Christian Coalition

Those who participate in singling out and attempting to hurt Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns are anti-Israel and not pro-Palestinian as they often claim.  The purpose of BDS is purely anti-Semitic meant only to inflict harm on Israeli businesses and the Israeli economy and not to help the Palestinians or any others for that matter.  If this were not so, those who support BDS would recognize that many Palestinians and Arabs freely and happily work for Israeli companies on both sides of the imaginary “Green Line.”  When Israeli industries and factories suffer, Palestinian and Arab workers suffer too. 

The BDS crowd either has no conscience or has forgotten the lessons of history.  If the church and others who know, or should know, right from wrong fail to stand up against any and all efforts and campaigns which single out Israel and the Jews as somehow deserving of being held to a different and higher standard, then they are failing to recognize the evil at the heart of BDS and anti-Semitism.  Such moral failure paved the way for six million innocent people to be murdered for no other reason than Jewish blood coursed through their veins and it must never happen again.  Sadly, though, as the Holocaust becomes a distant and fading memory, far too many are loosing any sense of shame at harboring anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments. It’s almost become fashionable to hate Israel and this is especially egregious when talking about Christians and church leaders who are either indifferent to Israel or who are members of those denominations which have spearheaded BDS campaigns.  After all, BDS is purely a campaign against Israel which is antithetical to the Word of G-d.

The Bible talks about a time when evil will be called as good and good will be called as evil.  Being a Zionist means believing that Jews should have their own, sovereign nation yet liberal professors and the media speak about Zionism as though it were an evil concept instead of something that is just, right and moral.  Some who support BDS think they are somehow helping the Palestinians. These naïve people have bought into the distortions perpetrated by the media and the images staged by the Palestinians themselves show suffering and poverty which they blame on Israeli policies.   The Palestinian people are neglected and suffering thanks only to their own government. Their poverty has nothing to do with Israel or Israeli policies. Israel and other countries around the world pump hundreds of millions of dollars each year into the Palestinian economy which only serves to shore up the corrupt Palestinian government.  This sad fact was revealed during Operation Protective Edge. Instead of using the humanitarian aid they received to build roads, hospitals, schools, parks, housing and so on, the Palestinian government redirected this funding in to the construction of tunnels of terror to invade Israel’s territory.  The world was deceived and betrayed and their generosity was used for evil. In other words, the dog bit the hand feeding it.

No, Israel is definitely not responsible for Palestinian suffering.  This rests squarely on the shoulders of their unstable government and their own uncivilized attitudes and behavior.  Remember back during the 2005 Gaza Disengagement when Israel unilaterally withdrew and forcibly removed many of its citizens from their homes in Gaza in order to give the land to the Palestinians?  Many do not know that under Israeli stewardship, Gaza was a beautiful beachfront community with thriving greenhouses, a lush agricultural industry and a solid community infrastructure.   When the Palestinians were given the deed to the Gaza, among their very first acts as new “property owners” was to demolish the greenhouses, plunder the fields, burn the crops and tear down the synagogues.  The greenhouses and the fields were income producing and the synagogues could have been renovated and utilized for schools, housing or other honorable purposes instead of destroyed and reduced to waste and rubble. 

Prejudice against Israel which is manifesting in BDS campaigns is the same bigotry which was at work during the rise of Nazism which ushered in a time of unspeakable atrocities.  With some exceptions BDS is, indeed, damaging to the Israeli economy but also to the Palestinian economy.  While Israel has learned to operate in a global marketplace with many of its products, inventions and technologies being integral parts of the products the world has come to depend on and enjoy, the same is not true for the Palestinians.  Israel produces quality products at competitive prices which serves to support a sizeable contingent of Palestinian and Arab workers.

The movement by the European Union demanding the labeling of products made in Judea and Samaria be marked as such and not be labeled as “Made in Israel” is all part of the global BDS campaign to discredit Israel.  The United States has now jumped on the bandwagon with President Obama ordering the same damaging labeling changes. All this is an attempt to delegitimize Israel even if Palestinian lives and livelihoods are hurt or ruined in the process.

But the BDS movement does not stop with products.  The press has been reporting on academic boycotts as well as a movement by a group of British medical doctors who have called for the exclusion of Israeli physicians from the World Medical Association. This would have been a huge mistake.  Thank G-d that the World Medical Association did not support the call from those British doctors to boycott Israeli physicians. Israel is so far advanced in the fields of science, technology and medicine that any boycott to exclude Israeli doctors from any association would have been a set back for the global medical community as a whole and not just for Israel.

So whether you’re in the market for the best and latest technology in solar shield protection for windows, the most sophisticated computer software or anti-spyware programs or seeking treatment of a complicated medical condition, be sure to buy Israeli products and services.  You’ll not only be helping Israel but you’ll be keeping many, many Palestinian and Arab workers employed. A boycott against Israel is a boycott against humanity and this is a moral failure.

The city of Jerusalem is the highlight of any pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It is not just a city that has some 4,000 years of history, making it one of the oldest cities on earth, but it is mentioned 806 times in the Bible with names as beautiful as “City of God,” “Joyful City,” and “Desired One.” Jerusalem in Hebrew is Yerushalayim and is often translated as “City of Peace.”

It is situated on the southern Judean plateau which at its highest point is 2,500 feet above sea-level.  Just 37 miles west of Jerusalem is the Mediterranean Sea, and 22 miles to its east is the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea. This explains why in John 5:1 Jesus “went up to Jerusalem,” and in the parable of the Good Samaritan, the poor man that fell among thieves was going “down from Jerusalem” (Luke 10:30). This idea of ascending to Jerusalem does not merely refer to geography though; Jerusalem was the site of the temple of God, therefore a place of spiritual ascent. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?” asks the Psalmist, “or who shall stand in his holy place?” (Psalm 24:3). 

Psalms of Ascent

In fact, 15 of the biblical Psalms (120-134) bear the label “song of ascent.” They’ve also been called “songs of steps” and “pilgrim songs.” Many scholars believe that these psalms were sung by worshippers walking up the road to Jerusalem at the time of the three great pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Tabernacles and Pentecost. The notion of “ascending” to Jerusalem persists today. For example, Jews who immigrate to Israel are said to be making “aliyah,” or “ascent.”

Many Christian tours recite the Psalms of Ascent as their buses climb the road to Jerusalem.  What a fitting way to prepare one’s heart for the special experience of visiting the city that God chose for Himself (Psalm 132:13-14).  The Psalms of Ascent end with verse 3 of Psalm 134 which is the pilgrim’s prayer that they would be blessed by God while in Zion.

Jerusalem in the Bible

Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible as early as Genesis 14:18, where it is referred to as Shalem, the city ruled by Melchizedek. Later it is called Jebus, which was captured from the Jebusites by King David and made the capital of Israel.  David also bought a certain threshing floor there from its owner and kept it as the site of the future Temple. That site is also referred to as Mt. Moriah in 2 Chron. 3:1, which indicates that King Solomon built the Temple on the same mountain where Abraham had earlier bound Isaac.

Zion was another name given to the hill where the Jebusite fortress stood, and was later applied to the Temple Mount, or Mt. Moriah, just to the north of the fortress. Zion has also come to be used as a synonym for the city of Jerusalem as a whole.

Sites to See

In biblical times, Jerusalem covered territory similar to what is known today as the Old City, a 35 square mile walled area divided into four sections carried over from Ottoman rule: The Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian quarters. The Old City has been surrounded by walls for its defense since ancient times, but the walls that are visible today date back to the 16th century. The Old City was the entire city of Jerusalem until the mid-nineteenth century when building began outside of the city walls.

While an exhaustive list of important sites in Jerusalem is not possible for this article, everyone must see the Western Wall, the only remnant of the Temple walls; the Temple Mount on which is built the Muslim Dome of the Rock; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the likely site where Jesus was crucified and buried; the Garden Tomb, a rock-cut tomb in a skull shaped hill considered an alternative site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial; and the Mt. of Olives.

The Capital of Israel

As you can imagine, Jerusalem today is a very diverse and fascinating modern city inhabited by over 800,000 people. It is a sprawling city with beautiful vistas from hill-top housing developments. In addition to being Israel's spiritual, political, and administrative capital, Jerusalem is also a leader in education and health care, and its religious, historical, and cultural attractions make it the country's premier tourist destination. 

 It was some 3,000 years ago that King David captured Jerusalem and made it the capital of Israel. Since then, the city has been destroyed, besieged, attacked and rebuilt many times.  But it always remained in the hearts of the Jewish people who longed to one day return and re-establish sovereignty there.

The Zionist movement, while a modern political movement, is in many ways a continuation of this ancient attachment of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. The current refusal of the nations to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is an attempt to rob the Jewish people of their spiritual and scriptural heart. This is why the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem recognizes Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of the State of Israel.

Susan Michael is the US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and leads tours to Israel  www.icejusa.org/tours. This article is the second in a series to introduce Israel and various biblical sites of interest to the Christian reader. Read first article here.

Following last year’s passage of bipartisan highway and education bills, the United States Senate is taking up another broad piece of legislation – this time on energy – in a further sign that Republicans and Democrats can work together, even in an election year.

Congress hasn’t passed broad-based energy legislation since 2007. America’s energy situation has drastically changed since then, but partisan politics and election-year roadblocks have sidelined past attempts to adjust US energy policy to a more diverse and lower-cost power landscape.

This year may well be different, in large part because of the efforts of the bipartisan bill’s managers, energy committee chairman Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska and the ranking Democrat on the committee, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington.

These are two women who, above all else, want to get things done, say those who know them. It’s a picture of how bipartisanship works – through their reliance on close communication, regular meetings, and a willingness to compromise.

When asked about the bipartisan nature of a bill on a subject that can be fraught with tension (think fossil fuels, climate change), committee member Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia points to Senators Murkowski and Cantwell. “Look at the leaders of the bill. Very reasonable, very good people, practical people that aren’t playing hyper-politics.”

A Republican counterpart on the committee echoes his sentiments. “It was pretty clear in committee that Lisa and Maria wanted to get something bipartisan,” says Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, also of West Virginia. She says the bill’s broad support among committee members is due to the inclusiveness of its provisions.

The last time America saw this team in action on the Senate floor was a year ago, when they carried the highly controversial Keystone pipeline bill over the finish line. They didn’t agree on its contents and President Obama eventually vetoed it, but that didn’t stop them from working together in a respectful, cooperative, and open manner.

That experience prepared them for the tough work on this bill, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which they do agree on. The measure could well encounter problems this week in the form of “poison pill” amendments. But from the Keystone bill, they learned “keep going, and keep talking, and no surprises,” Murkowksi told reporters as she headed into the chamber last week.

The two senators practice what they preach. As with a well-maintained pipeline, communication flows between them. On most Wednesdays, they met for breakfast in their offices. Instead of flying back to their home states, they stayed in town during the recent “Snowzilla” weekend, keeping in touch with each other as they prepared the bill for the start of floor debate last week.

Their staffs, too, have put in long hours and logged many miles together, holding joint “listening sessions” with stakeholders around the country, preparing for committee hearings in Washington, and negotiating the details of the bill.

The process allowed wide input, including many amendments from both sides, and resulted in a strong 18-to-4 approval of the bill in committee last July. Even the dissents were bipartisan – two from each side.

“Sometimes we can be cynical about this place and what we can get done. Then, all of a sudden, we have a great opportunity to move something forward.... This is a milestone for the Senate,” Cantwell said of the bill on the floor last week.

Since the last energy bill was signed into law under President George W. Bush, the US has become the globe’s leading producer of oil and gas. The costs of producing solar and wind energy have dropped, and Mr. Obama has pushed aggressively against carbon-producing energy such as coal. But US energy policy – and the nation’s energy infrastructure – have not kept up with these changes.

The new legislation aims to do this by making it easier to export liquefied natural gas, and by removing old mandates, indefinitely renewing the main federal conservation fund, and preparing the electric grid for renewable energy, as well as additional cybersecurity.

The bill also supports greater energy efficiency in the federal and private sectors and promotes alternative fuels including hydro and geothermal energy. Domestic minerals, used in everything from smartphones to windmills, get a boost, too.

As the two senators point out, neither side got all it wanted. Murkowski, from a state rich in fossil fuels, would have welcomed opening some areas of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas exploration.

In her ideal world, Cantwell, a champion of renewable energy, wanted far more robust measures to promote clean energy and reduce greenhouse gases, though individual provisions in the bill support both causes.

Instead, the senators led their members to focus on common ground – just as they have over years of working together on issues.

Outside groups on both sides have criticized aspects of the bill, and the White House has expressed some concerns but no veto threat – to which Murkowski let out a happy “whooo!” when she heard that last week.

Senate leaders from both parties back the bill, which, if it passes, would have to be reconciled with a more partisan House bill that the president opposes.

It may not all be smooth sailing in the Senate this week. Certain amendments, be they efforts to counter the Obama’s coal policies or help the residents of Flint, Mich., with their drinking water, could cause turbulence or potentially sink the legislation.

Still, observers remain hopeful. “I’m optimistic,” says Laura Hall, of the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank in Washington. Murkowski and Cantwell “are working pretty openly to make sure everyone gets in the process.” Bottom line: “They want to get things done.”

While I’ve never heard former U. S. President George W. Bush described as a prophet, those who are able to recall his "State of the Union" address back on January 29, 2002, may believe that he did have a crystal ball at least for that one brief moment. In that address Bush declared three countries as being evil. In fact, he called them the “Axis of Evil.” Here we are fourteen years later and Bush’s words are appearing as the proverbial “handwriting on the wall.” The three countries he named have not been quiescent but rather are thriving hot beds of terrorist activities and networks. 

What were the three countries he named? They were Iraq, Iran and North Korea. This “Axis of Evil” is collectively and individually a destabilizing force in the world today and a serious threat to the safety and well-being of the people of Israel and other peace-loving people living in the Middle East (although aside from Israel I'm not sure they really exist). All that’s missing for the “Axis of Evil” to fulfill its proclaimed goals of eliminating Israel followed by the United States is for them to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and this seems just a matter of time. But instead of the United States and other members of the P5+1 breaking the links in this chain of terror and tyranny, Iran was instead handed the golden keys to unlock the first set of doors leading to the acquisition of nuclear weapons. The threat posed by this “Axis of Evil” is right in Israel’s backyard. The rest of the world is telling Israel not to worry because there are checks and balances in place to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons but the truth of the matter is that the “mechanisms” in place to enforce these so-called “checks and balances” are weak and faulty. In fact, it’s more like the fox in charge of guarding the hen house. If you have an unstable neighbor who continually threatens your life, wisdom and prudence say you should take your neighbor seriously and plan accordingly. Will Israel be forced to act unilaterally? Perhaps. Will the United States stand with her? L-rd G-d, I pray so. 

Bush declared Iran, Iraq and North Korea as a reference line “arming to threaten the peace of the world” and as active supporters of terror. Iran openly and unashamedly supports Hezbollah in Lebanon who in turn supports Hamas in Gaza. The world should be taking corrective actions against these countries instead of rewarding their renegade behavior with the lifting of sanctions and other goodies from the storehouses of hard-working taxpayers and those who have been victims of terror. Yes, Bush’s warnings have become reality. The nuclear deal with Iran and weak world leadership have empowered the "Axis of Evil" to rear and shake its ugly head in outright defiance of any terms and conditions, checks or balances, which are enforceable only on paper. 

Hindsight is always 20/20. There are situations in which you win and there are situations from which you learn. Hopefully, the world learned from the invasion of Iraq which was based on faulty “intelligence” indicating WMDs would be found but were not. Precious lives were lost and valuable, irreplaceable property was destroyed. Because the United States and the world failed to plan for either occupation or exit, we therefore planned to fail … miserably. But what did we learn? For one thing we learned that Hussein’s bravado was nothing but bluster, but we wouldn’t have known this without the invasion. Also, we would not have known that Iraq was not a threat in and of itself. Unfortunately, our failure to plan paved the way for the evils of ISIL (or ISIS). However, the same is not true for Iran or North Korea. Both are serious threats to world peace and to the annihilation of Israel and her people. Do we need another attack like the World Trade Center to remind us that we are at war? We are engaged in the “War on Terror” and no country is more aware of this than Israel. The likelihood of Iran building a nuclear weapon is very high and needs to be contained. Yet, for reasons I cannot fathom, sanctions on Iran have been lifted. Why? Why? Why?

Those promoting the deal which was signed last July touted to the public that Iran would be closely monitored with the assurance of using sanctions as leverage to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. To date, Iran has broken security agreements at least three times with the latest being a video released by the Iranian government showing a new ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) silo that is illegal and full of unused and illegal ICBMs. At the time of this writing, no new sanctions are being considered or put into place.

North Korea detonated underground atomic bombs in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Very recently they detonated a so-called miniaturized hydrogen bomb. This is a very powerful explosive with the additional threat of being able to be fitted to an ICBM thus becoming a direct threat to all it considers as enemies. Whether or not this is actually true, it is a form of terror because of the psychological impact upon the world by threatening our sense of safety, security and well-being. Israel has been living in such a state of terror since its inception in 1948. There has not been one day that Israel’s very existence has not been threatened.

The existential status of all humankind is at risk, especially in the Middle East. Acts of terror are a diabolical strategy for changing the way people live by inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical and psychological harm. G-d made all people with inalienable rights to enjoy the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Any threat to this status quo is evil and should not be tolerated by the so-called civilized world. 

Is there a red line whereby, once crossed, the Western world will come out against threats of evil by terrorist rogue regimes? At the moment it seems that, in the United States, there is not. We just keep rolling over. However, the G-d of Israel has a red line. The Bible tells us that at the end of times Israel will become the “whipping boy” of the entire world. Every nation will turn against her and when they do, all who stand against Israel will be guilty of crossing the "Red Line" and will be annihilated by the G-d of Israel.

The Christian Coalition of America is committed to the peace and security of Israel – and that means we must not allow our leaders to put America in a position of weakening Israel in the face of those who are committed to its destruction.

We believe as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated, “The problems of the region are not rooted in Israel.”  That is why the Christian Coalition of Michigan is calling on Americans and our government to “Stand with Israel”.

We will work at the state and national levels to advocate for passage of resolutions of support for Israel that recognize Israel’s right to exist as a state and homeland for the Jewish people, that support its right to defend its borders, and that recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.

We pledge our public support for the peace and security of the nation of Israel, and we oppose any efforts to force Israel to compromise its national security. We call upon the President and our members of Congress to do the same and “Stand with Israel!”

We will work to support government policies and officials who support those principles.

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In a major foreign policy speech, Barack Obama called for Israel to return to its former borders prior to the 1967 “Six Day War” with Egypt, Syria and Jordan.  In some places, those borders leave Israel less than nine miles wide.

As a result of that war – and in order to better defend itself – Israel expanded and has since defended those borders.  Now Barack Obama calls for the Jewish people to unilaterally give up that land and place themselves at risk again.

This comes while, as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out, the Palestinians are governed by Hamas, the mid-east terrorist equivalent of Al Qaida.

Christian Coalition has launched a national campaign to call on Americans and our government to “Stand with Israel”.

Click Here and Join our Campaign Today!

We must not allow our leaders to put America in a position of weakening Israel in the face of those who are committed to its destruction.

As Netanyahu stated, “Events in the region are opening people’s eyes to a simple truth: the problems of the region are not rooted in Israel”.

Let our leaders know that you agree – and that America should not be put in the position of compromising the peace and security of Israel.

Click here and add your name to the public commitment to “Stand with Israel” today.

Your voice CAN make a difference.

Sincerely,

Roberta Combs, President & CEO
Christian Coalition of America

 

 

Christian Coalition of America leaders meeting with Congressman John Boehner and Senator Lindsey Graham to voice opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal.



In his celebrated, but tardy, prime time television announcement, President Obama told the world that America is on the right side of history.  Wrong, Mr. President.  We are living in the wake of terror in America and fearful of more to come.  The population is now living in a state of concern when going to a shopping mall, convention center or sports arena – any place where there is a large public gathering.  Welcome to the world in which Israelis have been living for decades. The terror which Israelis confront on a daily basis will soon be mirrored on American streets.  The proverbial handwriting is on the wall. Those who shout “Death to Israel and Death to America” mean exactly what they say.

This being the case we have to ask why, in the name of G-d, is America admitting a large group of people who are known to harbor anti-Semitic and anti-American attitudes and who vehemently oppose our Judeo-Christian values? When refugees or immigrants are admitted to a country, they are expected to assimilate into the culture of that country and not try to change it from within which is the Islamic agenda.  Let it be clear, America embraces Judeo-Christian values. We embrace the G-d of Israel who is the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and we recognize and uphold Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.  Yes, America may welcome others to our shores who are searching for a better life but we do not appreciate nor will we tolerate any attempt by others to weaken or “change” the fabric of American society. I speak, of course, from an Evangelical Christian perspective which differs greatly from the position espoused by the current White House administration.

At this time in our history, America is not in the mood to accept a people of another culture and religion that is anathema to the American way of life.  We are for freedom of religion but not freedom to break our laws (or use them against us) thereby creating a clash of cultures.  Islam and Christianity are at opposite ends of the political, religious and cultural spectrums.  Politically, we embrace freedom and democracy, just like Israel.  As far as faith is concerned, Christians and Jews believe in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and despite what the rhetoric out of Washington D.C. would have the world believe, America is a Christian nation and Israel is rightfully a Jewish nation.  President Obama promised “change” and we got it. Who knew that the “change” he promised would be an attempt to dismantle our American society and “change” the values, and the allies, we embrace.   

The headlines may say one thing regarding the current administration in Washington but it does not represent the temperament of the majority of people in America. Thankfully many, especially those in Israel, recognize this and are hopeful that the next president will, indeed, usher in a time of change whereby we will again be respected in the world as a strong and moral country which stands with those who embrace Judeo-Christian values and the concepts of freedom and democracy.

We have to ask then, what possesses officials in Washington to allow Syrian refugees who are predominately Muslim to come in to the United States?  According to poll numbers a third of these migrants are reported to be sympathetic to ISIS and two out of a hundred are ISIS members.

President Obama may see these numbers as small and insignificant but these haters of infidels (and that’s anyone who is not Muslim) will likely radicalize the Muslims who are already in America or even the ones coming in with them.  The danger only escalates as the numbers increase.

Who is the president trying to fool?  What is his motive?  It’s very clear that there is no credible biographical data on the “Syrians” coming in.  There is no information from the Syrian government to provide accountability for the people leaving their country and entering the United States.  Some of our State Department officials have readily acknowledged this yet the doors are swinging open.  In plain English, the immigrants from the Middle East cannot be properly accounted for or vetted.  So our government is working with shades over its eyes – blinders really.  Is this the right side of history?  Prior to this era, while not perfect, our government acted smartly, not blindly, and we stood firmly with Israel, America’s only true friend and ally in the Middle East and the key word here is “true.”

Yes, it is okay to be seen heroically and resolute in our resolve to welcome all people of all races and cultures to our country but not to the detriment of our well-being or that of our allies.  A line must be drawn somewhere.  It must be drawn precisely where our security becomes at risk, our image in the world becomes one of weakness and our allies are left feeling abandoned.  

If there could be any worse news it is this; ISIS, the free world’s enemy, has taken over major cities in Syria that include government buildings that contain blank passports and passport machines.  This is an international criminal’s dream and the free world’s nightmare. There are known to be almost 4,000 illegal, false passports, now in use.  Some have been tracked into Europe.  Most or many of the false passports that Washington officials are aware of have been forged since 2014.

America’s security cannot be wholly secured or even contained.  Let’s admit it.  While it is only right and good that the government is supposedly on top of all this per the president, we have not perfected our own homeland security. For this we need to take lessons from Israel. Despite what the media says, Israelis are a smart, fair and moral people. There are no Israelis shouting “Death to America.” Contrast this with the Facebook pages of Tashfeen Malik, the female San Bernardino terrorist who sympathized with Jihadi ideals in plain sight prior to coming to the United States.  Shouldn’t the internet and all social media be scoured when people from countries with a high percentage of terrorists attempt to enter America?

It seems the president has an apparent agenda to continue allowing thousands of unvetted people to enter the country when we still have a lot of security work to accomplish. As a people, American citizens are not without compassion and neither are the Israelis.  We are in no way saying not to help the people who are trying to get out of harm’s way.  Like Israel, we just need to be smart about it. Instead of opening the door for immigration, Israel sends aid to those who are suffering but no one ever hears about this because the media is largely anti-Semitic.  Perhaps America should do the same for those who cannot be properly vetted – send aid but keep the door closed to those who pose a risk.

The world is changing right before our eyes.  Anti-Semitism is once again on the rise and hatred of Israel has become almost a religion.  Those of us who know the Bible have a mandate to stand with Israel and the Jewish people and I, for one, will not waiver.  This, my friend, is the right side of history.

Millions of Christians have travelled to the land of the Bible over the last four decades and had their faith and biblical knowledge enhanced in transformative ways. There are so many different reasons why Christians are blessed and inspired by travel to Israel that it is an absolute must for anyone with the time and means to go there. Below is just a sampling of what awaits you in the land of Israel!

1.      You Will Never Be the Same

My first trip to Israel was in 1978, when I had the opportunity as a university student to do a summer study program in Israel. I have never been the same! Over the years since, I have heard countless Christians tell me that their trip to Israel also changed their life. For me, the change was drastic. I, who dreaded the one year of French language I had to take, returned from Israel and gladly traded it for three years of Hebrew!  I, who hated history classes, returned with an excitement and an appetite for history that has still not been satisfied. I, who never knew the first thing about world affairs or current events, returned from Israel an avid student of Middle East affairs – one of the most complex regions of the world. Those are just a few of the things that changed in my life; let’s explore other ways Israel impacts lives.

2.      Your Bible Will Come Alive

Before going to Israel, I read my Bible every day both devotionally and, as a Bible major in University, doctrinally.  But in Israel, I began to study the Bible as a history book—an extremely accurate one backed by archeological finds. I read the Bible not just for spiritual meaning, but tracing the stories on maps and visiting the archeological remains of many of the cities.  The Bible became so real that it literally stood up and took on a third dimension as an accurate, historical account from which we learn many spiritual lessons.

3.      Encounter God in a New Way

God is not limited to any one location and therefore, we can pray from anywhere in the world and experience His presence in our lives. But, there is something to be said for taking a spiritual pilgrimage to get away from everyday life and seek the Lord with new fervor. A trip to Israel is the perfect getaway to seek the Lord. Walking where Jesus walked, hearing His words anew, seeing the illustrations from everyday life that He used, and understanding His teachings at new levels often leads to special encounters, even healings, that stay with the traveler when they return home.

4.      Meet the True Jesus

As much as we like to think that we read the Bible as it is intended, most of us are highly influenced by our surroundings and understand the Bible in our own cultural context. That is why for centuries, European art depicted Jesus with a fair complexion, blond hair and blue eyes.  Studying the life and words of Jesus in Israel puts him in the correct cultural and religious context. He was the Jewish Messiah who said of Himself that He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. His parables, teachings, and lifestyle cannot be fully understood without the Hebraic context in which He ministered.

5.      Experience Prophecy Fulfilled

While traveling in Israel we are surrounded by prophecy fulfilled and the faithfulness of God to His Word. We see that the Jewish people have been gathered from the North, the South, the East and the West; from every nation to which they had been dispersed; first by ship and then by planes; and assisted by the Gentiles; all just as the Bible foretold. God is fulfilling His promises made to the Jewish people, which means Christians can also trust Him.  He is a faithful God and His Word is true!

6.      See a Modern Miracle

The birth and existence of Israel is nothing short of a modern miracle. Out of the ashes of the Holocaust and the dust of the desert, in just over 65 years, they have created a thriving and prosperous country that is leading the world in innovation, technology, science, medicine, security, agriculture, and water conservation and production. This little country of some 8 million people is making the world a safer and better place. What a miracle!

7.      Touch the Apple of His Eye

Many Christians understand from their Bible that the Jewish people are God’s Chosen People, but may have little appreciation for what that has meant for them. The Jewish people have carried a calling that no other people group on the face of the earth carries; it is to be the vehicle of God’s redemptive plan. This calling put them directly in the line of fire and they have suffered much throughout history as a result. To meet Israelis face to face and speak blessing and encouragement to them is often the highlight of a Christian’s trip to Israel.   

8.      Learn How to Pray

Isaiah 62: 6-7 instructs us to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem and to pray day and night until God’s promises to the Jewish people, which will bless the world, are fulfilled. After visiting Israel, understanding the security situation, sensing the spiritual tension, and getting to know the people and God’s promises to them, one will be able to intercede for the peace of Jerusalem with greater effectiveness, and experience the privilege of partnering with God in prayer for the people of Israel, the region, and in fact, the world.

Susan Michael is the US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem www.icejusa.org. For info on ICEJ tours to Israel for pastors, young adults, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles go to www.icejusa.org/tours  Join the ICEJ’s Isaiah 62 global prayer initiative at www.icejusa.org/isaiah62_pledge

This article is the first in a series to introduce Israel and various biblical sites of interest to the Christian reader.

 

Immediately following the savage shootings in San Bernardino, California, the New York’s Daily News churned out a front page headline which read, “God isn’t fixing this.”  Photos of GOP contenders compassed the headline with each offering thoughts and prayers.  To the Editor-in-Chief, the issue of gun violence was the larger issue.

The headline sparked immediate negative response in the media in the United States denouncing the offensive attack toward people of faith.  This was clearly a bullying tactic by the newspaper to smear believers in G-d in order to make a case for gun control.  This was not only reprehensible but showed no sensitivity toward the many families of those innocent murdered and injured victims.

As “less than perfect” human beings, we are woefully incapable of soothing the frayed emotions of those who are terrorized, those who have lost loved ones or those suffering from physical wounds.

The larger issue here is G-d, our Creator, who can assuage our pain and bring ultimate healing.  This is the reason for thoughts and prayers offered by people of faith.  Only G-d can do what G-d can do, and He does it perfectly well.  His is an overarching wisdom and way that goes beyond the insight any human can possess.  For the time being we accept it but not just to accept it, we take action; the first act of which is prayer to Almighty G-d.

We pray to the same G-d who has overseen the rebirth of Israel, aliyah of its people and significant technological growth in the sovereign Jewish nation all in less than seventy years.  In addition, G-d included a few miracles here and there.  The things that only G-d can do, He will do.

So do not insult people of faith who place prayer in the forefront of everything. G-d is fixing this but we all have a part to play.  Whether you like it or not, G-d is giving a chance for every person on the face of the earth to accept His wisdom and His ways that are expressed so well since the beginning of time in His Holy Bible.

When the time runs out the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will fix this once and for all. He has a plan and a purpose regardless as to whether or not it fits within the purview of an editor.  As a result of prayer, the Bible records that G-d has, in times past, altered His course and changed His mind.  Of course there are subsequent actions which mankind is expected to accomplish but only after prayerfully seeking G-d asking for His guidance.

“Humankind isn’t fixing this,” would be a more accurate headline since we have the responsibility to be good stewards over this world which we have collectively broken by ignoring, challenging or rebelling against G-d’s laws and we are suffering the consequences. The Bible, the oldest book on the planet, comes from G-d and spells out what is expected.  It’s our guidebook for living healthy and peaceful lives. If the world would unite in the Word of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we would then be able to go a long way toward repairing some of the damage.  The answer to the world’s problems is not technological, it Biblical. Lasting solutions start and end with people and prayer, not guns and violence. 

Too bad many refuse to follow the path of the Bible but this is why we pray.  What would the world look like if people of faith stopped praying?  No doubt utter chaos, confusion and mayhem would be the norm.  If we want to get it right, we need to honor G-d and pray faithfully – not repetitious prayers but heartfelt prayers.  After all, it’s hard to stumble and fall when you’re on your knees in prayer. 

This past year for Israel has been a raucous one. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu has had to skillfully wend his way politically through the innuendoes of friend and foe alike. If only other political entities were so good at providing leadership, the world might be in a better place.

Netanyahu risked a lot earlier in the year vigorously contesting the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) commonly known as the Iranian Nuclear Deal, that was prodded through by the unyielding American president. The relationship between the United States and Israel was contentious at best and arguably made worse by the Prime Minister accepting an official invitation to speak before the U.S. Congress to share his insights about the Iranian Deal.

Internal politics aside, Israel is making do with the best a democratic government can offer. It upholds basic fairness for all citizens alike regardless of religion, race or creed. Like any democratic country the government makes hard decisions and at other times, concessions, to various groups and agencies to improve evenhandedness in policy.

There are other countries which have the same issues of national sovereignty as Israel but fortunately for them they do not have double standards imposed on them as does Israel by the European Union, the United Nations, radical Muslims and academics all who seem to live in another world.

A towering problem for Israel this year was the pretend disruption of the status quo on the Temple Mount. The lies and fabrications of Muslim radicals are not worthy of comment because of the clear facts seen on videos and in photographs. United States Congressmen, pastors and others have personally observed the intimidation and false accusations of radical Muslims. After all, if what the Muslims contend is true then why do they not want security cameras in place to film any alleged disruption of the status quo?

Palestinian radicalism has led to stabbings and the utilization of vehicles to plow down many innocent people in Israel causing widespread killings and injuries; that these criminals are as young as eleven years old speaks to the brainwashing of once innocent Palestinian children by government led officials and even their own parents who, themselves, are encouraged to be anything but peacemakers.

How is Israel to handle such scandalous, vicious attacks which can occur anywhere and at any time? The world is watching because it knows this same horror may soon happen in other countries as is likely on the way.

At a time in history not seen since Israel’s rebirth, the entire world is trying to figure out the agenda of the American president who has misplaced the world’s trust and American allegiance to its allies – especially Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu, like all world leaders, has had to move on in his plans for the future both with and without the United States. Other countries are doing the same.

Israel, along with countries which previously had nothing to do with the Jewish state, are broaching alliances in several sectors of government. These are noteworthy as Israel moves into the unpredictable future.

On another note, the Jewish-Christian relationship is better than it has ever been in two thousand years. Forward looking rabbis presented a statement in November recognizing the positive theological and attitudinal changes by Christians toward the Jewish people. The Catholic Church further clarified its stance in December recognizing the Christian church’s error of Replacement Theology which is the false belief that the church has replaced the Jews and Israel. Many Christian denominations have been teaching this false doctrine for years. Both Jews and Christians are recognizing that we share more in common than previously thought which hopefully will open the doors for real collegiality and unwavering unity.

There is more to be done, but significant strides have been achieved by the Jewish State of Israel as promised by the G-d of Israel. If the G-d’s Word in the Bible is a true indication of G-d’s love for Israel, and G-d’s Word is definitely true, then it would be best for all foreign officials and countries to beware not to hurt, touch or try to divide the “apple of His eye.”

 

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord...” - Luke 2:8-11

 

I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2015 has been a very busy year for us here at the Christian Coalition of America and, with the coming election year, 2016 will certainly present its challenges as well, as we faithfully work on behalf of our pro-family values.

But it all pales in comparison to the importance of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord!

We are truly blessed to live in a land where we can still celebrate his birth and proclaim his name.

May God richly bless you and your family during this season of celebration and praise for the birth of our Savior. And may God richly bless you throughout this coming year!

Sincerely,

Roberta Combs
President & CEO
Christian Coalition of America