Avi and Hannah

Tents of Mercy Network
"...on the first morning of our honeymoon we were greeted with shocking news pictures."

"How ironic ... that we read of Isaac's binding and the Muslims read of Ishmael's binding."

Our wedding procession
In October 2000, during the Feast of Tabernacles, a bride and groom walked hand in hand, looking at each other shyly, toward their wedding "tabernacle." Around the white cloth chuppah canopy and its crimson flowers stood four groomsmen together with the officiating "Uncle Rabbi" and the beaming, teary-eyed father of the bride.

It was a rapturous moment witnessed by 400 guests, family and friends: a harmonious unity between an African-born Jew and an American-born Jew, now both planted in the Land of Israel. It was a canvas painting, colorfully illustrating the reality of God's promises of His people returning to the Land and inheriting His blessings. The wedding canopy stood on a small peninsula jutting out over a small pool. The wedding processional recalled the path through the Red Sea with water on both sides, opening the way to the Land of God's promises.

That exultant evening was page one and day one of the tale of our life together as a new family in Land of our Fathers.

However...bathed in the gladness of our celebration, we were only vaguely aware of the rapidly degenerating political atmosphere in the country. Ironically, the very next day, on the first morning of our honeymoon we were greeted with shocking news pictures. We saw on the television screen, a man waving his blood-stained hands from the police station window of Ramallah. This man had participated in a violent lynching of two Israelis - Vadim Nurzich and Yossi Avrahami who had accidentally entered Palestinian territory. This incident the day after our wedding marked the beginning of the Second Intifada.

In Israeli life, too often the joyful and sorrowful coexist almost inseparably.

Back to the Future

Now fifteen years later as we celebrate our "crystal" wedding anniversary, the nation again faces rising political tensions tending towards a Third Intifada. The term Intifada comes from the Arabic word "shaking" but is understood to mean an uprising. This current Intifada has already claimed several lives. One incident which captured headlines and escalated tension was the brutal killing of a young couple - Eitham and Naama Henkin who were shot from close range while driving in their car with their four children. This killing happened right in front of their children. Having four children ourselves, we soberly wonder what the future holds for our nation?

  • What does the future hold for these four children who saw their parents killed because of being Jewish?
  • What does the future hold for the Middle East?
  • What does the future hold for our lives here in Israel?

Murdered Henkin couple
survived by 4 children
No single reason can be pointed to as the main cause of this uprising. The ongoing incitement in the Palestinian population towards the Jews, as well as individual incidents of killings or attempts from extreme members of both sides - Jewish and Arab - have all contributed to this volatile state. But one of the most explosive ingredients for this uprising has been the Muslim High Holiday Id-El-Adcha (Holiday of Atonement/Offering). During these four days Muslims gather at mosques or Mecca to pray and participate in the holiday. Ironically this holiday is connected to what is called Akedat Ishmael - the Binding of Ishmael, commemorated by offering a lamb which would then be eaten during the festivities. The Muslims believe that it was Ishmael and not Isaac who was bound by Abraham to be sacrificed. Unfortunately this holiday has been associated with igniting hostility towards Jews. The Muslim prayer houses have been used to induce zealots to hatred and violence towards Zion.

As fate would have it, in our coexistence with the Arab/Muslim world, we Jews also have a similar Holiday. During the Days of Awe at Rosh Hashanah we also read Akedat Yitzchak - the Binding of Isaac - by Abraham as commanded by God. How ironic is it then that we read of Isaac's binding and the Muslims read of Ishmael's binding, and we are facing such a clash between our peoples!

Isn't it so clear that we all need an offering?! One that would be offered up on behalf of the both of us. This is key to understanding our region. The root reason for the crisis in the Middle East is the question of jealousy and acceptance.

"Who has got the right offering?"

"And who is the rightful heir and promised son of Avraham?"

Addressing this root cause, God has already graciously provided an effective redemption. It is only in the "Binding" and Offering of Yeshua, the Lamb of God, that we can find true acceptance and redemption. Five thousand years ago God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son and told him that He had was the one who would bind and provide the sacrifice. This is the message that we need to revisit again. May this revelation be realized and released to our peoples.

Would you please pray for this season?

For the angels of God to protect innocent lives.

That our people would be able to see hope, peace, and redemption for the future.

We believe this is what the future holds, that we will go through these trials and tribulations until we finally come to realize it was the Son of God who was bound and pierced for our sake. Then we will experience revival in the Land, and the King will come rule over us forever. In the end, there will be a Wedding one day whose joy will not be tempered by the sadness and the tragedy of hatred. For when the Bridegroom returns He will gather His Bride to an everlasting joy of the New Jerusalem and the rest of eternity will be an anniversary celebration.

In the meantime, our marriages testify that God is true to His promises of blessing. And, may the coming of the ultimate Bridegroom happen sooner rather than later. Amen!

By Avi and Hannah
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22:43 29Oct15 Elizabeth -
Ancient conflict fanned by the fires of hatred down through the ages. Ishmael and Esau. I feel this is what we see happening. You seemed to touch on that topic. They don't want peace for the most part, but when a Muslim is given a vision or dream of Yeshua, they are changed to totally opposite. Yeshua is the most life changing experience anyone can have. There are many who are praying for you and all of Israel. We know the covenants and the promises given to Israel, they will all come to fulfillment.
Meanwhile we are grieved by the deaths and devastation caused by terrorists who have been fed anti-Semitic hatred while they are barely able to talk. Man can't solve this problem, only Messiah can. He is coming soon. May THE Almighty GOD of Israel surround you, your children and all in the ministry with His angels. May His Holy Name be your shield.

00:21 30Oct15 Mary Anne Biele -
I just finished listening to Prof. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University who talked about this. He said that this current "wave" of violence is their jihad, a "holy" uprising that they see as obligatory because they truly believe that Islam has superceded Judaism and Christianity and that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Jesus were all Muslim prophets in succession up to Mohammad who was the last one appointed by Allah. And they fear that if the Jews were to ever succeed in building a third temple that they may qualify to be the new ruling religion to replace Islam, or something to that effect. I had never heard that before, but it helps to understand their extreme actions to be successful to keep their "place" and wage this jihad for Allah. We know they are very deceived and only G-D can open their eyes and through Yeshua, bring true Peace.

04:50 01Nov15 Allison Croft -
Very insightful read. It was news to me that the Moslems claim Ishmael instead of Isaac as being Abraham's sacrificial offering to God. Yes, I agree we need to go always back to the root to God's precious Word for the Truth.

11:16 23Nov15 Peggy Steffel -
Excellent article!

Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Dan Juster: The Growing Anti-Israel Movement
Eitan Shishkoff: Acts Chapters 16 & 17 in Full Technicolor
Leon Mazin: Haifa Theological Institute
Asher Intrater: Northern Army
Youval Yanai: Refugee Crisis
Asher Intrater: Three Dimensional Faith
Eddie Santoro: Ahavat Yeshua Congregation
Eddie Santoro: Day of Atonement