Latest Radio Programmes

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Programme 440 – Evan Thomas

Recently I met Evan Thomas in Haifa, northern Israel.
Evan was born into a Jewish family in New Zealand. It was there he met his wife Maala and approximately 30 years ago, they moved to Netanya, a city just south of Haifa on the shores of the Mediterranean where Evan has been the pastor of a congregation called Beit Asaph.
Recently, they returned to New Zealand for three months to take a break – or so they thought. They hadn’t been there long before they had quite a surprise.

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Programme 439 – Ofer Amitai 2 of 2

The Olive Tree brings you news from believers in Jesus living in Israel today – Jews and Arabs – to find out what God is doing in the region despite the politics.
My guest today is well qualified to help shed some light on this subject – he is Ofer Amitai, a Messianic Jewish pastor in Jerusalem and the founder of an intercessory prayer movement. So what do they pray about and how do they pray? I began by asking Ofer what has been the focus of their prayers recently.

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Programme 438 – Ofer Amitai 1 of 2

The Olive Tree this week comes to you from a noisy hotel lobby in Jerusalem where I met Ofer Amitai, a Messianic Jewish pastor in the city. We met in early May, just after the election when the government was still being formed. With so much ongoing unrest in the country, I asked Ofer to explain from a Biblical point of view what is going on in Israel at this time.

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Programme 437 – Avi Mizrachi

Today I’m in Tel Aviv, Israel talking to Avi Mizrachi, a Messianic Jewish pastor. He was born in Tel Aviv and for nearly 30 years has worked tirelessly to share the gospel in this mainly secular city. Evangelism has always been Avi’s passion and just recently his organisation, which is called Dugit, had a major breakthrough … it didn’t come easily, as Avi explains.

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Programme 436 – Sandy Soshani

The Olive Tree today comes to you from Jerusalem. Bead Chaim is a pro-life organisation in Israel and Stuart Fisher met the director, Sandy Soshani.

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Programme 435 – Consultant Cardiologist at Sheba Med Centre

Today I’m at the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Aviv, on an emergency ward caring for babies born with congenital heart disease. What makes this story so interesting is that the majority of children that pass through this ward come from neighbouring Muslim Arab nations including Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Kurdistan. This is made possible by an organisation called Shevet Achim, founded and directed by a Christian called Jonathan Miles. Today I’m talking to the consultant cardiologist, a Jewish doctor called Yuriel Katz. I started by asking him how long he’d been involved working as a surgeon saving the lives of these children.

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Programme 434 – Jonathan Miles

Today I’m at the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Aviv, on an emergency surgery ward for children with congenital heart disease and with me is Jonathan Miles, the founder and director of Shevet Achim – the organisation that for the past 24 years has been bringing children, often new born babies, from neighbouring Arab countries into Israel for life saving heart surgery. We first met a grandmother from Gaza who was sitting by the bedside of her tiny baby granddaughter – Jonathan takes up their story.

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Programme 433 – Evan Thomas with SF

Welcome to this week’s edition of the OT bringing you another story direct from Israel to help understand life for believers there today. Recently we visited Netanya, a city just north of Tel Aviv. Evan Thomas is a Jewish believer and pastor of a congregation there. Stuart Fisher spoke to him and began by asking him how it all started.

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Programme 432 – Marwan & Rania Beem

My guests today are Marwan and Rania Beem. They are Israeli Arabs who have started many churches in the villages of northern Israel as well as in the West Bank as you will hear. They have been married for over 20 years now, but when Rania was a young woman she was very particular about who she wanted to marry … she wanted to marry a pastor. Did it happen?

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Programme 431 – David/AP (Beit Asaph)

After ten years of making this programme I am frequently surprised by many of the stories we gather. Who would have thought that a young Dutch boy, when on a visit to Jerusalem with his family, would have a deep spiritual experience that would shape the rest of his life?
That’s what happened to David van Owerkerk. We met him recently in Netanya; here he is in conversation with Ann Pawson.

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Programme 430 – David/SF (House of Victory)

Today our programme comes from Haifa in northern Israel, from the House of Victory, a rehab centre for men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
In this interview, Stuart Fisher talks to David – born in Japan, he was a child prodigy and destined to become a world class violinist. But when he came to live in Israel, David lost interest in his violin and his life took a downwards spiral and he became a hopeless drug addict. Stuart met David a few months after he had experienced a miraculous healing in his life. Here David shares his story, and starts by describing life at the House of Victory.

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Programme 429 – Karen Davis

My guest today has a story of finding life after bereavement. Almost two years ago, Karen Davis’ husband David died. They had worked closely together throughout their married life, David a Bible teacher, and Karen a musician and worship leader. After David died, Karen told me how she was quite willing to live a quiet life. This is the story of what happened next.

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Programme 428 – Marcel Rebiai

As always, this programme is all about Israel and the Middle East as seen through the lives of believers in Jesus who live there – Jews and Arabs. With so much news majoring on trouble in the region, it is refreshing to hear some good news! My guest today is Marcel Rebiai. He is half Arab and half Jewish. He has spent many years working in the field of reconciliation – bringing Jewish and Arab believers together in Israel. I met him recently in Jerusalem. He and his wife had just returned from a week in France where they had taken a group of young Jewish and Arab believers from Israel and the West Bank. I started by asking him how he went about choosing who to take.

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Programme 427 – Palestinian Christian leader

Life for an Arab or Palestinian Christian is very challenging, living as they do amongst a majority Muslim population. My guest today is a Palestinian Christian living in Jerusalem who cares passionately about sharing his faith with his Muslim neighbours and at the same time having good and close relationships with Jewish believers. We met in Jerusalem in a studio … we have to keep his name anonymous … where he described how they share their faith.

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Programme 426 – Leah Levi

My guest today is Leah Levi. Her parents are both Jewish and as you will hear, came to Israel as young adults. Leah’s story is the story of many Jewish people today – they have come back to the land, just as the Old Testament prophets foretold. Leah starts by describing her early life and the challenges of learning a new language and finding her identity.

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Programme 425 – Shmuel Salway

Hello, and welcome to The Olive Tree with news from believers living in Israel today, both Jews and Arabs. Recently I was in a place just north of Tel Aviv in Israel called Petah Tikvah, visiting an organisation for young people called Lech L’Cha which means go forth. The director there is Shmuel Salway. As with everybody in Israel, he has an interesting story! His parents came to Israel from India and it’s interesting to note that there is now a sizeable Indian Jewish community living in the Holy Land. Listen now as Shmuel describes more about his background and how he comes to be doing what he’s doing today.

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Programme 424 – Igal 2 of 2

Hello, welcome to the OT – the programme that brings you stories from the Holy Land that illustrate what God is doing there today through the lives of the believers who live there. Igal came to Israel from the Ukraine as a young boy. His family are Jewish and they fled anti-semitism there but for Igal, settling in Israel was hard and he fell into bad company and ended up in jail a hopeless drug addict. But it was there he became a believer and in today’s programme he describes how his new life started.

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Programme 423 – Igal 1 of 2

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of the OT bringing you the stories of believers living in Israel and the West Bank. Today I’m in Tel Aviv talking to Igal, who came to Israel from the Ukraine when he was a young boy. I asked him why his family decided to emigrate.

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Programme 422 – Elias 2 of 2

Welcome to the OT with me JF, the programme that takes you to the heart of what God is doing in Israel and the wider Middle East, despite the ongoing troubles of the region. My guest today is Elias – a Christian from Gaza. He was born and brought up there and knows the region well. Here he describes what life is like for the few Christians living in Gaza today.

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Programme 421 – Elias 1 or 2

Whilst in Israel recently, recording interviews for this programme, I visited Bethlehem, which is in the West Bank, to meet a Christian from Gaza called Elias. Gaza is frequently in the news and is one of the most controversial places on earth. The majority of people who live there are Muslims – but, there are some Christians, although their numbers are fast diminishing. This interview is one man’s story of life in Gaza, finding faith there, before leaving.

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Programme 420 – Leah

Today I’m in Tel Aviv talking to Leah, a social worker from America, to find out why she’s in Israel working amongst drug addicts and prostitutes.
After graduating, Leah spent some years in South Africa working in a township amongst very poor people. I started by asking her, why.

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Programme 419 – Nihad Salman

Today’s programme was recorded in Bethlehem just before Christmas when I visited Nihad Salman, pastor of the Immanuel Church in Manger Street. To be a Christian in the West Bank today means you are in the minority – the majority are Muslim. In this heartfelt interview, Nihad describes the challenges he is faced with.

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Programme 418 – Dani Sayag 3 of 3

Can there ever be peace in Israel between Jew and Arab? My guest today believes so. He is Dani Sayag, the Jewish pastor of a congregation on Mount Carmel, close to Haifa in northern Israel. The numbers of Jewish believers has risen in recent years from just a few families in the 1950s to between 20 and 30,000 today. Their numbers may still be small, but they are gaining confidence and an ever deeper understanding of their Biblical calling to be a light to the nations. So is Israel sending missionaries to other nations? Dani takes up the story.

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Programme 417 – Dani Sayag 2 of 3

Welcome to this week’s edition of the OT which each week brings you the stories of believers in Jesus living in Israel and the West Bank to hear what God is doing there despite the tensions and politics of the region. My guest this week is Dani Sayag. Born in Israel, he grew up in a secular family. It was during his army service that he became a believer and today he is the pastor of the Carmel Congregation. So, I asked him, what happened?

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Programme 416 – Dani Sayag 1 of 3

On this programme you will hear Arabs, Palestinians and Jewish people sharing their experience of what God is doing in the region despite the politics My guest this week is Dani Sayag – he was born in Israel … this is the story of how he found his Messiah and what it cost him.

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Programme 415 – Oded Soshani

Today my guest is Oded Soshani. He lives with his wife, Sandy, in Jerusalem. They have 7 children. He is the pastor of a Hebrew speaking Messianic congregation and Sandy is the national director of Be-ad Chaim, a pro-life organisation in Israel. As a couple, Oded and Sandy understand God’s heart for reconciliation – not just man to God, but also person to person and in the context of the Middle East, Jew and Arab. So how does that work out? We met in Jerusalem, in a rather noisy office, as you will hear! Listen now as Oded shares his experience of being a secular Jew to becoming a pastor with a heart for his Arab neighbours.

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Programme 414 – David van Owerkerk (Beit Asaph)

Welcome to this week’s edition of The OT and another story about life in Israel and the West Bank for believers in Jesus who live there. Recently I was in Netanya, a city just north of Tel Aviv in Israel. There is a Messianic congregation there called Beit Asaph where Evan Thomas is the pastor. Within the congregation is a young man called David van Oukerk. He was born in Holland and moved with his family to Israel when David was 13 years old. I began by asking him how he adapted to Israeli life.

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Programme 413 – Evan Thomas

Hello, you’re listening to The Olive Tree with me JF – the programme that brings you a fresh glimpse of life in Israel and the West Bank – that of believers in Jesus who live there, Jewish and Arab and Palestinian people – to hear what God is doing in the region despite the conflicts that frequently erupt.
My guest today is Evan Thomas – pastor of a Messianic congregation in Netanya, he is also a leading figure in the work of reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians as this week’s programme will reveal. He and his wife Maala recently led a team of twelve Israeli believers – 6 were Jewish and 6 were Palestinian – to Germany where they joined with a group of young German Christians. The idea was to work together and present their combined stories to the people they would meet. I asked Evan whose idea this was.

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Programme 412 – Daniella Stavi (J for J)

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Olive Tree which today comes to you from the 10th floor of an office block in Tel Aviv where my guest is Daniella Stavi, a missionary with Jews for Jesus in Israel. She was born in Israel, went to school here and served her mandatory two years in the army. Today Daniella is leading a team to work amongst homeless people and those caught in drug and alcohol addiction, and as you will hear, this is a big problem in Israeli society. I asked her to describe how and why she chose to work with Jews for Jesus.

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Programme 411 – Raja

Today I’m in Jerusalem, in the heart of the Old City talking to Raja who is an Israeli Arab. Like the majority of Arabs who live in the Old City, he describes himself as a Palestinian – as you will hear. He is 54 years old, married with 6 children and to date has 7 grandchildren. Born into a Catholic family, he grew up in the Old City. His father died when he was only 10 and if that wasn’t tough enough for a young boy, the political unrest in the Old City was gathering momentum and Raja’s life soon spiralled out of control. This is the story of what God is doing to transform seemingly impossible situations.

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Programme 410 – Joseph Haddad

My guest today is Joseph Haddad. He was born in Israel to Lebanese parents. He grew up in Haifa and for many years he and his wife have cared, quite literally, for a group of Lebanese refugees who fled to Israel – in fact they started a church for them in Nahariya, on the border between Israel and Lebanon. I met Joseph in Haifa recently, in a rather noisy café in the German Colony … listen now as he describes his experience of the past few years.

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Programme 409 – Randi Bass 2 of 2

Today I’m taking you to BeerSheva in southern Israel to hear from Randi Bass, an American, who is married to Howard, a Jew. They met in America before making their home in Israel over 30 years ago and have raised 4 children. Howard is the pastor of a Messianic congregation. Randi has had to find her way into Israeli society … I asked her whether she had any regrets.

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Programme 408 – Randi Bass 1 of 2

This programme is all about introducing you to believers in Jesus living in Israel and the West Bank today .. both Jews and Arabs .. taking you into their world … helping us to understand what God is doing in the region despite the turmoil and conflict that we are frequently reminded of through our news channels.
So what is life like for an American woman who marries a Jewish guy – both from well to do families in the US – who then experience a radical conversion and become believers in Jesus – and then explore whether or not to move to Israel?
This was the situation facing Randi when she married Howard Bass and he suggested they cycle around Israel to see whether or not she might like to leave the home comforts and luxuries of America and come and pioneer a work in Israel.

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Programme 407 – Salim Shalash 3

My guest today is Salim Shalash … he is an Israeli Arab living in Nazareth and the pastor of a church there. Here he describes what it’s like when, once a year, many congregations in northern Israel meet together – Messianic Jewish congregations with Arab Christian churches …

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Programme 406 – Salim Shalash 2

My guest today is Salim Shalash. He is an Israeli Arab from Nazareth who grew up in a nominal Catholic family. It was the sudden death of a friend that caused Salim to think more deeply about life. He started to study the Bible for himself and ended up going to Bible college. Today he is the pastor of a church in Nazareth … here he describes how it started.

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Programme 405 – Salim Shalash 1

Today I’m in Nazareth in northern Israel talking to an Israeli Arab pastor called Salim Shalash. His story is fascinating and may surprise you. Listen now as he starts at the beginning, the place where he was born.

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Programme 404 – Sandi Soshani 2 of 2

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Olive Tree – the programme that introduces you to people in Israel and the West Bank who are believers in Jesus – Jews and Arabs. Recently I was in J’lem which is where I met my guest today, Sandi Soshani – she is the National Director the Pro-Life organisation in Israel called Be-Ad Chaim – a position she has held for 13 years. As well as helping mothers who decide to keep their babies rather than opt for an abortion, Sandi and her team of counsellors also support and comfort mothers who have had an abortion … as Sandi now explains.

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Programme 403 – Sandi Soshani 1 of 2

Today I’m in J’lem talking to Sandi Soshani. She is National Director the Pro-Life organisation in Israel called Be-Ad Chaim. We met in her office in Jaffa Street and as you will hear, there was a music event going on in the street outside! I started by asking Sandi to explain the mandate of Be-Ad Chaim.

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Programme 402 – Jack Sara 2 of 2

My guest today is Jack Sara, principal of the Bethlehem Bible College. When talking about Israel and the situation between Jews and Arabs or Palestinians, it’s sadly a fact that we Christians living in the West often take sides with one people group against the other – but is this right or even helpful. I asked Jack to explain how he manages this problem with his students in Bethlehem, which is of course in the West Bank.

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Programme 401 – Jack Sara 1 of 2

My guest today is Jack Sara, principal of the Bethlehem Bible College. Listen now as he describes what he believes God is doing amongst the Palestinian people living in the West Bank and beyond today.

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Programme 400 – Howard Bass 3 of 3

Today I’m in a coffee shop in BeerSheva, in southern Israel talking to Howard Bass. He and his wife emigrated to Israel from America over 30 years ago and he is the leader of a Messianic congregation there. Howard is also very involved with a group of Arab and Jewish pastors who manage to meet together twice a year. As well as building personal relationships despite the challenge of the political situation in the country, these men meet to explore the Bible together to understand what God is doing in Israel in these days.

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Programme 399 – Howard Bass 2 of 3

Today we’re in BeerSheva, situated in the Negev in southern Israel, talking to Howard Bass, a Messianic Jewish pastor in the city. He and his wife Randy emigrated to Israel over 30 years ago and they have worked tirelessly to encourage and support the growth of a young congregation in BeerSheva. There are many references to BeerSheva in the Bible … it is an ancient place. But what’s it like today?

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Programme 398 – Howard Bass 1 of 3

It can be hard for us to understand the Jewish mindset regarding Jesus or Yeshua … there are many reasons for this, suffice to say that to openly declare you are a believer in Israel causes a reaction. Today I’m in BeerSheva talking to a Messianic Jewish pastor called Howard Bass. He was brought up in the United States but has lived in Israel with his wife, who is not Jewish, for over 30 years. In this interview, Howard explains how and why they came to BeerSheva and how they have dealt with misunderstandings over the years.

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Programme 397 – Israeli Arab pastor

Today I’m in northern Israel in an Israeli Arab village close to Nazareth. I can’t tell you exactly where I am or who I’m talking to – it would be too dangerous. Suffice to say, I’m with an Israeli Arab pastor in a muslim village. There are many villages in northern Israel where Arabs who are Israeli live. These villages are mainly 100% muslim, so as you can imagine, for a Christian Israeli Arab to go there, he has to be extremely wise and very careful. So who is my guest and what is he doing? I’ll let him introduce himself.

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Programme 396 – Evan Bass

Today I’m in BeerSheva in the Negev in the south of Israel. Beersheva is mentioned several times in the Bible – Abraham dug a well there, Samuel was a judge there and Elijah took refuge there. Today it is home to over 200,000 Jewish people mostly immigrants from Arab countries, India, Russia and Ethiopia.
My guest today is Evan Bass. He knows BeerSheva well. He was born and grew up there. Son of a Messianic Jewish pastor he had the challenge of finding his own identity. We met in a coffee shop and I asked Evan to describe what life was like for him growing up.

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Programme 395 – Hanna Eid (2 of 2)

Today I’m in northern Israel, in a village close to the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee talking to Hanna Eid – an Arab Christian pastor. There are many Arab villages in northern Israel – mostly Muslim. Hanna Eid comes from a village called Eilaboun that has a majority orthodox Christian population, mainly Catholic, whilst he is an evangelical and very much in the minority.
Hanna and his wife spent a year at a Bible college in England before returning to their home village. Hanna was quite sure that was where God wanted him to work as a pastor and here he picks up his story.

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Programme 394 – Hanna Eid (1 of 2)

Today I’m in a village in northern Israel called Eilaboun, close to the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee and my guest is Hanna Eid – an Arab evangelical Christian and pastor of a small church in his village. As you will hear, there are many Arab villages in northern Israel where the majority of people are Muslim. The remaining Arab population are predominantly orthodox Christians, mainly Catholic. So Hanna is one of a small minority. Listen now as he shares his fascinating story.

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Programme 393 – Ofer Levi

Today I’m in Tel Aviv at the offices of Jews for Jesus and my guest is Ofer Levi – a team member here.
Ofer was born in Israel but his family originally came to Israel from Poland – I asked him to describe his upbringing as a child of immigrant parents.

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Programme 392 – Eli Birnbaum

My guest today is Eli Birnbaum – an Israeli Jewish believer. We met in Tel Aviv in the offices of Jews for Jesus where Eli is leader of the youth ministry as well as being involved in other imaginative initiatives aimed at reaching out to the community at large and meeting with people in ways that engage and interest them. I asked Eli why he chose to join Jews for Jesus.

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Programme 391 – Marwan Beem 2 of 2

My guest today is Marwan Beem, an Israeli Arab pastor living in northern Israel. As we heard on last week’s programme, Marwan had a sad childhood – his father was an alcoholic and Marwan suffered as a result. By the age of 17 his life felt hopeless and he was ready to die. It was then a friend told him about Jesus and for the first time in his life, Marwan knew he was loved. That encounter changed his life and he became a pastor. A few years ago, Marwan’s wife felt that God was calling them to go and live in the West Bank amongst the Muslim community. As you are about to hear, Marwan did not think this a good idea.

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Programme 390 – Marwan Beem 1 of 2

Today, I’m in Haifa in northern Israel talking to an Israeli Arab, Marwan Beem, who is a Christian. Marwan is a pastor, but, his story has involved pain and struggle and as you will hear, he has been through many difficult experiences. In this, the first of two programmes with Marwan, he describes his early life.

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Programme 389 – Dan Sered 2 of 2

Today I’m in Tel Aviv in the offices of Jews for Jesus, talking to their Israeli Director, Dan Sered. For many years, Jews for Jesus teams have been going around Israel running campaigns telling people about Jesus, their Messiah. I asked him for an update on their activities … you may be surprised to hear about their latest campaign.

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Programme 388 – Dan Sered 1 of 2

Jews for Jesus are well known for their brave and creative methods of evangelism around the world. As you would expect from their name, they are primarily but not exclusively concerned with reaching Jewish people. Today I’m in Tel Aviv talking to their Israeli director, Dan Sered. He was born in Israel and heads up a large team of missionaries who are creative in the way they plan and execute their campaigns. I asked Dan for an update on their work in Israel.

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Programme 387 – Israeli Arab pastor 2 of 2

For the past three years we have watched as millions of refugees have poured out of Syria into Europe. Many countries in Europe have felt overwhelmed. Many Christians have felt overwhelmed by the sudden arrival of so many Muslims in their towns.
My guest today is an Israeli Arab Christian. He’s been following the plight of these refugees and has himself travelled to Europe on a number of occasions to meet with them. Listen now as he shares his insight and stories of personal encounters with many Muslim refugees in European countries.

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Programme 386 – Arab pastor 1 of 2

Today we’re in Haifa talking to an Arab Christian who is a pastor in the city. Not only is he the pastor of an Arab church in down town Haifa, he is also running a media centre reaching into many nations of the world, and he is involved with a Messianic congregation as you will hear. Listen now as he shares his amazing story.

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