My guest today is Nihad Salman, who lives in Bethlehem in the West Bank where he is the pastor of an Evangelical Church. Bethlehem today is a majority Muslim city where evangelical Christians are very much in the minority. We met recently in Jerusalem – and over breakfast Nihad described the situation he finds himself in.
Israel is a rich mix of people who have come to live there from all over the world. In recent years many Russian Jews have immigrated to Israel including my guest today Miriam Chernasov. I’ve been following Miriam’s story for a few years … she finished school, went into the army and then trained to be a nursery teacher. When I met her recently in Netanya, she had just returned from Armenia … she told me what she had been doing there.
Today I’m in Tel Aviv talking to Eli Birnbaum. He is a missionary with Jews for Jesus with a particular focus on reaching young adults, especially those who have just finished their army service. Jews for Jesus are well known for their creative ideas and Eli’s story demonstrates this perfectly.
Recently whilst in Beersheva, I met Myra from Puerto Rico. I found her working in a Bible book shop. It turned out she was living in Israel and had married a Jewish man… She shares her fascinating story.
On today’s programme we return to Netanya, a city just north of Tel Aviv, on the shores of the Mediterranean to talk to Brian Slater. Many people think Israel is a country full of rich people and are shocked to find out that the poverty level is very high. Brian runs a charity and each week he runs a soup kitchen feeding 50 – 60 people and prepares 350 food packages that he delivers to poor families living in the city.
My guest today is Brian Slater who gave up the good life in Los Angeles to come and live in Israel and work amongst some of the poorest in society. He’s been through some very hard times but he’s resisted the temptation to return to America.
My guest today is a young man called Kiryll. His parents immigrated to Israel from the Ukraine when Kiryll was 8 years old. This story gives a graphic insight into the challenges Jewish people face when they move from one culture to another… and in this case, how one young Jewish child from the Ukraine found his place in Israeli society. I asked Kiryll why his parents left the Ukraine and moved to Israel.
Whilst in Netanya recently I met a Russian Jewish immigrant called Lev Guler. He came to live in Israel with his wife and young child twenty years ago and today he’s the pastor of a congregation in Netanya called Beit Asaph. Lev knows the challenges that new immigrants face when they leave the country of their birth and move to Israel and begin to embrace what is often a new culture … and he has a great heart to help them as he explains.
My guest today is Shirel Ben Haim. She is 28 and came to Israel from Russia with her mother when she was just 8 years old. What does she remember from those early days?
My guest today is David Firestein – he is a Russian Jew – his parents, who were brought up in Communist Russia and are atheists, came to Israel when he was 10 years old. As a young man, David became deeply disillusioned with life and attempted to commit suicide. However, he survived and lying in a hospital bed and seeing the grief stricken face of his mother, David realised God had spared his life. Shortly after, he came to understand that Jesus was his Messiah – that He had died for his sins – and gradually he came to believe in Jesus.