I have some amazing news to share with you. It all started about a year ago when I received a text from an executive with HOT Cable—Israel’s largest television provider. He asked me if I would come and meet with him. I drove to his office, near Netanya.
We spoke in Hebrew for about 45 minutes. I shared my testimony with him and gave him my book, Identity Theft, in Hebrew. Finally, I asked him why he had asked to meet with me. I assumed it was connected to my role as the Israel regional director for GOD TV. I was right. He wanted us on the air.
I reminded them that we had been on the air for three months with them, and they had taken us off. I told him that I had no interest in going through that again. He told me that things had changed and that would not happen.
Then I said, “I don’t really have a desire to have an English TV station in Israel. Can we broadcast in Hebrew?” I assumed that was likely the end of our conversation. He would never let us share about Yeshua in Hebrew. So, I was a little shocked when he said that it would not be a problem.
On the way home, I called my best friend Ward Simpson, who also happens to be the CEO of GOD TV. He, too, was excited. The question became, where would we get the funds to pay for this? During his next trip to Israel, we met with the executives of HOT. It was a good meeting, but we still had the same problem. How could we pay for it? But also, how could we pass up an opportunity to reach so many Israelis with the gospel?
A few months went by and, in May of last year, Ward was about to send an email to Avi, my contact at HOT. He was going to tell him, “thank you…but we don’t have the funds…” Before he could send the email, a donor called him. Two weeks or so earlier, Ward had told this donor about the Israel project. The fellow said, “I can’t stop thinking about the Israel cable channel. I will pay for seven years!”
The next thing I knew, we were signing contracts!
In early November, we hosted a dinner with 120 leaders from all over Israel and shared the vision. Ward told them that while GOD TV would pay for the channel, it would more or less belong to the local Messianic community. What was amazing was the HOT Cable executive came to this dinner and addressed the gathered Messianic leaders. He was just as thrilled as we were, though he is not a believer. He expressed his excitement in being involved in something as “historic” as the first Hebrew language Gospel channel in history!
We go live in one month! We are challenging the body of Messiah here to make powerful content. We already have some really good stuff. Our friends at One for Israel have dozens of Hebrew testimonies and we have great music videos in Hebrew. Israeli evangelist Yakov Damkani is giving us a ton of material in Hebrew, too. There are others, as well, but we need more! In the beginning, we will use a limited amount of English programming. The goal is to move to mostly Hebrew content with a few hours each day of content in Arabic, to reach the millions of Muslims in the region.
The name of the channel is Shelanu. Shelanu is Hebrew for “ours.” In essence, we are saying to Israel: Yeshua is not a foreigner. He was born in Israel, He died in Israel and He rose from the dead in Israel! He is our elder brother; He is the Messiah of Israel.
We need your prayers for this! This has never been done. We have tried to fly below the radar, not because we are ashamed or seeking to hide anything, but because the Orthodox Community will do anything to keep the message of Yeshua out of this country.
- That Israel will hear the Gospel in Hebrew! No hiccups!
- That HOT will promote the channel.
- That we will have teams of evangelists to follow up on people (still in process).
- That Israeli believers would invest in making powerful content for the channel.
- For God to open the eyes of the Israelis.
- Minimal to no resistance! And pray that HOT will not give in to Orthodox pressure.