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Press Statements

ICEJ Welcomes Trump’s Efforts for Peace, Warns Against Dividing Land

In response to US President Donald Trump’s unveiling of his long-awaited peace plan on Tuesday (28/01/2020), the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem commended President Trump for his efforts over recent years to forge a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, while also cautioning the Israeli people against permanently dividing the Land promised to them.

“President Trump has been a great friend of Israel and already has dramatically changed the dynamic of the failing Middle East peace process with his landmark decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “His plan is now trying to find a way forward to a brighter future for both peoples in this disputed land.”

The ICEJ applauded the Trump plan for finally reversing the trend of recent decades whereby the international community slowly eroded away at Israel’s rights and positions without requiring any Palestinian concessions, an unhelpful approach which eventually led to the extremely imbalanced UN Security Council resolution 2334.

Dr. Bühler added that “while Trump’s proposal is better by far than past peace plans and contains many elements which will benefit both Israel and the Palestinians, it is still a plan to permanently divide the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants.”

He also voiced concern that the plan holds out the possibility of statehood to a corrupt Palestinian leadership which remains firmly entrenched in its rejection of Israel and continues to squander the hopes and future of the Palestinian people.

“The release of Trump’s peace initiative now means the Israeli people are facing even more momentous decisions in their upcoming third election, and out of respect for Israeli democracy we urge all Christians to pray that they will unite around a wise course for their nation,” said Dr. Bühler.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in September 1980, at a time when the last thirteen national embassies left Jerusalem under threat of an Arab oil embargo. In response, over 1,000 Christians from 32 nations gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles decided to open the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem as an act of solidarity with the deep Jewish attachment to the city and the Land of Israel. Today, the ICEJ is considered the world’s largest pro-Israel Christian ministry, with branch offices in over 90 nations and a reach into more than 170 nations worldwide. 

For more information, contact:

David Parsons
Vice President & Senior International Spokesman
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

Auschwitz Survivor Urges German Students to Reject Antisemitism

Schools packed to hear ‘courageous’ Eva Erben on ICEJ-Germany speaking tour

With the world marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz this week, an 89 year-old survivor of the Nazi death camp, Eva Erben of Ashkelon, is touring public schools in Germany and telling enraptured students her life story of suffering and endurance on the perilous journey from Terezin to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Gross Rosen and finally the Death March.

In what has become an annual tradition around the January 27th Holocaust remembrance observances, the German branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is hosting a Holocaust survivor from Israel on a speaking tour in German schools and churches. But Eva Erben’s current visit has taken on added significance as Germany wrestles with its rising antisemitism in the wake of the shocking terror attack at the Halle synagogue on Yom Kippur last October.

While Eva managed to survive the Shoah, she lost her parents and all of her extended family after the Wehrmacht occupied her native Czech Republic. For forty years, she did not talk about her ordeal and refused to speak in German. Now an aging matriarch with nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, she is determined to tell her story to one-and-all, driven by an urgency to combat both Holocaust denial and the resurgence of antisemitism.

Eva with her parents - (Photo Credit: Courntesy of Eva Erben)

At a school near Stuttgart this week, hundreds of students were hanging on her every word as an emotional Eva showed them faded photos of her relatives and said: “I want to make you understand that these pictures of my family before the war are pictures of a normal, happy Jewish family. This story is not just about me, but more about my generation and the generation of my parents. Why did they have to murder us, the Jewish people?”

“And now look at the world today,” she added. “Has anything changed? The Jewish people and the State of Israel is again singled out. Antisemitism is growing, like a virus spreading rapidly.”

“But you are our future,” she tells the schoolchildren. “Some of you will become politicians or leaders in other areas. You can do something about antisemitism. Hatred gives only tears. Hatred is destructive and destroys humanity.”

“Why did I come to Germany to share with you? You are not responsible for the Shoah, not for what your grandparents did. However, you are our future. You need to know what has happened, and that this can happen again, unless we tell the story and learn from it. I hope that you will make the right choice,” she concluded.

There is never time to tell her whole story, but Eva told the German schoolchildren mostly about the last months of the war. She and her mother were evacuated with other Jews from the Gross Rosen concentration camp and sent on one of the infamous death marches by foot in dead of winter. Many were starving and sick, and many died along the way. This included Eva’s mother, who died in her arms.

“Eva, you need to continue,” she told her. She had always tried to give her daughter hope that life would return to normal for them one day. But now Eva was left to give one last hug and kiss to her mother, and continue on with a broken heart and very little hope or strength.

One night, Eva slipped away from the march and fell asleep in a barn tucked near a cow under some hay, seeking warmth due to the bitter cold and her thin clothing. The next day a boy woke her up and warned her that German soldiers were still around. She followed a train track and ran into a soldier who had deserted his unit and just wanted to go home. He gave her some bread and milk, but her stomach could not handle it and she almost died. Eva was down to only 25 kilos.

Later, she came across a German guard who pointed his gun at her ready to pull the trigger. But another guard quickly came and said, “Don’t waste your bullet, she will die on her own.” Shortly after, she passed out and the next thing she remembers is waking up in a barn, where a local Czech lady took her in and cared of her until the German army had withdrawn.

Eva Erben has compiled her entire life story in a book entitled “I Am Forgotten” (“Man hat mich vergessen” in German), which the ICEJ-Germany branch is supplying to every student who comes to hear her talk. They all wait in line for Eva to sign their copies, which she eagerly does, adding a trademark “Shalom” above her signature. Everyone lets Eva know they are glad she came.

Eva Erben signing copies of her book for each of the students. (Photo Credit: ICEJ)

“Thank you, Mrs Erben, for sharing your story,” one student remarked. “You are a courageous lady.”

“It touched me deeply what you have been through and your strength to live and help build up Israel,” said another. “Your story is a story of hope.”

“We have heard and read a lot about this war,” added a third student. “You share your story in such a way that I can picture it. I will never forget this and hope it will never, ever happen again.”

“Eva has a burning message on her heart as antisemitism is on the increase again,” noted ICEJ staff member Jannie Tolhoek, who is accompanying Eva on her speaking tour. “While she is sharing her story at the different schools, you can sense their rapt silence. No one wants to miss a single word. We believe it will make a difference in Germany’s future.”

ICEJ Welcomes US Position on Settlements, Blasts EU Labeling of Goods

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem welcomed on Tuesday the clarification of the United States administration that Jewish communities in the West Bank are not considered illegal, while also denouncing the sharply contrasting position of the European Union taken just last week that imported goods originating from the ‘settlements’ must be labelled.

“We commend the Trump administration for returning the United States to a sound approach regarding the legality of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “It is more attune with international law and with the historic rights of the Jewish people in these areas, and more conducive to peace. At the same time, the European Union has adopted a very troubling course with its recent labelling decision on settlement goods. This position not only undermines efforts at peacemaking and coexistence in the region, it also comes dangerously close to the German boycotts of Jews in the 1930s.”

The ICEJ noted that under international law, the West Bank is considered disputed territory whose ultimate status should be decided in direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Until then, the voluntary presence of Jewish communities in these areas is legal, especially given:

1) The historic Jewish claims to these lands, which were recognized by the League of Nations in 1922 as pre-existing rights and which remain valid today according to Article 80 of the United Nations Charter;
2) Israel acquired these territories in 1967 in an act of self-defense when invaded from these very areas;
3) The Palestinian Authority itself agreed in the Oslo Accords to accept the continuing presence of the settlements until a final peace accord is reached.

The ICEJ further noted that the American legal position on the settlements is far more sound than the EU view because it does not prejudge the issue of ultimate sovereignty over these areas. By denying Israel’s claims to the disputed territories, including eastern Jerusalem, the EU stance has only caused Palestinian leaders to harden their positions and demands in negotiations over these many decades.

ICEJ honored with Yakir Award

Photo Caption: ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler (center) receives the annual Yakir Award from leaders of Keren HaYesdod, given in recognition of the Christian Embassy’s long record of dedication to supporting Israel and befriending the Jewish people.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was honored to receive the annual Yakir Award, given by Keren HaYesod/United Israel Appeal in recognition of the ICEJ’s long record of dedication to supporting Israel and befriending the Jewish people.

“I was humbled to receive the Yakir Award from Keren HaYesod on behalf of the leadership and worldwide family of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “This recognition reflects the hard work and commitment of scores of Christians around the globe who have expressed their support for Israel in so many ways through our ministry over the past four decades.”

The ICEJ was founded in 1980 to represent Christians from all over the world who share a love and concern for Israel and who stand with the Jewish people in their enduring attachment to Jerusalem. Today, the Christian Embassy has branch offices and representatives in nearly 100 nations and a following drawn from more than 170 nations worldwide.

The ICEJ’s core activities include promoting tourism to Israel, assisting Jews to make aliyah, sponsoring social aid projects and humanitarian efforts for the needy and disadvantaged in Israeli society, combating antisemitism, and advocating for Israel in the media and diplomatic arena.

Over recent years, the ICEJ has donated several million US dollars through Keren HaYesod to help fund a variety of projects, most notably to assist Jewish families making Aliyah to Israel, including over 2,000 Jews from Ethiopia arriving on flights sponsored by the Christian Embassy.

Keren Hayesod/United Israel Appeal is the main fundraising arm of the Jewish Agency, which oversees projects to assist Jews in immigrating to Israel, to better Israeli society, and other worthy aims. The Yakir award is given each year to those who have distinguished themselves by their contributions towards the work and goals of Keren Hayesod both in Israel and throughout the Jewish world.

The Yakir award was presented to the ICEJ at Keren HaYesod’s annual awards banquet on Thursday, 9 May 2019 at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv. The dinner and awards ceremony also recognized five other Yakir recipients for their outstanding service to KH/UIA.
 

Christians Respond to Latest Gaza Escalation

Photo Caption: On Monday, an ICEJ delegation visited Israeli communities along the Gaza border area and viewed a new specially-designed ATV security vehicle donated through the ICEJ to a local moshav.

After Israel absorbed over 700 rockets fired from Gaza over the weekend, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem sent a delegation to the western Negev region on Monday to assess the updated security needs of the local Israeli communities and how best to help them prepare for any future escalations in the area.

The Christian Embassy has already donated over 75 portable bomb shelters to the Gaza periphery towns and villages, and today the ICEJ ordered another three bomb shelters for the region. The ICEJ also is donating 20 protective vests for Yatar volunteers from the Negev who risk their lives working alongside the regular security forces to keep everyone safe during times of tension. In addition, the ICEJ delegation viewed all-terrain firefighting equipment as well as brand new specially-designed ATV security vehicles which Christians have recently donated to local Israeli communities through ICEJ.

“Hopefully, the ceasefire reached last night will hold, but the terror militias in Gaza are notoriously unpredictable and untrustworthy,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “However, our team’s visit today has confirmed once more that our humanitarian investment in these vulnerable Israeli communities is comforting families and saving lives.”

Elan Isaacson, chief security officer for the Eshkol Region, told the ICEJ team that, “after 18 years of experience and all the bomb shelters which groups like you have placed around the region, the number of people killed and injured from the Gaza rockets is substantially down.”

Tamir Idan, mayor of the Sadot Regional Council, also hosted the ICEJ team in Kibbutz Alumim before heading off to an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the latest escalation in rocket fire from Gaza.

ICEJ Deplores UNHRC ‘Fixation’ with Condemning Israel

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem on Monday (18/03) denounced the United Nations Human Rights Council for its deplorable fixation on Israel as evidenced in today’s special session solely dedicated to unfairly condemning the Jewish state for acting to defend its citizens from constant threats of terror and violence.

“The UN Human Rights Council has undermined the cause of peace and brought discredit upon itself by once again yielding to the relentless campaign to delegitimize Israel,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “It is blatantly discriminatory to permanently single out one nation and subject it to the hounding which Israel faced today in the Agenda Item 7 deliberations. We join with those moral and sane voices calling for this obsessive targeting of Israel to stop.”

Today, Dr. Bühler sent a letter to Coly Seck, President of the UN Human Rights Council, and a letter to Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, urging them to halt the compiling and publication of a UN ‘database’ clearly intended to serve as a blacklist of companies doing business in the Israeli settlements.

In the letter, Dr. Bühler decried the UN blacklist initiative as an “unprecedented” action by the UNHRC “to encourage and facilitate boycotts and economic sanctions” against private companies. He added that the UNHRC decision to focus only on the Israeli settlements while ignoring other clear cases of illegal occupation was a “gross violation of its mandate to preserve on a universal basis human rights ‘for all people.’”

Dr. Bühler concluded his letter: “In essence, the UN Human Rights Council has allowed itself to be exploited by anti-Israel governments and NGOs to circumvent the UN Security Council and to assist them in accomplishing the delegitimization and eventual eradication of the Jewish State via other channels. We call upon you to reverse course and abandon this spiteful and misguided initiative.”

The Christian Embassy also has activated a number of its branches located in key nations which are members of the UNHRC to press their governments to halt this UN blacklisting effort. This includes Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Hungary, Italy, Philippines Slovakia, South Africa and Ukraine.
 

David Parsons
Vice President & Senior International Spokesman
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem


The ICEJ is committed to combatting anti-Semitism around the world. Help us show the Jewish people that they are not alone.

Christian Embassy Funds Ethiopian Aliyah Flights

The Christian Embassy has funded the renewed Aliyah flights for Ethiopian Olim, and the first group of 80 will reunite with families at Ben-Gurion airport in Israel today.

Following the Israeli cabinet’s recent approval of renewed Aliyah from Ethiopia, the first group of 80 olim will be warmly welcomed by their families at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday evening (4 February) on flights arranged by the Jewish Agency and funded by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem as part of its long-standing support for Aliyah.

The ICEJ has already handed over funds for the first 300 Ethiopian Jewish arrivals and has committed to sponsoring flights for the entire 1,000 Ethiopian immigrants expected in 2019. The total transportation costs for each Ethiopian Jewish newcomer is currently estimated at $880. Together with its funding to assist with Ethiopian absorption and education projects over coming months, the ICEJ will be investing nearly $1.2 million in Ethiopian aliyah this year.

There are some 8,000 community members awaiting Aliyah with close relatives already in Israel who have been living in transit camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa, some for up to two decades. In 2015, the Israeli government unanimously approved a plan to allow those found eligible, to reunite with their families in Israel on humanitarian grounds, but the process slowed to a near halt in 2018. Last October, the cabinet approved the budget for absorbing another 1,000 Ethiopian olim. At the request of the Jewish Agency, the ICEJ has agreed to sponsor their flights over the course of 2019.

“The Christian Embassy is excited to be a partner with Israel in this latest wave of Ethiopian aliyah,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “We know this is going to make a lot of Ethiopian Jewish families very happy to be reunited after such a long and difficult time of separation.”

“We also are encouraged that the Jewish Agency’s new chairman, Yitzhak Herzog, has expressed such strong support for the renewed Ethiopian aliyah,” added Dr. Bühler. “This is continuing his great family legacy, as it was his grandfather Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, the first (Ashkenazi) Chief Rabbi of Israel, who gave the initial rabbinic approval in 1953 for the return of the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community to the people and Land of Israel.”

Since its founding in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has assisted more than 142,000 Jews in making their way home to Israel from all over the world. Today, the ICEJ is considered the largest global pro-Israel Christian ministry, with branch offices in over 90 nations and a reach into more than 170 countries worldwide.

David Parsons
Vice President & Senior International Spokesman
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem


The ICEJ has committed to sponsoring flights for 1,000 Ethiopian immigrants. The total transportation costs is aapproximately $880 per person. Help us bring them home!

ICEJ Welcomes Australia’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem on Saturday welcomed the decision of Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to begin the process of locating a place to serve as their nation’s future Embassy in Jerusalem.

“Since our founding in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been calling on the nations to return to Jerusalem, the rightful and only capital of Israel,” said Dr. Juergen Buehler, President of the ICEJ. “So we applaud Prime Minister Morrison and his cabinet for taking this principled stand of solidarity with the Jewish people in their ancient attachment to this city. There can be no doubt that Jerusalem is the ‘heart’ of the Jewish people, and it is long past time for the international community to come to terms with this reality.”

The move by the Australian government comes with the backing of a broad coalition of Jewish, Christian and civic groups who have joined together over the past year to urge their nation’s leaders to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the nation’s Embassy to Jerusalem. The Australian branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem took a lead role in bringing together the broad alignment behind this lobbying effort, which also includes the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Australian Jewish Association, Liberal Friends of Israel, Zionist Federation of Australia, Rabbinic Council of Australia and New Zealand, Advance Australia, Bridges For Peace Australia, and Christians for Israel Australia.

The ICEJ also has been instrumental in the moves of the United States and Guatemalan embassies to Jerusalem, as well as the Czech Republic’s decision to begin the process of moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

When the last 13 national embassies left Jerusalem in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was founded that year as a permanent representation of Christian solidarity with Israel and particularly its capital of Jerusalem. Today, the ICEJ has branch offices in nearly 100 nations and supporters from more than 170 countries worldwide.

David Parsons
Vice President & Senior International Spokesman
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
 

Australia Embassy Moving to Jerusalem?

As reported in The Australian late Tuesday (4/12), a broad coalition of Jewish, Christian and civic groups have joined together in a petition calling on Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the nation’s Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Morrison announced in October that Australia was considering to place its embassy in Jerusalem, and indicated a decision would be made by year’s end. Key coalition members have been meeting with senior government officials over the past year to urge the Embassy move and to offer their public backing for such a decision, and those efforts intensified after Morrison’s recent announcement.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, just ahead of the last parliamentary session before the holidays, the coalition called upon the Australian government “to give formal recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and to announce the Australian embassy located in Tel Aviv will be relocated to Israel’s government precinct in Jerusalem as soon as feasible”.

The Australian branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem took a lead role in bringing together the broad alignment behind the petition, which also includes the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Australian Jewish Association, Liberal Friends of Israel, Zionist Federation of Australia, Rabbinic Council of Australia and New Zealand, Advance Australia and Christians for Israel Australia.

The coalition statement reads, in part:
“Jerusalem is Israel’s seat of government, and the location of the nation’s parliament, ministerial offices, supreme court, and the official residences of the president and prime minister.”

“When government officials visit Israel, they meet in Jerusalem, when foreign ambassadors present their credentials in Israel, they do so in Jerusalem. Israel’s sovereignty over the western parts of the city is self-evident.”

‘‘Recognition of Jerusalem is therefore a pragmatic acknowledgment of an existing reality that it is Israel’s functioning capital.”

“By acknowledging Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel, the Australian government sends an important signal that it’s unacceptable to deny the Jewish people’s historical, religious and national ties to Jerusalem.”

When the last 13 national embassies left Jerusalem in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was founded that year as a permanent representation of Christian solidarity with Israel and particularly its capital of Jerusalem, in recognition of the ancient Jewish attachment to this city. Today, the ICEJ has branch offices in nearly 100 nations and supporters from more than 170 countries worldwide. The ICEJ has been instrumental so far in the moves of the United States and Guatemalan embassies to Jerusalem, as well as the Czech Republic’s decision to begin the process of moving its embassy to Jerusalem. 

ICEJ Statement on Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem extends its most sincere condolences to the families and friends of those killed in the shocking and depraved massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh over the Shabbat. We hope and pray that they will find comfort from the Father above in the midst of this pronounced tragedy.

This contemptible act serves as a sad, stark reminder of why Christian solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people is so needed in our day. The antisemitic actions and beliefs of this murderer are just the latest episode in the long, painful saga of how Jewish communities worldwide have endured repeated bouts of irrational hostility directed against them. Far too often, these outbursts of violence were committed in the name of Christ. But we thoroughly condemn them as evil and wholly contrary to all that Jesus taught. And we want to reassure our Jewish friends that millions of Christians are standing with you during this heavy-hearted ordeal.

We also trust that President Donald Trump and other US leaders will use this time to promote healing and understanding in America, and to continue to stand strong in support of the state of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora all around the world.

 

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