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Special Reports

Resilient Immigrants Achieve Careers in Israel

It is one thing to know a skill in your native language and culture, but it is a whole other thing to adapt that skill to new norms of practice in another country and in a foreign language. With the move, immigrants usually need to upgrade skills or become recertified in their profession. Unfortunately, many may ultimately end up having to switch professions altogether. We are always amazed at the resiliency of new Jewish immigrants who face so many obstacles on their way to integrating into Israeli society!

Witnessing these challenges, we are deeply grateful for our Christian friends around the world who help us provide essential support for immigrants in their first days and months in the Land of Israel. This year, 16 immigrant doctors benefited from recertification and Hebrew language courses, and an additional 27 young people began intensive computer programming courses that provided guaranteed employment upon completion. We are delighted to be a part of helping these 43 Jewish immigrants and their families make essential steps towards finding suitable employment – one of the keys to successful integration.

After 22 years of experience as a doctor of Internal Medicine in Russia, Dr. Irina Denisov made Aliyah to Israel with her husband and nine-year-old daughter. Irina is one of those resilient immigrants who pressed forward in the recertification program for Doctors, which included professional Hebrew classes for medical terminology and clinical observations in a hospital. She is currently in the last phase – a six-month shadowing period at the Children and Emergency Room Internal Medicine Department at the Barzilai Hospital. Once this period is over, she will receive her medical license in Israel from the medical committee.

Yelena and Vladimir Yeshchenko, and their four-year-old daughter, Augustine, made Aliyah from the former Soviet Union. Yelena shared her experience: “While acculturating, we had the opportunity to learn Hebrew in the same building in which we live, and my husband, Vladimir, took the Tel Ran Computer Training course to obtain his programming license in Israel. It turned out to be so much more than formal studies and low rent… We greatly appreciate the help we received from the Aliyah Center workers… My daughter was always happy with the afterschool and summer camp activities of the Aliyah Center, and this enabled us to focus on studies and work.” After successfully completing their vocational trainings, Yelena now works as a psychologist and her husband works as a computer programmer!

Ana Friedman made Aliyah by herself from Belarus and had already obtained her MBA and a master’s degree in Mathematics. Upon her arrival, she dove head-first into the computer programming course. Yet, she and no one else, saw the world pandemic coming. Ana explains: “Six months ago, no one thought that we would need to study at home through zoom. Despite this trying coronavirus period, the staff at the Aliyah Center and Tel Ran College turned our studies into a fascinating journey… We managed to progress in our studies, and we gained so much knowledge - not only of the Hebrew language - but of computer coding as well. We also received answers to any questions we had.”

The computer programming course is designed for young adults, ages 25-40, who have completed their undergraduate degrees and who are proficient in English. Participants are immersed in an intensive curriculum, which demands a serious commitment of 430 hours in computer theory, 350 hours of practical training, 200 hours developing a personal program that is presented at the end of the year, and 500 hours of Ulpan. In addition, all participants are invited to attend specialized workshops that focus on professional cultural adaptation, the job-seeking process, financial planning, and the Israeli tax and national insurance systems

Nicole Yoder, the VP of Aid & Aliyah noted that “Israel is greatly in need of additional medical and high-tech professionals to fill shortages in these key areas. Therefore, we at the ICEJ will continue to support vocational training programs which are so crucial for both new immigrants and the country – particularly in this time of crisis.” In January 2021, we are looking forward to welcoming 20 French immigrants who will soon arrive to begin the program.

Join us in equipping many more Jewish immigrants and their families with the skills, training, and experience they need to thrive in their careers here in the land of Israel!

 

 

Latest Wave of Ethiopian Aliyah Becoming Urgent!

The latest reports out of Ethiopia continue to raise concerns for the safety of the Ethiopian Jewish community in the northern province of Amhara, where an armed insurrection in neighboring Tigray is threatening to spread and endanger over 6,000 Jews still stuck in transit camps in Gondar awaiting their chance to make Aliyah to Israel. Thankfully, two Jewish Agency flights with 500 Ethiopian immigrants will land next Thursday, 3 December, and the ICEJ will be one of the main sponsors of this airlift operation. But for the remaining Jews back in Ethiopia, time may be running short.

Israel’s government decided five years ago to bring home the last remnant of some 10,000 Ethiopian Jews living in transit camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa. The Christian Embassy has sponsored Aliyah to Israel for over 2,200 Ethiopian Jews since then, but the immigration process has been slow and the challenges to the well-being of those left behind are mounting.

The region has been suffering under a prolonged drought, while a massive plague of locust also has hit East Africa this year. As a result, food supplies are running short and prices are spiraling upward. Many Jews in the transit camps are malnourished, especially children. And Ethiopia is now weathering a serious wave of coronavirus. Add to this the armed rebellion which erupted two weeks ago in the breakaway province of Tigray, just 45 miles from the Gondar transit camps, and the situation has become quite worrisome, particularly for their relatives in Israel.

Over recent days, nine Israeli workers and volunteers had to be rescued from the fighting in Tigray. Even more concerning are reports of a massacre of 600 non-Tigrayan villagers who were slaughtered by child soldiers while rebel troops stood by. This has heightened fears of tribal warfare throughout the region, with the Jewish community having little means of protection.

This comes after news that a member of the Gondar Jewish community was killed in a cross-border clash last week, while several rebel rockets also hit the Gondar airport – which would need to be used in case an emergency airlift is necessary to bring the Jews there out of danger.

Before the uprising, plans were already underway for Israel to bring the next group of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews home within the next few months. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem committed to assist with this initiative by helping to fund their Aliyah process, beginning with next week’s two planeloads. But the need appears to be more urgent each day, and we are asking you to help us be ready for accelerated measures.

Please consider making a generous donation to help more Ethiopian Jews reach safety and re-join their families in Israel. May the Lord bless you richly as you donate towards this very urgent and worthy cause!

Give towards our Ethiopian Aliyah efforts at: int.icej.org/civicrm

Please, watch an Israeli TV report on the current situation in Ethiopia.

 

Ethiopian Aliyah Faces New Challenge of Civil War

There are chilling reports of an insurrection in northern Ethiopia over recent days which have given added urgency to Israeli efforts to bring thousands of Ethiopian Jews in the region home to Israel. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has committed to assist with this initiative by funding Aliyah flights over coming months, beginning with an ICEJ-sponsored flight of 200 expected to arrive in December. We are monitoring the situation in the Gondar region, where most of the remaining Jews in Ethiopia have been stuck in transit camps for up to two decades, and we are looking to our friends and supporters to help us with this prophetic and humanitarian mission.

On November 4th, militia leaders in the northern province of Tigray launched attacks on Ethiopian military forces in a bid to break away from the central government in Addis Ababa. After two weeks of sustained fighting, the Ethiopian army has made some advances in putting down the uprising, but the fighting has persisted. The clashes have claimed a number of victims and triggered concerns among Israeli officials for the safety of Jews living in the Gondar transit camps some 45 miles away.

Ethiopian Jews in Israel also are reporting that the outbreak of hostilities has caused much stress and fear among their relatives still in Gondar.

One Jewish man residing in the Gondar camp, Girmew Gete, 36, died in the fighting this week as he was working near the border between the provinces of Amhara and Tigray. Gete had been waiting with his family to immigrate to Israel for 24 years, and was hoping to be reunited soon with his 84 year-old grandmother who lives alone in the Israeli town of Kiryat Gat.

Meantime, several rebel rockets struck the Gondar city airport this week. The airport would need to be used for any evacuation flights if Israeli authorities deemed it necessary to carry out an emergency airlift of the Gondar Jewish community anytime soon.

The Israeli government has approved plans for bringing home an initial group of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews over coming months, an operation which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as an “airlift” when speaking with his Ethiopian counterpart this week about the escalation in Tigray.

Up to 9,000 Jews remain in Ethiopia, living in poor conditions in transit camps for decades awaiting their turn to move to Israel. Three-fourths of them are in Gondar and the rest in Addis Ababa.

In 2015, the Israeli government decided to bring them home, but the process has been slow. So far, some 2,200 Ethiopian Jews have been brought over the past five years, all on Aliyah flights sponsored by the Christian Embassy. This includes 268 on three flights this year, despite Corona-related travel bans.

Aliyah flights for this next group of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews are supposed to start in December and will take several months to complete. The costs per person for bringing them home to Israel is currently higher than normal, but the Israeli government has decided to bring them as soon as possible.

Other urgent concerns facing the Jews in Ethiopia are the widespread malnourishment in the transit camps, the spread of the Coronavirus in the country, and a massive locust plague hitting all of East Africa.

Thus, this latest wave of Ethiopian Aliyah has become an urgent humanitarian mission! The opportunity is here to help bring home several thousand more Ethiopian Jews who are desperate to reach Israel. But we need your help.

Please consider a generous donation to help these very deserving people re-join their families in the Jewish homeland. May the Lord bless you richly as you donate towards this very urgent and worthy cause!

You may also want to watch our documentary “Journey of Dreams” – filmed when an ICEJ team recently visited the transit camps in Ethiopia to see first-hand the difficult conditions in which thousands of Ethiopian Jews are now living. It is very moving to see their determination to reach the Land of Israel, in order to be reunited with their families and the Jewish people. Watch the documentary at: int.icej.org/documentary

We also encourage you to watch a video report on the arrival of over 100 Ethiopian Jews on an ICEJ-sponsored Aliyah flight earlier this year. They were greeted by Aliyah and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, the first Ethiopian-born cabinet minister in Israel’s modern history.

 

  

Bringing Home the Sons and Daughters of Zion

Besides bringing almost 1500 Jews on flights to Israel this year, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem also has been sponsoring 201 Jewish youths from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states in Youth Aliyah programs which prepare them for moving to Israel. We are excited to report that these Jewish teens and young adults are now in the process of making the move to Israel.

Earlier this month, 89 of these youths arrived at Ben-Gurion on a flight from Russia, while another 80 came from Ukraine (pictured) on a flight sponsored by our friends at Christians for Israel International (marking their 40th anniversary). An additional group of 25 came from Belarus this week, and seven more will arrive soon from Latvia. So, despite Corona the great Ingathering of the Jewish people continues, and the ICEJ offers you the opportunity to be directly involved.

Over the past 15 years, the ICEJ has supported Jewish teenagers in the former Soviet republics to take part in the Naale and Sela programs managed by the Jewish Agency for Israel. The Naale program gives Jewish teens from the Diaspora the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in Israel and study in some of the nation’s best high schools for 3-to-4 years. About 90% of the students who come on the Naale program end up staying in Israel and approximately 60% of their parents make Aliyah as well.

Sela is a home-away-from-home program for those who are looking to pursue a prestigious international education, take lessons in Hebrew and other languages, engage with Israeli society and culture, meet new friends here, and just experience life in Israel. By the end of the eighth month, all program participants receive an Israeli identity card.

These Youth Aliyah programs have proven to be a huge success over the years in bringing Jewish children to Israel ahead of their parents, as it is often easier for the youngsters to learn a new language and adjust to new surroundings, and then help the parents acclimate once they arrive. And it has been a great blessing for the ICEJ to support these unique and highly effective Aliyah programs over the years.

In 2020, the ICEJ has been very active with the Naale and Sela programs by sponsoring over 200 Jewish youths attending camps and seminars, and by providing transportation to and from testing centers and camps in Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Russia.

In January, the ICEJ helped fund a Winter Seminar which drew children and young adults from the religious community in northwest Russia. They learned about Israel, and life for Jewish people during Soviet times.

In February, the ICEJ sponsored a Weekend Aliyah seminar in Irkutsk, Siberia for 60 young adults, and assisted a Naale Aliyah Youth Seminar attended by 82 youngsters in Odessa, Ukraine.

In March, we assisted with a Naale Youth Aliyah seminar for 50 students in Riga, Latvia.

The ICEJ also provided transport for participants in two summer camps held in Saulkrasti, Latvia. Each camp had 51 attendees, who gathered in two shifts of approximately 25 each. There also were 17 adult leaders and teachers. This all required two buses due to Corona health restrictions, which the ICEJ was happy to provide.

Another 34 teens participated in a Youth Camp and Seminar in Latvia in August, sponsored by ICEJ. They discovered rules for financial well-being, learned about daily life in Israel, and participated in theater classes.

In September, we again provided transportation for 44 Naale applicants to go through the testing center phase of Aliyah in a safer environment.

This week, the latest group of Naale students arrived from Belarus, which is experiencing a surge in Coronavirus cases along with widespread political unrest. The ICEJ arranged buses to the airport for them and their parents. Next week, we will repeat the process for another flight of Sela students and their parents, including our sponsorship of vans to collect them from nine cities throughout Belarus for the trip to Israel.

Learn more about the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts at: int.icej.org/aliyah

Donate Here! 
 

An Aliyah family welcomes twins born in Israel

Back in May, the four members of the Fraerman family were placed on a specially chartered ‘evacuation flight’ sponsored by the ICEJ which brought them on Aliyah from Moscow to Israel. The mother, Tatyana, was 32 weeks pregnant with twins and needed a lot of extra paperwork and persuasion with airport authorities to get her on a flight so close to term. Israel and Russia also were both in the midst of strict Coronavirus lockdowns and their flight was the last opportunity for her to travel to Israel before giving birth. But they made it!

We reported their story several months ago, and after their two-week quarantine the ICEJ TV team also caught up with the Fraerman family in Nahariya, where they were still settling down into their new life in Israel after their frantic journey from Russia.

“At Ben-Gurion Airport, we were immediately met by ICEJ staff and the Jewish Agency,” recalled the father Serguei. “Our children were presented with gifts and sweets, and we were photographed. Everything seemed to happen very quickly. l had not slept for two days before that, packing our luggage.”

Serguei and Tatyana shared an especially touching story about their eldest daughter Olga which happened during their departure. She wanted to bring her favorite scooter to Israel. However, when they reached the airport, they found out they could not do so.

“All our luggage was at the maximum weight allowance for every person. We simply did not have a place to take something else. The scooter is considered a separate luggage, and we needed to pay extra for it," said Serguei. “I told my daughter: ‘Let’s leave it, and we will buy another one when we get there.’ We told her that there is a sea there; she was dreaming about the sea, and she agreed to leave her scooter,” he recalled.

Aware of Olga’s story of sacrificing her scooter to reach Israel, the ICEJ team finished the interview with the family and took the children outside, where they were presented with new scooters for both daughters, as well as a new double stroller for the expected twins. [Make sure to watch our TV interview with the Fraerman family to learn more about their journey to Israel.]

Recently, we received an update from the Fraerman family. The twins were born in late June; the oldest is named David and the younger one is Semyon. Both boys are gentle and like to smile. Meanwhile, Olga has started school online and has many Russian-speaking friends in her class, who are helping her to learn Hebrew and understand her teachers. The youngest daughter, Lisa, goes to kindergarten and has already learned the count to ten in Hebrew. Tatyana takes care of the house and four children, while Sergei has found work.

It is very gratifying to see new Jewish arrivals getting settled in Israel and putting down their roots here. The Fraerman family has quickly grown from four to six, and are becoming part of the fabric of Israeli life. But there are many, many more Jewish families in nations near and far waiting to fulfill their dream of reaching the Land of Israel.

The ICEJ is now planning to assist with an expected wave of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews being brought to Israel in coming months. This special Ethiopian airlift has been approved by the Israeli government, and the first Aliyah flights are scheduled to start in December. The costs for bringing them to Israel is currently higher than normal, but the Jewish Agency says it is an urgent situation and is looking to the ICEJ to fund as many of these Ethiopian Jewish immigrants as we can.

We know firsthand that most have spent years in rickety transit camps waiting and dreaming of their moment to return to Zion. But this will only be possible if Christians like you join with us in bringing them back to the Promised Land.

Please consider what you can do to help us meet this great humanitarian need, and to fulfil biblical prophecy at the same time!

Give your best gift today to support the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts. 

Lifting the Druze of Israel

Over the decades, the ICEJ has seen the great importance of assisting all the different peoples living in the Land of Israel, including minorities, in order to strengthen Israeli society as a whole. This has led the Christian Embassy to forge a close partnership over the past eight years with Druze leaders in the North, which is not only lifting the Druze community but also has become a strong point of reconciliation between Jews and Arabs overall.

First of all, you may ask: “Who are the Druze people?”

The Druze are a unique people indigenous to the Middle East who claim descent back to Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses in the Bible. Many centuries ago, they fled the deserts of Midian and found refuge on several high mountain ridges in today’s Israel, Lebanon and Syria – including the Carmel, Galilee and Hermon ranges. Although they speak Arabic, they retain their own ethnic identity. In addition, the Druze are not Muslims but have their own secretive religion which some scholars say contains a mix of Islam, Gnosticism and Greek philosophy. And in general, they tend to be very loyal to the rulers in the land where they live.

The Druze in Israel make up only 1.6% of the population. The Carmel and Galilee Druze (and increasingly the Druze on the Hermon) are very loyal to the State of Israel and in fact they consider it a great honour to serve in the Israeli army to defend their homeland.

A small ICEJ delegation travelled to northern Israel recently to visit several Druze communities and see how some of our ongoing social projects were faring. Our first stop was a Druze elementary school, where we saw teachers interacting with students by singing and dancing to help the children learn in a fun yet memorable way. Some of these young Druze students have a strong desire to further their education at the university level. However, many of their families cannot afford the costs. Therefore, the ICEJ has given scholarships to a number of Druze students in recent years to help them continue their education after high school.

One young Druze lady named Maram Mansor, from Isfiya, was on hand to say that thanks to an ICEJ scholarship she is studying Mathematics, Arabic Language, and Literature at Haifa University. She was most grateful, saying: “I was always dreaming when I was in high school, I really wanted to be a Mathematics teacher. But I was afraid because of my financial status. But now I know that no one has to worry as long as we have generous people and organisations like the International Christian Embassy. So thank you so much… You have made our dreams come true!”

Meanwhile, Maimoon Azmi, also from Isfiya, has been working for the Ministry of Finance for over 13 years now, and credits his success to an ICEJ scholarship. “Thanks to the International Christian Embassy, I had the opportunity to go and study for my first degree… It opened a lot of doors for me. I don’t know if I would have finished school without this scholarship.” 

The next stop was at a Druze middle school, and upon our arrival the students lined the entryway with drums and other instruments to offer us a warm musical welcome. After the grand entrance, another group of students performed a traditional Druze dance in colourful national costumes. This was all meant to say thanks for the support of the ICEJ and several local welfare organizations who are helping with special projects at their school.

After these performances, we stepped into the classrooms to see the students learning through interactive games on the new computers donated by the Christian Embassy. Nicole Yoder, the ICEJ’s Vice President for AID and Aliyah, had the honour of cutting a ribbon celebrating the five new classrooms now equipped with computers. One student named Reem explained how playing games on the computers are helping her to learn English.

After we engaged with the students, Druze community leaders presented our delegation with a beautiful gold plaque to express their appreciation for all the support Christians around the world have been giving to Druze students and communities throughout Israel.

Bahij Mansour, Mayor of Isfiya, also offered his thanks, saying: “We have 17 Druze villages in the state of Israel, and in every place we have something that the Christian Embassy has created. A library, a scholarship, many things. We think the Christian Embassy is taking amazing steps to improve the education system in our community. It is an amazing contribution that you are bringing.”

We ended our visit sitting around a large table with several Druze leaders and enjoyed their spectacular hospitality and a delicious meal of fresh salads, side dishes, meats, dessert and coffee. Several of our Druze hosts shared one word to describe their special people: The Druze people are… “proud”… “brave”… “amazing”… “strong”… “adventurous”… “loyal”… and “peace-loving”.

The Druze are an important part of Israeli society, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help support and strengthen them for a better future here in the Land of Israel.

Partner with us in giving a hope and a future to the children of Israel!

Watch this video below to meet some of the Druze students and hear their success stories!

Comforting Israel Through Aliyah

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is currently marking 4o years since our ministry was established in September 1980 at the first public Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. From the start, the founders of the ICEJ received a clear calling from Isaiah 40:1-2 that we were to be a “ministry of comfort” to Israel and the Jewish people.

In looking back over the past four decades, we can see how God has used the Christian Embassy in many ways to comfort Israel, including through our efforts to bring the Jewish people back to their ancient homeland. The ICEJ has helped the Jewish exiles come home because the Hebrew prophets promised that God would use Gentiles to gather His people back to the Land of Israel in the last days (for example, see Isaiah 49:22-23). It is also back in the Land where the Lord has promised to pour out His Spirit upon the Jewish people (for example, see Ezekiel 36 & 37).

Here are highlights of the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts over the past 40 years.

1981 – The ‘Mordechai Outcry’
During the 1980s, the Soviet Union refused to allow Jews to emigrate to Israel. In 1981, just months after our founding, the ICEJ responded by launching the “Mordechai Outcry” campaign, a series of demonstrations by Christians in numerous world capitals to protest the plight of Soviet Jewry, under the slogan: “Let My People Go!” By the end of the decade, the Iron Curtain was falling and hundreds of thousands of Jews began to flood home to Israel.

 

1984 – ICEJ Pioneers Aliyah and Absorption Efforts
By the mid-1980s, the ICEJ became increasingly involved in assisting Jews quietly making the journey home to Israel, mainly from behind the Iron Curtain. Even during the 1970s, Dr. Ulla Järvilehto, founder of the ICEJ’s Finnish branch, already was supporting Christian-run hospitality centers in Budapest and Vienna which helped Soviet Jews emigrating through the only route open to the West at the time. ICEJ branches in Germany and the Netherlands joined these Finnish Christian efforts in 1984, and soon the ICEJ headquarters in Jerusalem fully committed the whole movement to assisting with the Aliyah and Absorption of Jews in Israel. Over the decade of the 1980s, the ICEJ assisted more than 60,000 Russian Jewish immigrants to Israel with food, clothes, shoes, toiletries and other essentials items.

 

1989 – Gates Open for Exodus of Soviet Jews
By late 1989, the Soviet Communist bloc was on the brink of collapse, as symbolised by the fall of the Berlin Wall. With the breach of the Iron Curtain, the gate swung open for a massive Jewish exodus from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. There were no direct flights allowed yet between the Soviet republics and Israel, but members of the ICEJ-Finnish branch worked with Jewish leaders to open an early route of Aliyah from the St. Petersburg area, by bus to the Helsinki airport, and on to Israel. Other routes began to open as well, and tens of thousands of Soviet Jews began to pour into Israel, where the ICEJ was already starting to help them with practical aid.

 

1990 – ICEJ’s First Aliyah Flight
With the collapse of Soviet Communism, thousands of Russian-speaking Jews began pouring into Israel in the early 1990s. ICEJ branches in Germany and Finland quickly offered the Jewish Agency to pay for a flight of Soviet Jews. On 28 May 1990, a specially chartered flight funded by ICEJ and carrying several hundred Russian Jews landed at Ben-Gurion Airport. This was the first Aliyah flight fully sponsored by Christians and thus it stands as a unique milestone for our ministry. In the thirty years since, the Christian Embassy has funded hundreds of direct flights for Jews coming home to Israel. Counting other means of immigration assistance, the ICEJ has now helped nearly 160,000 Jews in making the journey home to Israel. This includes Jews from Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belorussia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan and Venezuela, among others.

 

1990 – Opening of Soviet Jewry Department
With so many Russian-speaking Jews flooding into Israel, there was a growing need to help them get settled in the Land. When a young believer in Jerusalem collected shekels on Ben Yehuda street with a coffee can and brought it to the Embassy for new immigrants, this inspired ICEJ leaders to establish a special “Soviet Jewry Department” to assist Jewish immigrants with absorption into Israeli society. Long lines of Russian Jewish families soon formed every week outside the Christian Embassy’s headquarters at 10 Brenner Street to receive assistance with food, dental work, eyeglasses, school books, clothing, shoes, and other necessities.

 

1991 – Medical Aid for Ethiopian Jews
In May 1991, Israel took in nearly 15,000 Ethiopian Jews in a 36-hour emergency airlift code-named “Operation Solomon”. When many were found to have leprosy and other serious medical problems, Israel’s Foreign Ministry asked if the ICEJ could locate a doctor who spoke the Amharic language to treat these new immigrants. Dr. Campbell Millar and his wife Fern had served many years on a medical mission in Ethiopia, and they agreed to come on staff to treat Ethiopian patients. At the same time, the Finnish Parliament donated a mobile medical clinic to the ICEJ, which we used for the next decade to treat Ethiopian Jews, as well as many Bedouin communities in the Negev.

 

1992 – Sponsoring ‘Exobus’
The ICEJ began ground operations in 1992 to assist Jews in the former USSR to reach airports for flights to Israel. At first, the “Exobus” program brought Jews by bus to Budapest and Warsaw for flights to Israel. As more direct flights became available, Exobus also transported them from Ukraine and Eastern Europe to airports in Kiev and Odessa. Overall, the ICEJ assisted more than 35,000 Jewish immigrants via Exobus in the 1990s. And our Swiss branch began sending van convoys to these regions every month to transport Jews to airports on their way to Israel.

 

 

 

 

1992 – Dramatic Rescue in Moldova
When Jews were caught in the crossfire of a regional conflict in Moldova in 1992, the Jewish Agency asked the ICEJ to help evacuate them from danger. Despite the serious risks, ICEJ-sponsored bus teams passed through rival checkpoints in the war-torn Trans-Dniester region and over a three week period extracted some 400 Jewish refugees for transport on to Israel.

 

1998 – ‘Fishing’ and Transport For Russian Jews
After opening an Aliyah office in St. Petersburg in 1996, the ICEJ began to expand its “fishing” and other Aliyah efforts throughout the vast reaches of the former Soviet Union. In 1998, the Embassy initiated the ‘Far Distant Cities’ program to help Jewish families moving to Israel from Siberia and other remote areas of Russia. The ICEJ also donated two buses for transporting Jews from the Central Asian republics to airports and on to Israel.

 

2000 – Aliyah of Kaifeng Jews

In the year 2000, the ICEJ brought home to Israel (via Finland) the first family to make Aliyah from the Kaifeng Jewish community. A Christian Embassy delegation located the remnant of the once thriving Chinese Jewish community in the historic capital city of the ancient kingdom.

 

 

2011 – Assisting Ethiopian Aliyah
A year of drought and political turmoil forced Israel in 2011 to speed up the return of the last remnant of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. In August of that year, the ICEJ sponsored its first Aliyah flight from Ethiopia. In more recent years, the Christian Embassy has brought some 2,200 more Ethiopian Jews on Aliyah flights to Israel, while also expanding our previous efforts to assist the Ethiopian community already in Israel. In 2019, ICEJ AID director Nicole Yoder completed a master’s thesis detailing steps needed to improve Ethiopian integration into Israeli society.

 

2012 – Bringing Home the Bnei Menashe
After years of delay, Israeli officials finally agreed in 2012 to resume the Aliyah of the Bnei Menashe community in northeast India, who claim descent from the ‘lost’ tribe of Menashe. The ICEJ sponsored its first Aliyah flight for the Bnei Menashe in December of that year, and in the time since has brought over 1,000 members of this ancient Israelite community home.

 

2014 – Rescuing Ukrainian Jews From Conflict
In 2014, a bitter civil war broke out in eastern Ukraine sparked by pro-Russian separatists. When the fighting threatened Jewish communities in the region, the ICEJ funded emergency flights to bring hundreds of endangered Ukrainian Jews to Israel. The ICEJ also started bringing more Jewish immigrants from the West to Israel around this time, including from France and Sweden where they were facing threats from radical Muslims.

 

2019 – New Milestone in Aliyah of 150,000 ‘Olim’
At Feast 2019, the ICEJ celebrated a new milestone of assisting more than 150,000 Jews in making Aliyah to Israel since our founding in 1980. Most have come from the former Soviet Union, but we also are assisting Jews from Europe, North and South America, Ethiopia, India and China, among other regions. Last year, Keren HaYesod honoured the Christian Embassy with its annual Yakir Award in recognition our long record of supporting and befriending Israel, most notably by funding Aliyah and Absorption projects of the Jewish Agency.

 

2020 – Embassy Flies Jews Home Despite Corona
As the Corona crisis grounded most international flights in 2020, the ICEJ has still been able to bring almost 1400 Jewish immigrants on Aliyah flights to Israel between February and July. Most came from Russia, Belarus and Ethiopia. Based on this remarkable success, the Embassy launched the ‘Rescue250’ campaign, challenging Christians to help us keep up the pace of bringing at least 250 Jews home per month while COVID-19 was still impacting the world. And in the latest development, the ICEJ is currently raising funds to assist with the 2,000 Ethiopian Jews that the Israeli government has just decided to bring home by the end of this year.

 

 

 

 

Please consider what you can do to help with our current Aliyah initiatives:

1) By supporting our Rescue250 campaign, you will be helping bring Jews home primarily from the former Soviet republics. Donate at: on.icej.org/rescue250

2) By supporting our Ethiopian Aliyah efforts, you will be helping with flights for Jews coming from transit camps in Addis Ababa and Gondar, many of whom have been stuck in these camps for over 20 years. Donate at: icej.org/ethiopia

Finally, if you would like to learn more about the history and legacy of the ICEJ in standing with Israel, please check out our 40th Anniversary Journal today. You can order it at: icejstore.com


 

  

Send your Feast Offering to Jerusalem!

The Feast of Tabernacles is just around the corner, and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is preparing for a very special online Global Feast 2020.

Ever since our Tabernacles celebration was launched in 1980, many of our Feast pilgrims have discovered the blessing of bringing a special offering to present before the Lord in Jerusalem at Sukkot, just as the ancient Israelites were commanded to do (Deuteronomy 16:16). Each year at this time, Christians from many nations have come up to Jerusalem with their Feast offerings in hand, to express gratitude to God for His faithfulness and provision in their daily lives. And we have heard testimony after testimony of how God has blessed and rewarded them far beyond what their own hands could produce.

In this year of crisis, Christians from the nations will not be able to join us here in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. But you can still turn this into a year of blessing and harvest for you and your family. We recently heard from our branch in Costa Rica about the first person to register for this year’s online Feast. This sister had lost her job due to COVID-19, and she could not really afford the registration. But she planted a seed of faith, trusting God to provide in the midst of a crisis, just as Isaac sowed in a year of famine and “reaped that same year a hundredfold” (Genesis 26:1, 12).

Please prayerfully consider making this a year of sowing in faith and reaping in abundance, by putting a generous seed into the land of Israel through our Feast offering. We believe there is a special blessing appointed just for you in giving out of obedience and a grateful heart at this time!

Your special gift to the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem will help us give a strong Christian witness to the people of Israel at this difficult time. The ICEJ has more ministry opportunities before us right now than ever before, whether it is bringing Jews on Aliyah flights to Israel, assisting Holocaust survivors and other elderly Israelis, providing life-saving bomb shelters for communities under rocket attack, or meeting many of the other urgent needs in Israel. And we encourage you to stand with us by sowing your seed in the fertile soil of Israel’s restoration. There is a great harvest ahead for Israel, and for you!

And make sure to join us for this year’s online Global Feast 2020, live from Jerusalem. REGISTER today at: on.icej.org/FOT2020
 

 


 

  

Spreading a Little Holiday Joy!

 

There is an excitement in the air and greetings of “Shana Tova” can be heard everywhere! On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, there is new hope and optimism after a very trying year.

At Hineni, a soup kitchen in downtown Jerusalem, there is loads of activity happening as the holiday rapidly approaches. The aroma of nourishing food is cooking in the kitchen and ICEJ staff together with other helpers, are preparing take-away meal boxes and packing Rosh Hashanah gift parcels, to be given to those living below the poverty line.

Time is of the essence, as exactly at mid-day the doors open to a queue of people who have been gathering for an hour, so as not to miss out on their meals for the holidays. Each person who arrives at the door receives four packed meals to see them through the long Rosh Hashanah weekend, as well as a lovely gift parcel containing special holiday treats like a jar of honey, apple and honey cakes, dates, biscuits and tinned food.

Hineni’s founder and director, Benjamin Philip, says that over 700 gift parcels were made up for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and around 400 of those are being delivered to Holocaust survivors living in protective care facilities, along with lone soldiers, as well as other underprivileged families throughout Jerusalem who have contacted the Social Welfare department for help. “Many of these people do not have family to visit them, and especially at this time of Coronavirus they are left without support”, says Benjamin.

When the Coronavirus hit Israel last Spring, it was with much joy that the ICEJ stepped in to help Hineni continue to feed the less fortunate in society. With the closing of Israel’s borders, Hineni suddenly lost their many volunteer helpers who come from abroad. Without hesitation, the Christian Embassy saw the need and met it! From March until today, our staff have been assisting Hineni every day to feed those in need by packing approximately 400 take-away food boxes for distribution, and lovingly serving around 100 of those less fortunate who come into the restaurant in person to have their meal. Benjamin says that those coming to the restaurant “have the sense that they are being served by those who have a heart and love for them, which gives them strength.”

The busy preparations for Rosh Hashanah ended with Benjamin thanking all the Hineni staff and volunteers for their hard work and support this past year. He reminded everyone of the story of how God delivered His people from Egypt, as well as the story of Esther and Mordechai and how God saved His people then as well. In these holy days of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah, it is a time to reflect on the past year, ask for forgiveness, and look with hope to the year ahead. Everyone present celebrated by having a toast of grape juice and a sweet chocolate.

Benjamin also expressed his gratitude to the ICEJ for physically helping in preparing tens of thousands of meal packages this year, which he assured is “saving many people in a very difficult time.”

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of touching the lives of so many people living in need here in Israel. And please consider a generous gift towards our “Israel in Crisis” fund at this time, as we enter the new year still facing the challenge of Corona’s impact, especially on the poor.

Feast Testimonies from the Nations!

Although Christians could not come to Jerusalem in person for our annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration in early October, the ICEJ’s innovative online Global Feast reached its largest audience ever, with many attending hundreds of Sukkot gatherings and watch parties in dozens of countries worldwide. The testimonies we have received from Feast viewers around the world indicate the online gathering truly had a global impact, as many were touched and even healed by the Lord, strengthened by the worship and preaching of the Word, and inspired to stand with Israel.

The ICEJ’s online Feast in early October featured seven daily live programs from Jerusalem, which were broadcast to large audiences on GOD TV, Daystar, Vision Norway and other Christian TV networks worldwide. Plus another 7,500 Christians from 109 nations accessed the Feast through our online platform. Finally, hundreds of churches also hosted Sukkot celebrations and watch parties linked to our live daily Feast broadcasts from Jerusalem. These Sukkot gatherings drew crowds ranging from small groups in underground churches in China and Iraq to several thousand in large churches in Bolivia and the Ivory Coast. This all means the total audience for this year’s online Global Feast was in the hundreds of thousands – the largest we have ever reached.

In many of these places, the organizers not only screened the daily Feast broadcasts for their local attendees, they also built and decorated sukkah booths, waved palm branches, blew shofars, invited their own speakers and worship leaders for extended services, prayed, sang Hatikvah, and took up offerings for ICEJ projects in Israel.

Two of of the largest Feast celebrations drew several thousand believers each in Bolivia and Ivory Coast, and they quickly became gatherings to pray and intercede for Israel and their own countries.

In China, one small congregation sent us video clips of 30 believers who had joined together for a Sukkot service and to watch the Feast on cell phones. It was very touching given the monitoring of church activities in China and the hurdles they needed to overcome to be able to watch religious programming from abroad.

A prayer group in Iraq also held a Sukkot gathering, and when we recognized their national flag for attending the Feast, ten Iraqi believers were so thrilled they immediately registered as individuals for the online Feast.

In India, a number of churches and ministries held daily Feast watch parties, including a large fellowship in Chennai. ICEJ-India national director Pastor Danny (Meka Padmo Rhea) reports that many were inspired for the first time to stand with Israel, and that many people received healings.

In the Philippines, a Feast daily watch party was hosted at the Mt Moriah Prayer Mountain which drew around two hundred people each day over the course of the week. This included dozens of local pastors with little prior interest in Israel. After watching the opening live show from Jerusalem on the first day of the Feast, the gathering quickly was transformed by the Holy Spirit into an unplanned, round-the-clock seven-day prayer vigil for their nation and for Israel. The prayer vigil was notable for the number of pastors who came to join in after hearing of what God was doing and the unity among them for reaching their region and country for the Lord. Healings were also reported at the meetings.

“Praise God for the work of the Holy Spirit,” wrote ICEJ-Philippines national director Pastor Steve Mirpuri. “God is indeed boosting the ministry of the ICEJ.”

Aaron Wright of ICEJ-Liberia sent photos of a large, enthusiastic Sukkot gathering in Monrovia which also staged a march through the streets of the capital to express love and support for Israel.

In Singapore, ICEJ national director Jehu Chan reported that the daily watch parties introduced the Feast of Tabernacles to many new people, and he could sense the gatherings had expanded the reach of our ministry in their nation.

ICEJ-Portugal national directors Antonio and Carla Melo delivered a glowing praise report on behalf of several Portuguese-speaking countries, saying: “We still cannot find enough words to thank and congratulate all that made this so unique and outstanding Feast happen, invading nations, cities, congregations, families and hearts with the Word of the Living God, [and] the vision of Zion.”

In Denmark, a Christian youth group took part in a large Feast watch party and were introduced to the ICEJ and the biblical reasons for supporting Israel for the first time.

In Papua New Guinea, ICEJ representative Peter Harut sent a report and photos of dozens of Christians attending the daily watch parties arranged by his branch and giving to the work of our ministry.

In Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Elizabeth Hynde shared that several Feast watch parties drew fifty people or more. “The opening desert experience was out shone by the Parade of Nations, and praying for the nations (from the Southern Steps to the Temple) was superb,” she said.

In South Africa, ICEJ branch leaders Vivienne and Marc Myburg and other supporters arranged well-attended daily watch parties all across the country, including in East London, George, Paarl and Vanderbijlpark. They were especially thrilled by the Feast worship sessions of native South African singer Trevor Sampson and the teachings by evangelist Angus Buchan.

We also received photos, videos and reports from Feast celebrations and watch parties in many other places, such as Albania, Brazil, Canada, Central African Republic, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia, Mexico, Norway, Samoa, Taiwan, United Kingdom, the USA, and many, many more. See more photos here.

YOU CAN STILL ENJOY THE FEAST
All the Feast content – including the seven live shows, 100+ seminars, 25 virtual tours, the worship afterglows, Garden Tomb Communion service and more – will remain available on our conferencing platform well into next year. Our $99 and $149 premium Feast packages are still available for purchase, giving you full access until next October 2021, plus special gifts from our online shop. See more at: on.icej.org/FOT2020

 

  

 

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