AirBNB boycots parts of Israel, so forget them and see places anyway

This morning (20/11/2018) I woke up to BBC Radio 2 at 6am to get ready for work, which mentioned a story about AirBNB deciding to unlist properties in disputed parts of Israel, this is sad. I’ve booked all my travels in hostels in Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Europe and China using hostelworld.com mostly when I travel and see things for myself and not told what to think.   Hostelworld act as a middleman for booking hostels by paying for a deposit in advance and knowing the place isn’t fully booked when you get there (can happen)

AirBNB would be the better choice for a couple, family or a group.   Now being a Christian Zionist, avid traveller and curious about places, this is yet another one of those depressing stories how countries, authorities and businesses ignore the plights of Christians persecuted who live in Muslim majority countries (Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Sudan, etc) and decide to pick on Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

In some weird way this might be a good thing seeing as Israel based companies often succeed better in the holy land than multinational organisations, ie if you look at Eldan car rental is more popular than Hertz Avis Budget etc and Aroma coffee shops out did Starbucks.

This is Hebron by the Tomb of the Patriarchs.   This is considered disputed territory but contains crucial bits of history of Jewish people, and its a place where Jews and Palestinians live.  I’ve not been here and I want to go and see it.   This is a more unstable place to visit.   I think its ok to visit but to go with a tour guide.

AirBNB is one of these internet companies that ‘disrupt’ traditional businesses doing hotels and holiday villas using the power of the internet, and are probably the “go to” brand for many holidaymakers looking to rent a place as part of a trip.

I see this as an opportunity for Israeli businesses to be shrewd and take away some of their business.   Let’s hope Israeli travel companies make a new portal to book places for foreigners that can see the many exciting parts of the country

 

Advertisements

Big moon makes appearance on Jewish holiday Tu Bishvat

This week is a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, Tu Bishvat (New Year of Trees) and again there is talk on the internet about the Blood Red Moons and End Times.

jerusalem moon

Here is the moon in Jerusalem, I’ve taken this from a reliable source of someone I know out there at the moment.

big moon 1024.jpg

Here is the moon from the camera of my phone (1/2/2018) Thursday of this week, its the thing in the middle, it looked not red at the time, but very big and clear.

Note I’m an average Christian, saved by grace and not law, of non-Jewish descent, and not a Hebrew Roots guy but worked with Jewish people for a number of years and prefer to have a non-ambiguous approach to my faith.)    I like to use Jewish holidays to meet up with Jewish friends, but I don’t fully observe them and definitely don’t force them on Christian or secular friend.

In the past, the whole Blood Red Moons thing got a bit ridiculous amongst hysteria online but I think God could be trying to get our attention, by coinciding events in the Jewish holiday with the movement of planets in the sky. 

I see it as this, to get right with God, seek Christ alone, and pray for our nation and communities.

The myth of Palestinian nationalism – part one

IMG_20160606_151120229 small.jpg

IMG_20160606_151306966_HDR - smallOften common mainstream opinion these days is Israel “goes and helps itself to someone else’s land and justifies it by religion and nationalism.”    But actually, when you look at history this isn’t true.

I found this old book at a library of a charity I was working for in 2016, but one with no interest in Israel.   Its a Reader’s Digest Atlas, its first printed in 1965 and this edition is from 1982.

Contemporary maps may mark out the West Bank and Gaza regions as ‘Disputed territory’ just to be even-handed and diplomatic.

IMG_20160606_151044743 small Bethlehem jordan small

Jerusalem was recaptured by Israel in the Six Day war of 1967.   Therefore much of this book predates it.   It would appear the 1972 reprint didn’t show a modern Arab Palestine.   Before 1948 Israel was the British Mandate of Palestine, and before 1918 it was owned by Turkey.

A new proposed Palestine is proposed as being sovereign Arabic nation, this is actually a modern concept which leaders around the world are trying to make a reality to appease Islamic authorities in the name of peace.   They are severely misguided.   The most well known father of Islamic Palestinian nationalism is Yasser Arafat.    Who was born in (cough ahem) Cairo, Egypt.

Palestine as a name was invented by Roman emperor Hadrian in AD120.   When crudely transliterated into Arabic, it is pronounced Filastin.   This is because the Arabic language doesn’t have a letter P.

You might think “hold on, you can’t gauge history by just one book?”   – well if you care to look at reliable sources of history, rather than Islamic sources you will find this to be correct.

 

Books on examples of Jewish evangelism in Israel

Ok, taking a break from my European travel writing, instead going back to my focus on the Holy Land and things I’ve seen and experienced.

I’ve been to a couple of places where there were congregations of Messianic Jews worshiping together who had some books on the testimonies and ministry work that brought Israeli Jewish people (and also Arab people and other groups) to Jesus.  I have two books from these places which have some of the most heart warming stories of Israeli finding their Messiah.

Let’s quickly make up this map:-

david davis bookThe first one at the top, is David Davis Z”L (he died in 2017) who is a pastor of a congregation in Mount Carmel, who wrote about his life in this book from being an actor and moving from New York.

The second is in the extreme corner of the bottom of Israel in Eilat from John and Judy Pex at The Shelter Hostel, which is also a meeting place for local believers on Fridays.

dscf8621Some people are told its illegal to spread the gospel to people in Israel.   This is a lie.  Israel has freedom of religion, albeit with some restrictions, you cannot convince child to adopt another religious without parents permission, and you can’t coerce someone to follow another religion in return for a gift or bribe.

Conventional evangelism in say, Jerusalem tends to not work well and its socially frowned upon, as in walk-up giving out leaflets.  In Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) the number of believers is very small and congregations are probably limited to meeting in people’s houses.  The most common way people accept the gospel is through a Youtube videos which then results in people privately contacting the group like OneforIsrael for more information and a meet up.

I had a flash of inspiration the other day….

Maybe, revival of the Jewish people will happen at opposite edges of Israel and work its way back to the middle when Jesus will come back to Jerusalem!!

One the left, the blue symbols I’ve marked for “WhyMe?” which is from Tel Aviv based evangelist Jacob Damkani, and also for “Leave me alone I’m Jewish” by Pastor Ron Cantor also from Tel Aviv.   I’ve not seen these books but I need to get them soon.

Mount Carmel congregation https://britinjerusalem.com/2011/03/13/from-karmiel-to-mount-carmel/ 
The Shelter Hostel Eilat https://britinjerusalem.com/2015/07/31/come-stay-celebrate-the-story-of-the-shelter-hostel-in-eilat-israel-book-by-john-judy-pex/ and https://britinjerusalem.com/2009/12/23/journey-to-the-red-sea-%E2%80%93-part-two/ 

I’ll maybe write a part 2 to this part as theres some scripture that points to certain parts of Israel getting revival first.

Trip to Turkey 5. Spirit filled believers from Cappadocia

DSCF9031 1024

My phone isn’t readable in bright sunlight, I’m glad I brought a real bible 🙂

IMG_20160405_133836939 1024

Acts 2 : 2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Me myself, I’m still trying to learn about tongues and spiritual gifts, its great to know there were so many believers of such different backgrounds in the middle east and beyond, which might sound completely unthinkable today.   I believe we will see true peace when Jesus returns soon.

I put the different ethnic groups of people into Google Maps to see how the body of Christ were all over the Levant.

Previous 4. The cave town in Goereme
Next 6. Hot Air Ballooning

1950s stamp book shows Palestine Occupation different from what you think

stanley gibbonsInteresting find I discovered a few weeks ago.

I saw a Commonwealth Stanley Gibbons stamp collectors book in a charity shop.   Its basically a British book publisher that’s considered an authority on the value of old stamps.     This book dates from 1956.

This book just covers countries of the British Commonwealth only.   I didn’t end up buying, just snapped a couple of photos;

This caught my eye.   This stamp dates from 1918.

palestine stamps

The one Piastre refers to a small value coin used by the Ottoman Empire, ie: the Turkish.  In the 1920s these stamps were made obsolete by the British who took over.

Therefore these stamps showing “Occupied enemy territory” is not referring to Jewish people, its referring to Islam.

To avoid putting big files on my WordPress account, I’ve listed these on my Google drive cloud storage space to share if you would like a closer inspection.   Apologies the 2nd page is a bit blurry.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9YywUr33gtSLTg5dzEteVlCWEk 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9YywUr33gtSSkhWbGZxXzMwQXc

Mosh Ben Ari – Israel’s best kept musical secret

Mosh_Ben-Ari_01I absolutely love Mosh Ben Ari.  Mosh is an Israeli guitarist of Iraqi/Yemenite Jewish background from the Galilee city of Afula.   He is in his mid 40s with dreadlocked hair who plays regular guitar, electric, bass, and various exotic middle eastern style guitars.   What’s his most closest equivalent mainstream artist?   Maybe Sting, but in all honesty his wide covering of musical genres makes him entirely unique, his style ranges from reggae, folk, Spanish and middle eastern Jewish/Arabic music.   All his lyrics are purely in Hebrew.   I’m pretty sure he is the best selling local Israeli artist of all time.

mosh ben itunes

In Israel, his best known work is the album “Derech / דרך” (The way)   The main track on this track is a famous one worth a listen.   The other perhaps golden track on this LP is “Ben Adam” which you can listen here.

This soothing upbeat slightly reggaefied track Yesh Gal, reminds my awkward time trying to find a new job after heading back to the UK, as I was listening to this driving home in a car I went just bought, seeing as I haven’t driven in 4 years.   Looking for big beats with Arabic style horns?   Then you need this track.

Probably the biggest shame is the fact in the UK, and probably everywhere else.   No one has heard of him.   Don’t expect to find his music on Amazon or anywhere else but the most specialist shop that sells imported records from the holy land.  I have 4 out of his 7 albums.

If you are a Christian who has a varying taste in music and spending any time in Israel, do get to see local bands and try and see if Mosh is doing any concerts around the time you are around.  If like me you are a Christian interested in Jewish foundations of our faith, don’t try and looking for something of spiritual value in Mosh’s music.  Yes he makes Hebrew language sound exquisite, and there are references to Elohim in some tracks.  Why?   According to listening to two songs, Mosh hints at being something of a universalist 😦  yes sadly he mentions a bit about Allah in “Jah is one” this is a pleasant upbeat track,  but – the god of Islam is absolutely not the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, blending bits of foreign religions doesn’t work.   Actually the title of track Hineh Ho Bah (Here he comes) reminds me of Zechariah 9:9 which points towards a prophecy that the Jewish Messiah would be riding on a donkey (fulfilled in Matthew 21)

In all honesty various different pop music, artists change their religious ideas like their haircuts.   If you look at say, the Beatles, Lady Madonna hints at Catholicism and John’s Lennon’s Imagine is about Atheism.

I very nearly got to see him live.   He was doing a gig at Jerusalem’s yearly multicultural festival.   I queued up only to find the people in front got the last ticket and the places was full.    I was gutted.

Mosh, if you are reading this, you are incredible musical genius who should be better known outside your nation.   I hope you can discover the love of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua that surpasses all understanding.

http://www.moshbenari.net/
Official Youtube channel

Israeli soldier who was fighting ISIS in Iraq/Syria finds Yeshua

ilsoldierThis is a truly wonderful story.

This brave young woman fought the ISIS to defend the Kurdish people, and later found Jesus.  Lets pray protection on this lady and her family and that this story will be a source of curiosity by all people, Jewish, Arab, and anyone else!

http://www.breakingchristiannews.com/articles/display_art.html?ID=17338

The original source from an magazine by Israeli believers has been deleted.   Probably as it contains information on her baptism and this can be used by hostile religious groups to intimidate believers.

Rabbinical authorities try and silence gospel message on Israeli TV

Walla HQ in Tel Aviv – pray for more courage for journalists & bosses there

Ultra orthodox Jewish Rabbinic authority groups try to silence the gospel from being talked about on secular Israeli television and media channel Walla.co.il

http://oneforisrael.org/blog/421-one-for-israel-s-statement-messianic-jews-on-walla-news

Maybe from trying to keep this information away from the general Israeli public, this will only cause people to be curious and cause what’s known in the media world as a Streissand effect

Please, don’t use this announcement to hate the Ultra Orthodox, as they are loved by the Lord but blinded by artificial religious structure.  For believers in Jesus/Yeshua we have non-earthly tools at our disposal to petition the Lord to get the gospel message to be unavoidable in Israel and everywhere else.  Pray!!

Visit to Malta – Quite homely for the British

IMG_20141128_085921718This is what I saw when I woke up in my hotel in St Julians.  Yeah my hotel room faced not the beach end 🙂

IMG_20141127_185537883

Its cheap too.  I had a beer and a F’tira which is a local sandwich made from Maltese own style of bread for about 6 Euros.   I think this must be one of the cheapest Euro-currency countries to live, although I don’t think the salaries here are all that great.  There are a lot of retired British people out here.

IMG_20141128_151705081 IMG_20141128_151049539

It also appeals to boaty sort of people, being a tiny island, there are ordinary folk and the rich and the wealthy that live here.   The first day I got to see this marina with my good friend Peter who lives out here.

petrol station

Shops are quite old school here, less big stores and chains and more smaller type places, here this petrol station seems oldy worldy.   Might be to do with this island is quite tiny so petrol stations have to operate in smaller places I think.

street

Unlike all of mainland Europe, but like Britain, this country drives on the left!!    Sandy white walls remind me a lot of Israel.   I’d recommend renting a car like we did, which is as little as 12 Euros a day!!

oldbus

valetta phoneboxSadly, only a few years before I visited, it seems Malta’s characteristic ancient yellow buses and no longer in service.   I think might be to do with them being less and less unreliable and not so feasible to run, occasionally I did see a few like this one re-purposed as a mobile gift shop.

St Julians Bay – Quite homely for the British – Marsaxlokk – Valletta the old capital – Community in Malta – The best nativity scenes in Europe? – Go Gozo