Israel at War Update with Jael Kalisher
What is life in Israel like right now? You’ve probably wondered what Israelis face while their nation is at war. Jael Kalisher, The Friends of Israel’s newest field representative, provides an excellent perspective on the Israel-Hamas war from her firsthand perspective as an Israeli Christian. She joins the show to speak about how we can separate fact from fiction concerning news about Israel and the war and why Hamas’s barbaric attack cannot be justified
Having grown up in a family that has left a remarkable legacy with The Friends of Israel, Jael is perfectly positioned to speak about the war and our Christian responsibility in light of it. As a faithful witness for Christ in the Holy Land, Jael shares why it hurts to see Christians who celebrate Hamas’s terrorism and explains what you can do to help Israel and the Jewish people right now. Jael’s words of timely truth will inspire and encourage you today!
If you feel called to help Israel find hope in these dark times, you can help save lives with a gift by visiting foi.org/standwithisrael. Thank you for your faithful support for Israel and the Jewish people.
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. I'd like to encourage you to visit our website, foiradio.org. It's there you can hear past Friends of Israel Today broadcasts and stay up to date on the events happening in Israel. Again, that's foiradio.org. The war between Israel and Hamas has caused many to engage in wanting to learn more about the Middle East, Israel and the Jewish people from a biblical perspective. If you are among those who would like to know more about God's plan for Israel and the Jewish people, I want to invite you to receive a free one-year subscription to our award-winning Christian magazine, Israel My Glory. Visit foiradio.org and click on the Israel My Glory link. And there you can subscribe to receive a one-year free subscription to Israel My Glory, which will keep you updated biblically on what's going on in Israel. We now once again turn our attention to the Israel-Hamas War on today's program.
Chris Katulka: Well, Steve, joining us today is actually Jael Kalisher. Jael serves with The Friends of Israel in the Holy Land. She's the granddaughter of Zvi Kalisher from our Apples of Gold segment and daughter of Pastor Meno Kalisher, serving in the Jerusalem Assembly in Israel. Jael has had an amazing music ministry and she will be sharing her thoughts as an Israeli believer about what's going on in Israel now during the war.
But first the news. The Times of Israel reports that Arab leaders, including Iran's president, met in Saudi Arabia earlier this month to discuss Israel's war against Hamas and Gaza. The Arab leaders condemn Israel's actions in its war against the terrorist regime accusing it of crimes and terrorism against the Palestinian people. However, the summit in Riyadh also exposed the regional divisions over how the Arab nations are responding to the war. Well, here's my take. The big takeaway from this summit is that the Saudis and the Iranians are playing nice with each other as they condemn Israel together. The difference, however, is that the Saudis refuse to take action against Israel while the Iranians wish to see the Jewish state eliminated.
Chris Katulka: We recently caught up with Jael Kalisher as she talks about the events that are taking place in Israel. Jael is an Israeli herself who serves with The Friends of Israel, and she's going to be talking about her family connections to The Friends of Israel.
Jael Kalisher: I've just officially became a part of Friends of Israel a few days ago, and I'm really thrilled about that. That's been quite a while in the making. And my family, however, has been a part of Friends of Israel for decades. It started with my grandpa who's been with Friends of Israel, I think for 56 years. That's what I remember reading. So it started with my grandpa who was good friends with Victor Buksbazen, one of the founders of Friends of Israel. This is how far back our family goes with Friends of Israel. My father has been with Friends of Israel for 30 some years, and recently my brother came on board as well. So it's my turn, I guess, and I'm thrilled about that. I'm thrilled to be here and being able to do this.
Chris Katulka: Jael was in Israel on October 7th, and she talks about the magnitude of that date and the name Israelis have given to that day.
Jael Kalisher: I read a post the other day about October 7th. Now seventh, or seven in Hebrew is sheva or shiva, and this is also the same word for the seven days of mourning, shiva. And so the post said just black square with a writing of Shiva of October, which is a play on words obviously, but this is the mourning of October. And it pierced my heart because this, never since the Holocaust have we experienced anything as atrocious and horrific as we have as a people. Even today, almost three weeks after, it's so hard to find words to describe the magnitude of everything that's going on.
Chris Katulka: Many Israelis have been called into reserve duty to serve with the IDF. Jael is not on reserve duty, but she takes it very seriously to serve her country, the state of Israel. But she's serving the state of Israel as an ambassador for the Lord Jesus and for the state of Israel as well, and this is the reason why.
Jael Kalisher: I just saw a post today. Someone just posted like a black image saying, "Every day since October 7th, I wake up, I cry, I continue the day," and that basically has been the MO for the last three weeks. For the first four days I was there in Israel, and then I was able to leave to what I call my own kind of reserved duty, which is explaining and speaking and meeting with people and letting everyone know what really goes on there from an Israeli perspective. I can't emotionally block myself out from what's going on there, so I obviously keep myself informed and catching up with news and updates and posts, and this is really what I see a great, great, great need to do right now to see how much lies and misinformation goes out in social media and counter that as much as we can with what we know to be true and what's biblical in all of this, and spread as much as we can with this truth about this truth and to everyone and raise voices and raise the voice of the church today to do the same.
Chris Katulka: Jael is going to share her thoughts on whether or not we can trust the information that's coming out of Gaza.
Jael Kalisher: And I'll try to be generic about it because we can have specific cases like the bombing of the hospital. Hey, everyone dissected it, so there's no reason to do that here too. That's just one incident. But anything really, anything and everything that we receive from Hamas' information, we have to take it with a grain of salt, at least if not with a whole bucket, because it's just their whole propaganda is misinformation to flood everything with lies and deceit and misinformation, and to portray both Israel and the US, it's just that Israel is on the crosshairs right now as the devil, as evil, as an apartheid country, as the aggressors, the oppressors, all of these negative things and to really cause... and we see this all over the place today, to cause antisemitism to arise again like it did 80 years ago.
So anything and everything that we hear coming from Gaza in terms of information, we first of all have to take it with a grain of salt and then just crosscheck, verify, go to sources that have proven themselves to be truthful all throughout at least the last three weeks. But obviously if they've been truthful in these three last weeks, then it's very probable that they've been telling the truth even before or also before IDF. The IDF page, the IDF Instagram page, Facebook page, whatever, they've been just giving out facts, not shifted, tilted, twisted to either side.
Chris Katulka: Whenever Jael scrolls through social media, she often feels quite upset when she sees Christians supporting Hamas in Gaza. Here's what she had to say.
Jael Kalisher: I have to hold myself off for not getting too emotional about that both now and just in general when I come across these kinds of posts and misinformation, really. I was asking myself the same thing, how is it that not only a few Christians, they have the free Palestine hashtag and all of these and, "We support Palestine, we support Palestinians, free, free. Israel seize fire," and all these things. And I just wonder what's going on in their heads about that. First and foremost, we have to put the Bible, we have to bring the Bible into the conversation because that's the foundation. That's, for me, the anchor, the anchor for truth, the anchor for the ground that I stand on. And if I don't have that, then everything's going to be shifting sand. Everything's going to just be moving towards... Not towards, but just according to today's opinion of whoever.
And so what does the Bible say about this land? What does the Bible say about these people? What picture does the Bible portray about what happened in the past? What happens in the present and what will happen in the future? And there are many, many who are much wiser than me who give many good answers about all of these things. But the main thing about that is, it's one thing to be informed about all of the things that I just mentioned, but if we forget that all of this portrays who God is, if we separate the two, then we forget, then we miss the big picture, really. Because the whole point is God chose these people not because of who they are. He chose these people to portray that no matter what these people do, he's still going to remain faithful. He's still going to remain loving, he's still going to keep his promises, which really “the people” is just a metaphor for who he is.
They're just a tool for everyone else to see how loving, how giving, how caring, how he is who he says he is all throughout scripture. And so when he says, "I'm going to give these people this land so that you'll see that no matter what happens with them throughout history, I will be their keeper. I will be their God. No matter how many millions of potential attackers and enemies they will have around them, I will be their iron dome. I will be the one who watches over them." This is for us as internationals to understand, "Hey, no matter who's around me, no matter who my enemies are, no matter who is coming against me, this God of theirs that I read about, he's going to be the same God for me." So this is when we separate this image, this metaphor, when we forget that what we read about is for us to get connected, to get closer to God, then we miss the whole picture.
And then when we forget that, this vacuum that's created will always be filled by the one who is after the vacuum. Because once you fill the vacuum, it fills everything else. So when you fill this with misinformation, then misinformation just fills everything in your head and leaves no room for the truth. That's why to counter that, to clear out the vacuum and replace it again with truth, there needs to be a massive operation, so to speak, in how we do that. And this is why it was so important for me to find the plane ticket to leave Israel and to meet with people, to do interviews, to raise my voice as much as I can so that the church awakens today to understand how much she is needed to stand both on truth and for Israel.
Chris Katulka: We're going to take a break, and when we come back, Jael is going to discuss more in depth Hamas' barbaric attack against innocent Israelis and why Israel must defeat this terrorist organization.
Steve Conover: During this troubling time with Israel at war, we know people are eager to help, but what they may not know is that there are a variety of ways to support The Friends of Israel without impacting their personal budget.
Chris Katulka: Giving gifts of stock, cryptocurrency and IRA distributions can help reduce your taxes and would actually allow you to claim a charitable contribution. If you have a donor-advised fund, you can use the funds that have already been set aside for ministry purposes to support the Friends of Israel.
Steve Conover: To learn more or to take part in this, we have a helpful new website, partner.foi.org. Look for the Tax Smart Gifts tab in the menu bar to make your donation.
Chris Katulka: I really hope everyone will visit partner.foi.org to learn how to both show their unwavering support for Israel and also make an end of the year gift from their stock, crypto, IRA or donor advised-fund to The Friends of Israel before 2023 ends. Again, you could do that by partnering with us at partner.foi.org.
Welcome back everybody. We want to continue this discussion with Jael. Next, Jael is going to share about Hamas and this barbaric attack on October 7th against innocent Israelis and why Israel must defeat this terrorist organization.
Jael Kalisher: Just a few days ago, the IDF invited foreign reporters from all over the world to have a private viewing of the footage that they found from different GoPros that the terrorists carried to film everything that they were doing, and several were evacuated to the hospital with PTSD just from watching the footage. And I don't know how you process that, and I wasn't there. I haven't seen anything. I try to not view things that I know would just be seared in my mind. I don't know how people who saw these things firsthand, I don't know how they deal with it. Back in World War I and II, it was soldier against soldier. It was military against military. This is not a nation versus a nation here. It's a nation versus a terrorist organization that does everything it can to distort, lie, steal, kill, destroy and twist everything and sell that to the world as, "I'm the victim."
I don't know how you deal with that. And no matter what we do today, I mean, there are some organizations, there are still some countries that stand behind Israel that support the response, I want to say retaliation, but it's not retaliation. It's Hamas needs to be eliminated, period, and the IDF is doing everything in its power to spare civilian lives in Gaza. It's just very, very difficult to do when Hamas is blocking out their escape routes. They're bombing them themselves, as in Hamas bombing the Gazans trying to flee and dragging them back to their homes after they were warned by the IDF that they should flee because the IDF is planning a bombing of this facility because it's Hamas', I don't know, strategic point or whatever. I don't know. I don't know how you go about that. But what I do know is that the world should be coming down heavy, heavy, heavy on Hamas, not on Israel.
The IDF is doing everything in its capacity and capability and ability to warn, to ask the civilians to move. There are different recordings of anyone in the IDF that can speak Arabic, they're literally calling the Gazans and telling them, "Leave your homes. You have so many hours to do that because it's not going to be safe for you. It's not going to be safe for you to stay." And then the Gazan is saying, "I can't leave. I was just brought back at gunpoint." What do you do? You can't blame Israel for it. You have to come down hard on Hamas. And really, in my opinion, is to completely eliminate and eradicate this world from this terrorist organization just like the US did with ISIS.
Chris Katulka: Next, Jael is going to share how Christians can get connected to help Israel and the Jewish people right now.
Jael Kalisher: One of the reasons that it was very important for me to try everything I can to leave Israel is because I had different conferences lined up in both the US and Brazil. And when I was in Brazil speaking to about 700 people about exactly the same question, one of the things that came up or really three things that came up was like you said, prayer. That's the engine for everything, I believe. But in order to pray in the right way, we need to read our Bibles. I was reading Psalm 2, 3 and 4 just the other day, and it was like almost getting notifications from the Bible about my current reality now, which is remarkable in itself. So yes, the Bible is extremely relevant today. It is extremely informative in what it has to tell us even today. And when we base our wisdom on what it says, then we base it on who God is.
And so I just believe that God will give us the words to pray and also the direction of what to do, but definitely prayers, that's the first P. The second P is post. Whoever has a social media account and can post truth, can post anything that calls out lies, that calls out misinformation, that reports fake accounts or hateful accounts or accounts that insight to antisemitism or violence specifically against Jews, but just even in general, do it as much as you can. The fight and the war that we're battling in social media or on social media is as fierce as the one that's on the ground in Israel today. And I'm not a big fan of social media. That's not my generation. It's a little bit for the ones that are younger than me, but I understand that this is where the younger generation is being recruited to continue the hate on far larger scales.
And we see this in the university campuses here in the US how much violence there is against Jewish students today. You see it more and more, and with time we'll see that it's going to be the Christians that are willing to speak up. They're going to be the only ones that stand with Israel. So we've got to do that, pray post. And then the third one would be the third P that we talked about is pay. And forgive me for that, I'm just claiming my Israeli directness here. But paying for different supplies and equipment and everything, getting aid packages here in the States is great and it comes from a great, great heart, and I do understand it. But on our end, on Israel's end, things are in such big disarray right now because so many people who work regularly in the post office, for example, are at war.
So it's just delayed. Everything is very, very delayed, and the best thing you can really do if you do want to actively be involved and help, it's just send funds. We can do it through Friends of Israel and we can do it through any other organizations that offer that, and that's great. Go for it, do it. But we know that Friends of Israel will send these funds through Jerusalem Assembly, and I know that... I mean, I spoke to my dad and all he does throughout the week except for prepare his sermon for Saturday for the weekly church meeting is drive around the country providing different military gear that they were able to find and gather up or different supplies anywhere, anything from socks and underwear and shirts and blankets, and towels and Advil and mattresses and gazebos, and portable this and helmets and just whatever you can think of.
And obviously I can't talk about military equipment because that's tactical and classified, but anything and everything is a great help. And we're talking about just this, and this is for now. What about in a few weeks and months when this is over and the men come back and we start our country again. There's going to be bills. There's going to be a great, great, great financial need for everyone to get their feet back together. Not to mention rebuilding everything that was torn down. So the need is great. There is immediate need and there's later need, but anything and everything is a great help right now.
Chris Katulka: Finally, Jael is going to share her feelings, why there's no excuse for Christians to remain silent. We cannot repeat what happened 80 years ago during the Holocaust.
Jael Kalisher: There are so many stories about civilians that took their cars and they went back and they saved, and whoever they could put in their car and saved from that massacre on the seventh, just get them out and deliver them to safety. And then they went again to the same hell and got as many as they could. And then the third time, the story that I read yesterday is that they were shot, but he went again, and it's unfathomable to me that people went back in. I mean, I want to read these stories. They tear my heart and I sit there in tears every single day, but they're my people and these stories and these lives mattered, and they did what maybe I would never be able to do.
So I owe it to them to continue the story and to share it on and to hopefully bring this to the awareness of us all that we need to speak up, that this is our time because 80 years ago, we didn't. 80 years ago, people didn't. They weren't as informed, I want to believe, and so it was different circumstances, different time, different means, but we don't have these excuses today. As much as we can to spread this on, share this on, and have the church speak up and stand for what is right and stand for who God is today through the people of Israel.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us for today's episode of The Friends of Israel Today. We're so grateful for those of you that have reached out to us at this time to pray for us and to stand with us as we stand with Israel. Plan to be with us again next week, we'll have more information on what's happening in Israel.
Chris Katulka: And for our listeners, I want to say as Israel continues its mission to destroy Hamas, we can be praying for Israel and we can also be helping Israel tangibly. And that's why I want to encourage you to visit foi.org/standwithisrael. Our Stand with Israel Initiative is a way that you can tangibly support Israel by helping build bomb shelters in sensitive areas along the Gaza border and Lebanese border. Also helping support Magen David Adom, which is Israel's National Red Cross, which helps medically during times of emergency. Again, be sure to visit foi.org/standwithisrael, and there you can not only pray for Israel, but show your support as well tangibly.
Steve Conover: And a reminder that this weekend is a nationwide weekend of prayer for Israel, where both churches and synagogues are encouraged to pray for Israel and the safe return of every hostage. Please help spread the word to your Christian communities as we stand united, calling upon the God of Israel, asking for his continued protection of his beloved people.
Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, edited by Jeremy Strong, who also composed and performs our theme music. Our mailing address is FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Our web address is foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org, or you can call our listener line at 888-343-6940. Again, that's 888-343-6940. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Did you know that there are a variety of ways to support The Friends of Israel without impacting your personal budget?
Giving gifts of stock, cryptocurrency and IRA distributions can help reduce your taxes and allows you to claim a charitable contribution. If you have a donor-advised fund, you can use the funds that have already been set aside for ministry purposes to support The Friends of Israel.
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