Sunday, December 31, 2017
Christian Group Helps Ethiopian Jews Make Aliyah to Israel
CBN News 12-29-2017
Eighty-two Ethiopian Jewish immigrants landed at the Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv last week, bringing to 1,200 the total number of Jews from the East African nation relocated to Israel by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.
The Christian group is helping the Israeli government relocate 1,300 members per year of this ancient Jewish community until all of the remaining 9.000 Falash Mura tribe are reunited with their families in Israel.
A decision concerning the second year of these flights is still tied up in the Israeli cabinet. However, once approved, the ICEJ has promised to raise the necessary funding needed in order to continue to make this dream a reality.
In 2017, the ICEJ has donated $1.2 million toward the immigration project, including funds to help the immigrants transition to a new language and culture. Donations for the project have come from around the world, including generous donations from African Christians.
"The great ingathering of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel is still continuing and it is a real privilege and joy for our organization to play such a central role in this historic return to Zion," said Dr. Jürgen Bühler, President of the ICEJ said in a statement.
"We know that these latest arrivals from the Ethiopia community will never be the same as they rejoin their families and become fully part of the modern miracle of Israel," he continued. "Some of these families have been separated now for over two decades, and so it a special honor for us to help bring them back together here in the Jewish homeland."
In total, the ministry assisted more than 3,000 Jews to relocate in 2017, including from Ethiopia (1,200), Russia (1,100), Belarus (800), Ukraine (70), and India (50). Since its founding in 1980, the ICEJ has helped nearly 140,000 Jews return to their biblical homeland or roughly ten percent of all Jews who have relocated in that time period.
This represents an investment of over $50 million in the relocation efforts, with most of the assisted Jews 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 ICEJ is considered the largest global pro-Israel Christian ministry, with branch offices established in over 95 nations and a reach into more than 170 countries worldwide.
Israel's Prime Minister Stands Up for Iran's Persecuted Christians
CBN News Stephen Little
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood up for Christians in Iran, blasting the Islamic regime for hypocrisy after one its leaders tweeted out a Christmas greeting even as the government raids Christian meetings and imprisons their leaders.
Iran's foreign minister sent out a tweet a few days before Christmas, including this message:
"A very happy and peaceful Christmas to all. May Christ's universal message of peace be embraced in the coming year."
Netanhayu took exception to the Christmas greeting from a representative of one of the world's harshest persecutors of Christians.
"I wonder what the Christians jailed this month in Iran would think about that tweet," he said in a taped message posted on his Facebook and Twitter pages.
CBN News has reported on the harsh treatment of Christians in the Islamic Republic of Iran. House churches are illegal and are often raided by security officials who arrest the congregants and jail the leaders. Bibles, literature and even office equipment is confiscated by the government.
"Imagine praying quietly in your home, surrounded by your family – and all of the sudden, armed thugs burst in and drag you away to prison. They torture you merely for practicing your Christian faith. Welcome to Iran. Saying 'Merry Christmas' while jailing Christians in your own country is the height of hypocrisy," said Netanyahu.
Despite the persecution, the church in Iran is one of the fastest growing churches in the world, as tens of thousands of Muslims are abandoning Islam to follow Jesus Christ.
Young people in Iran are especially disenchanted with the harsh Islamic regime and Netanyahu reached out to them in his message, saying, "I wonder what Iranian youth would think about that tweet, but sadly the regime bans Twitter. Except of course, if you're a high ranking official."
It's not the first time Netanyahu has drawn attention to the plight of Christians in Iran. Addressing hundreds of Christian journalists in October, he encouraged them to highlight the suffering of the church in the Islamic nation.
"Profile the brave Christian leaders jailed for practicing their faith. Sit with the families, the schoolteachers jailed for years merely for converting to Christianity... Call out the lies of President [Hassan] Rouhani, who promised in 2013 that all religions would quote 'feel justice' in Iran while so many Christians live there in constant terror," he said.
"Some world leaders are willing to ignore this repression and seek to appease Iran, but I am not one of them," Netanyahu continued. "I think that how a country treats religious minorities is a very good indicator of how it will treat its fellow citizens and its neighbors."
In this most recent message, Netanyahu takes a familial tone with Christians in Iran.
"We stand with you, brothers and sisters. The world stands with you."