Succot and Gilat Shalit video

Today is Succot, I spent an evening with a friend in the next street to me under a typical tent like shelter. Most of these things are crude but simple metal or wooden frames which you spend your time eating and often sleeping in these things. I have yet to read about the biblical background of these but it was a good fun evening.

About an hour before I went out I saw in the news, the government in Israel have agreed to let some female Palestinian terrorists out of jail in exchange for the people in Gaza holding the captured Israeli solider Gilad Shilat for the last three years to release a video showing evidence that he is alive.

I saw the video today, and there is no doubt that this genuine. It shows Gliad reading from an Arab newspaper which the camera zooms in on the date clearly showing a date of 14th of September of this year, Gilad appears in good health and doesn’t appear under stress or worry, he talks about when he met up with his father and two brothers before his capture in 2006. So for the millions of Jews and Christians that have been praying for his safe return this is a wonderful thing.

Now with a lot of the mainstream media who always constantly put down Israel for ‘Apartheid’ and such other things, (and turn a blind eye to the medieval practices of some the neighbouring Arab states) really think that exchanging known criminals for one Israeli person, or in the past the body of a soldier, or in this case, just some evidence on a video he is alive really is an acceptable thing?   Would any other nation in the world give into this sort of bargaining?

However the typical barbaric practices of the people in Gaza keeping Shalit will know well that they intend to up the stakes for bartering his release. This is worrying, if he’s released many dangerous Moslem extremists will out of jail probably more trained and evil than ever, this raises the incentive for any Israelis to get captured again in the future.

If you are reading this, it doesnt matter if you are Christian, Jewish or whatever, I would like to ask you to pray. I am praying this now, so pray yourself along the same lines:
Abba father, we humbly ask for you to intervene supernaturally with the kidnapped solider Gilad Shalit, we ask that you bring him home quickly and safely, and that his family would not have to endure any more heartache waiting for news. Lord God, we pray that you would block any kind of deal to exchange him for prisoners which could further compromise Israel’s safety, and that by your authority that he would be given up, and you will be given the glory for his safe return. We ask this in your name. Amen.


There is a tent close to the government offices and its only 200 yards or so from my house. I often pass this place and with the rumour of this video surfacing, the volunteers in the tent were noticeably excited this week. You can pass there and pick up a car sticker or visit this web site or sign the petition.

About this blog Brit in Jerusalem

I am in the process of migrating over information from my somewhat broken and awkward to manage Microsoft Office Live web site to this blog.  Here is some of the background why I am in Jerusalem.

I have grown to love Israel from my two visits as a tourist in 2004 and 2006. To be honest its never been somewhere I have wanted to visit when I was younger, I didn’t understand why it was on the news all the time nor if there was any relevance to the place of the same name in the bible.

As a child I learnt French at school, it bored me as the text books were old and dull, when much later I visited France in person the sights and experiences showed me it was far more interesting than some dog eared 1980s books with black and white photos. At the same time, the land of the bible becomes real when you get to see it in the flesh.

This web site is not intended to give a history of Israel or the middle east conflicts. Its just a brief overview on my plans to live and work out there and why its still relevant in the bible today.

The media often paints a unfair picture, and both the news and documentaries rarely show the good qualities of the state of Israel, the vast beauty of the land, the scene of biblical events in history and those yet to come, a country having the only democracy in the middle east, a wide array of people gathered from different corners of the world, but most of all it being the land where Jesus was born, grew up, did his ministry and died.


My name is Jonathan Hayward, I was born and have lived in Portsmouth UK. I am a computer technician, I didn’t got to university, I did plenty of jobs that weren’t ideal and struggled to get a direction with my career and plan with God. In the last 5 years I have worked in various IT roles.

I have been to Kings Church in Southsea, Portsmouth, UK for the last ten years. In my church you sometimes might find me manning the front welcoming people and giving out the programmes. For those going to church for the first time or if you have not been in a long time, (including myself) lets face it – church can be terrifying! I never had a big plan or aimed to be pushy, just to give a sense of welcome to those visiting the church once or regular. In several of the places I have worked I have had the chance to meet and pray with other believers there.

I work as a computer technician, I support users on the telephone, by email and face to face. I like finding solutions to problems, I also like to help people overcome technical challenges.

I didn’t go to university, I messed up my education so I learned and taught myself a lot of things. Repairing discarded equipment that business ditched as they didn’t have the time to fix themselves. Getting to something that resembled a career meant I made a few wrong choices along the way

I got in the right direction working for Novatech, one of the country’s top mail order PC retailers, well known as they offer after sales technical support without any premium rate numbers. I was able to maintain their reputation by answering calls and providing fixes or arranging return of defective equipment.

After then I moved into the corporate environment and supported users with in big companies and got familiar with the popular range of applications from Microsoft which are the tools in most businesses today, like Windows XP, Office and Active Directory.

I enjoy speaking to my users on the phone, email and in person. I get to deliver and install new or repair equipment directly to people. I get to speak and know everyone in the whole organisation. I have served and assisted computer problems for Senior Directors, HR managers, Software Developers, Accountants, Car bodywork repair assessors, Salesmen, Nurses, Therapists, Medical Secretaries, Consultants and Doctors. This being on the phone, by email or in person, including people from different countries, some blind, deaf and disabled people and users with little to no computer experience or with very limited English.

I spent a year working a NICE Systems who are one of the market leaders in voice recording solutions for telecoms, they are based in Ra’nana in Israel.

In many of the places I have worked I have found other Christians and we have met up and chatted and prayed in our lunch breaks, as its good to build up and encourage each other when things may get difficult or stressful.

Outside of work Jonathan likes to assist with setting up church and being part of a welcome team. I have always tried to strive to make church friendly and make sure everyone who comes through the door, its easy to forget that church can be a scary or daunting prospect for a new person. Jonathan also likes the countryside (especially the New Forest where I spent part of the time working in hospitals there) travelling, cooking, photography and spending time with my friends.

The tomb of Jesus

A few weeks ago on a Tuesday I got finish work at 4pm, as we are encouraged to take a hour of work to go and pray. Tuesday afternoon was not picked by anyone else so I used this time to go and visit the Tomb of the Rock.

After printing out a map I left work and headed towards the old city and follow around the edges of the city walls, I got to a busy Arab part which had a market in full swing outside, two Arab men suddenly run up to each other and kiss on both cheeks, no, they are not gay, this is just a symbol of friendship very different from the west, at the market there were people with children’s clothes on cars, a blanket with a big tangled heap of mobile chargers for sale, pirate DVDs of Dora the Explorer which had the covers done on a cheap inkjet printer were on a stand next to a Arabic CD of MP3s of Islamic teaching, the atmosphere is still one of being at the same frenetic pace that I have used to been seeing in Jerusalem.


Here I got a bit lost as I couldn’t see the street I needed, the market tents and stacked up boxes of fruit and pickup trucks had hidden the street signs, after going past an unassuming bus station and twice missing the road, I decided this was the right one, a short journey later and I see a sign post that takes me in to a alleyway to an attractive green painted door with a sign for the tomb, at the gate I am asked if I have been here before, I told the lady yes twice. I am given a leaflet which shows how to walk around in a methodical fashion to see the small park in its full detail, but instead I make a beeline directly for the tomb.

For some reason this journey today reminds me a DVD I have of U2’s Rattle and Hum music video, in this film Bono & co take a journey around America searching for their musical heros visiting the America’s fertile grounds that sprouted musical history, stopping off at Harlem in New York, Chicago and later the film kind of climaxes at Tennessee, at of course, Gracelands, the iconic home of Elvis Presley where the king of rock and roll was buried in his garden.

Here, I am looking for another legend who had a simple upbringing but almost everyone has heard of, this location was quite a costly prepaid burial site that was given by Joseph of Aramathea, as everyone knows the resurrection was only 3 days later, as a shrine to Christ himself there is a mixture of emotions that come from this place, I like the fact the garden is quite simple but well maintained and free of rubbish and there is plenty of seating for church groups to sit and have teaching, although there are wheel chair ramps, handles, and outdoor lighting, plus of course the ubiquitous gift shop although this is a modest affair with mostly tasteful souvenirs of biblical history.

This place is thought to be the most likely burial place of Jesus, as it does seem to match the details outlined in the scriptures, but who knows tombs of this kind could have been contemporary with this era. There is even a groove in the front which means a rolling stone could lock the front. A replica stone which is a lot smaller was on display elsewhere in the garden. There are some slightly ugly bricks in part of the door edge as it was repaired at some point. Inside there are some iron railings inside that split the tomb up and my understanding is part of the bed of the tomb was sawn and taken out and put in the church of the holy sepulchre.


After praying and contemplating for a while to look in the shop on the way back, this man asked me why I was still here, apparently the place had closed 10 minutes ago, and he was locking up and didn’t see me. I headed off back home.