Arlene Bridges Samuels
The Eclectic Evangelical @InEssentialsUnity

Christians March Again in Jerusalem with a Message of Love

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On September 27th Israelis will eagerly line Jerusalem’s streets as they have every year since 1980. They are drawn here for another dose of love and friendship from six thousand pro-Israel Christians from around the world. The Jerusalem March is part of the Feast of Tabernacles and sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.(ICEJ) Jerusalemites may be quite familiar with the marching love-fest, but the ICEJ is much more than a parade. It’s a Christian Zionist institution headquartered in Israel since 1980 with a worldwide footprint.

Like most superlative initiatives, ICEJ began with a dream, a prayer, and a few determined people. A small group of Christians founded the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) when thirteen other embassies abandoned the capital after the Israeli government enacted The Jerusalem Law. The Israeli Knesset passed the law, Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, on July 30, 1980. Armed with passionate action and God’s leading, ICEJ held their first Jerusalem March with 400 participants in September 1980. ICEJ has not only encircled the world to engage Christians in support of Israel to invite more than 100,000 Christians over the last 38 years to the Jerusalem March itself,they have matched their beginnings with a humanitarian outreach that has grown into a remarkable set of goals within Israel itself. The ICEJ now attracts thousands of Christians each year from 100 nations to celebrate Israel’s Sukkot. ICEJ’s annual Jerusalem March is a display of flags, costumes, and joy yet its purpose and extensive influence in Israel and worldwide is an enduring story of support for the state of Israel. ICEJ is deemed as the largest Christian Zionist organization in the world.
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

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While the march is their most public event, from September 23-28 ICEJ will hold a series of plenaries, speeches, worship and seminars at Pais Arena. Israeli leaders speak, innovations are featured, and ways to help Israel are highlighted.

In Your decision to found the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem-at a time, when we were left alone by others because of our faith-was a bold act and a symbol of your closeness to us. Your gestures and your acting gave us the feeling that we are not alone. The late Prime Minister Menachem Begin

International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has worked in a graceful and effective way in Israel and now in their 90 offices from Albania to Australia, USA to Ukraine, Taiwan to Togo, and Germany to Guatemala. ICEJ’s purpose is enshrined in Isaiah 40:1: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem…” ICEJ stood alone as the only embassy in Jerusalem for 38 years until the opening of the Embassy of the United States in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018.

Leading up to the US Embassy move, ICEJ’s USA branch had launched a successful project in 2015, American Christian Leaders for Israel. The group first spoke in a unified voice against the bad Iran deal. Then during the US presidential election and subsequent victory of President Trump, Dr. Susan Michael, Director of the USA branch, echoed the hopes of Christians who favored the US Embassy move: “The Trump presidency has opened a door of opportunity in the Middle East…. This issue is important to Christian leaders, many of whom are in favor of continued Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, including our revered sites in the eastern part of the city. Only a free and democratic Israel will protect Jerusalem for all peoples of faith.” Dr. Michael added, “The policies President Trump has agreed to will enhance Israel’s standing in the world and directly benefit the United States in security, innovation, technology and intelligence.”

International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s staff at their headquarters in the capital

When the US Embassy move took place May 14, ICEJ’s leadership reacted with particular elation since they viewed it as a fulfillment of a 22-year journey dating back to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by US Congress. In 1995 ICEJ’s current International Spokesman and Vice President, American David Parsons- worked with Christians’ Israel Public Action Campaign (CIPAC)- and co-authored The Jerusalem Embassy Act. The 1980 ICEJ founding, The 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, and the 2017-2018 push engaging 650 prominent Christian leaders in a letter to President Trump are only three of thousands of big and small initiatives enacted by ICEJ. Added to these efforts, ICEJ’s President Dr. Jürgen Bühler, David Parsons,and Dr. Susan Michael co-authored-and submitted to the US administration-an excellent, practical plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. You may read their strategy paper here: ICEJ Strategy Paper for US Embassy Move to Jerusalem

The mosaic of ICEJ’s immeasurable outreach is a list that could stretch from Israel’s north to south. Here are just few of their initiatives and innovations which they enact as a sacred trust to represent Christians worldwide as their hands and feet in Israel:

• ICEJ partnership with Christian Friends of Yad Vashem to educate Christians about the Holocaust.
• Founded Haifa Home for Holocaust survivors
• 20% of ICEJ’s funds help Arab, Druze, and Bedouin minorities who make up a corresponding part of Israel’s population
• Donating many portable bomb shelters through Israel’s Operation Life Shield via Christian donors worldwide
• Fifteen Fire Trailers through ICEJ donors
• ICEJ food van regularly feeding 4,000 needy families in Tel Aviv
• Through its Christian donors, ICEJ has aided Aliyah for 140,000 Jews to return to their biblical homeland, including Ethiopians, Chinese, French, and Ukrainians.
• Isaiah 62 monthly prayer call based on Isaiah 62:6-7:
“I have set watchmen on your walls O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord do not keep silent,
And give Him no rest till He establishes
And He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

Whether you are lining a Jerusalem street to view the march on September 27, working in an office, serving in the military, caring for your children or enjoying the Mediterranean, remember; the ICEJ represents many millions of us Christian Zionists worldwide.
And the Christian Zionist message remains the same:
You are not alone!

About the Author
Arlene Bridges Samuels has held trail-blazing positions with Israel Always, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, (AIPAC) and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA's American Christian Leaders for Israel. (ICEJUSA) Traveling to Israel since 1990, she is now a networker, consultant, speaker and free-lance writer. Her articles have been published in Philos Project, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, ICEJ's Word from Jerusalem, The Christian Post, Mercy Ships, and Concerned Women for America. She shares her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook and is an active member of a small Anglican church. After attending Winthrop University in her home state of South Carolina, Arlene earned her Masters degree at the University of Alabama. She looks forward to the Crimson Tide winning another national football championship this season!
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