How Are You Helping my People?
It was a very simple question from a Jewish believer named dr. Michelson that provoked Jacob Klein Haneveld (1918–1988). Israel was one of his favorite subjects to teach on, yet dr. Michelson’s simple question put him on the spot: “Through him, the Lord opened my eyes. It was not enough to simply teach on Israel’s future. We also had a responsibility for Israel today,” Klein Haneveld would later write.
Dr. Michelsen, who was raised in the Jewish-orthodox tradition, came to believe in Yeshua through reading the New Testament. Although he was taught that it was an anti-Semitic book, his curiosity got the better of him. To his amazement, he discovered that the New Testament was quite the opposite.
After Klein Haneveld became convinced that Israel needed the biblical witness of the Messiah today, he started a foundation called ‘Eerst de Jood’ (the Jew first) in 1969, together with Wim Griffioen en Klara van Dijk-Engi. They changed the name to ‘Israël en de Bijbel’ (Israel and the Bible) in 1970. All three founders have since passed away.
From 1972 on, there was a close collaboration with Margaret de Kock en Joke Goedhart. During their ministry, which that lasted for 43 years, they distributed more than 100.000 bilingual New Testaments worldwide.
In the late 80’s, there was a stream of Jewish refugees from behind the Iron Curtain. They mainly went into Israel, Germany, the United States, Canada and Australia. A small news story from a local Dutch paper reported on several hundred Jewish refugees who were stranded in an Italian seaside resort called Ladispoli in 1989. After careful deliberation, the board of Israel en de Bijbel sent Ton Stier and Piet Beker to Ladispoli. Hundreds of Hebrew Russian New Testament were distributed among the refugees in only a few days’ time. Since then, Bible distribution became an even larger priority.
Together with an English publisher called the Society for Distributing Hebrew Scriptures, new Bible editions followed quickly. Our travels expanded into the Ukraine, Germany, Morocco, Turkey, Australia, Canada, North and South America, and many other countries.
In 1992, we also opened our second office in the Ukraine. From there, Lesya and Sergey Dariy support the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe through Bible distribution, translation work, serving local Messianic congregations, and the Russian IB magazine.
During the last few years the work has been growing and so our fieldworkers visit Jewish communities in many different parts of the world with the Word of God.