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Israel & Christians Today

Biblical understanding about Israel

January 16, 2014

On the way to Israel

We drive for hours through the snow covered landscape of the Ukrainian province of Khmelnitsky. Koen Carlier, of Christians for Israel in the Ukraine, tells me about the origin of the region’s name. Bagdan Khmelnitsky, leader of the national movement responsible for the atrocious murder of more than 600,000 Jews in 1654, is honoured as a local hero. This is just one example of the many dark sides of the Ukraine’s history.

Prayer for a safe journey by Rabbi Shaul Horowitz

Snow covered Ukrainian roads on the way to Kiev airport and Israel. / Photo: Christians for Israel

Galina is happy to leave

We meet Jewish Galina in the village of Davidkovski. She is 62 years of age, and decided to leave the Ukraine to join her family in Israel. Galina is happy to leave. Her close connection with the village did not prevent the often scornful remarks she had to endure about being Jewish. She hopes for a peaceful old age in Israel.

After driving a couple of hours, we arrive in Vinnitsa where 28 year old Alexander Epelboim boards. He still lives at home with his Jewish parents and grandparents. The rabbi of Vinnitsa prays for the two ‘olim’ (the term for Jews returning to Israel). The parting between Alexander and his grandmother is heart rending. Will he see her again? Will they ever go to Israel? They remain doubtful.

Loading of the luggage, friends and family came to say goodbye!

Galina decides to travel to the Promised Land. Photo: Christians for Israel

Two worlds en route to Israel

A single, common goal - to reach the Promised Land - binds the two vastly different worlds in the minibus: Galina and Alexander are two courageous people engaged in an adventure. Galina, an elderly woman, will possibly never find work in Israel or acquire command of the Hebrew language. And Alexander, who is in the prime of his life, will attend an integration course, find employment, get married and start a family.

I’m writing in the minibus on the way to the airport in Kiev. Koen is driving. It is quiet in the bus. Alexander and Galina, exhausted by the emotional farewells, are asleep. I am trying to imagine standing in their shoes. To build a new life in a strange country; a country at war. And yet it is the country their parents and grandparents dreamed about. The country in which they belong. The farewell was painful, but the hope for a grand future is greater.

I see, stretched out ahead of me, the many kilometres long journey to Kiev. For Galina and Alexander it is a journey to their homeland, to the Promised Land. The realization of God’s promise to bring His people out of the Northern Countries, is happening before my very eyes. 

By: Koen Carlier and Sara van Oordt



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