Victim of Terrorism: Zeev’s Story

How sobering it is to know that we are witnessing the last generation of Holocaust survivors in Israel. Most are in their 90s, and many came to their ancestral homeland following the horrific events of World War II. They were broken but determined to fight the war of Israel’s birth and independence—straight from the ashes of Europe. And this is our last opportunity to bless and serve them. 

Life is still a struggle for these aging seniors, even with government benefits. For instance, Zeev is a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor in Israel. He still remembers the bombing of his Ukraine town when he was 10, being taken to a concentration camp—and not knowing for two years that his mother was in the same camp until they were reunite by chance. 

Today, Zeev lives in the city of Sderot. His wife died five years ago, and he lives alone. Zeev endured a terrible scare when his apartment was hit by a missile attack from Gaza. Basic repairs were made, but more work was needed. Thankfully, you were there to help. Zeev belongs to a congregation that partners with CBN Israel to offer aid to Holocaust survivors and terror victims—and they told us about Zeev’s plight. 

We provided a special grant to make needed repairs and repaint his apartment, making it safe and clean. Zeev is grateful, saying, “Thank you so much for your help, and for enabling me to live in a much better living space, and breathe cleaner air!”

And your gift to CBN Israel can bless many other Holocaust survivors, terror victims, refugees, and single mothers, who need our assistance to survive. Your support is urgently needed as we reach out with food, housing, and financial aid to those in need. 

Please help us extend God’s love to those who are hurting!


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Biblical Israel: Avdat

By Marc Turnage

Located in the modern Negev Desert on the spur of a mountain ridge, overlooking the plain around the canyon of En Avdat (the “Spring of Avdat”), sits the ancient ruins of the Nabatean city of Avdat. Avdat sits along the ancient caravan routes that crossed the barren lands from Elat (ancient Aila) on the Gulf of Aqaba, and Petra, the Nabatean capital in the Transjordan, to the Mediterranean coast and the port city of Gaza. 

The Nabateans, a nomadic people, immigrated out of the Arabian Peninsula, and in the period of the New Testament, their kingdom stretched from southern Syria to the northern Hijaz in the Arabian Peninsula. Their capital was Petra, in the south of the modern Kingdom of Jordan. Although the land of their kingdom was vast, they had few urban centers. They controlled the trade and caravan routes through the Transjordan, including those that extended west to the Mediterranean coast. Their ability to travel through the dry desert regions, in part by using their caravansaries, like Avdat, enabled them to acquire a great degree of wealth. 

In the New Testament, Herod Antipas, who beheaded John the Baptist, was originally married to a Nabatean princess, the daughter of the Nabatean king Aretas IV. He divorced her in order to marry Herodias, the wife of his brother with whom he had an adulterous affair (Luke 3:19-20).

Avdat was originally settled at the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century B.C. as a station on the caravan routes. By the end of the first century B.C. and into the first century A.D., Avdat had become a religious, military, and commercial center. Nabatean shrines were located at the site. 

The Roman annexation of the Nabatean kingdom into Provincia Arabia in A.D. 106 did not hurt Avdat. In fact, the second and third centuries A.D. saw the site flourish, as both agriculture and herding became part of the local economy. With the rise of Christianity in the fourth century A.D., two churches and a monastery were built on the site replacing the pagan shrines. Avdat relied upon the cultivation and production of a fine variety of grapes and wine during the Byzantine period. The site was abandoned in A.D. 636 with the Arab conquest. 

The earliest periods of settlement left little in terms of remains, especially a lack of architectural remains. Coins and imported pottery provide the main discoveries on the site from the fourth century B.C. to the early first century B.C. During the first century, public buildings were erected on the site including a shrine (temple) where the Nabatean pantheon were worshipped. 

Although not mentioned in the New Testament, Avdat and the Nabateans stood on the edge of the New Testament world. Herod the Great’s mother likely belonged to the Nabatean aristocracy, if not the royal family. We already mentioned the wife of Antipas. Throughout the first century, the Herodian lands came into conflict with Nabatean territory, which sets the backdrop for life in the region.

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: Finding God in the Ordinary

“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 NKJV).

We usually approach our Bible reading hoping to find something for our “spiritual” lives, but the Bible is not always “spiritual” in the way this word is often understood.

Many of the stories and wisdom sayings of the Bible represent the everyday reality of the people living in ancient Israel and Judah. They are not innately religious, but they can help us embrace a more holistic form of “spirituality” that encompasses all aspects of our lives.

And this, in part, provides the opportunity to teach us about biblical spirituality. It penetrated everyday life—the common, ordinary existence of the people. It did not solely pertain to those moments of religious practice and observance, but offered regular, commonsense wisdom. The book of Ecclesiastes is filled with this.

Ecclesiastes has an abrupt and abrasive outlook and message. The Teacher has sought understanding and wisdom and concludes that it really does not matter, since the end of everyone is the same. Along the way of his discovery, he shares practical wisdom. Our text for today offers one example.

His message: Do not sit idle waiting for the right moment or the right time. If the farmer waited for the proper wind, he would never sow. If he tries to time the rains, he won’t have seed in the soil when the rain comes because he waited for the proper moment.

The Teacher notes that the only way one can ensure he or she will prosper is to practice industry all day, sow in the morning and in the evening do not sit idle, for no one knows what will work, The Bible encourages a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility. This probably derived from the people living in a world where existence required daily effort and attention.

But even after the farmer labored sowing his seed and reaping his harvest, he blessed God who brought food from the earth. The farmer viewed God as being part of the common and ordinary aspects of his life.

So, too, our lives offer us the opportunity to continually invite God into our everyday moments. The writer of Ecclesiastes certainly viewed our labor, our work, and all of life as being spiritual. Why? Because God wants to be involved in our daily lives, and we are invited to welcome Him into all aspects of our existence.


Father, as we labor today and live our lives, may our work and energy be pleasing before You. May we seize every moment and bless You for all that You provide. Amen.

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UN Human Rights Council Pushes “Human Wrongs” Against Israel 

By Arlene Bridges Samuels 

The United Nations initiated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 after the Nazi genocide of six million Jews. Its words affirmed the dignity of all world citizens, regardless of who or what they were or where they lived. Indeed, it was a fine and desperately needed effort to coax the world into a common bond of cooperation after the 20th century’s devastations in World War I and World War II.  

Today, 47 countries sit on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The founding goals of the UNHRC have faded into a pattern of outright hypocrisy and hatred against Israel. The fact is 59% of the Council’s membership is made up of nations governed by dictatorships of varying degrees, with some of the world’s most oppressive human rights violators: China, Cuba, Libya, and Venezuela. 

The United Nations Human Rights Council is an example of Isaiah 5:20: “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.” That’s because under the UNHRC, the emphasis on protecting “human rights” has unfortunately been turned into inflicting “human wrongs—not only against Jews and Israel but by neglecting millions of suffering humans in countries run by dictators. 

Just consider: Since 2015, UNHRC has passed 219 resolutions against Israel—but exactly zero against China, Cuba, Libya, and Venezuela. Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, rightly diagnoses it as a “pathological obsession” against the world’s only Jewish state. The non-profit organization tracks United Nations policies and actions with a focus on accountability. UN Watch is important in codifying a clear, factual understanding of the unreliable, inept, and often treacherous nature of the United Nations. 

How do nations that violate the human rights of their own citizens end up on the UNHRC? Every year, the U.N. General Assembly holds elections where nations are voted into three-year alternating terms. Their guidelines are determined by something they call the United Nations Regional Grouping System. The regional groups are designated African, Asia/Pacific, Eastern European, Latin American/Caribbean, and Western European/Others. The guidelines are based on what they call the “equitable geographic rotation.”

Therein lies the problem. “Equitable” can be a positive word, meaning “dealing fairly and equally with all concerned.” But in cases of right, wrong, and common sense, it falls far short of producing the right results. “Equity” assumes that all involved will operate from a desire to achieve the best values for everyone. 

Unfortunately, UNHRC membership is not based on whether the nations are democratic or have a good track record with their own citizens. Andrei Sakharov, Russian nuclear physicist, then dissident and Nobel Prize winner summed it up best: “A country which does not respect the rights of its own citizens will not respect the rights of its neighbors.” 

Unlike the United Nations, Israel since its modern inception in 1948 has maintained a parliamentary democracy for its 1.5 million Arab citizens, as well as Druze and Christian citizens and the Jewish majority. Israel guarantees freedom for the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Israel has prospered with innovations, a larger Jewish population returning to their ancestral homeland, and a nation that is active in the betterment of the world. 

Nevertheless, Israel has had to fight off eight wars, two Palestinian Intifadas (uprisings), and three defensive armed conflicts with Gaza terrorists. Israel’s borders with Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria are hotbeds of strife, with weapons stockpiled by the Iranian Imams who are the skilled and hateful puppeteers of anti-Israel terror. These continuous threats against Israel have resulted in their need to develop an enormously skilled military to survive—and to protect the nation that only longs for peace. 

Iran’s threats are well known; the nation’s leaders consistently broadcast their goal to destroy Israel. Now, they are ramping up their uranium enrichment to the highest levels ever. They are testing the Biden administration in many ways. The Middle East is decidedly changing with President Joe Biden’s efforts to be accommodating, efforts that portray only weakness. His administration’s highly controversial pursuit of restarting the flawed Iran deal is opposed not only by Israel but also by Arab states in the region. The accomplishments of the Abraham Accords are expanding between the signatories, but nervousness is evident as Israel and the Arab Gulf States wonder what President Biden will undermine next. 

For example, he has restored contributions to the Palestinian Authority, thus undoing U.S. bipartisan legislation. The Taylor Force Act prohibits U.S. contributions to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for paying compensation to terrorists who murder Jews and Americans. The PA has not stopped these payouts or their hateful public incitement since the March 2016 attack that killed former U.S. Army officer Taylor Force. Additionally, the U.N.’s habit of decrying Israel’s “terrible” treatment of Palestinians is inexplicably matched only with silence when it comes to the more than 200,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon—where they languish in poverty, are denied citizenship, and allowed only low-level jobs. 

In addition to the silence about Palestinians in Lebanon, the UNHRC still focuses on the theme of self-determination for the Palestinian people in Israel. As well they should! Once again in 2020, their agenda item on the issue laid the blame for lack of self-determination at Israel’s doorstep. 

Self-determination bespeaks of freedom, and the Palestinians surely need it. Yet, the UNHRC ignores Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s governing style, what I describe as a “soft dictatorship.” The 85-year-old Abbas has held office since 2005. It was a four-year term. He finally announced an election scheduled for May 22 after 15 years in office. He has now canceled new elections again in a decade-long habit of finding excuses to blame Israel. The real reason—according to many in the know, including the Arab press—is the level of infighting among Palestinians. 

With elevated concerns about Iran in the Middle East and the UNHRC, President Biden’s new Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, will hopefully be well served with her notable 35-year State Department resume. When the Senate confirmed her, the New York Times crowed in its headline, “Diplomacy Is Back.’’ It was a backhanded slap to Donald Trump’s two excellent appointees, Nikki Haley and Kelly Craft. Neither had State Department credentials but both were fully armed with smart, keen common sense and courage, especially regarding support for Israel and calling out the hypocrisy of the dictators filling the U.N. hallways. 

Other troubling decisions are cropping up within the U.N. In February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke at a UNHRC meeting announcing that the U.S. will rejoin the group. Trump withdrew from UNHRC in 2018 due to its heavy-handed anti-Semitic policies. It is frustrating that, in joining up again, Biden has thus far not stipulated that funding cannot be used to promote hostility toward Jews in the educational curriculum and programs for Palestinian children. 

Lastly, among a growing list of concerns, UN Watch reported a secret ballot that elected Iran to the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women. When asked about it at the State Department press briefing on April 30, spokesperson Ned Price did not condemn the vote but repeatedly declined to answer whether the Biden administration voted in favor of Iran. UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer observed, “Electing the Islamic Republic of Iran to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief.”

CBN Israel invites you to stay tuned to our news reports for timely updates and join us in prayer this week:

  • Pray for the Biden administration. 2 Peter 3:17 cautions: “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.”
  • Pray for Hillel Neuer at UN Watch for success and strength.
  • Pray for wisdom and safety for Gilad Erdan, currently serving in a dual role as Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. and Ambassador to the U.S. 
  • Pray for Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., for good judgment and discernment.
  • Pray for families and friends of 45 Israelis who died in a tragic stampede at a religious festival last week in northern Israel. Include the many hospitalized.

One can only hope and pray that the United Nations can return to its 1948 original intent: to restore the dignity of all the world’s citizens. 

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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Biblical Israel: Shiloh

By Marc Turnage

Shiloh served as the place where the Israelites erected the Tabernacle and placed the Ark of the Covenant after they conquered the land (Joshua 18:1). It became a place for religious pilgrimage and the celebration of festivals (Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 1:3). The parents of Samuel, Hannah and Elkana, came to Shiloh and encountered the priest Eli, who delivered God’s promise to Hannah’s prayer that she would give birth to a son (1 Samuel 1). Then, when Samuel came of age, she brought him to serve the Lord and Eli at Shiloh, and, at Shiloh, God revealed himself to Samuel (1 Samuel 3:21). 

News of the capture of the Ark by the Philistines reached Eli in Shiloh, as well as the death of his sons, Hophni and Phineas (1 Samuel 4). Shiloh apparently suffered a destruction, not mentioned directly in the Bible, prior to the period of David and Solomon because, when the Ark returns to Israel (1 Samuel 6), the people did not return it to Shiloh, and the prophet Jeremiah mentions its destruction in his oracle against Jerusalem and the Temple: “Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel…therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your ancestors, just what I did to Shiloh” (7:12, 14; 26:6, 9).

Shiloh sits about twenty-five miles north of Jerusalem. The book of Judges provides a clear description of its location: “north of Bethel, on the east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah” (Judges 21:19). Shiloh, then, sat on the primary north-south roadway that ran through the central hill country. Other well-known biblical towns and villages also resided along this roadway, Hebron, Bethlehem, Gibeah, Ramah, Mizpah, Bethel, Shiloh, and Shechem. Jerusalem sits just to the east of this road. 

Excavations of the site of Shiloh revealed a destruction layer caused by a fierce fire in the eleventh century B.C., which coincides with the period of the priesthood of Eli, Samuel, and the capture of the Ark. The destruction of Shiloh likely coincided with the Philistine victory against the Israelites, which resulted in the Ark’s capture. Excavations also attest in this period that Shiloh served as a religious and economic center. 

The Tabernacle and Ark remained at Shiloh for a long period of time prior to the city’s destruction. Although a small settlement appears in the latter part of the monarchy, it never had the importance that it previously had. In Jeremiah’s oracle, it became an object lesson for those who thought the mere presence of God’s dwelling place insulated the people from his judgement and destruction. What mattered to Him was obedience; if you don’t believe Him, just go and look at Shiloh.

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: Coming in Last to Serve God Best

“For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things” (1 Corinthians 4:9-13 NKJV).

The striking image Paul chose to use to describe apostles, as being exhibited last, like men sentenced to die, came from the victory processions within the ancient world, and particularly those of the Roman Empire.

After an army won a great battle or war, the conquering general led a victory procession through the streets of the capital city. Following the general’s chariot and soldiers came the spoils of war, and last of all came the prisoners of war, whose fate usually resulted in death.

In fact, as part of the victory ceremony upon arriving at the end of the procession, they often executed many of the prisoners of war. Not a very noble position or end. Yet Paul compared God’s exhibition of apostles to such a situation.

He continues contrasting the situation of the apostles with the Corinthian believers. The apostles are weak, fools, held in disrepute. They find themselves poor, yet they respond to the abuse of others with blessing. The lives of the apostles contrast with everything people tend to want in life: material substance, favor among people, a life of peace and ease.

So why did Paul choose to remain faithful to such a life? Because he understood that the best way to serve God means being last, for God will reverse the current situation of things and the last will become first. Paul understood that his faithfulness in the midst of the present reality meant future reward and blessing from God. In other words, Paul remained faithful because he kept the end in sight.

Being an apostle or prophet in the Bible was not a pleasant experience. It often meant ridicule and revilement. It meant losing in the present to win in the end. It meant sacrificing the desires of the present for obedience to God’s ultimate plans and purposes.

This is a very different outlook than our modern world has. It’s a very different outlook than many in our churches have, including some of our leaders. If your prayer is genuinely to serve God best, then trust Him with your life even if it means hardship and suffering on this side of eternity.


Father, we trust our lives into Your hands. We are Your servants, and so do with as You please. May we serve You best, even if it means our discomfort and foolishness. Amen.

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When Evil Demands an Encore, Stop It in Its Tracks

By Arlene Bridges Samuels 

In 1925, Hitler’s book Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) was published, containing the script for Hitler’s genocidal plan. He wrote it while serving only nine months of a five-year sentence for attempting to overthrow the German Republic in 1923. It began in a beer hall. German beer halls not only served up beer but drew crowds for political debates and rallies. While his coup—the Beer Hall Putsch—was unsuccessful, Hitler’s prison-penned book set the stage for the unimaginable evils that followed.

When the Allies liberated the European concentration camps 20 years later, “Never Again” grew into a horrified watchword as the shocking results of the Jewish genocide fully came to light. Nations around the world solemnly assured one another, “Never again!”

Yet, unbelievably, between 1945 and today “Never again” has become “Now again.” Anti-Semitism is making another appearance on many world stages. As British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paraphrased philosopher George Santayana, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it,” an admonition that we would do well to heed.

For us in the Christian community, 1 Peter 5:8 describes the challenge in this way: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This verse not only applies to our personal spiritual lives but also pertains to our testimony as Jesus’ followers who care for the well-being of others.

Indeed, the lion of anti-Semitism is loose and prowling right here in the United States.

Hopefully, the Christian community will be “alert and sober,” especially with the April 2021 release of the Family Research Council (FRC) analysis, “The Resurgence of History’s Oldest Hatred.” Authored by Christopher Gacek and Lela Gilbert, the report is a wake-up call. We must not be an audience sitting back watching the evil encore play out; we ourselves must become actors opposing anti-Semitism wherever we see it in our own nation.

FRC’s research covers the last year-and-a-half of incidents in the U.S. Most of us are aware of daily anti-Semitism aimed at and within the Jewish state. Yet anti-Semitism is not just “over there.” The FRC analysis identifies four kinds of anti-Semitism in the United States: hard-right political, black separatist, Islam-based, and hard-left political. No matter where it exists, it is unacceptable—whether it is verbal abuse, property destruction, assault, or murder. 

The FRC report highlights 100 sample cases since January 2020, but the total number of incidents is far higher. FBI tracking shows that anti-Semitism is increasing. Their statistics note that incidents “hovered around 625 in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Since then, the total climbed precipitously to 953 anti-Jewish incidents in 2019 when they constituted 62.7 percent of all religion-focused incidents.” 

The FRC report shows that anti-Semitism comes in many different forms. We have seen anti-Semitic graffiti at synagogues. Groups that carry Nazi flags, or wear “6MWE” T-shirts, meaning “Six Million Wasn’t Enough.” A Jewish high school student being told that “all Jews and Israelis deserve to go to hell.” Saturday Night Live got in on the anti-Semitism in a parody: “Israel is reporting that they vaccinated half their population, and I’m gonna guess it’s the Jewish half.” Dylan Rodriguez, the president of the influential American Studies Association (ASA), commented via Twitter that Zionism has “politically toxified our schools” and that “a number of Zionist organizations want to convince us that Arab American Studies is ‘anti-Semitic.’” He also said that Zionism is “intellectually insulting” and racist. If Mr. Rodriguez does know that Israel has 1.5 million Arab citizens, he is making no mention of that fact. 

One of the most welcoming—and disturbing—venues for anti-Semitism is American college campuses. Both Jewish and Christian students are intimidated by those who adhere to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS). BDS is economic warfare against Israel, its businesses, and products. It is anti-Semitism in disguise. On college campuses, BDS is carried out not only by students who are members of organizations like the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) but also by professors—who limit, delete, or penalize free speech, even about Jews and Israel. 

One of BDS loyalists’ favorite tirades is calling Israel an “apartheid” state. Apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa, is an irrational description hung around Israel’s neck. It goes against the facts. Notably, Israel is the only country in the world that has brought black Africans to freedom. Since the 1980s, Israel has financed airlift rescues and resettled thousands of Ethiopians of Jewish ancestry into Israel. Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon in 1991 (and additional flights since) have resulted in another vibrant community of Jewish immigrants. Ethiopian citizens now number more than 130,000. 

That said, the decisions to first determine Ethiopians’ Jewish ancestry and then help them acclimate to life in Israel are not without problems. Although Ethiopian Jews have risen to serve in the Knesset, medicine, and with distinction in Israel’s military—and they enjoy superb education opportunities—controversies and challenges have accompanied their assimilation. Nevertheless, the fact remains: Israel is not an apartheid state. 

My guess is that many who falsely claim Israel has an apartheid system have never gone to Israel. It is a colorful nation of Jewish—and Arab, Druze, and Christian—cultures. Walking in Jerusalem’s famous Mahane Yehuda market, shoppers mingle together. They are Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and European. Eyes of blue, brown, green, and black shine as they pick out the beautiful fruits, meats, and vegetables with black, brown, and white hands.

I am grateful for FRC’s report yet concerned about our American churches, too. While Christian support for the Jewish community and Israel is at an all-time high, many pastors and congregations might be unaware or apathetic about growing anti-Semitism in our own country. 

Revisiting the history of German churches in the lead-up to and during World War II serves as a warning. German theologian and Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an anti-Nazi dissident and key founding member of the Confessing Church, which was established to keep the Protestant church free of Nazi influence. He spent years trying to convince his German clerical colleagues to renounce the evils of Naziism.

Under the Nazis, about 70 percent of the German population was Protestant. Skidmore College Professor Matthew D. Hockenos, a specialist in 20th-century European history, authored A Church Divided: German Protestants Confront the Nazi Past. In one of his essays about Bonhoeffer he noted that German Protestants basically split into three groups. First was the ultra-nationalist, anti-Semitic, and pro-Nazi Christian movement. Second was the Confessing Church, which was a movement that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to unify all Protestant churches into a single pro-Nazi German Evangelical Church. The third group was made up by the Protestant groups who decided to remain neutral. 

He goes on to explain how many Germans fell into each group: “Of the eighteen thousand Protestant pastors in Germany, less than one-third were adherents of the German Christian movement. Although the number of pastors who joined the Confessing Church reached just over seven thousand in January 1934, for most of the period of the church struggle from 1933 to 1945 the number was less than five thousand.”

The divisions between denominations regarding a response to Hitler and his Nazis are clear. Yet it is also clear that far more opposition from the religious community was called for. The Nazis finally imprisoned Bonhoeffer in Flossenbürg concentration camp and then hanged him in 1945 shortly before the war ended. He was willing to die if necessary, in his opposition to what he knew was absolutely wrong.

As anti-Semitism is now inserting an encore of evil, I hope and pray that the American church will embrace Bonhoeffer’s extraordinary faith and example. Courage cannot go missing in action. It is important to remember that when the devil is prowling, it’s a stealth operation at first—a little here, a little there—small actions that remain unopposed grow into manifestations of evil that are difficult to stop. We must remember that the world’s oldest hatred against the Jews is an attack on God Himself for choosing them as vessels for His redemptive plan. 

What can we do? 

First, rely on the Bible, our ultimate guidebook, where we learn that the Jews are His chosen people—the ones whom He chose to transcribe His thoughts and His love to redeem His world. Our Jewish Savior was literally born in the cradle of Judaism. 

Secondly, I encourage you to support organizations like CBN Israel, which gives Christians the distinct opportunity to reach millions worldwide with unbiased news and films that tell the true story of Israel while also providing humanitarian relief to Israelis in need—including aging Holocaust survivors, victims of terror, families in crisis, and new immigrants making their prophetic return to their ancestral homeland. 

Furthermore, take it upon yourself to promote and share the truth. Post special stories and reports on social media from the CBN News Bureau in Jerusalem. Host a movie night at your church or in your home featuring one of CBN’s critically acclaimed films about Israel. Invite a guest expert on Israel to speak at your local church, small group, or Sunday school group. Whatever approach you take, know that you can make a difference in helping to change the conversation about Israel and the Jewish people.  

Finally, become a strong advocate for Israel and follow in the footsteps of Esther and Moses who lobbied their leaders and saved their Jewish people. Today, willing Christians can continue to make an indelible mark in the U.S. Congress to advocate for the U.S.-Israel relationship through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

Make a friend in the Jewish community. Have coffee, share a meal. Attend their synagogue. And always pray for our nation and Israel. 

When God spoke through Jewish scribes—first in the Old Testament, then in the New Testament—He bequeathed mankind a magnificent set of prayers, engraving His words into ancient and modern hearts. The Lord’s Prayer, handed down by Jesus Himself, is His royal prayer for His Jewish disciples and first-century Jewish people. 

It is the most profound prayer in history for Jews and non-Jews alike. Let us pray the Lord’s Prayer this week for our nation and our Jewish citizens: 

  • Pray that universities will take a robust stance against anti-Semitism on campus. 
  • Pray for pastors and churches to wake up in the pews and oppose rising anti-Semitism. 
  • Pray that we as Christians will take courage and stand for what is right in God’s eyes.
  • Pray for stronger Jewish and Christian friendships in the United States. 

Bonhoeffer once said, Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Today, may we resolve not only to pray but also to take a stand against all forms of anti-Semitism in our churches, nation, and around the world. Together, we can make a difference, and we can stem the tide of this reemerging evil.  

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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New Immigrant: Snezhana’s Story

Sergei and Snezhana were a Jewish couple in Ukraine with four children, and they immigrated to Israel for a better life. Sergei found a factory job, which provided the basics. But when COVID-19 hit, the factory closed during the lockdown—leaving them with no income.

“The factories and schools closed. I couldn’t work, because I needed to stay home with the children,” Snezhana recalled. “It put us in a very desperate situation.” Even after Israel eased the lockdown, the schools remained closed, and Sergei’s factory hours were cut.

They struggled to pay rent and feed their children. Between fear of the virus and trying to survive on Sergei’s meager earnings, Snezhana says, “Mentally, it was so hard, and I became very depressed.” And then, a local church told them about CBN Israel.

Thankfully, we were there with groceries, and continue to make sure the family has enough to eat. Plus, we provided gift cards to help them buy other essentials. Snezhana exclaimed, “This is the first time in our lives we’ve gotten help like this! There wouldn’t be any food in our apartment if it wasn’t for what you’ve given us. We’re so grateful!”

And your gift to CBN Israel can reach out to others in need across Israel, with food, housing, financial assistance, job training, and more. At a time when the pandemic has rapidly changed lives and incomes across Israel, you can bring aid and encouragement to single mothers, seniors, refugee families, and more. 

Please join us as we help those in desperate situations—thank you!


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Biblical Israel: Megiddo

By Marc Turnage

Situated in the western Jezreel Valley at the foot of the lowlands of Mount Carmel stands the ancient mound of Megiddo. It overlooks where Nahal Iron crosses through the Carmel lowlands, which provided passage for one of the branches of the most important highway in the Ancient Near East, a highway that connected Egypt via Israel’s coastline, through the Jezreel Valley, onto Damascus and Mesopotamia. Megiddo’s importance stemmed from its location guarding this most import roadway. 

Archaeological excavations have revealed twenty layers of civilization beginning in the Neolithic period until the fourth century B.C. Its strategic significance made it the stage for battles through much of its history, with Pharoah Thutmoses III in 1468 B.C., Pharoah Merneptah in 1220 B.C., Pharoah Shishak in 924 B.C., and the battle in which Josiah, king of Judah, died at the hands of the forces of Pharoah Neco in 609 B.C. (2 Kings 23:29-30). 

Megiddo’s strategic importance made it the object of Israelite conquest when the Israelites entered the land (Joshua 12:21). By the “waters of Megiddo,” the forces of Deborah and Barak defeated the Canaanite forces of the king of Hazor (Judges 5:19). Megiddo fell within the territorial allotment of Manasseh (Joshua 17:11), but the Manassites could not take possession of Megiddo. It remained under the control of the local Canaanites (Joshua 17:12; Judges 1:27). 

During the United Monarchy, Solomon is said to have fortified Megiddo, along with Gezer and Hazor (1 Kings 9:15)—all three cities provided overwatch of the international coastal highway running from Egypt to Damascus and Mesopotamia. The final mention of Megiddo within the Bible is the death of King Josiah (2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-24). Within the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 722 B.C., Megiddo became an administrative city of the Assyrians, but its settlement steadily declined until it was abandoned in the fourth century B.C., most likely due to Alexander the Great’s conquest of the land. 

Visitors to the site today can visit two multi-chambered gate complexes from the Bronze and Iron Ages. Two separate palace and administrative complexes have been excavated, as well as an area that contained several cultic places of worship from different time periods. The site contains the remains of horse stables, stone mangers, and an exercise corral for the horses. Kings of Israel stationed horse and chariot forces, which were the tank corps of the ancient world, at Megiddo due to its strategic location. 

Perhaps the most impressive feature of the site that has been excavated is the water system. Ancient sites, especially administrative centers like Megiddo, had to provide the water needs for the city in times of peace and war. Most ancient sites sat on hills to offer the protection of elevation from an attacking army. Springs, however, usually do not sit on hills; they are found at their base. At Megiddo, the spring sits at the bottom of the west side of the mound. To bring the water into the city, the engineers cut a square shaft through the earth within the city’s fortified walls that connected to a long horizontal tunnel (80 meters long) that had been dug to the source of the spring. This tunnel brought the water to the area where the shaft had been dug, and the shaft enabled the people in the city to descend and draw water. 

A final word should be made regarding the well-known idea that the ancient site of Megiddo had some connection with John’s mention of Armageddon in Revelation (16:13-14, 16). The usual explanation, Armageddon represents the Hebrew meaning the “mountain of Megiddo.” People will speak about the Valley of Armageddon, yet the Bible never mentions a Valley of Armageddon. This is a modern fiction, which appears for the first time in the nineteenth century. 

No ancient Church father or Christian source ever connected Armageddon with Megiddo. Moreover, as we noted, Megiddo ceased to be inhabited in the fourth century B.C. The location of the site was forgotten. The first century Jewish historian Josephus did not know of it. In fact, he relocated the death of Josiah to a town he knew on the border between Egypt and the land of Israel. The fourth century Church father, Eusebius, did not know its location, nor did he connect Megiddo with Armageddon. No one, then, knew in the first century, when John wrote Revelation, where Megiddo was. 

Finally, while Megiddo sits on a hill created by layers of civilization, it cannot be described as a mountain. Hebrew has a word for “hill,” a word that accounts for the names of places like Gibeah, Geva, and Gibeon. Megiddo is a hill, and not a mountain. Time does not permit a full explanation for what stands behind John’s Armageddon, but suffice to say, he expected the gathering point for the armies of wickedness to fight against God to be Jerusalem (Revelation 11:1-2; 14:20; and 20:9), the mountain of assembly.

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: Behold Your God

Life can often distract us. It might be the unrelenting stress and busyness within our own lives, the whirlwind of anxiety often generated by a 24-hour news cycle, or the latest novelty being presented as the solution to our problems. We find ourselves consumed by the cares and worries of this world, and God gets lost in the distraction.

These are the real threats the modern world poses to our faith: the increasing demands on our valuable time, the constant worry over the chaos in our world, and the allure of comforts and conveniences that give us the illusion of self-reliance.

Each of these traps can cause us to lose sight of God, and we slowly fail to recognize the truth that “the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is unsearchable” (Isaiah 40:28).

Keeping our faith in this modern world means choosing daily to expand our vision beyond our current situation or surrounding events and gazing into eternity, to the One who created everything. It means fixing our eyes on the God who has held the oceans in His hand, who has measured off the heavens with His fingers, who knows the weight of the earth, and who has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale (Isaiah 40:12).

Being a person of faith, however, does not simply mean acknowledging that God is our Creator. God is not merely the cause of all existence; He provides meaning to it. He is far more than a first cause; He is the author of love, truth, and life. “With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, and informed Him of the way of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:14). The answer: no one.

He rules over all creation: “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). He elevates and brings low. He raises kings, nations, and leaders, and He also humbles and casts them down. But He never loses sight of the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, and the weary. Instead, He is the one who strengthens them and lifts them up.

Our modern world so often captivates us with anything and everything that will steal our focus. If we’re not careful, we can spend our lives so consumed by the cares and worries of this world that we miss the opportunity to live with the hope and perspective that God is on the throne and that He is in control. God rightly challenges all of His people with the question, “To whom then will you compare Me that I would be his equal?” (Isaiah 40:25).

Living with true faith in the modern world means clearing away all of the distractions and beholding our God who is the source of love, truth, meaning, purpose, hope, and life. It means that we live each and every day in awe and wonder of Him—and Him alone.    


Father, overwhelm us with Your timeless and awesome presence. May we live each and every day in awe and wonder of You. No one is like You. May we never lose sight of that. Amen.

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