On the Frontlines
An interview with Yael Eckstein, Senior Vice President of the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews.
There are a few powerful words that describe Yael Eckstein, Senior Vice President of the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews: warm, inspiring, and passionate. She’s consumed with a love to unite Jews and Christians, help alleviate poverty and be a voice for Holocaust victims. The Fellowship’s Guardians of Israel is one of many projects dear to Yael, who has a social service background. IFCJ also works to help Jews make aliyah (or immigrate) back to the Holy Land through the Wings of Eagles program. This project brings Jewish people from places like Russia, Europe, and Ethiopia and from other parts of the world back to the homeland.
Yael, a mother of three, meets with the immigrants, and helps deliver life-saving supplies to children and the elderly under the threat of war on the Northern border. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who founded IFCJ in 1983, pioneered the way for many other ministries trying to bridge the gap between Jews and Christians, now Yael is taking the next generation forward. It’s an ongoing battle, against poverty, prejudices and the threat of extinction from terrorist organizations, but Yael, like her father Rabbi Yechiel, aren’t easily deterred.
In what ways do you see God moving in Israel?
The Fellowship has over 400 projects here in Israel. So when I travel around to the Fellowship's projects I get to speak to the people, see the help that they're getting, and I come up with ideas of how the Fellowship can meet more and more needs here in the Holy Land. When I travel around to the Fellowship’s projects I get to see the Biblical prophecy come to fruition. I drive around and I see the lush forests, the produce that we’re growing here in Israel. We’re exporting produce, I can just hear God saying “The deserts will bloom [Isaiah 35:1].” And that’s exactly what happened. I go to the airport to greet flights for aliyah--flights that the Fellowship brought in from Russia, from Iran, from different Arab worlds, from Yemen—from all different places. [Isaiah 11:12] talks about how God: “will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel. He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth”. We not only study the Bible here in Israel, we get to see it come alive.
What are the biggest challenges in ministering to the Jewish people in the Holy Land?
We’re having our 30th anniversary this year since my father Rabbi Eckstein started the Fellowship. It was the first Jewish Christian organization that tied together the Jewish and Christian faiths in shared respect, and shared values, communication and understanding. Before 30 years ago--the only thing that the Jewish people knew about the Christian community was what they read in history books. Thank God in the past 30 years we’ve come so far, so far in Jewish Christian relations in encouraging understanding and real respect...a real belief that we have shared values. And that if we work together to move forward with those shared values, that the world would be a better place. But there are still Jewish people here in Israel that won’t take the Fellowship’s life-saving aid because our donors are Christian. We’ve come very far in the last 30 years, but there is still more work to be done.