Archives For Israel

Last week, a lot of folks asked me if it was true that Israel refused to allow two fully Jewish, Messianic Jewish Israelis to get married because of their faith. There was a news report out of the Jerusalem Post that mentioned the two went to our congregation, Tiferet Yeshua.

Is it true?

Yes…and no.

It is absolutely true that it happened and they were given the opportunity to deny their faith.

“They noted, however, that if the couple were to accept upon themselves the principles of Jewish faith, including the belief in one God and Maimonides’s 13 Principles of Faith, declare in front of the rabbinical court that they have totally left Christianity, end their association with Tiferet Yeshua and their missionary activities and immerse in a mikve ritual bath, their request would be reexamined.” (JPost.com)

Fortunately, they refused. And it is an outrage that two fully Jewish, Israel-born people are denied the right to get married in their own country—one that was birthed to prevent the persecution of Jews, not enhance it.

So, why did I say, “Yes…and no.”? Because we are not the only group persecuted this way. You have to understand the archaic marriage system here in Israel. The chief rabbinical council, known as the rabanut in Hebrew, control all marriages in Israel. So…

  • If you don’t have a Jewish mother…no wedding for you.
  • If you marry a foreigner…no wedding for you.
  • If you are a man and want to marry a man…no wedding for you. (Despite the fact that Israel is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world, gay marriage will probably never become legal here because of the rabanut. [I do not support gay marriage, just reporting the fact of how the rabbis, not the government control these issues.])
  • If you made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from Russia but can’t prove you are Jewish…no wedding for you.

The rabbis will only marry fully Jewish people—and for them, that means your mother is Jewish. And now, if you believe like tens of thousands of first-century Jews believed (Acts 21:20), that Yeshua is the Messiah, you have, according to the rababut, left Judaism and … no wedding for you.

However, having lived here for 14 years, I have been to many weddings, all done by Orthodox rabbis where the folks getting married were clearly Messianic. It wasn’t an issue. But I guess, this time, it became an issue and the Chief Rabbinical council ruled, with great difficulty according to the Jerusalem Post article, against the Messianic Jewish couple.

“The complexity of the case required the involvement of the deputy president of the court together with two senior rabbinical judges, who themselves brought in a researcher and expert in Christianity and missionary groups, as well as questioning the couple themselves.” (JPost.com)

So Just Go to the Justice of the Peace

There is no justice and no peace in this situation. There is no such thing as a civil wedding here in the Promised Land, only religious ones. But it doesn’t mean you can’t get married. I know dozens of people where one of them was Jewish and other wasn’t or their mother was not Jewish, who have taken the 60-minute flight to Cyprus to get married and when they return, that marriage is recognized by the government.

Are Israelis for this?

Seventy percent of Israelis support same-sex marriage, and even more than that think the idea that you can’t have a civil marriage in Israel is just stupid. Politicians have sought to get this reversed.

“A bill proposed by Yesh Atid party MK, Aliza Lavie, that would have instituted civil marriage, including for gays, was voted down in the Knesset plenum … by an 11-vote margin, with 39 for and 50 against.” (timesofisrael.com)

So, why do we have such an archaic system? And why don’t we change it?

Where did it come from?

Under Ottoman rule, every religious community oversaw weddings for their own people. You have a Jewish, Muslim, Druze and Eastern Orthodox (Catholic) authority. This system not only survived British rule from 1917 to 1948, but also was adopted by the state of Israel. In fact, because it was the British themselves that performed weddings for Protestants and they left in 1948, there is no legal way for two Protestants to get married in Israel today!

“One signal that this may be more lacuna than conscious marginalization lies in the stark fact that no Protestants can marry in Israel either, not even each other; under British rule, Protestants married through British mandatory institutions, and a separate Israeli Protestant Christian hierarchy was never established.” (timesofIsrael.com)

Protestant marriages are decided on case by case basis. According to the US Embassy in Israel:

“The minister who plans to perform the ceremony writes to the Ministry for Religious Affairs, setting forth the names of the persons to be married, their nationality, and their religious affiliation. He requests the Ministry’s permission to perform the marriage and to issue a marriage certificate.”

Why no change?

It is very simple…and complex. The Orthodox parties in our Knesset (Parliament) represent a small minority in the nation, but because it is so difficult to form a coalition, the would-be prime minister is forced to make great concessions to them, to get him over the 60-seat threshold. In our government, there are normally about a dozen political parties (I know this is hard for Americans to understand). No single party has ever won more than 50% and the largest party (normally with about 25%-30% of the vote) has to compromise to get other parties to join their coalition.

The Orthodox parties demand a steep price. They don’t have to serve in the army. Most don’t work, but live off my taxes (so they can study and pray all day) and charity. They demand funding for their schools and other projects.

As common as the Lunar Eclipse!

A few years ago, we had only the second government in our short history with no Orthodox parties. We quickly passed laws making army service mandatory, stopped the welfare state-system off of which they were living, and forced religious schools to teach math and science, not just religion. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu found it hard to govern without the rubber stamp of the Orthodox parties that he (and most other prime ministers before him) had basically paid off. So, he dissolved his government, called for new elections and formed a new government with the Orthodox. The new laws were reversed.

On the one hand, it does make it hard to govern if your hands are tied as the prime minister—if your every decision is challenged by your cabinet. You can’t be a Prime Minister if there are constant threats from other parties to bring the government down. On the other hand, it is absolutely criminal that a small group of people gets to make sweeping decisions that cost hundreds of millions of shekels…and denies the right of marriage in Israel to a large segment of our population.

So, yes, a dear sweet Messianic Jewish Israeli couple has been denied their God-given right to marry here in Israel. But they are not alone. In the meantime, the couple would ask you to keep them in prayer, that they would have wisdom and know God’s will as they move forward.

 

Shares 511

Question 1: What is Zionism?

SCROLL DOWN TO CONTINUE: While the UN once said that Zionism is racism, because it provides a homeland for JUST the Jewish people, nothing could be further from the truth (It is not like Israeli Jews can immigrate to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran or Egypt). Secular Zionism flourished under Theodore Herzl (pictured) because he concluded, 40 years before the Holocaust, that the Jews would never be safe until they had there own land. Christian or Biblical Zionism is the belief that God preserved the Jewish people for 1,900 years, scattered them across the globe and then, according to His word, brought them home. “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land." Ezekiel 36:24 "Zionism is nothing more, but also nothing less, than the Jewish People's sense of origin and destination in the Land linked eternally with its name. It is also the instrument whereby the Jewish Nation seeks an authentic fulfillment of itself." - Abba Eban "Every empire that's enslaved him is gone, Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon. He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand, In bed with nobody, under no one's command." - Bob Dylan "For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest, until her righteousness comes out like brilliance, and her salvation burns like a torch." - Isaiah 62:1 "Zionism is, in sum, the constant and unrelenting effort to realize the national and universal vision of the prophets of Israel." - Yigal Allon

Who was the President of Palestine when Israel was rebirthed in 1948

There has never been a nation called Palestine. It is a myth that the Arabs and the Media continue to propagate. When Israel became a nation, it was the British who ruled the region (not state) of Palestine. The word Palestine has no Arab connection whatsoever. Before the British, it was the Turks for 400 years. Jerusalem was never important to Islam until the Jews began to reclaim it. Under Islamic rule, it was a wasteland.

The first nation to recognize Israel in 1948 was

Harry S. Truman immediately recognized the state of Israel against immense pressure from his own state department. "I had carefully read the Balfour Declaration. I had familiarized myself with the history of the question of a Jewish homeland and the position of the British and the Arabs. I was skeptical, as I read over the whole record up to date, about some of the views and attitudes assumed by the 'striped-pants boys' in the State Department." When the Jewish Agency, at the request that morning from Truman, formally asked for recognition they didn't even know the name of the new state. On the way to the White House, the established of the State of Israel was declared by our first Prime Minister at 4PM Israel time in Tel Aviv. They caught the currier just before he arrived at the White House, and with a pen, scratched out "Jewish State" and wrote in "Israel"! Truman signed it.

Who was Israel's first Prime Minister?

David Ben Gurion immigrated to Israel as a young man from Poland. He was raised as a staunch Zionist (the belief that the Jewish people will never be safe without returning to their own land as the Scriptures predicted). He worked in a collective farm clearing rocks in his early years and ended up becoming Israel's first Prime Minister after years of leading the effort for statehood. His passion was seeing the "desert blossom like a rose" and urged Israelis to move to the Negev Desert. Beersheva in the heart of the Negev is Israel's fourth largest city and host's Ben Gurion University of the Desert.

Israel returned the entire Sinai Desert to Egypt in exchange for what?

Camp David Accords and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process. The Camp David Accords, signed by President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in September 1978, established a framework for a historic peace treaty concluded between Israel and Egypt in March 1979. (https://history.state.gov/milestones/1977-1980/camp-david)

What new country was birthed on 80% of Historic Palestine in 1921?

In 1921, Transjordan was given autonomy to govern 80% of the land that the League of Nations had already promised to Israel at the 1920 San Remo conference. This country became known as Jordan. "The San Remo Resolution adopted on 25 April 1920 incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations were the basic documents upon which the British Mandate for Palestine was constructed. Under the Balfour Declaration, the British government had undertaken to favour the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." Many people refer to Jordan as the Palestinian Arab homeland. There were no ethnic differences between Arabs who lived on the East bank of the Jordan and those who lived on the west. Neither of them had independent countries. Jordan was invented and Palestine has never been a country. Even their flags are nearly identical.

In 1917 Great Britain released the "Balfour Declaration" that promised...

The Balfour Declaration was released by Great Britain at the end of WWII, to announce their support for the Jewish national homeland in the Biblical land of Judea, then called Palestine (which was a region, not a country). The allied forces took it from the Ottoman empire after 400 years of rule. It reads: His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country. The document became international law when the San Remo conference, under the authority of the League of Nations (United Nations) adopted in 1920. There has been no legal repudiation of it. PS There is a street named for the United Kingdom's former Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour in Tel Aviv.

What, in your opinion, is the best reason to join Ron and Elana in Israel this Spring for Israel's 70th Anniversary since her rebirth?

Of course there is no wrong answer here, and we would love for you to come be with us this April! It is going to be amazing! ISRAEL TOUR ITINERARY: www.livingstonesisrael.com (You will need to copy/paste the link into your browser.)

When did Palestine become a country?

There has never been a country called Palestine. Most so-called Palestinians came from southern Syria. As the Syrian President of Syria said to Yassar Arafat in the 70's, "You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian People, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people."

What was the name of the Zionist, JEWISH-OWNED newspaper in Jerusalem before 1948?

Before the PLO was birthed and certainly before Israel became a nation, the word Palestinian was a generic word that had no connection with Arab life, ethnicity or culture. A Palestinian was anyone, Jew, Arab, Christian, Beduin or anyone else who lived in the "region" of Palestine. If you were Jewish you called yourself a Palestinian Jew. So, the Jewish newspaper being called the "Palestine Post" was perfectly normal. Shortly after Israel became a nation, they changed the name to the "Jerusalem Post".

Who changed the name of Israel to Palestine?

It was the Roman Emperor Hadrian who conquered Judea and the Galilee and changed the name to Philistia (Palestine) after the extinct ancient Philistines. His goal was to utterly destroy the Jewish people, as they continue to rebel against Rome. By exiling the people and changing the name of their homeland, he knew they would not survive more than two or three generations. And yet, God watched over his people for 1,900 years and brought them back to their homeland, just as he promised. (Jer. 31:10) The picture of the Bible map comically is titled "Palestine in the Time of Messiah." To be sure, there was no Palestine in the time of Christ!

Last night the FIRM conference began in Jerusalem. Even though it was not an outreach event, but a gathering of believers, there was about a dozen Orthodox Jewish protestors, While they were not violent, they were very vocal. To be clear, the majority of Orthodox Jews in Israel do not act this way. I have had many wonderful connections with Orthodox Israelis over the years. But they were young and indoctrinated and probably sent by someone.

They became extremely aggressive and the police were called. However, because the area just outside the meeting hall is public, there was not much they could do. I was shocked at how they yelled at the police. It breaks my heart that someone has trained them act with such disrespect.

Finally, as they were becoming louder and louder, one of the leaders of the conference brought out a speaker and plugged in his iPhone. Suddenly praise music in Hebrew began to drown them out. The believers began to dance and worship, as the presence of God was obvious…and the young protestors left one by one.

Personally, I am not interested in a contest to see who wins a debate or a shouting match. My heart longs to see their zeal for the Law turn into a zeal for God and His Messiah. As I left they spotted me outside—just a few of them—and shouted at me, “Missionary! Missionary!” I responded in Hebrew, “I love and you bless you,” and continued on my way.

Take some time now and pray for these young men to have dreams and visions about Yeshua, their Messiah! Thanks!

The country of Lebanon has officially banned Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, from their country. It is not because she is the daughter of Zeus, but because she is a daughter of Zion! I am speaking of the Israeli star of the movie “Wonder Woman”, Gal Gadot.

As one writer put it, “many accuse her of being a Zionist.” Eww! Yuck! A Zionist! They should have just written Nazi. By the way, a Zionist is someone (like me) who believes that Israel is the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, as promised in Scripture.

While Gadot was not quite the fierce warrior that Wonder Woman is, she did train combat soldiers during her compulsory service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). She is a huge supporter of the IDF, as can be seen in this Facebook post:

What Lebanon doesn’t understand is that in Israel, supporting the IDF is not merely supporting your armed forces—it is supporting your brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, sons and daughters. We are a civilian army, in which the gym rats and the computer nerds all serve together. Everyone serves. And it should be noted that when Gadot posted that on Facebook, Israel was on the receiving end of thousands of Hamas rockets aimed at killing and maiming as many Israeli children as possible.

Instead of expelling Hezbollah from their country, the terrorist group that has caused the deaths of countless daughters of Lebanon, they focus on the one country in the Middle East where Arabs have the most rights and freedoms. Israeli Arabs can vote for politicians and curse them in the same breath without any fear of repercussions. Head out to the beach in southern Tel Aviv any Saturday afternoon and you will see more hijabs than you can bargain for, as Muslim families freely and safely enjoy a barbecue by the Mediterranean.

In 2,000, when Israel left the South Lebanon buffer zone, we took in 10,000 Lebanese Christians who lived in the area because we knew Hezbollah would have killed them. Now, they enjoy a safe life in Israel.

The Arab nations have long fallen prey to exaggerations of Israel’s supposed atrocities—from believing that we kidnap Palestinian children on Passover to use their blood for Matzah (not kidding!) to believing rumors during Israel’s War of Independence that Jews were raping Arab women.

(Arab leaders like Hussein Khalidi, the secretary of the Arab Higher Committee put out the rumors. Reporter Hazen Nusseibeh confessed, “I asked Dr. Khalidi how we should cover the story,” recalled Nusseibeh, now living in Amman. He said, “We must make the most of this.” So we wrote a press release stating that at Deir Yassin children were murdered, pregnant women were raped. All sorts of atrocities.” This was confirmed by Abu Mahmud, a villager, “We said, ‘there was no rape,’ [but] Khalidi said, ‘We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.’”)

Now there appears to be a new rumor in Lebanon: Wonder Woman is real and she is fighting for the IDF! And she stole their falafel recipe!

 

 

Shares 140

President Donald Trump YELLED at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem last week, saying,

“You tricked me in DC! You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement [of violence against Israel],”

according to Israel’s Channel 2.

You might remember a few weeks back, the diplomatic Abbas came humbly to the White House, where he spoke of his peaceful people. He told President Trump:

“Mr. President, I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.  And we are endeavoring to bring about security, freedom and peace for our children to live like the other children in the world, along with the Israeli children in peace, freedom and security.”

But apparently, Trump was provided with evidence to the contrary. It’s that whole thing about words verses action. For instance, just this week the Palestinians named a women’s center after Dalal Mughrabi who, along with others from the PLO hijacked a bus full of Israelis and killed 38 civilians. The Norwegians, who provided funds for the Women’s Center demanded their money back and their logo be removed from the center. Good for them. Even the U.N., notoriously anti-Israel, pulled support for the project.

Furthermore, just reported today, we now know the extent of payments to terrorists and their families from the Palestinian government. No doubt, this is what caused President Trump to dress down the Palestinian leader.

“The Palestinian Authority has paid out some NIS 4 billion — or $1.12 billion — over the past four years to terrorists and their families, a former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and ex-head of the army’s intelligence and research division told a top Knesset panel on Monday.”

No Respecter of Protocol

It is a HUGE breakage of protocol to rebuke a fellow head-of-state (though Abbas is technically not a head-of-state), especially in front of his team, but Trump is no respecter of protocol. Abbas, who had been treated gently by Obama, was shocked at the President’s tone and reportedly, there was stunned silence for several minutes.

Israeli Knesset Member Michael Oren is right when he says, if we created a Palestinian State tomorrow, it would fail the next day (or shortly thereafter). When you teach your children hate and incite them to violence, you are not preparing to govern a country. Instead of focusing on education, institutions, medical facilities, infrastructure or the economy, they are focusing on glorifying suicide bombers. The issue is not merely “Do Palestinians deserve a state?” but can they govern a state? And that’s in the secular area of the West Bank.

What about Hamas

Gaza has been overrun by Hamas, who makes the Palestinian Authority, corrupt as they are, look like angels in comparison. After they won the hearts of the people through building hospitals and schools, they staged a coup and have been running Gaza like Iran for a decade. Their citizens live in terror. (Haven’t seen that reported on CNN!)

There is very little focus on building a functioning state, but instead they rely on donations from state-sponsors of terror to pay their bills. They literally can’t even afford the electricity that Israel provides them, but rely on the P.A. to pay the bill! In this way, they can focus on the more important matters of building terror tunnels with stolen concrete meant to rebuild homes, stealing U.N. aid from their people and using women and children as human shields.

Diplomatic Quicksand

President Trump has no idea of the diplomatic quicksand that surrounds this issue—an unsolvable puzzle and that has sucked the life out of more than a few diplomats. You are dealing with a people that has been brooding for 70 years or more in a culture of religious and racial inspired hate. And if the President pressures Israel to give up land, then he will be at odds with the God who put him in power.

There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. (Joel 3:2)

My prayer is that President Trump will see clearly and understand that as Jeremiah said, a leopard cannot change his spots. I understand the temptation. He is a dealmaker. But you are not dealing with two equals. One, a thriving democracy—creating breakthroughs in medicine, technology and defense. Another, an archaic region that condones wife-beating, death without trial and teaches hate and murder on television shows for children.

It is difficult to be in the business of killing innocent women and children for decades, celebrating murder like a holiday and setting up suicide bombers as role models, and then to suddenly love life, govern in righteousness and show goodwill to your neighbors.

The Big Letdown

In Israel, we have gone from elation over the President’s bold promise recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the Embassy from Tel Aviv, to deep concern over a $350 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia and him suddenly becoming convinced that he can bring peace to Israel and her neighbors. Don’t get me wrong. Every Israeli wants peace. But we have learned time and time again, it takes two to tango.

The best hope for the Palestinians is a new leadership. But with Hamas on one side and the Palestinian Authority on the other, there is little hope that a genuinely peaceful movement could even survive to gain power.

Prime Minister is Sober

Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear this week that he is concerned. Yes, Trump has displayed more love and friendship towards Israel than Obama ever did, but Bibi made it clear that the US has not given Israel carte blanch as seen by the reversal on moving the embassy. The excitement in Israel over a Trump administration has quickly met reality.

“It is true that relations are warm and that there is a great understanding of our position, but a blank check? That is far from reality.”

“You heard President Trump. He came here, did extremely important things and touched us deeply, but he also said that he believes that Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) wants peace, and that I want peace. He also said that he believes that it is possible and necessary to arrive at an agreement.

“There is one fundamental thing that I always say: The reason there is no agreement is because they (the Palestinians) educate their children, generation after generation, that there will not be a State of Israel in any borders whatsoever.”

Bibi clearly thinks that President Trump is mistaken to believe that Abbas wants real peace. Bill Clinton learned this the hard way with Arafat, when, after investing countless days in a peace deal, Arafat simply said no, took his marbles and went home to start the second intifada. Hopefully Trump will see sooner rather than later, and by the tone of his rebuke to Abbas, it is looking like sooner, that peace with Israel has never been what they’ve sought—rather the elimination of Israel.


Dear friends, we are outgrowing out space at Tiferet Yeshua and we are “Expanding the Tent”. We are doubling our seating capacity from 150 to 300 and we will start live streaming our services to reach Israelis wherever they may be.

We need your help

We have raised $37,000 of the needed $200,000. You can partner with us here or learn more here. Thank you for helping is Reach Tel Aviv!

 

Shares 234