Population: 7.9 million (2012)
Official languages: Hebrew, Arabic
Major religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity
IFES movement: Fellowship of Christian Students in Israel (FCSI)
Israel’s population is about 75% Jews, 20% Arabs and about 5% of other nationalities. There are 320,000 students. Israel is the only Jewish state in the world, with a sizeable Arab minority and on-going conflict with the Palestinian Arabs. Christians are a very small minority (About 2% including all denominations)
- 8 Universities and 50 colleges, about 10 IFES groups
- 1 full-time staff and 1 part-time, 4 volunteers
- no graduate or high school ministry
- largest student group is in Beersheba (30 students)
- smallest group in Western Galilee college
FCSI leaders have been encouraged by the greater unity seen between Jewish and Arab student believers in the movement, a highlight of which was a recent joint conference. They have also been delighted to see students taking initiative and leadership in the movement. A major challenge is for busy students to find the time to give to the movement’s activities.
View from the inside
Zaher Haddad has been the General Secretary of FCSI since 2002. He says, ‘FCSI has helped me in my spiritual life and I owe the movement a lot. What keeps me excited is to see the fruit of the ministry and the Lord’s hand in it. It is a joy to see students reaching to their fellow students and we are seeing contacts made with students who are not from a Christian background’.
Matthew 5:14 is a verse that has encouraged Zaher in his ministry: ‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.’
- that Israeli students will seek God first in their lives, amidst the pressure of their studies;
- that they will also give freely to FCSI of their time and energy;
- that the unity of Christ’s body might be shown in how Arab and Jewish Christians relate to one another;
- for finding a staff worker to work with Hebrew-speaking students.