In case you didn’t know, this gent is Prince Reza Pahlavi the son of the Shah of Iran, who was the Iranian King before 1979 revolution.
He has come to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to offer friendship to Israel as an Iranian who now lives in the United States.
Iran’s current regime run by the Ayatollahs is the worst enemy of Israel, wanting nothing more to see it destroyed and regular gives threats in its media and flaunts nuclear power plants and trucks containing missiles.
I’ve be blessed to meet with Iranian people who have come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour and some have settled in Southern England not far from me.
I like youth hostels, being a single traveller, I’ve used them not just to be cheap, but I actually like to use them to get to know other people.
I’ve met quite a few Israelis in other places, in China, UK, Germany and Hungary.
Israel welcomes Christians, and preaching the gospel isn’t illegal, unless you do with a bribe. It is frowned upon though.
The proposed laws on banning gospel messages in Israel was brought up by only a tiny handful (two) members of the Knesset (Israel’s government) It got Israel’s Messianic movement and evangelical Christians worried for a day, but has been quickly quashed by PM Benyamin Netanyahu.
But I found I can be a bit creative and probe people with some other questions. In this youth hostel they have these rules pinned up.
This hostel has this poster up as they want discourage visitors of being obnoxious and annoying. I totally it get why.
In September 2022 we had the recent death of the Queen. Some German Christians came up to me in the kitchen of the hostel and told me the Queen “can’t of been a proper Christian”, she was only using the title just to meet formalities. I said no, she often talked about her faith in Christ, and explained how she would always make this part of her Christmas speech, something which might not happen in successive rulers. With this, you can get a feel of a not so pleasant vibe which would make others who don’t know Christ would put them of us.
This is the perfect place to chill after seeing places of Jesus around the shore of the Galilee. This is probably the best hostel I have stayed in, in about 20 years of youth hostelling.
Pita, chili layered homous, dates and coffee seems like a good lunch before heading out again.
Later on in the evening, I got chatting to different people hanging out on this roof. Two of them were other young tourists, anoher German guy who had to leave and a Frenchman.
The French lad was a Jew called Hugo he is about 22 I think. I asked him, as you going to move here? he said he was religious but wasn’t really sure if he wanted to be an Israeli. I smiled at him, and told him you should there is a ton of pretty Israeli girls your age here. He laughed.
I got to tell Hugo about the big poster at the side of the road, I asked him “you know this can’t be the Moshiach as he never visited Israel. The Moshiach is Israeli.”
Hugo: “How do you know?”
Me: “Its in Isaiah, in chapter 53 tells you a lot about him. You can read it in the bible, but read if for yourself and not through some religious leader’s interpretation.”
I could see Hugo’s fascination here. I sense one concern though. He would still go and look at a Rabbi’s opinion. Me very quickly prays in a few seconds he would think for himself.
Hugo: “I am going to look this up later”
He got his phone out, which has a Jewish Tankh (whole Old Testament in English and Hebrew), and said he wanted to see what a Rabbi would say.
He brought up the verse and read it quickly, his phone’s screen had a space for a commentary of someone’s interpretation, which was…. empty!! Then he said something quite shocking:
Hugo: “I think this lake has something to do with the Messiah…”
(me quietly utterly beside myself with joy and worshiping the Lord silently)
Hugo decided to head to bed, I said I enjoyed talking with him. I went back out into the street and walked around the seafront giving thanks and praise and glory that this young man seemed curious about the most explicit foretelling of the gospel and also at the place where Jesus did most of his ministry, 100 metres from the edge of the lake.
I stuck to the rules, well I gave him some things that he really got excited about…..
First of all, I was excited to return back to Israel to see many different old friends and visit and explore a few favourite places I have not seen yet.
I’m up in Tiberias, the lovely city that overlooks the Sea of Galilee. I got to visit a few friends here, and stay in youth hostel and chat to local Israelis and other tourists.
This above picture shows a poster with the word משיח (Messiah) and shows a picture of a bearded hat wearing Ultra Orthodox Jewish man. These posters are put up by the Chabad Lubavitch who consider this man (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneerson) to be the Messiah. There are a lot of these posters but this one different as its a paid for advertisement, rather than a fly poster.
Chabad has a religious information building on the shore of the lake and a TV outside that plays some looped video
This gent is not the Messiah. As he lived in New York and didn’t visit Israel once, nor did he fulfill any of the prophecies talked about in the Tanakh (what Christians commonly call the Old Testament) Micah 5:2 tells us where the Messiah would be from – Bethlehem. New York doesn’t have a Messiah, but has good pizzas.
This restaurant is around the corner from the Chabad building.
These pigeons made a nest on this fan!
I would like to see the birds somewhere safe to build their home. Also I really sincerely hope the Haredim (Ultra Orthodox Jews) would know their Messiah as outlined in the books of the prophets.
But, so near, so close, to where he was….
This area is where the Messiah spent time in, I’ll have more to show in the next few days…..
What’s different for tourists and volunteers in Jerusalem recently?
As well as big wave of inflation in recent times, mostly as a result by countries printing money to keep things running after the Covid lockdown years, a few frequent instances of terrorism, and in 2023 many Israelis protesting in the streets as a results to changes in government which many to perceive to weaken democracy.
For me as a tourist, it is now 3.9 Shekels to the Pound as opposed to 5.9 – 6.3 shekels ten years ago when I was living there which hurts a bit for us British visitors.
I got to visit last September, so let me explain some of the exciting new discoveries of late in the Holy Land shortly.
These are just my opinion. Just in strange bizarre times we live in, we will see more surprises happen.
Putin will be gone.
He could get deposed and killed, or his rumoured serious illnesses might catch up with him. Either way, history says that dictators will eventually get the citizens of their country lose patience with them, like Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi.
In the UK or US, Corporate wokeness will become a liability.
When companies prioritise certain ideologies and cause division, some of their customers will leave.
I did. I left Lloyds Bank after 30 years as a customer, as they seemed to obsessively put LGBT in every type of advert, and yet, in markets where they make a lot of money like the Arab world where gays get executed, they say nothing.
I think a time will happen where stakeholders will notice the idea of virtue signalling, the gesturing of faux moral standards, whilst not knowing what a woman is, will make people getting rid of stocks or shares of big name companies causing a massive economic ripple.
More people coming to Christ in Muslim and Communist nations.
I think already some are coming to effectively be missionaries in the Western world already.
The BBC will go bankrupt
The licence fee isn’t sustainable. The Beeb have lost credibility with many people in the UK. They will have to be advert supporting. Not long after recent redundancies, they at the same time spent £7m on a new font and branding.
More instability in Middle East
Some leaders of other nations aren’t in good shape. Palestine authority leader Mahmood Abbas is 87 and a heavy smoker. Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini is old and rumoured to have cancer. When these men pass, there isn’t a obvious replacement planned.
Another (at least one) country leaves the EU.
Don’t forget, the UK wasn’t the first. I think long term the bloc will break up in the same way as Yugoslavia did. Our friends who have lived in eastern Europe in the Iron Curtain in the 80s will notice any kind of creeping controlling authority more than the west would.
I know a few pastors and ordinary folks who do prophetic words over people or over their own countries.
I think some of the best known teachers in the charismatic movement are Derek Prince, John Paul Jackson and Jennifer LeClaire.
I also really respect prophetic messages from Lance Lambert (who was my bible teacher in Jerusalem, but originally from England) and also Pastor Chris Wickland from just outside of Portsmouth, here in the UK.
Looking at some announcements from prophets, some have come to pass, and some haven’t or have yet to, which has led me thinking of prophecy is a conditional thing, and it if a church, people group or nation obeys God or doesn’t if things could change.
I read this passage yesterday which I think makes things clear.
2 Kings 20 : 1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.
1 and 2 Kings starts from King David and then Solomon, and every iteration of government over Israel, and we see how some leaders were great, and many were bad. This book shows the nitty gritty of how many of the mistakes were made.
Where the Lord said death was soon going to happen to Hezekiah, and yet later things were much better.
We should be grateful when the Lord hears our cries for forgiveness and gives us another chance.
So, driving to church and notice fuel has gone up again. The food bank in my church is being used a bit more before and utility bills are just crazy.
So what to do? Go and moan on the internet and shout and scream and blame the government, capitalism and Brexit?
I went through some of my finances this week, I normally find these things boring as heck. But as a total amateur at money stuff, I’ve made some really good discoveries. Here’s my discoveries
Switch to Lidl or Aldi for food shopping.
I’m blessed to have of these German style supermarkets next to my flat. This a lot of reasons to like Lidl. Their prices are really good. When you buy more expensive stuff like meat, you notice some decent savings. As an ethical company there are no automated tills in my local store, they openly declare they pay their staff more money, and there is no annoying political flags put out or anything else divisive.
Their app gives you as well as voucher codes a few other nice incentives like a free danish pastry when its your birthday 🙂
The other best thing I like about Lidl is the occasional random fruit and veg boxes you can get for £1.50 which is close to end of life or torn packaging produce bundled into one box. This is great and never really see anything actually gone off at all.
The price of airtime of a phone is a lot lower than it used to be. I am SIM only for the last few years, replacing my phone out of my own pocket only if it breaks or if there is a compelling feature of a new one that I really need (My Motorola G30 has 2 day battery and a really good camera)
I used to pay £25 for SIM only about 5 years ago I think, then £20 with Vodafone, then switched to Talkmobile for £10, then that changed to Voxi (both are part of Vodafone) now I’ve found another deal for basic SIM only with 4Gb of data for £5 a month, with it being even less for first few months.
This gives you web chat to ask questions rather than a call centre, but actually I’ve managed to ask to sort out problems no bother at all this way.
I decided to change banks as 1) one of them was offering a £125 incentive to change, 2) I wanted a bank that is ethical by not being controlled by a communist country or making people wear pronoun badges. 3) get a bit more interest on my money, seeing I was on the same bank I’ve been on the same account since I was a student.
For a lot of things there are great. Especially biscuits, pasta, sweets, batteries, cleaning materials, toiletries, small tools.
Even better is Sam 99p store which is only in London. They have spices and unusual Asian food.
I think the secret to these places are of course, economies of scale and buying in bulk, but these stores buy cancelled orders like some Kellogs cereal in Arabic. This was spotted at a time when the Saudis had a lost of about $100b due to sudden changes in oil prices. So therefore I think these boxes of cereal made in the UK or Europe with Arabic labels on them got cancelled from a big order and sold cheaply in Poundland.
Some things haven’t gone up, which confuses me.
Like alcohol in supermarkets. You know what, if the government has to put the prices up of anything it should be booze. It really shouldn’t be too cheap, and we don’t want people turning to this stuff when things are doing wrong in their lives. I bought a popular bottle of pale ale from Lidl this week which was 99p and a similar good one is £1.20. This has been about the same price since I bought this sometimes in Morrisons in Harrow, North London where I lived 2014-2017.
So why hasn’t this gone up? surely breweries need complex heating system which need gas as well as the obvious cost of transportation and retail and manufacturer staff needing a pay rise. So I am confused.
I hope anyone reading this gets a chance to look through your own spending habits and figure what you can fine tune to get better value at difficult times.
Santorini is a by-product of a volcano. The island is shaped like a croissant, and it was formed from the spoils of an eruption thousands of years ago.
Santorini’s real name is actually Thera. The capital town called Thera also confusingly called Fira. In the north, the town called Oia/Ia (written two ways, but both pronounced “Ear”) is where people normally head to see those spectacular views from balconies from apartments set in the sides of the cliff.
Its one of the most popular worldwide tourist destinations for Honeymooners. People come from all over to come here, but in October 2021 when pandemic was less disruptive, I saw and heard a lot of French, Germans, Spanish and Italians, and a small number of American visitors.
Its probably the most Instagramable holiday place you will recognise. Also in a lot of holiday brochures. The most expensive and desirable rooms and apartments include a hot tub and great views.
Greece has 2,000 islands. This might be the best and most famous though. It does have a small airport (which looks like it has a footprint of 5% of the island) as its medium sized and the smaller ones don’t. You can look out and see Ios and some of the others.
There are a lot of tiny churches. Some in funny places. This one was next to the airport runway.
It is on an earthquake fault and the Greek islands get quite a few of them. One happened whilst I was there.
There were political demonstrations happening. I’m not sure exactly what, nothing too scary. I think they people protesting might of been local teachers. Salaries for Greeks have always been a lot lower than other parts of western Europe.
It might be where the lost City of Atlantis is. There’s a museum here.
It is quite cheap to fly here. My flight with carry on luggage only was about £65 return from London Stansted. I stayed in a youth hostel.
This is in a main road from the airport. Santorini is not that big, no more than 7 miles long I think.
I didn’t get a tax or a bus, as I wanted to stretch my legs and saw lot of piles of abandoned machinery and a few vehicles including this bus.
Scrap cars often litter the Middle East and Africa, which makes me wonder why people don’t go and scrap these and get money for them. I think the supply chains of scrap aren’t as simple here.
In this part of the world, the middle east, north Africa and Southern Europe, people build their own houses, but don’t always finish them. There are several reasons for this. Maybe someone realised their budget would only make half the house, or, some legal quibbles of the planning permission, or, even, realising you don’t pay tax on a house that’s not finished.
Either way, this is something I saw happen a lot in Israel. And Palestinian territories, And Jordan. And Turkey. And Morocco.
The empty shell of the house made a good place for me to watch the sundown. Something I did every evening I was in Santorini and everyone who comes to visit.
I was looking around for a break from work, and not travelled in a long time.
Covid has made any kind of travelling extremely difficult, and my ticket to get back to Israel has been cancelled and rebooked twice already now. It seems easiest when infection numbers are small, like in the autumn of 2021 to book a place for the following month.
Greece is not a country for anti vaxxers. You have to show proof of your certificate you have two (or more) jabs. I was told the best way to present this documentation is to get the official smart phone app from the Greek tourist office and upload the photos of my jabs to this.
I did this, and then got to the counter when I got to Santorini, and got out my phone to show the lady clerk who wanted to see proof. The app wanted my log in details, I entered the password several times and it refused me. So I reset my password. It couldn’t as it thought my account doesn’t exist. So a brief panic kicked in, “the app doesn’t bloody work!” but thankfully the woman just waved me through.
So how much of today’s Greece have similarities to the bible? Well this was one interesting proof. The The airport shows the word “Exodus” being a direct translation of the word exit as above.