CBN Israel and Superbook Partner with Events Company to Bring Joy to Evacuated Children

By Nicole Jansezian

Amos Brill has been helping people celebrate life since he was a child deejaying parties and organizing events from his parents’ basement. His business, “Ma’atefet Events,” is a natural extension of his personality.

But after the Hamas invasion on October 7, and for the first time since he founded his company, Brill is concerned about the future.

“When the war broke out, the company was at its highest point. We were booked through Hanukkah and were looking at a record year,” he told CBN Israel. “Now, my calendar is empty. Zero.”

Brill’s warehouse was full of deflated bouncy houses and other inflatables and party props collecting dust in Rishon LeZion, a coastal city outside Tel Aviv.

But through a quick partnership between Brill and CBN Israel, this equipment has come off the shelves for special events featuring Superbook, the animated biblical series, a life-size Gizmo mascot, bouncy castles, and fun games for children who have been living in hotels and temporary shelters after being evacuated from their homes since the war began.

“Children need to move around and play,” Brill said. “The moment we did this project for them, it was like a breath of fresh air. They were on cloud nine. The parents couldn’t stop thanking us. They came to me to say thank you, but I told them the thanks goes to CBN Israel and Superbook.”

With no work right after October 7 and the entire nation grappling with the unfolding tragedy, Brill wanted to help Israelis impacted by the war, and so he voluntarily set up some of his bouncy houses for kids in different venues.

However, after a few weeks of funding such activities on his own, he took an honest look at his dwindling bank account. He unfortunately had to place some of his staff on unemployment, and others were called up to reserve duty. Brill prepared to shut his doors.

That’s when CBN Israel stepped in.

“I had the inspiration to call CBN Israel, so we met and immediately decided to do something big,” Brill told us.

CBN Israel agreed to sponsor 30 special events featuring the Superbook movie, “David and Goliath,” around the country for children evacuated from their homes. Brill outfitted his van to display the Superbook and CBN Israel logos and took the show on the road.

“One of the best things you can do to get out of trauma, to get out of a painful situation, especially for children, is activity and movement,” Brill said. “What we provide is the opportunity for movement—a lot of it. Instead of sitting in front of screens and iPhones, the kids get to jump, play sports, and get out of the hotel rooms and into a different place.”

“This would not be possible without CBN Israel,” Brill said.

With CBN Israel’s partnership, not only are the children—and their parents—given a reprieve, but Brill’s company has been able to survive another few weeks. His workers felt they were giving back to fellow citizens in need, and his suppliers also benefit from the business he is able to give them.

“Something amazing came out of this—not only were we helping the community and the evacuated children, but also CBN Israel helped us from a financial perspective,” Brill said. “We’re not in the same place we were before as a thriving business, but I’m able to pay the salaries and… there are many economic ripples in this partnership as well.”

“It’s such a wonderful collaboration, and I’m so grateful to CBN Israel and Superbook for their help,” he said.

Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.

Read more

While Palestinians Restrict Christmas in Bethlehem, Makers of The Chosen Are Magnifying the Holy Night

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Manger Square in Bethlehem is a famous tourist destination for thousands of visitors worldwide to celebrate Jesus’ birth amid glowing lights, music, and a towering Christmas tree. However, this year, the Church of the Nativity, which many believe is our Lord’s actual birthplace, is subdued and silent. The only allowance will be midnight services and prayers. Otherwise, there will be no decorations. No lights. No jubilant parade. All celebrations have been muted.

What could account for this disturbing and unsettling change of events—especially considering the decades of Christmas celebrations and tradition? The answer lies with Bethlehem’s municipality officials, who decided to cancel all events except midnight services and prayers. Their reason: “in honor,” they say, “of the martyrs and in solidarity with our people in Gaza.” They say martyrs; I say terrorists. Terrorists who deliberately launched a savage attack on peaceful Israeli civilians.

In another, much happier location, last Saturday my husband and I were in a movie theater, where we enjoyed Christmas With The Chosen: Holy Night in a limited run between December 12–17. The first-ever multi-season series about the life of Jesus opened a profound, insightful look into a one-of-a-kind birth never repeated in world history. God Himself came to earth as a human, conceived by the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. No modern manger scene, no Christmas tree or glittering Christmas lights can replace Jesus’ ancient birth in the humblest surrounding portrayed in The Chosen.

The production—a historical drama based on the life and ministry of Jesus—is dedicated to bringing these sacred stories to the screen and is now streaming on numerous platforms.

In a creative backdrop theme of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, voiced by brilliant monologues from Amanda Jenkins (an author, and wife of director Dallas Jenkins) and Chosen writer Tyler Thompson, believers and non-believers heard a clear message of Jesus’ redemptive purpose. Dallas Jenkins commented in the opening segment, “Like the rippling currents of an ever-changing river, God is on the move. And that means we must move, to make space in our hearts. Is there room in yours?”

I am among many millions of Chosen fans. Imagine my delight in September, when I had the opportunity to interview Chad Gunderson and Chris Juen—the producers of The Chosen. The Biblical History Center in LaGrange, Georgia, was the perfect setting for the Q-A session it hosted. As members of the enthralled audience, we sat in a beautifully constructed “ancient” amphitheater surrounded by columns. If you live in or visit Georgia, throughout the year The Biblical History Center provides an excellent education about ancient times.

On the raised marble dais, and later in person for my interview, Chad and Chris impressed me with their authentic, engaging, and great storytelling ability. Their humility was obvious early on when Chris commented about The Chosen’s first season: “I am still startled since Chad and I both didn’t have a clue about where The Chosen would go.” He and Chad expressed their gratitude to be involved “in such an amazing project that has taken the world by storm.”

After their event, I sat down with Chad and Chris who own their successful “Out of Order” studios (OOO Studios), founded in 2015. A few short years later, the Lord opened doors for them to use their God-given talents as The Chosen producers. 

Several topics came to light including the October 7 Hamas massacre, the most wicked and shocking murder of Jews since the Holocaust. In September, when I interviewed the producers, I asked if they had a particular interest in Israel before producing The Chosen. Chad commented, “Outside of being a believer and knowing that’s where our Lord walked, it’s definitely been on my bucket list to visit Israel.” Chris agreed, adding with a smile, “It’s kind of been said as a funny joke that we’re not making a Christian show. We are making a Jewish show.”

Chris’s comment is especially significant since October 7, the horror-filled day when Hamas launched its deadly, multi-pronged attacks against Israelis. While on the GMA Dove Awards Red Carpet on October 17, Chad noticeably stated his stance, “Honestly, we just stand with Israel right now. It’s that simple and it’s heartbreaking to see what’s going on over there.”

Already, The Chosen’s first three seasons creatively provided an education about Judaism that many Christians were unaware of. Dallas and his team have made sure that the Jewish culture Jesus was born into is revealed not only through Bible passages but in markers of Jewish culture. These include weddings, Rosh Hashana, the prayer shawl (tallit), Sabbath observances, tiny Scripture scrolls in Mezuzahs on doorposts, and a range of historic facts about first-century Jews who followed Jesus and conveyed the Gospel to the known world after His Ascension.

I am convinced that The Chosen’s embrace of Jesus’ Jewish culture has helped build a foundation of support for Israel among viewers who were unfamiliar with it. God Himself created the Jewish way of life in the Old Testament, as Jewish scribes (serving as vessels for His transcribed words) recounted the birth of our Jewish Savior, as well as the roles of the Jewish disciples and believers who populated the first years of belief in Jesus as Messiah. For those of us who are non-Jews, Israel is our spiritual homeland. 

On October 7, The Chosen was quick to post on their official Instagram account a photo of Jonathan Roumie who plays the role of Jesus with the caption “#Israel.” Creator Dallas Jenkins asked for prayers on his Instagram posted on October 12: “I wanted to give you an update about our friends in Israel. We have many Chosen family members who are impacted: translators and advocates, cultural and religious consultants, and of course our Simon, Shahar Isaac, who lives near Capernaum.”

Jenkins went on to report, “At the moment, all are okay, but please continue prayers. Some of them are literally on the front lines while others are in shelters. We kneel with them.”

Jonathan Roumie also posted on Instagram asking for prayers for “ALL the innocent victims of the war in Israel and Palestine.”

Christmas With The Chosen: Holy Night is a beautiful reminder of family and the challenges that often arise. Both producers do everything possible to have their families visit during the filming days. Their wives, Amanda Gunderson and Jennifer Juen, are an important part of the set when they come. “They create such an atmosphere of encouragement to everyone on the staff, whether they are a cameraman or are setting up a display.” They often stop and pray for the staff. Chad and Chris acknowledge sacrifices that they themselves make as producers yet are incredibly grateful for their wives and teenagers as the teams behind them.

Both producers discussed preserving two important goals: to maintain both Scriptural and historical accuracy. They added that the series is so relatable and “everything else is just what’s plausible in a way that can keep people engaged.” Stay tuned, because I may write a future column about The Chosen based on my interview and more of their outstanding stories shared at The Biblical History Center.

I cannot neglect to mention the majestic, original production with performances by famed tenors Andrea Bocelli and his son, Matteo. From witnessing simple shepherds transfixed by angel songs, then running to the dirt and animals’ shelter to see the newborn King, The Chosen also transported us to a marble and rock quarry in Tuscany, Italy. We were transformed by the magnificent Bocelli father-son team singing O Holy Night as they stood on a vast expanse of rock that soared to the skyline.

At this season, I pray that all who read my Christmas column will encounter Jesus in precious moments celebrating the Holiest Night of the Holiest birth in world history.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for the Prince of Peace to bring true peace to the Middle East—especially during the ongoing war between Israel and the enemies that seek her annihilation.
  • Pray for the Christians in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, as well as for Christians all throughout the Middle East who often suffer persecution for their faith.
  • Pray that the Israeli Defense Forces experience miracle after miracle—for their safety and for their anxious families.
  • Pray for the United States to remain strong in its support for Israel and her people even in the face of mounting pressure from the far left and anti-Israel groups.
  • Pray for CBN Israel to continue bringing relief and hope to hundreds of terror victims and displaced families in the midst of the ongoing war situation.
  • Pray for CBN News to continue bravely reporting the truth and facts from the ground about what is happening in the Holy Land during this tumultuous time.

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 and has traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. By invitation, Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summits. She also hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on her website at

Read more

Delivering Food to War and Terror Victims

October 7, 2023, changed the lives—and expectations of survival—for all Israelis. Since that day, the Hamas attacks have displaced over 250,000 people. Finding themselves under constant threat of rockets and terrorists, many moved into bomb shelters, afraid to go out. And they were running out of food.

“We do not have a safe room, so we ran to the basement,” explained Daria. “I tried to stay calm, to keep my kids from seeing how terrified I was.”

After escaping the Russian invasion of Ukraine the year before, Daria and her family had moved to Israel and sought refuge in Ashkelon, near the border with Gaza—only to come under siege from Hamas. “We left one war and ended up in another.”

Another victim, an elderly shut-in, was in bed when terrorists attacked. “One rocket hit the building next door—the whole first floor was gone,” she said. “My daughter wrapped me in a blanket and helped me get to a hospital. Then she found this apartment, and we moved here.

But thanks to kindhearted friends like you, CBN Israel’s team of brave volunteers walked down Ashkelon’s ravaged streets, searching for families like these who were trapped in their homes and in shelters. Caring donors made it possible to deliver bags of nutritious groceries to their door—letting them know they are not alone.

Daria was thrilled. “A very big thank you to all the people helping families like mine in such a difficult situation. We try to stay inside as much as possible. This was a big deal to us.”

And the elderly woman exclaimed, “My daughter and I are very grateful! Yesterday, we couldn’t leave the house, and you brought us food. I can eat today—thank you very much!”

Your gifts to CBN Israel can provide a lifeline to those caught in the crossfire—while offering compassionate relief and hope to others in the Holy Land who need our help.

Please join us in blessing those in crisis at this perilous time!


Read more

Weekly Devotional: The Path of Redemption

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city” (Luke 2:1-3 NKJV).

Luke places the birth of Jesus with the census of Quirinius (2:1-2). This event held bitter feelings for the Jewish people. Rome officially annexed Judaea as part of its empire with the census of Quirinius.

The Jewish people of the land of Israel were brought under pagan, Roman rule. In response to the census, a stream of Jewish philosophy emerged which taught that submission to Rome was a sin, since God alone was Israel’s king. The response to Roman rule was: Take up the sword, resist, and spill Roman blood; this is the path of redemption.

In the midst of this turmoil, God sent His Son, born to Joseph and Mary. He fulfilled His promise not through the resistance movement and bloodshed, but through a child, who would grow up to call upon those seeking redemption to repent.

Turmoil has the ability to make us yearn for God’s assistance. It can also lead us to seek our own means to make it happen. God is never deaf to our cries of help, yet He often uses means that we find ourselves blind to because of the turmoil of our circumstances.

Jesus entered a world of turmoil. Rome had taken over. The people of Israel cried for God’s redemption. The question became, how would He achieve it?

Some sought armed resistance as the path, yet God’s redemption entered the world through a baby born to a pious family. A baby who would grow up and tell people that the kingdom of Heaven (God) has come near and that returning to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the pathway to receive God’s salvation.

This baby would grow up and one day offer His life as the ultimate sacrifice to bring about that redemption, but God would raise Him from the dead as evidence that His salvation has come near.

The Christmas season often heightens our feelings of turmoil. Financial troubles. Being alone. And many people feel sadness and turmoil during this season. The message of Christmas is that God steps into our turmoil. He is near. He does not abandon us. Yet we don’t always see Him or understand His purpose.

Into the turmoil of the first century, God sent forth His Son, who called upon the people to return to Him and to His ways. And He calls us to do the same today.


Father, even in the midst of our own turmoil and frustrated hopes, may we lean into Your presence realizing that You never forsake us. May we see that You still come to us inviting us to return to You and submit ourselves to Your plans and purposes. Amen.

Read more

CBN Israel Prepares for ‘Tsunami’ of Counseling Israelis Will Need

By Nicole Jansezian

CBN Israel is preparing to deal with an expected “tsunami” of psychological and emotional counseling that will be needed as Israelis process the Hamas atrocities of October 7 which left 1,200 dead, tens of thousands displaced and 240 as hostages in Gaza.

“It wasn’t just those injured, and people directly affected that were impacted by this war—it affected the whole nation,” said Arik Pelled, director of CBN Israel’s Family Department. “The atrocities created a national trauma.”

Since the war, Israel has seen an increase in anxiety, fear, and insecurity, according to experts who spoke with CBN Israel. And Israelis who were directly affected by the atrocities are not the only ones impacted. An estimated 120,000 residents have been displaced and are living in hotels. Many still live under the threat of rocket fire and every resident is watching the morbid news on a regular basis.

“The 7th of October was a change in the mindset, I think, of the Israeli society,” said Talia Levanon, CEO of Israel Trauma Coalition. “We’re going to carry it for many years, also for more than one generation.”

CBN is teaming up with the Israel Trauma Coalition to meet this need including training more therapists, introducing emergency early-intervention therapies and building mobile therapy units.

“We are making it possible for more people to get the counseling they need either on an emergency basis or regularly,” Pelled said.

Pelled noted that the October 7 attacks shattered many securities that Israelis held onto as terrorists invaded their guarded communities and their homes with weapons that penetrated even the bomb shelters.

“The entire country is in a place where personal security has been shaken. A home is no longer a safe place, a shelter is no longer a safe place, parents are no longer a safe place—they can suddenly disappear. The army is no longer a safe place, the police, authorities—everything has been shaken.”

Rina Matigil, who operated One Heart, has been counseling residents in Sderot, a southern Israeli city that has come under rocket bombardment for more than 20 years.

“Even before this war, when I spoke with people or did interviews, I always said, ‘We are all, unfortunately, in a state of trauma,’” she said. The recent events, she added, add more layers to the existing trauma.

Two months out from the onset of the war, most people are in survival mode and have not reached out for therapy, but when they do, experts are expecting a tidal wave of demand.

“They are very busy at the moment with finding themselves, whether in hotels or looking for a job or taking care of the kids,” Levanon explained. “So, people will not now turn to therapy. What we know from our experience is that after the event, we have a tsunami of people who want therapy.”

Levanon said another assumption is that not only will there be more people seeking help, the types of situations they need to cope with are unprecedented.

“We need also to take into consideration that the issues that we will be dealing with are very different. It’s not just a higher number of people—it’s people who are dealing with grief, people who are dealing with very traumatic events, not to mention being a hostage and so on,” she said. “And so the therapists need to be trained to do things that address issues they’ve never dealt with before.”

“Now with residents scattered around the country after evacuating their homes, CBN Israel is working with Israel Trauma Coalition to create a national call center that will connect people to the closest therapist in their new location,” Pelled said. “We are trying to open one national center, not in one geographic location because everyone in the country is scattered and displaced.”

CBN Israel also hosted a workshop for Israeli counsellors, psychologists, and family therapists so they can implement an emergency intervention method in their counseling. Dr. Gary Quinn, a psychiatrist based in Israel who specializes in crisis intervention, anxiety, depressive disorders, and PTSD, led the workshop at the CBN Israel office. Quinn pioneered ISP, Immediate Stabilization Procedure, a type of intervention was successful in Ukraine.

Pelled said the purpose of this early intervention therapy is to break the loop of repeating a negative experience in the hopes of preventing PTSD.

“Of course, it is possible to work with a person at any point, but if you catch the person in time, this will start the healing process sooner,” he said.

CBN Israel is also building a similar program for leaders of congregations around the country to equip them as well to deal with these unprecedented traumas.

Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.

Read more

Good and Evil, Side by Side

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Hanukkah 2023 ends on December 15 after eight days filled with both hope and horror. In Gaza, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)—the modern Maccabees—recaptured what Hamas, the new Nazis, called Palestine Square. On October 7, terrorists paraded hostages through this symbolic heart of Hamas authority. Huge crowds of Palestinians cheered and abused hostages as they passed by.

But now, a tall menorah sits in the center of the Square, a symbol of light and rededication lit by the IDF as they voiced traditional prayers: “Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who performed wonderous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.” Our Christian community can echo the same prayer to God, Sovereign of all.

Good and evil have coexisted throughout 69 days of war—and wide is the gulf between them. Let’s consider a story that powerfully illustrates the vast difference between light and darkness—and leaves no doubt as to which side is the bearer of light. As lies about Israel circle the world with a vengeance, may you remember the following incident, which began at 2 a.m. on the fifth day of Hanukkah.

An IDF team noticed movement on a nearby horizon. To their astonishment, it was a child, about four years old. She was walking around barefoot and with many wounds. After gently carrying her to the IDF field doctor, who treated and wrapped her wounds, they took her to one of the humanitarian safe zones the IDF had set up. They then learned the truth: that Hamas had deliberately sent the child into a war zone to see if the Israeli soldiers were alert and awake. 

Friends, when you read or hear libel or slander against Israel—yet diabolical support for Hamas—remember this Hanukkah 2023 story of a 4-year-old Palestinian girl sent by cowards to her likely death. The expansive divide between good and evil, light and darkness, is obvious to those who are truly paying attention.

Hamas terrorists habitually use their civilians as human shields, even a 4-year-old girl. Hamas is still firing rockets into Israel from Gaza’s Al-Mawasi safe zone. Hamas knows that Israel does not intentionally murder civilians, a fact that the world’s demonic Jew haters would do well to understand. At its foundation, the war is satan’s rage against God. The new Nazis and satan both idolize evil power.

Nonetheless, God’s rescue mission—expressed in His life on earth for 33 years—overrides evil’s history with outrageous, sacrificial love. John 10:22 is the only verse in the Bible to mention that Jesus attended the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). Scripture does not clearly indicate that He quoted these words at the Feast, but it seems reasonable. John 8:12 tells us that “Then Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.’”

The everlasting Light of the World shines today, exposing what is hidden in the darkness of sin yet illuminating the Holy Spirit’s presence in the hearts of those who believe and repent.

Light is also shining brightly among Muslims and Jews. The well-known Egyptian-born pastor Michael Youssef recently conducted an evangelistic event in Cairo and reported the good news that among 17,715 people, more than 7,850 put their faith in Christ. Reverend Youssef only expected around 6,000 at the event.

Among Jews, leaders and staff of Behold Israel and Jews for Jesus comment that Israelis are requesting Bibles and asking questions about their messianic Jewish faith!

More contrasts between light and darkness emerge in widespread support amount Christians. Before and during the Holocaust, a minority of churches and Christians rescued Jews from Hitler’s Third Reich. Today, with Jew hatred exploding, a significantly greater number of Evangelicals, governments, and churches worldwide are speaking out about the terrors Hamas unleashed on Israel. Their words are matched with actions to send vast amounts of humanitarian aid to Israelis.

The popular Dr. Phil eloquently spoke up on his TV show after three elite U.S. university presidents—at MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania—were questioned by the Congressional House Committee on Education. In defective moral clarity, not one of the women could bring themselves to agree that Jewish students are at risk amid genocidal protests with the potential to grow into physical attacks.

Lights are shining into the darkness of propaganda and money. Qatar, a small Middle Eastern country, is the home of Al Jazeera, a longtime Hamas media mouthpiece spewing lies against Israel. Al Jazeera has extensive credentials for access in the U.S. House Press Gallery for 136 Qatar employees. Compare that astonishing number to 82 New York Times employees with credentials.

Now illumination is showing via Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Michigan) in a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson asking him to revoke Al Jazeera’s credentials. It seems our government and elite universities have welcomed the Qatari propaganda against Israel and Jewish students. Al Jazeera reports that it broadcasts to over 150 countries, with 3,000 employees from  95 countries, and globally into 430 million homes. Now illumination is showing via Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Michigan) in a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson asking him to revoke Al Jazeera’s credentials.

Not only has Qatar welcomed top Hamas leaders live there; we now know that Qatar has donated billions of dollars to American colleges and universities. That fact combined with Al Jazeera’s influence also explains the demonic protests worldwide. Once-hidden truths are coming to light that also explain the irrational answers from presidents of three universities who recently testified before Congress.

As for the United Nations’ 193 member countries, the majority have blackened Israel’s reputation for decades by weaponizing truth and turning it into lies—lies against the only democracy in the Middle East. Their Jew hatred and bias against Israel has resulted in hundreds of unjust resolutions against the world’s only Jewish nation while ignoring numerous human rights violations perpetrated by dictatorships.

In a recent resolution, however, the United States shed a ray of light by voting NO on a Security Council resolution that called for another ceasefire without mentioning Hamas atrocities. (Ceasefires are always broken by Hamas, who not only use civilians as human shields but divert humanitarian aid to themselves.)

On the other hand, the United States and the European Union keep pressuring Israel into a two-state solution. Israel already did its part to unilaterally offer Palestinians a state in 2005. Israel forced their 8,000 Jewish citizens out of the Gaza Strip and tuned it over to Palestinians—who trashed it, then voted for the Hamas terror organization in 2007. October 7 is proof that Israel will never agree to a two-state solution. Even suggesting it is insensitive and insulting.

Sixty-nine days of war have passed. The modern Maccabees are conducting a necessary war against the new Nazis who began it. As the Allies moved against Hitler and his armies, so must the IDF of the modern Jewish state respond. I encourage Evangelicals to volunteer as truth-tellers to oppose, via social media and conversations, the lies inhabiting the darkness. I hope you will spread these facts of light, and others, realizing that facts can indeed lead you to informed prayer.

Our CBN Israel team invites you to join us this week reflecting on Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV:There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for the innocent Palestinian children whom Hamas continues to use as disposable human shields.
  • Pray for Evangelicals to join a legion of truth-tellers to oppose lies against Israel.
  • Pray for the IDF to continue gaining victory over evil.
  • Pray for Israeli families making their own sacrifices, as hundreds of thousands of active and reserve IDF must serve their country away from home.

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 and has traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. By invitation, Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summits. She also hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on her website at

Read more

Victim of Terrorism: Lina’s Story

For 30 years, Lina had lived in Ashkelon, a target for Hamas rockets near Gaza. She had grown used to missile attacks, sirens, and running for shelter. But October 7 was different.

“This time it was like a horror movie,” she recalls. “So many children, so many people were killed for nothing. Ashkelon is like a war zone now. There is a smell of burning everywhere—the smell of war.” Where could she and her children go to feel safe again?

Fortunately, caring friends like you made a way for Lina and her children to stay in Eilat, a peaceful area away from the attacks. Through CBN Israel, donors are providing temporary shelter for families and offering therapy to help them process the terrible trauma they’ve experienced. They are also supplying them with hot meals and basic necessities. As Lina shares, “We fled from our houses with practically nothing, and we are left without work or income.”

She added, “You gave me a complete hygiene kit—toothbrush, deodorant, and everything we needed.” Donors also enabled her to purchase clothes and toys for her kids. She said, “I couldn’t bring toys at all—I didn’t think of that. What you’re doing really helps a lot. Thank you!”

In addition to rushing relief aid to these terror victims, your gifts to CBN Israel can also deliver ongoing assistance across the country to elderly Holocaust survivors, single mothers, immigrants, and those struggling to survive.

The war has devastated thousands of lives across the Holy Land. Your support to CBN Israel can rush emergency relief to those escaping battle zones, while offering groceries, housing, financial aid, and more to others in need.

Please join us in providing a lifeline to those who need our help!


Read more

The Modern Maccabees Wage War Against the New Nazis

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Tonight, the 7th of December, Jews in multiple time zones are lighting their first candle for Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights. The history of the festival dates back to 165 B.C. in the Jewish homeland, when the famous Maccabee soldiers defeated Israel’s ruthless enemy pagan King Antiochus IV. Their hard-fought victory made way for the cleansing and rededication of their desecrated Temple, their re-lit glowing menorah, Jewish culture, Scriptures, and freedom in the Holy Land. The Hebrew word hanukkah means “rededication.”

Lighting the first candle tonight happens amid the most profound darkness in Israel’s modern history. In this, Israel’s 75th year, the October 7 traumas relentlessly invade the emotions, minds, and memories of every Jewish Israeli as additional first-person stories of barbaric brutality emerge from released hostages.

Needed now are fervent, loving prayers for the new Maccabees—the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) fighting for Israel’s existence. In their small nation, it is said that every Israeli knows someone in the IDF, Israeli police, Mossad, or Shin Bet. These brave soldiers, intelligence officials, and security personnel have sacrificed their lives or suffered serious injuries to defend their country.

King Antiochus’s attempts to wipe out the ancient Jewish people and culture with forced Greek pagan worship can be seen as a historical backdrop for the Hamas terrorists—the New Nazis. The Maccabees were a comparatively small force of no more than 12,000 men up against a 40,000-man army. Today, the Israel Defense Forces has amassed upwards of 400,000 soldiers determined to put Hamas, Hezbollah, and other modern Islamic regime proxies into the dustbin of history for good. And they will.

It is worth noting that since the fourth millennium BCE, Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and destroyed twice. However, Israel is eternal, because during every darkness the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob reassures Israel with His unbreakable promise: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you. Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride” (Isaiah 49:16-18 NIV).

The steadfast Maccabees from long ago set a historical precedent of Jewish resilience that is reflected within today’s IDF. In a speech to Israel’s citizens, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant proclaimed, “You have someone to be proud of, you have someone to trust. The IDF and all the security agencies are the defensive shields that ensure our lives in the State of Israel.”

Also inspirational are stories about Jews held captive in Nazi death camps—those who, despite their inhuman imprisonment, created inventive ways to celebrate the Maccabees and subsequent Festival of Lights. Author I.I. Cohen relates his own story in My Auschwitz-Spoon Hanukkah. Before being transferred to the Kaufering concentration camp, Cohen had smuggled a spoon out of Auschwitz. He also kept a mental calendar of Jewish festivals and thus knew Hanukkah was approaching. Holding any kind of prayer or Jewish practice was sure to bring punishment or death—yet some 500 prisoners were determined to celebrate anyway.

Cohen commented, “We tried whenever possible to … maintain a self-image as God-fearing Jews, despite all the dangers that involved.” One man donated a small piece of butter he had saved from his daily ration to use as “oil.” Others unraveled threads from their uniforms for wicks. Yet, what could serve as a menorah? Cohen pulled out his spoon, which served as a tiny menorah once they’d added the wicks and oil. They lit the candle and recited the blessings, with memories from past Hanukkahs at home. Mr. Cohen explained that it “kindled a glimmer of hope.” He survived three concentration camps.

Another story comes from Bergen-Belsen in 1943 via Yaffa Eliach’s book, Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust. In it, he recounts how Rabbi Israel Shapiro managed a plan to celebrate Hanukkah. The men saved up bits of fat from their skimpy food allotments; the women pulled threads from their ragged clothing and twisted them into wicks. The candleholder was fashioned from a raw potato, and toy dreidels for children were carved out of the wooden shoes worn by prisoners. Risking their lives, the inmates stealthily walked to Barracks 10. Rabbi Shapiro put together the parts, and while chanting the blessings, broke into tears of grief—he had lost his wife, only daughter, son-in-law, and only grandchild. Everyone gathered wept with him as they attempted to sing Ma’oz Tzur, a traditional song proclaiming their faith in God, the Rock of their strength.

Rabbi Shapiro also lamented about why God had given miracles to their ancestors but not to them now. He then answered his own question: “By kindling this Hanukkah candle we are symbolically identifying ourselves with the Jewish people everywhere. Our long history records many bloody horrors our people have endured and survived.” He prophetically added, “We may be certain that no matter what may befall us as individuals, the Jews as a people will outlive their cruel foes and emerge triumphant in the end.” His declaration reflects that even a tiny light pierces the dark reality of physical imprisonment—and that Jewish spirits are not bound in chains.

Finally, a simple Hanukkah celebration held during World War I at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, would turn out to have planted a world-changing seed. Jews stationed there in 1917 awaited their overseas orders to Europe. To celebrate Hanukkah—with few supplies and no chaplain—the Jewish soldiers made a menorah from shell casings collected from the firing range. Eddie Jacobson, a Jewish soldier from Kansas City, Missouri, invited his Christian friend, Captain Harry Truman, to attend. Several Jewish women from nearby Lawton, Oklahoma, brought the traditional potato latkes. Jewish soldiers told the story of the victorious Maccabees, lit the candles, and celebrated. 

It is said that Truman, who was experiencing Hanukkah for the first time, listened closely and then commented, “I think the Jewish people should have its own land again.” Thirty-one years later, when Truman served as president, he and Eddie Jacobson had remained friends. Jacobson became instrumental in convincing his friend to vote in favor of a modern Jewish state at the United Nations. President Truman cast his vote on May 14, 1948—the first world leader to do so.

Since the beginning of the Hamas War—two months ago today— 401 soldiers have sacrificially given their lives to oppose evil-minded men. The IDF has entered another phase of their strategic war to eliminate Hamas Nazis in Gaza’s south, where they have created a detailed map split into hundreds of locations that pinpoint safe zones for civilians. No other military on earth takes these kinds of measures to protect civilians.

The modern Maccabee army has erected a 15-foot menorah in Beit Hanoun in Gaza as a symbol of the IDF’s remarkable achievements thus far. It is a Chabad project of IDF reserve soldiers led by Rabbi Yosef Aharonov at Tzach of Israel. Rabbi Aharonov reported that they will erect more than a dozen menorahs in Gaza and give out personal menorahs and the traditional Hanukkah doughnuts to over 10,000 Israeli soldiers deployed in Gaza. “We also plan to have volunteers light the large menorahs each night of Hannukah,” he said, “bringing light to the darkest places.”

Let all of us in the Christian community join in by lighting one candle in our homes to celebrate with the modern Maccabees on December 7, along with raising up prayers for their safety and complete triumph over evil.

We welcome you to join our CBN Israel team once again to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the security cabinet, and all IDF leaders.
  • Pray for the IDF, which has already destroyed 500 of the 800 Gaza terror tunnels.
  • Pray for 137 hostages still imprisoned in Hamas’s version of concentration camps.
  • Pray for the mental health of all Israelis who face varying degrees of trauma.
  • Pray for your advocacy to shed glimmers of light to Jewish friends here and to 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 and has 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 her website at

Read more

Aiding Israel’s Elderly War Victims

The terror and fear of war can be felt across Israel—especially among vulnerable seniors.

For instance, one Tel Aviv apartment complex is filled with elderly refugees, Holocaust survivors, and those who can’t survive on their own. With constant volleys of missiles targeting their city daily from Gaza, they risk death if they venture out, even to shop for groceries.

Danielle Moore, from the Christian Friends of the Jewish Agency, asked, “If you are a person in your 80s or 90s—very frail—how are you going to manage when there is a siren, and you’re outside? How are you going to reach a place of safety?”

That’s why, thanks to friends like you, CBN Israel has partnered with the Jewish Agency and others to provide huge food boxes and water—ensuring that residents can remain in the building, right near bomb shelters. “We want to keep them safe,” Moore stated.

And CBN Israel’s National Director Dan Carlson wants them to feel cared for, to know they aren’t alone. He says Israelis rarely feel safe with enemies surrounding them—and October 7th only made it worse, noting, “It’s like the nation is in trauma right now—the whole nation.”

Moore adds, “When you think about the elderly, many of them Holocaust survivors, and all the traumas and hardships they went through… Now they face siren after siren, understanding that their life is at risk, and it’s unbearable.” But generous donors are there with food, water, and basic necessities—along with smiles and hugs—and giving them the encouragement they need. One grateful resident, Helen, said, “It’s very helpful. I’m about to cry from excitement!”

Your gifts to CBN Israel can also evacuate war victims to hotels far away from the attacks, and offer them meals, essentials, clothing, toys, and trauma counseling. And you can reach out to others in need in many other ways.

Please join us in blessing Israel at this historic moment!


Read more

Biblical Israel: Gilead

Gilead was the center of Israelite population in Transjordan (east of the Jordan River). The tribes of Reuben and Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh remained east of the Jordan River and did not settle in the lands west of the Jordan.

Within the Bible, the isolation of these tribes from the tribes west of the Jordan is felt within the stories. They found themselves often threatened from desert marauders and rival kingdoms east of the Jordan. The story of the judge, Jephthah, who delivered Israel from the Ammonites, took place in Gilead (Judges 11:29-33). Saul’s first victory, the deliverance of Jabesh-Gilead, also occurred in Gilead (1 Samuel 11:1-11).

Gilead also served as a land of refuge and asylum for Israelites from west of the Jordan River; for example, when David had to leave Jerusalem because of the rebellion led by his son Absalom, he fled to Mahanaim, which is in Gilead (2 Samuel 17:21-22). So too, the remaining family of Saul and his supporters fled to Gilead after Saul’s death on Mount Gilboa (2 Samuel 2:8).

The land of Gilead is a mountainous area in the central Transjordan. The limestone hills reach altitudes of over 3000 feet in some areas. The Jabbok River (Genesis 32) divides Gilead into two sections. The tribal division of land among the tribes east of the Jordan River followed the contours of the land created by the Jabbok.

Its elevation allows it to receive excellent rainfall during the winter months and dew in the summer. The area also has a number of springs that provide water. This also meant that forests grew on the mountains of Gilead (Jeremiah 22:6; Zechariah 10:10). Grapes also grew well in Gilead.

The most important highway, which ran north-south, known as the King’s Highway ran through Gilead. This roadway went from the Gulf of Eilat to Damascus where it met the international coastal highway that connected Egypt with Mesopotamia. Gilead’s strategic location on this road brought wealth to the people that lived in Gilead.

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

Read more