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From celebration to war – the dramatic shift which highlighted ICEJ’s constant focus on blessing Israel

ICEJ invites Christians to fast and pray for Israel during a time of physical and spiritual war

The Hamas invasion and brutal attacks of Oct. 7 happened at the end of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) has hosted a Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Israel every year since 1980, except for an online celebration during the COVID pandemic, bringing Christians who love Israel from around the world to tour the land of Israel, worship, learn and pray together, show their support for Israel, participate in a Jerusalem March and to bless a blessing.

ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler said the 2023 celebration was “an amazing Feast of Tabernacles.” 

“The presence of the Lord was very powerful with us. His anointing was on the speakers and on the worship.” 

The ICEJ’s 2023 Feast of Tabernacles finished on Friday, Oct. 6. Just one day before, on Thursday, Oct. 5, the ICEJ held a special celebration just miles away from the Gaza border, to commemorate the replanting of forested areas destroyed by incendiary attacks from Gaza in the preceding years. 

Attendees of the event called it “one of the most powerful meetings of the Feast of Tabernacles.” 

During that celebration, Ofir Libstein, mayor of the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, spoke to the ICEJ gathering thanking them for their support. 

“With your help, we feel safety here. With your shelters that you help us to buy and to put here in the area, we live better lives,” Libstein said at the event. “I am so happy to see you from all over the world that have come to see this beautiful place. Thank you very much.” 

Two days later, on Oct. 7, Libstein was killed by Hamas terrorists while defending his community during the invasion. 

Bühler called Libstein that morning to find out if he was safe after hearing about the invasion. Having received no response to his calls, he later discovered that Libstein had already died while fighting to defend his community. 

At that moment, the ICEJ team understood that their work, important during times of peace, had become critical in the new situation

“It was a very clear message of God to us,” Bühler said. “I want you to be involved in that conflict. I want you to stand as the Christian embassy at the side of the Jewish people.” 

The ICEJ president said it is important that the people of Israel know “there are Christians around the world which stand with them at this critical time, pray for them, and also practically support them.” 

He said the conflict has “dramatically changing our prayer situation.” 

Since the start of the war, the ICEJ has hosted daily online prayer sessions for Israel estimating about 1,400-1,500 people attending each session. 

Bühler encourages Christians to “engage in an Esther fast” for the Jewish people against “the spirit of Amalek” and compares the work of Christians praying for Israel to the story of Israel’s battle against Amalek in Exodus 17.

As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were victorious in the fighting, but when he was tired and let his hands drop, Israel was pushed hard by the Amalekites. Aaron and Hur supported Moses, holding up his hands until Israel was victorious. 

Bühler said Christians can support the arms of Israel through prayer during this time of conflict.  

He also asks Christians to pray for the civilians in Gaza, whose lives have also been destroyed by Hamas. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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