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Mission Statement

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in 1980 in recognition of the biblical significance of all of Jerusalem and its unique connection with the Jewish people. Today, it represents millions of Christians, churches, and denominations to the nation and people of Israel. We recognize in the restoration of the State of Israel God's faithfulness to keep His ancient covenant with the Jewish people. 

Our main objectives are:

  • To stand with Israel in support and friendship;

  • To equip and teach the world wide Church regarding God's purposes with Israel and the nations of the Middle East;

  • To be an active voice of reconciliation between Jews, Christians, and Arabs, and to support the churches and congregations in the Holy Land.

From its head offices in Jerusalem, the ICEJ reaches out into more than 140 countries worldwide, with branch offices in over 80 nations.

 

Our Vision is:

  • To reach every segment of Israel’s society with a Christian testimony of comfort and love, and
  • To reach and actively represent to Israel the support of denominations, churches, and believers from every nation on earth.

 

Welcome Message

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and to learn more about the work and the ministry of the ICEJ. Please consider joining us in taking a stand for Israel and the Jewish people around the world.

We are your Embassy in Jerusalem!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. J Buehler

Dr. Jürgen Bühler
ICEJ Executive Director

Supporting Israel

Supporting Israel

For over 30 years the ICEJ has stood by Israel, showing our support in a variety of ways, both in the land and around the world. We administer several aid projects, engage in advocacy for Israel, and assist in aliyah to the Jewish homeland.

Teaching Truth

Teaching Truth

The ICEJ educates Christians all over the world about Israel's unique calling, political situation and social challenges. We are probably best known for annually hosting the Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles that draws thousands of pilgrims to Jerusalem for teaching, worship and prayer. We also undertake speaking tours and conferences around the world and have an active young adults program, Grafted, to reach the next generation of Christian leaders.

Promoting Justice

Promoting Justice

The ICEJ is called to confront the rising tide of hostility that threatens the nation of Israel and the Jewish community worldwide. Islamic extremism is not just a threat to Israel, but is responsible for the persecution of Christians and oppression of women throughout the Middle East. We are confronting anti-Semitism worldwide through advocacy, accurate news reports and education. We are reaching out in support to beleagured Palestinian Christians and African refugees who have fled Muslim warlords.

We invite you to join with us as we bring comfort to Israel and the Jewish people throughout the world.

Worldwide Branches

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ICEJ's Worldwide Branches

The ICEJ is represented internationally through its branch network in some 86 nations of the world. These branches have contacts with church leaders and movements in their nations.

Throughout the year the Embassy sends speakers around the world to explain important issues regarding Israel and the Middle East. Our foremost objective is to increase Christian awareness and support of Israel by stimulating leaders, churches and organizations to become effective influences in their countries on behalf of the Jewish people. Receptions are also held, bringing together local Jewish communities, Israeli representatives and Christian leaders in order to facilitate reconciliation and understanding.

The ICEJ works closely with Knesset Members (the Israeli Parliament) on various projects in Israel and abroad, through the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. These projects range from social assistance programs within Israel to establishing Judeo-Christian understanding, mutual support, and addressing foreign governments in defense of Israel. Embassy leadership frequently lobbies on behalf of Israel around the world by addressing governments, diplomats and community leaders. Our connection with Israeli embassies and missions abroad helps build secular public support for Israel and promotes Christian tourism and pilgrimage to Israel.

Through our network of national directors and representatives across the globe we are continuing to raise up support for the people of Israel through solidarity rallies, teaching events, conferences and advocacy campaigns.

ICEJ Branches Worldwide

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | P | R | S | T | U | Z

Albania

Pastor Gentjan Dervishaj, National Director

Contact

Angola

Pastor Samuel Justo, Branch Director

Contact

Australia

Juha Ketola, International Director

au.icej.org

Contact

Austria

Karl Klanner, Branch Director

http://www.icej.at

Contact

Barbados

Kyffin & Roberta Simpson, Branch Director
Contact

Belgium

Jacob Keegstra, Branch Director

http://www.icej.nl

Contact

Benin

Rev. Emile Adote, Branch Director

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Bolivia

Pastor Alberto Magno Sales de Oliveira, Branch Director

http://www.icej-brasil.com.br

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Botswana

Pastor Edwell Katsande, Branch Director

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Brazil

Rene Terra Nova, Branch Director

http://www.icej-brasil.com.br

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Burkina Faso

Simon Ramde, Branch Director

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Canada

Donna Holbrook, Branch Director

ca.icej.org

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China

cn.icej.org

contact

Colombia

Hector Pardo, Branch Director

Tel: (571) 619 9331

Contact

Democratic Republic of Congo

Rev. M'Poy Maumbi, Branch Director

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Costa Rica

Teresita Torres Picado, Branch Director

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Croatia

Juha Ketola, International Director

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Czech Republic

Mojmir Kallus, Branch Director

http://www.icej.cz

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Denmark

Christina Leinum

Tel. +45 278 45470 or +45 209 34049

Contact

El Salvador

Dr. Edgar Lopez Bertrand, Branch Director

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Estonia

Peeter Vosu, Branch Director

Tel: +372 644 8212

Contact

Ethiopia

Peeter VoDr. Henok Ghebrehiwot, Branch Director

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Fiji

Mr Mikaele Mudreilagi, Branch Director

Tel: (679) 9353-805

fj.icej.org

Contact

Finland

Kari Niemi, Branch Director

Tel: +358 (0)20 7181 280 

Fax: +358 (0)20 7181 289

fi.icej.org

Contact

France

Robert Baxter, Branch Director

Tel. + 01 49 17 11 24

fr.icej.org

Contact

Gabon

Eloka Otto Zachee, Branch Director

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Germany

Gottfried Bühler, Branch Director

www.icej.de

Contact

Ghana

Rev. Kofi Prempeh, Branch Director

Tel: +233 (0) 504 561 793

Cell: +233 (0) 242 561 793

http://www.icejghana.com

Contact

Guatemala

Pastor Luis Fernando Solares, Branch Director

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Honduras

Pastor Evelio Reyes, Branch Director

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Hong Kong

Colin and Nancy Chow, Branch Director

Tel: 852-3746-4507

www.icejhk.org

Contact

Hungary

Juha Ketola, International Director

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Iceland

Olafur Johannsson, Branch Director

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India

Pastor Meka Padma Rao (Danny), Branch Director

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Ireland and Northern Ireland

Brian Silvester, Branch Director

Tel: +44 (0) 2890 814 479

Contact

Italy

Tony Rozzini, Branch Director

Tel: +39 030 643 165

Contact

Ivory Coast

Jean Kra Kouassi
, Branch Director

Tel: +225 (01) 90 90 14

Contact

Kenya

Juha Ketola, International Director

Contact

Latvia

Ilze & Maris Saulitis, Branch Directors

lv.icej.org

Contact

Liberia

Rev. John Aaron Wright, Sr., Branch Director

Tel. +231886315818

Contact

Lithuania

Michael and Fausta Maass, Branch Directors

Tel. +370 612 44147

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Malaysia

Elizabeth Lee, Branch Director

Tel: +6 016 3471 269

Contact

Mauritius

Aubeeluck, Branch Director

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Mexico

Dr. Carlos Quiroa, Branch Director

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Nepal

Pastor Timothy Rai, Branch Director

Tel: 977 1 6638173

Contact

Netherlands

Drs. Jacob Keegstra, Branch Director

http://www.icej.nl

Contact

New Zealand

Derek McDowell, Branch Director

Tel: (09) 837 5384

nz.icej.org

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Niger

Moctar Soumana, Branch Director

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Nigeria

Rev. Mosy Madugba, Branch Director

Tel: 234 84 233669

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Norway

Leif A. Wellerop, Branch Director

Tel: +47 67 53 01 81

http://www.icej.no

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Panama

Marco A. Zevallos, Branch Director

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Papua New Guinea

Pastor Bezalal Tegi, Branch Director

pg.icej.org

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Philippines

Apostle Rolando "Joshua" Blas, Branch Director

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Portugal

Antonio and Carla Melo, Branch Director

www.icej-portugal.org

Contact

Republic of Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Juha Ketola, International Director

Tel: + (972) 2 539 9700

Contact

Romania

Pavel Antoneisi, Branch Director

Tel. +0230522355

Contact

Russia

Howard Flower, Branch Director

ru.icej.org

Contact

Senegal

Abdou Maiga, Branch Director

Tel. +226 (627) 56226

Contact

Sierra Leone

Joseph Francis Williams, Branch Director

Tel. +232 30217280

 

Contact

Singapore

Jehu and Christine Chan, Branch Directors

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Slovakia

Peter Svec, Branch Director

sk.icej.org

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Slovenia

Marcos Magno Morales Tavares, Branch Director

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Solomon Islands

John Hauirae, Branch Director

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South Africa

Luba Mayekiso, Branch Director

Tel: +27 21 882 9146

Fax: +27 88 021 882 9146

za.icej.org

Contact

South Pacific Islands

Victor Schlatter, Branch Director

Contact

Sri Lanka

Pastor John Kitto, Branch Director

Tel: 0094 112 734 663

Fax: 0094 112 810 125

Contact

Sweden

Siewert Öholm, Branch Director

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Switzerland

Hansjorg Bischof, Branch Director

http://www.icej.ch

Contact

Taiwan

Daniel and Linda Chou, Branch Director

台北市信義區信義路五段五號四樓, 4F06室

Tel: 02 2758-4190
Fax: 02 8192-6895

http://tw.icej.org

Contact

Tanzania

Stanton Newton, Branch Director

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Togo

Komi Ayitiga, Branch Director

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Ukraine

Juha Ketola, International Director

Contact

UK

Dr. David Elms, Branch Director

Tel:  07503624135

uk.icej.org

Contact

Uruguay

Juha Ketola, International Director

Contact

USA

Susan Michael, Branch Director

Tel: 615-895-9830

Fax: 615-895-9829

us.icej.org

Contact

Zimbabwe

Jenny Stables, Branch Director

Contact

 

 

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.” Isaiah 62:1

PM Netanyahu delivers annual Christmas Greeting at Christian Embassy in Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday (21 December) to deliver his annual Christmas Greeting to the Christian world.

In his traditional holiday greeting, Netanyahu stated:

“To all of our Christian friends around the world, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I send you these greetings from Jerusalem. I'm standing in the courtyard of this magnificent International Christian Embassy. I'm so proud of our relations with our Christian brothers and sisters. I wonder for many of you if you remember the experience you had when you first visited Israel, when you saw the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or the Via Dolorosa or the Sea of Galilee or Nazareth. I'm sure it moved you deeply. And it moves us deeply to have this bond with you because we all know that this land of Israel is the land of our common heritage. It changed the story of humanity, it changed civilization. What a magnificent heritage it is. Yet, we also know that it is under attack these days, that the forces of intolerance, of barbarism that attack all religions attack Christians with particular vehemence. We stand with you and I'm proud of the fact that in Israel, this is the one place in the Middle East that the Christian community not only survives but thrives and it's no accident. It’s because of our commitment to religious freedom; it's because of our embrace of our heritage; it's because of our embrace of our common future. So please come to Israel. Come and visit me, I'm waiting for you. It will be a great experience for you. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.”

With Christmas falling this year on the same day as the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler responded by wishing the prime minister a “Happy Hanukkah,” and giving him a silver Hanukkah dreidel as a gift.

“It was a great honor to host the Prime Minister at our Embassy headquarters and to receive his good holiday wishes for Christmas,” said Bühler. “We know his warm, sincere remarks will be greatly appreciated by Christians in lands far and wide. It also was a thrill to respond with our own ‘Happy Hanukkah’ wishes for him, his family and all the Jewish people. This indeed is a season when both communities can celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. And this timely display of solidarity shows once more that Israel is a country where religious freedoms are not only safeguarded but even encouraged.”

Founded in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is considered the largest global pro-Israel Christian ministry, with branch offices established in over 85 nations and supporters in more than 160 nations worldwide.

For more information, contact:
English-language media: David Parsons, ICEJ;
Email: david.parsons@icej.org ; Cell: 052-381-6214

Hebrew media: Ziv Goldfisher, ICON media;
Email: ziv@icon-smc.com ; Cell:  054-808-8260

The official Christmas video greeting has been posted on the prime minister’s YouTube and Facebook pages:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oIQXIZbxg0&feature=youtu.be
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=benjamin%20netanyahu%20israel

 

TRUMP SIGNS ON TO ICEJ’S FIVE GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR ISRAEL

Murfreesboro, TN – Today, Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, affirmed to Susan Michael, US Director of International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), his support for five principles guiding a strong US-Israel relationship. This came in response to a request made to Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton to agree to the principles presented by the ICEJ and its network, American ChristianLeaders for Israel (ACLI), which represents 60 million Evangelicals.

A petition addressed to the candidates signed by some 40,000 grassroots Americans, and the ACLI lettersigned by 650 Christian leadersacross America, emphasized locating the US Embassy to Jerusalem, supporting security aid to Israel, monitoring and acting on Iran’s terrorism and violations of the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement, rejecting third party solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict forced on Israel, and opposing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions efforts levied at Israel. 

The ACLI letter was signed by Evangelical leaders representing diverse groups and denominations including Hispanic and African American Christians; among them Dr. Jerry Johnson, CEO- National

Religious Broadcasters; Roberta Combs, President-Christian Coalition; Rev. Dr. Sam Rodriguez,

President-National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Penny Nance, CEO-Concerned Women for

America; Rev. Harry Jackson, Presiding Bishop-International Communion of Evangelical Churches; Jane Hansen Hoyt, President-AGLOW International; Dr. James Dobson, President-Family Talk Radio; Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated talk show host; and Jim Showers, Executive Director-The Friends of Israel.

In a meeting on September 25 with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at Trump Tower, the Republican presidential candidate already declared, “If I’m president, I’ll recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.”  Then on October 26, in a video at a Republican event in Jerusalem, Trump commented, “My administration will stand side-by-side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect, not only Jewish Americans and Israelis, but also all Americans and Israelis. Together, we will stand up to enemies, like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people, together we will make America and Israel safe again.”

Susan Michael responded to his comments saying, “The policies Mr. Trump has agreed to will enhance Israel’s standing in the world and directly benefit the United States in security, innovation, technology, and intelligence.”

Secretary Clinton is yet to respond to the ICEJ’s request to agree to the five key principles guiding a strong US-Israel relationship.

__________________________________________________________

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Daryl Hedding, US Deputy Director: (615) 895-9830, daryl.hedding@icejusa.org

About American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI)

On behalf of the tens of millions of American Christians that we collectively represent, we the members of ACLI seek to provide a unified voice of truth to the American public in support of Israel and the Jewish people. American Christian Leaders for Israel is a project of the U.S. Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Learn more ataclforisrael.com.

About International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ)

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in 1980 in recognition of the biblical significance of all of Jerusalem, and its unique connection with the Jewish people of Israel. Today it represents millions of Christians, churches and denominations to the nation and people. Our work with its head office in Jerusalem reaches more than 140 countries with branch offices in over 85 nations. Learn more aticejusa.org.

ICEJ Calling on Christians to Flood UNESCO with Bibles

In response to UNESCO’s recent passage of a resolution denying any Jewish or Christian connections to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has called on Christians around the world to send Bibles to the UNESCO offices in Paris to remind them of the irrefutable history of the site. Hundreds of Bibles have already been posted to UNESCO with many of its references to “Jerusalem” and the “Temple” highlighted, and thousands more are expected to arrive in coming weeks.

“We were very shocked and disappointed that UNESCO would adopt such a flawed resolution,” said the ICEJ’s Executive Director, Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “Most of us view these diplomats as being principled and well-educated. But apparently, some of them forgot their history lessons and we are sending them Bibles to refresh their memory. Even worse, some of these representatives are deliberately trying to erase the Jewish and Christian bonds to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and other revered sites in the Land of Israel. Hopefully, our campaign will give our nations’ envoys at UNESCO the courage to stand up to the anti-Semites in their midst.”

At the time the UNESCO resolution was passed two weeks ago, the ICEJ was hosting its annual Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. The day after the UNESCO decision, some 8,000 Christians from over 100 nations took to the streets of the Israeli capital in the traditional Jerusalem March to express their solidarity with the Jewish people and their ancient claim and connection to the city.

As the ICEJ’s week-long Feast was ending, Dr. Bühler issued a call for Christians everywhere to send Bibles to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to press home the message that Jews and Christians have indisputable historic links to Jerusalem which predate Islam by centuries. The Christian Embassy is now receiving reports that hundreds of Bibles are already posted to UNESCO and thousands more will soon be on the way.

Jerusalem is mentioned by name more than 1,000 times in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, while the Temple Mount appears hundreds of times as well. There also are hundreds of other references to the site as “Zion”, the “House of the Lord,” the “courts of the Lord,” and similar terms.

For more information, contact:
David Parsons, ICEJ; Email: david.parsons@icej.org ; Cell: 052-381-6214

‘Africa wants renewed ties more than Israel realizes’

In late September, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a shocking message at the United Nations Opening Assembly: “Israel has a bright future at the UN.” Indeed, the world body has been bullying Israel for decades, yet he now has reason to believe things are changing. As an example Netanyahu cited his recent visit to East Africa, where he was warmly welcomed by six national leaders and large crowds of admirers. Netanyahu also held a side summit at the UN with leaders from fifteen African nations. So the Israeli government is aware that an opportunity exists right now to strengthen relations with Africa.

However, Israeli leaders may not fully realize yet just how eager many African countries are to restore and expand their historic ties to Israel. The truth is that some African capitals have been signaling this desire to Israeli officials for several years now and are actually frustrated that Jerusalem has not responded faster. This opportunity for a diplomatic breakthrough is huge and must be pursued, as it even could spell the break-up of the Arab/Islamic monopoly over regional voting blocs at the UN – meaning no more UNESCO fiascos in future.

Over recent years, senior leaders of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem have visited more than a dozen nations all across Africa and discovered that the continent is anxious for deeper relations with Israel. Even leaders of Muslim-majority African nations have expressed their strong interest in restoring relations with the Jewish state – a message we have faithfully conveyed to Israeli officials. Come hear firsthand reports on Africa’s current move to open a whole new chapter with Israel, featuring ICEJ leaders and African officials.

EVENT:   Feast 2016 Press Conference

DATE:      Wednesday, 19 October 2016

TIME:      12:30 PM

PLACE:     Jerusalem Payis Arena – VIP Reception Room

ENTRY:     Via the VIP entrance at street level, beside Arena ticket office

 

PRESS CONFERENCE Featured Speakers:

Dr. Jürgen Bühler, ICEJ Executive Director

Rev. Juha Ketola, ICEJ International Director

Minister Joel Nguessan, Spokesperson for the President of the Ivory Coast

 

The ICEJ’s 37th annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem has drawn over 5,000 Christians from more than 90 countries to Israel this year, including some 35 pro-Israel Christian parliamentarians and senior government officials from over 20 nations.

For more information, contact: David Parsons, ICEJ Media Director
Cell: 052-381-6214; E-mail: david.parsons@icej.org

ICEJ Statement on UNESCO Vote

We are utterly dismayed that UNESCO has adopted once again a scandalous resolution denying any Jewish connection to the holy sites in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, including the Temple Mount.

The resolution omits the traditional, biblical names of sacred Jewish sites, calling them by alternative Muslim names only.  This is tantamount to rewriting history and stripping these sites of their 4,000 years of Jewish and 2,000 years of Christian connection.  We are deeply concerned that the wording accepted by an international body intends to eradicate any Jewish and Christian bonds to these holy places.

This represents a calculated insult against the Jewish people as well as an affront to over two billion Christians worldwide who know full well that as a faithful Jew, Jesus regularly visited the holy Jewish Temple on this site, taught there, and was zealous for its calling as a “house of prayer for all nations.”

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is now hosting over 5,000 Christians from nearly 100 nations for a Christian celebration of the biblical Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Their presence in this city to mark a Jewish festival at this time demonstrates the historic continuity between our respective faiths and the special place Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in particular hold for Jews and Christians alike. So on behalf of these Christian pilgrims and the millions more they represent back in their home countries, we want to affirm to the Israeli public that we respect the Jewish reverence for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and we will stand with you in confronting this devious assault on the historic sites in Israel.

The ICEJ had already activated our national branches over recent weeks to work towards changing the wording of this disgraceful UNESCO resolution. And you can rest assured that we will never forget Jerusalem! (Psalm 137:5-6)

 

Dr. Jürgen Bühler
Executive Director
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

Christian Embassy sponsoring first wave of renewed Ethiopian Jewish Aliyah

Following the Israeli government’s recent decision to renew the aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem recently handed over to the Jewish Agency the funds needed to sponsor the first wave of over 500 new immigrants arriving from this ancient African community.

Last month, the ICEJ handed over $500,000 to Keren Hayesod to cover the aliyah flights of the first wave of 523 Ethiopian Jews, as well as to sponsor flights for another 104 Jewish immigrants coming soon from France and the Ukraine. The first families of Ethiopian Jews are expected to start arriving in Israel by Sukkot, in time for the ICEJ’s annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration in mid-October. Over coming months the Christian Embassy also is aiming to raise enough funds to sponsor the entire first year of renewed Ethiopian aliyah, set at some 1,400 persons, as well as additional monies to assist with their absorption into the country.

“Our Christian supporters have always been generous and enthusiastic in giving towards our aliyah projects, especially when they take on such a humanitarian mission as this renewed Ethiopian return,” said Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the ICEJ Executive Director. “These are people who are endangered by tribal conflicts and unrest while also suffering through times of severe drought and flooding. But now they will be lifted out of difficult and impoverished conditions, and finally be reunited with their families already in Israel.”

Dr. Bühler also noted the ICEJ’s commitment to the absorption phase for Ethiopian Jews, since it has proven to be as important as the actual move to Israel due to the large adjustments in language, culture and education these communities must make. Bühler said the cabinet decision to bring home the last of the Ethiopian Jews also is a further sign that Israel is not a racist or apartheid state. He added that even African Christians have been responding generously over recent weeks to contribute towards this aliyah effort from their continent.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the ICEJ has assisted nearly 120,000 Jews in making their way home to Israel from all over the world. This represents an investment of over $50 million in aliyah efforts, with most of the assisted Jewish olim coming from the former Soviet republics but also thousands from Western Europe, North and South America, the Bnei Menashe from India, and the Kaifeng Jews from China.

Founded in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is considered the largest global pro-Israel Christian ministry, with branch offices established in 85 nations and a reach into more than 160 nations worldwide.

For more information, contact:
For English/Foreign media:          David Parsons, ICEJ Spokesman;
                                                          Email: david.parsons@icej.org ; Cell: 052-381-6214

For Hebrew media:                         Ziv Goldfisher, ICON media;
                                                           Email: ziv@icon-smc.com ; Cell:  054-808-8260

Cape Town Declaration

1.  Preamble
In the course of world affairs, there are times when people of good conscience are compelled to stand courageously and proclaim certain undeniable truths. There also are places where declaring these truths is all the more appropriate.

Over recent decades, a falsehood masquerading as a truth was sent forth deliberately from a place that only enhanced the power of that lie. The libel that Israel is an apartheid state akin to the racist regime which once ruled South Africa, issued forth from the Durban conference on racism in 2001, has caused extensive harm worldwide in fostering racial hatred and anti-Semitism and spawning a misguided boycott movement against the state of Israel that is ungrounded in reality and wholly counterproductive to peace. So as Christian leaders gathered from all over the world in Cape Town, South Africa, we are here to proclaim a message of undeniable truth in order to put that lie to rest.

As representatives of millions of Christians around the globe, we are here to reaffirm that Zionism is the legitimate national liberation movement for the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland and the modern-day restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel after 2000 years of exile was and remains a consummate act of historic justice.

Accordingly, we wish to address current theological and political questions pertaining to Israel.

2.  Theological Concerns
Biblical Zionism, also known as Christian Zionism, is adhered to by hundreds of millions of Christians around the world, and affirms the right of the Jewish people to return to their ancestral homeland based on God’s covenant promises to the Jewish people, which are by their very nature irrevocable according to our holy Scriptures. Thus we challenge on biblical and moral grounds those Christians who have relied on erroneous theological justifications to endorse the anti-Zionist apartheid libel and engage in the anti-Israel boycott campaign.

Through the Abrahamic Covenant, God chose Abraham and his natural descendants to birth a nation by which He might redeem the world, and to accomplish this purpose He bequeathed to them a land on which to live as this chosen nation in perpetuity. Though exiled by God Himself, the Jewish people also were divinely promised a future restoration to their land, which we have witnessed in modern times. This promised restoration is affirmed throughout the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, as is their national calling to become once more a “light unto the nations.”

We therefore reject Replacement Theology and similar Christian teachings which deny the enduring covenantal link and relationship between the land and people of Israel and their God. Israel’s right and destiny to be restored as a nation back in their homeland has never been lost because of the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish people, nor has the Church replaced Israel as God’s sole redemptive agent in the world. This false theology has done untold damage down through the centuries, and in the wake of the Holocaust it must never be allowed to inflict any more harm on the Jewish people. We commit ourselves to brotherhood and fellowship between Christians and Jews, sharing mutual respect for our ties, our commonalities and our differences.

3.  Political Concerns
The anti-Israel apartheid libel has gained traction in both Western and Developing nations for different inexcusable reasons, as neither should have ever found acceptance. The Apartheid regime in South Africa was uniquely cruel and immoral in that it disenfranchised and oppressed the majority of its own citizens based on race. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a completely different situation, essentially involving a dispute between two peoples claiming the same lands, which unfortunately is a far too common problem in today’s world. Further, it is a falsehood to depict Israel as a Western colonial implant in the Middle East. Israel was re-born as a nation in an era of decolonization worldwide, when lands once held by the Ottoman Empire were set aside in mandatory trusts to build nation-states for the indigenous peoples. The legal foundations for numerous Arab states in the region today rests largely upon the same legal basis and framework on which Israel was reconstituted when the Jewish people were internationally recognized as indigenous to Palestine. So to question the legality or legitimacy of one of these states in the Middle East is to question the legality and independence of them all. The Western nations need to reaffirm their recognition of the Jewish people’s historic and moral rights to their ancient homeland, and to defend Israel from the nefarious efforts to delegitimize its existence. Meanwhile, the Developing nations need to recognize and treat Israel as a duly constituted state built on the same principles and pedigree of self-determination that birthed and still underpins their own sovereign independence as nations.

The Jewish presence in the Land of Israel can never be equated with racism or colonialism, nor can it ever be considered a foreign occupation, as a people cannot colonise or illegally occupy their ancestral homeland. Israel is simply a unique historic example of an exiled people being rightly restored to their land, which many other peoples have yearned for in their own right.

The Palestinian Arabs, who claim a right to a national homeland in some or all of the same territories, have been offered an independent state on several occasions, with Israel’s assent, yet they have repeatedly rejected such offers because the terms would have allowed Jewish sovereignty to continue in parts of the land. Until the Palestinian leadership is united in its desire, willingness and ability to live at peace with a Jewish state of Israel, then other nations should not be blaming or punishing Israel for the lack of peace between the two peoples. While waiting for that day to come, the international community must respect Israel as a democratic nation and allow it the right and freedom to negotiate and determine its future borders with its Arab neighbours without undue pressure or vacuous condemnation. Israel also must be afforded the right to exist in peace and security and to defend itself from all internal and external threats.

We further recognize that the State of Israel has abided by the spirit of its founding declarations in that it has respected and protected the civil and religious rights and liberties of the existing non-Jewish communities in Israel. We also are mindful and grateful that Israel upholds freedom of religion for all peoples, and has been exemplary in its commitment to safeguard and guarantee access to the holy sites of all faiths in the Holy Land, including in Jerusalem. In this regard, we cannot accept the exclusive Muslim claim to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and believe Jews and Christians should be allowed greater access to visit and pray on that important religious and historic site as a matter of equality and fairness. Finally, we continue to affirm that the Jewish claim and connection to the city of Jerusalem dates back for millennia and that Jerusalem is and should remain the undivided capital of Israel.

Conclusion
Cognizant that the Jewish people’s divine calling back to their historic homeland holds great promise and blessing for the entire world, we are encouraged that Israel today is a free and liberal democracy, and a shining beacon of hope in a troubled region where democratic and human rights, as well as justice and liberty, are too often trampled asunder. We will continue to speak forth these truths about Israel and to impress them upon our government leaders, churches and communities worldwide in the effort to secure her freedom and destiny along with that of our own nations.

EU labelling of Israeli products – promoting the Middle East peace process?

On Wednesday, 2 December 2015, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) held a symposium at the European Parliament in Brussels, titled “The Economic Wall of the EU Labelling Move” hosted by MEP Takkula (ALDE, FI) and MEP Belder (ECR, NL). Main speakers included renowned international legal expert, Prof. Avi Bell, Greek Orthodox priest and founder of the Israeli Christian Empowerment Council (ICRF), Father Gabriel Naddaf, and the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, Binyomin Jacobs.

 

MEP Hannu Takkula opened the first session of the symposium, expressing his concerns that the labelling guidelines will have enormous impacts for the EU and Israel relations. “Until now, we have been creating a good base for co-operation between EU and Israel but this labelling move will not only harm the economic relations, but also will have an unfortunate impact on the co-operation in every field.”  

 

MEP Bas Belder (ECR, NL) noted the mutual high concern by colleague MEPs about the ineffective recent EU labelling move and how it damages EU-Israel relations as well as any prospects for the Middle East peace process. “Which the EU is so naively forcing to restart. The labelling move will certainly not help. It’s counter-productive”, remarked Belder. He furthermore stressed: “the labelling measure will hit Palestinian workers and their family the most. Therefore, I view the European move as anti-Palestinian!”

 

A statement by Dr. Jürgen Bühler, Executive Director of ICEJ, was presented which noted that the EU interpretative notice will only divide Israelis and Palestinians further and hurt those it claims to help. “Despite EU efforts to downplay the political nature of the labelling move, it is clear that the guidelines have been formulated to apply pressure on Israelisand they violate the rules of the World Trade Organisation,” said Dr. Bühler ahead of the symposium.

 

Prof. Avi Bell clarified how the Commission’s interpretative notice violates international law. “While the interpretive notice restricts labels on Israeli products, EU law permits Taiwan and the Palestinian Authority to market products in the EU with ‘made in Taiwan’ and ‘made in Palestine’ labels that contradict EU views on sovereignty, according to which neither is an independent state. Indeed, the same interpretive notice which claims that European consumers will be misled by ‘made in Israel’ labels on Israeli products from Israeli businesses in the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, will not be misled by ‘made in Palestine’ labels on identical products made by their Arab neighbours in the Christian quarter of the Old City.”

 

Father Gabriel Naddaf spoke strongly against the labelling, emphasizing the inevitable harmful outcome: "As a Christian leader, raised in Nazereth, living among the Arab Muslims, I tell you clearly: this decision affects Muslims, Christians, Druze and all other minority citizens of Israel, not just the Jews. This labelling of Israeli products is a further betrayal of Christian values in Europe, and it further weakens the Christian spirit in Europe." Father Naddaf called the move to label Israeli goods “a racist, anti-Semitic decision.”

 

Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, Binyomin Jacobs pointed at the tensions that the recent EU move has created within Europe, with Hungary and Merkel’s party opposing it. “Negativity and hostility always work both ways – internally as well as externally”, Jacobs noted.

 

MEP Takkula added: “As a member of the WTO, we should follow the equal treatment rule among all of our trade partners. The interpretation we are now guided to follow doesn't fulfil this requirement”. MEP Takkula hopes that Member States of the European union will not make the situation worse with more strict interpretation, but will do their share to help the market gain access to the Palestinian products. MEP Belder stressed that “Israel and the EU equally benefit from the cooperation in security, trade and science and technology sectors – just to name a few. The wide array of relations we share with the Jewish State are essential to Europe.”

 

In his statement, Dr. Bühler of ICEJ also noted thatIsrael’s thriving economy has produced a climate of coexistence that is unmatched throughout the Middle East. “It is the only place in the region where [all] can enjoy full democratic rights and equal access to education and economic development,” said Dr. Bühler.

 

The International Christian Embassy (ICEJ) represents millions of Christians, churches and denominations, seeking to demonstrate friendship to Israel and to be a reconciling influence between Jews, Christians and Arabs. Headquartered in Jerusalem the work of the ICEJ reaches some 140 countries with branch offices in over 80 nations.

 

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