Gaslighting in the United States and Israel: Three Reality Checks

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

When I want to watch an outstanding movie, I often gravitate to 1940s classics. Gaslight, one of Ingrid Bergman’s most famous movies, is a gripping 1944 thriller. In the film, Bergman played a newlywed, Paula, whose husband was a master at “gaslighting”—manipulating her into questioning her own sanity. Paula grew frantic as her husband—driven by his goal of dominating her—repeatedly insisted that she did not see what she saw, that the problem was in her mind. Eventually, a detective rescued her, reassuring her that she was not crazy. The Oscar-winning movie popularized the word in its title, Gaslight, which has become part of our culture. 

Gaslighting can be viewed as propaganda’s first cousin. They both distort the truth, repeatedly lying for their own gain to control a narrative. Gaslighting is considered not only manipulation but emotional abuse, as well. It is exploited person to person, or toward large groups that leaders and dictators wish to control.

Isaiah 5:20 does not use the word “gaslighting.” However, God’s ancient Jewish scribe records such deceitful tactics simply and powerfully: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (NIV).

Our first reality check is on behalf of the American Jewish community, Jewish college students, and Israel, the Jewish homeland. Our Jewish friends here and abroad experience gaslighting. And while they do not doubt their sanity, they suffer the abuse of rising anti-Semitism, which may take an emotional or even a deadly toll. In the United States, Jew-hatred—pushed by the global mainstream media, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and the United Nations—pops up on the landscape of many universities and creates fear among Jewish students 

Hillel—the top Jewish student organization on campuses—and the Anti-Defamation League joined forces to conduct a detailed survey in 2021. It indicated that anti-Semitism keeps growing. Today it presents a worrying threat on college campuses, sometimes preventing Jewish students from joining clubs and participating in other activities. Verbal abuse is frequent, and many Jewish students hide their identity by not wearing their kippahs. Nearly a third of those surveyed reported offensive comments in person or on social media. In one example, at a party someone gave a Nazi salute after learning the student was Jewish.

Gaslighting’s origins on campus emerge not only from mainstream media’s biased Israel reporting but also from organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine. In September, Alums for Campus Fairness reported that college newspapers published an astonishing 1,450 articles about Israel in the last five years. Of these, only 17% were positive. 

Freedom of speech is enshrined in our First Amendment; nevertheless, civility must be restored. For 77 years, since its modern statehood, the Jewish homeland itself has been targeted with manipulative gaslighting by much of the world’s media. Stories are packed with bias where the Jewish state is equated with terrorists—most often blamed for starting conflicts instead of defending their citizens from terror. Be aware of misleading headlines or a lack of context in articles. For instance, articles about conflict with Gaza typically omit the fact that Israel unilaterally withdrew its 8,000 citizens from Gaza in 2005—and this area is now run by Hamas terrorists, an Iranian proxy.  

Our second reality check is the gaslighting so prevalent in our country today. What we see, do, and hear is often written off by an administration trying to survive the upcoming midterms as the electorate is waking up. This reality check is based on what we ourselves experience throughout the course of our daily lives. We insert the gas nozzle into our tanks and the final price still has a shocking effect. We go grocery shopping, and eggs have doubled in price.

Taking a jog in the park can be a fraught decision now due to out-of-control crime. Our children come home from school with questions about assignments fixated more on issues of sexuality and woke ideology than the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmatic. Parents attending school board meetings may face accusations of being domestic terrorists simply for challenging the curriculum. Transgender permissiveness is abusive to children. A father is falsely arrested in his home—in front of his wife and children—by armed FBI agents. His crime? Peaceful protests at an abortion clinic. 

When opening our electric or gas bill, we shake our heads, wondering how we will pay it with winter approaching. We hear from members of Congress who travel to our southern border and return with first-person stories of massive human trafficking and cartels brazenly loading fentanyl in the open to cross our border. Parents are attending funerals of loved ones who have died due to an overdose because fentanyl is the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 18-45. The cruelty of wide-open borders and cartels extends to allowing rainbow fentanyl in pills that look like candy but are laced with the deadly synthetic opioid.  

Indeed, I am sure most of you reading my column are exceedingly familiar with what is happening in your hometown and our country. You recognize it because you cherish the Bible as a guidebook for living. Holy Scripture also educates us about good and evil. Most of the mainstream media follow the lead of the governing administration, which repeatedly calls us crazy, wrong, domestic terrorists, fascists, and stupid. Gaslighting has spread not just to individuals but half of our citizenry—including conservatives, people of good will, and Christians. 

I am thankful that we refuse to be convinced that we are crazy. We know that gaslighting distorts the truth with lies, and tempts us to doubt our memory, reality, or sanity! We are sure that our culture, institutions, entertainment, schools, and yes, some churches, are rapidly trending away from our Judeo-Christian heritage. 

Our third reality check is the worthiest of all. It resonates with sustaining truths from the ages with God’s ancient texts transmitted through Jewish scribes. God’s words in the Bible remain our standard of truth and hope. “Praise be to the LORD, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from your sight!’  Yet You heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. Love the LORD, all His faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD” (Psalm 31:21-24 NIV). 

A parting exhortation: Let’s focus on the truth! Like the detective who rescued Ingrid Bergman’s bewildered character in the famous 1944 film, each one of us must be sure to help rescue ourselves, our families, and our country by voting. One aspect of gaslighting is to discourage us from going to the polls. All of us can reject that effort, which is designed to keep voters at home. 

We can instead help remedy the gaslighting in America by taking time to vote. Invite your family, friends, and neighbors to go to the polls with you and to ask themselves, “Are our lives better or worse in the last two years?” Voting is an example of our freedoms. We must embrace and act on it. Let us commit to help establish truth again in our nation by voting our values!  

Please join CBN Israel this week in praying for both the United States and Israel:

  • Pray for a tsunami of voting to help turn the U.S. back to safe harbor. 
  • Pray for all candidates to speak the truth in their final days of campaigning. 
  • Pray that Christians will be examples of truth wrapped in civility.
  • Pray for breakthroughs in mainstream media to focus on all facts.
  • Pray for safety at all polling locations for workers and voters. 
  • Pray for Israel that their election earlier this week ultimately produces the best leadership for their democracy. 

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After she served nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her as Outreach Director part-time for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, a guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a volunteer on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene has attended Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit three times and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.

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High Holy Days Food Distribution

Israel leads the world with innovations in technology, medicine, and defense. Yet, it also faces a demographic crisis, as over a fourth of its population lives below the poverty line. Sadly, this means more people are dealing with the threat of hunger, due to low incomes and inflation. 

Even more tragically, as impoverished families cut back spending on groceries to meet other expenses, a third of all Israeli children face not having enough to eat. With the influx of immigrant families from Ukraine’s war, plus more elderly and Holocaust survivors struggling on fixed incomes, food insecurity is a real threat for many homes in the Holy Land. 

But thankfully, friends like you were there to help through CBN Israel. For example, during the Jewish High Holy Days this year, caring donors delivered over 1,000 high-quality food packages to households in need. By partnering with Israel’s leading national food bank, they brightened the holiday season for low-income families, as well as seniors and aging Holocaust survivors. 

“It warms my heart!” said Hanna, a Holocaust survivor who lives alone, and was grateful for the food packages. “I hope people won’t forget us, because we’re still here; we’re still alive.” 

And your gift to CBN Israel can let so many in desperate situations know they aren’t forgotten—by offering food, housing, financial aid, and encouragement. As colder weather arrives, the cries for help are escalating. Your support can provide hope for refugees, single moms, and others who are vulnerable. 

Please join us in reaching out today!


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Weekly Devotional: The Paganism of Worry

We live in a world built upon stress, our jobs, our busy lifestyles, the news, social media, politics. So much fills our lives with noise and stress clamoring for our attention and allegiance; we find ourselves choked without peace and stability.

In the Parable of the Sower, which is about the different soils, not the seed, Jesus compared the seed that fell among the thorns with the effect that the cares, riches, and pleasures of life have upon a person (Luke 8:14); they choked the plant. Of the four soils, it’s the only one where external factors strangled the plant’s ability to grow. Jesus recognized that the cares and stresses of life inhibit our spiritual growth and development.

On another occasion, Jesus instructed His disciples not to worry about what they will eat or wear (Matthew 6:25-34), for God knows what you need. And He will take care of you. He compared those who worry about food and clothing—the cares of life—with gentiles, i.e., pagans. 

Paganism, at its core, sought to manipulate the deities by appeasing them through sacrifices. If something unfortunate or catastrophic happened, you had upset the gods and needed to appease them with offerings and sacrifices. Ancient pagans often lived in fear of the world around them because the gods were a group you satisfied, but not interested in your care and welfare. 

Jesus, however, instructed His followers to relax because God, their heavenly Father, cared for them. His single requirement: to seek first His kingdom by obediently submitting to His rule and reign in their lives. The care of life and welfare was His responsibility. So, don’t worry.

In the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He instructed them to pray: “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11 HCSB). The image of daily bread recalls the provision of manna in the wilderness, which God provided for the children of Israel. The Israelites received only enough manna for the day; if they tried to keep any over for the following day, it would rot. On Friday, they collected a double portion for the Sabbath.

In Deuteronomy, the people are told that the purpose of the manna was “humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands” (8:2) and so they would learn that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (8:3). God is the source of daily provision, and He is intimately involved in our lives to provide what we need. 

We often blame the secular forces in our world for the decline of values and those who honor God, but is it possible in this crazy, stressful world of ours that the paganism of our own worry screams too loudly in the ears of those around us for them to hear the voice of Jesus? 

Do we show through our calm, patient, obedience our deep sense of peace because God, our Father, will take care of us? Or do we get caught up in our culture, which is predicated upon stress and worry? May we remember Jesus’ instruction to His followers: relax, God’s got you.


Father, thank You for Your daily provision. May I submit myself in humble obedience to You today knowing that You will take care of the things I need in my life. Amen.

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Is Another Revolution Underway in Iran? 

By Arlene Bridges Samuels 

Describing Iran as the main state sponsor of terrorism can sound somewhat bland, since the description, although absolutely correct, is repeated so often. However, the severe hardships that Islamic leaders are forcing onto anyone opposing them are never-ending and bear revisiting. We cannot ignore Iran’s goal: to establish a global caliphate and rule the world with their harsh brand of Islamist tyranny. 

The human costs assume many forms. Israel comes to mind immediately. When Iran commands its Hamas proxy in Gaza to rain down rockets and missiles on southern Israel, mothers grab their children and rush to their safe room—if they have one. A dad driving in downtown Sderot must decide how to pull his three young children out of his car to make the 15-second sprint to a portable bomb shelter on the corner. 

Parents in Israel also agonize over frequent goodbyes to their sons and daughters who began their mandatory military service right out of high school in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Although these young soldiers do not serve overseas, the IDF is on assignment 24/7—facing injury and death on their own soil.

Turning to Iran’s population of 88,584,380, the Islamic mullahs’ occupation of that nation since 1979 has produced 43 years of oppression—replete with “morality police,” large-scale executions of citizens who oppose the regime, and diverting national economic benefits into the regime’s quest for weapons of mass destruction, to name a few.

I recently heard an interview with Iranian-born Mariam Memarsadeghi, the founder and director of the Cyrus Forum. Inspired by both ancient Persian leader Cyrus and the Constitution of the United States—her adopted country—Mariam set up the new Cyrus Forum to plan for an Iranian democratic future. She explains, “We cannot know when Iran will transition away from tyranny. … We must prepare ourselves to make it so.” 

She reflected on the protests still going on in Iran, which were sparked by the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish Iranian who was arrested by the “morality police” for not properly wearing her hijab—her head covering. 

Mahsa’s father claims she was beaten to death in custody. In a call to the grieving family, President Ebrahim Raisi declared, “Your daughter is like my own daughter, and I feel that this incident happened to one of my loved ones.” His hypocrisy is despicable since he is forcefully carrying out the regime’s Islamic tyranny. 

The Cyrus Forum founder describes these protests as nationwide in scope, and different from previous protests due to the emotional intensity. Protesters include numerous ethnicities, faiths, and lifestyles; all are united in a common desire for unity. Mariam’s simple explanation says it all: “One event becomes one too many.” 

Mahsa’s head was bashed in repeatedly—grim news that swiftly hit Iranian hearts and emotions. Women and girls are leading the protests, where hijabs are a symbol of the last 43 years of oppression. Young Iranians growing up under the regime have known nothing but the Islamic theocracy’s cruelty. An estimated 200 innocents have already died at the hands of police. Mariam has these suggestions for other nations: Expel your Iranian ambassadors and uphold current sanctions against Iran. She is somewhat hopeful that the totalitarian regime will be overthrown.  

Since 1979, thousands of Iranians have died due to torture and violence. One more true story shows the depth of longing for freedom that is shared by most Iranians. In 2019, an Iranian woman dressed like a man so she could sneak into a sports stadium and see a men’s soccer match. Police arrested the 29-year-old, Sahar Khodayari, saying she could be in jail for six months. She died in protest by setting herself on fire—a haunting example of the unimaginable anguish that wraps around Iranians who long for freedom. 

The protests are gaining ground outside Iran. Reuters reports that an estimated 80,000 protesters rallied in Berlin on October 22 after arriving from all over the European Union, the United States, and Canada. The crowds shouted, “Death to Khamenei,” the Supreme Ayatollah. 

Iran’s lethal influence is now felt in Ukraine, since Iran and Russia have “defense cooperation.” Reuters reports that Iran is supplying Russia with drones and surface-to-surface missiles. These deadly drones are adding to the immense suffering of Ukraine’s people. Britain, France, and Germany want the United Nations to investigate the actions behind the accusations, actions that violate a U.N. Security Council resolution. It is an admirable goal, but U.N. resolutions are feeble at best.

On another front, the Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is attending a two-day summit of European parliaments in Croatia. At a press conference on October 24, she noted, “We’ve been trying for a while now to have a nuclear agreement with Iran so that we can make the world a safer place, and now they’re going off aiding the Russians and making the world a less safe place.” It is obvious that Iran supplying Russia with drones did not change her mind about the 2022 Iran deal effort. To millions of commonsense Americans and Israelis, the 2015 Obama/Biden Iran agreement is why the world is less safe. When leaders idolize lies, nothing good comes of it. 

As I wrote last week, Biden’s 2022 Iran deal is at a stalemate, but it remains his goal. Pelosi’s comment reflects their party’s denial of Iran’s evil intent inside and outside its borders—and leads into another aspect of Iran’s global presence.  

I’ll close with a quote from Khaled Abu Toameh, a highly respected Israeli-Arab journalist: “Biden and his administration, it appears, would rather align themselves with the mullahs in Iran and the new ‘Russian-Iranian Axis of Evil,’ than strengthen their ties with America’s longstanding partners, the Arabs in the Gulf.” 

I hope Israelis and Americans remember Toameh’s quote when going to the polls to vote. 

May we consider the words of the prophet Isaiah as a lens into our world today, trusting God for our personal lives and praying for others at home and abroad:

“When You did awesome works that we did not expect, You came down, and the mountains quaked at Your presence. From ancient times no one has heard, no one has listened, no eye has seen any God except You, who acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him. You welcome the one who joyfully does what is right; they remember You in Your ways. But we have sinned, and You were angry. How can we be saved if we remain in our sins?” (Isaiah 64:3-5 HCSB)

Please join CBN Israel this week in praying for Israel and Middle East:

  • Pray for ongoing strength and bravery for Iranians as they stand up to tyranny.
  • Pray for Iranians who are coming to faith in Jesus with increasing numbers.
  • Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the entire Middle East region. 
  • Pray for the Israeli and U.S. elections over the next couple of weeks. 
  • Pray for Israelis to vote for godly leaders for the future of the State of Israel.
  • Pray for the U.S. to stand by Israel to receive the blessings promised in Genesis that those who bless Israel will be blessed.

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After she served nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her as Outreach Director part-time for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, a guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a volunteer on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene has attended Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit three times and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.

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Weekly Devotional: How’s Your Temper?

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention” (Proverbs 15:18 ESV).

We live in a world where people’s tempers constantly simmer below the surface. If we hear something on the news, see something on social media, or hear someone say something that we do not agree with, how often do our tempers flare? How quick are we to respond?

Our hot-tempered responses rarely resolve anything. Rather, they often lead to escalation, which, as Proverbs says, stirs up strife. Yet we feel that we have the right to respond, even in the heat of the moment. We see this demonstrated in the world around us repeatedly.

Communication cannot occur in the midst of strife. Nothing positive comes from a hot temper. Often, hurtful and overheated comments result from such a response. Someone seeks to defend themself from attack rather than try to understand the issue or point of contention. In our desire to make ourselves heard—or when we respond in anger—we lose the ability to communicate.

“But he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”

The Bible provides practical instruction for us to develop into spiritually obedient followers of the Lord. In fact, biblical spirituality primarily pertains to how we interact with others in our daily lives.  

Think for a moment how often in our world—in your own world—would a milder response heal a situation, allow for productive communication, and calm an escalating situation? How would it change our civil and political discourse? How would it impact the communication in our homes between spouses, children and parents? 

Nothing lasting or of value can come from strife. If we cannot communicate in the most fundamental of manners, we certainly cannot encourage one another in following the Lord. 

How’s your temper? Are you slow to anger? Or do you reflect the hot-tempered society we live in? Do you seek to calm contention, or are you stirring up strife? Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?  


Father, help us today to be slow to anger in word and deed. May we calm contention in our families, among our friends, in our communities and throughout the world, so that Your name is glorified through us. Amen.

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Biden Pauses Iran Deal Before U.S. and Israeli Elections 

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Amid a stalemate, the Biden administration has paused negotiations in another seriously flawed Iran deal. Yet the relief we feel may be just momentary, as a resuscitated deal remains part of the White House National Security Strategy that was released on October 12.

A stalemate is good news, as Russia is negotiating on our behalf—because Iran refuses to meet with U.S. negotiators. Consider this current scenario: Russia, on the warpath against Ukraine, is representing the United States to work on a deal with the Iranian imams, the world’s leaders in terrorism. The deadly duo of Russia and Iran is drawing the Biden administration into a dangerous outcome if the talks restart after U.S. midterm elections.

Ripping a page from history: On September 30, 1938, Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, deplaned his British Airways flight, jubilantly waving a document at the euphoric crowds on the tarmac. Later, as he rode to Buckingham Palace to meet with King George VI, thousands lined the London streets—hailing him as a hero after meeting with Herr Hitler in Munich. Hitler had signed a non-aggression pact, “never to go to war with each other again” (referring to World War I).

At 10 Downing Street, Chamberlain proclaimed, “Peace for our time” and told British citizenry to “go home and sleep quietly in your beds.” While they slept, Hitler’s army rolled into Czechoslovakia and occupied the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. It was only the beginning. 

Like Chamberlain, the Obama/Biden administration proudly declared in 2015 that their Iran deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was a win for the United States and Israel. It was a deal struck with no understanding that Iranian leaders are cut from Hitler’s cloth and woven into a fabric of evil, where lies and power are their idols. 

It proved to be an appalling deal, one in which Iran did exactly as it had intended all along: to spin upgraded centrifuges for weapons-grade uranium in its determination for nuclear dominance in the Middle East and beyond. It is always wise to know the nature of your enemies. The way they treat their own populations is a reliable indicator.

However, during the on-and-off negotiations with Iran since February 2021, Israeli and Christian leaders have actively pushed back against another foolish deal, rightly realizing Iran’s shrewd intent. This past August, Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz flew to Washington to meet with Jake Sullivan, U.S. national security adviser. Mossad chief David Barnea weighed in, calling the potential deal “a strategic disaster.” Interim Prime Minister Lapid held a lengthy talk via phone with President Biden.

The Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF), composed of senior officers from all of Israel’s armed forces, followed up with a letter in September to Biden to abandon another Iran deal. The self-described Zionist, security-based movement initiated a letter representing its 5,000 reserve officers, researchers, academics, and civilians. IDSF founder Brigadier General (Res.) Amir Avivi declared, “It’s a disaster for Israel, it’s a disaster for the Middle East, and a disaster for the whole globe.” The IDSF letter says in part, “It remains our view that a credible military threat in combination with crippling economic sanctions and the political resolve to act militarily, if necessary, is the most effective manner to address the Iranian threat.”

The evangelical community also appealed to the Biden administration. American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), a network representing over 60 million American believers, sent a letter to President Biden. Signers included Gordon Robertson, President and CEO of The Christian Broadcasting Network; Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council; Jane Hanson Hoyt, President of AGLOW International; Joel Rosenberg, best-selling author and founder of All Israel News and All Arab News; and many others. I was honored to sign on as well.  

Part of the letter highlighted the fact that Iran’s unashamed, stated threats affect not only Israel but millions of Americans who oppose another Iran deal, knowing that the U.S. is in Iranian crosshairs too. A project of the International Christian Embassy Israel, ACLI’s letter was kept simple and to the point with three “No’s”—including “No exceptions to sanctions on Russian agreements to build nuclear plants in Iran.”

The IDSF and ACLI are two of many examples of Christians and Jews speaking out and acting on issues of supreme importance. With the increase of advocacy initiatives spreading through communities that stand up for Israel’s security, our voices will resound with added strength. Speaking out in a timely way is part of a bold formula to overcome the apathy of silence! 

Iran’s weightiness on the scale of the Jewish state’s security concerns is ever present. However, the United States and Israel, with a strong pattern of collaborative connections, confront particularly consequential elections. For the fifth time in less than four years, Israelis vote again on November 1. A week later, on November 8, Americans go to the polls to cast votes in midterm elections. 

Added to divisive Israeli elections, Iran is not mentioned enough when it comes to a recent Israel/Lebanon agreement brokered by the United States. The titanic gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel and Lebanon promise massive benefits for both. Nevertheless, no peace treaty exists, and Lebanon is run by Hezbollah, a terror proxy backed by Iran.

Within Israel, tides of opinion are still rising and falling about the ultimate benefit of this agreement to Iran and possible magnified security issues for Israel. Since Lebanon’s population is suffering, its president has already approved the agreement along with Israel’s cabinet. Will this agreement imitate the missed cues of past deal negotiators like former Prime Minister Chamberlain, former President Obama, and now Joe Biden? 

Cruel Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is already responsible for ordering the murder of more than 200 freedom protesters and the arrest of thousands more. He is likely waiting in the wings for a wave of money to assure ongoing development for weapons of mass destruction. The result remains to be seen.

On the United States political front, the lead-up to the midterm elections is a toxic mix of cultural mayhem, lies, and exaggerations from the administration and its leftist promoters. Conservatives worry that Republicans in Congress have not stood tough and stood together—nor will they. 

Unfortunately, in the Christian community itself, polling shows that millions of Christians are either not registered to vote or do not vote. The apathy about voting is shameful. Deciding not to vote can erase the hopes for a turnover in Congress to help reverse the dangerous trajectory of unconstitutional decisions. Opportunity presents itself now in votes for the House of Representatives’ 435 members taking place every two years. With 100 Senate members, one-third run at midterms for their next six-year terms. 

Congressional actions are not enough, though. Our biblical mandate rests with our citizenry as embodied in Moses, and then Queen Esther, in ancient times. They risked displaying courage to lobby a pharaoh and a king to save Jewish lives. That is politics in its simplest form, appealing to leaders about significant issues. 

Staying alert to evil, then speaking up with truth to oppose it, is more important than ever for Christians. We are living in a world where we must decide to take initiative right now in voting for what aligns with the Bible—thereby bringing honor to our Lord Jesus, Who Himself freed us from sin to lead a life that benefits others in faith and action. 

We welcome our CBN Israel friends to join us in prayer this week and recall the Apostle James, who encouraged us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

Please join CBN Israel in prayer this week for Israel and the Middle East:

  • Pray for Iranians’ safety and bravery in protests against their theocratic leaders.
  • Pray for the upcoming Israeli and U.S. elections in November. 
  • Pray for Iranians who are meeting our Lord Jesus with increasing numbers.
  • Pray for Christians to vote en masse in U.S. elections based on biblical precepts. 
  • Pray for our president and congressional leaders for wisdom. 

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After she served nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her as Outreach Director part-time for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, a guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a volunteer on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene has attended Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit three times and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.

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Elderly Widow: Valentina’s Story

After many years in Ukraine, working full-time until retirement age, Valentina and her husband found themselves in a system that pays little in retirement benefits. She admitted, “It is hard to rest and enjoy your final years when you find yourself struggling to survive.” 

However, in Israel, even if citizens are poor, the welfare system offers them essential medical and social welfare. So the couple immigrated to Israel in 1999, to enjoy their twilight years in a place they call their ancestral homeland. And for a time, they lived there comfortably. 

Then, about 15 years ago, her husband became very ill and died. Valentina managed alone until 2020, when she suffered a heart attack, had surgery, and was in a coma for six days. Now in her 80s, she is happy to be alive, but finds it hard to survive financially. Unfortunately, Valentina’s income falls below the poverty line. She can barely afford the basics, and often must make difficult decisions about which needs are most urgent. At her age, who could she turn to? 

But then, friends like you reached out to her. Through CBN Israel, caring donors gave her vouchers, so she could purchase groceries, medicine and other necessities. They also provided her with a beautiful new couch, giving her a more comfortable place to rest. Valentina was thrilled, and exclaimed, “Thank you—I am so grateful for your love and support!” 

And for so many others with nowhere to turn, your gift to CBN Israel can provide housing, nutritious food, financial assistance, and more. With the needs escalating across the Holy Land, your continued support is a lifeline to Holocaust survivors, single moms, immigrant families, and terror victims. 

Please consider reaching out to help others in this special land today!


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Weekly Devotional: Do You Fear God?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10 niv).

We usually equate wisdom with our capacity to understand knowledge. Knowledge equals wisdom. Some may add that wisdom is the proper application of knowledge.

The Bible, however, teaches that wisdom equals the fear of God. That’s a rather odd equation for us, because when we speak of fear, we refer to an emotion connected with dread or terror. Those aspects are part of the biblical idea of fear, but within the Old Testament, fear of God is often synonymous with love of God.

Deuteronomy 6:5 called upon the children of Israel to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” A few verses later, within the same spirit, they are commanded: “You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name” (Deuteronomy 6:13 nkjv).

Loving God means fearing Him and serving Him wholeheartedly. In other words, we fear (love) God by obeying (serving) Him in everything that we say and do.

Within the Bible, one does not gain wisdom by merely acquiring knowledge, information, or facts. Wisdom comes from fearing (obeying) God and His commandments. To know something within the Bible refers to a relational interaction.

After Abraham obeyed God and took Isaac to offer him up, God said to Abraham, “For now I know that you truly fear God” (Genesis 22:12 nlt). He knew that Abraham feared God because Abraham obeyed. One cannot know God without obeying God. And God learns our degree of commitment through our obedience to Him.

Wisdom, then, comes from obeying God, which is what relationship with God looks like in the Bible. It comes through relational interaction, which pertains to our doing His commands, not our emotions about Him.

Do we daily pursue the wisdom and insight of God? To acquire it, we must fear (love and obey) Him. This is what it truly means to have a relationship with God. 


Father, may we grow in our fear and knowledge of You today as we obey You with all our heart, soul, and strength. Amen.

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How Faith in Action Led to Christian Humanitarian Aid During the Ottoman Empire

By Arlene Bridges Samuels 

Over the years, many of the informative briefings I staffed took place at the historic American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem. My groups of Christian leaders explored Israel within both a spiritual and a geopolitical context. Briefings came from both Jewish and Palestinian leaders, and the American Colony Hotel served as a location that was always on our agenda for an important briefing from a Palestinian representative.  

History unfolded as we walked along a wall that displayed old photos, postcards, memorabilia, and framed documents. This same wall captivated 21st-century Christian leaders when they learned that the hotel had been founded by a 19th-century Christian community of Americans and Swedes led by attorney Horatio Spafford, who moved to Jerusalem in 1881. 

After we climbed the stairs to the elegant Pasha meeting room and settled into our seats, I shared Spafford’s story. His beloved hymn, “It is Well With my Soul,” has provided 149 years of solace and hope to generations of believers since he penned it in 1873. I began singing “It is Well With my Soul,” and my group became the glorious Pasha Room a Capella Choir! In the former Jerusalem dwelling of the hymn’s lyricist, tears filled our eyes. Singing Spafford’s hymn is inscribed into our memories of holy moments in the Holy Land.  

If you have stayed in or visited this lovely hotel and flower-filled grounds situated near the seam of western and eastern Jerusalem—the former armistice line after the Six-Day War—it is immediately clear that the American Colony Hotel is a historic jewel from another era. 

The jewel shines in more ways than one. Before its transformation into a hotel, an American group of Christians distinguished itself as forerunners in humanitarian outreach in the Holy Land. Their pioneering efforts are now expressed in outreaches of massive goodwill through hundreds of Christian organizations and millions of believers worldwide. 

The founders, prominent Chicago attorney Horatio Spafford and his wife, Anna, moved to Jerusalem after a horrific tragedy in 1873. Horatio had sent his wife and four daughters on the luxurious French passenger ship Ville du Havre to Europe for a vacation. He planned to join them shortly after settling last-minute business. On the Atlantic voyage, an ironclad clipper out of Glasgow, Scotland, plowed into the Ville du Havre in the dark of night and split it midships. Twelve minutes later, the ship sank. Two hundred and seventy-three souls drowned in the frigid waters; only 47 survived. Despite Anna’s desperate resolve to save her daughters, ages 11 to 2, they slipped out of her arms into the fearsome high seas. The children perished; Anna survived. 

She was later found unconscious atop a ship’s plank and rescued. After being evacuated to Paris, she sent a telegram to her husband with these dreadful words, “Saved, but saved alone. What shall I do?” Upon receiving the telegram, Horatio Spafford left Chicago to reunite with his grief-stricken wife. When the ship drew near to the tragic spot, the captain called Horatio up to the bridge. Later that night the grieving father’s profound words poured onto the paper, expressing not only his sorrow but his hope bound up in the beloved hymn with lyrical words, “The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend…” 

Waves of sorrow had begun rolling in for the Spaffords prior to this tragedy at sea. The wealthy Chicago couple had lost their 4-year-old son to scarlet fever, then the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed most of their real estate holdings. In a three-year span, their five children died, leaving them childless and without their former wealth.  

One answer to Anna’s heartbreaking telegram, “Saved, but saved alone. What shall I do?” came with the births of three more children. The devoted Christian couple chose to ease their deep wounds first by supplying food and other necessities to families that survived the Great Chicago Fire. Later, believing the unmistakable biblical relevance of the Holy Land, they moved to Jerusalem with a group of 17 Americans and began an outreach there. 

This first group rented a small house and lived a simple communal lifestyle. Locals often referred to them simply as “the Americans.” When a group of Swedish Christians moved to Jerusalem to join up with them, together they purchased and then moved into a mansion in 1883. (The dwelling had been built by an Ottoman nobleman—a Pasha—for his family.) By this time, the Christian group numbered 150 men, women, and children. They officially named their new home the American Colony.

The Colony set about establishing a clinic, an orphanage, and a hostel. The Christian commune expressed their faith by serving everyone in need, including the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Arab, and Bedouin communities. This ministry of mercy was respected and admired during the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. (Also known as the Turkish Empire, this once-vast realm was founded in 1299 and had ruled over much of southeastern Europe, North Africa, and western Asia.) Although outwardly neutral, the Colony remained dedicated to the Holy Land and all its people. 

In the lead-up to World War I, the Ottoman Empire began to disintegrate. As war exploded throughout Europe and the Ottoman realm, Jerusalem was also invaded by hunger, typhus, field-ravaging locusts, and weapons of war. The Colony’s merciful ministry became even more pronounced. 

With the help of donations from American Christians, the Colony managed to feed 2,000 Jerusalemites daily in city-wide soup kitchens. Through Christian Herald newspaper advertisements in the U.S., the Colony employed hundreds of women who made lace and dresses for export to the United States. With Red Cross and Red Crescent approval, the American Colony also managed the military hospitals—where they treated both Turkish and European POWs. 

Colony members also preserved their early history by taking and printing photos of the people and environs. Today, these photographs offer a priceless look into Jerusalem’s history. In recent decades, the descendants of the Colony donated parts of this incomparable heirloom photo collection to the Library of Congress.

The Spaffords superbly embodied 2 Corinthians 1:3-5: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

Although the Spaffords faced unimaginable sorrows, they rested in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. With His enduring comfort and help, they and the American Colony left a legacy of faith in action for today’s Christians both personally and corporately. In the ensuing decades, when the American Colony became a full-fledged luxury hotel, it also followed the imprimatur of the Christian founders by remaining an island of calm for all sides in many a stormy political or wartime sea. Israelis, Palestinians, diplomats, mediators, journalists, and representatives of all faiths meet there to this day to discuss the multifaceted issues challenging the region. 

Join us at CBN Israel to prayerfully revisit the first verse of the beloved hymn as a reminder of the profound meaning, the Lord’s unconditional love, and turning our sorrows into acts of compassion to honor our Lord Jesus and all peoples in Israel. 

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

Please join us in prayer this week for the Holy Land:

  • Pray for the numerous ministries that bless Israel with humanitarian aid. 
  • Pray for Christians under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to share their faith.
  • Pray for increasing cooperative relationships between Jews and Arab Palestinians. 
  • Pray for wisdom for leaders of Christian ministries in Israel. 

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After she served nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her as Outreach Director part-time for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, a guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a volunteer on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene has attended Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit three times and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.

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New Immigrant: Shuli’s Story

They came from a long line of Belarus immigrants who have made Israel their home. Shuli and her husband settled in Sderot years ago. Sadly, they have learned to live with terrorism from Hamas-ruled Gaza. Their five children have grown up knowing the stress of rocket attacks. 

Shuli stays home caring for her big family, and tries to remain cheerful through health issues, including abdominal surgery. Her husband is the breadwinner, working at a steady but low-paying job. With no car, using the bus for all their transportation needs is challenging.  

Living only on her husband’s wages, Shuli’s family budgets as best as they can. But it means that paying bills takes precedence over other needs, like household maintenance. Over time, the ceiling leaks have become unbearable, especially during the past wet winter. It has led to toxic mold, and breathing in musty odors in the apartment. Yet, how could they afford repairs? 

Thankfully, through CBN Israel, friends like you provided urgently needed renovations to their home. Donors also gave them vouchers to purchase nutritional food and other necessities. Shuli is thrilled, saying, “I used to watch CBN on TV, when we lived in Belarus. And now, it is deeply touching that CBN Israel was here to help my family in our time of need. Thank you so much!” 

Your gift to CBN Israel can help many other immigrant families, along with Holocaust survivors, single moms, lone soldiers, and others with nowhere to turn. We see a growing number of people in crisis situations across Israel. You can offer them food, shelter, financial aid, and more—while delivering news and stories from the Holy Land. 

Please join us today in making a difference!


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