Israel at 70: A View from the Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and a Jewish Author

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At the ICEJ/ACLI Conference in Washington DC, we were privileged to hear from Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy, Yaron Gamburg, gave an exciting speech about the history of Israel.  In regard to Israel today, he mentioned three key things of which everyone should know:

  • Land – As we know, God’s covenant with Abraham promised Israel a land.  (See Genesis 12 and 15, as well as other references.)  When God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, He referenced a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3, Ezekiel 20).  Yet, when Israel was reborn in 1948, Israel was far from a land flowing with milk and honey.  Yet, Isaiah 35:1-2 tells us that the desert will blossom.  That is happening!  You see, the land blossoms only when Jews are in it!  God keeps His promises to His people.
  • People – God’s covenant with Abraham also involved people.  Abraham would be the father of the Jewish people.  Since Israel’s rebirth, 3.5 million Jews have made aliyah (return to the homeland)!  Israel has now overtaken the United States as the most Jewish-populated country in the world…as they should be!  God is bringing His people back to their land, just as He promised.
  • Purpose – The Jewish people have a purpose: to make the world a better place.  Avi Jorisch, author of Thou Shalt Innovate, also spoke at the conference, concurring that tikkun olam (making the world a better place) is part of the Jewish DNA.  It is ingrained.  Ganburg referred to the Jews as “lights unto the world,” and strive to leave a positive impact.

Jorisch spent considerable time describing innovation in Israel, including all the ways in which inventions are helping people all around the world.  We previewed CBN’s latest release entitled, To Life, which documents the worldwide relief work done by Israelis.

It is so important that we share the truth about Israel.  Here’s a great way to learn (then tell) about Israel’s efforts to be “lights unto the world.”  To see To Life for free, click the link.  Check it out, then spread the word!

Koolulam Sweeps across Israel bringing Joy and Hope

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A new movement is sweeping across Israel.  The mass singing initiative is called Koolulam, and is immensely successful in gathering diverse crowds to join in unity and song.  The first event in Tel Aviv in 2017 was so successful that events now sell out in short order.

The gist is this: participants register to attend an event and are quickly identified as baritone, alto or soprano. Once together, they spend less than an hour learning a three-part arrangement of a Hebrew or English song. Then, it’s showtime!  Everyone lends their voice in song to create a video, many of which get very significant airtime on social media!

But what’s the point!?!  The music and creativity is meant to unite Israelis on a mass scale, and events often target places in society which are hurting and in need of an uplifting song that will put a smiles on faces.  Events have focused on groups such as Holocaust survivors and critically ill children in hospitals.

A few days ago I shared a video from a Koolulam gathering of 600 Holocaust survivors, their children and grandchildren.  Now, take a look at the doctors, nurses and hospital staff who joined critically ill children in a Koolulam event at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petach Tikvah, Israel in February.

The desire to make the world a better place (Tikkun Olam) is woven into the fabric of Israelis, and their joy and zest for life are contagious!  Enjoy!

Israel Sends Trauma Experts to Parkland FL

Following the recent school shooting in Parkland FL, Yotam Dagan had a particular concern: how would student at Stoneman Douglas High School react to the next fire drill?  The Israeli clinical psychologist and former Israeli special forces member realized the shooter had pulled the fire alarm to empty classrooms.

According to CNN, Dagan said:

“If it’s just done without any early preparation or warning, the sound of the bell is going to reactivate the traumatic response….There are going to be meltdowns. There are going to be panic attacks.”

So, Dagan and fellow psychologist Alan Cohen hopped on a plane and flew to Florida.  “It’s not as if Israel knows anything America doesn’t.  But we have a lot more practical experience in putting them into a coherent program.” Indeed, as members of the Israel Trauma Coalition, they have experience in providing trauma counseling following terrorist activity in Israel and around the world, as well as assistance following natural disasters worldwide.

They are also experts in identifying those in need of trauma assistance, and brought their expertise to those impacted, as well as to community leaders who are in position to provide resources to those in need.

Read the inspiring story here.

I am reminded once again of the Israeli commitment to tikkun olam…making the world a better place.  Consistently, Israel is one of the first on scene anywhere in the world when assistance is needed.  Praise God for their tikkun olam commitment…and may we learn from their faithfulness.

Now, for the Rest of the Story…

A couple days ago we were introduced to 2-wheeled ambulances.  In Israel, a volunteer group of “do-gooders” respond to emergency situations on motorcycles equipped with emergency medical supplies.  That enables responders to get to those in need much sooner than it take an ambulance to fight through traffic.

However, today I want to focus on the actual ambulance crews in Israel.  What would you think if you were in an accident, an ambulance rolled up and a 16-year-old bounced out of the ambulance to care for you?  You might be surprised to learn that 60% of Israel’s EMT’s are teenagers!

Amazingly, Israel’s high school students are required to volunteer 60 hours of service to their communities.  Many serve with the Magen David Adom national ambulance service.  Crews are made of both Jews and Arabs, so those young people serve side-by-side.

Take a look at this fascinating article from Israel 21c:  Why Israel has world’s highest percentage of teenage EMT’s.  Enjoy!