Monday, June 4, 2012

Are Religious Jews Getting a Pass for their Crimes Against Believers in Israel?

The Ami Ortiz Story
A Messianic Teen who Survived a Direct Terrorist Bomb Blast
Above Ami Ortiz many weeks after the blast in 2008
Below The Walking Miracle of Ami in 2011

From a 2011 entry on the Ami Ortiz Story website: 

“It's been 3 years since the unthinkable. The attempted murder of an innocent 15 year-old Messianic Jewish boy in Ariel, Israel. He and his family are followers of Yeshua (Jesus) the Jewish Messiah. After two and a half years of excruciating recovery and rehabilitation, 14 operations with more plastic surgeries ahead, and spiritual, mental and emotional recovery ….”

 Now in May 2012, Is there a cover up to protect the 'Jewish Terrorist' bomber in progress?

There has been movement in the trial of the murders & attempted murders of Jack Teitel in Israel. But is Teitel going to dodge paying for his crimes with a 'get out jail free' card that has him spending a little time in a mental facility instead? Will the plea bargain that was struck with the prosecution circumvent the truth coming out that Teitel was not a lone wolf but at least in the attempt to murder a Messianic family in Ariel, he was the lead man in a conspiracy to commit murder? Or will the religious zealots be shielded from justice be served?

There seems to be a determined effort to not hold this man responsible for the murders committed in religious far right zeal.   "As first revealed by Ynet – an amended indictment was filed against Teitel where the statement that his acts were committed over his hatred and opposition to groups and individuals whose lifestyle and outlook did not match his beliefs was removed from the indictment."

To say this more bluntly: This clause of the indictment said that Teitel’s crimes were “hate crimes” and that was removed in the plea bargain.  So they took a year deciding if he is mentally fit to stand trial at this time (they found he was) and the next hearing will decide if he was accountable for his actions of the past.   If that sounds crazy, it is, especially in light of the fact that he has confessed to all his crimes and did re-enactments of them.

The failure to take the case of the bombing of Ami Ortiz to trial ALSO OBSCURES the FACTS of the case that Teitel DID NOT ACT ALONE.   Video surveillance tapes of their street - which the Messianic family need for their personal safety - clearly shows Teitel had accomplices and he admitted he worked with Yad L'Achim anti-missionary activists. Of course, not letting these facts come to light with a trial makes getting Teitel off with an insanity defense much easier.

This is a travesty – even if Teitel is convicted of the murder of the two Palestinians, justice is not being served for the 15-year old Messianic boy who opened the Purim gift basket and took full, close exposure to the bomb blast. Teitel is not mentally ill, he is full of unbridled religious hatred. Israel cannot sweep this under the carpet, and for its own sake, it should not allow this injustice to prevail.  It will imperil the lives of other Messianic Jews in Israel is Teitel is not held accountable for the worst of his murderous crimes – that of a terrorist act against a Jewish family based solely on their faith in Yeshua.

Repeated mental competency/psychiatric evaluations and court hearings spread over more than one year have always come back saying Teitel was mentally fit to stand trial.   But the Times of Israel is reporting that "Lawyers for Jewish terrorist will present insanity defense".

The Messianic Ortiz family are consulting with lawyers and before the LORD as to their response to these court developments.

This is not the first case that has failed to protect the lives of Messianic believers in Israel, although it is the most serious act of violence.  When a hostile crowd of religious Jews took over a service for the second time (1998 and 2005) in Beer Sheva, the Messianic community agreed that it was time to draw a line in the sand at violent acts against the Jewish believers in Jesus.  The congregation filed a lawsuit against the organizers of the mob. 
Afterward, in 2008, the bomb attack on the Ortiz family took place. Even so, when the verdict finally came down for the Beer Sheva case in 2010, the ruling did not hold the rabbi and anti-missionary activists accountable and even made the Messianic congregation responsible for the court costs.  Clearly, there is no will to hold the religious Jews responsible for violent acts and religious persecution.

A few days ago on Facebook we shared a link to the story of the release of the far-right rabbi (from the settlements near where Jack Teitel and the Ortiz family lived), who published a book around the same time that Teitel was arrested, giving a rabbinical view that alright to kill Gentiles, even children, in some situations, as a threat to the Jews. This not only meant that it was okay to kill Palestinians, but that it is okay to kill Messianic Jews - including 15 year olds as Teitel almost achieved.  It is a widespread belief among many ultra-Orthodox that the Messianic believers are “more dangerous than Hamas” because they “steal the souls” of Jews and not their lives only as the terrorists do.  Understand how serious the opposition truly is.
Today, comes news that the Israeli Attorney General closes probe into authors of allegedly racist book. “The complainants contend that Weinstein's decision creates a precedent, one never intended by the country's legislative branch - that rabbis can incite in a violent or racist fashion with impunity.” 
The book Torat Hamelech (The King’s Torah), published in 2009, ... states: "When we approach a gentile who has violated the seven laws of Noah and kill him out of devotion to the upholding of these Noahide laws, this is not forbidden."

The prohibition 'Thou Shalt Not Murder' applies only "to a Jew who kills a Jew," write Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. Non-Jews are "uncompassionate by nature" and attacks on them "curb their evil inclination," while babies and children of Israel's enemies may be killed since "it is clear that they will grow to harm us."

Of course, any Jew who has come to faith in Yeshua is regarded as no longer Jewish. Therefore, the prohibition not to murder a fellow Jew does not apply to any of the 10-15,000 Messianic Jews of Israel.

"Despite the precedent set by previous Israeli attorneys general in the last decade and a half to file criminal charges against settler rabbis who publish commentaries supporting violence against non-Jews, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has so far remained mum about "The King's Torah."

These are terrible developments for the Israeli justice system and will further embolden acts of violence against the Messianic community.  While religious persecution of this time forces the onlookers in the Israeli society to make personal decisions about right and wrong, we also need to recognize the need for the Body in Israel to have prayer cover for safety.  Just like we pray for loss of life to be limited in the wars and terror attacks on Israel, we also pray for God’s protection of each and every follower of Jesus from attacks by religious adversaries of the gospel.  Persecution may forward the gospel, but every believer’s life is not rendered by that any less precious.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

60 Minutes Delivers Shoddy Journalism

60 Minutes Delivers Shoddy Journalism
Christians of the Holy Land report was ridiculously shallow in the facts
By Donna Diorio

Arrows from Zion | Israelprayer
April 22, 2012

Yesterday, 60 Minutes aired a segment on Christian Arabs fleeing the Holy Land where they featured Rev Mitri Reheb and some other Christian Arabs who denied that the reason Christian Arabs fled was because of persecution of Islamists.

HERE'S THE PROBLEM WITH THAT, the ones who stayed have already taken the steps to avoid being lashed out at by their Muslim neighbors. 60 Minutes was asking the wrong people if there is persecution of Christian Arabs by Muslim Arabs. They need to ask the ones who already fled and are now safe, not the ones who are still in the line of fire.

When I started Israelprayer in August of 2001, it wasn't long before we were enlisted by David and Leah Ortiz, Messianic Jews in Ariel, to pray for many Christian Arabs who were in Palestinian Authority jails. Some were being tortured, some even died. When Israel, in the aftermath of 9/11, launched Operation Defensive Shield where the IDF went into Palestinian towns to uproot munitions factories and terror nests city-by-city, they also set free the Christian Arabs who were being held in PA jails.

See my story of my 'chance' meeting with "S" in 2003 in Tel Aviv - the last Christian Arab who was released by the IDF in Operation Defensive Shield from a PA prison where he feared for his life. In this blog entry I tell the story of praying for the Christian Arabs who were imprisoned by the PA in 2001-2002, and how the IDF set them free, and meeting the Palestinian Christian "S" who was the last to be released from Nablus jail.

This is only one the example we know intimately about regarding Palestinian Muslim persecution of Christian Arabs. There have been murders of Christian pastors, beatings, threats. Yet 60 Minutes takes 3 people who are grinning and denying as if it is the lie of the century. Hey, 60 Minutes, we know that is how you WANT to believe in, but those denials don't square with the truth.

During the second Intifada - and one of the reasons cited that Christian Arabs began fleeing the holy land in droves - is the use of their homes as sniper nests where even a Jewish baby was shot in the mother's arms. Palestinian Islamists used Christian Arab homes because they knew it would draw Israeli return fire - two birds killed with one stone.

You can't waltz into Israel and the Palestinian controlled areas, do a few interviews and think you are emerging with the true situation as 60 Minutes did in this interview. You have to have a track record following the events there. 60 Minutes presented a false view in its report last night. A false narrative is not the basis for reconciliation bridges.

*** Today, I am getting emails highlighting the woefully inadequate 60 Minutes report. They are citing the extensive report by Justus Reid Weiner of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, who wrote "Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society".

Now I first learned of Justus Reid Weiner's work around 2000-2001 through David and Leah Ortiz, Messianic Jews in Ariel. David was a major source for Weiner's investigation and is cited eight or nine times in the investigation. David took Weiner into places and to sources Weiner would otherwise not have had entrance to.

Ironically, the Jewish terrorist who bombed the Ortiz home near fatally wounding the 15-year old son of David & Leah Ortiz, is in court this month where it is expected that the charges against him for the bombing of Ami Ortiz will be dropped in exchange for a confession of guilt from Jack Teitel in the murder of two Arabs.

David is like Mordechai, in the book of Esther, who revealed a plot against the king and then became the target of a plot against his own life and the life of the Israelis in exile.

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren writes on The Plight of Mideast Christians here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Defending Jerusalem's Counsel

There is still a lot of controversy and opposition stirred over the Messianic participation at to the Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 conference in Bethlehem. I have had quite a bit of dialogue off the record with several of those Messianics who participated raising the ire of their fellow Messianic Jews and Christian Zionists friends. 

Here's one thing I can say, the leaders who participated are not oblivious to the real problems in play with the CatC. Most of those who are criticizing the Messianic participation do so from a perspective of the participation being an endorsement of the radical views held by CatC speakers.  But instead of endorsing those views, the Messianic and Christian Zionists who participated, some as speakers and some as attendees, went to confront the biblical evidence of Israel's election and endeavor to moderate views through dialogue. 

Not one of those I have had exchanges with have shown the least bit of waffling on Israel's key role in what God's continuously unfolding plan is.  That seems to be the main beef from the rest of our community, wondering how in the world can these men sit down to dialogue with people who have proposed the most radical anti-Israel views for years without it meaning the Messianics had been suckered into a compromised position? 

Look, any time I see some Christian who is posing with some Palestinian terrorist or terrorist endorsing figure, big smiles plastered on their faces, embracing - it does the same thing to me that is does to you: I cringe at yet a another naive 'peacemaker' who has been suckered by taqqiyah. 

This is NOT what is going on with these Israeli Messianic leaders who went to CatC - some of whom are apostolic level leaders, others at the very least are seasoned elders in the Body of Messiah with deep roots living in Israel, fighting the good fight and working in reconciliation AND defense of Israel. They have not gone soft on Israel's role in our days for the sake of a false peace/reconciliation with those who dismiss the election of Israel as valid to our faith today. 

In my years learning the ways of God I have seen one thing often. That God requires that those who are following His Son are the ones who have to step up going the extra mile. Whether the ones we are sent to hear or whether they forbear, our effort to bring some back to the will of God is not exhausted until we go and speak to them, as Moses stood before Pharaoh or Jonah stood before Nineveh. Until we have completed our charge to speak to them eye-to-eye, God does not rise to overturn the ungodly intention. 

Instead of coming against the efforts of these Israeli Messianic and Christian leaders to engage the anti-Israeli opposition in talks, allowing them time to make headway among those that will hear, it would be nice if we would pray for their words to penetrate and that unhealed hearts would be softened. 

When Moses stood before Pharaoh, the scripture says that Pharaoh's heart was hardened. But when Jonah stood before Nineveh - a people who could not tell right from wrong - his words turned them to repent. Until this group of leaders is able to complete their mission we will not know if they have been able to impact Christian Palestinianism. 

One thing is for certain, if we continue to raise opposition to their mission, we face the distinct possibility that we are fighting what God is doing. Some of us need to take that into consideration.

A post script: For many years I have voiced my expectation that it would be from within the Israeli Messianic leadership that many of the most perplexing issues of the Messianic movement would begin to be brought to resolution and leading by example would becomd the model for the entire Messianic movement.  The issue of reconciliation of the Body between Christian Arabs and Messianic Jews is one of those problem areas that I saw godly movement in and frankly, I can see no other location on earth where this reconciliation can spring from.  Like in the first century where the apostolic Jerusalem Council was looked to as a authoritative voice of God's will, my expectation is that that there would rise up from the ranks of the Israeli Body, those with able to lead in some of the most serious issues facing us in the Messianic movement and the Church.  Don't look now, but this may be the beginning of the rise of the Jerusalem Council.  God raises up whom He will from those who are willing to go at His instruction where others fear to tread.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Brief Response to “Christ at the Checkpoint” from Messianic participants

Brief Response to “Christ at the Checkpoint”
from Messianic participants Richard Harvey, Wayne Hilsden, Dan Juster, David Loden, Lisa Loden and Evan Thomas  Issued Monday, 12 March 2012

As Messianic Jews and supporters of Israel who attended the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference we were warmly welcomed. We participated in a personal capacity, clearly stating we did not claim to represent any other individuals, groups or organisations.
We gave presentations on God’s continuing purposes for the Jewish people and the land of Israel, assured by His covenant promises to our forefathers; the need for reconciliation to develop a deeper fellowship and partnership in the Gospel with our Arab brothers and sisters; and the building of a Messianic Jewish theology and practice of reconciliation and peace-making.
The aims of the conference organisers were clearly stated on their website, which were to
• Empower and encourage the Palestinian church.
• Expose the realities of the injustices in the Palestinian Territories and create awareness of the obstacles to reconciliation and peace.
• Create a platform for serious engagement with Christian Zionism and an open forum for ongoing dialogue between all positions within the Evangelical theological spectrum.
• Motivate participants to become advocates for the reconciliation work of the church in Palestine/Israel and its ramifications for the Middle East and the world.
Also on the agenda was promotion of non-violent resistance to the administration of Gaza and the West Bank, and the development of Palestinian Evangelical Christian theologies.
However, at no point was it assumed that we were in agreement with these aims, but rather it was expected that we had different views which needed to be heard. We were free to challenge in informal discussion and platform dialogue the differing theological and political understandings of the place of Israel in Scripture, the purposes of God, and present political realities. We reflected the concerns of the Messianic community as expressed in recent statements from the UMJC/IMJA/MJAA and Israeli Messianic groups, highlighting areas of both agreement and disagreement on the ongoing election of Israel (the Jewish people) and the promises of the Land.
We did not feel compromised in any way, but were able to freely express our own points of view, and were treated with respect. The conference organisers have issued a manifesto affirming their aims and positions, which was commended to the conference participants at the end of the conference. Some of us were shown this statement during the editorial process, out of respect and appreciation for our involvement, and out of acknowledgment of the bridges that were built during the conference. While a few of us offered advice on the composition of these documents, we do not in fact endorse all the points that were finally presented. Nor were we asked by the organizers to endorse them.
The impact of the conference has yet to be assessed. But those of us who took part were particularly impressed with the genuine attempts to meet with Messianic Jews and Christian supporters of Israel, and begin a dialogue. Our hopes and prayers are for continuing attempts at peaceful engagement with one another in fellowship, prayer and discussion, and for true reconciliation to be achieved through the atoning love of the Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel and Prince of Peace.
We hope and pray that our willingness to accept the invitation to participate in the conference has opened a door for us to strengthen genuine relationships with our Arab brothers and sisters. We trust that in the context of such relationships we will be able to address in greater depth the serious issues that concern the messianic body, both of a theological nature and existential threats and attacks against the nation of Israel.
Ephesians 4:1-4. I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling.
Romans 12:18-20. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
This brief response summarises our positive engagement with the conference and its organisers. More detailed personal responses are available from the individuals named below.

Richard Harvey
Wayne Hilsden
Dan Juster
David Loden
Lisa Loden
Evan Thomas

Monday, 12 March 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Israeli Messianic Jew Addresses the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference

A Tale of Two Palestinian Theologies

Along with others around the world, Israelis have noticed the rising controversy around the upcoming "Christ at the Checkpoint" (CatC) Conference hosted by Bethlehem Bible College in a few days (March 5-9). Curiously, the Israeli Body of Messiah has not spoken up in any collective way, as have several Messianic groups abroad. This is despite the fact that several of our number are scheduled to speak at this Conference. As someone living in the Land for nearly 30 years, I would like to offer my personal observations on the situation.  - Hannah Weiss  

The Context for My Tale

The 2012 “Checkpoint” Conference claims to be bringing all sides of the Christian world together to examine the plight of Palestinian Christians, and to raise consciousness and support among Christians abroad for these persecuted brethren.  Apparently the consensus is exaggerated. Opposition to CatC was prompt and vocal from evangelical, Jewish and Messianic organizations alike.  By the end of 2011, Jewish groups as diverse as the rightwing-religious Israel National News (Arutz 7) and the British Messianic Jewish Alliance had already gone on record condemning the Conference as a platform for liberal Israel-bashing.

Feeling the heat, the Conference committee members in Bethlehem posted an energetic defense on the Conference website (25/jan/12), denying that they are anti-Israel or that they support Replacement Theology.

The denial of anti-Israel bias appears to be somewhat out of touch with reality. The Conference LINKS page includes "The Palestinian Kairos Document", also known as "TheBethlehem Call", which deplores Israel's existence as “the illegal regime”. The Call rejoices that “the government and state of Israel is now regarded as an apartheid regime” and calls on the world to continue in “the deligitimization and criminalization of the Israeli government.”

Apparently not noticing this link on the CatC site - or that one of the signatories to "The Bethlehem Call" is their colleague at Bethlehem Bible College, Academic Dean Yohanna Katanacho, the apologists for the Conference deny any connection whatsoever with this document.  They don’t repudiate it, however; instead they recommend it as "worthy of study."

A few days ago, a joint rebukepublished by four Messianic organizations (the UMJC, MJAA, MJAI and the International Alliance of Messianic Jewish Synagogues) provoked a still sharper rebuttal from CatC spokespeople. A Response to Representatives of the InternationalMessianic Jewish Community” (21/feb/12) provides a detailed 11-point declaration intended to prove that the international Messianic community has falsely accused them.

There are some interesting paradoxes here. One is the emphasis on the Kingdom of G-d taking priority over the inheritance of the Land, applicable to both the Jewish and Palestinian peoples (point 9); this is undermined by the great pains one of the “Response” signatories has taken to establish who he believes G-d has – and has not – mandated to inherit the Land. (More details later.) Another anomaly is the moderate assertion (point 10) that as Palestinian believers they have the right to protest against “Israeli policies” – a far cry from the “Bethlehem Call” that was co-authored by another signatory of this “Response”, Conference speaker Hanna Katanacho (as mentioned above).  But I digress.

It is true that the explicit goal of the Conference is not to denounce the state of Israel, or the Jews. They have a more vulnerable target in mind: the Christian Zionists.

Spokesmen for the Simon Weisenthal Center agreed in their commentary in the Jerusalem Post; they called the CatC event an "assault on lovers of Zion" which amounts to "stealth theo-terrorism". ("Palestinians to Evangelicals: Zionism is a sin", 14/nov/11)

A stated goal of this Conference is to "create a platform for serious engagement with Christian Zionism and an open forum for ongoing dialogue between all positions within the Evangelical theological spectrum."  Sure enough, their speaker lineup has the full range of Christian opinion, from Replacement Theology to Christian Zionism - even some familiar faces from the Israeli Messianic community who identify themselves as Zionists in word and deed.

One of the defenses in the CatC “Response” to the international Messianic community is that Israeli Messianic leader “Wayne Hilsdon [sic - Hilsden, longtime pastor at King of Kings Congregation in Jerusalem]... has the support of most of the Messianic leaders in Jerusalem regarding his participation” in the upcoming Conference.

I cannot confirm or deny that claim.  I can, however, speculate that the willingness of Messianic Israelis (and of Zionists in general) to participate in CatC 2012 might be because the Conference promotional material gives the impression that only one form of Christian Zionism is being taken to task: the extremist type that gives uncritical support to Israeli government policy and doesn't care a fig for Palestinian rights. 

Given such an appearance of moderation, facing off with Replacement theologians could be seen as an opportunity to bring balance to this "open forum".  But based on the press release from the previous Conference (CatC 2010), the "ongoing dialog" has already established a starting point: Christians must repent from any brand of Zionism that affirms the Tanach passages promising the land of Israel to the Jews.

One of the scheduled speakers at this year's Conference and its Program Director, British vicar Stephen Sizer, openly stated in a UK church last fall that the brethren who hold such a belief are "an abomination" (Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith, "Jerusalem Under Threat" rally, 6/oct/11). 

The press release following the 2010 Conference was almost as blunt: "The conference speakers repudiated" Christian Zionism as "nationalist chauvinism" which violates the teachings of Christ and shows an ignorance of the scriptures.

The Palestinian Theology Behind “Christ at the Checkpoint”

The theological support for this stance is supplied by Dr. Salim Munayer, head of the reconciliation ministry Musalaha, and was presented in detail in his keynote address at the previous Conference (CatC 2010). Dr. Munayer, who will also be speaking at the upcoming Conference, signed the above-mentioned “Response” from the Conference organizers to the Messianic organizations. 

In the Israeli Messianic community, Dr. Munayer is known for Jewish-Palestinian youth trips sponsored by his organization, which encourages dialog between the two groups. More recently, Dr. Munayer directed a leadership training seminar for Messianic Israeli youth counselors, in partnership with the directors of a popular Messianic youth camp here in Israel.

Less well-known is Dr. Munayer’s endorsement of the anti-Zionist documentary, “With God on Our Side” (released in 2010). The synopsis states that the film’s goal is to “look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God's chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel.” 

In keeping with the conflicting messages coming from CatC representatives (the film’s producer, Porter Speakman, is also a speaker at CatC 2012), the film’s website asserts, “God does not take sides with certain people groups, nations and agendas,” and then inexplicably quotes Joshua’s encounter with the angelic Commander as he embarked on the Israelite conquest of this very same Land.

By the same token, the “Response” signed by Dr. Munayer appeals to Messianic Zionists: “We plead with you to respect the theological diversities that exist between us;” while in a trailer promo for the film he goes on record rejecting that diversity as a threat to his existence: “The implication of Christian Zionism, as we would understand it - the world will hear it here - is that to accept this theology is to commit suicide as a peoplehood.” [sic]

For those not familiar with Dr. Munayer's alternative, which he calls "Theology of the Land", here is a summary gleaned from his keynote address at CatC 2010:

1.      The covenant made by G-d to the Jewish people giving them the land of Canaan was conditional on their being obedient - worshiping G-d only, and making the right moral and ethical choices.
2.      When the Jews became unfaithful, they lost their right to live in this Land.
3.      When Yeshua came (or possibly since the time of creation... this point was unclear), the concept of "land by covenant" became universal. Every people was given a land from G-d by covenant, with the same conditions as those G-d gave to the Jews.
4.      Zionism is a dream of the Jews to return to the place where they had historical connections.  It is understandable, but it's not moral. The right from G-d to live in this land passed to the Palestinians. They cannot accept the status of "strangers dwelling with" Israel - the Palestinians are "the indigenous people" and therefore are the rightful heirs to it.
5.      The Europeans (not G-d) returned the Jews to this place, out of guilt for European sins against them during the Holocaust. The Europeans caused Jewish suffering, so they should pay the price, not the Palestinians.
6.      There is no return of the Jews to this Land prophesied in scripture. Christians who believe that the covenant promise of this land still belongs to the Jews are misunderstanding the Bible, and they are promoting injustice.

Listening to the entire address will reveal how the scriptures are used to justify this theology, and which passages are ignored.  (scroll down to Dr. Munayer's audio file: "From Land of Strife to Land of Reconciliation"

Another Palestinian Theology

Readers who stayed with me this far might be tempted to give up hope on any reconciliation with our Palestinian brethren that doesn’t do violence to G-d’s word.  Before you despair, let me introduce you to a small flock of Palestinians living in the same neighborhood as the Conference venue - only one kilometer from the “checkpoint” from which the Conference borrowed its name. These other Palestinians would stand that Conference on its head and put its theology to shame... had they been invited. 

To simply quote this second Palestinian theology would not do justice to the power and love conveyed by the speaker in a few simple words. Nor would it capture the context that shows the high price they are paying for their stand. 

I invite you to take a few more minutes to listen and watch Pastor Steven Khoury and his father Pastor Naim Khoury, leaders (respectively) of Calvary Baptist Church in Jerusalem and First Baptist Church of Bethlehem, interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network: 


Speaking as a Messianic Jewish Israeli, I declare these persecuted, ostracized, unsung theologians to be our true Palestinian brethren in the Land. They uphold all of G-d's word, with no compromise or apologies, and I am sorry to have discovered their existence only recently. 

They are worthy of our prayers, encouragement and tangible support – as well as a place of honor at the next Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation effort attended by Messianic believers.

It is my fervent hope that my fellow-believers in Israel who are engaged in Palestinian-Israeli dialog will make the appropriate changes.

Hannah Weiss
Restorers of Zion on-line network:

NOTE:  Pastor Steven Khoury is sponsored by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and accepts speaking invitations abroad.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Standing in the Gap Guest Column by an Israeli Ministry

A second-generation Israeli Messianic minister recently preached this word in northern IsraelHe must remain nameless for the sake of security issues, but we thought this was an excellent word about how the Body of Messiah in Israel is “standing in the gap” for the unsaved Israeli people, and how we believers in the nations may in turn “stand in the gap” for them.

The righteous, prophetic remnant within Israel is called to stand in the breach and to build up protection for all of Israel. They are called to prepare the people for the future, for difficulty, for the day of judgment, and the day of war. They are called to identify the threats against Israel, prepare the people for them, and be dynamically available to fill in and make up for weaknesses in the defense of the people in standing against the attacking forces.

Eze 13:3  Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who … have not gone up into the breaches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of the LORD.

MILITARY THREATS  Obviously there are mortal military threats against Israel. Even "friendly" neighbors (such as Jordan and Egypt) have different undercurrents of anti-Israel sentiment and incitement. Iran is coupling the most serious verbal threats with its determined bid at developing nuclear weapons, which appears to be on the very threshold of success. Israeli intelligence experts are continuously analyzing the current constellation of forces most likely to cause attacks or outright war on Israel. The popular uprisings of the Arab "Spring" are bringing to power extreme Muslim groups very antagonistic toward Israel. We are so accustomed to these threats, that the occasional missile sent by terrorist groups from Gaza into southern Israel barely receives mention in the Israeli press much less in the international media.

A partial list of current military threats:
    Hizbullah - Lebanon
    Hamas – Gaza
    Terrorist groups in the Palestinian Authority territories

OTHER THREATS  In addition to the recognized, visible and reported military threats, there are also other threats on Israel (and many of them against all of humanity).

A partial list:
    Anti-Israel sentiment in the international media and in many nations
    Economic need and the fear of it
    Violence in our societies
    Substance abuse
    Sexual Immorality
    Breakdown of families, from chronic dysfunction to divorce

THREAT ON SEVERAL LEVELS  As we translate the military imagery of Ezekiel into our daily lives let us also remember that each and every one of these threats is on several levels.  The soldier fighting most effectively fights at the end of the day because he feels the threat against all that is closest to him: his friends and his family, and ultimately, his own life. As we become aware of all these threats, we must recognize that they are arrayed against us on each of these levels.

    Against the entire human race
    Against a nation
    Against a city/neighborhood
    Against our congregational family
    Against our home family
    Against us personally

HOW CAN WE STAND IN THE BREACH  In warfare, the soldiers supplement a system of defense that is in place, such as a wall. If the enemy punches a hole (a "breach") in the defense, soldiers must rush bravely into the breach and close the gap in defending the people. How can we do the same?

God is seeking for those who are willing, aware and available.  Such people are rare and sometimes cannot be found:  Eze 22:30  And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.

Psa 106:23  Therefore he said he would destroy them-- had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him...

Moses stood in the breach in intercession on behalf of his people in their sin. Moses' intercession consisted of recounting before God, God's destiny, His calling and intention and promises, of calling on God to relent from just judgment in favor of un - merited grace in continuing to draw the people of Israel into a future of cooperation with their Lord in displaying Himself and His works to the people of the earth. Ultimately Moses asks God to erase Moses from the book of life, if judgment cannot be averted.

In Yeshua Himself we see the ultimate example of the man whom God sought (and became) and found who would stand in the breach on behalf of Israel and all mankind.

So we have in Moses and Yeshua two examples of standing in the breach, standing in the gap:
    Speaking in righteousness,
    Agreeing with God that His will be done on earth,
    Contending for weak and fallen men,
    Believing in spite of what we see with our eyes at present
    Contending for God's purposes and promises
    Believing even in the most unpromising of circumstances for God's covenant people to enter into their destiny
    Bringing atonement for sin

A REMNANT IN ISRAEL TODAY  Isa 58:12  And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach…

This prophecy points to a people who return to Israel and rebuild and are rebuilt, a people who will be repairers of the breach, a people who will stand in the gap.  May we stand together in agreement for this people to arise. May we be among them.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Wannsee: Evil Gets Organized

by Eddie Santoro in  Jerusalem
Ahavat Yeshua Congregation (The Love of Yeshua) 
Zion’s Glory and Tikkun Ministries

It happened 70 years ago. The date was January 20, 1942. For the first time since the outbreak of World War II in 1939 and the subsequent blitzkrieg conquest of Europe, the Nazi war machine was having difficulties. The drive to occupy Moscow had stalled, being held up by the long and hard Russian winter. At the same time, the British troops had a series of victories in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, the United States had all but renounced its neutrality and had started supplying the Allied Forces with much needed armaments while it began mobilizing for its soon entry into the war.

But even as the German political and nationalistic goal of establishing the “Third Reich” was beginning to crumble,  the true satanic goal of this war; the destruction of the Jewish people was accelerating. Satan knew that in order to stop God's plan to return the Messiah, there could not be an Israel. The Jewish people had to be destroyed.

On that January day, Germany's top ranking officials gathered for the "Wannsee Conference" in Berlin to formulate a "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem”. The Nazi machine had already gathered most of the Jews of Europe into squalid ghettos and concentration camps. They had been denied all human rights and thousands were dying daily of starvation and disease. But the imprisonment, dehumanization and gradual destruction of the Jewish people was not enough.

In light of the weakening war effort, a more certain means of their total destruction needed to be implemented. The goal of this evil gathering was to find the quickest and most efficient way to murder all of the Jewish people in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

This planned Holocaust was not a new strategy. Time and again the Jewish people had been attacked and murdered for the crime of being Jewish. Pharaoh had attempted to destroy them in the days of  Moses' birth. Herod had taken his turn at the time of Yeshua's birth. And throughout later history the Jewish people had suffered persecution, expulsion and death at the hands of every “civilized” European nation.

But now at this moment, right before the time that God had determined to rebirth the State of Israel, Satan's servant Hitler and his demonic organization gathered to plan the “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem”. It was at the "Wannsee Conference" that leaders such as Himmler, Eichmann, Muller and twelve other high Nazi officials finalized the idea of building death camps throughout Europe and the mass transportation by rail of the Jewish people to their appointment with death. Never in history had the mass murder of so many millions of people been transformed into a precise and almost business like undertaking. Actual documents from the conference (pictured above) numbered an incredible 11,000,000 people who were set apart to be murdered!

But now at this moment, right before the time that God had determined to rebirth the State of Israel, Satan's servant Hitler and his demonic organization gathered to plan the “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem”. 

Over the following years, the "Final Solution" would become operational through the construction of death camps. Auschwitz, Triblanca, Bergen Belsen, Buchenwald and Dauchow, just to mention a few, are today infamous for the horror that was carried out within them. Their sole purpose was the systematic and efficient annihilation of millions of Jews along with any other people that the Nazi's found undesirable. 

Highlighting the fact that the primary demonic goal of World War II was the destruction of the Jewish people is the reality that in the later years of the war, as the German war effort was being stopped, the number of those being murdered increased. The ovens continued to burn non stop until the last minute. It was as if Satan knew that his time was short and his desire to accomplish his goal manifest in an obsession by the Nazis to complete their evil work before they were defeated.

Not too much has changed since then. The primary goal of the powers of darkness is still to prevent the return of the Messiah. And as always the means of accomplishing this goal is through the destruction of the Jewish people.
Today antisemitism has taken on a new name. In much of the world, hating Jewish people just because they are Jewish is politically incorrect.  So in response to this new found sensitivity, the enemy of God has found a more palatable way of presenting his goal. The new face of antisemitism is now anti Israel. You do not have to hate the Jewish people and try to kill them which would brand you anti-Semitic. Rather, you can just stand against Israel and work toward its destruction. This will be enough to prevent the fulfillment of God's great plan for this earth. But in the end there is no difference. To hate Israel is to hate the Jewish people.

The new face of antisemitism is now anti Israel.
 Today there is a never ending campaign to delegitimize and criminalize and ultimately destroy the nation of Israel. Whether it is Iran's threat to remove Israel from the earth, or the unending condemnation in the United Nations, or the Islamic Jihad which openly calls for the destruction of Israel and the removal of the “cancerous Jews”, or European democracies that look upon the one democratic nation in the Middle East and condemn it while overlooking the horrendous behavior of the nations that surround it, the truth cannot be denied. The enemies of God are once again taking aim at their age old target. It is Israel that represents God's faithfulness and it is Israel to which Yeshua must return.

Seventy years ago fifteen people from just one nation gathered together to plot the destruction of God's “Chosen People”. Their actions were the expression of the Kingdom of Darkness upon the planet Earth. Today, it is not the leaders of just one nation but rather it is the nations of the world that are gathering against Israel.

As the Day of the Lord draws nearer, the anger and hatred of the enemies of God is increasing. Our Bible tells us that there will be one last, great gathering of all the nations  against Israel. The Bible also tells us that in the last hour, as Jerusalem is being destroyed, the Messiah will return.

Yeshua's feet will touch down in the Jewish city of Jerusalem and the “Lion from the Tribe of Judah” will make war against the very ones who are attempting to destroy his beloved Israel. He who guards Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers. He has written her name upon the palm of his hand and as a mother cannot forget her firstborn son, he will come to save his people. 

In this day and at this time, even as we remember the evil of the past, let those of us who love God and love his Word arise to stand with the nation and people of Israel. May each of us take our place on the wall and with one loud voice proclaim God's love and purpose in these challenging days. May we stand united;Jew and Gentile, that the world may know that He is Lord.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012


From David Ortiz in Ariel we received an extremely sobering dream he had that we believe is important for the coming year.  In his own words:
January 4, 2012   I want to address this crisis because it applies to those of us who live here and those who live outside the country. There are many who are doing an excellent and vital work in Israel, and who are glorifying the Lord in this land.  In the Messiah, David Ortiz

16 So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. 17 Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. 18 Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. 19 Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” 21 So we labored in the work, and half of the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared.   Nehemiah 4:16-21

DREADFUL DREAM   Last night I had a dream.  I heard an announcement that was made from Hell, saying, “There is a sword that has been issued to cut down those that are declaring the message of salvation to the Jewish people that Yeshua is the Messiah. It should cut them down to pieces.”

I could hear that the order was given from far away and from a very deep pit.  The believers were in a type of a dark catacomb, caves where there were many passage ways.  Soon a very tall man came out who had a very dark shadow on him.  He came out running and swinging a machete with all his might.  People began fleeing from before him.  As he ran towards the groups of people, one of the brothers braced himself as the man was swinging and coming in his direction, but he bypassed this brother and made it clear that he wasn’t the target, but the others were. 

As he chased the others, I could hear the clinking sound of the weapon hitting solid rock when the machete didn’t hit its mark, but some were hit.   But just because he wasn’t able to hit some, that didn’t deter him from continuing to pursue the people in the catacombs and didn’t stop him from his goal. 

The brother that was spared by being bypassed was gripped with fear and backed up to the cold wall behind him in order to not be seen.  Once again, the assassin bypassed him, but this time made it clearer that he would not be targeted as long as he didn’t get involved.  The brother felt relieved that his life had been spared.

Among the courts of men, people’s motives aren’t always clear-cut and identifiable.  Sometimes it isn’t immediately clear if the crime was intentional, 1st degree, 2nd degree, or done out of ignorance, because man doesn’t know the heart and it can take a long period of time or even years before the true motive is revealed.   But with God this is not the case.  Truth is evident in less than a second because all the intentions of a man’s heart are laid bare and not hidden. 

Man stands before God completely naked and without excuse (Hebrews 4:12-13), and in the dream this was plainly understood and evident.  The reason why the brother did not get involved and didn’t take interest in trying to save the others is because he was relieved that his life had been spared.  It was almost like he was in the heat of a hot a desert with no relief in sight and all of a sudden he was transported to a room that was fully air conditioned and comfortable and  had all the amenities he needed to refresh himself from the trauma of what he had seen.  At least he thought so, because little did he know that his escape was temporary and he would also meet the same fate.

When I woke up, I was in shock that I had even dreamt something like this so clearly and plainly.  These words from the book of Esther came immediately to my mind:

 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:13-14  

I am a student of history, like many of us are.  As a child I always wondered how people could stand by and let others be mistreated, just so their lives could be spared.  I wondered because I was raised in a home and in a certain group of people with the mentality that felt that it was a cowardly act to stand by when others were being attacked and abused especially if it was in your power to do something about it.  But my experience growing up and examples in history show us that when people don’t stand up for others, it allows aggressors to hurt whole people groups and communities. The Bible says

But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  1 John 3:17

As we see, read and hear, the Ministry of Interior, other government agencies, anti-missionary groups and non-believing religious groups that purposely target Christian groups to get funds and benefits, are making it clear that all those who work with Messianic believers will be harassed directly or indirectly, and when applicable, visas will be taken away or put into question. 

The College in Ariel has made it completely clear to Christians that come to study in their programs that if they work with or even fellowship with Messianic Jews, their visas will be revoked.  Born-again believers submit to that threat and intimidation, thereby even considering to have their right eye to be removed like in the book of 1 Samuel 11. The Ammonites came against a tribe of Israel, and the Israelites who were badly outnumbered wanted to make a peace treaty with them.  The Ammonites said they would consider that only if the Israelites would allow them to gouge out their right eyes, and thus bring a reproach to Israel.  In the same manner, believers allow their God-given freedom of choice and worship to be taken away in order to spare themselves.  May God give us the strength when the time comes to cling to the words of Yeshua,

Greater love has no man, than to lay down his life (or his self-interest, or his ministry) for his brother. John 15:13

And to stand up for His bride that He gave and shed His blood for.

Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.  Hebrews 13:3  

Here are some practical steps you can take to help Jewish Believers who have made Yeshua Lord and Savior of their lives in Israel.

-          Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure.” Ps 122:6  
-          Pray for body of the Lord that lives in Israel.
-          Adopt a person, family or congregation in prayer.
-          Support businesses and buy things made by believers in Yeshua.
-          Request newsletters from credible ministries in Israel so you can stay informed.
-          Support the more than 120 Messianic Congregations which are spread from the Northernmost to the Southern-most part of the country.
-          Read your Bible, understand history, the economy, up to date events, understand disputes, facts about Israel, past present and future, know who are the Ethnic groups and religions that live here.

World War II was won with more than tanks, missiles and an army.  It was won also by something called “The Home Front” who were people who took it upon themselves to write letters, make phone calls, send pictures, remember people’s birthdays, send care packages, and in doing so encourage and strengthen the soldiers on the front lines.

There are numerous ministries in Israel that are doing a tremendous work for the Lord in spiritual and physical ways that the home front can strengthen and encourage. 

ADDITION added Jan 5 2012 at 7 AM
by Donna Diorio

"Dreadful Dream" is the warning of an assignment from hell that has gone out against those declaring salvation to the Jewish people, and how some believers think themselves "safe" if they just keep out of the way, un-involved. I received the Dreadful Dream early yesterday from a ministry in Israel whose sons was miraculously spared by God when he opened a Purim basket that had been rigged with powerful explosives and left on the Messianic family's doorstep by a religious extremist.

I believe that all word curses spoken out against these are a major factor in David Ortiz's "Dreadful Dream".

Words are like arrows - whether intentional or unintentional - speaking evil against someone unleashes an assignment for those words to hit their mark.

I'm not just offended by the lack of backing the Body in Israel gets from the Church - I am alarmed at how vulnerable we leave them. Selah.
January 5, 2012 6:57 AM