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Israel & Christians Today
Biblical understanding about Israel
Today is the day, September 1, 2016. One hundred and fifty-four young people from Ukraine are travelling on two different flights to Israel where they will be officially welcomed at the Ben Gurion Airport. The group is mostly made up of young people who have come to Israel as part of an education program and who will spend the next few years at Israeli schools integrating in their new homeland. But there are also several families. They will integrate through the Kibbutz integration program ‘First Home in the Homeland’.
Christians for Israel has sponsored both of these flights. Christians for Israel Ukraine was closely involved in the preparation for these flights in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Because of all the commotion at the airport in Kiev, what’s happening doesn’t really hit me until I’m in the bus that is taking us to the airplane. I see a girl staring off in the distance. She looks like she’s about eleven years old. For a moment I wonder if she too is part of the education program. Later I find out that she has come with her parents, sister and brother. What is going through her head? I think about my own daughter who is about the same age. What an adventure to start a new life in a new country.
A Ukrainian Jewish girl in the bus on her way to the airplane in Kiev
When the airplane has started to descend, the Israeli coastline comes into view. I remember how years ago I flew above Israel like this too. I was going to do a three-month internship. I did not yet know where I would end up. Things were uncertain. It was a beautiful sight to fly right above the city of Tel Aviv and to see the land from above, but it scared me at the same time. How will it be? I imagine that these new olim (immigrants) feel the same way. Uncertain. What will the future hold? Will everything be all right? Did they make the right choice?
After Abraham had to sacrifice his son Isaac, but was stopped by and angel, the Lord provided a sacrificial lamb. That’s why Abraham called this place: ‘The Lord will provide’ (Genesis 22:14). Will He not also provide for these returning members of His people? Hopefully these young people will start to see this and discover that they may build on a Rock that will not be moved.
The new olim disembarking from the airplane
I’m in the front of the plane. Behind me I hear excitement as we descend over Israel towards the airport. An exuberant applause fills the airplane when it lands. In a special room where the new olim are welcomed, the olim are encouraged by different people who made the effort to make this arrival a very special occasion. Minister Sofa Landwer of Aliyah and Integration, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky, the head of Keren Hayesod, Rev. Henk Poot of Christians for Israel and Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands Binyomin Jacobs all address the immigrants and point to the miracle of the return of Israel that’s becoming a reality right here.
It is really remarkable that as Christians we are able to be a part of this. After centuries in which the church has mostly been a curse to Israel, the work of Christians for Israel and other Christian organizations like Ebenezer are really making a difference in the return of the children of Israel to the land.
The one hundred and fifty-four new olim during the welcoming ceremony at Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv
Ruben Ridderhof - Christians for Israel Netherlands