In this issue:
But he shall be saved out of it... "Jacob's Trouble"  |  Living in Israel and Making it Financially
Ultra-Orthodox: The Unrelenting Drag on Israeli Society   | The New Generation of Messianic Jews

                                   But he shall be saved out of it
                               "Jacob's Trouble"

 

 

Monthly Report: August 2008
Tamuz - Av  5768

Click for PDF

Terror in Jerusalem, July 2, 2008

Jerusalem terror act scene, July 2, 2008 


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By Asher Intrater

Our youngest son Amiel, age 16, was present at the terrorist attack on Wednesday, July 2, in Jerusalem. Here is his eye witness account:

I was walking towards the city center from the central bus station, waiting on a street island at the corner of Sarei Israel and Jaffa streets. Speeding down Sarei Israel came a huge bulldozer towards me which drove on top of a car and turned it into a pancake. The bulldozer continued its rampage, trying to run over another blue car. The driver in the blue car was spinning her  heels in panic, but she escaped.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  
  
 

 

I was standing to the right on the street island; a bus was on the left side. The bulldozer passed by me within a few inches while turning into Jaffa Street. It went head on into the bus. I was out of harm’s way now. The bulldozer continued to drive, turning right, hitting a bus stop filled with citizens running for their lives. He backed up, and continued driving.

An Orthodox young man passed by me running towards the bus shouting: “Weapon! Weapon! Does anyone have a weapon?”

The bulldozer continued. This time it crashed into a bus on its right, backed up, and then picked up the bus forcing it to fall on its side. The bus was full.

 

I tried calling 100 (the police) but the line was busy. Since I am a volunteer at the Jerusalem rescue squad, I called them at 101.

101: “Hello, this is Red Magen David.”
Me: “There is a terrorist attack on Jaffa! A tractor is hitting everything it sees.”
101: “Where on Jaffa?”
Me: “Drive from the station and you’ll see. It’s at the beginning of Jaffa next to the central bus station.”
101: “We’ll be there right away.”

Baby saved from terror act

Baby who was snatched from car
seconds before terrorist crushed car with mother in it.

 

Armed citizens, soldiers and policemen were running toward the terrorist loading their guns. Out of the upside down bus people were starting to come out. A woman carrying a baby crying, with blood stains all over them came out. A woman was being attended to on the floor, her leg was covered in blood, and her toes were completely crooked. A man came out, stained in blood, shouting in pain, “my shoulder,” and cursing the terrorist.

I called my mother to tell her I was ok. While I was talking to her, gunshots started going off. “Do you hear the gunshots Mom? They’re shooting the terrorist.”

It turns out that the young religious man who asked for a weapon was a commando soldier on vacation. He succeeded in borrowing a pistol from someone, and climbed up on top of the bulldozer, hand and foot, while the terrorist shouted “Allah Akhbar.” He shot the terrorist three times, killing him on the spot, stopping the rampage and slaughter.

Israel today mourns the loss of 3 dead and dozens injured. After all these years, “Rachel” is still “weeping for her children” (Jeremiah 31:15) at the hands of senseless, demonic violence. Yeshua also weeps for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Just as babies were slaughtered at the time of Yeshua’s birth (Matthew 2:18), and no one understood why it happened; so today, the people of Israel don’t understand why much of the world hates them.

 

Batsheva Unterman, mother of the baby

Yet in the midst of this tribulation, the Messianic remnant is continuing to grow in Israel. People are being saved everyday. A miracle is happening before our eyes. The New Covenant scriptures speak of a time of tribulation in the end times (Matthew 24, Mark 13). It also speaks of “all Israel being saved” - Romans 11:26. The idea of end time’s tribulation and of Israel being saved, both come from the same source.

Jeremiah 30:7 - “It is a time of tribulation for Jacob, and he will be saved from it.”

Daniel 12:1 - “There will be a time of trouble… and at that time your people will be saved.”

Batsheva Unterman, mother of baby.

 

When Paul (Saul) spoke of Israel’s salvation and Yeshua spoke of end time tribulation, they both had in mind these verses (among others). The tribulation and the salvation are connected to one another. From this we learn:
1. There will be tribulation in the end times
2. During that time, Israel will be saved
3. We will be here during that time to help bring about that salvation.

As Israel is in the process of being saved, the devil is panicking and furious because he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12). Israel’s salvation is the last stage of the kingdom of God before the Second Coming and the Resurrection of the Dead.

For almost two thousand years, it was impossible to think of Israel being a nation, let alone there being a revival within that nation. But today, despite Islamic Jihad and worldwide anti-Semitism, the nation of Israel has been reestablished, and there are over 10,000 Messianic Jews living in the land. All these believers are united in prayer, praise and prophecy that “all Israel will be saved,” and are willing to face the tribulation that will go with it.

 

A policewoman shot at the terrorist driving the bulldozer, hitting him on the side of the head, knocking him unconscious. A policeman jumped on board the bulldozer, saw the terrorist slumped over and thought he was dead. Seconds later, an Orthodox man threw a stone which hit the terrorist and woke him up. The terrorist,  an Arab from East Jerusalem, stepped on the gas and continued his rampage, hitting the car of  Batsheva Unterman. Passerbys saw a baby in  the back seat, pried the back door open and grabbed the baby. Dead terrorist in the bulldozer
The terrorist then hit the car again, flattening it completely and killing the mother. Batsheva’s  husband, Ido, an investment banker, only learned seven hours later that his wife had been killed. For years the Untermans had wanted to have children, and only six months ago their first child was born. Relatives of the Untermans claim the police did not confirm the death of the terrorist the first time (i.e. did not shoot again to make sure that he was dead) because they were paralyzed out of fear that legal action would be taken against them for unlawfully opening fire on a wounded terrorist. It was only after Unterman’s death that a soldier on leave jumped on the bulldozer and ended the killing spree with a borrowed pistol.

 

It is important in these times that we know the covenant promise of divine protection from evil.

Psalm 91:10-11 - "No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to protect you in all your ways."

We affirm this together as a family every Friday night before we eat the Sabbath dinner meal. Please join with us in faith and partnership.

Asher Intrater is the director of Revive Israel ministries and pastor of Ahavat Yeshua Congregation. For more information please check his website at http://www.revive-israel.org/.

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Living in Israel and Making it Financially
By Shira Sorko-Ram

Before you read any further, I must assure you that I am not an economist. Since Ari and I do not
have any stocks, we don’t really follow the stock market except to see on the news if it is going up or down. Our prayers for the economy of America, Europe and Israel basically have to do with how it will affect the outreach of the Gospel.

However, as a local citizen in Israel, I can give you a glimpse of the Israeli economy and how it is being impacted by the U.S. and Western Europe - from the perspective of the average Israeli.

First of all, there is no way around it - Israel’s economic success is a miracle. Period. The nation has made amazing strides since I first immigrated here in 1967.

Then, Israel was a true third-world country. The only vegetables I could find in the market were cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage and eggplants - and a few other root-type vegetables that I could not identify.

Toilet paper was not like anything I had seen before in my lifetime. To make a phone call to the U.S. I went to the central post office in downtown Jerusalem, waited in a long line, and then when my turn came, I dialed over and over for perhaps 30 minutes before the line connected.

People waited one or two years for telephones (in some neighborhoods as long as 10 years) and Coca Cola arrived the day after the Six Day War - because the West Bank that Israel conquered had a Cola factory there. (Before that, Coca Cola had refused to build a factory in Israel for fear the Arab nations would blacklist the soft drink.)

My neighbor in Jerusalem who was a middle level government employee and who edited the annual Israel government year book made $500 a month. There were few well-to-do individuals in Israel then and people were genuinely not lusting after riches. Their main interests in life were to have warm relations with their extended families and they spent most of their time at home with family and friends.

The kibbutz, a communal village, was a marvel and a point of great pride to the Jewish nation. Kibbutz members (many of the founders were professionals from other nations) had left all to become farmers, sheep herders and cattle raisers, all for the sake of establishing and nurturing the new baby state. They owned everything in common - at that time - and shared according to the needs of each member.

Tel Aviv had one miserable-looking “skyscraper” of 34 floors, which was always pointed out with pride as “the tallest building in the Middle East.” The highest ambition of the typical Israeli family was to help their children be able to purchase an apartment when they married (meaning a small living room, a tiny kitchen and one or two small bedrooms with one bath).

Intense Inflation and Recession at the Same Time

Though some progress was made over the next 20 years, economic growth was agonizingly slow. We had the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Lebanese War in the 80’s. By 1984, inflation had leaped to 445% and was fast moving toward 1000%. You have to live in such an environment to understand the chaos such inflation causes. Literally, every day prices of everything were going up up up.

Finally Shimon Peres, who became prime minister in 1988 (and is now our president) was able to bring inflation down to 20% by strong government price supervision, but in so doing, real wages were actually cut by 30%. Can you imagine losing almost one-third of your income overnight? (History Lesson - Israel’s Economy 23May96 http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/ )

Still, because of withering socialistic government bureaucracy that constantly put barriers and taxes in front of entrepreneurs, the economic growth hovered between a -0.5 and 3% and unemployment was at 11%. In other words the country was poor and staying that way.

Free Market Economics Introduced

Then two things happened in the 1990’s. A million immigrants from the USSR poured into Israel, many of them highly educated. And Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, and later minister of finance under Arik Sharon, introduced to traditionally socialistic Israel a system of free market economics, a balanced budget and lower taxes. He cut stipends to the dismay of unions and lower classes, explaining that in order for Israel’s economy to take off, he must encourage entrepreneurism by somewhat relieving the unbearable taxes.

 

An Israeli Shopping Mall

 

To do this, his goal was to cut off the “free lunch” to a large section of non-working Israelis. Most dramatically, he cut the child subsidies drastically. A family of 10 children (almost entirely ultra-Orthodox or Arab) which was given ₪6,500 ($1900) monthly ended up with ₪2,850 ($838). Interestingly, the growth of large families immediately dropped some 15-20% with both Arabs and ultra-Orthodox (called Haredim in Hebrew). However, because of the non-employment lifestyle of the Haredim, many families still depend on 100% handouts. (See next article) (Jerusalem Post, 7Apr08)

Netanyahu’s free market implementations caused Israel’s economic growth to explode in the 90’s. It was at this same period - also in the mid 1990’s - that Israelis thought there might be peace with the Arabs, and the economy grew in a way never before seen. Then the Second Intifada took place which cost Israel billions of dollars in economic terms.

However, in spite of Israel’s difficult security situation, free market took hold in Israel and companies managed to open up new markets for exporters, especially in the fast growing East Asian economies. (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/economy_of_Israel)

Economy Booming

Today, the Israeli economy is booming and our society is vibrant. Tel Aviv, along with Antwerp, Belgium, are the two largest diamond-cutting centers in the world. The array of beautifully designed multistoried buildings in greater Tel Aviv’s diamond hub would do any city proud.

 

Diamond-cutting Complex

Besides that, everyone knows that Israel is a major tourist site, though of course the numbers depend on whether we have just had a war or about to have one. Last year was a good year with over 2.3 million visiting our fair land. This year we are expecting three million.

But the one single industry that has put us in the big league is none other than the hi-tech industry. In 2006, foreign investment in our tiny country totaled a whopping $13 billion according to the Manufacturers Association of Israel.

As far back as 1998, Tel Aviv was named by Newsweek as one of the ten most technologically influential cities in the world. American billionaires and business tycoons including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Donald Trump each praised Israel’s economic environment.

One of Israel's many diamond-cutting complexes

 

British Magazine Warns of Frail Economy

However, the most important economic magazine in the world, Britain’s The Economist drew a rather dreary picture of Israel’s economic state. While it praised Israel’s growth over the last four years, it pointed out that this growth is driven by a very narrow group of export sources - generic drugs, weapons systems, agricultural and water-treatment technology.

And not unexpectedly, it talked about the overweening bureaucracy and a “chronically dysfunctional” political system which still presents huge difficulties and challenges to business enterprises. (Haaretz 6Apr08) For the long-suffering middle class, cost of living and taxes are very high - Tel Aviv is the 17th most expensive city in the world - while wages are much lower than in the West. Gasoline in Israel is currently $8.24 a gallon!! (7 shekels a liter)

Perhaps the most critical area it reviewed is the state of public and university education. The Economist calls the state of the education system “perhaps the most serious threat to Israel’s long-term prosperity, and the one that most troubles ordinary Israelis.” (5Apri08)

A Serious Brain Drain

Never was a truer statement spoken. Israelis are extremely concerned about the government’s role in education. Economics professor at Tel Aviv University, Dan Ben-David, uses the image of canaries placed in mines. You probably know that years ago - before the days of hi-tech - coal miners would enter the mines carrying a caged canary. A canary is very sensitive to poisonous gases, so if miners saw the canary showing signs of distress, this served as an early warning of imminent danger.

In Israel, says Ben-David, the brain drain from Israel’s universities plays the role of the canary. Here are the worrisome facts: In Europe, the number of professors who have left to teach in America ranges from 1% to 4% - and Europe is plenty worried about it.

But this is nothing compared to Israel. 10% of all physics professors, 12% of chemistry professors and 15% of Israel’s philosophy professors have flown the coup and gone to the U.S. These are the ones found only in the top 40 universities of the United States! Of course, there are many many more spread across other universities, not to mention those in Canada and Europe.

However, there is worse to come. An incredible 29% of the economics professors and a whopping 33% of Israel’s computer science professors are found in these same top 40 universities.

Plainly, the Canary is Very ill

The problem? Dan Ben David believes that the lack of strategic planning for education within the government is causing disastrous results, which if it continues, would mean that Israel will have lost its edge in every educational discipline that counts. (Haaretz 11Mar08)

Early Israeli Founders Prioritized Education

The reason Israel has had so many Nobel prize winners and entrepreneurs creating cutting-edge innovations until now is because the early founders of the state of Israel, with the little resources they had, “managed to establish a higher education system which enabled the country’s future graduates to take advantage of the hi-tech revolution when it materialized and to deal with our growing security challenges,” says Ben-David. “It is a matter of priorities.” (Ibid.)

Now listen to this! While Israel was amongst the top-ranking nations in international rankings for science and mathematics performance in the 1960s, it has managed to fall to the 40th place out of 57 countries in reading and mathematics last year. (ynetnews.com 12Apr08) Wages for Israeli teachers stood lowest amongst industrialized nations and have caused thousands of teachers to leave the education field for better-paying jobs or to work abroad, causing a rising brain drain of teachers for even grade schools.

No Question about it: Israel is Prospering

In responding to The Economist magazine’s critique, the editorial staff of The Jerusalem Post could only point out the “miraculous” side of Israel’s economy, in spite of all the mountain of difficulties.

The positive achievements are indisputable. The country hosts the greatest number of NASDAQ-listed companies after the U.S. and Canada. In recent years, the hi-tech sector has contributed 70% to the growth of industry exports!!! (JP, 1Apr08)

The Post continues: “Export earnings are up. Tourism is up. So are property prices. Just this month, Forbes magazine rated Israel as the world’s most “up-and-coming” real-estate market.” The Post believes that “Israel will continue to export start-ups and attract foreign investment. . . Despite wars and intifadas, in a relatively short time, [Israel] has managed to build an economy that is both well-cushioned against political instability and well-positioned to lead the nation into greater prosperity. In fact, in spite of the poorly conducted Lebanese War, where the whole north of the country was under siege, the economy just kept going. (Ibid.,11Apr08) 

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Ultra-Orthodox:
THE UNRELENTING DRAG ON ISRAELI SOCIETY

Arabs and the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) make up 25% of the nation’s population. But they represent 60% of the poor. Both have large families - the Jews averaging about 6.5 children per family, and the Israeli Arabs (mostly Muslim) at four children.

These two sectors of Israel’s population are a tremendous drag on the nation’s economy. Among the Haredim few males work at all, but study their entire lives in their yeshivas (rabbinical seminaries). Neither do they serve in the army. They live by handouts and subsidies from the
government and charities. (Jerusalem Post, 7Apr08)

The average monthly salary for the general populace is ₪9,500 ($2,800) before taxes. However, for the Haredi who does have a job, the average salary is ₪5,500 ($1,618) because of lack of skills.

With the Arabs, the men work, but because they are not educated their salaries are low. Furthermore, few Arab women work because of cultural limitations.

 

ultra-Orthodox yeshiva

Young men make a life-time career of Rabbinical study

 

In a scathing report concerning poverty among the ultra-Orthodox, Haaretz reporter Meirav Arlosoroff writes that the government is encouraging this terrible drain on the Israeli taxpayer. If any family in Israel wants to homeschool their children, they must submit a complete study program to make sure that the child receives basic living skills. This, even though the government does not pay one agura towards the support of homeschooling.

However, the government allows the Haredi schools to teach whatever they wish, meaning only rabbinical texts. Translation: The Haredi schools do not dedicate a single hour to such subjects as English, any of the sciences, computers, mathematics, history, Zionism or democratic values for their boys, who now consists of 15% of all school children.

A recent Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics report also found that because of the fast-growing families, a third of all Jewish children will be studying at Haredi schools by 2012, prompting emergency meetings at the Education Ministry.

Arlosoroff states that such a study program “dooms an entire generation of ultra-Orthodox boys to a life of unemployment and penury, and the Education Ministry is holding their hand as they
plunge into the morass.

“Taxpayers are financing the next generation of unemployed religious men, who will rely on
handouts for bread…the Education Ministry is deviating not only from its own values, but from
the values of the modern world,” he said.

The educational ministry “is handing the entire community the rope with which to hang itself...
Paradoxically, the State of Israel is investing its hard-earned tax money in assuring that the next
generation will be poorer than this one, that there will be less workers to pay tax, and that the people who do work will have to pay higher tax in order to support all these poor families.” (Ibid., 10Apr08)

Indeed there is much resentment by the Israeli public because of the perception that the Haredim are doing great harm to the state of Israel. “When the ultra-Orthodox avoid math, English and civics, they sabotage Israeli security. When the ultra-Orthodox shirk work, they  contribute to Israel’s decline and to employment patterns typical of the developing world. The damage caused by these phenomena is worsening. The [army] draft rate is constantly falling, and Israeli society can no longer bear the outcome.” (Haaretz, 21Apr08, Shahar Ilan)  

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The New Generation of Messianic Jews

 new believer immerced

The new generation of Messianic Jews are making a powerful impact on the Messianic  movement in Israel. They are Sabras (native-born) with the Israeli personality independent,
entrepreneurial, and passionate about the Lord - ready to boldly serve in ways their elders may not even have thought about! They understand life and death in a profound way - because the whole nation is faced with life and death daily.

When a young Israeli believer follows Yeshua by immersion, he or she has made a serious decision to pursue Faith in Him all the way. Here at the Jordan River this week, two more young people from our Congregation Tiferet Yeshua are symbolically leaving their old life style behind them to follow their risen Messiah!

To protect these two young men, we will not give their names. But the one in the top picture has recently received his first call-up to the army and will soon receive instructions as to what unit he will serve. He asks for your prayers that God will place him exactly where He wants him.

The second young man who is praying before his immersion is a show horse performer. He plans to study in this field in the U.S. and then return home. He too is a new believer, but as of this writing he is fasting a number of days for the salvation of his father (his mother is a believer). Please pray for his father’s salvation!

These are the early fruit of the promise that “all Israel shall be saved!”

praying before immersion

 

     

August 2008

Dear Maoz Partner,

Try to imagine yourself as a typical Israeli who is inundated with a steady diet of real-time news. This is what our media fed us this week:

  • Two Israeli policemen were shot last night entering the Old City; one is in critical condition. The perpetrator escaped. Jerusalem is traumatized by the new eruption of terrorist attacks. 

  • Hizbullah has now replenished their weapons stock under the nose of the U.N. observers. They have accumulated 40,000 rockets and missiles in southern Lebanon - three times more than they had in the war with Israel two years ago.

  • The people in Galilee and the north of Israel who suffered through thousands of rocket attacks are interviewed on TV. They tell of their personal struggles - their children’s sleepless nights and their own battles with serious emotional disorders, even as they prepare for the next round of attacks.

  • Israelis living in Sderot and the south of Israel still run to shelters when the sirens sound, warning of an imminent rocket attack from Gaza. Israel is exchanging high-level terrorists - who have vowed to return to their careers as terrorists - for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.

  • Ahmadinejad has threatened to wipe out Israel now two days in a row. This week he tested long-range rockets in a show of force saying he would strike Tel Aviv with 11,000 rockets the first minute if Iran’s nuclear program was attacked.

  • Israelis ring their hands at past genocides when the world did absolutely nothing - like the Holocaust, like Rwanda - and present genocides when the world is doing nothing - like in Darfur and Sudan. Israelis wonder if Israel will be the next place where the world will do nothing.

  • Every day, the corruption charges against our prime minister grow stronger and stranger. He is on his way out. Who will take his place? It is in this setting that the Messianic Jewish movement is growing, developing and expanding. Yeshua is the answer! The only answer! There is no other answer and never will be.

We have the answer, and we must get the message out to our nation. In every way possible. First of all, we continue mentoring new leaders, teaching, publishing books, evangelizing, building the congregation, helping the needy and much more.

And now we are determined to utilize media with its powerful impact, especially on youth. Media encompasses so many more opportunities - music, The Hebrew New Testament on CDs and MP3s, audio books, messages and teaching series.

Media is everywhere and the prince of the air is using it for his purposes.

We are determined to use it to gather Israelis into the Kingdom of God - to give more Israelis than we could ever reach in person a chance to hear and be saved.

 

One of the media products you, our partner, have made possible is a brand new youth worship CD in Hebrew, featuring our daughter Shani Ferguson and the Tiferet Yeshua worship team. In fact, it is just being released this week!

We would love to send you a gift copy of this CD titled “Close.” We are sure you will love it! Shani sings her heart out! It is state-of-the-art quality and the lyrics of these songs will reach this generation. We will also send you a translation of the songs into English.

 

With your donation of $35 (£20 or €24) or more we will send you the CD, if requested. It is truly the way to go to reach Israelis in the 21st Century. And we are determined to reach them!!!

Your partnership will make it possible.

The promise is sure! “All Israel shall be saved.”

A&S signature

          Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram

P.S. With your gift, be sure and request your Worship CD, “Close”, in Hebrew!

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In this issue:
But he shall be saved out of it... "Jacob's Trouble"  |  Living in Israel and Making it Financially
Ultra-Orthodox: The Unrelenting Drag on Israeli Society   | The New Generation of Messianic Jews

                                   But he shall be saved out of it
                               "Jacob's Trouble"

 

 

Monthly Report: August 2008
Tamuz - Av  5768

Click for PDF

Terror in Jerusalem, July 2, 2008

Jerusalem terror act scene, July 2, 2008 


EMAIL THIS  PRINT THIS

 

By Asher Intrater

Our youngest son Amiel, age 16, was present at the terrorist attack on Wednesday, July 2, in Jerusalem. Here is his eye witness account:

I was walking towards the city center from the central bus station, waiting on a street island at the corner of Sarei Israel and Jaffa streets. Speeding down Sarei Israel came a huge bulldozer towards me which drove on top of a car and turned it into a pancake. The bulldozer continued its rampage, trying to run over another blue car. The driver in the blue car was spinning her  heels in panic, but she escaped.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  
  
 

 

I was standing to the right on the street island; a bus was on the left side. The bulldozer passed by me within a few inches while turning into Jaffa Street. It went head on into the bus. I was out of harm’s way now. The bulldozer continued to drive, turning right, hitting a bus stop filled with citizens running for their lives. He backed up, and continued driving.

An Orthodox young man passed by me running towards the bus shouting: “Weapon! Weapon! Does anyone have a weapon?”

The bulldozer continued. This time it crashed into a bus on its right, backed up, and then picked up the bus forcing it to fall on its side. The bus was full.

 

I tried calling 100 (the police) but the line was busy. Since I am a volunteer at the Jerusalem rescue squad, I called them at 101.

101: “Hello, this is Red Magen David.”
Me: “There is a terrorist attack on Jaffa! A tractor is hitting everything it sees.”
101: “Where on Jaffa?”
Me: “Drive from the station and you’ll see. It’s at the beginning of Jaffa next to the central bus station.”
101: “We’ll be there right away.”

Baby saved from terror act

Baby who was snatched from car
seconds before terrorist crushed car with mother in it.

 

Armed citizens, soldiers and policemen were running toward the terrorist loading their guns. Out of the upside down bus people were starting to come out. A woman carrying a baby crying, with blood stains all over them came out. A woman was being attended to on the floor, her leg was covered in blood, and her toes were completely crooked. A man came out, stained in blood, shouting in pain, “my shoulder,” and cursing the terrorist.

I called my mother to tell her I was ok. While I was talking to her, gunshots started going off. “Do you hear the gunshots Mom? They’re shooting the terrorist.”

It turns out that the young religious man who asked for a weapon was a commando soldier on vacation. He succeeded in borrowing a pistol from someone, and climbed up on top of the bulldozer, hand and foot, while the terrorist shouted “Allah Akhbar.” He shot the terrorist three times, killing him on the spot, stopping the rampage and slaughter.

Israel today mourns the loss of 3 dead and dozens injured. After all these years, “Rachel” is still “weeping for her children” (Jeremiah 31:15) at the hands of senseless, demonic violence. Yeshua also weeps for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Just as babies were slaughtered at the time of Yeshua’s birth (Matthew 2:18), and no one understood why it happened; so today, the people of Israel don’t understand why much of the world hates them.

 

Batsheva Unterman, mother of the baby

Yet in the midst of this tribulation, the Messianic remnant is continuing to grow in Israel. People are being saved everyday. A miracle is happening before our eyes. The New Covenant scriptures speak of a time of tribulation in the end times (Matthew 24, Mark 13). It also speaks of “all Israel being saved” - Romans 11:26. The idea of end time’s tribulation and of Israel being saved, both come from the same source.

Jeremiah 30:7 - “It is a time of tribulation for Jacob, and he will be saved from it.”

Daniel 12:1 - “There will be a time of trouble… and at that time your people will be saved.”

Batsheva Unterman, mother of baby.

 

When Paul (Saul) spoke of Israel’s salvation and Yeshua spoke of end time tribulation, they both had in mind these verses (among others). The tribulation and the salvation are connected to one another. From this we learn:
1. There will be tribulation in the end times
2. During that time, Israel will be saved
3. We will be here during that time to help bring about that salvation.

As Israel is in the process of being saved, the devil is panicking and furious because he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12). Israel’s salvation is the last stage of the kingdom of God before the Second Coming and the Resurrection of the Dead.

For almost two thousand years, it was impossible to think of Israel being a nation, let alone there being a revival within that nation. But today, despite Islamic Jihad and worldwide anti-Semitism, the nation of Israel has been reestablished, and there are over 10,000 Messianic Jews living in the land. All these believers are united in prayer, praise and prophecy that “all Israel will be saved,” and are willing to face the tribulation that will go with it.

 

A policewoman shot at the terrorist driving the bulldozer, hitting him on the side of the head, knocking him unconscious. A policeman jumped on board the bulldozer, saw the terrorist slumped over and thought he was dead. Seconds later, an Orthodox man threw a stone which hit the terrorist and woke him up. The terrorist,  an Arab from East Jerusalem, stepped on the gas and continued his rampage, hitting the car of  Batsheva Unterman. Passerbys saw a baby in  the back seat, pried the back door open and grabbed the baby. Dead terrorist in the bulldozer
The terrorist then hit the car again, flattening it completely and killing the mother. Batsheva’s  husband, Ido, an investment banker, only learned seven hours later that his wife had been killed. For years the Untermans had wanted to have children, and only six months ago their first child was born. Relatives of the Untermans claim the police did not confirm the death of the terrorist the first time (i.e. did not shoot again to make sure that he was dead) because they were paralyzed out of fear that legal action would be taken against them for unlawfully opening fire on a wounded terrorist. It was only after Unterman’s death that a soldier on leave jumped on the bulldozer and ended the killing spree with a borrowed pistol.

 

It is important in these times that we know the covenant promise of divine protection from evil.

Psalm 91:10-11 - "No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to protect you in all your ways."

We affirm this together as a family every Friday night before we eat the Sabbath dinner meal. Please join with us in faith and partnership.

Asher Intrater is the director of Revive Israel ministries and pastor of Ahavat Yeshua Congregation. For more information please check his website at http://www.revive-israel.org/.

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Living in Israel and Making it Financially
By Shira Sorko-Ram

Before you read any further, I must assure you that I am not an economist. Since Ari and I do not
have any stocks, we don’t really follow the stock market except to see on the news if it is going up or down. Our prayers for the economy of America, Europe and Israel basically have to do with how it will affect the outreach of the Gospel.

However, as a local citizen in Israel, I can give you a glimpse of the Israeli economy and how it is being impacted by the U.S. and Western Europe - from the perspective of the average Israeli.

First of all, there is no way around it - Israel’s economic success is a miracle. Period. The nation has made amazing strides since I first immigrated here in 1967.

Then, Israel was a true third-world country. The only vegetables I could find in the market were cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage and eggplants - and a few other root-type vegetables that I could not identify.

Toilet paper was not like anything I had seen before in my lifetime. To make a phone call to the U.S. I went to the central post office in downtown Jerusalem, waited in a long line, and then when my turn came, I dialed over and over for perhaps 30 minutes before the line connected.

People waited one or two years for telephones (in some neighborhoods as long as 10 years) and Coca Cola arrived the day after the Six Day War - because the West Bank that Israel conquered had a Cola factory there. (Before that, Coca Cola had refused to build a factory in Israel for fear the Arab nations would blacklist the soft drink.)

My neighbor in Jerusalem who was a middle level government employee and who edited the annual Israel government year book made $500 a month. There were few well-to-do individuals in Israel then and people were genuinely not lusting after riches. Their main interests in life were to have warm relations with their extended families and they spent most of their time at home with family and friends.

The kibbutz, a communal village, was a marvel and a point of great pride to the Jewish nation. Kibbutz members (many of the founders were professionals from other nations) had left all to become farmers, sheep herders and cattle raisers, all for the sake of establishing and nurturing the new baby state. They owned everything in common - at that time - and shared according to the needs of each member.

Tel Aviv had one miserable-looking “skyscraper” of 34 floors, which was always pointed out with pride as “the tallest building in the Middle East.” The highest ambition of the typical Israeli family was to help their children be able to purchase an apartment when they married (meaning a small living room, a tiny kitchen and one or two small bedrooms with one bath).

Intense Inflation and Recession at the Same Time

Though some progress was made over the next 20 years, economic growth was agonizingly slow. We had the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Lebanese War in the 80’s. By 1984, inflation had leaped to 445% and was fast moving toward 1000%. You have to live in such an environment to understand the chaos such inflation causes. Literally, every day prices of everything were going up up up.

Finally Shimon Peres, who became prime minister in 1988 (and is now our president) was able to bring inflation down to 20% by strong government price supervision, but in so doing, real wages were actually cut by 30%. Can you imagine losing almost one-third of your income overnight? (History Lesson - Israel’s Economy 23May96 http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/ )

Still, because of withering socialistic government bureaucracy that constantly put barriers and taxes in front of entrepreneurs, the economic growth hovered between a -0.5 and 3% and unemployment was at 11%. In other words the country was poor and staying that way.

Free Market Economics Introduced

Then two things happened in the 1990’s. A million immigrants from the USSR poured into Israel, many of them highly educated. And Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, and later minister of finance under Arik Sharon, introduced to traditionally socialistic Israel a system of free market economics, a balanced budget and lower taxes. He cut stipends to the dismay of unions and lower classes, explaining that in order for Israel’s economy to take off, he must encourage entrepreneurism by somewhat relieving the unbearable taxes.

 

An Israeli Shopping Mall

 

To do this, his goal was to cut off the “free lunch” to a large section of non-working Israelis. Most dramatically, he cut the child subsidies drastically. A family of 10 children (almost entirely ultra-Orthodox or Arab) which was given ₪6,500 ($1900) monthly ended up with ₪2,850 ($838). Interestingly, the growth of large families immediately dropped some 15-20% with both Arabs and ultra-Orthodox (called Haredim in Hebrew). However, because of the non-employment lifestyle of the Haredim, many families still depend on 100% handouts. (See next article) (Jerusalem Post, 7Apr08)

Netanyahu’s free market implementations caused Israel’s economic growth to explode in the 90’s. It was at this same period - also in the mid 1990’s - that Israelis thought there might be peace with the Arabs, and the economy grew in a way never before seen. Then the Second Intifada took place which cost Israel billions of dollars in economic terms.

However, in spite of Israel’s difficult security situation, free market took hold in Israel and companies managed to open up new markets for exporters, especially in the fast growing East Asian economies. (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/economy_of_Israel)

Economy Booming

Today, the Israeli economy is booming and our society is vibrant. Tel Aviv, along with Antwerp, Belgium, are the two largest diamond-cutting centers in the world. The array of beautifully designed multistoried buildings in greater Tel Aviv’s diamond hub would do any city proud.

 

Diamond-cutting Complex

Besides that, everyone knows that Israel is a major tourist site, though of course the numbers depend on whether we have just had a war or about to have one. Last year was a good year with over 2.3 million visiting our fair land. This year we are expecting three million.

But the one single industry that has put us in the big league is none other than the hi-tech industry. In 2006, foreign investment in our tiny country totaled a whopping $13 billion according to the Manufacturers Association of Israel.

As far back as 1998, Tel Aviv was named by Newsweek as one of the ten most technologically influential cities in the world. American billionaires and business tycoons including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Donald Trump each praised Israel’s economic environment.

One of Israel's many diamond-cutting complexes

 

British Magazine Warns of Frail Economy

However, the most important economic magazine in the world, Britain’s The Economist drew a rather dreary picture of Israel’s economic state. While it praised Israel’s growth over the last four years, it pointed out that this growth is driven by a very narrow group of export sources - generic drugs, weapons systems, agricultural and water-treatment technology.

And not unexpectedly, it talked about the overweening bureaucracy and a “chronically dysfunctional” political system which still presents huge difficulties and challenges to business enterprises. (Haaretz 6Apr08) For the long-suffering middle class, cost of living and taxes are very high - Tel Aviv is the 17th most expensive city in the world - while wages are much lower than in the West. Gasoline in Israel is currently $8.24 a gallon!! (7 shekels a liter)

Perhaps the most critical area it reviewed is the state of public and university education. The Economist calls the state of the education system “perhaps the most serious threat to Israel’s long-term prosperity, and the one that most troubles ordinary Israelis.” (5Apri08)

A Serious Brain Drain

Never was a truer statement spoken. Israelis are extremely concerned about the government’s role in education. Economics professor at Tel Aviv University, Dan Ben-David, uses the image of canaries placed in mines. You probably know that years ago - before the days of hi-tech - coal miners would enter the mines carrying a caged canary. A canary is very sensitive to poisonous gases, so if miners saw the canary showing signs of distress, this served as an early warning of imminent danger.

In Israel, says Ben-David, the brain drain from Israel’s universities plays the role of the canary. Here are the worrisome facts: In Europe, the number of professors who have left to teach in America ranges from 1% to 4% - and Europe is plenty worried about it.

But this is nothing compared to Israel. 10% of all physics professors, 12% of chemistry professors and 15% of Israel’s philosophy professors have flown the coup and gone to the U.S. These are the ones found only in the top 40 universities of the United States! Of course, there are many many more spread across other universities, not to mention those in Canada and Europe.

However, there is worse to come. An incredible 29% of the economics professors and a whopping 33% of Israel’s computer science professors are found in these same top 40 universities.

Plainly, the Canary is Very ill

The problem? Dan Ben David believes that the lack of strategic planning for education within the government is causing disastrous results, which if it continues, would mean that Israel will have lost its edge in every educational discipline that counts. (Haaretz 11Mar08)

Early Israeli Founders Prioritized Education

The reason Israel has had so many Nobel prize winners and entrepreneurs creating cutting-edge innovations until now is because the early founders of the state of Israel, with the little resources they had, “managed to establish a higher education system which enabled the country’s future graduates to take advantage of the hi-tech revolution when it materialized and to deal with our growing security challenges,” says Ben-David. “It is a matter of priorities.” (Ibid.)

Now listen to this! While Israel was amongst the top-ranking nations in international rankings for science and mathematics performance in the 1960s, it has managed to fall to the 40th place out of 57 countries in reading and mathematics last year. (ynetnews.com 12Apr08) Wages for Israeli teachers stood lowest amongst industrialized nations and have caused thousands of teachers to leave the education field for better-paying jobs or to work abroad, causing a rising brain drain of teachers for even grade schools.

No Question about it: Israel is Prospering

In responding to The Economist magazine’s critique, the editorial staff of The Jerusalem Post could only point out the “miraculous” side of Israel’s economy, in spite of all the mountain of difficulties.

The positive achievements are indisputable. The country hosts the greatest number of NASDAQ-listed companies after the U.S. and Canada. In recent years, the hi-tech sector has contributed 70% to the growth of industry exports!!! (JP, 1Apr08)

The Post continues: “Export earnings are up. Tourism is up. So are property prices. Just this month, Forbes magazine rated Israel as the world’s most “up-and-coming” real-estate market.” The Post believes that “Israel will continue to export start-ups and attract foreign investment. . . Despite wars and intifadas, in a relatively short time, [Israel] has managed to build an economy that is both well-cushioned against political instability and well-positioned to lead the nation into greater prosperity. In fact, in spite of the poorly conducted Lebanese War, where the whole north of the country was under siege, the economy just kept going. (Ibid.,11Apr08) 

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Ultra-Orthodox:
THE UNRELENTING DRAG ON ISRAELI SOCIETY

Arabs and the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) make up 25% of the nation’s population. But they represent 60% of the poor. Both have large families - the Jews averaging about 6.5 children per family, and the Israeli Arabs (mostly Muslim) at four children.

These two sectors of Israel’s population are a tremendous drag on the nation’s economy. Among the Haredim few males work at all, but study their entire lives in their yeshivas (rabbinical seminaries). Neither do they serve in the army. They live by handouts and subsidies from the
government and charities. (Jerusalem Post, 7Apr08)

The average monthly salary for the general populace is ₪9,500 ($2,800) before taxes. However, for the Haredi who does have a job, the average salary is ₪5,500 ($1,618) because of lack of skills.

With the Arabs, the men work, but because they are not educated their salaries are low. Furthermore, few Arab women work because of cultural limitations.

 

ultra-Orthodox yeshiva

Young men make a life-time career of Rabbinical study

 

In a scathing report concerning poverty among the ultra-Orthodox, Haaretz reporter Meirav Arlosoroff writes that the government is encouraging this terrible drain on the Israeli taxpayer. If any family in Israel wants to homeschool their children, they must submit a complete study program to make sure that the child receives basic living skills. This, even though the government does not pay one agura towards the support of homeschooling.

However, the government allows the Haredi schools to teach whatever they wish, meaning only rabbinical texts. Translation: The Haredi schools do not dedicate a single hour to such subjects as English, any of the sciences, computers, mathematics, history, Zionism or democratic values for their boys, who now consists of 15% of all school children.

A recent Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics report also found that because of the fast-growing families, a third of all Jewish children will be studying at Haredi schools by 2012, prompting emergency meetings at the Education Ministry.

Arlosoroff states that such a study program “dooms an entire generation of ultra-Orthodox boys to a life of unemployment and penury, and the Education Ministry is holding their hand as they
plunge into the morass.

“Taxpayers are financing the next generation of unemployed religious men, who will rely on
handouts for bread…the Education Ministry is deviating not only from its own values, but from
the values of the modern world,” he said.

The educational ministry “is handing the entire community the rope with which to hang itself...
Paradoxically, the State of Israel is investing its hard-earned tax money in assuring that the next
generation will be poorer than this one, that there will be less workers to pay tax, and that the people who do work will have to pay higher tax in order to support all these poor families.” (Ibid., 10Apr08)

Indeed there is much resentment by the Israeli public because of the perception that the Haredim are doing great harm to the state of Israel. “When the ultra-Orthodox avoid math, English and civics, they sabotage Israeli security. When the ultra-Orthodox shirk work, they  contribute to Israel’s decline and to employment patterns typical of the developing world. The damage caused by these phenomena is worsening. The [army] draft rate is constantly falling, and Israeli society can no longer bear the outcome.” (Haaretz, 21Apr08, Shahar Ilan)  

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The New Generation of Messianic Jews

 new believer immerced

The new generation of Messianic Jews are making a powerful impact on the Messianic  movement in Israel. They are Sabras (native-born) with the Israeli personality independent,
entrepreneurial, and passionate about the Lord - ready to boldly serve in ways their elders may not even have thought about! They understand life and death in a profound way - because the whole nation is faced with life and death daily.

When a young Israeli believer follows Yeshua by immersion, he or she has made a serious decision to pursue Faith in Him all the way. Here at the Jordan River this week, two more young people from our Congregation Tiferet Yeshua are symbolically leaving their old life style behind them to follow their risen Messiah!

To protect these two young men, we will not give their names. But the one in the top picture has recently received his first call-up to the army and will soon receive instructions as to what unit he will serve. He asks for your prayers that God will place him exactly where He wants him.

The second young man who is praying before his immersion is a show horse performer. He plans to study in this field in the U.S. and then return home. He too is a new believer, but as of this writing he is fasting a number of days for the salvation of his father (his mother is a believer). Please pray for his father’s salvation!

These are the early fruit of the promise that “all Israel shall be saved!”

praying before immersion

 

     

August 2008

Dear Maoz Partner,

Try to imagine yourself as a typical Israeli who is inundated with a steady diet of real-time news. This is what our media fed us this week:

  • Two Israeli policemen were shot last night entering the Old City; one is in critical condition. The perpetrator escaped. Jerusalem is traumatized by the new eruption of terrorist attacks. 

  • Hizbullah has now replenished their weapons stock under the nose of the U.N. observers. They have accumulated 40,000 rockets and missiles in southern Lebanon - three times more than they had in the war with Israel two years ago.

  • The people in Galilee and the north of Israel who suffered through thousands of rocket attacks are interviewed on TV. They tell of their personal struggles - their children’s sleepless nights and their own battles with serious emotional disorders, even as they prepare for the next round of attacks.

  • Israelis living in Sderot and the south of Israel still run to shelters when the sirens sound, warning of an imminent rocket attack from Gaza. Israel is exchanging high-level terrorists - who have vowed to return to their careers as terrorists - for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.

  • Ahmadinejad has threatened to wipe out Israel now two days in a row. This week he tested long-range rockets in a show of force saying he would strike Tel Aviv with 11,000 rockets the first minute if Iran’s nuclear program was attacked.

  • Israelis ring their hands at past genocides when the world did absolutely nothing - like the Holocaust, like Rwanda - and present genocides when the world is doing nothing - like in Darfur and Sudan. Israelis wonder if Israel will be the next place where the world will do nothing.

  • Every day, the corruption charges against our prime minister grow stronger and stranger. He is on his way out. Who will take his place? It is in this setting that the Messianic Jewish movement is growing, developing and expanding. Yeshua is the answer! The only answer! There is no other answer and never will be.

We have the answer, and we must get the message out to our nation. In every way possible. First of all, we continue mentoring new leaders, teaching, publishing books, evangelizing, building the congregation, helping the needy and much more.

And now we are determined to utilize media with its powerful impact, especially on youth. Media encompasses so many more opportunities - music, The Hebrew New Testament on CDs and MP3s, audio books, messages and teaching series.

Media is everywhere and the prince of the air is using it for his purposes.

We are determined to use it to gather Israelis into the Kingdom of God - to give more Israelis than we could ever reach in person a chance to hear and be saved.

 

One of the media products you, our partner, have made possible is a brand new youth worship CD in Hebrew, featuring our daughter Shani Ferguson and the Tiferet Yeshua worship team. In fact, it is just being released this week!

We would love to send you a gift copy of this CD titled “Close.” We are sure you will love it! Shani sings her heart out! It is state-of-the-art quality and the lyrics of these songs will reach this generation. We will also send you a translation of the songs into English.

 

With your donation of $35 (£20 or €24) or more we will send you the CD, if requested. It is truly the way to go to reach Israelis in the 21st Century. And we are determined to reach them!!!

Your partnership will make it possible.

The promise is sure! “All Israel shall be saved.”

A&S signature

          Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram

P.S. With your gift, be sure and request your Worship CD, “Close”, in Hebrew!

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