What a year it has been. If you had asked us at the start of the year what we expected would happen in 2023, we were preparing to celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary and launching a ‘Bless Israel’ campaign. We would never have imagined that by the end of the year we would have witnessed the worst attack against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. We would not have believed that the IDF would be forced to launch a full-scale war against the evil of Hamas. And while we have seen antisemitism rising every year, we would never have expected to see the explosion of Jew hatred we are currently experiencing.

To say that Israel needs our support more than ever before is an understatement. 

Despite the ongoing war, the Jewish people have just celebrated Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. We often focus on the miracle of the oil when thinking of Hanukkah, where the Temple Menorah burned for eight days when there was only enough oil for one. However, the festival is much more than that. God caused that miracle to happen because the Jewish people honoured Him by rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem back to Him after it was desecrated by pagan rituals from foreign invaders.

The true meaning of Hanukkah is not only the miracle of the oil or a festival of lights. Also known as the ‘Feast of Dedication, it’s the importance of dedicating to God the things that are holy.

The Holy Land, as Israel is often referred, clearly denotes that the land is ‘sacred’ and ‘set apart.’  Israel as a land and Jews as a people were set apart by God for His divine plans and purposes. 

God’s plan was for the Temple to be a holy place that was set apart for worship to Him. God’s plan for Jerusalem was for it to be the city of peace where He would be glorified. God’s plan for Israel was for it to be a homeland of the Jewish people, the people God called “holy” and “set apart,” a people who were chosen to fulfil God’s ultimate plan for the salvation of humanity. 

Just as Hanukkah is not just about lights, Christmas is not just about Christmas trees. The “reason for the season” is Jesus, the Holy One, who was born in Bethlehem as a Jew and raised as a Jew. He followed Jewish customs, He celebrated Jewish feasts (including the Feast of Dedication), and ultimately, He fulfilled the Law by becoming the perfect sacrifice.

The Holy Land has suffered a great tragedy, but God can work everything for His glory. In Israel, as the IDF cleanses the land from the evil of Hamas that defiles what God has declared holy, people are turning back to God. They are rededicating themselves back to Him.

Outside of Israel, we are also seeing Christians rededicating themselves to standing with Israel. Just as at the beginning of the year we would never have imagined all the bad things we would see, we also never imagined we would see an outpouring of love and support for Israel in ways we would not have expected. 

CUFI has been overwhelmed with messages of support. We have seen Christians showing bravery on the streets of London as they stand with Israel. We have heard that churches and prayer groups up and down the country have been reignited with a burden to pray for Israel. And we have experienced an outpouring of love towards Israel through our CUFI Cares project, where Christians in the UK have sacrificially given to help injured and traumatised Israelis and help bring them relief. 

This Christmas, we at CUFI rededicate ourselves to stand with Israel like never before. We will not rest until the world is purged of the evil of antisemitism. We will not remain silent when Israel is under attack. And we will always defend that which God has declared holy. 

Thank you for standing with Christians United for Israel throughout this year. We pray God will bless you and your families as you celebrate the miracle of Christmas. 

For Zion’s Sake,

Des Starritt
Executive Director, CUFI UK

This year, we want to do more to bless Israel and the Jewish people.

We know that as we bless Israel this year, God will bless us, just as He promised in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Now is the time to bless Israel and the Jewish people.