Israel Update

JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE
November 4, 2011 

 

“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” John 15: 20

FIRST THE SATURDAY PEOPLE, THEN THE SUNDAY PEOPLE: Islamic terror groups have had a favorite taunt for several decades which says, first the Saturday people, then the Sunday people. This means of course, first the Jews then the Christians will be targets for terrorist persecution, subjection and elimination.  Vision for Israel, in a fresh endeavor, will continue to keep you informed monthly of growing Christian oppression across Islamic controlled lands that you may pray for both the victims and their persecutors.

ISLAM AND ISLAMISTS: The term "Islamist" is in common use to refer to Muslim individuals and organizations that adhere to Islamic law's political aspects and consequently most fiercely oppose America, Israel and the West in general. The implication is that Islam itself, in its authentic religious form, has no requisite political aspect, and no incompatibility with Western values or democratic government. This is a misconception, however, a Western, artificial distinction, imposed by non-Muslims upon the Islamic world and lacking any real substance with reference to Islamic law as it has been formulated from the beginning by the Sunni and Shi'ite madhahib (schools of jurisprudence). Islam has always been political, and the union of religion and the state has always been essential to its political program. The idea that politics can and should be separated from Islam proper is the wishful thinking of Western analysts. An 18-year- old Muslim university student born and raised in Canada had this to say about the distinction between Islam and Islamism: “case and point on why you don’t understand Islam. No one makes this distinction between Islam and Islamism other then the Western world, for the sake of having a tidy little system to classify everything. Our religion and political ideology are one.” (Jihad Watch)

OBAMA’S TOP MUSLIM ADVISER BLOCKS MIDDLE EASTERN CHRISTIANS’ ACCESS TO WHITE HOUSE: According to Beirut Arab news agency, al Nashra, the Washington official who sought canceling a visit of the spiritual head of the Maronite Church Patriarch, Beshara Rahi, to the White House was Dalia Mujahid (Mogahed), the highest adviser on Arab and Islamic Affairs in the State Department, who is from Egyptian origins. "And that," according to al Nashra, was caused by "heeding a request by the higher leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt." The al Nashra report circulating now widely in the Middle East, also in the US and across the Lebanese Christian Diaspora confirms what was already known about the impact of the so-called  "advisors on Arab and Islamic Affairs" in the White House on Middle East issues in general and on US policies regarding the Christians in the Middle East. The anti-Middle East Christian lobbying in Washington, attributed to Muslim Brotherhood front groups, is not limited to the Maronites who form the bulk of the two million Lebanese Americans. According to research showing the links between Presidential advisor Dalia Mogahed and the Muslim Brotherhood, and to NGOs representing Middle East Christian groups in the US, blocking Middle East Christian meetings at the White House and the State Department have been associated with the work of the “advisors” and their allies in the Islamist camp in Washington such as CAIR and MPAC. Blocking the Maronite Patriarch from the White House is a move that is directed to all Middle East Christians in the US and can have significant effects in the region and even on US politics. Brooklyn Bishop for the Maronites in the US, who are part of America’s Catholic Church, criticized President Obama for not meeting the Patriarch during his visit. Bishop Mansour wrote: Patriarch Rahi’s warning about the future of Christians in Syria is not taboo. Christians are in a state of peril in the same way that Christians of Iraq were a few years ago when two-thirds of them migrated out. For advisors in the Administration to rebuke the spiritual head of a main Middle East Christian community, and engage in a witch hunt against Middle East Christians, including US citizens, for the benefit of the Muslim Brotherhood is a serious matter the American public should not tolerate. (Jihad Watch) “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

AMERICANS ARE PAYING OTHERS TO MURDER CHRISTIANS: If you’ve been watching the news and following any of the "Arab Spring" stories coming out of the Middle East, you may have seen your tax dollars at work as armored personnel carriers mowed down protesters in Egypt. These protesters were conducting a peaceful demonstration asking for their right to protection from persecution. They were not abdicating the overthrow of the government or anything to do with violence of any kind. All they were asking for was to be treated equally the same as other Egyptians. In the midst of this peaceful protest, the Egyptian government sent in the police to stop the protest by whatever means possible. What you may not be aware of is that the protesters killed were Coptic Christians and that US funds have been helped to pay for the armored vehicles and the police driving them. Reports surfaced that there were some yelling that they would kill any Christians they can get their hands on. In late October the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram reported that 36 Coptic Christians had been killed so far. The US endorsed the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and has since been supportive of the military regime running the country. Part of that military regime is made up with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is known to be a more militant and radical group with a history of using terrorism and threats of terrorism to advance their agenda.  (VTA)

COPTIC CHRISTIAN MASSACRE COSTS EGYPT CREDIBILITY: Egypt's Coptic Church blasted authorities Monday for allowing repeated attacks on Christians with impunity as the death toll from a night of rioting rose to dozens, most of them Christians who were trying to stage a peaceful protest in Cairo over an attack on a church. The Egyptian army’s killing of Christians who were protesting the burning of a church building has removed any respect most Egyptians had for the transitional military government, according to Christian human rights activists in the country. The activists, along with members of Egyptian churches, said the attack and the subsequent denial of any wrongdoing by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has taken away any credibility the army had among Christians, moderate Muslims and secularists. Instead of assuming any responsibility for the murders, the military blamed unidentified "enemies of the nation." Wagih Jacoub, a Coptic human rights activist who was injured during the attack, was enraged at the assault and subsequent denial of responsibility. "They are absolutely lying," he said. Jacoub described the evening of protest as "hell brought onto to Earth." (CharismaNews)

CHRISTIAN CHURCHES OFFICIALLY EXTINCT IN AFGHANISTAN: The US State Department report on religious freedom released in mid-October, 2011 indicates there is no Christian church open to the public in Afghanistan. There are also no Christian schools. Afghanistan has seen a decrease in religious liberty in the past decade, especially since American troops have been active there. Although the last known Christian church was demolished last year, Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "I think there is an element of openness that maybe wasn't there, particularly during the time when the Taliban was in control, when it was a very hard place to work, a very hard place to get into." The report findings are no surprise. Afghanistan ranks third on the Open Doors World Watch List, a compilation of the countries where persecution of Christians is the worst. The report notes "the lack of government responsiveness and protection for these groups and individuals contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom." Nettleton also says, however, that won't change their approach to ministry at all. "Consider whether the church is a building, or the church is God's people," he says. "It is possible the last church building in Afghanistan has been destroyed, but we know from our contacts that the church as God's people in Afghanistan is still very much alive and well." Coupled with the instability, Nettleton says there is openness to the hope of the Gospel. "There are times when people do ask questions of eternity; they do ask questions of faith and what it means. There is also more access to the country by foreign Christians, which enables them to develop friendships and tell people what they believe and why they're there." (Charisma News) Pray for Afghan Christians and other representatives of Yeshua in the country to have protection from those who hate them - but also great boldness in sharing the Gospel with family members, their friends, and with contacts. 

ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS IN SOMALIA BEHEAD 17-YEAR-OLD CHRISTIAN: The Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab has vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity. Members of the group recently murdered 17-year-old Guled Muktar in his home about 12 miles from Mogadishu. The informer said al Shabaab members arrived at Muktar’s home at 6 a.m., when his parents were already at work at their retail stall on the outskirts of Mogadishu. According to several sources, extremists found Muktar as he was preparing to go to school. "The neighbors heard screaming coming from the house, and then it immediately stopped," reported one man. "After awhile, they saw a white car leaving the homestead." The neighbors informed the parents, who hurriedly returned home from their market stall. They buried their son’s body quickly, fearing the terrorists would kill them as well, and then fled to an unknown destination. Additionally, in southwestern Somalia, a kidnapped Christian convert from Islam was also found decapitated. "It bore the marks of an al Shabaab killing," according to a leader in Somalia’s underground church who saw the body. "It is usual for the al Shabaab to decapitate those they suspect to have embraced the Christian faith," the leader said. (Jihad Watch) Pray for G-d’s protection to be upon the Christians of Somalia and that such brutality - sanctioned by the Koran and ignored by the government - will be utterly banned and perpetrators brought to justice.

IN THE HOLY LAND, A CHANGED CHRISTIAN WORLD: The past two decades have seen one of the most significant influxes of Christians into the Holy Land since the Crusades, and it has created a wholly new Christian landscape shaped by the realities of Israel. The newcomers include guest workers from dozens of different countries who provide the economy with cheap labor, and asylum-seekers from Sudan, Eritrea and elsewhere in Africa who enter across the border from Egypt. And for the first time, there is a significant population of non-Arab Christian Israeli citizens, mainly immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are fully assimilated into the Jewish Israeli mainstream. Their presence has created new challenges for local churches that are simultaneously, like churches across the Mideast, facing the uncertain future of their local flocks. If one counts all of the people in Israel who are neither Jewish nor Muslim, these newcomers outnumber Arab Christians by more than five to one. These disparate groups of Christians share one trait - they have gone almost unnoticed by the majority of Israelis. "This is a population that is present and absent at the same time," said Hana Bendcowsky of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations. "No one here knows anything about their lives."  (USA Today)  Pray for growing congregations in Israel - that members both local and from many nations will be a healing light and a burning fire of zeal - a blessing and a witness to all residents of the Jewish state.

“He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:6

Blessings from Israel 

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff 

 

As international speakers and messengers of the Good News through music, Barry and Batya Segal are at the forefront of what God is doing in the present day nation of Israel. With strong ties in both the nations and Jerusalem, the Segals are weaving the deepest roots of our biblical heritage together with the fresh Spirit-filled worship of today to create their rich harmony of Scripture and song.

The Segals have a vast vision for God's purposes in the nations and to the people of Israel. In fact, their longing to help rebuild Israel both spiritually and physically inspired them to pioneer the non-profit charity organization, Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse. This arm of their ministry focuses on assisting the poor and needy, widows and orphans, and reaching out to the new Jewish immigrants coming into the land of Israel. Vision 's most challenging project to date is "The Joseph StorehouseŽ", humanitarian aid center, located in the hills of Jerusalem. The Joseph Storehouse functions as a channel of blessing to all of Israel, Jewish and Arab, through the gathering and distribution of emergency medical supplies, food, clothing, and other basic life necessities. USA office contact info: Vision for Israel, PO Box 7743, Charlotte NC 28241, 866-351-0075. The Segal's web site is http://www.visionforisrael.com/

 

Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.    

 

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