By Aaron Allsbrook
In the late 1940’s, a young Sephardic Jewish couple named Shua and Miryam Nahum packed up what belongings they had and made aliyah (immigration to Israel). Shua and Miryam were born in Tunisia, a small North African country where Jews have lived for over 2,300 years.
This was a difficult time for all who came in that great wave of Sephardic Jewish immigration. When Israel became a nation, the Muslim hatred turned on the Jews in their various countries, and they had to escape, often with only the clothes on their backs.
When they arrived at the “nation that was born in a day”- Israel, they faced a new language, a new economy and a new way of life.
They struggled to survive financially, and as did most of the new immigrants, they suffered extreme poverty. But they believed the God of their fathers had brought them back to their ancient homeland.
They settled in a very poor town called Lod - about 12 miles east of Tel Aviv. They started a family, and over the course of time they had four children - three boys and a girl: Shimon, Shlomi, Avraham and Olga. The town of Lod was not the best place to raise a family. It was a mixed community of Jews and Arabs - a wicked place of crime, prostitution and drugs. Over time, this negative environment took its toll on the children.
The Nahum Family at congregation tiferet yeshua: Batya, Shimon, Shlomi, Miryam, Yossi
(a relative who is a new believer), Shua, Avraham, Malka, Olga, Ronen
GROWING UP IN THE LAND OF LOD
The second son, Shlomi, was the first to have difficulties. Shimon and Avraham did well at school but Shlomi did not. So they felt that he might be better off in a religious institution (yeshiva). While attending this school, he learned all about Rabbinic Judaism and developed a great love for the Word of God. However, when Shlomi suffered a physically abusive experience with one of the school’s superiors, he left the yeshiva and vowed never to return. This event marked a terrible turning point in Shlomi’s life.
Around the age of 15, he began to take drugs, to cheat and to steal. He craved money and power. However, he was never content or happy; and he didn’t know why. By age 17, Shlomi found himself in crisis. He told his mother that if he didn’t leave Lod he would end up in prison. His mother decided then and there that the family would move to Herziliya, a city approximately 10 miles north of Tel Aviv.
In the new surroundings, Shlomi did change his life. He became interested in more sophisticated ways to obtain power and money. By the age of 21, he opened a hair-styling business that became very successful. He attracted well-known customers - some even powerful people who influenced Shlomi’s outlook on life. Shlomi said goodbye to his life of nonsense and commenced on a journey to work and to make money. And he did - he made lots of money, had lots of friends and became a well-known hairdresser.
However, with all this success, he was still not content or truly happy. He began to wonder, “Why do I always feel empty like this?” He asked questions, yet received no answers. He tried pills and religious amulets. He prayed from the siddur (Jewish prayer book), but there was still that deep void. Shlomi was successful according to the world’s standards, but he couldn’t earn, buy, or work hard enough to find true peace; he felt himself a tortured soul. He was simultaneously climbing up in the world and falling deeper into depression.
THE ELDER SON DEPARTS TO A “FAR COUNTRY”
As with so many young people who leave home to search out life - Shimon, the Nahum’s oldest son, left Israel for Holland to “experience life.” He embraced a life of sin to the fullest. Soon enough he ran out of money and was so poor that he couldn’t even buy food. His weight dropped from 185 lbs. to 95 lbs and he was desperate and near death from drugs and malnutrition.
Shimon, now a pastor in Jerusalem, gives the microphone to his mother, Miryam,
a soul on fire for Yeshua. She is articulate & passionate when she testifies of her faith.
At that point of desolation, Shimon ran into a group of believers in Holland who began to share with him about Yeshua. He responded quickly in defense, “I am Jew. I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - the God of Israel. I don’t believe in Jesus, the god of the gentiles.” But he could not fail to notice that these Jesus-followers were not embracing the debauchery and sinfulness that had brought him to such a desperate place. So he found himself inquiring, “Who is this Jesus?” These Dutch believers came to Shimon’s house and continued to share with him about Yeshua. Before they left, someone prayed for Shimon and told him, “Jesus will reveal Himself to you.”
Shimon thought nothing of it and went to bed. But then, the atmosphere around him started to change. Something was happening and a voice inside him said, “You shall never die.” Shocked and awed, Shimon somehow knew it was God. Although he did not understand it all, he knew that God was speaking to his heart. He blurted out, “Just to let You know, I repent!” He still believed he was going to die, but he wanted God to know that he truly did repent before he died! He heard no response - but not for long. A small voice inside him said in Hebrew, “Come to me!” Shimon couldn’t believe it. “I’m hearing God speak to me in Hebrew in Holland!” He reasoned, “But God, I’m such a sinner!” But the voice of the Lord persisted, “Come exactly as you are. I want you to return home to Israel. I want you to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and tell them about the Good News of the Kingdom.”
Shimon had no idea what this spiritual experience meant; he had never read Matthew 10:6-7, or any of the New Testament for that matter. But now he was sure that God was true, that he had encountered Him personally and that he had received everlasting life from Him. So the wayward son returned to the land of Israel and to his family. They were perplexed and distraught that Shimon now believed in Yeshua. But Shlomi, who was successful but unhappy, invited Shimon to live with him; and he even opened a business for Shimon. “After all,” he reasoned, “He is my brother!” His parents, on the other hand, weren’t so inviting.
They couldn’t get past the disastrous reality of their son bringing a belief in Yeshua home. His mother was in anguish and his father pronounced him dead. His brother Avraham simply said, “Leave me alone.” But Shimon would not be deterred with his new faith.
Shimon asked the Lord, “Now, that I am home, what am I to do?” His spirit urged him, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and tell them about the Good News of the Kingdom.” Shimon decided to go out to the desert to seek the Lord - to Ein Gedi, the place near the Dead Sea where David hid from Saul. Here Shimon waited on the Lord and prayed. As he sat meditating, Shimon noticed two young women walking nearby. Soon enough one of them looked at him and began to head straight for him. She told him bluntly, “God told me to talk to you.”
Shimon was ecstatic. He begged the girl to tell him why the Lord had told her to speak to him. She gladly shared that God was raising up an army in Israel and that he was to be a part of it. He instinctively knew that to be in this spiritual army, he needed to be with other believers. Until then, he had not met any born-again Jewish believers in Israel.
The woman told him about a congregation in Ramat HaSharon led by Ari Sorko-Ram who would disciple him. Shimon wasted no time; he moved in with the Sorko-Ram family. Shimon was a man with a single focus. He desired only to read the Word, to fast and to pray. He attended the congregation regularly and helped with various jobs at the ministry center. However, his concern turned to his family and their need to know the Messiah - especially his brother Shlomi.
Shlomi was going from bad to worse. His gambling was out of control, and he often squandered tens of thousands of shekels a night. He was depressed and drinking heavily. So Shimon prayed. In fact, he prayed for ten years! Whenever he visited Shlomi, he would leave a Bible open next to his bed. When Shlomi would return home, he would read this particular chapter, close the Bible and then pass out. During this time, Shimon met his wife-to-be, Batya, at the congregation. They were soon married and moved to Jerusalem. Then there were seven years of no contact between Shimon and Shlomi.
Shlomi is now in full-time ministry with his brother, Shimon
Shlomi grew angry because he felt his brother had deserted him. His life became one catastrophe after another business losses through gambling and a great dive in the Israeli stock market.
Then one day Shimon invited Shlomi and the whole family to come visit his house in Jerusalem for Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner. It was wonderful. Shlomi breathed in the warmth of the evening and listened as Shimon talked to their parents about belief in Yeshua. He asked his brother if the whole family could have Shabbat dinner with Shimon and Batya at least twice a month and they agreed.
Shlomi continued to visit his brother regularly, all the while sinking deeper and deeper into despair and hopelessness. Then Shimon suggested that they visit a new congregation the Sorko-Rams had started in the Tel Aviv area near where Shlomi lived. After the third invitation, Shlomi showed up at the congregation. What he saw was 30 people raising their hands, playing instruments and singing to the Lord. He panicked, “What am I doing here?” He looked for an escape; but he quickly stopped himself and thought, “I’ve come here; and out of respect for my brother and all those here, I should stay for at least 10 minutes.” So he sat there, listening to the singing.
SHLOMO MEETS THE NAME
Shlomi began to read the words of the worship song on the screen: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…” (Isaiah 61:1). As he looked upon the personal Name of God on the screen (Jehovah - regarded with great reverence by observant Jews), it seemed that the Name became alive. Shlomi couldn’t resist staring at the Name of God, the Name that was revealed to Moses at the burning bush. And like Moses, he felt he was on holy ground. He fell to his knees. He began to weep loudly so loudly that the whole congregation was riveted to the drama of a sinner coming to salvation during the worship actually before the sermon! He encountered the living God that day and surrendered his life totally to Yeshua. For months, Shlomi wept through every service that he attended.
Shlomi’s life turned 180 degrees. He closed all his businesses and moved back to his parents’ home. Like Shimon before him, for the first year he did nothing but pray, fast and read the Word. He shared the good news with everyone he met. He invited his parents to the congregation. They couldn’t ignore the incredible changes in Shlomi’s life. Miryam comments, “We had two good kids, Olga and Avraham, and then two not-so-good kids, Shimon and Shlomi. So when we started to see not just Shimon, but also Shlomi radically change, we knew there was something real about Yeshua.” The change in Shlomi’s life was so miraculous that his new life spoke louder than any words. Later, his mother testified in the congregation, “One day, I just decided, if Yeshua can do this in my two sons’ lives, then I want Him too!” Both she and Shua accepted Yeshua as their King and Messiah.
OLGA DREAMS DREAMS
It was at one of those family dinners that their youngest daughter Olga began experiencing an awakening in her heart. Years before, at age 12, Olga dreamed that she saw herself on a big mountain. God handed her a staff, just like Moses. She was puzzled by this dream and told her brother, Shimon. He explained to her that the Staff of Life is Yeshua. She admits to accepting Yeshua as the Truth at this time, but she didn’t make the step to invite Him to be her Lord. It was merely knowledge. But after a family dinner at Shimon and Batya’s, Olga had the same dream! Again she told Shimon of the dream. Shimon sowed more seeds into her heart but she still did not give herself to Him. God, however, did not give up on her.
She was soon married to a man named Ronen. All was fine and quiet for a year and half. God then made His move. After a long night’s sleep, Olga remembers, “I awoke, but my room wasn’t the same. Something was totally different. I was seeing and feeling strange things. I thought I was imagining things. Then it suddenly clicked. God had come into my room.” The Truth that remained dormant in her head all those years finally awoke and her heart was changed. How can it be explained? She was seeing life through her new spiritual eyes and her walk was set.
Her husband wanted no part of her new faith. At times he forbad her from attending the congregation. Olga began to pray and fast for her husband’s salvation, while Shlomi visited regularly, giving Bible studies in their home. After all, it was difficult for Ronen to brush off his brother-in-law, whom he dearly loved. After three years of faithful asking, seeking, and knocking, Olga saw her husband wonderfully receive the Lord. He has became a faithful member of the congregation and invited his mother and sister-in-law. Today, they too are believers!
Shua and Miryam with their pastor, Ari,
leader of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv.
THE “GOOD SON” REACHES OUT TO YESHUA
Avraham had truly been the “good son.” He had been a professional soccer player and had a good career and now he was a successful and honest businessman. But Avraham wanted nothing to do with belief in Yeshua. Avraham kept his distance but he could not help noticing that his brothers weren’t the same men he once knew. He watched massive changes take place in their lives and especially noted how they were honoring their parents and treating them with such respect and love. He also saw their lives turn from disaster to blessing. “Maybe there is something to this Yeshua?” he thought.
As the years passed by, Avraham and his wife started having some financial problems and difficulties with one of their children. The problems were big enough that he was willing to “give this Yeshua a try.” That’s a big step for a man who once wanted nothing to do with Yeshua. He thought, “My brothers’ lives are headed in the right direction now and they’re full of blessing.
Maybe I can find that path and go in the right direction and receive this blessing, too?” He went to Congregation Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv, and has continued to attend ever since. He admits that he is not yet sure if he has truly experienced the depth of salvation that causes changes in the heart that he wants; but both he and his wife, Malka, love the people and they want to believe in their hearts.
Avraham and Malka
Olga and Ronen
The Nahum’s are a uniquely blessed family. God has given each one of the Nahum’s a spiritual intensity for the Lord that is very evident. They are a vibrant family that boldly proclaims their faith among friends and neighbors. Shimon and Batya lead a congregation, Besorat haMalchut (The Good News of the Kingdom) in the heart of Jerusalem. Shlomi is a full-time evangelist who assists his brother, after having attended Tiferet Yeshua for nine years. Shua, Miryam, Olga, Ronen, all regularly attend Tiferet Yeshua and share Yeshua with all those around them while Avraham, and Malka are gaining ground. The story of the Nahum family is a special one and they are personally praying and working that other Israeli families will experience “family salvation.” The name, Nahum, means “comforted” in Hebrew. This family is part of the fulfillment of God’s commandment to “comfort, comfort my people” (Isaiah 40:1).
The enemy knows that the land of Israel is God’s land and that the people of Israel are God’s people (see Joel 3:2), so the warfare - both spiritual and physical - is monumental, but with great possibilities for victory. The lives of the Nahum family are a testimony of this overcoming power and faith. It is another step towards the fulfillment of the promise to see all Israel saved (Romans 11:26).
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Terrorism's Close Ally
By Shira Sorko-Ram
On August 14 a Fox News correspondent, Steve Centanni, and cameraman Olaf Wiig were kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Gaza. The international press gave little attention to the story until nine days later when a video of them was released by a group calling themselves the Holy Jihad Brigade.
Other videos followed: Olaf Wiig reciting an anti-western speech, and finally showing both Centanni and Wiig officially converting to Islam.
Olaf Wiig’s wife, Anita McNaught, herself a freelance BBC World television presenter, mobilized the TV networks and activated her connections in Gaza to put pressure on the mysterious terrorist gang to release the captives.
She met with Hamas terrorist leader Ismail Haniya who expressed his complete solidarity with Ms. McNaught for the immediate release of the two captives. He explained that kidnapping journalists is not good for the Palestinian cause. Other Palestinian Authority officials repeatedly stated that the Palestinians need the press to help them fight their battle against the Zionists.
Olaf Wiig (left) and Steve Centanni, videotaped by their kidnappers,
as they state they are converting to Islam
Indeed, as Hamas and Fatah watched the attention of the world’s media increasingly focus on Centanni and Wiig, the Palestinian leaders began to “hunt” for the men, until, on August 25, they were “found” and released - however, not before the two journalists were filmed converting to Islam. “We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint,” Centanni later told Fox News.
After their release, both journalists encouraged the other networks not to take their media people out of Gaza, which Wiig said, would be a tragedy for the Palestinian people. “Their story needs to be told,” he said. Olaf Wiig’s wife heaped mountains of praise on the Palestinian people and the heads of Hamas and Fatah.
Kidnap victims, reminds the Jerusalem Post, sometimes succumb to the Stockholm Syndrome, learning to love their captors. In this case, says a JPost editorial, the international community and press seemed to have developed this syndrome. Through the whole ordeal, the world’s media with all its colossal influence choose to essentially remain silent about the injustice of the kidnapping rather than annoy Gaza’s head honchos. No accountability or action was requested by the media and no outrage was directed at the PA’s blatant inaction. (26Aug06)
Contrast that, says the Jerusalem Post, with the venom spouted at Israel for bombing Hizbollah’s al-Manar television facilities during the Lebanon war. (Ibid.)
In the last few years, several dozen journalists have been kidnapped and released in Gaza. No one has ever been arrested, or even identified as having been involved in capturing foreign journalists.
Now, the emboldened Fox News kidnappers have issued a statement in which they warn, “Any infidel who comes to Palestine will be killed unless he converts to Islam.” (Ibid., 28Aug06)
“FAIR AND BALANCED” IN A WORLD OF DOUBLE STANDARDS
Of all the world media covering the Middle East, Fox News has been by far the most balanced. Balanced, in a secular sense, indicates that the reports objectively give both sides an opportunity to tell their story, each giving their different perspectives. The challenge is, of course, that Islam and the West are on different playing fields when it comes to goals, values and truth.
Fox News does attempt to give equal opportunity to the two sides. A resounding “not so” with networks such as the BBC and CNN and other European and Western networks that simply don’t report objectively both sides and are heavily biased in favor of Islamic aspirations for a variety of reasons.
Having left behind the moral compass of the Bible, the world media has had an enormous influence on the nations by creating their own rules of justice. Indeed, there is a basic double standard in the way the entire world treats Israel verses the rest of the Middle East. This double standard is felt by Israel on all fronts today it is Kofi Annan’s insistence that Israel pull out of South Lebanon, but his refusal to order UNIFIL to disarm Hizbollah, or even block the transfer of new weapons from Syria to Lebanon.
Yesterday it was Annan’s strong pleas for help to rebuild Lebanon, but nary a word concerning the 6,000 houses and buildings damaged or destroyed from 4,000 rockets launched by Hizbollah. The day before that, Annan and the European states refused to call Hizbollah a terrorist organization. Hizbollah is not even mentioned in Resolution 1701 the resolution which ordered a cease-fire between Israel and Hizbollah!
If Israel is struck by suicide bombers or terrorist acts, her response in self defense is usually reported as overreaction. Words such as disproportionate, aggression, war planes, occupation, gross violations, shocking, immoral, illegal, hostilities and attacks are generously scattered among reports involving Israel.
Words such as innocent victims, losses, suffering and anger are sprinkled throughout the media’s representation of the Arab side. How often have we heard reports from Gaza and the West Bank of the injuries and deaths “of women and children” while Israel’s casualties are usually “citizens.”
Take this example: Since Hizbollah terrorists double as civilians, virtually all the media reported 1000 Lebanese civilian deaths as a result of Israel’s raids with no militant or terrorist casualties among them!
WORDS ARE WEAPONS
These word-usages are subtle but very important. The world, including world leaders, react to what they see on TV. With Arab news stations proliferating, Western stations often simply rebroadcast the Arab propaganda. Why label it propaganda? Because Israel is presented as perpetrating atrocities, crimes against humanity, and defying international human rights and laws, while the barbaric acts of Islamic facist terrorist gangs for that is what they are are simply ignored or barely mentioned. The UN picks up the propaganda and runs with it. It almost always condemns Israel, with little or no mention of the initial terrorist acts perpetrated against the Jewish people.
What is expected of Israel is not expected of any other nation in the world. America would be delighted to target and assassinate bin Laden, but Israel could not target Arafat, who was the father of modern terrorism and responsible for hundreds of Israeli deaths. Why this double standard? What is at the root of anti-Israel reporting?
ISRAEL DOES NOT HAVE THE MORAL RIGHT TO EXIST
There is an underlying malignant belief which especially permeates European media that Israel really doesn’t have a moral right to exist. The Middle East, they believe deep down, belongs to the Arabs, to Muslims from time eternal. Yasser Arafat himself testified that his Muslim brothers were the “first Christians” in the Holy Land.
In other words, the Jews’ historic claims to the Holy Land are false. At the time Arafat was pontificating on the origins of Christianity, the world media duly quoted his claims as newsworthy, making little or no comment as to its historic authenticity.
The truth is, it makes post-Christian Europe and liberal Americans, not to speak of pagan Russians and Chinese, deeply uncomfortable to consider Jewish origins in the Holy Land, simply because its validity originates in a book called the Bible a document which claims to be written by God! What could be more threatening to the “prince of this world” than that? As is often repeated, it is not the existence of Israel that is so irritating to the world, but the existence of the God of Israel.
IF ISRAEL DIDN’T EXIST THERE WOULD BE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND ALL THE WORLD
This is another lie, a fiction, that much of the world has swallowed: Israel is a trouble maker. She is always at the center of war and destruction. If she would disappear, then the world would have peace. The Israeli media often observes the frustrated politicians in Europe and the UN, and even the U.S., who simply get tired of the “Israel-Arab crisis”. They would like it to just go away. Of course, it is irrational to believe that without Israel, peace on earth would spring forth.
Was Israel the cause of the Iraq-Iran war that claimed 1,000,000 lives? Does the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group’s attempt to topple the Egyptian government have anything to do with Israel? Would Iran’s lust for atomic weapons disappear if Israel disappeared? Would Afghanistan’s poppy-raising terrorists lay down their arms if there were no Israel to fight? And are Iraq’s power struggles between Shiites and Sunnis over Israel?
The reason there is war throughout the Muslim world is because radical Muslims with large majorities of sympathetic Muslim citizens behind them, want to create a world for the god Allah. In spiritual terms, this god wants to replace the God of Israel.
The Apostle Paul, or as we say in Israel, the Shaliach Shaul, told it like it is: Our struggle is…against the world forces of this darkness, (Ephesians 6:12) These world forces, then are using the world media as pawns to attain their goals.
A VEIL OF DARKNESS AND INCOMPREHENSION COVERS THE EARTH
And this leads us to the third cause for anti-Israel reporting. A deadly lethargic stupor has pervaded the world’s diplomatic and media spheres. There is incomprehension of what is really happening. A denseness, a self-induced coma. Either through fear or sympathy with the militant’s cause, media networks regularly hire westerners who faithfully report preposterously distorted news. Networks often employ Palestinian and Arab reporters (I’ve never seen an Israeli reporter hired) who have the same ambitions and world view as the terrorists regimes on which they are reporting.
In the recent Lebanese-Israel war, these networks followed around Hizbollah-led tours, dutifully repeating what the minders told them, staging photogenic but inaccurate scenes of “victims” and respectfully refraining from asking inconvenient questions such as operations in civilian buildings or about the existence of terrorist’s weapons stockpiles. Oh yes, and never ever calling Hizbollah attacks on Israeli citizens acts of terror.
They just don’t get it that the evil spirit-driven attacks against the existence of Israel will ultimately be directed against the very countries and institutions that are playing along with and pandering to Islam and its aspirations. Who cannot read the Koran and see that its Last Day scenario is to kidnap the world and force it at the point of a gun to convert to Islam or die? Who cannot understand that Iran is building a bomb to annihilate Israel first, take on the West second and then the rest of the world?
Of course, the Scripture still stands: Those who bless Israel shall be blessed. Those who curse her will be cursed. The Middle East Islamic world owns a gigantic land mass which is floating on oil. The world through the UN has poured in trillions of dollars to help the poverty-stricken Arab Muslim lands with what results? The Palestinians, who are the only people on earth with their own personal United Nations department that deals exclusively with financing and feeding them, (no such departments in Africa) have only seen a worsening of their situation.
A people who spend their days and nights, their livelihood and their lives plotting to destroy tiny Israel have ended up with nothing. And they spend their lives blaming Israel for all their troubles. If only Israel didn’t exist, then they would have it all.
A POWERFUL ALLY
But the Muslim haters of Israel, relentless to their cause, have discovered in our generation a willing partner to help them reach their goal to first destroy Israel, and then conquer the world. It is none other than the world media. For whatever reasons, it is known that individuals who choose a career in media are usually politically to the left of the general population of their particular countries. And they generally support all of the popular agendas of the left which now includes the demonization or discrediting of Israel.
Tom Gross, in a syndicated article, “Media Missiles. Working for the Enemy.” writes in several newspapers (see Google and Jerusalem Post, 2Aug06):
“Large sections of the international media are not only misreporting the current conflict in Lebanon. They are also actively fanning the flames. The BBC World Service has a strong claim to be the number-one villain. It has come to sound like a virtual propaganda tool for Hizbullah.”
To give you a typical example of the subtle and powerful manipulation of the news against Israel, he says that the BBC has repeatedly stated that Israel’s “attacks on Lebanon,” will serve as “a recruitment drive for al-Qaeda.” This statement delegitimizes Israel’s right to defend its citizens, and causes the viewer to believe that Israel is directly responsible for the growth of al-Qaeda.
Tom Gross continues, “But if anything is going to win new recruits for the likes of Osama bin Laden, it will not be Israel’s defensive actions, which are far less damaging than Western TV stations would have us believe, but the inflammatory and hopelessly one-sided way in which they are being reported by those very same news organizations.”(ibid.)
He goes on to say that “pictorial distortion” is even worse than their slanted comments and selective interviews. For example, though the destruction in Beirut is grievous, the areas bombed were limited to a small part of the city, specifically where the Hizbollah “deliberately ensconced themselves in civilian homes.” However, by showing the areas over and over again, it looked more like World War II, and again pictured Israel as an aggressor bombing innocent people.
However, compared to other conflicts in the world the casualties in Lebanon have been mercifully low. Yet, if you only watched the BBC you would never know that a million and a half people in Israel lived in stifling shelters or fled to the center of the country.
You would never know that 6000 houses and buildings were damaged or destroyed by 4,000 rockets. You would never know of the deaths of Israeli soldiers who lost their own lives trying not to endanger innocent Lebanese lives. You would never know that 750,000 hand-planted trees in Galilee, the greenest area of tiny Israel, have been destroyed, and will take another 60 years to grow back in this semi-arid climate.
According to Tom Gross, “CNN senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson admitted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civilian casualties in Lebanon, was stage-managed from start to finish by Hizbollah.” CBS’s Elizabeth Palmer commented on her report that Hizbollah is also determined that outsiders will only see what it wants them to see.
Gross went on to say that journalists were denied access in the areas controlled by Hizbollah. There was no way to check any of their stories or to know who was an innocent bystander and who was a “Hizbollah fighter by night”
He concludes, “But this is far from being an exclusively Jewish issue. Some international journalists seem to find it amusing or exciting to bait the Jews. They don’t understand yet that Hizbullah is part of a worldwide radical Islamist movement that has plans, and not pleasant ones, for all those Moslem, Christian, Hindu and Jew who don’t abide by its wishes.” (Ibid.)
In Isaiah, chapter 25 a chapter of the coming judgment on the nations and concluding with the conquering Kingdom of God, the prophet sees a better day: “And on this mountain (kingdom) He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples. Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. And he will swallow up death for all time…” (verses7-8)
There is a covering of blindness on the peoples. The press is controlled by mighty spritual powers using it for their own goals. There is a veil that prevents the world media from seeing and reporting the truth. This conflict is always the same the battle over good and evil and the struggle to open or close countries to the spread of the Gospel.
Today, the hosts of Allah are battling against the hosts of Jehovah. And they are using tactics that many born-again believers have not considered. But with knowledge and understanding, we can resist the evil day and stand firm, knowing that our prayers are powerful and that one day the Messiah of Israel will place His throne in Jerusalem.
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The Children of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua
As the growing Body of Messiah, the children are truly the Hope of Israel! Here is where our grass-roots growth takes place through committed, dedicated and talented teachers and overseers.
At the beginning of this school year, Ari and Shira and the staff honored the children who are graduating to the next class in our congregation’s Shabbat school.
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To the beautiful and troubled land of Israel, we have committed our lives. The vision is always before us the Bible’s promise that all Israel shall be saved! Saved from extinction, saved from our enemies, and saved by the power of Yeshua, our Messiah!
What especially motivates us is the understanding that the growth of the Body of Messiah in Israel is one of the most significant signposts as to where we are in God’s calendar of last day events. Not war, not famine, not pestilence, but the salvation of Israel resulting in “life from the dead” for many peoples. (Romans 11)
For that reason, our most concentrated labors have been in planting, growing and nourishing the local Body in the Tel Aviv area and encouraging other pastors as they raise up congregations around the country.
Planting a congregation in Tel Aviv has its own set of challenges as I am sure you are aware:
The average monthly salary in Israel is around $1600 before taxes.
One third of Israelis live beneath the poverty line (A growing gap between the many poor and the rich).
Rental costs, even in run-down areas (where we are) of crowded downtown Tel Aviv, are sky-high.
All of our leaders and worship team hold regular jobs and can only minister in the congregation after work.
Each new person who comes to faith needs special attention and individual discipleship as he or she usually comes from a background of knowing nothing about the Gospel, and struggles (at least at the beginning) against a hostile environment with family and friends.
Yet the Body grows!
We have 250 regular attendees, including 65 children, a growing youth group, a fine group of soldiers, young adults and many young couples and families — 65% are under 40 years old. We also have stable mature middle-age families and some of our older members are among our finest volunteers. (And we’re out of room!)
In other words, we have a growing, healthy, Hebrew-speaking, Spirit-guided congregation in the heart of Tel Aviv.
From the time we planted this congregation in 1996, we have taught the Scriptural basis for giving to the Lord that which belongs to Him.
Our people tithe! In the last twelve months, they have given over $142,000! Maoz Israel Ministries added another 30% in order to enable the congregation to continue its growth and expansion in outreach, discipleship and leadership training. That means you have a share in every precious Israeli who comes to faith — every person who matures in the faith and every believer who becomes a leader.
- We daily pray for the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit.
- We know we need spiritual breakthroughs in lives that come to faith.
- We need people with gifts of organization and administration as we expand.
- We need funds.
The challenges are great, but in every way... we are going forward!
As you give this month, you will be investing in the future of our youth, our leaders, our children, and the salvation of many more who will come to faith through the ministries of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua.
This month we invite you to join us in blessing and nourishing our congregation the local Body of Messiah of which the prophets foretold, would grow into a mighty army in the Latter Days.
Because He promised,
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
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