This week Channel One, on the very popular (Second Look) program with journalist Karen Neubach, presented a documentary about organizations that attack Messianic Jews in Israel. While the program was not "in favor" of Messianics, it clearly exposed persecution against us and the unethical activities of Anti-Messianic groups.
The program featured activities of Jerusalem Institute of Justice, led by Caleb Meyers. Caleb is becoming a major advocate and spokesman for citizen rights both in and outside of Israel. The program also featured interviews with Itai Meron of Yad HaShmonah, Avner Boskey of Beer Sheva, Penina Conforti of Ashdod, and others.
The main debate centered around the issue of democratic rights in Israel versus Jewish religious identity. The program was a major victory concerning religious freedom, but was not able to handle the more complex issues of religious identity. (That spiritual battle still awaits us in the future.)
While the purpose of the program was certainly not evangelistic, it did contain some clips of the ministry team at Revive Israel, of worship at Ahavat Yeshua congregation, and of Asher teaching about the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31. Although the program is in Hebrew, you may view the link at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=iv&v=GvtxhvKs_WA
We are seeing a surge of personal evangelism opportunities with native Israelis, including our renewed cooperation between the Revive Team and Netanel House outreaches. For example, Rachel, Asher, and members of their team were invited by a local family this week for Shabbat dinner to share with them about our faith. The atmosphere was lovely, with hours of fellowship and heart discussions about the Messiah and the kingdom of God.
Our sister, T, a university student, was asked to share a report about Messianic Jews in the Land. After the class was dismissed, twenty of the students stayed for further questions and answers. This is the kind of fruit that local Israelis can produce: real, relevant, personal, loving, less in cost and more effective than a foreign mission campaign.
The gospel is not to be shared in words alone, but backed up by a real life testimony of integrity, moral courage, and service. "Our faith is demonstrated by our faithfulness."
Titus or Philemon
There is a noticeable difference in style in Saul's (Paul's) letter to Titus than that to Philemon. To Philemon (Philemon 8-9), Saul spends much time in a personal appeal in order to get him to cooperate with a gracious request (to release Onesimus from prosecution). To Titus (Titus 1:5) , Saul reels off a long list of "action items." He speaks with authority without having to appeal delicately to Titus' sensitivities. Saul had much more trust with Titus. He knew Titus was ready to work, submit, obey, and cooperate. Titus' heart was already prepared.
Will you be a Titus or a Philemon? Much depends on your attitude to authority. I counsel our disciples that you should act toward those around you and particularly those under your authority with the gentleness and sensitivity expressed to Philemon. However, when you are in the place to receive instructions from others, act like a Titus. Stand in confidence and submission so that those in authority can trust you enough to speak directly without fear of offending you.
Goldstone Expresses Regret
On Friday, April 1, the Washington Post published a letter from former U. N. Human Rights prosecutor Richard Goldstone expressing regret for the conclusions in his report which mistakenly accused Israel of targeting civilians as a matter of policy during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.
Goldstone is a retired South African judge, who led the UN prosecution against Yugoslavia and Rwanda for war crimes. Goldstone, a Jew raised in a non-religious family, credits his Jewishness in shaping his ethics, which led him to public activism against apartheid policy in South Africa, and eventually to international prosecution.
In “Operation Cast Lead,” Israel responded to continuous rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, by launching a ground attack. Many Gaza civilians were killed along with the terrorists in the fire exchanges. Goldstone was appointed by the UN to lead the “fact-finding mission” on the Gaza conflict.
Israel refused to cooperate with the Goldstone Commission, because of the bias against Israel stated in the Commission's goals. The Goldstone Report cited accounts of victims in the Gaza Strip, while ignoring testimonies of Israeli victims or soldiers. The report caused severe and irreversible damage to Israel’s image internationally.
Goldstone has since then criticized the UN Human Rights Council for failing to condemn the rockets fired into Israel from Gaza, for failing to take proportionate action against other nations and cases of human rights violations, and for endorsing selective portions of the original report into a resolution overtly targeting only Israel.
In the Post article, Goldstone states that he was significantly misinformed while creating the original report. Throughout the article this point is reiterated, although Goldstone blames Israel's lack of cooperation as the cause. Goldstone states that as a judge, he could only draw conclusions from whatever evidence lay before him.
Since then Israel has investigated over 400 cases of alleged misconduct, while there has been a total lack of cooperation from Hamas. Goldstone states that if he had known then what he knows now, his original report would have been quite different.
Goldstone was unrealistic and unjust in giving credence to Hamas's unsubstantiated claims without waiting to receive the results of the official Israeli investigation. Goldstone's assumptions were incorrect. Israel's policy assuredly does not target civilians but rather takes action to refrain from doing so.
hopes that the aftermath of the report will give the UN-HRC a chance to change
the course of its resolutions and divert some of its efforts that have been
targeted against Israel toward the crimes committed by the Hamas authorities.
Sadly, after the damage done by the original report, and given the history
of the HRC, this seems rather unlikely. Goldstone's article may be viewed at:
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