Bible college in Israel helps Jews and Arabs find unity in Christ

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Carlos Damianos, a Palestinian Israeli, leads One For Israel’s Arabic outreach. Hadil at right.

By Michael Ashcraft —

A Palestinian son of an imam did not sleep for three days after receiving salvation in Jesus.

“He was crying all the time, calling and crying, and said that he was betrayed, that he had been living in a lie,” due to his upbringing in Islam, says Hadil. “And then he just knew what is the truth. His life was so changed that he wanted to tell everyone about Jesus.”

Despite the risk to his life, this joy-filled young convert began sharing Jesus on the streets of Gaza, a Palestinian city off the southwestern border of Israel, according to a One For Israel video that documents his conversion.

Gaza

To question Islam is a great sin for Muslims. Jews are often derided as “dogs” who deserve death, and Christians are said to follow “corrupt” teachings of the Bible. Since Palestinians frequently engage in terrorism, to abandon Islam, embrace his enemies and then preach Jesus on the streets of Gaza is tempting death. The fact that his father is an imam, a preacher of Islam, made things worse.

The young man came to Christ after watching an Arabic video about Jesus produced by the One For Israel Bible College in Netanya, Israel. It is a Messianic Jewish institution of higher learning and all the course work is taught in Hebrew.

A scene from the 2014 conflict between Gaza and Israel.

One For Israel also spearheads an online effort to win Israelis to Jesus. What not many people realize is that there are Palestinians who from the foundation of Israel in 1948 decided to become Israelis and not move to Gaza or the West Bank along with their countrymen.

One For Israel has a department that reaches out to Arab/Palestinian Israelis. And their evangelism and discipleship, via the internet, ranges throughout the Middle East and northern Africa. They employ simple Arabic that everyone can understand (there are variations through all the Arab world of the original Arabic spoken by Mohammad).

When Muslims call in with questions, they answer them at length and engage any objections. Many of these Muslims wind up becoming born-again. A lot of their short videos are oriented towards young Muslims. Often the same guys who post negative comments wind up getting saved later (sometimes they post negative comments just to be seen by and approved of by their fellow Arabs, when in fact Christ is at work in their hearts), the video says.

Boys play in the debris of conflicts with Israel.

Where missionaries cannot cross borders, the internet is providing an open door for evangelism and discipleship. And Covid has caused their reach over the internet to increase substantially; everyone is in lockdown and has no where to go. They’re bored and watching videos online.

When anyone gets saved, they continue to disciple them online, since born-again churches may not be easily accessible.

In some cases, when a convert is threatened, they counsel his next moves to spirit him away from danger and relocate to a safe haven.

The Palestinian young man started as a seeker, asking questions. When doubts filled his mind, he sought answers from the imams in Palestine, who either counseled him to not talk to Christians or promised answers at a later time but never followed up. Carlos Damianos, an Arab Israeli convert to Christianity, leads the online evangelism and discipleship.

“Carlos was giving them all the answers he needed from the scriptures,” said Hadil (no last name was provided), who also works on Arab outreach.

The video outreach started in January of 2020 with a series of eight videos which focused on the Muslim’s main rejection of the Bible: that it supposedly was corrupted and altered through the years.

Entitled “The invention of the myth of Biblical corruption,” the series of twice-weekly videos showed the integrity and reliability of the scriptures. They cite the Dead Sea scrolls, which were hand-copied from before Jesus’s day and validate the accurate preservation of holy words from ancient times.

“Despite all the challenges that His people faced, God preserved His word written in the Hebrew Bible for the purpose of salvation; a salvation anticipated in the many promises concerning the coming Messiah,” Carlos says in a One For Israel article.

One For Israel is one of the few places in the Holy Land where Jews and Arabs get along and treat each other as brethren, which in turn provokes much curiosity from non-Christians outside the institution.

“One of the things is the relationship here, the brotherhood between all the people here, Arabs, Jews, and there are so many also from abroad,” Carlos says. “It’s just, there’s something very unique in this college.”

In addition to writing Christian news articles, Michael Ashcraft helps people to make money, save money and minimize taxes through financial planning.