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'A Divine Calling': Christian Businesspeople Tackle BDS Head-On by Bringing More Business to Israel


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RISHON LETZION, Israel - International Christian businesspeople are taking on the BDS movement against Israel by pursuing business with companies in the Jewish state and more.

They came to bless Israel and in turn be blessed themselves at the ARISE Summit 2019.  The conference provides business opportunities between Israelis and Christians.

“We have here several hundred international business people from over 40 nations who have come here to connect to what they consider to be a miracle of biblical proportions the exciting (thing) that’s happening in the Israeli economy with innovation and technology,” said Calev Myers, President and Executive Chairman of ARISE, the Alliance to Reinforce Israel’s Security and Economy.

(Image above: ARISE Founder Calev Myers)

“We’re really tackling some of the greatest crises around the world. And so we’ve invited them to connect with Israeli businesses and meet face to face and create those connections and transactions that will help bring Israeli innovation to the world,” Myers told CBN News.

The International Christian Chambers of Commerce, the Israel Export Institute, the Israel Federation of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce and the Israel Manufacturers Association also backed the conference.

Israeli companies included: SAFEMODE an artificial intelligence and behavior modification system to improve road safety in commercial fleets; ReWalk - a bionic system that enables paraplegics to stand, walk and climb stairs; and KitePride a social business that recycles discarded wind-surfing kites and parachutes into unique, high-quality backpacks and bags and does so by employing women and men who want to exit forced prostitution and human trafficking.

One of the Israeli companies here is selling locusts and grasshoppers…to eat. Did you know that locusts are healthy, kosher and some say tasty?  They even have a candy that they call gummy hoppers.  (Maybe this is why John the Baptist ate locusts and honey!)

With the global food challenge in mind, Dror Tamir helped start Hargol Food Tech six years ago. It’s the world’s first commercial grasshopper farm.

“We are producing grasshoppers to feed the world,” Tamir told CBN News.

By working with Israel, these business people are also taking a pro-active stand against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement or BDS.

“Let’s be strategic. Let’s not waste a lot of time and energy fighting this with legal and legislative means. Let’s just do more business,” Myers said.

“Our largest delegation this year is from Sweden, which I think is fantastic because, you know there’s a growing BDS campaign in Sweden, a campaign to boycott and isolate Israel, so the fact the Evangelical business community there stood up and said, ‘we’re going to do the opposite. They might want to boycott Israel; we’re going to come to bless Israel,” he said.

Sweden’s Jan Sturesson is Chairman of the International Board of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce (ICCC).  He’s been building bridges with Israel for years.

“We today changed the name of BDS – so “B” is Bless, “D” is Direct Invest, and “S” is serve Israel. So we took a decision here and that’s innovation,” Sturesson told CBN News. 

“We need a new perspective on what is Israel, the leading hub of innovation, industrial development, creation, and entrepreneurship,” Sturesson said. “So how do we tap into that hub and leaving some issues aside and we do this in a climate when the Arabic world says we like to have collaboration with Israel.”

Some 300 matchmaking meetings took place. 

“It’s a blessing that people who bless Israel will be blessed and it’s a blessing that anyone who wants to be blessed connects to Israel,” said Yehuda Glick, Chairman of the Shalom Jerusalem Foundation and former Knesset Member. “People here are actually, with their businesses, becoming a flame in the menorah of God,” Glick told CBN News.

And what do the Christian Businessmen think?

“Of course the idea of trying to stand against BDS in Africa that’s not such a big issue but we are looking to partner with Israel because they have solutions that we need,” Nigerian businessman Ntiense UbonIsrael told CBN News.

“I’m excited to understand that there’s a Divine calling in doing business with Israel, not only cooperation but beyond that there is a Divine calling,” Benjamin Juwono, a businessman from Indonesia told CBN News. 

Myers sees business as the future for Israeli-Christian relations because it forms stronger ties and gives the opportunity for mutual blessings.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel full-time for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism, then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91, and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and the