Wish you all a happy Christmas from ICFI. Looking back the highlight of 2015 was the Celebration Dinner last July for Ambassador Boaz and Nurit Modai, as their 4 year term in Ireland came to an end. The new Ambassador is Ze’ev Boker and he is settling in to his new and challenging position. A few of us had the joy of attending a Hanukkah celebration in the Israeli Embassy in December, hosted by the new Ambassador. He invited me to join with Cantor Shulman and Rabbi Lent in lighting the Hanukkah candle. I think it would be a big encouragement if you sent Ambassador Boker an email welcoming him to Ireland and assuring of your prayer and support for the year ahead and maybe say where you are from and what church you are part of. His email is email@example.com
A report on the July Celebration was included in Nachlath Dublin, which is the annual magazine of the Jewish Community – which covers the Orthodox and Progressive Jewish communities in Ireland. It is a privilege for ICFI to write an article each year in this magazine which always comes out for the Jewish New Year in Sept. See more at this link: http://www.icfi.ie/farewell-dinner-for-the-israeli-ambassador
Our joint initiative with the Jewish Representative Council was a real success in Nov with over 100 people attended Terenure Synagogue Hall to hear a very good first hand presentation on the work of the Israeli Ambulance service. We took up an offering on the night which came to €2,700 for the MDA. Praise God.
It has been a very tough year for Israel with the horrific ongoing knife intifada. There is such a vilification of Israel going on some mosques in Gaza and the West Bank which is continuing to incite Palestinian Muslims to attack Jews. . Israel’s enemies are using social media to incite brutal terror against innocent civilians. See brief video from United for Israel http://unitedwithisrael.org/watch-palestinian-lies-kill/ – an international Jewish advocacy group.
It is really important to be informed about the truth of what is going on in Israel and with the Jewish People. Eg did you know that in the recent Berkeley massacre in California that one of the people who was murdered was a man who attended a Messianic Jewish congregation? In case you are not aware of it Honest Reporting is a super ministry that sends a weekly email Report that keeps you up to date on key events affecting Israel. We find it is very reliable and recommend you subscribe to this free weekly email – subscribe here http://honestreporting.com/a/signups/signup.html
Its 3 headlines yesterday were:
- European Union to update its definition of anti-Semitism.
• Palestinians stab 3 Israelis in Jerusalem.
• Russia to begin constructing Iranian nuclear reactors.
On the issue of Christian Persecution you probably know that on average 20 Christians per day are martyred for their Christian faith and some 200 million are persecuted/discriminated against in some way. In May this year the first full debate on Christian Persecution in Ireland was held at the Dail Foreign Affairs Committee. A number of organisations including Church in Chains, the Irish Charity, were asked to present the facts behind the persecution of Christians around the world. This debate was a result of a Petition I helped to organise in Johnstown Parish 8 months earlier signed by 430 parishioners calling for such a debate. This Debate led to the Foreign Affairs Committee inviting Ambassadors from Pakistan, Iran, China, India Nigeria and Egypt, to attend the Foreign Affairs Committee in the second week of December and give an account of the persecution of Christians in their countries. However only one country turned up. For more detail see Church in Chains Report at this link: http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=40a923ea3e5fb73ee436eb3eb&id=fed17c76b4&e=7051572c48.
Its great to see our TDs and Senators speaking up for Persecuted Christians: eg At the Dec Foreign Affairs Committee where the sole issue was Christian Persecution, “Ruairí Quinn TD was highly critical of the absent ambassadors and reiterated the importance of the issue, quoting a recent statement by Pope Francis that “Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world”. He said that he was deeply disappointed that the embassies of China, India, Iran and Pakistan had chosen not to attend the meeting and, in so doing, had evaded their responsibilities. Mr Quinn pointed out that the committee was only asking for the countries concerned to live up to the commitments that they had freely made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He said that by absenting themselves from this meeting, those diplomats had done their countries a disservice and their absence could only be seen as a slight on the committee and, by extension, the Irish parliament.
Senator Jim Walsh joined other committee members in criticising the absent ambassadors but went on to say that he had recently met the Egyptian ambassador and that she had told him that she had forwarded the concerns of the committee (based on Church in Chains’ report) to Cairo. He went on to say that the issue of the persecution of Christians worldwide was too important an issue not to be pursued and suggested that the ambassadors of the absent countries be contacted again to see if they would be willing to attend an informal meeting of the committee.”
This was taken from a weekly Church in Chains Report. To subscribe to this free weekly Report go to http://www.churchinchains.ie/ A second super resource on Persecuted Christians is the UK Charity Barnabas Fund – who also send a weekly update – please sign up at https://barnabasfund.org/email-sign-up
A key Video of just 14 minutes is essential to understand the extent of Radicalism within Islam today. See http://go.clarionproject.org/numbers-full-film/
This is presented by Raheed Raza, A Sunni Muslim woman who for 20 years has been campaigning for the West to wake up to the threat of Radical Islam. She present authoritive research demonstrating the numbers of radicals in Islam and very helpfully highlights 3 categories namely: Violent Jihadists, Islamists and Fundamentalists. She highlights some shocking numbers as follows: 237 million Muslims support the execution of Apostates; 345 million support honour killings, 281 million support whipping and amputation, 289 million support stoning of spouses if they are unfaithful etc.
Lets pray for the protection of this courageous woman Raheed who has received many death threats.
However as Christians we believe the only real answer is Jesus. Let us pray for the raising up of labourers in the Muslim harvest field. It is happening. In Sept we had a wonderful visit from a former Muslim, Tass, born in Gaza who used to hate the Jews until he became a Christian. He was accompanied by his wife Karen and a Messianic Jewish leader, Yarin, from Jerusalem. Both are friends and model reconciliation in Israel and Ireland. I love what Tass shared from his testimony and it is worth reminding us of it:
In Feb. 1993 radical Muslim Tass said on the telephone to Charlie, who never had said he was a Christian, how did he have a calm manner. Charlie replied: “I have connection. To have the peace that I have you have to love a Jew” Tass was very taken aback as “up to that time I thought the best Jew is a dead Jew” He went to Charlie’s house and he shared with him John 1:1 – Tass said something dramatic happened and he found himself on his knees asking Jesus into his life. He heard “I am Jesus. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” The following day, after he became a Christian he prayed “Bless my people Israel and bring them back to the promised land”, before he had realised what he was praying.
May this inspire all of us to pray for all radical Muslims to come to Jesus and be delivered from the bondage of Islam and from such devilish hate. May the Lord indeed bless your Christmas and may you in turn bless his people Israel now and in the New Year. Next year in Jerusalem
On behalf of ICFI