Is There a War Crimes Tribunal in Jerusalem’s Future?

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

On December 15, 1961, a court in Jerusalem, Israel, sentenced Nazi SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann to death for crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and war crimes. Presiding Judge Moshe Landau articulated that Eichmann’s goal was “to obliterate an entire people from the face of the world.”

Eichmann organized and oversaw “The Final Solution” by dispatching trains from all over Europe to Auschwitz and other death camps. Each train held 1,000 people. Judge Landau observed, “It is as though he committed a thousand acts of premeditated murder each time.”

Hamas’s barbaric murders on October 7, 2023, are codified in their 1988 charter that in part “rejects any alternative to full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.” It further directs: “The day of judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them.”

The Hamas charter imitates the Nazi’s Final Solution described by Judge Landau to “obliterate an entire people [Jews] from the world.” Hamas’s 1,000-plus premeditated murders in one day—inside the Jewish homeland—made it the bloodiest day since the Holocaust. Hamas stays fanatically committed to reaching its future goals. Like Nazis, they burned victims. Like Nazis, they raped victims. Like Nazis, they desecrated bodies.

Since the Holocaust, world organizations have codified laws that address these evils. Within the International Criminal Court, the 1949 Geneva Convention’s Article 8 clearly defines war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross prominently include the same definitions in their documents.

As you read this partial list, apply it to Hamas. Willful killing. Rape. Torture. Inhumane treatment. Extensive destruction of property. Hostage taking and more. These crimes against humanity shock the consciences among people of goodwill.

Hours after Hamas’s barbaric assaults and murders on October 7, 2023, news quickly circulated around the globe prompting reactions of shock and compassion for 1,400 murdered Israelis and those from other countries. Nevertheless, only a few days later, shock faded into new Nazi shouts of “Kill the Jews” in a pandemic marked by another kind of virus, a pandemic of Jew hatred.

Worldwide, masses of violent demonstrators occupied cities while small rogue groups vented their Jew hatred by attacking Jews in schools and on the streets of many countries, including the United States. Once again mainstream media are accomplices and purveyors of Hamas’s propaganda by giving immediate credence to their made-up reports against Israel, as if the Jewish state were the perpetrator.

Although some news outlets occasionally backtrack from dishonest reporting, by then the Jew haters are already consuming and spreading the lies as described in Isaiah 5:20 NIV: “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.” 

Surely, “woe” is called for in a legal tribunal for justice against Hamas. Isaiah 1:17 expresses tragedies among hostages, their families, and all Israelis. “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” 

Meanwhile, top leaders of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal, live luxuriously in Qatar. They operate in exile while Palestinians serve as their pawns to carry out terror directives backed by Iran’s Islamic regime. Oil-rich Qatar is a small Persian Gulf peninsula next to Saudi Arabia, ruled by a monarchy led by Sheikh Amir Tanim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Qatar has over two million citizens and runs on a combined legal system of civil and Islamic law. Haniyeh and Mashal live lavishly in five-star hotels, fly in private planes, and manage their billion-dollar bank accounts. After the Hamas murders, they prostrated themselves in thankfulness to Allah in their fancy office.

A Times of Israel article reported that Hamas leaders made their fortunes partly in a 20 percent tax on all goods that passed through tunnels from Egypt into Gaza since 2014. Al Majalla, a Saudi weekly, published a comment the same year from a Palestinian Authority official saying that tunnel-smuggling had turned 1,700 senior Hamas members into millionaires. Almost a decade later, the combination of wealth and hatred are a deadly motivation for Hamas leaders.

Meanwhile, Hamas mainstreams hate into children’s minds though schoolbooks and specializes in brainwashing children in summer camps. The students wear uniforms, shoot guns, and learn terror tactics. Adele Raemer, a survivor of Kibbutz Nirim, is an Israeli educator. Sometimes volunteering in educational initiatives with Palestinian teachers, she saw some of their books. “These children are taught hate in their textbooks,” she explained. “They’re taught, ‘If you have six Jews and you kill four of them, how many Jews do you have left?’”

Pause and consider for a moment: According to a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report on Gaza, in 2020 a full 60 percent of Gazans lived below the poverty line. In 2022 “almost 63% of households faced moderate food insecurity.” The UNDP estimates that these figures will skyrocket since Hamas terrorists instigated war.

This begs the question of Hamas’s war crimes against Palestinians, too. In 2005, Israel turned Gaza over to Palestinians by forcing its 8,000 Jewish citizens out of Gaza in a difficult and heartbreaking decision that deprived those Israelis of everything. Israel’s ill-founded hope was that Palestinians would develop their own peaceful state.

Instead, Hamas developed Gaza into the largest, most sophisticated terror headquarters in the world, situated purposely under Al Shifa Hospital. They regularly stash weapons and explosives in apartments, schools, hospitals, and mosques knowing that Israel does not intentionally target civilians. Part of the Hamas strategy is to use women and children as human shields. That is a war crime. 


The precedent for holding a war crimes tribunal in Israel was established in 1961, when a Jerusalem court issued a death sentence for the unrepentant SS Lieut. Col. Adolph Eichmann. At midnight—bridging May 31 and June 1, 1962—the Nazi was hanged at the Ramle fortress prison outside Tel Aviv, whereupon Jewish authorities cremated his remains and scattered the ashes in the Mediterranean Sea beyond Israeli boundary waters. 

Now is the time to plan arrests. The IDF is searching for Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar, a mastermind of the October 7 atrocities. Sinwar and the top Hamas leaders in Qatar must be transported to an Israeli prison where Israel can initiate a war crimes tribunal to be conducted in their capital.

After World War II, it took years of searching but the Israeli Security Service (Mossad) found Eichmann in Argentina after he escaped in 1946 from U.S. custody. They brought him to Israel to stand trial.

Locating the top Hamas perpetrators is a job that Mossad would welcome.

Please join our CBN Israel team to pray with us, meditating on Proverbs 24:24-25: “Whoever says to the guilty, ‘You are innocent,’ will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them.”

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his security cabinet, and all IDF leaders to make wise decisions.
  • Pray for families and friends suffering the loss of brave IDF soldiers, as well as all civilians who were murdered or are still captives.
  • Pray for the Druze community, a small Israeli minority that valiantly serves in the IDF. They have suffered the loss of six soldiers thus far. 
  • Pray for mainstream media to report honestly with unbiased, proven facts.

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

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Victims of Terrorism: Carey Lee’s Story

The sudden attack by Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 Israelis—and the trauma experienced by thousands of families and children is almost unimaginable. Hardest hit were those living along the Israel-Gaza border, where homes and entire neighborhoods are in ruins. Children have seen gruesome deaths and horrific sights they can’t even grasp yet.

Carey Lee, who runs a non-profit group, is now a victim herself. She shared, “With the amount of destruction and inhumane deeds done, no one in this community has been unscathed.”

But through CBN Israel, friends like you have provided a much-needed refuge for her and other terror victims—by transporting and paying for them to stay in safe shelter, far from the border.

In addition to lodging, caring donors are giving them hot meals and basic necessities, including toys and games for the little ones. They are also providing therapy for adults and children, plus counseling parents about ways to help their kids process the trauma they’ve endured.

Your support to CBN Israel can let these hurting people know they are not alone. As a long-time CBN Israel local partner, Carey Lee affirms, “CBN is an incredible organization that is not just with us the day before the war, or the day after. They’ve been with us on a long journey.”

And your gifts can make you a vital part of that journey. While you are sending immediate relief to the frontlines, you can also extend aid to Holocaust survivors, single mothers, refugees, and others in need.

As war rages in the Holy Land, your support can bring food, shelter, financial assistance, and more to those who are surviving week to week.

Please join us in standing with Israel at this crucial time!


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After the Biggest Pro-Israel Rally in US History, Here’s How to Help Hostages

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

On November 14, my husband of 47 years and I flew to Washington, D.C., excited to stand with Israel at the March for Israel rally on the National Mall. We are Evangelicals who joined with upwards of 300,000 Jews there. We traveled with a Christian organization called Passages, which on short notice recruited 700 Christian college students. Since its founding in 2016, Passages has hosted more than 11,000 students to Israel with a focus on developing educated, pro-Israel leaders for the future.

Passages converged at the Museum of the Bible, where we received excellent briefings, some of them from my good friend, Passages CEO Scott Phillips. Afterward, walking five blocks to the National Mall, we enjoyed the musical renditions of popular Jewish performers Ishay Ribo, Omer Adam, Matisyahu, and The Maccabeats.

Besides Passages’ student contingent, Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), was part of the massive, unified crowd. Penny remarked, “Along with other Christians, I was honored to be here with our Jewish brothers and sisters who need our support.” On her first trip to Israel, Penny and other Christian leaders had visited Kfar Aza, a group I helped host on behalf of the American Israel Education Foundation. In the hours we spent at this beautiful kibbutz close to the Gaza border, we marveled at their delight living in their homeland—despite years of frequent rocket barrages from Hamas. We felt deeply touched by the love for their land. When Penny returned from Israel, she added support for Israel to CWA’s core issues which include the family, sanctity of human life, religious liberty, education, sexual exploitation, national sovereignty, and support for Israel.

International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s USA branch also mobilized its members and joined in with 300,000 enthusiastic shouts of “Am Yisrael Chai”—Hebrew for “the people of Israel live,” which is an affirmation of the Jewish continuity throughout the millennia.

Throughout the afternoon, Jews and Christians together rang out in one voice for the one Jewish nation in the world!

The word “exhilarating” does not fully describe what we experienced at the largest pro-Israel gathering in American history! Members of Congress—Christian and Jewish, Democrat and Republican—stood together on the stage, among them recently elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson.

Reverberating over the National Mall were comments from rabbis and university students, as well as heartbreaking stories from hostage family members who participated in the programming. Pastor John Hagee voiced his longtime support for Israel. Everyone gathered in peace, listening to speakers who brought us to tears and others who resounded with hope and commitment to stand with our ally, Israel. No violence, no hatred, no destruction of buildings or monuments. The obvious atmosphere of peace and friendliness among Jews and Christians showed a stark contrast to the opposite atmospheres of violent, crazed, and uninformed demonstrators who glorify the barbaric deaths that Hamas committed on October 7 against 1,200 people—mostly civilians.

Passages CEO Scott Phillips’s description of his experiences reflects mine. “We were met with countless hugs, high fives, gratitude and even tears, truly a humbling experience to stand at ‘such a time as this’ with our Jewish friends.”

As I have been advocating for Israel for almost 25 years, my personal blessings came due to the Passages T-shirt I wore emblazoned with “Christians Stand With Israel.” My best moments unfolded when many within the Jewish community walked up to me with big smiles and warm thanks. I replied to everyone who expressed their thanks, “You are not alone.” I felt that my longtime calling to advocate for Israel was affirmed with their smiles and gratitude!

The Israel Rally was timely. The pressures on Israel are intensifying at breakneck speed. An outpouring of compassion from Jews, Christians, and others is evident. However, deepening our prayers and practical help for the long haul is essential.

We Evangelicals must also suit up to pass along facts to oppose Hamas’s propaganda. Find your facts from trusted sources like CBN News. Be aware that the world media rush to report whatever Hamas announces—forgetting or not caring for facts—and that terrorists are not only addicted to hate and murderous, unholy barbarism. They are expert liars and not to be trusted under any circumstances.

In his newsletter, Mission Brief, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, IDF spokesperson to the international media, regularly gives operational updates. While Israel-haters lash out with lies and slander against the IDF, on November 21 Hecht included these illuminating words from Commanding Officer of the 36th Division, Brigadier General Dado Bar Kalifa: “During the last days of the fighting of the 36th Division in Zaytun, we constantly encountered an enemy hiding behind children, women and civilian infrastructure. The soldiers of the division, including soldiers of the Golani Brigade, the 188th Brigade and the Bislamach Brigade, operated in a complex war zone in an urban area, exposed terrorists who were hiding in civilian areas and eliminated many terrorists.”

Hecht must also report statistics that no Israeli wants to hear. Since Israel is such a small country, it is probable that every Israeli—whether Jewish, Ethiopian, Bedouin, Christian, or Israeli Arab—knows someone serving in the IDF and often those who have sacrificed their lives fighting an existential war. Lt. Col Hecht reported on Sunday November 19 that 59 soldiers have been killed in action since the IDF entered Gaza and a total of 383 have fallen since Hamas’s attacks.

Until ALL hostages are released, Hamas must free Jewish civilians, Jewish soldiers, and others from more than two dozen countries. They include Argentinians, Germans, Americans, French and Russians. You can immediately take a valuable action by clicking this link. It is a petition addressed to the United Nations, International Red Cross, Heads of State and G7 Governments, and Heads of State in every country which has hostages kidnapped into Gaza. The brainchild of Israeli Jonathan Feldstein, President of Gen123 Foundation, the petition FREE THE HOSTAGES NOW has already garnered multi-thousands of signers worldwide in less than 10 days. I have been working alongside my friend Jonathan since he envisioned the idea, but time is running short! Sign, then forward to your churches and everyone you know.

Fifteen seconds of your time to sign and a few minutes to forward and/or put on your social media makes you an instant Christian champion for the hostages and their families.

Our CBN Israel team invites you to pray with us this week, remembering at our Thanksgiving celebrations that our faith was birthed in Israel. Romans 11:17-18 NIV reminds us: “If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches.” 

Prayer Points

  • Pray for safety for the IDF in the network of 300 tunnels.
  • Pray thanking God for lifesaving miracles that are unfolding among the soldiers.
  • Pray for families and friends of hostages in Israel and abroad.
  • Pray that Christians will sign and share FREE THE HOSTAGES NOW.
  • Pray that media grow suspicious of any Hamas “facts” and then report fairly.

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

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Victims of Terrorism: Isaac and Maria’s Story

Isaac and Maria moved to Israel from Latin America a year ago. They settled in Ashdod, so their sick daughter Lilietta could live a peaceful life. That peace came to a halt on October 7.

They were asleep that morning when Maria heard a distant siren, saying, “I thought I was imagining it. But when we heard the next siren, we checked the news, and realized we were under a terrorist attack.” Isaac added, “I grabbed Lilietta and ran into the safe room. We heard people screaming.” Their little girl became very agitated as sirens went off for the next 12 hours.

The couple was devastated. Israel had become home for them, and they loved the land and the people. They had felt safe. But now, they were huddled in a bomb shelter for many sleepless days, scared of terrorists who were entering people’s homes to kill them. Concerned for their daughter’s health, they were afraid to leave the shelter to go to the hospital.

That’s why we are so thankful that friends like you came to their rescue through CBN Israel. Caring donors relocated this family, and many others, to a temporary shelter in a secure area. They welcomed them with hot meals, hygiene kits, clothing, toys, and trauma therapy—even for the children. Maria said gratefully, “It gave us great peace of mind…our daughter was safe and cared for. Thank you!”

Your gifts to CBN Israel can speed emergency aid to terror victims, while also bringing crucial help to single moms, Holocaust survivors, and refugees in need.

And your support is vital, especially as the war escalates. You can supply food, housing, finances, and even bomb shelters to vulnerable Israelis.

Please let us hear from you today!


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Never Forget: Compassion from Christians in the Face of Genocidal Evil

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

For our Israeli friends who are suffering a genocidal catastrophe in their land, it is easy to become overwhelmed, stricken with grief and shock. That goes for the Jewish people worldwide. Christian advocates are quickly coming alongside Israel to help. Our motives are heartfelt and matched with deep compassion for the terror victims, hostages, and displaced families.

During a recent phone call with my friend Pastor Victor Styrsky, former national educational director of Christians United for Israel, he commented, “I feel as if I have been sitting shiva for weeks and it will go on indefinitely.” “Sitting shiva” is the term for the Jewish seven days of mourning for the dead. It usually begins right after a funeral. Non-Jewish friends are welcome to make their condolences in person. I embraced my friend’s description, which represents my feelings, that Israel’s Christian friends are sitting shiva in our hearts. While no comparison exists for the depth of anguish that Jews are undergoing, we are creating outreaches in every way imaginable to embody our grief through compassion amid the evil that has befallen Israel.

The examples I mention here are big and small, yet do not begin to quantify the kindnesses overflowing from people of goodwill worldwide. Nevertheless, it is my hope that everyone who reads my column this week will reach out to any Jewish friends, to a nearby synagogue, or contact a Christian organization like CBN Israel to send a card or a donation for humanitarian aid. Our message to Jewish friends everywhere is simple, “You are not alone.” This thought comes from Jesus’ earthly sojourn as described in Isaiah 53:3—“He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief.”

The Jerusalem Post’s Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman reported on November 9 about 15 Christian cowboys from Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Montana. These Americans landed at Ben Gurion airport looking as if they’d stepped right out of a Western movie. Their photo went viral. Several had left their own farms and families to help. They traveled to Judea and Samaria and set to work at HaYovel, a Christian organization to help Israeli farmers. Calling it Operation Itai (a Hebrew boy’s name meaning, “the Lord is with me”), HaYovel is raising $29 million for security supplies to be distributed throughout the biblical heartland. Thus far, more than $2 million has been raised.

A similar fundraising operation, Civil Squad Israel (CSI), is focused on tactical equipment for northern Israel and the Gaza “envelope” (populated areas within four miles of the Gaza Strip). Their goal is to equip civil security squads on kibbutzim with much-needed equipment. On October 7, some of these squads were the first (or only) source of defending their civilians against terrorists for many hours. The CSI team has set up a network of suppliers in the EU and U.S. Then, by CSI’s partnering with El Al and their security team, the tactical equipment will quickly go to Israel. The gear includes knife-proof/bulletproof vests, medic backpacks, night vision binoculars, handguns, M16s, and encrypted radio communications.

Civil Squad Israel has adopted a fitting Bible verse from Nehemiah 4:15-17:

“When God ended the plans of our enemies, we returned to rebuild what had been destroyed. Those who carried on the work were equipped in such a way, that each labored with a trowel in one hand, and a weapon with the other.”

From cowboys to firefighters, CBS news reported that Miami Beach sent 13 firefighters to Israel for two weeks to help shore up this beleaguered nation’s fire departments—since Israel’s firefighters have all been deployed.

Other expressions of compassion have emerged in creative and symbolic ways.

A heartfelt message from Arab-Israeli journalist Yoseph Haddad lashed out against Hamas while he was standing in front of Jerusalem’s City Hall. The families of hostages and volunteers had set up a display of 239 empty beds and cribs of all sizes. CBN Israel’s Julie Stahl described it as a “mute cry of anguish.”

On a beach in Durban, South Africa, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies at the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre spread out 242 red beach towels with a hostage poster. Atop 32 towels are 32 buckets and spades poignantly symbolizing the children who have been missing since October 7. A group of Christian pastors who walked the beach stopped at each blanket to express their sympathy and solidarity, linking arms and praying. Alana Pugh-Jones Baranov, the Centre’s social and political justice liaison, pleaded to God that He let this “be our last event” after the group had installed red balloons along Nelson Mandela Bridge and lit up the Israeli flag in Johannesburg. She noted the positive responses from South Africans.

By October 20, i24NEWS, the Tel Aviv-based television news channel, reported that more than 50 countries have followed the example of setting up a Shabbat dinner table with 203 empty seats (the number of hostages at the time). In 50 countries, participants symbolically observe a global Shabbat ceremony each Friday.

At Prayer House DC in Washington, Reverend Eve Nunez leads robust prayers in their headquarters and throughout the District on location at the White House, Supreme Court Building, and other landmarks. She set Prayer House DC’s Shabbat table in honor of the hostages and leaves it beautifully set each week. Her foundation, Help 4 Kidz, is also raising money that provides meals for an IDF unit to be delivered each week by her friend, an Israeli rabbi.

Compassion from Christians is more important than ever. Israel is demonized as it conducts its just war against genocidal evil. While the world mostly turns away in denial or hate, one of the most significant truths articulated comes from Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed, a world-renowned British forensic scientist, commentator, and author. In her Wall Street Journal article about her 10-day visit to Israel beginning October 19, Dr. Ahmed observed, “This was not an emotional frenzy of killing like the pogroms of the 1880s. It was methodically planned.”

Dr. Ahmed is a human rights observer whom Israel’s Foreign Affairs ministry invited. Working at the Israeli morgues alongside other scientists, she “examined bodies and ashes, incinerated teeth and bones” and described “toddlers, teens, and adults young and old, many of them bound, tortured, and burned alive.”

Calling out Hamas’s war crimes, Dr. Ahmed noted, “The monster is easy to recognize. This isn’t the first time I have seen Islamist jihadism.”

One word continually came to her mind: “Genocide.”

About her time in Israel, Dr. Ahmed declared, “As an observant Muslim I felt a duty to come and bear witness. What I saw will remain with me forever.” In one of her frequent interviews, she challenged: “I want to hear Muslim leaders condemn Hamas.”

In closing, let us recall the words of Jewish writer Franz Kafka (1883–1924), one of the 20th century’s most famous novelists: “Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will come back in another way.”

For all the beloved family, friends, and homes that Israel and the worldwide Jewish community have lost, I pray that the massive acts of Christian compassion will somehow ease the suffering—with love returned to them in a different way.

We welcome you to join our CBN Israel team in prayer at this heartbreaking time, where we also count on hope! 

Prayer Points:

  • Pray that Christians will rise in massive numbers to speak up for Israel and rush emergency aid to terror victims and displaced families.
  • Pray for the scientists and experts who are in the morgues still trying to determine the identity of the bodies.
  • Pray for the Christian community to continue their prayers for Israel and her people—especially the hostages still being held in Gaza and the victims of the Oct. 7 attacks.
  • Pray for the families of hostages who are suffering from anxiety, trauma, and sleepless nights as they await the outcome.
  • Pray for Israelis to maintain patience in supporting the IDF to implement their strategies in what will likely be a long war.

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

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Relief for Evacuees and Terror Victims

On the morning of October 7, Israel woke up to what is now being referred to as the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Hundreds of armed militants simultaneously infiltrated Israel from Gaza with surprise attacks by land, air, and sea.

They left a trail of death, destruction, and suffering in their wake: Some 200 people were taken hostage, over 1,200 Israelis were killed, and many more were injured.

Thousands of deadly rockets fell upon Israel’s major cities and towns, forcing families and entire communities to seek refuge in emergency bomb shelters that friends like you helped make possible over the past several years through CBN Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu then declared war against Hamas to protect Israeli citizens and restore security—mobilizing over 300,000 reservists in addition to Israel’s standing army. Civilians were quickly evacuated from towns near the front lines, creating a need for emergency shelter, supplies, and basic sustenance.

Thanks to caring donors, CBN Israel was there to meet the immediate requirements of hundreds of families who live along the Israel-Gaza border. We provided evacuees with transportation to safety, as well as temporary housing, food, water, hygiene items—even toys and games for children. We are also offering trauma counseling for the victims of these horrible attacks. 

“We are just so thankful for the people who organized and donated so that we can have somewhere to stay,” exclaimed an evacuee named Sara. “I can’t believe the amazing generosity of people who have helped to make sure we are safe.”

Your prayers and support can be powerful reminder to Israel and the Jewish people that Bible-believing Christians like you are standing with them during these difficult days.

Please join us in blessing Israel and her people in their time of need!


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Biblical Israel: Gezer

Gezer sat an important geographic juncture between the Coastal Plain (the Plain of Philistia and the Sharon Plain) and the Aijalon Valley. It guarded a stretch of the international coastal highway that connected Egypt with Damascus and Mesopotamia; this was the most important route in the Ancient Near East.

The Aijalon Valley offers an east-west corridor from the Coastal Plain through the Judean lowlands into the Central Hill country. Gezer sat at this juncture protecting the international coastal highway as well as the inland route into the Judean highlands. It was an important regional hub.

According to the book of Joshua, Joshua defeated the king of Gezer (10:33). Gezer remained a Canaanite city throughout the period of the Judges (Joshua 16:10; Judges 1:29). David fought against the Philistines near Gezer (2 Samuel 5:25; 1 Chronicles 20:4). The Egyptian Pharoah gave Gezer as a dowry to Solomon for marrying his daughter.

The biblical text mentions Gezer most prominently with Solomon’s building efforts (1 Kings 9:15-17). Solomon fortified Gezer along with Megiddo and Hazor; all three cities guarded stretches of the international coastal highway between Egypt and Mesopotamia. By the biblical writer mentioning Solomon’s building up of these three cities, he communicated the strength of Solomon’s kingdom along this very important international highway.

Like Megiddo and Hazor, Gezer, which was a very significant regional hub within the Levant (modern day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank), was not mentioned often within the Bible. The lack of mention of these cities within the biblical text does not correspond to their regional importance; rather, it reflects the reality that the Israelites rarely exerted control over these cities.

The site of Gezer consists of two hills, an eastern hill and western hill connected by a low saddle. Excavations reveal that Gezer reached its zenith in the Middle Bronze Age (1950-1550 B.C.). The city had large walls and fortifications during this period. Excavations uncovered a high place of ten monolithic standing stones, which could be used to commemorate an event, as burial markers, or a covenant relationship (see Genesis 28:18-22; 35:9-15, 19-21; and Exodus 24:3-8); these monoliths stand in the saddle that connected the two hills.

In the 10th century B.C., Gezer was refortified with a six-chambered city gate attached to the city wall. Each chamber of the gate contained plastered benches. This underscores that gates within Iron Age cities were not merely for entering and exiting the city, nor solely the city’s defense, but they served as a meeting place, a place where the city elders sat to judge the affairs of the people, as well as a market and gathering place of the people (see Deuteronomy 21:19; Ruth 4:1-11; 1 Kings 22:10; 2 Kings 7:1; Amos 5:10, 12; Isaiah 29:21; Jeremiah 38:7; 2 Chronicles 32:6).

The Iron Age settlement also had a water system hewn into the bedrock with stairs also hewn into the rock descending into it. The campaign in Judah of Pharaoh Sheshonk I apparently destroyed Gezer in the late 10th century B.C. The city was rebuilt, but was destroyed again in the 8th century B.C., probably as a result of the campaign of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (733 B.C.). Gezer remained settled in the Persian and Hellenistic periods, with its final period of settlement being during the Hellenistic period.

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: As the Mountains Surround Jerusalem

“Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever” (Psalm 125:1-2 NKJV).

Psalm 125 is the sixth psalm of the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120–134). Pilgrims sang these psalms as they approached the Temple at times of pilgrimage, especially the festivals of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles).

The psalmists often used realities that people knew to illustrate and articulate what God or people were like. The Bible and the biblical mind functioned in concrete ideas and images instead of abstract ones, as we tend to do. The psalmist in Psalm 125 described those who trust in God as unmovable as Mount Zion. What provided such surety?

When David conquered Jerusalem and made it his capital, the city resided on a hill known as the eastern hill; the Bible refers to the northern part of this hill as Mount Zion. The eastern hill is surrounded by hills higher than it. People settled on the eastern hill instead of one of the higher hills due to a water source, the Gihon Spring, a karstic spring that continues to produce water, at the base of the eastern hill. The city remained on the eastern hill until the eighth century B.C. 

The population grew and began to settle on the western hill—what today is referred to as Mount Zion—which was included in the walls of the city toward the end of the eighth century B.C. At that time, the western hill rose above several of the surrounding hills. Thus, Psalm 125 was written when the city only existed on the eastern hill, for only then did the mountains surround Jerusalem. 

It sounds beautiful. “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people.” That is, until you stand on the eastern hill and realize that strategically all the other hills look down on you. The position is vulnerable. Attacking armies could position themselves on the higher hills looking down into the city. In such a vulnerable position, what made Mount Zion unmovable; what would protect it? God served as its protection, and therefore, Mount Zion cannot be moved. He defends Jerusalem—and those who trust in Him. 

Trusting God sounds easy. Our world often makes it difficult. The question gets asked to us many times a day, “Has God really said?” “Can God truly protect and deliver?” “Can I really trust God?” 

The inhabitants and pilgrims to Jerusalem when it sat on the eastern hill were confronted by similar questions. It seemed too vulnerable. Yet, God protected. He takes care of those who do good and choose to obey Him. Trusting in God is not a mere mental exercise. It means that we do what He commands, confident that He will prove true to His word. 


Father, we trust in You. You are our defender and protection. You repay those who obey You and choose to do good. Amen.

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Hamas’s Hitleresque Hatred, Israel’s Just War, and Jehoshaphat’s Victory

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Prayers for Israel and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at war are ascending from worldwide Christian prayer meetings online, in person, and personal prayers day and night on the lips of millions of believers. I recently spoke at a church that requested an update on Israel’s war against unleashed evil. When the gathering concluded with a season of prayer for Israel, one of the pastors prayed with a focus on 2 Chronicles 20:1-30.

As the biblical and historical account goes, Judah’s King Jehoshaphat and the Jews faced a huge army headed their way made up of their ancient foes—the Moabites, Ammonites, and men from Mount Seir. When fear gripped them, prayers and fasting began, and Jahaziel, a Levite, shared a word from the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

God then gave specific directions for the coming battle, whereupon  “Jehoshaphat bowed his head … and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem … bowed before the LORD.” Assembling early the next day, King Jehoshaphat appointed singers to lead the army. As they marched, they sang, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever.” The Lord Himself set up ambushes where those in Mount Seir were defeated—with a final result that Israel’s enemies destroyed one another. I am not a prophet and I do not claim to know how God will enact His purposes in this war, but I do know that prayer is foundational, that this biblical account is full of hope, and I will “pray” it.

Getting much of my daily news from international Bible teacher and Israeli Jewish believer Amir Tsarfati on his Telegram channel, I was captivated by a video clip. One of the IDF soldiers who had been on the ground in Gaza for a week said, “Please continue to pray for us. We see miracles there. Your prayers work.” Other short clips show IDF members singing together in various battle locations. It is inspiring to hear their jubilant, strong voices raised in praise of God as they face possible death or injury, yet they are determined to have victory over evil.

The IDF, the most humanitarian army in the world, is encountering dangers we cannot imagine. Dangers within the 300 miles of tunnels underneath Gaza (doubtless booby-trapped by the terrorists), dangers from IEDs (improvised explosive devices), and dangers in northern Israel—with increasing threats from Hezbollah right over Israel’s border with Lebanon. They face an implacable foe called satan, expressed in ancient Jew-hatred that never seems to die.

Today’s venomous demonstrations are not new, either. Beginning in the 1930s, Hitler perfected a mesmerizing style of oratory that kept German crowds riled up until the shocking murders of six million Jews burst into the open in 1945. With only radio broadcasts and scant reporting available, much of the world was in the dark about Hitler’s genocide of European Jews until the end of World War II.

The Third Reich’s wickedness was widely revealed through on-site photographs ordered by General Dwight D. Eisenhower in liberated concentration camps. He wanted to ensure that evidence was accumulated and maintained to silence any doubters of Nazi atrocities. Today, however, Hamas and other Islamic regime proxies have modernized Hitler’s propaganda and brutality into indescribable acts of evil. Terrorists themselves—with their body cams and victims’ mobile phones—videoed their cruelty with elation. One terrorist called his parents, excitedly bragging that he had murdered 10 Jews “with his bare hands.” His father praised him.

Hamas unleashed its weighty war crimes on October 7, which too quickly flashed around the world—accusing Israel of war crimes instead. While Hamas is targeting Jews, we cannot ignore Mahmoud al Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas. “We are not talking about liberating our land alone,” he said last year. “The entire 510 million square kilometers of planet Earth will come under [a system] where there is no injustice, no oppression, no Zionism, no treacherous Christianity.”

Anglican Theologian Reverend Dr. Gerald McDermott recently authored an article in Christianity Today that is well worth reading: “Christians Have A Duty to Hate the Evil of Hamas.” Part of his explanation includes commentary for believers who may struggle with Israel’s defensive war. “First, we are called by both Testaments to hate evil. Proverbs says to fear the Lord is to ‘hate evil’ (Proverbs 8:13), and the Apostle Paul urges us to ‘hate what is evil’ (Romans 12:9). We should hate the evil of Hamas—and not be afraid to say so publicly.”

The war crimes accusations launched against Israel around the world as verbal (and sometimes violent) weapons are aimed at the wrong target. In another timely article, Bruce Hoffman at The Atlantic wrote a summation called “Understanding Hamas’s Genocidal Ideology.” Documented on August 18, 1988, Hamas’s original founding goals included four main themes:

  • The complete destruction of Israel to set up a Shia Muslim theocracy
  • Unrestrained holy war
  • Total refusal to negotiate an agreement with Israel regarding claims to the Holy Land
  • Repeating propaganda, conspiracy theories, and Jew-hating figures of speech.

Nothing has changed!

In other words, on October 7, 2023, Hamas—with minds long occupied by hate—enjoyed hours of unrestrained, brutal jubilation to enact their goals. That is, until Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel’s cabinet officially declared war the following day: October 8, 2023.

Hamas is guilty of war crimes. Here are a few that are prohibited and listed in numerous world bodies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva Conventions of War in 1949, and the United Nations: Murder. Torture, including mutilation. Hostage-taking. Intentional attacks against civilians. Pillage. Rape. These crimes do NOT describe Israel, a nation founded on democratic principles.

The Holocaust was—and remains—a horror embedded within Jewish hearts and history, and although Germans kept meticulous records to please Hitler, they nevertheless did their best to hide their evil. Today, it is truly staggering that Hamas’s evil doings are being glorified by protestors worldwide, with Israel and Jews equally vilified. This, despite social media filled with hundreds of hours of Hamas’s own raw footage. The world now knows the horrific truth of baby beheadings, dismembering children, a father and child tied together then burned alive, and women raped before and after murders. Clearly, satanic lawlessness has broken out with a vengeance.

The raw footage of barbaric facts was released to 200 international journalists in a private showing after Israel’s military struggled for days debating whether or not to show the horrific footage. Eilon Levy, an Israeli government spokesman, commented, “I can’t believe … we have to do this as we try to defeat a terrorist organization that is brutally slaughtering our people.” He added that Israel is seeing in “real time a phenomenon akin to Holocaust denial unfolding, as people cast doubt on the scale of the atrocities Hamas has recorded to glorify all this violence.”

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari explained, “We will not let the world forget who we are fighting.”

More than almost any other IDF policy, one of the most outstanding (and unusual) is to send warnings to Gazan civilians to evacuate to designated safe locations before any bombings begin. I daresay no military on earth follows the example of the Israel Air Force, which has repeatedly dropped leaflets, made telephone calls, and sent text messages to alert Gazan civilians about impending attacks.

Conversely, Hamas acts by cleaving to its policy of using civilians as human shields, killing Palestinian civilians or blocking them from the roads leading to safety, and using mosques and hospitals as weapons depots and hiding places. Add to this, among their many other war crimes: terrorists hide in Red Cross ambulances trying to escape or fight. Now you might understand why Israel targets particular ambulances.

For facts and prayers, I suggest you remain updated with CBN News and IDF’s daily update. Commit to passing on at least one fact and one prayer a day to honor our Jewish-birthed faith and help Israel oppose lies and slander. We must be the sources of facts! 

We welcome readers to join our CBN Israel team this week to read and meditate on 2 Chronicles 20:1-30.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray that the IDF experiences miracle after miracle—for their safety and for their anxious families.
  • Pray for the safety of our American soldiers stationed in northeast Syria since 2015. They are under constant attack from Iran.
  • Pray for families who know that more than 340 of their sons and daughters have already died defending their homeland.
  • Pray for the continuation of massive humanitarian aid flowing into Israel from Christians worldwide.
  • Pray for believers to commit to sharing facts that oppose the propaganda against Israel’s just war.

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

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Victim of Terrorism: Sara’s Story

As we continue seeing tragic news reports about the war in Israel, you have been a true blessing—offering vital aid through CBN Israel to those who were trapped on the frontlines.

Many living by the Gaza border were forced to flee. Their homes were destroyed, they suffered trauma, lost loved ones, and they feared the possibility of Hamas terrorists still roaming nearby in Israel. In the midst of all this, our partners helped these victims escape to safety.

Sara and her family were among those evacuated from the Gaza border. She initially panicked, saying, “We didn’t know what we were going to do. Where are we going to go?” But friends like you brought her and other evacuees to Eilat, one of the most peaceful places in Israel right now.

Caring donors met the needs of hundreds of families—transporting them to safe lodging in hotels, far from sirens and bombs. They handed them hot meals, water, clothing, hygiene items—and toys for the children. Plus, they are offering trauma counseling for victims of all ages. Sara exclaimed, “I can’t believe the amazing generosity of people who have helped to make sure that we’re safe. I am so, so thankful!”

Your generous gifts to CBN Israel can also bring essential relief to single mothers, new immigrants, aging Holocaust survivors, and others, who need our assistance to survive in the Holy Land. You can let them know they are not forgotten.

And during this sudden time of turmoil, your support can offer lifegiving aid to growing numbers in crisis. You can rush emergency food, water, and essentials to those on Israel’s frontlines, while supplying ongoing relief to hurting individuals.

Please join us in blessing Israel’s people!


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