that he did not view his persecutors as the enemy nor did he even want, at this point, to take legal action against them. However, the weekly crowds of ultra-Orthodox Gur Hassidim still persist in gathering in front of his house--screaming and threatening his family as well as others in his congregation.

However, he has recently composed a letter which he intends to send to the Office of Religious Affairs (essentially the Prime Minister’s office), Public Security, the Foreign, Ministry, the State Comptroller’s Office and the President of Israel. His letter will let these officials know the depth of the persecution that he and his congregation are experiencing with no let up in sight. And the letter will also inform the authorities that these people feel that their freedoms are being seriously violated in a country that democracy and freedom of religion.

The Supreme Court has permitted the assembly of up to 50 persons in front of a private citizen’s house for the purposes of demonstration. This matter is being legally challenged by another one of the persecuted believers and is still pending a decision. When we inquired about the reaction of Yakim’s surrounding neighbors, he told us that many of them are Russian Jews who immigrated to Israel within the last ten years. They have been quite vocal with these Orthodox, letting them know that they do not feel welcome in their neighborhood.

Yakim strongly believes that God is going to use this small desert town to proclaim Yeshua in a way that perhaps the rest of the country has not yet seen. But Yakim has had to pay a price for his faith. Once discovered by the Orthodox to be a believer in Yeshua, extreme pressure was placed on his employers to fire him from his excellent position as social worker in a Beer Sheva boarding school.

Though his bosses fought hard to keep him, Yakim felt it was time to leave in order to work full-time in ministry and oversee his growing congregation. And indeed, though some searchers have been frightened away from the congregation because of the persecution, others are coming because of the free publicity that the Gur Hassidim are giving them. Although a substantial sum of financial assistance his family was receiving from another ministry was coming to an end as of January 2006, Yakim had no intention of leaving Arad. He was simply bringing this request before the Lord whom He believed would faithfully provide. He has!

We were able to present Yakim with the first of many monthly checks (which he informed us was nearly the identical amount of what he had been receiving).It is our hope to continue this assistance for a long time to come, believing in the worthiness of this living testimony. We continue to pray for the Spirit of the Living God to breathe upon this town (which has the purest air in all of Israel) and use these events to bring forth a great awakening to the citizens of Arad which will spill over and impact the rest of the country.

From Yakim’s house, we continued on to the marketplace in the center of town where the once burnt-down chess club is undergoing steady restoration as funds come in. Eddie took us through the very small structure which houses the club for the faithful pensioners. They wouldn’t miss a day of domino and chess playing with those who have become for them a close-knit family. Eddie showed us the large 5-gallon bottles of water that are ordered regularly and stored in the club, providing these men with the ability to walk in and make themselves as many cups of tea or coffee that they would like during the day. He says, “This small service makes them feel they are important.”

About five weeks ago, Eddie and Lura began to hold Shabbat services at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, immediately after the Shabbat morning tournament finishes. A few of the pensioners have begun to attend. They feel called to pray for the sick, knowing that the signs and wonders which will undoubtedly follow their prayers will draw others in as they see lives change.

We presented Eddie and Lura with a $10,000 check to rebuild the club and properly secure it with cameras and an alarm system. They quickly began making the rounds from table to table, showing these elderly men that believers in Yeshua from all over the world wanted to invest in them. These men could hardly believe their eyes! It was quite a scene. We cannot express how blessed and privileged we feel to be able to tangibly help the believers of Arad to stand strong in the face of this persecution which has been ongoing for several years. In recent months, the persecution has escalated to alarming proportions.

We returned home with the knowledge that something of great significance is about to break loose in Arad which will begin to shake this desert area of Israel in a new way. We ask you to continue to pray for the believers as it’s not easy to live under these difficult conditions day after day. Mostly, we ask you to pray for the eyes of the persecutors to be opened to see their Savior, the One pierced that theirs will be a Damascus Road experience which will radically change the fabric of this nation as we continue to claim Romans 11:26 “All Israel Shall Be Saved.”


Form Response From Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Maoz partners: (Note our comments in red to their response!)

Thank you for your query.

Israel does not discriminate on the basis of religious affiliation or creed. Christian and Muslim citizens and permanent residents of Israel enjoy full equal rights. Messianic Jews who are citizens also enjoy equal rights. [This is obviously an inaccurate statement in regards to the believers of Arad.]

However, a Messianic Jew from abroad who seeks to become an Israeli citizen will not be considered acceptable under the Law of Return, which excludes Jews who have taken up another religion. [The subject of Messianic Jews who have immigrated has little to do with the persecution in Arad because Jewish immigrants, native-born Jews and Christians married to Jews are all being persecuted.] Native born Israeli Messianic Jews cannot lose their citizenship by virtue of their religious beliefs.

Friction has occurred between groups of Messianic Jews and their surrounding communities, whenever the Messianic Jews have been perceived as attempting to proselytize. [The ultra-Orthodox wish to make their own rules. There are no better organized and well-padded campaigns to garner Jewish converts to their brand of Judaism than the missionary efforts of the ultra-Orthodox of Israel. They stand at traffic lights, handing out literature and soliciting donations, own cafes and centers around the country. They have counters in the airport and other public places. They offer university scholarships and many other benefits to young people who will attend their synagogues, etc. Secular Israeli parents have in sorrow told us that their own children have been lured away and separated from them after being proselytized by the ultra-Orthodox.]

This is because non-messianic Jews consider them [i.e. Messianic Jews] apostates bent on proselytizing Jews and luring them away from the Jewish people. This is particularly so regarding Jews from the former Soviet Union who lack a strong Jewish upbringing when they come to Israel and face a crisis of identity. [Seventy percent of Israelis are secular and do not have a “strong Jewish upbringing” if that is interpreted as meaning they have not been brought up in an Orthodox home. Democracy by definition demands a free exchange of ideas through non-violent means.]

What seems to be hard for supporters of Messianic Jews to accept is that their very presence might be the cause of considerable friction with their Jewish neighbors, particularly when they are perceived as attempting to proselytize their Jewish neighbors. With all due respect to the religious freedom of Messianic Jews, if their behavior is perceived as antagonistic vis a vis the religious freedom of Israeli Jews, they invite a negative response.[This “negative response” of intolerance and hatred is the same spirit that Muslims display towards Israel. As this letter confesses, “their [the Messianic Jews] very presence” incites violence and intimidation among ultra-Orthodox.]

That said, there is of course no justification for violence, whether verbal or otherwise. If Messianic Jews feel they have been the victims of violence or any other injustice, they have recourse to the police, the courts, and the media. [The police have been contacted numerous times and have done nothing. There is a legal case pending which has been initiated by persecuted believers from Arad.]

Curiously, despite the recent, well orchestrated campaign in the United States on behalf of the Messianic Jews of Arad, [The government is clearly aware of letters protesting the persecution!] there has been only a single report in the Israeli press about harassment. [There have been 26 newspaper articles in Israel that we know of, and two Israeli TV reports. The believers, being a tiny minority, have been disinclined to aggressively fight the persecution.] This is the kind of story that would generate lots of coverage -- were there much substance to it.

The Gur Hassidim are evidently reacting to what they perceive as attempts to proselytize Jews. Israeli Jews don’t proselytize Armenians, or Arab Christians, or Arab Muslims, or Hindus, or anyone else. On the other hand, throughout history Christian groups have tried to convert Jews, often by the sword. [It is true that Christianity has a grave history of trying to force Jews to convert. Nevertheless, today, in the democratic state of Israel, there must be a free flow of ideas and religious freedom, else the State cannot be democratic. Today, the Bible-believing Christians throughout the world are Israel’s best friends. Furthermore, the Messianic Jews of Israel are strongly against converting Jews to another religion. Rather, they are bringing their people back to the truths of the Bible, back to the God of Israel and back to Yeshua, the King of the Jews.] It is unfortunate when the most loving, God-fearing, Messianic Jews ignore this and are then surprised or affronted by the hostility of believing Jews who consider them to be a threat.

Since your query relates to an internal issue, please contact the Israel Police spokesman: akam@police.gov.il. If you fail to obtain satisfaction from the police, you could try our Justice Ministry at yaelk@justice.gov.il. You might also consider writing a letter to the editor of The Jerusalem Post [letters@jpost.com] or Haaretz [feedback@haaretz.co.il] newspapers. [GOOD IDEA!]

Information and Internet Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem


Comments from Maoz Board Members

Jeff Forman
Rabbi, City of David Messianic Congregation
Maoz Canada Board Member, Toronto
“I have just returned from visiting Maoz Ministries in Israel and I was deeply impressed by several aspects of the ministry.

First, being a Messianic Rabbi myself, I know the importance of the local Messianic congregation - it is the very heart of Jewish revival. Ari and Shira’s congregation, Tiferet Yeshua, is a dynamic and growing Messianic Congregation in the midst of Tel Aviv, Israel. Their 10th anniversary service which I attended was packed with Israelis and was exciting. When Ari asked how many people had begun to attend the congregation in the last two years, I was amazed to see a majority of hands go up. This shows that Jewish revival has intensified in Israel in the last two years and that Tiferet Yeshua is poised and positioned to reap and to disciple this new harvest. These young believers are blessed to be under their seasoned leadership.

Secondly, the work Maoz is doing to translate books into the Hebrew language is remarkable and of monumental importance. Being in the basement of their headquarters and looking at pallets of books that have been translated into Hebrew, I saw before my eyes the means by which the nation can be discipled. These outstanding books are being used not only by Maoz, but also by ministries throughout Israel to teach and disciple new believers and to train and strengthen new emerging leaders in Israel.

Finally, I was amazed by the amount of financial assistance that istandwithisrael.com has given to individual Israelis in need, to ministers of the Gospel who are in need and to various Messianic ministries throughout Israel. I consider it an honor to be associated with such an effective and generous ministry in the land of Israel.”

Norma Sarvis
Succat Hallel Intercessory Ministry
Katzir Youth Ministry, Maoz U.S.A. Board Member
Jerusalem
“I so appreciate Maoz and their heart for this nation. I see a deep desire to raise up a generation of leaders in the Body and a generation of nation-changers who will impact Israel for the furtherance of the Kingdom. I personally have seen them help those who are desperate and hurting. For the first time Israelis have access to Spirit food in the books that Maoz is translating and offering to the Body at large.”

Jonathan Bernis
Jewish Voice Ministries International
Maoz U.S.A. Board Member, Phoenix, Arizona
“While I was in Israel recently to attend the Maoz board meetings, I was amazed to see first hand the scope of the work Ari and Shira are leading. In particular, I was deeply impacted when I saw the massive stockpile of books Maoz has recently printed that are ready for distribution throughout the country. Dozens of other titles are waiting to be translated and printed. All that is needed is the finances.

There are only a handful of ministries in Israel that are making a difference and truly reaching out to the indigenous population. Maoz is one of them. I consider it a privilege to be part of such an effective ministry reaching God’s Chosen People!”


Dr. Dan (and Helen) Delap M.A.,D.O.
The New Jerusalem Dancers
Maoz Administrator, Maoz UK, London
The Bible teaches us that God’s end-time plan for the world depends upon His beloved people Israel turning back to him and inviting His Son, the Messiah Yeshua, to return to Jerusalem. The devil hates this idea and will do everything possible to prevent it. That is why Messianic believers in Israel are involved in the most intense spiritual battle of all time. This is what motivates Helen and me to give so much time and energy to Maoz.

We have visited Israel many times in the last 10 years and have seen our congregation grow from a tiny beginning to a thriving vibrant force to be reckoned with, 250 strong. When we visited in October we were astonished at the dedication, talent, and professionalism of the team. The members of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua are truly living in obedience to the Lord’s command to love one another, to build up strong bonds, to witness to others, to develop leaders, to make wonderful music and to minister to one another. It was heart-warming to hear about the bonds of love between Jewish and Arab believers. There is a great children’s and youth ministry. We were particularly impressed by the high-tech equipment for recording tapes, videos and CD’s, and for printing and distributing Hebrew books.

The teaching of God’s Word is of paramount importance and Jews possess unique skills in explaining scripture. Members of Tiferet Yeshua are the beneficiaries of inspired exposition of the Word but it needs also to go out to the Nations. Already the message has been taken to Japan, Burkina Faso, India, the USA, Canada, England, Wales, Ireland and Germany. We long for the day when all Israel will be saved, when those greater riches will bless the whole world and the Word of the Lord will go out from Jerusalem.”

Gerry (and Niall) Griffin
SOMA, Ireland Ministries;
Colan (Healing Ministry)
Maoz UK Board Member
Northern Ireland
One of the many highlights of our trip to Maoz Israel was visiting Galina who was featured in the December edition of the Maoz Israel Report. It was great to witness the fruit of the istandwithisrael.com fund to help Israeli believers. Having got “knitter’s elbow” from knitting scarves sold in Ireland (which hopefully will raise over 1,000 or $1750) to contribute to this fund, Gerry was thrilled to see the value of such a fund.

We really enjoyed meeting so many people who were enthusiastic and evangelistic. We also enjoyed meeting many of the talented people you have: singers, musicians and technicians who produce videos and DVD’s to such a high standard and who also print books in Hebrew for distribution throughout Israel.

Finally the fellowship we experienced, especially at the barbecue, made us feel very welcome; and we felt that this event was a wonderful way of reaching out to those with questions and unbelievers. We send you our love and we remember you constantly in our prayers.

Ray Wilkerson
Maoz U.S.A. Board Member
Dallas, Texas
“Although I’ve been around the Maoz ministry for 17 years, serving as a board member has allowed me to spend more time in Israel--particularly during this past year when I was there for three weeks.

I could see on my visit this time that truly, people are the purpose. It seems the Lord is assembling an ‘A Team’ to lead the assault on the strongholds we all know exist in the land.

What they are producing is impressive...but who they are is even more impressive. Our people are committed to the vision that Ari and Shira have had for all these years. And now, the vision is becoming a reality every day. Books are being printed; lives are being changed; and families are prospering. The congregation is vibrant and growing. Truly Yeshua is Lord and Messiah of their lives! It is an exciting time to be a part of what God is doing in Israel through Maoz Israel Ministries.”

Fruma Knight
Maoz UK Board Member
Israel
“As a returning citizen to Israel from the U.K. after 20 years of absence, and after having prayed for years to take an active part in the spiritual awakening of Israel - it is a unique experience to witness firsthand the work of Maoz here in my homeland. My first encounter with Maoz was while I still lived in the U.K. I met Shira at one of the Yeshua conferences. She urged me to return to my homeland and said that ‘I was needed there.’ Since Maoz has a strong prayer base for Jews all over the world to return to their God-given land, it was as though these prayers joined with my already existing longing to return; and indeed my heart’s desire was brought to fulfillment a short time later.

I have easily bonded with the Maoz vision of “All Israel shall be saved.” It seems no effort is being spared toward that goal--from nurturing a Messianic congregation that would make an impact on fellow-Israelis to respond to their Living Messiah, to translating books into Hebrew for new believers who need faith-building materials, to supporting the needy and hurting through the istandwithisrael.com fund, to investing in quality and depth of Biblical teaching.

As part of their calling to be a light to the nations, Maoz has been reaching out to remote places, such as, Burkina Faso in Africa. Ari and Shira have truly been God’s representatives there, encouraging the poor with the love of God and His heart for Israel. Then they inspired our congregation back in Israel to contribute financially toward improving the lives of people in such an underdeveloped African country.

Thanks to Maoz’ financial and prayer support of Arab congregations, Jews and Arabs can worship together in unity of heart and relate to each other in a newly found freedom, which is truly the fulfillment of the Lord’s heart for these two peoples.

I have been one of those who have been enabled by Maoz to materialize their calling. Maoz has helped me to finance my training in Biblical counseling. I currently serve as a counselor in the congregation, a fellow-laborer in the white fields, preparing for the harvest.”

Eric Morey
Founder and General Manager,
The Galilee Experience, Maoz U.S.A. Board Member
Tiberius
“I have been pleased and blessed to be a part of the Maoz Israel Board of Directors for two years now. Ari and Shira and their ministry team are doing great work in many areas. They have a vital Hebrew publishing service and one of the most effective congregations in Israel, bringing native-born Israelis to faith in Yeshua and also discipling them.

One of the areas of their ministry that I MOST appreciate is istandwithisrael.com. They are raising funds through this ministry, which are being channeled directly into the hands of believers in the Land who have specific needs. I am personally acquainted with some of these cases and I know the very positive impact these gifts are having.”


January 2006

Dear Maoz Partner,

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOD GETTING READY TO DO THIS YEAR?!

It is clear to us that these are the days that Isaiah prophesied would come upon the peoples of the world in the last days: “For behold, darkness will cover the earth....”

OK…so that’s about the earth....

But what about us? Isaiah promised: “But the Lord will rise upon you...and nations will come to your light.” Isaiah 60:2-3

This prophecy is addressed to the believers in Israel AND all the believers in the world who have been grafted into Israel’s olive tree! This means you and me!

So as it gets darker, our Light shines clearer and brighter! As gross darkness covers the peoples, the glory of the Lord will certainly rise upon us who are redeemed by God. He has promised it!

So what is God going to do this year through you and through us? He is going to empower us to:

1. Raise up leaders to pastor Congregation Tiferet Yeshua and plant additional congregations.

2. Strengthen the Israeli Body of believers economically.

3. Publish twelve or more books in Hebrew.

4. Preach Yeshua the Messiah and evangelize our people.

5. Energize an army of intercessors in Israel

6. Build the faith of Israeli believers to experience signs and wonders

7. Bless other ministries in the Land.

You enable us to do this and more. You partnership is just as necessary and significant as our part in the work we are doing here on location.

And we always keep in mind that as the number of born-again Israelis grow, so will the outpouring of God’s Spirit increase across the world, including your world for God has so ordained. (Romans 11:12-15)

It’s one of the very few certainties of our world that God is preparing us, the Body of Messiah that is alive today, for the Day when all Israel shall be saved!

Your continued partnership is part of God’s plan to bring Israel the Message of Repentance and Redemption which will inturn be a catalyst to world revival.(Joel 2:28)

May God bless the work of your hands and give you great treasure in Heaven!


Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram

 
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As The World Turns... Against Israel

 

 
  Monthly Report: January 2006 Click for PDF

 

 

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By Shira Sorko-Ram

Last November 29, the UN hosted its 27th International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The UN website states that November 29 was chosen because of its “meaning and significance” to the Palestinian people. Exactly what meaning is the UN referring to? On that day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (II), which resolved that a Jewish state and another Arab state would be created out of what was left of Palestine (after over half of the Holy Land had already been awarded to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan).
 
The Jewish inhabitants accepted their tiny state. The Arabs would not and did not accept the UN resolution nor the existence of a Jewish state. Thus began the Palestinian obsession to “push the Jews into the sea.” And so while Israel remembers November 29 for the UN’s recognition of the legitimacy of a Jewish state - however tiny - the Arab world has memorialized it as “Al-Nakba,” the Disaster.

Now, each year the UN hosts a formal event and commiserates with the Palestinians over their misfortune from the UN’s passage of resolution 181! This year a map of the Middle East was presented at the event attended by Kofi Annan and the presidents of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, but the state of Israel was no where to be seen on the map!

PALESTINIANS SEE A TIPPING POINT AHEAD

Although the Arab nations have not been able to destroy Israel militarily, they now believe they are finally on their way to success. By pouring billions of dollars yearly into public relations with governments, the media, universities and churches throughout the world, Palestinians feel certain they are winning the war by turning world opinion against the legitimacy of the nation of Israel.

The Palestinian public relations war is bearing much fruit, especially in the West. One of their tools is launching campaigns to boycott all Israeli products and apply sanctions against international companies that do business with Israel.

Some Palestinian Christian ministers have targeted the church in their propaganda war, and the results have been astounding. Naim Ateek, a former Anglican canon, has fine-tuned a sophisticated message of active hatred toward Israel. Though based in Jerusalem, he refuses to state that the Holy City is in Israel. Rather he gives his physical address as Jerusalem, via Israel!

He preaches in liberal U.S. churches that the Israeli government’s “crucifixion system” is causing Palestine to become “the place of the skull.” Israel’s occupation of the Holy Land, he says, is “like the boulder sealing Christ’s tomb.” He charges, the Palestinian Christmas celebrations have been “marred by the destructive powers of the modern-day ‘Herods’ who are represented in the Israeli government.” (Jerusalem Post, 24June05)

WILL THE REAL FRIENDS OF ISRAEL STAND UP!

 

In the past, liberal theologians have warned Israelis and American Jews against evangelical Christians, charging that their love for Israel is not rooted in regard for the Jews, but merely “a byproduct of their desire to witness the Second Coming of Christ.”

However, Israel is not only increasingly appreciative of evangelical Christians, but is increasingly anxious about the all-out anti-Semitic war now being perpetrated by some liberal branches of Christianity and their Palestinian associates.

For example, one third of the Anglican’s church statements on human rights issues have been aimed at Israel, whereas, nations such as China, North Korea, Syria or Saudi Arabia who have intolerable human rights records have never even been mentioned.

In the last couple of years, many liberal churches have initiated anti-Israel campaigns - that is, they have resolved to withdraw investments from companies owned by Israelis, or that even do business with Israeli companies, and these churches suggest that all of their members do the same.

Last summer, a Presbyterian committee accused megacompanies such as Caterpillar, Citigroup and Motorola of contributing to the “ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine,” and pledged to use the church’s multimillion-dollar stock holdings in the businesses to pressure them to stop. The church has about 2.4 million members. (Ibid., 7July05)

 

Following the example of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., the World Council of Churches, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church have all suggested divestment from Israel in the past year. (Ibid.)

In June 2005, the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham, England, unanimously recommended the anti-Israel divestment policy around the world. Their resolution followed a decision by the U.S. Episcopal (Anglican) Church to take steps to prevent its churches’ investments from “inadvertently supporting Israeli occupation.” (Ecumenical News International, 5July05)

When the United Church of Christ was considering the introduction of anti-Israel divestment issues, a committee of anti-divestment speakers won a commitment from the UCC not to include a call for divestment against Israel. However, at the last minute, John H. Thomas, president of the UCC, held a clandestine late-night meeting, inviting only a select group of men, and pushed through a strong divestment resolution. He later wrote that had they not passed the resolution, “[It would have been] injurious to our relationships with Palestinian partners. In addition, we felt it would send the wrong signal to the Jewish community [i.e. they might think the UCC approved of Israel’s policies].” (http://www.ucctruths.com/2005 AugustArchive.html)

Divestment calls are being led by a network of dozens of Palestinian charities, unions and non-governmental organizations. Such organizations provide bridges to wide church involvement in this propaganda campaign. Even organizations such as Christian Aid, World Vision and War on Want use the ever-present double standard of singling out Israel for excessive attack but failing to even mention the terrorism that is dedicated to extinguishing the Jewish state. (J.P.17July05)

 

Of course, the World Council of Churches claims it is calling for divestment in order to work “for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.” American Jewish leaders like Rabbi David Rosen said, “The divestment call, far from furthering reconciliation only increases a climate of delegitimization of Israel, drawing an unjust parallel between Israel and South Africa.” It clearly gives encouragement to the Palestinian public that one day Israel will no longer exist. (Ibid.,2Aug05)

The outspoken Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, himself a Jew, condemned “the delegitimization and demonization of Israel.” He declared that this is nothing more or less than the classic anti-Semitic symbolism of Israel as the “poisoner” of the international “well” that has plagued Israel for 2000 years. (Ibid.,21July05)

 

And so we ask: Why are politicized church groups calling for divestment from Israel but not from countries well-known for their terrorism, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria?
Simple…fulfillment of scripture: And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. (Zechariah 12:3)


Maoz Partners write letters to the Government of Israel:

Sharon Andrews
700 Club UK & Europe Office

Sir, - We have just read about the persecution of the Messianic Jews in Arad by the Ultra-Orthodox Gur Hassidim.

We Evangelical Christians support Israel in every way we can, but we do not and will not look the other way while this persecution is happening to Jewish Believers in Jesus. If this situation is shown on the Christian media, and I believe it should be; then you will not be seen in a very favorable light by millions of Christians.

To allow this group of religious extremists to shout obscenities about Jesus - and especially at the children of Jewish Messianic believers - is absolutely deplorable! The police, who do nothing about it, are also as guilty.

The Gur Hassidim are not behaving in a Godly way. If this type of treatment was happening to Jewish people by other religious groups, then they would be called Anti-Semitic. Clearly the Gur Hassidim’s actions are no different!

We urge you to stop this persecution from happening and make such actions a criminal offence for them to do so in the future. You are a democracy and this activity should NOT be allowed to happen.

 
Margarita Sanderford
Alvarado, TX
Sir, - I recently read a sad account of Israelis persecuting their own people in the town of Arad. I was appalled to see and read of similarities of how the Germans treated the Jews not too many years ago. I have been so blessed to visit Israel twice and I so admire and love the people of Israel. Needless to say, it is incredible to see pictures and read and hear how atrociously fellow Jews are treating one another! Is the Israeli government intervening?
A much concerned tourist.
 
 
  
Sharon Sanders
Unknown
Sir, - I have been made aware of intense harassment of a small group of Messianic believers in Arad by the Orthodox Jews there called Gur Hassidim, even to the burning of one of their buildings. The local police and mayor are aware of the situation but will not do anything about it. Why is the situation being allowed in a democracy where freedom of religion is protected?

Alexandria Yeargan
Bakersfield, CA

Sir, - I am a Christian in the United States and was outraged while reading the monthly Report I get from Maoz Israel Ministries in regard to what is happening to the Messianic Jews in Arad, Israel. It is absolutely incredible, unacceptable and entirely non-democratic. The very intense persecution of Messianic Jews in the southern Israeli city of Arad, is by a large group of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews called the Gur Hasiddim. This all started taking place in March of 2004.

I am appealing to you to investigate this for yourself and all concerned: The mayor, the city government, and police force need to be held accountable for allowing this to happen.
 
  
Gary Curtis
General Manager of KTLW Radio Network
The Church On The Way
Van Nuys, CA
Sir, - I am terribly concerned about the reported intense, public persecution of Messianic Jews in Israel, especially in the southern city of Arad!

My understanding is that the Israeli authorities there turn a blind eye to the Haredi harassment, attacks, vandalism and even alleged arson in the burning of a chess-playing club owned by one of the Messianic minority. Newspapers report that even the police fear that there will soon be the loss of life in this wave of intense persecution against this religious minority.

Is there Freedom of Worship in democratic Israel or not?

I’m told that in the Jewish State of Israel you can be a Buddhist, a Bahai, or even a gay or lesbian - and your democratic rights are fully protected and upheld. But if you are a Messianic Jew, civil rights are overlooked; and authorities will only take action to protect your life and liberties if and when there is bloodshed. Is this correct? Is this correct in Arad??

If so, this is unacceptable in a free, democratic society!

I (and our many thousands of Evangelical Christian listeners to our radio network) urge YOU to actively respond to this trampling of the rights of the Messianic believers in all Israel and particularly in Arad. Please show the world that you have learned the lessons of the 1930s in Germany and that Freedom of Worship in Israel includes an active tolerance for the beliefs of all people—especially minorities like the Messianic Jews.

May I please request a response from you? Thank you.

Katrina Casey
Richmond, VA
Sir, - My name is Katrina and I am a 16 year-old American Jew. I am writing to express my concern for the residents of Arad who are being brutally persecuted by the Chassidim. Because I love and support Israel so much, it is deeply disturbing for me to see pictures of religious Jews screaming at Israelis and shouting obscenities reminiscent of Nazi persecution, only because they have differences of belief.

Israelis have enough persecution from terrorist groups and the surrounding nations - must Israelis also be attacked by their own brothers?

Moreover, I understand that upon the burning and destroying of a local Bible library/chess club belonging to these persecuted Messianic Jews, the police showed absolutely no concern for the people who were the victims of the terrorist-like acts that are being done in Arad.

This inhumanity and cruelty must be stopped immediately. If it is not, Israel’s foreign policy, tourism industry, trade, religious freedom, public security, reputation, and immigration will surely be drastically affected.

I am asking you, Israel’s government, to put an end to this violence and to the decidedly anti-democratic crimes which the Gur Chassidim are committing.

Mark Radcliffe
Shady Spring, WV

Sir, - Please enforce the Israeli Knesset Basic Laws in Arad, Israel. A large sect of Orthodox Jews is persecuting a small group of Believers in Jesus. It should be clear to everyone in Israel that Believers in Jesus are the best friends Israel has around the world. Gentile believers around the world know that Jesus was a Jew and came “to the Jews first.”

Politically, I support Israel because of my faith in Jesus. Millions of believers around the world support Israel because of their faith in Jesus. Why should Orthodox Jews persecute believers who support Israel? Why do Muslims get protection under the Israeli Basic Law but not followers of Jesus who support Israel? Muslims believe Israel must die but followers of Jesus believe Israel must live! Why don’t you support believers in Jesus who believe in Israel?! Do Orthodox Jews have a death wish for the state of Israel? Their actions in Arad are reminiscent of Nazi persecution of Jews before WWII! Please enforce the democratic safeguards of your Basic Law!

Yolanda Esquer
Masa, AZ
Sir, - Is the government there blind? I think not. This situation has been brought to the attention of Arad’s Mayor Brill. He has done NOTHING!! The newspaper reporter is quoted as saying, “While Mayor Brill buries his head in the sand, 200 Messianic Jews in his city are persecuted in a manner which is reminiscent of sights from the exile period.”

What is really frightening in the internet video [see November 2005 Maoz Israel Report] are the actions of the Orthodox children. A seed of HATE is being planted. You see one little boy sticking his tongue out and making faces. Those adults are transferring and planting a seed of hate. I think that this hatred is the greatest injustice.

Put out these sparks of anti-Semitism!!! Please do SOMETHING before someone dies or gets hurt. PLEASE!! These Messianic Jews should be afforded their rights to practice their beliefs in peace.

W.&D. B.
Australia
We have always been strong supporters of Israel and speak up for your nation in every way possible. Therefore we are greatly alarmed and grieved to learn of Jews persecuting Jews in Arad. This treatment of Messianic Jews is horrifying for a nation we had always believed to be fair and just to all its citizens. As news of this persecution reaches the media of Australia, what can we say as supporters of Israel? All peoples living in Australia, including Messianic Jews, can live in peace and worship according to their convictions. We call on you to rectify this situation and bring protection and normalcy in Arad so that all Israeli citizens can enjoy peace and justice. We look forward to hearing from you.

Barbara Garvin
Bradenton, FL
Sir, - This persecution is a violation of human rights to life and liberty, as well as a violation of the democratic right of freedom of worship and the right of economic freedom. Messianic Jews should not be denied these rights. They should be protected by the Jewish State of Israel at least as much as people of other religions and beliefs are protected.
“Shema Ysrael! Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might - and thy neighbor as thyself.”

You may send your own letter of protest by email to the Israeli Police spokesman at akam@police.gov.il or the Justice Ministry at yaelk@justice.gov.il

 

Return to Arad
by Cookie Schwaeber-Issan

It has been about three months since my last visit to Arad; and although I had hoped that things would have improved for the believers there, I soon discovered that the situation had actually worsened.

This time, returning with my husband who is the accountant for Maoz, our goal was to present much needed financial help to both the congregational leader, Yakim Figueras and also to Eddie and Lura, the owners of the King’s Men Chess Club and Bible Shop that had been tragically burned down.

We arrived at the very modest home of Yakim. In the kitchen, his wife who was eight-months pregnant, was home-schooling their four children. As Yakim began to update us on his situation ,it was clear from the onset that he did not view his persecutors as the enemy nor did he even want, at this point, to take legal action against them. However, the weekly crowds of ultra-Orthodox Gur Hassidim still persist in gathering in front of his house--screaming and threatening his family as well as others in his congregation.

However, he has recently composed a letter which he intends to send to the Office of Religious Affairs (essentially the Prime Minister’s office), Public Security, the Foreign, Ministry, the State Comptroller’s Office and the President of Israel. His letter will let these officials know the depth of the persecution that he and his congregation are experiencing with no let up in sight. And the letter will also inform the authorities that these people feel that their freedoms are being seriously violated in a country that democracy and freedom of religion.

The Supreme Court has permitted the assembly of up to 50 persons in front of a private citizen’s house for the purposes of demonstration. This matter is being legally challenged by another one of the persecuted believers and is still pending a decision. When we inquired about the reaction of Yakim’s surrounding neighbors, he told us that many of them are Russian Jews who immigrated to Israel within the last ten years. They have been quite vocal with these Orthodox, letting them know that they do not feel welcome in their neighborhood.

Yakim strongly believes that God is going to use this small desert town to proclaim Yeshua in a way that perhaps the rest of the country has not yet seen. But Yakim has had to pay a price for his faith. Once discovered by the Orthodox to be a believer in Yeshua, extreme pressure was placed on his employers to fire him from his excellent position as social worker in a Beer Sheva boarding school.

Though his bosses fought hard to keep him, Yakim felt it was time to leave in order to work full-time in ministry and oversee his growing congregation. And indeed, though some searchers have been frightened away from the congregation because of the persecution, others are coming because of the free publicity that the Gur Hassidim are giving them. Although a substantial sum of financial assistance his family was receiving from another ministry was coming to an end as of January 2006, Yakim had no intention of leaving Arad. He was simply bringing this request before the Lord whom He believed would faithfully provide. He has!

We were able to present Yakim with the first of many monthly checks (which he informed us was nearly the identical amount of what he had been receiving).It is our hope to continue this assistance for a long time to come, believing in the worthiness of this living testimony. We continue to pray for the Spirit of the Living God to breathe upon this town (which has the purest air in all of Israel) and use these events to bring forth a great awakening to the citizens of Arad which will spill over and impact the rest of the country.

From Yakim’s house, we continued on to the marketplace in the center of town where the once burnt-down chess club is undergoing steady restoration as funds come in. Eddie took us through the very small structure which houses the club for the faithful pensioners. They wouldn’t miss a day of domino and chess playing with those who have become for them a close-knit family. Eddie showed us the large 5-gallon bottles of water that are ordered regularly and stored in the club, providing these men with the ability to walk in and make themselves as many cups of tea or coffee that they would like during the day. He says, “This small service makes them feel they are important.”

About five weeks ago, Eddie and Lura began to hold Shabbat services at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, immediately after the Shabbat morning tournament finishes. A few of the pensioners have begun to attend. They feel called to pray for the sick, knowing that the signs and wonders which will undoubtedly follow their prayers will draw others in as they see lives change.

We presented Eddie and Lura with a $10,000 check to rebuild the club and properly secure it with cameras and an alarm system. They quickly began making the rounds from table to table, showing these elderly men that believers in Yeshua from all over the world wanted to invest in them. These men could hardly believe their eyes! It was quite a scene. We cannot express how blessed and privileged we feel to be able to tangibly help the believers of Arad to stand strong in the face of this persecution which has been ongoing for several years. In recent months, the persecution has escalated to alarming proportions.

We returned home with the knowledge that something of great significance is about to break loose in Arad which will begin to shake this desert area of Israel in a new way. We ask you to continue to pray for the believers as it’s not easy to live under these difficult conditions day after day. Mostly, we ask you to pray for the eyes of the persecutors to be opened to see their Savior, the One pierced that theirs will be a Damascus Road experience which will radically change the fabric of this nation as we continue to claim Romans 11:26 “All Israel Shall Be Saved.”


Form Response From Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Maoz partners: (Note our comments in red to their response!)

Thank you for your query.

Israel does not discriminate on the basis of religious affiliation or creed. Christian and Muslim citizens and permanent residents of Israel enjoy full equal rights. Messianic Jews who are citizens also enjoy equal rights. [This is obviously an inaccurate statement in regards to the believers of Arad.]

However, a Messianic Jew from abroad who seeks to become an Israeli citizen will not be considered acceptable under the Law of Return, which excludes Jews who have taken up another religion. [The subject of Messianic Jews who have immigrated has little to do with the persecution in Arad because Jewish immigrants, native-born Jews and Christians married to Jews are all being persecuted.] Native born Israeli Messianic Jews cannot lose their citizenship by virtue of their religious beliefs.

Friction has occurred between groups of Messianic Jews and their surrounding communities, whenever the Messianic Jews have been perceived as attempting to proselytize. [The ultra-Orthodox wish to make their own rules. There are no better organized and well-padded campaigns to garner Jewish converts to their brand of Judaism than the missionary efforts of the ultra-Orthodox of Israel. They stand at traffic lights, handing out literature and soliciting donations, own cafes and centers around the country. They have counters in the airport and other public places. They offer university scholarships and many other benefits to young people who will attend their synagogues, etc. Secular Israeli parents have in sorrow told us that their own children have been lured away and separated from them after being proselytized by the ultra-Orthodox.]

This is because non-messianic Jews consider them [i.e. Messianic Jews] apostates bent on proselytizing Jews and luring them away from the Jewish people. This is particularly so regarding Jews from the former Soviet Union who lack a strong Jewish upbringing when they come to Israel and face a crisis of identity. [Seventy percent of Israelis are secular and do not have a “strong Jewish upbringing” if that is interpreted as meaning they have not been brought up in an Orthodox home. Democracy by definition demands a free exchange of ideas through non-violent means.]

What seems to be hard for supporters of Messianic Jews to accept is that their very presence might be the cause of considerable friction with their Jewish neighbors, particularly when they are perceived as attempting to proselytize their Jewish neighbors. With all due respect to the religious freedom of Messianic Jews, if their behavior is perceived as antagonistic vis a vis the religious freedom of Israeli Jews, they invite a negative response.[This “negative response” of intolerance and hatred is the same spirit that Muslims display towards Israel. As this letter confesses, “their [the Messianic Jews] very presence” incites violence and intimidation among ultra-Orthodox.]

That said, there is of course no justification for violence, whether verbal or otherwise. If Messianic Jews feel they have been the victims of violence or any other injustice, they have recourse to the police, the courts, and the media. [The police have been contacted numerous times and have done nothing. There is a legal case pending which has been initiated by persecuted believers from Arad.]

Curiously, despite the recent, well orchestrated campaign in the United States on behalf of the Messianic Jews of Arad, [The government is clearly aware of letters protesting the persecution!] there has been only a single report in the Israeli press about harassment. [There have been 26 newspaper articles in Israel that we know of, and two Israeli TV reports. The believers, being a tiny minority, have been disinclined to aggressively fight the persecution.] This is the kind of story that would generate lots of coverage -- were there much substance to it.

The Gur Hassidim are evidently reacting to what they perceive as attempts to proselytize Jews. Israeli Jews don’t proselytize Armenians, or Arab Christians, or Arab Muslims, or Hindus, or anyone else. On the other hand, throughout history Christian groups have tried to convert Jews, often by the sword. [It is true that Christianity has a grave history of trying to force Jews to convert. Nevertheless, today, in the democratic state of Israel, there must be a free flow of ideas and religious freedom, else the State cannot be democratic. Today, the Bible-believing Christians throughout the world are Israel’s best friends. Furthermore, the Messianic Jews of Israel are strongly against converting Jews to another religion. Rather, they are bringing their people back to the truths of the Bible, back to the God of Israel and back to Yeshua, the King of the Jews.] It is unfortunate when the most loving, God-fearing, Messianic Jews ignore this and are then surprised or affronted by the hostility of believing Jews who consider them to be a threat.

Since your query relates to an internal issue, please contact the Israel Police spokesman: akam@police.gov.il. If you fail to obtain satisfaction from the police, you could try our Justice Ministry at yaelk@justice.gov.il. You might also consider writing a letter to the editor of The Jerusalem Post [letters@jpost.com] or Haaretz [feedback@haaretz.co.il] newspapers. [GOOD IDEA!]

Information and Internet Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem


Comments from Maoz Board Members

Jeff Forman
Rabbi, City of David Messianic Congregation
Maoz Canada Board Member, Toronto
“I have just returned from visiting Maoz Ministries in Israel and I was deeply impressed by several aspects of the ministry.

First, being a Messianic Rabbi myself, I know the importance of the local Messianic congregation - it is the very heart of Jewish revival. Ari and Shira’s congregation, Tiferet Yeshua, is a dynamic and growing Messianic Congregation in the midst of Tel Aviv, Israel. Their 10th anniversary service which I attended was packed with Israelis and was exciting. When Ari asked how many people had begun to attend the congregation in the last two years, I was amazed to see a majority of hands go up. This shows that Jewish revival has intensified in Israel in the last two years and that Tiferet Yeshua is poised and positioned to reap and to disciple this new harvest. These young believers are blessed to be under their seasoned leadership.

Secondly, the work Maoz is doing to translate books into the Hebrew language is remarkable and of monumental importance. Being in the basement of their headquarters and looking at pallets of books that have been translated into Hebrew, I saw before my eyes the means by which the nation can be discipled. These outstanding books are being used not only by Maoz, but also by ministries throughout Israel to teach and disciple new believers and to train and strengthen new emerging leaders in Israel.

Finally, I was amazed by the amount of financial assistance that istandwithisrael.com has given to individual Israelis in need, to ministers of the Gospel who are in need and to various Messianic ministries throughout Israel. I consider it an honor to be associated with such an effective and generous ministry in the land of Israel.”

Norma Sarvis
Succat Hallel Intercessory Ministry
Katzir Youth Ministry, Maoz U.S.A. Board Member
Jerusalem
“I so appreciate Maoz and their heart for this nation. I see a deep desire to raise up a generation of leaders in the Body and a generation of nation-changers who will impact Israel for the furtherance of the Kingdom. I personally have seen them help those who are desperate and hurting. For the first time Israelis have access to Spirit food in the books that Maoz is translating and offering to the Body at large.”

Jonathan Bernis
Jewish Voice Ministries International
Maoz U.S.A. Board Member, Phoenix, Arizona
“While I was in Israel recently to attend the Maoz board meetings, I was amazed to see first hand the scope of the work Ari and Shira are leading. In particular, I was deeply impacted when I saw the massive stockpile of books Maoz has recently printed that are ready for distribution throughout the country. Dozens of other titles are waiting to be translated and printed. All that is needed is the finances.

There are only a handful of ministries in Israel that are making a difference and truly reaching out to the indigenous population. Maoz is one of them. I consider it a privilege to be part of such an effective ministry reaching God’s Chosen People!”


Dr. Dan (and Helen) Delap M.A.,D.O.
The New Jerusalem Dancers
Maoz Administrator, Maoz UK, London
The Bible teaches us that God’s end-time plan for the world depends upon His beloved people Israel turning back to him and inviting His Son, the Messiah Yeshua, to return to Jerusalem. The devil hates this idea and will do everything possible to prevent it. That is why Messianic believers in Israel are involved in the most intense spiritual battle of all time. This is what motivates Helen and me to give so much time and energy to Maoz.

We have visited Israel many times in the last 10 years and have seen our congregation grow from a tiny beginning to a thriving vibrant force to be reckoned with, 250 strong. When we visited in October we were astonished at the dedication, talent, and professionalism of the team. The members of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua are truly living in obedience to the Lord’s command to love one another, to build up strong bonds, to witness to others, to develop leaders, to make wonderful music and to minister to one another. It was heart-warming to hear about the bonds of love between Jewish and Arab believers. There is a great children’s and youth ministry. We were particularly impressed by the high-tech equipment for recording tapes, videos and CD’s, and for printing and distributing Hebrew books.

The teaching of God’s Word is of paramount importance and Jews possess unique skills in explaining scripture. Members of Tiferet Yeshua are the beneficiaries of inspired exposition of the Word but it needs also to go out to the Nations. Already the message has been taken to Japan, Burkina Faso, India, the USA, Canada, England, Wales, Ireland and Germany. We long for the day when all Israel will be saved, when those greater riches will bless the whole world and the Word of the Lord will go out from Jerusalem.”

Gerry (and Niall) Griffin
SOMA, Ireland Ministries;
Colan (Healing Ministry)
Maoz UK Board Member
Northern Ireland
One of the many highlights of our trip to Maoz Israel was visiting Galina who was featured in the December edition of the Maoz Israel Report. It was great to witness the fruit of the istandwithisrael.com fund to help Israeli believers. Having got “knitter’s elbow” from knitting scarves sold in Ireland (which hopefully will raise over 1,000 or $1750) to contribute to this fund, Gerry was thrilled to see the value of such a fund.

We really enjoyed meeting so many people who were enthusiastic and evangelistic. We also enjoyed meeting many of the talented people you have: singers, musicians and technicians who produce videos and DVD’s to such a high standard and who also print books in Hebrew for distribution throughout Israel.

Finally the fellowship we experienced, especially at the barbecue, made us feel very welcome; and we felt that this event was a wonderful way of reaching out to those with questions and unbelievers. We send you our love and we remember you constantly in our prayers.

Ray Wilkerson
Maoz U.S.A. Board Member
Dallas, Texas
“Although I’ve been around the Maoz ministry for 17 years, serving as a board member has allowed me to spend more time in Israel--particularly during this past year when I was there for three weeks.

I could see on my visit this time that truly, people are the purpose. It seems the Lord is assembling an ‘A Team’ to lead the assault on the strongholds we all know exist in the land.

What they are producing is impressive...but who they are is even more impressive. Our people are committed to the vision that Ari and Shira have had for all these years. And now, the vision is becoming a reality every day. Books are being printed; lives are being changed; and families are prospering. The congregation is vibrant and growing. Truly Yeshua is Lord and Messiah of their lives! It is an exciting time to be a part of what God is doing in Israel through Maoz Israel Ministries.”

Fruma Knight
Maoz UK Board Member
Israel
“As a returning citizen to Israel from the U.K. after 20 years of absence, and after having prayed for years to take an active part in the spiritual awakening of Israel - it is a unique experience to witness firsthand the work of Maoz here in my homeland. My first encounter with Maoz was while I still lived in the U.K. I met Shira at one of the Yeshua conferences. She urged me to return to my homeland and said that ‘I was needed there.’ Since Maoz has a strong prayer base for Jews all over the world to return to their God-given land, it was as though these prayers joined with my already existing longing to return; and indeed my heart’s desire was brought to fulfillment a short time later.

I have easily bonded with the Maoz vision of “All Israel shall be saved.” It seems no effort is being spared toward that goal--from nurturing a Messianic congregation that would make an impact on fellow-Israelis to respond to their Living Messiah, to translating books into Hebrew for new believers who need faith-building materials, to supporting the needy and hurting through the istandwithisrael.com fund, to investing in quality and depth of Biblical teaching.

As part of their calling to be a light to the nations, Maoz has been reaching out to remote places, such as, Burkina Faso in Africa. Ari and Shira have truly been God’s representatives there, encouraging the poor with the love of God and His heart for Israel. Then they inspired our congregation back in Israel to contribute financially toward improving the lives of people in such an underdeveloped African country.

Thanks to Maoz’ financial and prayer support of Arab congregations, Jews and Arabs can worship together in unity of heart and relate to each other in a newly found freedom, which is truly the fulfillment of the Lord’s heart for these two peoples.

I have been one of those who have been enabled by Maoz to materialize their calling. Maoz has helped me to finance my training in Biblical counseling. I currently serve as a counselor in the congregation, a fellow-laborer in the white fields, preparing for the harvest.”

Eric Morey
Founder and General Manager,
The Galilee Experience, Maoz U.S.A. Board Member
Tiberius
“I have been pleased and blessed to be a part of the Maoz Israel Board of Directors for two years now. Ari and Shira and their ministry team are doing great work in many areas. They have a vital Hebrew publishing service and one of the most effective congregations in Israel, bringing native-born Israelis to faith in Yeshua and also discipling them.

One of the areas of their ministry that I MOST appreciate is istandwithisrael.com. They are raising funds through this ministry, which are being channeled directly into the hands of believers in the Land who have specific needs. I am personally acquainted with some of these cases and I know the very positive impact these gifts are having.”


January 2006

Dear Maoz Partner,

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOD GETTING READY TO DO THIS YEAR?!

It is clear to us that these are the days that Isaiah prophesied would come upon the peoples of the world in the last days: “For behold, darkness will cover the earth....”

OK…so that’s about the earth....

But what about us? Isaiah promised: “But the Lord will rise upon you...and nations will come to your light.” Isaiah 60:2-3

This prophecy is addressed to the believers in Israel AND all the believers in the world who have been grafted into Israel’s olive tree! This means you and me!

So as it gets darker, our Light shines clearer and brighter! As gross darkness covers the peoples, the glory of the Lord will certainly rise upon us who are redeemed by God. He has promised it!

So what is God going to do this year through you and through us? He is going to empower us to:

1. Raise up leaders to pastor Congregation Tiferet Yeshua and plant additional congregations.

2. Strengthen the Israeli Body of believers economically.

3. Publish twelve or more books in Hebrew.

4. Preach Yeshua the Messiah and evangelize our people.

5. Energize an army of intercessors in Israel

6. Build the faith of Israeli believers to experience signs and wonders

7. Bless other ministries in the Land.

You enable us to do this and more. You partnership is just as necessary and significant as our part in the work we are doing here on location.

And we always keep in mind that as the number of born-again Israelis grow, so will the outpouring of God’s Spirit increase across the world, including your world for God has so ordained. (Romans 11:12-15)

It’s one of the very few certainties of our world that God is preparing us, the Body of Messiah that is alive today, for the Day when all Israel shall be saved!

Your continued partnership is part of God’s plan to bring Israel the Message of Repentance and Redemption which will inturn be a catalyst to world revival.(Joel 2:28)

May God bless the work of your hands and give you great treasure in Heaven!


Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram

 
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