AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER
MESSIANIC JEWS FINDING THEIR PLACE IN ISRAEL
The culture is changing in the Israel Defence Force (IDF). Messianic Jews are becoming more and more accepted in the army, even as officers. A lone guitar chord echoes across the room as more than a hundred Israeli soldiers rise to their feet to ask for help. With outstretched hands they reach toward the heavens and like David the warrior Psalmist they cry, “We are surrounded by enemies, but you Lord are able to deliver us. With you O Lord, I can be a brave soldier.” For these 18- to 24-year-old Messianic Jewish soldiers fighting for Israel, Yeshua the Messiah is a source of comfort and strength. “I wouldn’t be able to last one more day in the army without Yeshua in my life,” says Oren, a commander in an elite naval unit. “The pressure is so intense,” he admits. “These times of worship and prayer are like a breath of fresh air for me.”
Only a few years ago, this would have been unimaginable. It was not that long ago a Messianic Jew in Israel could not get a job or rent an apartment without hiding his or her faith. Messianic Jews were considered a security risk by authorities and prohibited from serving in sensitive army units. They certainly were not allowed to command elite troops in the Israeli army. Now we have a younger, savvier generation of native-born Messianic Jews, and all has changed. Messianics are now serving as commanders, high-ranking officers and fighter-jet pilots in every branch of the Israeli military including intelligence, which requires the highest level of security checks. The Israel Defence Forces in coordination with the Prime Minister’s office has given a green light for Messianic Jewish soldiers to help lead the battle for the defence of Israel.
A large percentage of Messianic Jews choose to serve in elite fighting units, and there are growing numbers of Messianic officers and commanders volunteering to serve in specialized units. Messianic Jewish youth in Israel are highly motivated to serve in the IDF, and together with strong family and congregational support, they are increasingly being recognized as excellent soldiers for Israel’s army. Orly, a 19-year-old Messianic Jewess serves in a highly secretive intelligence unit where she instructs soldiers in the use of high-tech surveillance equipment. “The soldiers I teach are responsible for the lives of millions of people,” she says. “It gets really intense, and it helps me a lot to be able to pour out my heart before the Lord and share with my Messianic friends,” she says.
When 18-year-old Elisha, a Messianic Jewish Sabra (Israeli born) completed his basic training, he joined the hundreds of soldiers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel, and receive his machine gun and Hebrew Old Testament given to all new recruits. During the ceremony, Elisha raised his hand above the battalion shouting to the commander, “Sir, may I use my Brit Hadasha (New Testament) with the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) to pledge allegiance with?” The officer shouted back, “Yes, you may, Elisha!” And so Elisha joined the growing numbers of hundreds of openly Messianic Jewish soldiers serving in the IDF. Elisha was chosen to serve in the highly sophisticated Iron Dome Anti-Missile unit so effectively protecting Israel’s citizens from the thousands of Hamas rockets coming out of Gaza.
Like most young Messianic Jews in Israel, Elisha, who has been promoted to first sergeant, says he is proud to serve his country. He affirms his faith in the Messiah Yeshua gives him an even greater desire to serve the nation of Israel. In his own words … “I feel like I am doing something really important. This is something I am prepared to do for my people. I am glad that I can be here for such a time as this.” “Do As I Do’. That is the commandment Gideon gave his troops as he led them into battle (Judges 7:17). It is also the motto of Joshua, a Messianic Jewish IDF captain and platoon commander who today trains and leads troops protecting the borders around Jerusalem. His teams of young soldiers face a tense and complicated situation daily. Defending the capital of Israel from armed terror groups is both dangerous and frustrating.
“For me, this is a really important job,” says the Messianic captain. “We are dealing with a huge problem here, and nobody knows how to fix it. Not many soldiers want to do this job. A big part of my job is keeping my soldiers motivated. Every day I need to remind them about how important their job is. I’ve come to realize that we don’t live in a world where everything goes the way you want,” the experienced captain says. “Serving here wakes us up to the harsh realities of life in Israel and just how complicated it can be.” Messianic Officer Joshua talked about his role in training and leading his soldiers during these troubled times. “People in Israel get angry about the constant attacks on our people and some IDF soldiers call for revenge against Arabs. So I have to explain to them that this kind of behaviour is illegal. As soldiers in the IDF they cannot take these matters into their own hands.”
The IDF has a clear code of ethics and guidelines requiring restraint in order to preserve innocent lives, Arab and Jewish. There is absolutely no place for any anti-Arab behaviour in the IDF,” the Messianic captain emphasized. The officer explained that soldiers who have been caught calling for revenge against Arabs were immediately put in prison. “I warned all of my soldiers that they cannot make these types of statements. Not on Facebook, not on the Internet or even in conversations. It is absolutely forbidden, by law, for an IDF soldier to make these kinds of statements,” the Captain tells his troops. “I told them that if they take revenge on the Palestinians they are no better than the terrorists, who teach their children to hate and kill the Jews. I told my soldiers that in Israel and in the IDF we will not allow our soldiers to fall into that dark hell,” Captain Joshua said.
“I explain to them that we cannot do whatever we want just because we are angry. This is a civilized country with very high moral standards. We will do whatever we can to protect our country, but we also insist that our soldiers do not take matters into their own hands,” he told his soldiers. Because of his strong regard for high moral standards coupled with his experience and personal example in the field, the Messianic captain was chosen to be a spokesman for IDF. The Israeli army asked Officer Joshua to help explain Israel’s dilemma to the world and demonstrate the exemplary moral values he requires of Israeli soldiers. While Palestinians obsessively complain about the so-called “atrocities suffered at the hands of Israel,” Captain Joshua tells the real story in a number of short video clips produced by the IDF.
A brief survey of social media will reveal that young Messianic Jews the world over have become an important source of support for Israel battling against the torrents of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli bias in the media. There are many hundreds of Messianic Jewish soldiers now joined in the battle for Israel. These young Messianic soldiers are a unique generation having watched their parents stand on God’s promises in the face of wars, terror, persecutions and even hatred because of their faith, sometimes standing alone, yet never losing hope in the One they trust. These Messianic Jewish fighters are eyewitnesses to the faithfulness of the God of Israel, His provision and protection.
David Lazarus, a Messianic Pastor, said “Growing up in this faith crucible of persecutions and conflict, standing together for the right to be followers of Yeshua in their own land, among their own people, this vibrant young generation of Messianic military officers, fighters, doctors, nurses, lawyers, professors, school teachers, artisans and business men and women are having a huge impact on Israel and on attitudes toward Jesus and Messianic Jewish faith in every sector of Israeli society. Seeing their love for the people of Israel, their desire to please God and their commitment to the Jewish nation, this young generation fills my heart with faith and hope for our future—Israel’s future. Watching them run to the battle ready to serve our people, full of faith and confidence, ready to give their lives for God, and for their nation, I am brought to my knees in tears of gratitude to the God of the armies of Israel.
Source: Charisma News
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JEWS AND CHRISTIANS AROUND THE WORLD PROCLAIM JERUSALEM’S UNITY
During the Nine Days preceding the Ninth of Av, which commemorates the anniversary of the destruction of the Jewish Holy Temples and Jerusalem, a collection of 50,264 signatures to a document proclaiming the city’s eternal unity as Israel’s undivided spiritual and political capital was presented by Israel365 to Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein. The document, known as the Jerusalem Covenant, is inspired by the renewal of the covenant of God during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, and incorporates Biblical passages as well as Rabbinic texts that emphasize the importance of Jerusalem. The Covenant was first drafted in 1992 by Deputy Chief Justice Rabbi Menachem Elon to mark the 25th anniversary of the city’s reunification. Signatories to the Covenant came from more than 100 countries ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe
In 2013, faith-based diplomacy NGO Israel365 revived the Covenant, offering Jewish and Christian supporters of Israel world-wide the chance to express their belief in Israel’s ancient Biblical right to the city of Jerusalem. The first project garnered over 10,000 digital signatures in just two weeks, and the following year, the Covenant gained double the amount of signatures, reaching a total of over 23,000 signatories. This year, the Covenant received 50,264 signatures. The timing of the presentation is especially significant this year, as the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, which this year fell on Sunday, July 26, represents the yearning of Jews to renew the glory of Jerusalem. The day is the anniversary of the destruction of both the first and second Holy Temples, and Jews are commanded to mourn the loss for a full nine days.
The signatures, bound and printed in a book, were presented to Edelstein by Israel365 staff and Root Source co-founder Gidon Ariel in Edelstein’s office at the Knesset. Edelstein expressed admiration for the project and appreciation for its efforts to grow interfaith support for Israel. “Thank you very much for what you’re doing,” he said. Edelstein spoke about the importance of coexistence between different religions, especially considering recent tensions, saying, “We are facing a serious clash of civilizations, and not everyone’s head is very well set for that.”
Source: Breaking Israel News
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JEWISH PRAYER FOCUS 2015 BEGINS ON SEPTEMBER 13
The Jewish Prayer Focus is a call to intercession for the Jewish people for the 22-day period (September 13–October 4) 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 happening) 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 14th edition has the theme, “My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all Nations” (Isaiah 56:6-7). You can also learn about how Israel is reversing the trend of Western nations and currently embarking on a national Bible reading program, reading one chapter per day aiming to unify the nation around the treasure God has entrusted to the Jewish people.
Copies available from JPF, PO Box 54, Kerrimuir VIC 3129, call 03-9899 7231 or email@example.com
Jewish Prayer Focus International Coordinator
Source: Jewish Prayer Focus
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JORDAN SEEKS TO HAVE JEWISH PRAYER ON TEMPLE MOUNT OUTLAWED
Jordanian officials, led by King Abdullah II, are seeking to ban Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. Khalid al-Shawabka, Jordan’s Ambassador to the Palestinian territories, said that the Jordanian government is seeking, through the United Nations, to block Jews being allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. Al-Shawabka said that to allow Jews to pray there would divide the Temple Mount compound between Jews and Muslims. “Jordan’s foreign minister is demanding an end to the systematic assaults on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and on worshipers,” he said. Al-Shawabka said that the Israeli governments push for expanded prayer on the Mount is “unacceptable.” Jews, Christians and all non-Muslims are forbidden from praying or conducting any religious rituals on the Temple Mount. The site is considered the holiest place in all of Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. It is currently controlled by the Muslim Waqf.
Source: Ma’an News Agency
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