Whilst many of us may already be thinking of summer holidays, Israel is in for a challenging summer.  This is not the time to step down from our watch and leave Israel alone, but rather to remain vigilant in prayer, education and advocacy. Please will you help enable us to stand strong at Israel’s side throughout these critical summer months by making a generous donation today?

Join us for pro-Israel demonstration in Geneva!

To all those who hold dear the values of human rights and democracy, we call you to join us on Monday, June 29th between the hours of 12.00 and 15.00 in Geneva at the Place des Nations. In the light of the current wave of unrelenting attacks against Israel´s legitimacy, we have joined with a number of Jewish organisations to hold a rally in support of Israel. You can find more information here.

70 years marks a new season in Israel and the nations

In celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War last month in Jerusalem, we also marked the beginning of a new season.  This is no longer a time just to look back at what happened more than 70 years ago, but rather to stand beside the Jewish people today as they face increased anti-Semitism in the nations and as the diplomatic war against Israel grows stronger.

One sign of this new season was the installation of a new Israeli Government on May 14th. The new government is not exactly what Europe and the international community had hoped for but it was democratically elected by the citizens of Israel and their choice needs to be respected by the international community and fully supported by its friends.

The first test for the new government may come as soon as June 30th when the deadline for nuclear talks with Iran is set to expire and an agreement has to be reached. The Iranian Government has made it perfectly clear that its goal is to wipe Israel off the map - and this is non-negotiable!

For the moment, it seems as if Europe is ready to lift its sanctions against Iran while at the same time imposing new sanctions against Israel in the form of the labelling of goods produced in the disputed territories.

In the next few months, Israel will face another major challenge as the governments of France and New Zealand plan to present a new resolution to the UN Security Council on creating a Palestinian state.
The plan seems to have an overwhelming majority in the Security Council and US President Barack Obama has already indicated that a US veto is by no means guaranteed.

ECI presented its main talking points against a unilateral Palestinian state back in 2011 in the video ”Give Peace a Chance”. This would be a good time to watch the 12 minute video again and to pass it on to others who need to hear the message.

First ever ECI conference in Jerusalem mobilises nations to stand with Israel

Jerusalem - Having met in Brussels every Spring for twelve consecutive years to pray for Israel and the nations, ECI friends and activists from all five continents met in Jerusalem from May 10th-13th for the first- ever ECI conference in Israel. The conference, organised in cooperation with Christians for Israel International and Operation Exodus, was the final event of the ”Global Prayer Call” which had begun with a conference in Krakow in January.  This was in connection with the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and came to a conclusion 100 days later with the 70th Anniversary of the end of WW2.

The conference coincided with the Israeli Government-sponsored Global Forum for the Combatting of Anti-Semitism.  This was attended by ECI staff who met with friends and colleagues from around the world, among them the Canadian Minister for Multiculturalism, Tim Uppal, who spoke at the Concert of Commemoration on January 27th. The mood at both conferences was sombre. The rise of anti-Semitism does not seem to stop and is being undergirded by a growing hatred for Israel and the Jewish people through neo-Nazism, radical Islam and the BDS movement - (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions). Whereas old anti-Semitism by right-wing extremists is widely condemned in Europe, the governing elite find it more difficult to criticise the widespread Muslim anti-Semitism and is often blind to left-wing anti-Semitism which disguises itself in the name of human rights and calls for boycott and divestment.

But the 400 participants at the Global Prayer Conference expressed commitment to stand with Israel and the Jewish people, armed with facts and figures that they learnt during the 3-day conference. The work of ECI was presented by Perrine Dufoix, Andrew Tucker, Gregory Lafitte and Tomas Sandell. The initiator of the Global Prayer Call was ECI Chairman Harald Eckert. Among the other speakers were Willem Glashouwer, Peter Stucken, Antti Hamalainen, Rick Ridings and Henrik Wieja.

First ECI geo-political study tour in Israel
- Raising a new generation of advocates for Israel

Jerusalem - From May 13th-18th, ECI organised its first geo-political visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Thirty five participants from UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, and the US took part in this unique 5-day programme.  About half the participants were young adults. The primary goals of the programme were:

- to gain better understanding of Israel as a Jewish and a democratic state, the current challenges to its legitimacy and security, and the Israel/Arab conflict

- to equip the participants to be more effective advocates for Israel, the Jewish people (and the Arab Palestinians) in the political and public spheres in the nations

The tour, which included eighteen visits and high level meetings was led by Andrew Tucker and Perrine Dufoix.

ECI meets with EU-leaders in Brussels and Jerusalem
- ECI invited to closer partnership with the EU to help balance EU policy vis-a-vis Israel

Brussels / Jerusalem - As the EU prepares for a more active role in any future Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, ECI has met with senior EU and Israeli Government officials in Brussels and Jerusalem to discuss the current situation.

In Brussels, Perrine Dufoix and Tomas Sandell were received by the new Foreign Policy Chief of the office of the Presidency of the European Council, Mrs Riina Kionka. In this introductory meeting, the ECI delegation presented the ECI open letter (co signed by European Jewish Congress, Pentecostal European Fellowship and One Free World International) which calls for immediate EU action to stop the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East and for the EU to take action against the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. Sandell and Dufoix explained the background to the open letter which was first presented in the European Parliament in November in connection with the ECI Annual Policy Conference.
Kionka took a sincere interest in the work of ECI and reminded us that the new EU President, Donald Tusk, is known to be a solid friend of Israel.

Two weeks later, Gregory Lafitte and Tomas Sandell met with senior officials from the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to discuss the current challenges facing Israel in the international arena. The list is long as the diplomatic war against Israel gathers steam at the UN, the EU and other international organisations.

In a separate meeting in Jerusalem, Tomas Sandell met with the EU Ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, who expressed his interest in engaging more with pro-Israel organisations.
’Why is it that all European NGOs that make contact with the European Commission are critical of Israel?’, he asked.

During the discussion, Sandell raised the issue of the EU’s funding of anti-Israeli NGOs who are then commissioned to write their own biased reports on the situation in Israel which are then quoted by the same Commission officials as expert statements.
’This is a vicious circle of lies that needs to be stopped’, he said. Acknowledging that the EU is not always seen as an even-handed peace broker in the Middle East, Ambassador Faaborg-Anderssen reiterated his invitation to closer cooperation with ECI.

ECI has accepted the invitation. As the European institutions in Brussels are targeted by anti-Israel church organisations, trade unions and academia, it is important that a strong European pro-Israel voice is heard. Whilst there are many excellent Jewish pro-Israel organisations active in Europe, we feel a special responsibility to speak up as we are the only Christian pro-Israel voice accredited to the EU.

ECI invited to re-dedication of Bible College of Wales 
Honouring Rees Howells - friend of Israel, intercessor and history maker

Swansea - Over the years, ECI has helped to raise awareness of the rich history of Christian Zionism by writing about men such as the founder of the Red Cross, Henri Dunant. Last month we mentioned the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who stood up to Hitler during the Second World War by paying the ultimate price - his own life. Dunant and Bonhoeffer are not the only Christian leaders to have left us with a rich legacy of what it means to be a friend of the Jewish people in difficult times. Another less well-known person who has stood by Israel in decisive and critical times in history is Rees Howells (1879-1950) from Wales.

On Whit Monday, Tomas Sandell was invited to attend the re-dedication of the Bible College of Wales, which Rees Howells founded in 1924. The bible school, which was in danger of being demolished and sold to property developers, has instead been purchased and renovated to its former glory by the Cornerstone Church of Singapore and will be re-opened this Autumn as a bible school and heritage museum.

It was a great honour for ECI to be able to pay tribute to the work and legacy of Rees Howells by attending the re-dedication service. Rees Howells chose to stand by the Jewish people before, during and after the Second World War. Reverend Rees Howells and his friends were able to discern the deadly threat presented by Hitler at a time when most Christians paid little or no attention to what was happening in Nazi Germany. The Bible school prayed daily for the defeat of Hitler, the protection of the Jewish people and, after the war, the creation of the Jewish state. Prayer was combined with action. The small Bible school bought a large property to host Jewish children who had been sent away from Germany as refugees.

As the UN General Assembly voted in 1947 on the UN Partition Plan, the friends in Wales were on their knees praying. Not everyone may understand or believe in the power of prayer in changing world history, but the ministry of Rees Howells and his friends was recognised by the British Government at the time.

The Welsh Revival (1904-1905) was also instrumental in the creation of the Jewish state  in another way. As revival swept through the nation of Wales, understanding Israel was a crucial part of the revival message. Representing Britain at the San Remo Conference in 1920 was Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who was greatly influenced by the Bible teaching of his native Wales. During the peace negotiations following World War I, a memorandum was handed by Lloyd George to the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau stating that British Palestine would be defined in accordance with its ancient boundaries - from Dan to Bershe’eva. Lloyd George had been informed of these ancient borders by his Christian Bible teachers.

Rees Howells (and the Welsh Revival) represent a great legacy in Christian history in that they not only emphasised a theoretical understanding of Israel, but involved an engagement in prayer and concrete action at a time when most other Christians were asleep.

ECI is grateful to our friends at the Cornerstone Chuch in Singapore and Senior Pastor Yang Tuck Joong for preserving this important legacy of Rees Howells.