Many people have questions about the issues currently facing Israel and Palestine, as well as our ministry there. Below are some questions we're frequently asked when sharing about CHLF's ministry. If you have a question you don't see answered here, please reach out to us through our Contact page.
Who is CHLF and what are you doing in Israel?
CHLF focuses on evangelism, church planting, discipleship, relief and development ministries in Israel and Palestine while promoting education and advocacy programs in the United States. To learn more about CHLF, visit our About Us page.
What is the nationality of the Galilee Team?
They are all Arabs by birth, heritage, and ethnicity. And because they were born in Israel, they are Israeli nationals. Because they serve the Christ, they are citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Are they also Palestinians?
Because of decisions made by their families many years ago, most recognize their Palestinian heritage while not self-identifying themselves as Palestinians. However, many of their relatives who remain in Palestinian territories do. In 1948, the new Israeli government gave many Arabs living in the Palestine territories the option of becoming Israeli citizens. Those choosing to remain Palestinian were generally relocated to the areas now known as The West Bank, the Gaza Strip, or surrounding countries sympathetic with the Palestinian situation.
As you may imagine, there continues to be tension within the Arab community between those who continue to fight for a Palestinian homeland, and those who are living in diverse communities as Israeli citizens.
When did they become Christians?
They all come from generations of “Christians.” Some were born into evangelical traditions and have been in relationship with the Christ most of their lives, and some were transformed into “Believers” through spiritual awakenings when they were young adults.
Additionally, there are good reasons to accept that these people and the Believers they lead may be descendants from the Day of Pentecost.That would make these people 'remnants' of the first converts to Christianity.
Aren’t all Christians “Believers?”
No, at least not in the Middle East. The term Christian is used in that culture more to indicate tradition and even political status. They use the term "Believers" to indicate those who have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, including Messianic Jews and Muslim Background Believers who have turned to Christ and are living in relationship with and for Him.
What is their greatest challenge in doing Ministry in Israel?
In terms of persecution and personal difficulties, they seem to have many troubles from traditional Christians that do not understand their ministry. These often include Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Latin, and other denominational leaders (most of whom bear little resemblance to western Believers that are associated with those same churches). Although the Team has made progress in demonstrating that they just want to teach Jesus, and relations have improved in some areas, these groups tend to create more difficulties for them than do Jewish or Muslim communities.
In addition, the stereotypes created by the actions of some political and agenda-driven Evangelical Christians--particularly in the US--provide 'ammunition' for some of these traditional leaders to make accusations against the Team that are not true. That discourages many people who would otherwise be interested in learning more about the Bible and the teachings of the Christ. The result is all too often an unnecessary territorial battle with accusations of member-stealing and other actions hurtful to the Kingdom.
How do American Christians cause problems for Believers in Israel?
Here is a simple example, and possibly the one faced most often. It is well-known in the Arab community that there are Evangelical leaders in the US who:
Promote Zionism (a political movement that excludes Arab Believers);
Embrace without question actions of the Israeli government (which sometimes includes persecution of Arab Believers); and/or
Send money to help Orthodox and/or secular Jews relocate in Arab homelands, while these same people frequently engage in spitting, throwing rocks, and other violent or debasing acts aimed at the Arab people.
Our concern with these things is not political. The difficultly caused by such actions of Christians from the US--or from other parts of the world--is against the witness within Holy Land. When The Team has an opportunity to speak with strangers, friends, or neighbors about Jesus, too often the response is, "Why would we want to be part of something that is repeatedly hurting our families and our freedoms."
And they are often accused of being affiliated with so-and-so's American ministry, which almost always has a promotional agenda involving politics or eschatology.
We do not necessarily take exception to the political or end-time views of some of these people, but the way these well-intentioned Christians too often demonstrate their beliefs with these hurtful actions and words makes the mission to reach all people for Christ very difficult in Israel.
CHLF is neither against nor for the government of Israel. We pray for and honor these secular leaders, as the Bible teaches us to do, and as we do for the government of the United States.
How do Arab Believers view American Christians?
We do not presume to speak for all Arab Believers on such a difficult issue. However, it is clear that many Arabs are confused in their perceptions of Americans—and particularly American Christians—who support without question the secular nation of Israel and those policies that persecute and subjugate Believing Christians of Arab descent.
What is your position on prophesy and end-times teachings?
We are well aware of the various views regarding Christ’s return. We choose not to advocate one position over another because we have witnessed too many times when an over-emphasis on such things causes division and seems to blind Christians to the task at hand as well as to the plight of Arab Believers living in Israel. Additionally, when one's views of such theories result in the persecution of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ--whether in the Holy Land or anywhere--it causes many questions about the true desires behind such actions and positions.
In short, it is our belief that Christ is coming to gather his Children and we need to be about the work of reaching hearts for Him. But where there is more emphasis on the timing of His return than on the work He prepared for us to do, something is out of balance.
Isn't "HolyLand" supposed to be two words?
Yes, it is. The Christian HolyLand Foundation simply eliminated the space between the two words, and maintained the capital 'L' as a way to differentiate between this organization and others that may sound similar.
Are you a tax-deductible organization in the US?
Yes. The Christian HolyLand Foundation, Inc. (CHLF) operates in the United States as a 501(c)3Charitable Organization [#58-1761917] as determined by the Internal Revenue Service. Documentation is available on request.