“I just want to hug my Arab sisters and brothers!” Said a new Jewish believer from an Orthodox background. “But I don’t know any!” In the midst of talk of bloodshed and hatred, Israel is not without hope. There have been riots on the streets of Jerusalem with violence escalating after the kidnappings and murders, but in one of Israel’s largest cities, hundreds of youth from Israel and the Palestinian territories have joined together as One New Man to worship Yeshua at the Elav conference. They are finding that their love for Yeshua spills over into love for one another, and join to declare the kingdom of God in Israel – in unity.
This new believer who longed to meet Arabs shared her amazing testimony of how Yeshua changed her life. She said that she used to hate Arabs, but since she has been transformed by Yeshua, a great love has grown in her to make connections with her Arab brothers and sisters, and to express her love for them. At this conference she found them. Arab believers from Israel itself, and also from Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Jordan. On Saturday night, she washed the feet of an Arab sister in the Lord.
Our hearts have been torn with what has been happening in Israel over the last few days and weeks. The violence and hatred has been spiralling out of control, and it has been devastating to see so many young Jewish people crying out for revenge… and six Israeli youths taking revenge into their own hands in the most appalling manner that has shaken the country. Israel’s leaders have been quick to condemn the murder of young Muhammad in the strongest terms, with President Peres saying,
“If a Jew kills they will be put to the court like any other criminal, there is no privilege, the law is equal to all and all are equal before the law. On that there is no compromise. We do not distinguish between blood and blood. The murder of a child is reprehensible, regardless of the religion or nationality of the child. It is our responsibility to secure life and to punish those who take it away from others. We are a nation that is not looking for war; peace remains our strategic, historic and moral preference. Israel is a proud democracy and decisions are taken by the majority through ballots, not by the minority with bullets.” 
But as much as Israel’s leadership and people may try to remain righteous, the sad truth is that like every other nation, Israel is also sinful, and only Yeshua can really bring the transformation that we all long to see. He alone is the Prince of Peace, but we are also called to be peacemakers as we wait for his coming.
At the Elav annual conference, held again this year in Haifa, we can see a foretaste of the true shalom that the rule of Yeshua will bring. The young people began their time not with the usual exuberant praise, but this year, they started by celebrating the Lord’s supper together to declare that Yeshua is the answer. True peace can only come when Jewish and Arab people come to know the Prince of Peace, Yeshua. “Only through the cross, through his blood, can the wall of hatred be broken down”, they declared, and read Ephesians 2:14 – “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility”.
The participants came to pray encouragement to each other and to stand together as one in God’s presence. A Jewish pastor blessed the bread, and an Arab pastor blessed the wine, and as they took communion together, they were reminded that they were declaring Yeshua’s victory not only to each other, but also to the heavenlies. Yeshua alone has the power to dissolve the barriers between us, and to transform hatred and fear into generous love, making the two into one. As Ephesians 2 continues, “His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility”. They prayed healing and peace not only to one another, but also prayed that they could bring healing to all around them, and be a channel of Yeshua’s life to push back the power of death in the land.
Already at the conference, another Jewish young man came to give his life to the Lord. Please join their prayers that this generation will see great revival and breakthrough, as more and more come to know Yeshua.
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