Before I moved to Israel, I worked for a church. I was born and raised Jewish, so it was a bit of an odd choice, but not so unusual for someone growing up as a minority in a primarily Christian country. It wasn’t my religion and I had no problem with it. When I first made aliyah, I didn’t think about working with an organization of Christians again, but it’s a lot more common for people in Israel to work for or create items for Christians.
Let’s fast forward 10+ years and I’ve been working in Israel for 10 years. The first thing I can tell you is that there is a huge ecommerce marketplace for Christian items from Israel.
Christians love to buy stuff made in Israel. It’s true. Online shops like HolyArt are selling more and more items from Israel abroad.
I interviewed an entrepreneur who sells to Christians and she wanted to share her experience:
“I am Janice Kaye and I live in Northern Israel. For the last 14 years or so I have been selling online. I started selling on eBay and expanded to opening my own websites (HolyRoses.com, HolyRoses.co.uk and GalileeHerbs.com) and now also sell on Amazon. I was looking to sell something unique to Israel and after visiting Nazareth, I decided to sell holy land souvenirs to Christians abroad. After buying stock from Nazareth and posting them on eBay I was contacted by a Christian manufacturer from Bethlehem offering to sell me the same items directly from him. I was concerned that it was too risky, but he explained to me that there was no risk and that he would send me the goods and I would pay him after I received them and was happy with him. After a few years working with him I started working with another supplier in Bethlehem, but not before passing the previous one on to a friend, who still uses him today.”
Some of these customers are like friends now. When my mother was sick and subsequently passed away, these customers supported me and prayed for her, send me cards at Christmas and Easter, and one who friended me on Facebook, took it upon herself to send me regular supplies of Malteser chocolates because she saw me make an off the cuff comment saying that I loved them and missed them.
When a customer tells me how a cross helped them or someone they gave it to over a crisis I feel real satisfaction that I am part of something important. I keep a file of the nice things I have been told about the importance of what I do, so when I am bored by the monotony of running your own business and having to do everything then I can remind myself of the importance of what I do. I also feel that I am in some way an ambassador for Israel and have helped change the mind of people who have initially been hostile to buying from an Israeli because of BDS and I explain to them how by buying from me they are supporting the Christian Palestinians in Beit Sahour, not harming them.”
But it’s not just products. Service providers now more than ever have been able to operate from Israel and reach people in the United States and around the world.
You might think I do just online marketing and blogging, but I also make graphics for Christian websites, blogs, stores. I fell in love with inspirational graphic making years ago working for an ecommerce shop that had Facebook pages for Christians and Jews. I feel like when I’m doing something inspirational, even if I use a Christian verse, it’s not going against what I believe in. I really love doing the graphics and am thinking of branching out into inspirational videos, Instagram stories, and other mediums to spread inspiration.
Speaking of inspiration, books and Facebook groups are another way where we inspire each other.
“My new book: ‘Beyond All Things: Insights and Inquiry to Awaken Joy and Purpose’ is all about a new understanding of spirituality – it is universal and yet based on Torah true ideology,” says Azriela Jankovic, “It will be shared with Christians and people of all faith. I was inspired to write it bc I have lots of Christian family and friends.”
It’s a beautiful world when people of different religions can inspire each other!