Editor’s note: This article is written by Yael Eckstein, senior vice president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship). She is the daughter of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s founder and president. It is a challenge to all Jews who receive support from Christians worldwide to give back by supporting persecuted Coptic Christians in Egypt.

During Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014, I had dinner with a Christian pastor and his family in North Carolina. I was stunned and impressed that each time a rocket was launched from Gaza into Israel, the family’s “Code Red” app blared on their cell phones and they stopped whatever they were doing to pray for Israelis in danger. And they didn’t just pray. Their sincere concern for the wellbeing of Israel manifested itself in action. They donated tens of thousands of dollars to build bomb shelters all across Israel to help protect us. “It is our honour to use our money to provide protection to Israelis from terrorist rocket fire. Buying a new car, renovating my kitchen or doing anything else for myself wouldn’t give me nearly as much joy and fulfilment,” the pastor told me.


I left his house feeling awed and inspired. “I hope that my people would help Christians in their time of need, as they have done for us,” I thought. Truth be told, on the whole, we as a people have done an excellent job in raising awareness among our children and our communities about the importance of tikkun olam (repairing the world), of reaching out and supporting worthy causes beyond those that directly affect Jews. At almost every rally and peaceful protest, you can see an Israeli flag, the Star of David or another identifier of Jewish presence. We are helping Syrian refugees, standing up for women’s rights and volunteering in the world’s poorest countries, just to name a few causes we champion. Helping others who suffer from persecution, injustice or discrimination is a hallmark of the Jewish community, and I am proud of that.


But at the same time, there are cries that have gone unheard, such as those of the Christians being systematically persecuted, and slaughtered, across the Middle East. Coptic Christians, an indigenous population of Egypt dating back to the 1st century A.D., hundreds of years before Muslims even came on the scene, have been especially targeted. They represent almost 10 percent of Egypt’s population and are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists. At least 28 Coptic Christians, including many children, were ambushed and murdered May 26 as they travelled by bus to a monastery. Two terror attacks hit crowded Coptic churches April 10, killing at least 44 people. Since January 2017, more than 100 Copts have been targeted, murdered and systematically threatened.


In response to this horrific campaign of terror, I am astounded that the Jewish community has remained virtually silent. The Jewish community and Israel currently enjoy unprecedented, historic support from the Christian community. Christians are our loudest defenders in the political arena, our most vocal supporters on social media and our greatest contributors when it comes to charitable causes. The annual budget of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is $150 million, which is distributed to 1.4 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world. These funds are sacrificially donated by hundreds of thousands of Christian donors in the U.S. and worldwide. Moreover, Christians make up more than half of the tourists who come to Israel annually, significantly bolstering the Jewish state’s economy and morale.


If we can stand up for the sake of other peoples who suffer and for different just causes, how can we not act on behalf of our greatest allies? With all of the issues we are taking on, how is this not at the forefront of our agenda?  For the last few years, Egypt’s Coptic Christians have been the target of a calculated, cruel terror campaign. Men, women and children (and sometimes intentionally women and children) have been murdered in cold blood. Their places of worship and holy books have been blown up and burned. Their homes and shops have been attacked and looted. Sound familiar? We know all too well this pattern in history and we have vowed never to let it happen again. The Fellowship has not stood silent in the face of such horror. We have heard the cries of the Christians in Egypt and we are helping them.


The Fellowship is providing assistance such as summer camps for children and financial aid to families who are victims of terror; aid, including food, medical and psychological care; and security support. The Christian community has been Israel’s staunchest supporter for the past half century, so it is disappointing that we are the only Jewish organization taking tangible steps to give them aid, support and protection. I implore Jews everywhere to join us in this effort. Do something, anything, to raise awareness about and to alleviate the suffering of Coptic and other Christians across the Middle East. As Jews, it is our sacred duty and natural obligation. As past victims of hatred, it is our people’s commitment. As current beneficiaries of Christian support, it is an act of humble gratitude. It is time for Jewish communities around the world to give back to the Christian community, which has given us so much. 




Source: International Fellowship for Christians and Jews

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It’s called Operation Good Neighbour and it’s meant to increase aid to Syrian civilians caught in the midst of the civil war. But what might surprise you is who is behind it:  the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). “In March 2013, approximately two years after the fighting in Syria started, one night seven wounded Syrians came to our border seeking for help,” said Dr. Noam Fink, Chief Medical Officer for the IDF’s Northern Command. “A decision was made by Israeli commanders and government to allow them to enter the country and to give them full medical treatment. Since then, many, many other wounded Syrians followed,” Fink told reporters on the Golan Heights. But what began as a trickle of Syrian war wounded appealing to their arch-enemy, Israel, for medical help, has now grown into a fully-fledged humanitarian aid mission, managed by the IDF, along the Israeli-Syrian border. 


“It’s a well-known fact that in Syria, medical infrastructures are not functioning,” Fink said.  “Approximately 70 percent of the doctors fled the country, and one year ago we decided to expand our cooperation and help even further by starting Operation Good Neighbour.” CBN News was given a look at the base just about 650 feet from the international border, near the point where Syrian civilians have crossed into Israel to receive medical help. “We started bringing in sick Syrians, most of them are sick children, with neglected medical diseases and we’ve taken them in to our hospitals, to our clinics,” Fink said. “Almost every night wounded Syrians are coming to Israel to get the best treatment, the same treatment we give our citizens,” he added.  


In the past four years, Israel has helped more than 4,000 Syrians medically. Most of them were taken to Israeli hospitals. But Israel’s aid to the Syrians didn’t stop with the sick and wounded. Lt. Col. “E” is heavily involved in the project. “The last year, if I understand correctly, the Syrian population has a lack of many, many things, infrastructure for the water, the electricity and a lack of health care, medicine, equipment and doctors,” “E” told journalists at an IDF base where supplies are gathered before transporting into Syria. “During the last year, we have established this humanitarian aid project,” he explained. Many of the goods are donated by NGOs, including Friend Ships, whose shipping containers say “From Jesus with Love.”  They provide medicine, basic foods, and powdered baby milk and diapers.


Israel has also provided half a million litres of fuel for generators, water pumps, schools and clinics.  They’ve even helped establish two medical clinics across the border for simpler cases. “Those people receiving the goods were educated to hate Israel. They are telling us today that they are very grateful to the State of Israel,” said “E.” Nearly every day the IDF carries out some aspect of this operation. They hope it will bear good fruit. “We are believing that this humanitarian aid is our duty to help our neighbours,” he said. “We are believing that by doing this humanitarian aid we are making good neighbours and by this we can secure the Israeli-Syrian border,” he added.


Source: CBN News

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Egyptian-born American Muslim preacher Ammar Shahin gave a sermon at the Islamic Centre of Davis, California recently, saying that all Muslims, will be called upon to kill all the Jews on “the last day.” The lecture is posted on the Davis Masjid YouTube channel in English and Arabic and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, officials from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC) quote Shahin’s sermon: “The prophet Muhammed said: ‘Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews’. Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them. Oh, Allah, make this happen by our hands. Let us play a part in this. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and deeds.” 


He also prayed that al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem be liberated from “the filth of the Jews.” The video requests viewers to, “share, implement, and make supplication for the victory of the Muslim community.” The Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC) is calling on Secretary Kelly to open an investigation into the Imam’s sermon. In their letter, SWC officials  wrote: “By urging Muslims to annihilate all Jews, Shahin has crossed the line beyond protected speech. Homeland Security knows better than anyone that Islamist terrorism, fuelled by religious fanatics, constitutes the number one threat to the safety and security of the American people. In addition, American Jews are the number one target of religious based hate crimes in our nation.” The SWC also called on the Justice Department to investigate Shahin.


Source: CBN News

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The Jewish Prayer Focus is a call to intercession for the Jewish people for the 22-day period (September 20-October 11) during the Holy Days of the Biblical calendar in Lev 23:26ff.  Our main focus is to pray for the salvation of the Jews (which is unfolding) and also to prepare ourselves for the return of the Messiah, which these holidays foreshadow.  The prayer guide contains prayer points, teachings, testimonies, and introductions to Israeli congregations, mostly written by Messianic leaders themselves.  Our 16th edition has the theme, ‘Breakthrough’ (Micah 2:13).  Copies of the prayer guide are available from JPF, PO Box 54, Kerrimuir VIC 3129, call 03-9090 7575 or email watchmen777@optusnet.com.au.  Donation: Aud $10.00 for one copy, $17.50 for 2, $23.50 for 3, $75 for 10, $125 for 20, incl local postage. Cheques to Living Way Christian Network Inc.  Credit card purchases at our website or download from www.jewishprayerfocus.org.  Also available at Koorong. 


Jill Curry, Jewish Prayer Focus International Coordinator



Source: Jewish Prayer Focus

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