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Special Reports

Christians Worldwide Holding Sukkot Celebrations Linked to ICEJ Feast

The Corona pandemic may have prevented thousands of Christians from attending the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration here in Israel this week, but the ICEJ’s innovative online Global Feast has spawned hundreds of Sukkot gatherings and watch parties in dozens of countries worldwide, drawing more Christians than ever before into marking this joyous biblical holiday together.

The ICEJ’s virtual Feast this week features seven daily programs broadcast to large audiences on GOD TV, Daystar, Vision Norway and several other major Christian television networks worldwide. Thousands of Christians from over 115 nations also are accessing the Feast online, along with hundreds of churches around the globe who are hosting Sukkot celebrations and watch parties linked in to the ICEJ’s live Feast broadcasts from Jerusalem. These Sukkot gatherings have drawn crowds ranging from small groups in underground churches in China and Iraq to several thousand in a large church in the Ivory Coast – which means the total participants in this year’s Feast is easily in the hundreds of thousands.

“When the ICEJ was founded forty years ago during the first Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in 1980, there were very few Christians worldwide who knew about or observed Sukkot,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “But today, there are millions of Christians around the globe who are discovering this biblical festival and joining in its traditions, such as building sukkahs and waving the four elements. And many of them are tuning into this year’s Feast from Jerusalem, which is allowing us to reach our largest audience ever with a message of biblical faith and standing with Israel.”

“Corona has forced us to explore new technologies and means for keeping the Feast that otherwise may have taken us years to adopt,” added Dr. Bühler. “So the irony is that during the Corona crisis, this biblical holiday is catching on with more Christians than ever before.”

This year’s roster of Feast speakers includes such well-known global Christian leaders as Anne Graham Lotz, Billy Wilson and Jentzen Franklin from the USA, Enoche Adeboye (pastor of the largest church in Africa), Younghoon Lee (pastor of the largest church in Asia), Renê Terra Nova (pastor on one of the largest churches in Latin America), Mats Ola Ishoel (pastor of the largest church in Russia), and popular South African preacher Angus Buchan.

Normally, the ICEJ’s Feast draws over 5,000 Christians from 100 nations up to Jerusalem for a week-long celebration of Sukkot with the Jewish people. Even in years of conflict and terror when regular tourism to Israel was significantly down, the ICEJ’s Christian pilgrims still faithfully came. But the ICEJ was forced to go online with this year’s Feast due to COVID-19. Yet, the silver lining has been a massive Christian audience taking part in this year’s truly Global Feast.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in September 1980, at a time when the last thirteen national embassies left Jerusalem under threat of an Arab oil embargo. In response, over 1,000 Christians from 32 nations who had gathered in Jerusalem for the first Feast of Tabernacles decided to open the Christian Embassy as an act of solidarity with the Jewish people’s deep attachment to Jerusalem. Today, the ICEJ is considered the world’s largest pro-Israel Christian ministry, with branch offices in over 90 nations and a reach into more than 170 nations worldwide.

 

 

  

ICEJ Sponsors Aliyah Flight in Urgent Ethiopian Airlift

Some 432 Ethiopian Jews arrived in Israel late this week in the first phase of “Operation Rock of Israel” (Tzur Israel in Hebrew), a special airlift being carried out by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Drought conditions, a locust plague, the coronavirus pandemic, and now a civil war in Ethiopia have given new urgency to bringing home the last remnant of this ancient Jewish community. The airlift operation is being supported by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, which sponsored the flight arriving today with 116 new immigrants on board.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials were on hand Thursday morning to greet the first flight of 316 Ethiopian newcomers, who were accompanied by Aliyah Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, an Ethiopian immigrant to Israel herself at age three some four decades ago. A second flight landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Friday morning with an additional 116 Ethiopian immigrants, all part of an effort to bring a total of 2,000 Ethiopian olim by the end of January 2021.

The Israeli cabinet decided in 2015 to bring home the last remnant of Ethiopian Jewry, consisting of some 9,000 ‘Falash Mura’ who have been living in poor conditions in transit camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa, some waiting there for up to 20 years to make Aliyah. The Christian Embassy has now sponsored Aliyah flights for over 2,300 Ethiopian Jews who have arrived in Israel since then, but the immigration process has been slow and the challenges to the well-being of those left behind are mounting.

There are now approximately 7-8,000 members of the Falash Mura community remaining in Ethiopia, and Aliyah Minister Tamano-Shata, together with Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, are spearheading the effort to bring them to Israel over the next couple years.

Ethiopia has been suffering under a prolonged drought, while a massive plague of locust also has hit East Africa this year. As a result, food supplies are running short and prices are spiraling upward. Many Jews in the transit camps are malnourished, especially children. And Ethiopia is now weathering a serious wave of coronavirus. Add to this the armed rebellion which erupted in early November in the breakaway province of Tigray, just 45 miles across the border from the Gondar transit camps, and the situation has become quite worrisome, particularly for their relatives already living in Israel.

“We are thrilled to see these latest arrivals from the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community finally standing in the Land of Israel,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “This airlift operation comes at a critical moment due to the worsening conditions facing those still living in the transit camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa. We welcome the Israeli government’s decision to bring them speedily home to Israel. It is truly a privilege for the ICEJ to support this historic and humanitarian effort to reunite Ethiopian families and fulfill the dreams of many generations to return to the Jewish homeland.”

Please consider what you can give to help us with sponsoring more flights for Ethiopian Jews as this urgent airlift continues over coming weeks.

Donate today to our Ethiopian Aliyah efforts at: int.icej.org/ethiopia
 

Helping new Israeli Immigrant Children Learn from Home

Moving from your home country to Israel is definitely a challenging feat, but can you imagine how daunting this could be for a child during a world pandemic? Eight-year-old Yirus recently made Aliyah from Ethiopia with her parents and five siblings. As she began school, she was instantly faced with the challenges of the language barrier, cultural differences, and the hardships of distance learning from home due to new COVID-19 governmental restrictions.

There are many children like Yirus, who are arriving in Israel at this particularly difficult time. Currently, almost 600 Ethiopian children and another 370 immigrant children from around the world need extra help as they transition into a new - and now online - educational system. “Foundations” an important educational program seeks to support students 8 years old through 12th grade, by providing the necessary tools needed to attend their classes via Zoom, as well as daily physical interactions with a teacher who can help them with technical difficulties, Hebrew, and other subjects.

The majority of the children needing this program are Ethiopian, but it is open to other immigrant children living in Jewish Agency operated aliyah centers as well. Due to COVID-19, children face incredible difficulties in learning at home because their homes are usually quite small, and some immigrant families cannot afford proper technology to connect to their child’s online classes. In addition, their parents are also just learning the Hebrew language and culture themselves, so they are unable to help their child with any questions they may have.

Two immigrant children from Russia, Sergei (13 years old) and Alisa (11 years old) took part in the Foundations program and received extra help with their language studies. This made all the difference for Sergei, who is showing great progress with Hebrew, is making friends, and enjoys his time at school. Since the coronavirus crisis began, the ICEJ donated games, Hebrew textbooks, school supplies, books, and a tablet to Sergei and Alisa.

Danielle Mor of the Jewish Agency told Nicole Yoder, ICEJ VP for Aid & Aliyah, how grateful they are for the ICEJ’s support of the Foundations program.

“This enabled us to provide such a response in this time of need”, said Mor. “On behalf of Yirus, Sergui, Alisa and the many other families and children who benefit from the ‘Foundations’ program, the Jewish Agency sincerely thanks the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Thanks to your support, these children will be supported and aided in their virtual school studies by trained professional staff.”

The generous giving of our Christian friends around the world has made this essential educational support possible and we are deeply grateful. Nevertheless, many additional immigrant and disadvantaged native Israeli children around the country need our help. A gift of $600 will help us purchase a computer or contribute educational support for a child. Join us to ensure a smooth transition and lay a foundation towards a bright future.

Make a difference in a child’s life today!

 

Resilient Immigrants Achieve Careers in Israel

It is one thing to know a skill in your native language and culture, but it is a whole other thing to adapt that skill to new norms of practice in another country and in a foreign language. With the move, immigrants usually need to upgrade skills or become recertified in their profession. Unfortunately, many may ultimately end up having to switch professions altogether. We are always amazed at the resiliency of new Jewish immigrants who face so many obstacles on their way to integrating into Israeli society!

Witnessing these challenges, we are deeply grateful for our Christian friends around the world who help us provide essential support for immigrants in their first days and months in the Land of Israel. This year, 16 immigrant doctors benefited from recertification and Hebrew language courses, and an additional 27 young people began intensive computer programming courses that provided guaranteed employment upon completion. We are delighted to be a part of helping these 43 Jewish immigrants and their families make essential steps towards finding suitable employment – one of the keys to successful integration.

After 22 years of experience as a doctor of Internal Medicine in Russia, Dr. Irina Denisov made Aliyah to Israel with her husband and nine-year-old daughter. Irina is one of those resilient immigrants who pressed forward in the recertification program for Doctors, which included professional Hebrew classes for medical terminology and clinical observations in a hospital. She is currently in the last phase – a six-month shadowing period at the Children and Emergency Room Internal Medicine Department at the Barzilai Hospital. Once this period is over, she will receive her medical license in Israel from the medical committee.

Yelena and Vladimir Yeshchenko, and their four-year-old daughter, Augustine, made Aliyah from the former Soviet Union. Yelena shared her experience: “While acculturating, we had the opportunity to learn Hebrew in the same building in which we live, and my husband, Vladimir, took the Tel Ran Computer Training course to obtain his programming license in Israel. It turned out to be so much more than formal studies and low rent… We greatly appreciate the help we received from the Aliyah Center workers… My daughter was always happy with the afterschool and summer camp activities of the Aliyah Center, and this enabled us to focus on studies and work.” After successfully completing their vocational trainings, Yelena now works as a psychologist and her husband works as a computer programmer!

Ana Friedman made Aliyah by herself from Belarus and had already obtained her MBA and a master’s degree in Mathematics. Upon her arrival, she dove head-first into the computer programming course. Yet, she and no one else, saw the world pandemic coming. Ana explains: “Six months ago, no one thought that we would need to study at home through zoom. Despite this trying coronavirus period, the staff at the Aliyah Center and Tel Ran College turned our studies into a fascinating journey… We managed to progress in our studies, and we gained so much knowledge - not only of the Hebrew language - but of computer coding as well. We also received answers to any questions we had.”

The computer programming course is designed for young adults, ages 25-40, who have completed their undergraduate degrees and who are proficient in English. Participants are immersed in an intensive curriculum, which demands a serious commitment of 430 hours in computer theory, 350 hours of practical training, 200 hours developing a personal program that is presented at the end of the year, and 500 hours of Ulpan. In addition, all participants are invited to attend specialized workshops that focus on professional cultural adaptation, the job-seeking process, financial planning, and the Israeli tax and national insurance systems

Nicole Yoder, the VP of Aid & Aliyah noted that “Israel is greatly in need of additional medical and high-tech professionals to fill shortages in these key areas. Therefore, we at the ICEJ will continue to support vocational training programs which are so crucial for both new immigrants and the country – particularly in this time of crisis.” In January 2021, we are looking forward to welcoming 20 French immigrants who will soon arrive to begin the program.

Join us in equipping many more Jewish immigrants and their families with the skills, training, and experience they need to thrive in their careers here in the land of Israel!

 

 

Latest Wave of Ethiopian Aliyah Becoming Urgent!

The latest reports out of Ethiopia continue to raise concerns for the safety of the Ethiopian Jewish community in the northern province of Amhara, where an armed insurrection in neighboring Tigray is threatening to spread and endanger over 6,000 Jews still stuck in transit camps in Gondar awaiting their chance to make Aliyah to Israel. Thankfully, two Jewish Agency flights with 500 Ethiopian immigrants will land next Thursday, 3 December, and the ICEJ will be one of the main sponsors of this airlift operation. But for the remaining Jews back in Ethiopia, time may be running short.

Israel’s government decided five years ago to bring home the last remnant of some 10,000 Ethiopian Jews living in transit camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa. The Christian Embassy has sponsored Aliyah to Israel for over 2,200 Ethiopian Jews since then, but the immigration process has been slow and the challenges to the well-being of those left behind are mounting.

The region has been suffering under a prolonged drought, while a massive plague of locust also has hit East Africa this year. As a result, food supplies are running short and prices are spiraling upward. Many Jews in the transit camps are malnourished, especially children. And Ethiopia is now weathering a serious wave of coronavirus. Add to this the armed rebellion which erupted two weeks ago in the breakaway province of Tigray, just 45 miles from the Gondar transit camps, and the situation has become quite worrisome, particularly for their relatives in Israel.

Over recent days, nine Israeli workers and volunteers had to be rescued from the fighting in Tigray. Even more concerning are reports of a massacre of 600 non-Tigrayan villagers who were slaughtered by child soldiers while rebel troops stood by. This has heightened fears of tribal warfare throughout the region, with the Jewish community having little means of protection.

This comes after news that a member of the Gondar Jewish community was killed in a cross-border clash last week, while several rebel rockets also hit the Gondar airport – which would need to be used in case an emergency airlift is necessary to bring the Jews there out of danger.

Before the uprising, plans were already underway for Israel to bring the next group of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews home within the next few months. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem committed to assist with this initiative by helping to fund their Aliyah process, beginning with next week’s two planeloads. But the need appears to be more urgent each day, and we are asking you to help us be ready for accelerated measures.

Please consider making a generous donation to help more Ethiopian Jews reach safety and re-join their families in Israel. May the Lord bless you richly as you donate towards this very urgent and worthy cause!

Give towards our Ethiopian Aliyah efforts at: int.icej.org/civicrm

Please, watch an Israeli TV report on the current situation in Ethiopia.

 

Ethiopian Aliyah Faces New Challenge of Civil War

There are chilling reports of an insurrection in northern Ethiopia over recent days which have given added urgency to Israeli efforts to bring thousands of Ethiopian Jews in the region home to Israel. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has committed to assist with this initiative by funding Aliyah flights over coming months, beginning with an ICEJ-sponsored flight of 200 expected to arrive in December. We are monitoring the situation in the Gondar region, where most of the remaining Jews in Ethiopia have been stuck in transit camps for up to two decades, and we are looking to our friends and supporters to help us with this prophetic and humanitarian mission.

On November 4th, militia leaders in the northern province of Tigray launched attacks on Ethiopian military forces in a bid to break away from the central government in Addis Ababa. After two weeks of sustained fighting, the Ethiopian army has made some advances in putting down the uprising, but the fighting has persisted. The clashes have claimed a number of victims and triggered concerns among Israeli officials for the safety of Jews living in the Gondar transit camps some 45 miles away.

Ethiopian Jews in Israel also are reporting that the outbreak of hostilities has caused much stress and fear among their relatives still in Gondar.

One Jewish man residing in the Gondar camp, Girmew Gete, 36, died in the fighting this week as he was working near the border between the provinces of Amhara and Tigray. Gete had been waiting with his family to immigrate to Israel for 24 years, and was hoping to be reunited soon with his 84 year-old grandmother who lives alone in the Israeli town of Kiryat Gat.

Meantime, several rebel rockets struck the Gondar city airport this week. The airport would need to be used for any evacuation flights if Israeli authorities deemed it necessary to carry out an emergency airlift of the Gondar Jewish community anytime soon.

The Israeli government has approved plans for bringing home an initial group of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews over coming months, an operation which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as an “airlift” when speaking with his Ethiopian counterpart this week about the escalation in Tigray.

Up to 9,000 Jews remain in Ethiopia, living in poor conditions in transit camps for decades awaiting their turn to move to Israel. Three-fourths of them are in Gondar and the rest in Addis Ababa.

In 2015, the Israeli government decided to bring them home, but the process has been slow. So far, some 2,200 Ethiopian Jews have been brought over the past five years, all on Aliyah flights sponsored by the Christian Embassy. This includes 268 on three flights this year, despite Corona-related travel bans.

Aliyah flights for this next group of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews are supposed to start in December and will take several months to complete. The costs per person for bringing them home to Israel is currently higher than normal, but the Israeli government has decided to bring them as soon as possible.

Other urgent concerns facing the Jews in Ethiopia are the widespread malnourishment in the transit camps, the spread of the Coronavirus in the country, and a massive locust plague hitting all of East Africa.

Thus, this latest wave of Ethiopian Aliyah has become an urgent humanitarian mission! The opportunity is here to help bring home several thousand more Ethiopian Jews who are desperate to reach Israel. But we need your help.

Please consider a generous donation to help these very deserving people re-join their families in the Jewish homeland. May the Lord bless you richly as you donate towards this very urgent and worthy cause!

You may also want to watch our documentary “Journey of Dreams” – filmed when an ICEJ team recently visited the transit camps in Ethiopia to see first-hand the difficult conditions in which thousands of Ethiopian Jews are now living. It is very moving to see their determination to reach the Land of Israel, in order to be reunited with their families and the Jewish people. Watch the documentary at: int.icej.org/documentary

We also encourage you to watch a video report on the arrival of over 100 Ethiopian Jews on an ICEJ-sponsored Aliyah flight earlier this year. They were greeted by Aliyah and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, the first Ethiopian-born cabinet minister in Israel’s modern history.

 

  

Time to Rescue the Ethiopian Remnant

Over the coming months, the ICEJ is taking on an urgent challenge – assisting with a wave of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews being brought home to Israel.

Aliyah flights for these Ethiopian Jews are scheduled to start in December and will take several months to complete. The costs per person for bringing them home to Israel is currently higher than normal, but the Israeli government has decided to bring them as soon as possible. And the Jewish Agency is looking to the ICEJ to support this urgent Aliyah effort as much as we can.

The Ethiopian Jewish community can trace their heritage back to Moses, who married an Ethiopian woman (see Numbers 12:1-10). Some 135,000 now live in Israel, but thousands more have left behind in Ethiopia because their ancestors were pressured to convert to Christianity several generations ago. There are 8,000 of these “Falash Mura” still stuck in rundown transit camps in Addis Ababa and Gondar – many living there for up to two decades now in impoverished conditions. They have nothing to go back to, and they simply refuse to give up on their dream of being reunited with their families back in the Promised Land.

After much debate and many delays, the Israeli government finally decided in 2015 to allow them to come home. But the process has been slow and now their plight has worsened due to several developments:

1) Malnourishment: Ethiopia is suffering from a prolonged drought which has impacted the whole nation. Jewish and Christian groups (including the ICEJ) have helped feed and care for these Ethiopian Jews left in transit camps, but many are malnourished and need to be relocated to healthier surroundings.

2) Coronavirus: Much of Africa has been spared by COVID-19 so far, but Ethiopia has seen a high rate of infections and deaths.

3) Locust plague: There are currently massive swarms of locust devouring the land across Ethiopia and East Africa.

4) Conflict: A civil war has broken out between Ethiopian government forces and a regional rebel militia, with fighting reported only 45 miles from the Gondar transit camps.

Thus, this latest wave of Ethiopian Aliyah has become an urgent humanitarian mission!

The ICEJ has flown over 2,200 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants to Israel in recent years, including 268 olim so far this year – despite the Corona travel bans. Now the opportunity is here to bring home another 2,000 Ethiopian Jews who are desperate to reach Israel. It’s time for us to act!

Please consider a generous donation to help these very deserving people re-join their families in the Jewish homeland. May the Lord bless you richly as you donate towards this very urgent and worthy cause!

You may also want to watch our documentary “Journey of Dreams” – filmed when an ICEJ team recently visited the transit camps in Ethiopia to see first-hand the difficult conditions in which thousands of Ethiopian Jews are now living. It is very moving to see their determination to reach the Land of Israel, in order to be reunited with their families and the Jewish people. Watch at: int.icej.org/documentary  

 Meanwhile, here is a recent video report on the arrival of Ethiopian Jews on an ICEJ-sponsored Aliyah flight earlier this year.


 

  

Bringing Home the Sons and Daughters of Zion

Besides bringing almost 1500 Jews on flights to Israel this year, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem also has been sponsoring 201 Jewish youths from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states in Youth Aliyah programs which prepare them for moving to Israel. We are excited to report that these Jewish teens and young adults are now in the process of making the move to Israel.

Earlier this month, 89 of these youths arrived at Ben-Gurion on a flight from Russia, while another 80 came from Ukraine (pictured) on a flight sponsored by our friends at Christians for Israel International (marking their 40th anniversary). An additional group of 25 came from Belarus this week, and seven more will arrive soon from Latvia. So, despite Corona the great Ingathering of the Jewish people continues, and the ICEJ offers you the opportunity to be directly involved.

Over the past 15 years, the ICEJ has supported Jewish teenagers in the former Soviet republics to take part in the Naale and Sela programs managed by the Jewish Agency for Israel. The Naale program gives Jewish teens from the Diaspora the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in Israel and study in some of the nation’s best high schools for 3-to-4 years. About 90% of the students who come on the Naale program end up staying in Israel and approximately 60% of their parents make Aliyah as well.

Sela is a home-away-from-home program for those who are looking to pursue a prestigious international education, take lessons in Hebrew and other languages, engage with Israeli society and culture, meet new friends here, and just experience life in Israel. By the end of the eighth month, all program participants receive an Israeli identity card.

These Youth Aliyah programs have proven to be a huge success over the years in bringing Jewish children to Israel ahead of their parents, as it is often easier for the youngsters to learn a new language and adjust to new surroundings, and then help the parents acclimate once they arrive. And it has been a great blessing for the ICEJ to support these unique and highly effective Aliyah programs over the years.

In 2020, the ICEJ has been very active with the Naale and Sela programs by sponsoring over 200 Jewish youths attending camps and seminars, and by providing transportation to and from testing centers and camps in Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Russia.

In January, the ICEJ helped fund a Winter Seminar which drew children and young adults from the religious community in northwest Russia. They learned about Israel, and life for Jewish people during Soviet times.

In February, the ICEJ sponsored a Weekend Aliyah seminar in Irkutsk, Siberia for 60 young adults, and assisted a Naale Aliyah Youth Seminar attended by 82 youngsters in Odessa, Ukraine.

In March, we assisted with a Naale Youth Aliyah seminar for 50 students in Riga, Latvia.

The ICEJ also provided transport for participants in two summer camps held in Saulkrasti, Latvia. Each camp had 51 attendees, who gathered in two shifts of approximately 25 each. There also were 17 adult leaders and teachers. This all required two buses due to Corona health restrictions, which the ICEJ was happy to provide.

Another 34 teens participated in a Youth Camp and Seminar in Latvia in August, sponsored by ICEJ. They discovered rules for financial well-being, learned about daily life in Israel, and participated in theater classes.

In September, we again provided transportation for 44 Naale applicants to go through the testing center phase of Aliyah in a safer environment.

This week, the latest group of Naale students arrived from Belarus, which is experiencing a surge in Coronavirus cases along with widespread political unrest. The ICEJ arranged buses to the airport for them and their parents. Next week, we will repeat the process for another flight of Sela students and their parents, including our sponsorship of vans to collect them from nine cities throughout Belarus for the trip to Israel.

Learn more about the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts at: int.icej.org/aliyah

Donate Here! 
 

Peace-of-mind for Ashkelon girls

Many thoughts run through one’s mind when thinking about Ashkelon. This ancient Mediterranean city is situated in southern Israel. Sadly, Ashkelon is within reach of terrorist rocket attacks from Gaza, and regrettably far too many times finds itself on the receiving end of these barrages.

Moving away from the beach-front, one notices that Ashkelon is home to many lower income families. A lot of these families feel insecure as they do not have a safe-room in their apartment, and when the red-alert siren sounds they need to run to the nearest shelter. Schools operating in the area are required to have bomb shelters for the children, otherwise they are not allowed to operate during heightened tensions. Knowing a shelter is nearby may be the only peace-of-mind that local parents have when sending their children off to school.

The ICEJ recently visited the AMIT Fred Kahane Technological High School in Ashkelon, which has a good reputation for dedicated students and advanced learning. During the 2014 Gaza war with Hamas, this school took a direct hit from a rocket attack, destroying the entrance and several classrooms. Thankfully, none of the children were at school that day, as the attack took place on a Shabbat. However, what happened is engraved in the community’s memory and has left a long-lasting mark on the school.

This national religious school has around 400 students, mostly boys. Recently, however, they started a separate girl’s program, allowing approximately 60 Orthodox girls to study separate from the boys in their own school complex. As the girls’ complex was being remodeled with new bathrooms and paving outside of the classrooms, the ICEJ heard about the urgent need for bomb-shelters on the premises.

Through the generous donations received from Christians in the USA and Switzerland, the ICEJ was able to install two bomb shelters at the new Ulpana religious girls’ complex. At the dedication ceremony for the new bomb shelters, Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President of Aid and Aliyah, had an opportunity to speak to the director of this new program and several of the girls. Nicole explained that the shelters were a gift from Christians who love and care about Israel, and wished them a blessed year ahead. The ICEJ plaque on the shelters will serve as a continuous reminder of this demonstration of love.

The school director thanked our donors for this incredible gift, adding that they take security very seriously and without such shelters, they would not have been able to open the new program for observant young girls at all. Nicole responded that “although they now have the option to run to the shelter, may it be that they won’t ever need to!” At least knowing that the shelters are there, helps them to relax more and focus on their studies.

Thank you for being involved and partnering with us in protecting the lives of those living under this constant threat of terror rockets. Over recent years, the ICEJ has been able to place more than 110 bomb shelters in vulnerable Israeli communities along the Gaza border, thanks to our generous donors.

Please consider a generous donation to help protect the vulnerable communities in Israel.

Donate now

An Aliyah family welcomes twins born in Israel

Back in May, the four members of the Fraerman family were placed on a specially chartered ‘evacuation flight’ sponsored by the ICEJ which brought them on Aliyah from Moscow to Israel. The mother, Tatyana, was 32 weeks pregnant with twins and needed a lot of extra paperwork and persuasion with airport authorities to get her on a flight so close to term. Israel and Russia also were both in the midst of strict Coronavirus lockdowns and their flight was the last opportunity for her to travel to Israel before giving birth. But they made it!

We reported their story several months ago, and after their two-week quarantine the ICEJ TV team also caught up with the Fraerman family in Nahariya, where they were still settling down into their new life in Israel after their frantic journey from Russia.

“At Ben-Gurion Airport, we were immediately met by ICEJ staff and the Jewish Agency,” recalled the father Serguei. “Our children were presented with gifts and sweets, and we were photographed. Everything seemed to happen very quickly. l had not slept for two days before that, packing our luggage.”

Serguei and Tatyana shared an especially touching story about their eldest daughter Olga which happened during their departure. She wanted to bring her favorite scooter to Israel. However, when they reached the airport, they found out they could not do so.

“All our luggage was at the maximum weight allowance for every person. We simply did not have a place to take something else. The scooter is considered a separate luggage, and we needed to pay extra for it," said Serguei. “I told my daughter: ‘Let’s leave it, and we will buy another one when we get there.’ We told her that there is a sea there; she was dreaming about the sea, and she agreed to leave her scooter,” he recalled.

Aware of Olga’s story of sacrificing her scooter to reach Israel, the ICEJ team finished the interview with the family and took the children outside, where they were presented with new scooters for both daughters, as well as a new double stroller for the expected twins. [Make sure to watch our TV interview with the Fraerman family to learn more about their journey to Israel.]

Recently, we received an update from the Fraerman family. The twins were born in late June; the oldest is named David and the younger one is Semyon. Both boys are gentle and like to smile. Meanwhile, Olga has started school online and has many Russian-speaking friends in her class, who are helping her to learn Hebrew and understand her teachers. The youngest daughter, Lisa, goes to kindergarten and has already learned the count to ten in Hebrew. Tatyana takes care of the house and four children, while Sergei has found work.

It is very gratifying to see new Jewish arrivals getting settled in Israel and putting down their roots here. The Fraerman family has quickly grown from four to six, and are becoming part of the fabric of Israeli life. But there are many, many more Jewish families in nations near and far waiting to fulfill their dream of reaching the Land of Israel.

The ICEJ is now planning to assist with an expected wave of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews being brought to Israel in coming months. This special Ethiopian airlift has been approved by the Israeli government, and the first Aliyah flights are scheduled to start in December. The costs for bringing them to Israel is currently higher than normal, but the Jewish Agency says it is an urgent situation and is looking to the ICEJ to fund as many of these Ethiopian Jewish immigrants as we can.

We know firsthand that most have spent years in rickety transit camps waiting and dreaming of their moment to return to Zion. But this will only be possible if Christians like you join with us in bringing them back to the Promised Land.

Please consider what you can do to help us meet this great humanitarian need, and to fulfil biblical prophecy at the same time!

Give your best gift today to support the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts.