Israel: How does one explain her? She is the cool breeze blowing in from the Mediterranean and the banana groves thriving under acres of khaki-colored netting. She is the rocky urban wilderness, the ageless villages dotting the hills, and the plucky olive trees thriving in the city centers. She is all of these things, and more.
She is the smiling young people in military uniforms waiting at bus stops and the Arab children playing soccer on quiet streets. She is the crowds of Orthodox men whispering memorized prayers at the Wailing Wall while excited tourists in shorts and sandals take photographs on their cell phones.
She is the giant menorah encased in bulletproof glass, waiting to be placed in her new temple. She is the Dome of the Rock, defiantly standing in the way of that new temple, and she is the winding streets filled with loud-voiced vendors plying their trade in the shadow of that proposed temple.
She is proud. She is scarred by a history of violence.
She desperately needs to hear the message of Jesus, the God-man who worked as a carpenter in her Nazareth, chatted with fisherman on the shores of her Galilee, and died on a cross outside the gates of her Jerusalem.
While evangelicals still make up less than one percent of Israel’s total population, many churches are growing, and local believers are reaching out to their friends and neighbors with the true message of salvation.
You can play a vital role in mobilizing and encouraging the church in Israel!
Come join us for a summer or winter short-term outreach: Hope of Israel and experience the diversity of this unique country. One day you could be working on a sports program with Arab children in Nazareth, and the next day you could be sharing the gospel with religious Jews on the streets of Tiberias. You could be on the beaches of Haifa reaching secular young Israelis in the morning, then going door to door in a Druze village on the Carmel mountain that same evening!
Population: 7.6 million (UN, 2011)
Seat of government: Jerusalem, though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv
Area: 22,072 sq km / 8,522 sq miles (UN, 2013).
Major languages: Hebrew, Arabic
Major religions: Judaism, Islam
Monetary unit: 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot
Main exports: Computer software, military equipment, chemicals, agricultural product
Arab evangelicals number several thousand in 30 churches, most on the West Bank. They feel isolated and rejected by Jews, Arabs, traditional Christians and even Western evangelicals. The formation and operations of the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land are very positive developments. The loss of leadership through emigration is very damaging. Bethlehem Bible College plays a key role in training new leaders but faces many challenges. Pray for this ministry, and pray for courage, endurance and a spirit of love for evangelicals in Palestine. Pray especially for believers from a Muslim background to stay strong and to grow in their new faith.