Human Trafficking in Israel
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An essential part of our lives as followers of Yeshua is to improve the communities we live in. Yeshua spoke of fulfilling the commandments through showing compassion and meeting the needs of others. Human trafficking in Israel is a terrible crime. According to the words and example of Yeshua, I felt compelled to act.
What are the facts?
Latest estimates place the number of individuals who regularly work as prostitutes in Israel at approximately 15,000, of which 98% are female. Many prostitutes serve multiple clients daily and statistics indicate that there are over 1,000,000 purchases of sexual services every month.
The sex industry in Israel reportedly generates 2.4 billion NIS every year, the vast majority of which fuels organized crime. Women engaged in this industry become victims of abuse on a regular basis: they are beaten, robbed, burned, raped and exposed to a variety of STDs. Those who claim these women enjoy their 'job' are unaware of their reality, or are simply ignoring the painful truth.
How does a woman become a prostitute?
Nobody wants to see their sister, wife or daughter selling her body in exchange for money. So how does it happen? The answer to that difficult question lies in first realizing that there is very little choice involved in the process. Young women do not consciously choose a career that will involve repeated abuse. To understand the reality of these women's lives we must first recognize them for what they are - victims.
The sad truth is that the stories of these women often begin with sexual abuse at a young age. Many develop an unhealthy pattern of relationships involving exploitation whereby they use their sexuality to gain favor. Most enter into a line of work at a young age (14 is the national average) that provides them with a sense of self-value in the only way they know, selling their bodies. Although the majority of prostitutes are Israeli citizens, there are also women who are duped into prostitution, and trafficked to Israel where they are forced to serve clients.
What has been done to help?
Three years ago MK Orit Zu'aretz (of the Likud political party) presented the Knesset with a bill proposing to adopt the Swedish anti-prostitution legislation model which sets the criminal responsibility on the client and not the prostitute. The idea behind this bill is that as long as there is demand, someone will provide the service - willingly or not. Therefore, the law sets out to punish the victimizer, and not the victim. Several months ago the bill passed its first of three voting rounds in the Knesset. Simultaneously, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice and other organizations have been raising public awareness for the phenomenon of human trafficking and prostitution in Israel through journalism, social campaigns and by mobilizing volunteers to influence government officials.
Successful models in other countries
The issue of prostitution raises many responses. Many will call for it to be legalized and monitored by the government. Others will demand that prostitution be outlawed altogether or for prostitutes to be punished.
When looking past the moral dilemma of prostitution, one truth emerges: the fruit of prostitution is a society addicted to sex, whose image of sexuality is corrupted by an obsession with exploitive sex and pornography. The truth is that countries that have legalized prostitution or taken the opposite stance and focused on the problem by punishing prostitutes have experienced more crime, abuse and degradation of women in their societies. The only legislative response to successfully reduce the number of prostitutes and clients has been the Swedish model. Sweden punishes the "Johns" for purchasing sex by sending them to "John School" where they hear the testimony of rehabilitated prostitutes. Repeat offenders are imprisoned for up to six months.
What can I do?
As you read these words you might ask yourself, "What can I do?" As followers of Yeshua, we are called to bring His kingdom into this world, to change evil into good and tend to those who are hurt. Practically, here is WHAT YOU CAN DO:
In conclusion, we are called to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Let's live up to that challenge.
Mati Shoshani is the Chief Operations Officer with the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, an organization set on promoting justice in Israel through social, legal, and public/political projects. www.jij.org.il. For more information on human trafficking in Israel watch this video: http://vimeo.com/36546182
Human Trafficking in Israel
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By Ariel Blumenthal
2000 years ago, a group of Jewish disciples in Jerusalem decided to take Yeshua at His word, by waiting together in Jerusalem for the promised baptism in the Holy Spirit. Could they have known what would happen? Did they know that they would miraculously prophesy the Word of God in languages unknown to them? Could they imagine that 3000 people would be saved on that same day? Probably not. But they knew the One who had promised, and they trusted His word, and the words of the prophets of Israel.
On the night of May 26, we held our 2nd all night Shavuot (Pentecost) prayer meeting. For 12 hours, a group of modern day Israeli disciples, along with partners from many countries, praised, worshiped, declared and interceded for the fullness of God's Kingdom to come. Like the disciples 2000 years ago, we believe that this is a special time, a special place and a special group of ordinary believers, both Jew and Gentile. The increasing fullness of the Jewish remnant in Israel will play a key role in bringing End Times blessing to the nations (Rom 11:11-15); likewise the fullness of the nations is key to Israel's salvation (Rom 11:25-26).
The evening was divided into six two hour sessions of praise and worship followed by intercessory prayer. We started at 6:00 PM with time for personal repentance and renewal as we focused on the theme "Your Kingdom Come." Next we spent time in John 17, joining in Yeshua's prayer to be united with Him, in the same way that He is united with the Father. This led to the third session that the Gospel would go out in power throughout the world.
From midnight to 2:00 AM, we focused on the outpouring of the Spirit in the Last Days, and there was electricity in the air. Following was a somber time of praying for the salvation of Israel with a deep sense of the troubling times that lay ahead; yet with a stirring to believe for great victories at the same time.
During the last session we sang and prayed for Yeshua's return as we watched the sun rise over the Judean hills. We ended by declaring out loud 7 times, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Yeshua the Messiah". Through live-streaming and prayer networks, we were joined throughout the night by friends and prayer partners throughout the world.
We believe the Lord will manifest Himself in meetings like this in an ever increasing way before the Second Coming when His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives. Just as He appeared to different groups in different locations after the resurrection and before His ascension, He will come in reverse order, appearing to different groups before His return.
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