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Thursday, January 31, 2013

LIFE FINDS A WAY



Having just returned from Jerusalem where I had the opportunity to interact with many Knesset (Israel's Parliament) leaders and other government officials, I want to pass along some observations:

·      In general, the State of Israel continues to move forward under very difficult circumstances. New construction seems to be everywhere, especially in Jerusalem. There is a growing housing shortage in Israel.
·      One of the major contributors to the housing shortage is the large increase of Jews moving to the Holy Land, especially from Africa.
·      Tensions seem to be mounting between the “Haredim” (often referred to as ”ultra-Orthodox” by others) and other observant religious Jews along with the large secular community, especially in Tel Aviv. The principle issues are things such as how women are viewed and treated, the Haredi men who do not work traditional jobs (they spend the bulk of their time in studies and prayer), and their resistance to military service.
·      The Israeli governmental leadership, along with major worldwide Jewish organizations is increasingly looking for cooperative efforts with Christians. This is a difficult but welcome turn of events. The efforts of the Israel Allies Foundation have made a significant impact on this change.
·      The Centrist Parties made big advances in the election of Knesset Members last week. This is a bit disconcerting for those who do not believe that additional land giveaways will increase the peace.
·      Increased tensions with Syria, Egypt, Gaza, Southern Lebanon and Iran and the negative tone of the United Nations toward the State of Israel are very troubling.
·      The likelihood of a nuclear-armed Iran casts a huge shadow over the entire Middle East, especially Israel.

With all that said, life goes on. The cities, towns and villages spread across the Holy Land are bustling with everyday life. Keep in mind the words of King David: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget [its skill]. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.” Psalm 137:5-6 NIV

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, now more than ever…and if you can, plan a trip to visit Israel.

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