Family in Crisis: Aviva’s Story

For many in Israel, COVID-19 has not only caused financial hardships, but it has also taken a mental and emotional toll on people. The isolation and restrictions made life even worse for those already struggling to get by. And for Aviva, a single mother raising two children by herself, it became a nightmare. 

Aviva was already ill before entering lockdown with her children. But soon, her kids became bored and hated being inside. And this made it harder for Aviva to recover, as she did not have the energy to keep them entertained. She was overwhelmed—and worried about basic survival. 

Thankfully, friends like you there to extend help and hope to Aviva. CBN Israel helped make a way for Aviva to get food and other essentials so she and her children wouldn’t go hungry. Plus, to keep her little ones occupied, we gave her free access to the Hebrew version of Superbook, CBN’s animated Bible stories. Her children enjoyed the fun, positive episodes—giving Aviva time to rest and heal. It was the very blessing she needed! 

As she recuperates, CBN Israel will be there to bring groceries and generous vouchers to give her access to nutritious food. “Thank you so much,” says Aviva. “I am deeply grateful for the care and love you have shown!” 

And your gift to CBN Israel can deliver hope to others in so many ways, during the pandemic and beyond. You can be there with groceries and supplies, shelter, financial assistance, job training, and much more. Right now, so many across Israel are just trying to survive. 

Your support can bring compassionate aid to immigrant families, Holocaust survivors, victims of terrorism, and single mothers. 

Please join us in making a difference for others in the Holy land! 


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Biblical Israel: Ein Gedi

By Marc Turnage

The name Ein Gedi means “spring of the kid (young goat).” Ein Gedi, which is the largest oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea, sits between two riverbeds (in Hebrew, nahal, in Arabic, wadi): Nahal David to the north and Nahal Arugot to the south. The oasis contains four springs, Ein David, Ein Arugot, Ein Shulamit, and Ein Gedi, that flow year-round supplying three million cubic meters of water annually. 

The springs have allowed habitation, which dates back to the Chalcolithic period (ca. 4000 B.C.). Its most continuous inhabitation goes from the beginning of the seventh century B.C. until the early Arab period as indicated by archaeological and literary evidence. The book of Joshua locates Ein Gedi within the tribal territory of Judah (15:62). Ein Gedi’s location within the tribal territory of Judah explains David’s use of the oasis when he hid from Saul (1 Samuel 23:29; 24). During the biblical period, a road from the southern end of the Dead Sea and the lands to the east, Moab and Edom, ascended from Ein Gedi into the central hill country towards Bethlehem. 

Although located along the arid shores of the Dead Sea, the fresh-water springs and temperate climate year-round allowed Ein Gedi to flourish as a place of agriculture. Date palms and perfume-producing plants became the primary crops of the oasis. The book of Ben Sira mentions the date palms of Ein Gedi. 

In the first century B.C., the arrival of hydraulic plaster from Italy in Judaea enabled the Jewish leaders, the Hasmoneans, to construct aqueducts at Ein Gedi, which allowed them to expand the agricultural production at Ein Gedi. During the first century B.C. and A.D., Ein Gedi produced a perfume, balsam, which served as the cash-crop of the kingdom of Herod the Great and Judaea. It was exported all throughout the Roman world. Herod the Great’s construction of the palace fortress of Masada, just south of Ein Gedi, served to protect the produce of the balsam.

The dates of Judaea also were exported to Italy. The site of Ein Gedi was destroyed during the First Jewish Revolt (A.D. 66-73) but rebuilt in the years after the revolt and served as a location of a Roman garrison as well as a military and administrative center for the Jewish rebels during the Bar Kochba Revolt (A.D. 132-136). The Romans conquered Ein Gedi at the end of this Jewish revolt. Remains of the Jewish rebels and their belongings were discovered in caves near the oasis of Ein Gedi in the twentieth century.

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

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Weekly Devotional: Do You Sanctify His Name?

But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust Me to show My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land I have given them’” (Numbers 20:12 HCSB).

The children of Israel found themselves in the wilderness of Zin without water. They grumbled against Moses and Aaron, wishing themselves back in Egypt.

God instructed Moses to speak to the rock to bring water out for the people. Moses, however, in his anger, struck the rock and brought forth water. The disobedience of Moses and Aaron prevented them from entering the Promised Land.

This seems like an odd story. Regardless of how Moses did it, water still came from the rock. Why did God get so upset? Because Moses did not do what He commanded. Moses and Aaron brought the congregation before the Tent of Meeting, and God’s glory appeared to everyone. They heard what He said. But still, water came from the rock. Problem solved. Yet, it wasn’t.

Shepherds, like Moses, have a knack for finding water in the desert. Moses’ efforts made him the source of Israel’s provision, not God. His action showed that he did not trust God to bring forth water simply at his word. Moreover, his disobedience in front of the congregation did not sanctify God; in fact, it did the opposite. It profaned Him.

According to the Bible, our behavior either sanctifies God’s name or profanes it. We sanctify His name through our obedience to Him in the common and ordinary aspects of our everyday lives. The Bible often provides ordinary examples of ways to sanctify God’s name in our daily lives. To disobey means that we profane His name.

We often want to blame the media, secularism, politicians, and non-believers for God’s name being profaned in the world. However, the Bible tells us that non-believing nations were not called to sanctify God’s name; His people were.

The secular forces in our world are not responsible for God’s name being profaned in our world; we are. When we fail to obey Him, we profane His name. But when we obey Him, we sanctify His name before the world.

God takes this seriously. So seriously, that it prevented Moses and Aaron from entering the Promised Land. The first benediction of the prayer Jesus taught His followers to pray requested, “May we sanctify Your name.” How? By obeying His will.


Father, may we sanctify Your name in our world today through our obedience to Your word. Amen.

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Israel’s Ancient Political Dramas: Good Kings, Bad Kings, No Kings, and the King of Kings 

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Drama has dominated Israeli politics going back to ancient times, when the Jewish nation experienced seasons with good kings, bad kings, and no kings. Its political baggage is packed full of successes, failures, prosperity, disaster, peace, war, unity, betrayal, and even death.   

Israel’s political dramas persist today, following four elections since 2019 and, at this writing, a possible fifth looming. Any Israeli governing coalition can easily fail in just a few short weeks and months due to the nation’s political structure. Israel’s challenge of multiple political parties, posturing, and disputes unroll while Iranian leaders ramp up their terrorist plots and fanatical ambitions to dominate not only the Middle East but the rest of the world. That includes the United States—in Iran’s words, the “Great Satan.” 

Pro-Israel Christians are alarmed by the current political drama taking place in Israel. Yet this present situation raises serious questions as to how non-Israeli Christians should support Israel during this uncertain time. How do we navigate what goes on internally within Israel? What is our role to play in Israeli politics? And do we even have one?

The primary role of Christians is first and foremost to lay a foundation of prayer for the nation of Israel and its entire population: Jews, Israeli Arabs, Palestinian Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Palestinian Christians, and Druze. However, our prayers must also be followed up with action. We are called to advocate for Israel in our own United States Congress, to oppose anti-Semitism, and to send tangible relief to bless Israel and her people in need. Above all, we must trust God’s promises and provisions—especially since He is the one who reawakened the Jewish homeland into a modern Jewish state. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will fulfill His promises.  

For some background, though, let’s look at these four areas: God’s unending patience, His warnings proven true, the consequences He allowed as teachable moments, and His continual promise-keeping. 

What does the Bible, the most authoritative and popular book in world history, affirm? We do not have to look far to read about Israel’s governmental issues. God first chose Abraham and committed to shaping him and his Jewish generations into a nation that would be a light to the world with redemption and innovative blessings beyond comprehension. God Himself promised to be their King until the Israelites eventually demanded a king through the prophet Samuel. 

Once men took on the mantle of kingship over Israel, the chronicles and stories went sideways. In first person, the prophet Samuel recounts part of the story in 1 Samuel 8:1-9. Samuel was old, his sons were not fit to lead, and his elders visited Samuel to lobby him. In verse 5 they pleaded, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” Samuel was not pleased and prayerfully consulted God. God assured Samuel that his elders were not rejecting him but rejecting God Himself. In verses 8 and 9, God goes on to say, “According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” 

God knew that kings would rule imperfectly. He knew full well that the Israelites’ preferences were going to return to haunt them. Their insistence on their own way is a clear example for us—and all humanity—of our weakness and arrogance in thinking that we are in charge. Even so, God has not rejected Israel, the Jewish people, or those of us who are grafted into the family through the sacrificial blood of our Jewish Messiah. 

Tall, handsome Saul had his chance as the first King to reign. Jealousy, insecurity, and rage consumed him. He then died a terrible death. Along came David, a beloved king, a magnificent musician, and psalmist. The psalms are vehicles of praise, sorrow, majesty, and agony that bless us still. Yet David was also an adulterer who ordered a hit man to murder Bathsheba’s husband. 

Solomon, the developer king and architect of the First Temple, likewise filled the book of Proverbs with wise sayings. We read them today for guidance. Nevertheless, he himself did not act wisely. Later in life, he listened to his many wives and built altars to their gods. The books of 1 and 2 Kings are sad commentaries about the evil kings of Israel’s 10 northern tribes. King Ahab, in particular, was considered the worst king in Jewish history. When he married Jezebel, he aligned with pagan worship, which led to building an altar to Baal. And the southern and northern kingdom rivalries dominated Israel’s political landscape.  

Several examples of Israel’s clashes appear in 1 and 2 Kings:

“Now there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days” (1 Kings 15:16).

“And Zimri went in and struck him and killed him in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place” (1 Kings 16:10).

“For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them” (2 Kings 21:3).

Today, infighting between Jewish groups continues to rage even while the world’s only Jewish nation faces unrelenting threats of war, terrorism, and hostility. The political strife continues even as a rising tide of anti-Semitism sweeps the globe and the world singles out Israel for condemnation, boycott, divestment, and sanctions. No group or nation is immune from infighting and strife, of course—including Christian groups—but we pray for our Jewish friends in Israel as well as all of Israeli society that God would bring peace to the storm and a unified solidarity that will make Israel strong not only to defend itself but also to be a light to the nations.   

In closing, I want to highlight important biblical truths to direct our thinking and to trust God’s sovereignty when it comes to Israel and our role as believers. Despite the wonders and tragedies of Israel’s history, Isaiah 43:1-4 still holds true and in part says, “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life.” While we must pray, act, and give our support to Israel, we must remember that it is God who saves, not us. 

The New Testament reiterates God’s unconditional plans in the brilliant Jewish Apostle Paul’s writing in Romans 9:3-5 under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”

No matter who fills the role of Israel’s prime minister or who joins him in governing the nation, we are called by God to stand with the Jewish state and to bless His chosen people. May we trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the King of Kings—to fulfill His plans and promises concerning Israel. 

Please join CBN Israel this week as we pray for Israel amid the current political turmoil:

  • Pray with thanks that Israel is a parliamentary democracy.
  • Pray that Israel’s political strife and division will move into unity and solidarity.
  • Pray that the Christian community will rightly understand our role and trust the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 
  • Pray that, despite Israel’s political turmoil, their military will keep successfully maintaining the safety of their nation. 
  • Pray for Israel’s leaders—president, prime minister, Knesset and judiciary—for wisdom and right decisions. 

May we remember Amos 9:15, where God makes His intentions toward the people of Israel abundantly clear: “I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them.”

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version.

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 now an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel and has traveled to Israel 25 times. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited by Artist Pat Mercer Hutchens and sits 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

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Holocaust Survivor: Lisa’s Story

“I was seven when we were forced by the Nazis into the ghetto,” Lisa recalled sadly. “Food was very hard to come by, and you’d wake up not knowing if you’d have anything to eat that day. Then each evening, we’d see carts going down the road—filled with the bodies of those who starved to death.” As a little girl, it was a terrifying image she would never forget.

Today, Lisa is a Holocaust survivor living in Israel. During this past year, the COVID-19 lockdowns and forced isolation caused those haunting memories of the Ukrainian ghetto to resurface. 

Lisa still remembers the constant, gnawing hunger—a trauma shared by many Holocaust survivors. Even when restrictions began to lift, she still suffered anxiety that she wouldn’t be able to go grocery shopping, due to her age and risk of catching COVID-19. 

But friends like you were there for her, through CBN Israel. We brought her food and supplies—making sure she was cared for while taking precautions to keep her safe. “It’s amazing that you would want to do this for me. It helps put my mind at ease, and I’m so grateful for it,” Lisa exclaimed. “It means everything to know that you remember us. May God bless you!” 

Your gift to CBN Israel can reach out with groceries and essentials to many other Holocaust survivors, single moms, refugees, immigrant families, and more. You can let them know that they are not alone.

And your support can bring humanitarian aid to those in crisis—while also broadcasting CBN News reports from the Holy Land and producing documentary films that share Israel’s untold stories. Help us bless this special land!


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Biblical Israel: Shrine of the Book

By Marc Turnage

The discovery at Qumran of the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 required a suitable place to house them. The American Jewish architects Armand Bartos and Frederic Kiesler were tasked with designing a home for the scrolls at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. On April 20, 1965, the Shrine of the Book was dedicated. 

This landmark of modern architecture incorporated elements of the story of the scrolls as well as the community responsible for them to create a special building that symbolized a sanctuary. The architecture of the building seeks to convey the spiritual meanings of light and darkness and rebirth. The Shrine of the Book sits on the campus of the Israel Museum, which is next to Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, key government offices, and the Jewish National Library at the Hebrew University’s Giv’at Ram campus. Its location among institutions of government, history, art, and learning, give it a national importance. Moreover, it acknowledges the Bible and ancient Judaism and their importance to the State of Israel. 

The buildings architecture incorporates several features that seek to tell the story of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The unique white dome of the Shrine of the Book embodies the lid of the jars in which the first scrolls were found. Opposite the whited dome, under which is housed the Dead Sea Scrolls, stands a black wall. The contrast, white and black, symbolize light and darkness two themes that play prominently within the sectarian scrolls of the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

One must walk through the black wall to make your way to where the scrolls are housed under the white dome, passing through a tunnel that looks like a cave, but also symbolizes a birthing canal. The idea being that one passes from darkness to light in an act of rebirth. Cases line the walls of this tunnel with scroll fragments and other artifacts discovered at the site of Qumran, which sits on the northwest corner of the Dead Sea. This display seeks to convey daily life at Qumran. 

Passing through the tunnel, one enters underneath the white dome. At the center of the hall, in a case built to represent the handle of the rod used for rolling and unrolling a Torah scroll while one reads, sits a facsimile of the Isaiah Scroll. This scroll, found in Cave 1 at Qumran, contains the complete book of Isaiah. The manuscript of this scroll was written around 100 B.C. In cases around the room are portions of actual Dead Sea Scrolls, the Community Rule, Thanksgiving Hymns, Habakkuk Commentary, and Isaiah from Cave 1, and the Temple Scroll from Cave 11. 

Below the display of the Isaiah Scroll is a lower level that houses a display of the Aleppo Codex. The Aleppo Codex was originally written in Tiberias, Israel in the 10th century A.D. The Aleppo Codex is the Old Testament-Hebrew Bible in book form. Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it provided the earliest Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Its text contains traditions of pronunciation, spelling, punctuation, and cantillation handed down within the Jewish community and formalized in the codex by scholars known as “Masoretes.” The Aleppo Codex traveled from Tiberias to Egypt, and then later to Aleppo, Syria. It was smuggled into Israel in the 1950s. 

The Dead Sea Scrolls provide the single most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century. They offer an unparalleled window into the world of ancient Judaism, as well as the history and transmission of the Hebrew Bible-Old Testament.

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

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Weekly Devotional: Obedience Through Suffering

“During His earthly life, He [Jesus] offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Though He was God’s Son, He [Jesus] learned obedience through what He suffered” (Hebrews 5:7-8 HCSB).

Our faith has run off the rails. Somewhere within western Christianity we’ve come to believe that God is more concerned with our comfort than our calling. We often forget that even Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered. That’s sobering.

What makes us think that we are entitled to live a life completely free of pain or difficulty? God did not even spare His own son trials, pain, and sufferings. In fact, He used trials and suffering to teach His son faithful obedience. God could have saved Him, but He didn’t. Jesus had a lesson to learn—obedience—so God allowed Him to walk through suffering.

Our faith often places us (mankind) at the center. We can be deceived into thinking God only desires us to be comfortable and happy. In that sort of economy, God exists for me. I am the subject, and He is the object. The Bible, however, does not view the world in such a manner. God is king. He makes the rules; we don’t. I exist to live for Him.

He has my ultimate best interest in mind, but His goal reaches beyond me. He receives the glory. He is the subject, and I am the object. He will teach me obedience—which is His ultimate desire for my life—even through suffering and difficulty.

We tend to equate our inconvenience with suffering. It’s not. We do not suffer when we are inconvenienced. The denial of my perceived rights does not mean I’m suffering. Our faith desperately needs a healthy theology of suffering, because through suffering Jesus learned obedience to His Father. His suffering did not mean God didn’t love Him. No, it meant His earnest submission to His Father’s will, way, and rule.

The author of Hebrews continued, “and being made perfect.” How? Through His sufferings. Jesus “became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him [God]” (Hebrews 5:9 HCSB). Jesus’ sufferings made Him perfect, and they made Him the source of salvation for everyone who obeys God. God can perfect us too through our sufferings, if we submit to Him. Moreover, our obedience to Him offers a conduit for others to come to Him.

Why should God save us from the lessons He taught His only son? As long as our faith focuses upon ourselves, we will never mature, nor will we learn the lessons God has for us. If we truly follow Jesus, we too will submit to the lessons God seeks to teach us, even in pain or suffering. Our refusal to do so indicates our ultimate rejection of following Jesus.


Father, You loved Your son Jesus dearly, and yet You taught Him obedience through suffering. Lord, teach us too. May we submit to Your will in all we say and do, and in every circumstance. Amen.

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What Would World Health Look Like Without Jewish Medical Discoveries? 

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Older Americans will recall the panic when polio struck their children, either crippling them or resulting in their deaths. In 1952, 58,000 new cases broke out in the United States and more than 3,000 children died. Polio dominated the minds of fearful parents. Enter Dr. Jonas Salk, who in 1953 announced a vaccine for the dreaded poliomyelitis. 

When the vaccine became widely available, Dr. Salk was called a “miracle worker.” At the time, Dr. Salk was director of the Virus Research Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Salk, who later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was Jewish—a first-generation American. 

As a Jewish medical pioneer, Dr. Salk is not alone. In fact, his medical breakthrough is accompanied by outsized Jewish innovations in all five of the Nobel Prize categories including Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine, Literature, and Peace. Between 1901 and 2020, 228 Jews have been awarded Nobel Prizes out of more than 900 in the world. That is 25 percent of prizes. In the U.S. alone, with a 2 percent Jewish citizenry, Jews account for 40 percent of Nobels awarded in science and health.

In his 1895 will, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel codified the award: “to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.” Certainly, the Jewish community’s shining stars of innovation qualify. 

In his book, The Super Achievers, Ronald Gerstl offers impressive statistics about Jewish Nobel Prize winners in science and health. Of the planet’s roughly 7.9 billion people, 24% of all Nobel prizes in science and medicine have been bestowed on Jews. It is frankly astonishing to realize the worldwide Jewish population is only around 14 million. It is estimated that their combined discoveries have saved 2.8 billion lives. 

That includes Abel Wolman, pioneer of modern sanitary engineering, who worked for the Maryland State Health Department in the early 1900s. He helped perfect water purification by experimenting with chlorine. Typhoid cases fell by 92% and untreated drinking water dropped to practically zero. Advising countries worldwide, Wolman and his chlorination process brought safe drinking water to many millions. 

How can we explain the innovative triumphs within the Jewish community? For Christians we refer to the Bible, which establishes God’s designation of the Jews as His chosen people. After all, God chose Jewish scribes to transmit His words to the world. Yet God gave us even more than written words. He gave us Jesus, our Jewish Savior, the Word, the Living Torah. John describes Him in his Gospel (chapter 1:1): “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” 

God called Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants—the Jewish people—to serve as a light to the nations and to be a blessing to the rest of the world. In modern day Jewish culture, this core value is both taught and practiced as the concept of Tikun Olam, which is Hebrew for “repairing the world.” Joining with God in bring healing and repair to the world is woven into the Jewish identity and ethos. It is their mission as a people and as a nation. 

Understanding the above concept may help explain how Israel’s Jewish medical community is willing to admit and treat Palestinian and Hamas leaders and family members in their hospitals. Examples of such humanity abound. Here are a few. 

In 2014, when Israel was forced to defend its citizens from 10,000 rockets during Operation Cast Lead, the daughter of Hamas terrorist leader Ismail Haniyeh was treated at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, as were his mother-in-law and granddaughter. During last month’s barrage of thousands of rockets on Israeli civilians, Haniyeh’s niece was treated for a bone marrow transplant while hospitalized in Tel Aviv. 

Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1994 to 2006, voiced his unabashed hatred toward Jews for years in his sermons on the Jewish Temple Mount. One of his frequent slanderous remarks was, “But we know the Jew is planning on destroying the Haram [Al-Aqsa Mosque]. The Jew will get the Christian to do his work for him. This is the way of the Jews. This is the way Satan manifests himself.” Yet, when Sabri needed heart surgery, he wanted it performed at “Zionist-run” Hadassah Hospital. After Jewish doctors saved his life, he returned to spewing hatred and incitement. Israel’s foes worldwide might want to wonder why Sabri trusted the Jewish doctors not to murder him on the surgery table. He is still alive.

And a final example: Israeli hospitals have treated Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and his wife several times. All the while, his Palestinian media keeps promoting lies. Palestinian Media Watch, which monitors and translates Palestinian media reported on PA TV, “Member of Parliament Naftali Bennett, head of the Yemina party and self-declared candidate for prime minister, is doing to the Palestinians what ‘Eichmann did to the Jews of Austria.’” (Adolph Eichmann, of course, was one of the masterminds of Nazi genocide.) Abbas could shut this down immediately since he is a dictator. 

In one of the clearest possible differences between humanitarian Israel and hate-filled terrorists, Hamas sent a young Palestinian woman, Wafa Samir Ibrahim Bas, to Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, Israel, in 2005 for lifesaving treatments. They armed her, hiding 20 pounds of explosives in her clothing. Her goal was not to get well but to die while murdering the doctors treating her. Thankfully, she was apprehended at the Erez Crossing and later sentenced to 12 years in prison in a compassionate move based on her being forced to carry out a terrorist act. 

Saying that Palestinian leaders are not grateful for Israeli cures and surgeries is an understatement. Nor are they grateful for convoys of semis filled with humanitarian aid even when Israel is under fire. Not only is gratitude missing in action, but hypocrisy is rampant. The elite are treated in Israeli hospitals—along with many ordinary Palestinians—yet the leadership’s neglect of its Palestinian populations is a result of misused monies to improve their lives.  

We live in an Isaiah 5:20 world: “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.” 

Yet, Israel forges ahead with Tikun Olam. Pause for a moment to understand the determination and impact of ongoing Israeli blessings to the world despite 24/7 terror on one of their three borders. Consider how your family, friends, and world benefit from the last hundred years of their outsized accomplishments as indicated by their trove of Nobel prizes. 

Here are just a couple more. An Israeli device won the 2021 MedTech Breakthrough Award. Theranica, the parent company, developed its Nerivio drug-free product—the first smartphone-controlled wearable that treats severe migraines. 

Abigail Klein Leichman, associate editor at, reported on May 2, 2021, that a company called Patternox was working on a skin cancer treatment—“an optical scanner to detect suspicious light patterns in lesions long before changes can be seen on the skin’s surface.” She also reported on Ziv Medical Center in Safed (Tzfat), which is using drones to deliver essential medical tests, medicines, blood, and equipment. It is the first hospital to use medical drones. Bypassing earthbound traffic jams, the drones can deliver their lifesaving cargo in half the time it would take by road. (By the way, is an excellent site to read about all Israel’s world-blessing innovations.) 

There is a terrible, continuing terror reality for Israelis. Gaza itself, and other terrorist-run locations, are robbed of multimillions donated to terrorist leaders but used instead to build rockets, dig terror tunnels, and spew hatred and propaganda on its media. During the last war, Hamas even stopped the water supply for Gaza so they could use the water pipes to build rockets. 

Let us pray that someday, terror leaders will abandon their hateful priorities and decide to use the millions donated to them for excellent healthcare in Gaza and the Palestinian territories rather than oppressing their own populations and Israelis. Until then, I am confident that Israelis will remain in their posture of Tikun Olam. 

And what would our world be like without Jewish medical contributions? Untold millions dying from waterborne diseases due to unsafe water. More parents grieving deaths of their young children due to polio. More sadness and sorrow would have infected the hearts and minds of too many people to count. Our praises and thanks to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for depositing many extra doses of brilliance into His Jewish people who have blessed our world!

Please join CBN Israel in prayer this week for the people and nation of Israel:

  • Pray with thankfulness that God has truly blessed His chosen people in order that they would be a blessing to the rest of the world.
  • Pray that Israel and the Jewish people would continue to be a light to the nations. 
  • Pray that countless stories of Israel’s people taking part in Tikun Olam will spread throughout the world rather than the vicious lies and slander.
  • Pray that Christians will rise up and join orgs like CBN Israel who are committed to reaching millions worldwide with the true story of Israel and the Jewish people.
  • Pray for us to learn how to effectively join God in the redemptive story He is telling through His chosen people.

Reams of paper stacked miles high could not contain all that God has given the world through His people. Nations around the globe can be grateful for the many contributions farsighted and innovative Israelis have provided the world.

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 now an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel and has traveled to Israel 25 times. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited by Artist Pat Mercer Hutchens and sits 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

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Life-saving Bomb Shelter: Gil’s Story

Imagine waiting at a bus stop and suddenly hearing a bomb siren—with only 15 seconds to find shelter. Tragically, this is the trauma many Israelis face today, and it is taking its toll. 

Israel is no stranger to war and terrorism. The Israeli communities next to Hamas-ruled Gaza have endured years of rocket attacks from across the border. But the recent barrage has put the entire nation in the crosshairs and focused the world’s attention on their plight. 

Most Israeli apartments and homes are built with bomb shelters, which give residents added comfort to have a “safe place” of refuge. And the government does what it can to provide security for all who live there. Yet in rural border towns like Yesha, with growing communities, it has been difficult to keep up with the demand for outdoor emergency shelters. 

But friends like you were there in Yesha for Gil, a dad struggling with PTSD. He agonized over his children’s safety whenever he let them go to the local playground. CBN Israel installed a bomb shelter there, and in other vulnerable areas. Gil recalled, “Now with the bomb shelter at the playground, it is much easier for me to let them go and have fun being kids. Words cannot express how much this means to us, and the peace of mind this bomb shelter provides.”

And CBN Israel is helping many other terror victims, lonely refugees, and families in need—providing encouragement and generous aid.

At this crucial time in the Holy Land, your support can be a lifeline to those who are in crisis. You can bring groceries, financial assistance, safe housing, job training, and more—while sharing vital news and stories from Jerusalem. 

Please join us in blessing Israel and her people in need!

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Biblical Israel: Temple Mount

By Marc Turnage

The Golden Dome of the Rock provides one of the most iconic and recognizable images of any city’s skyline within the world. The Islamic shrine completed in A.D. 692 by the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik stands upon the platform of the Temple Mount, which was constructed during the first centuries B.C. and A.D. The Temple Mount refers to the platform and complex upon which stood the Temple constructed by Herod the Great. This was the Temple known to Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Peter, and Paul. It stood on the northern end of the eastern hill of Jerusalem, what the Bible calls Mount Zion. 

Around 1000 B.C., David conquered the Jebusite city of Jerusalem and the stronghold of Zion, which sat on the eastern hill. He made this the capital of his united kingdom, Israel. When his son, Solomon, succeeded his father as king, he extended the city to the northern height of the eastern hill where he built his palace, administrative buildings, and the House of the God of Israel, the First Temple. This building remained situated on the height of the eastern hill until the Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed it in 586 B.C. The Babylonians carried the Judeans into exile. When they returned to the land around Jerusalem, they rebuilt the Temple, under Zerubbabel. This building underwent renovations and additions in the subsequent centuries; however, our knowledge of this is limited due to the absence of clear descriptions within ancient sources and a lack of archaeological excavation in the area of the Temple Mount.

In the eighteenth year of Herod the Great’s reign as king of Judea, he began a massive remodeling and reconstruction of the Temple area, which ultimately resulted in the construction of the Temple Mount. The construction, which continued into the first century A.D., after Herod’s death in 4 B.C., created a series of four retaining walls that supported the platform, which covered the high point of the eastern hill turning it into the largest enclosed sacred space within the Roman world. The main portion of construction took nine-and-a-half years. Herod apparently oversaw the building of the Temple building, which stood twice the height of the golden Dome of the Rock, and the remodeling of the sacred precincts, an area of five hundred cubits square, during his lifetime. 

The heart of the Temple Mount was the Temple building and the surrounding sacred complex, which including the Court of the Women, the Court of the Israelites, the Chambers of Wood, Oil, Lepers, and Nazirites. Inside the Temple building was the Holy Place, which housed the golden lampstand (the menorah), the Table of Shewbread, and the altar of incense. Beyond the Holy Place was the Holies of Holies, which was entered only by the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement.

The construction of the Temple Mount continued into the first century as the southern and northern portions of the platform expanded. The four retaining walls of the Temple Mount contained gates that offered access onto the Temple Mount platform. The northern retaining wall contained the Tadi Gate, which rabbinic sources claim was not used at all. The Shushan Gate stood on the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, of which portions seem to predate Herod, and it was lower than the other walls that surrounded the Temple Mount. 

The present eastern gate, known as the Golden Gate (or in Arabic, the Mercy Gate) was built much later than the first century. It was sealed, like most of the gates onto the Temple Mount by the Crusader, Knights Templar, who made the Temple Mount their headquarters. The western retaining wall had four gates. Two were upper and two lower, and they alternated lower and upper. The northernmost gate opened onto a street that ran alongside the western retaining wall. Today it is known as Warren’s Gate (named after the British explorer, Charles Warren, who found the gate). 

In the first century an arched bridge spanned from the western hill to the western wall of the Temple Mount. This bridge conveyed an aqueduct that provided water for the Temple worship. The bridge and the arched gateway that provided access onto the Temple Mount were identified by Charles Wilson in the nineteenth century and bear his name today. Today a portion of the western retaining wall serves as the prayer plaza of the Western Wall, a functioning synagogue, a site holy for Jews. In the women’s section of the Western Wall remains of a third gate can be seen. This gate, known as Barclay’s gate, after the American missionary, James Barclay, who discovered it, also provided access to the street that ran along the western wall. 

The fourth and final gate also offered another elevated access onto the Temple Mount platform. It was supported by a large arch with steps that ascended the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount. The arch, which was the largest arch in the Roman world at the time of its construction, is known as Robinson’s Arch, bearing the name of the American Edward Robinson who identified the spring of the arch, which is all that remains. The southern entrances of the Temple Mount served the majority of Jewish pilgrims who came to Jerusalem for the festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Two large double gates stood at the top of stairs providing access up a ramp onto the Temple Mount platform. Pilgrims entered on the right of the two gates and exited through the left two gates unless they were in mourning. If they were in mourning, they went the opposite direction in order to receive comfort from their fellow worshipers. 

The western and southern retaining walls were built in the first century A.D. Their construction enlarged the Temple Mount platform to the south, which created a large court outside of the sacred precincts. They also supported a large colonnaded structure that stood on the southern end of the Temple Mount known as the Royal Stoa. 

Herod’s Temple and the surround complexes were destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. During the second and third centuries a pagan shrine stood on the Temple Mount. During the period of the Christian Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, a couple of churches stood on the Temple Mount. With the coming of Islam in the seventh century, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque were constructed. These two buildings stand on top of the Temple Mount until today.

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

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