Shalom and blessings to all of our friends and faithful supporters!
We wanted to take some time as we close in on the end of the year, to recap some of the things that United Israel has accomplished in 2018. This list is not exhaustive but serves to capture some of the key areas of focus, milestones, and major events for our organization in the past calendar year.
We have long recognized that our membership is a growing, global community, and in order to serve you properly we need to take advantage of and remain on the cutting edge of the technology available to us in the modern age. For this reason, we began the year with an upgrade to our Internet service provider. We switched to a new provider, which among other things vastly improved our Streaming capabilities. This move proved successful and has opened the door for future improvements. We also purchased and installed new software that allows us to stream to multiple platforms simultaneously. We continue to look for ways to improve our reach via the worldwide web and social media. Here are some indicators of success in this endeavor.
- Traffic to our main website has more than doubled since 2016. This includes our average daily visits as well as monthly averages and overall annual visits. Our site is updated frequently with fresh content and has several popular and serial categories including Ralph Buntyn’s Remembering David Horowitz and Portraits of the Past. Each week our Sabbath teachings are posted with a brief summary related to the content of the class. Included in the post are embedded video players to the archived class from both our Facebook page and YouTube channel. Visitors also have the option of listening to the class via the embedded audio player, or they can choose to download the MP3 file to their device. Classes are also uploaded to iTunes. Over the past year, we have accumulated a large library of on-demand teaching material as a result. The website also has links to all of our social media sites.
- Our primary social media platform is Facebook. We realize that not everyone uses Facebook, but it has continued to be our main and most effective tool for reaching interested people. Our official United Israel Facebook Page has nearly 34,000 likes, of which more than 33,000 follow our posts. We also have a page for our United Israel World Union Northeast, which is managed by David and Patty Tyler. In addition, we have an active United Israel Facebook Group. This is different than our pages. The pages allow us to post various items and people can interact with these posts by liking, commenting, or sharing. The Facebook Group allows all of the above but also allows more from members to include sharing of documents. One great example of this is the work of our friend John Perry (AKA Baruch). Each week, John posts on the United Israel Facebook Group, his excellent notes from the weekly classes as well as a host of other useful documents related to United Israel World Union teachings, etc. There are currently more than 500 members on the Facebook Group.
- We have relaunched our YouTube channel this year due to a large volume of requests. In order to continue to utilize the successful Facebook platform, we had to purchase and install software that enabled us to stream to multiple platforms simultaneously. This has proven successful and slowly our YouTube subscriptions are increasing, and more people are joining our streaming events or watching archived classes via our YouTube channel.
Opportunities for Improvement on Web / Social Media
- We have an active Twitter account. Presently our Twitter account is primarily used to automatically post anything shared on our main website or any of our other social media platforms.
- We have not yet established a presence on Instagram, but research shows that this social media platform can be effective. Our frequent activities, functions, and various trips provide our friends and followers with many videos and photos and this is an opportunity for us in 2019.
- We are presently looking into live streaming audio services. We still have members who have slower Internet connections and limited data plans that make it difficult to watch videos. Audio live streaming would meet the needs of these people. You might say we have a vision for audio!
- Our intention is to improve the navigation on our main website. We will be working with our talented and faithful webmaster (Anna Jakubowski) on this in the coming year.
Since its inception, United Israel World Union has advanced the cause of the modern State of Israel. This was championed for years at the United Nations by our founder, and our present leadership is working on ways to stand against Israel’s enemies and to present the Jewish State in a fair and accurate manner. This has manifested in several ways.
- In 2017, a six-member delegation participated in a gathering at the United Nations General Assembly called Ambassadors Against BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions). At this gathering, we learned of several initiatives including ACT.IL. Some of our United Israel World Union members have joined with many others around the world who receive missions designed to fight Anti-Semitism on the web and social media. A convenient app is available for those interested and this is making a difference.
- David and Patty Tyler have developed a working relationship between their company and an Israeli Security company – Advanced Security Training Institute. In June of this year, I attended a course in Israel on Counterterrorism and Cyber Security. This course and the relationships established therein continue to open doors between United Israel World Union and various government agencies in the U.S. and Israel. David Tyler and I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. for meetings associated with this work.
- In June, Dr. James Tabor, David and Patty Tyler, and I attended a Night to Honor Security Personnel and to celebrate the shared commitment between America and Israel. The event was held at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and was attended by Michael Oren, Ambassador David Friedman and a host of other dignitaries. Patty Tyler sang the American National Anthem and Hatikva to the assembled crowd and did a fantastic job!
- In May, David and Patty Tyler and I attended an event in Washington, D.C. The event, called Israel 70 and Strong, was organized around the celebration of modern Israel’s 70th birthday and the official move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Many key contacts were established as a result of our attendance.
- In March of 2019, Dr. James Tabor and I will be meeting in Israel with a top official in the World Zionist Organization to discuss ways that United Israel World Union and the WZO might work together to combat Anti-Semitism and counter the BDS movement.
The leadership of United Israel World Union believes that the modern state of Israel is evidence of the beginning of the fulfillment of the great plan of prophecy laid forth in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is therefore essential to emphasize the importance of the physical Land of Israel to members of United Israel World Union. We do this in several ways, the chief of which is by bringing people to Israel when possible and bringing Israel to our people when it is not possible.
- In March 2018, Dr. James Tabor and I led another tour to Israel. Participants on our tours are introduced to the land of the Bible in a way that most tours simply can’t match. We explore the land literally from Dan to Beersheba, sharing the history of Biblical events along the way. Our next tour is scheduled for March of 2019. We already have 38 signed up and have agreed to cap registrations around 42 max and so those who wish to join the upcoming tour must act fast! To sign up, visit our tour page today! These tours are life changing and are highly recommended for those who are able and have the means to take such a trip. For all others, we post videos and photos in an attempt to share Israel with everyone.
- In July of this year, a volunteer group converged on Biblical Tamar Park in the wilderness of Israel. Six members of United Israel World Union spent several weeks making improvements at the 53-acre park where United Israel World Union has developed a working relationship with Blossoming Rose, the curators of this special place. Volunteers performed needed chores at the park and spent some time touring the land. Dr. Tabor guided our group in Jerusalem since he was there leading the Mount Zion Dig while we were there.
- From September 25th through the 1st week of November I volunteered as a supervisor at Biblical Tamar Park. During part of this
timeI was joined by David and Patty Tyler, David andSherry Cole and many other volunteers who were all there to maintain and beautify the park. We were all able to bless the park and were also blessed in the process. We made improvementto the United Israel World Union caravan. The Tylers, who sponsor a caravan in the name of United Israel also improved the Sukkah with the help of the Coles. We also worked on several Memorials, one of which is dedicated to the memory of David and Patty’s son Daniel Tyler.
- In November I co-led the 4th Annual Tanakh Tour with Jono Vandor and Rabbi Tovia Singer. On this
tourI met many wonderful people, some of which have become regular participants in our weekly teachings.
Other Special Events / Teaching
- We have several capable teachers within United Israel who share their knowledge with our membership. Dr. James Tabor, our President shares his knowledge of the Bible in personal communications with our members via his personal and widely popular TaborBlog, his public lectures, personal correspondences, and running commentary each week during the broadcast. David Tyler visited the United Israel Center in Saint Francisville one weekend recently. He taught classes and facilitated a discussion on the Hebrew Faith. Jodell Onstott, despite her research and writing obligations, volunteered to teach several classes this year. She also hosted in her home a Women’s conference in early December. I visited one evening and while I only saw a sample of what they were discussing, I was invited to join them for a fabulous dinner prepared by Sherry Cole. I left filled spiritually and physically and from feedback from others, I was not alone in this.
- We have continued to foster our relationship with the local Jewish Community. This year we hosted Rabbi Rivkin from Chabad of New Orleans for a shofar factory held at the UI Center South in Saint Francisville. Participants learned of the significance of the shofar and the children all made their own shofar. A great time was had by all and the event was live streamed for those who could not attend in person.
- For the second year in a row, United Israel World Union was asked to MC the Chanukah at the Louisiana State Capitol. Attendance was better than the previous year, probably double. We provided the sound equipment and thanks to David Cole and his son Michael, the event was a success from a technical side.
- Recently a new family and their friend started to attend our weekly classes at the United Israel Center South as a result of our working relationship with Chabad. They were directed to us when they contacted Chabad. This is a sign of trust between our organizations and I believe this will only increase in 2019.
Book and Publications
- Of special note is the publication of Ralph Buntyn’s The Book of David. Ralph, our Executive Vice President, and resident historian and chronicler surprised us all at the 75th Annual United Israel World Union meeting with news that his long-awaited work would soon be published. This work is exactly what our organization needed to propel us forward into the future. It tells the story of our founder, but specifically the engaging history surrounding his life and that of United Israel World Union. As it states in the introduction, “As World War II drew to a close there were three things not yet in existence: United Israel World Union, the United Nations, and the State of Israel. By the end of 1948, one person would be involved in establishing all three.” From this opening, the reader is pulled into the fascinating story that finally shows the great impact that United Israel has had since its formation. What this book has done is beyond merely capturing the interesting history of our organization. It has charted a course for a vibrant future, one that picks up the mantel of its founder and champions the original vision of a “global movement dedicated to propagating the ideals of the Torah faith on a universal scale.” Copies of Ralph’s book are available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Chiron Publishers. We highly recommend this book to all of our faithful friends and supporters! Order your copy today.
- We are working to improve the Bulletin. In the original Constitutions and By Laws, it states, “United Israel World Union, Inc. intends to publish a monthly Bulletin, which is to serve as the main organ of the corporation and the chief medium of unification for all members and units of United Israel World Union, Inc. It will contain important Bible data and messages of current interest.” We are continually looking to improve this publication both in content as well as appearance. Stay tuned for announcements on this in 2019.
- UIWU in partnership with Genesis 2000 intends to publish a revised edition of Restoring Abrahamic Faith in 2019. We have distributed thousands of copies of this book and the requests pour in on a weekly basis. We will keep our members informed of our progress on this effort. We also intend to publish John Hulley’s Book, and hopefully my own book, Following Jesus Out of Christianity.
We look forward to 2019 and are pleased that you are with us in our efforts. Thanks for your continued interest in, and support of United Israel World Union. Your faithful support goes directly toward the achievement of our vision and goals. We do all that we do without charge. There are no membership dues. We do however have costs associated with our work. We rely on regular contributions from our friends and supporters to do all that we do. On our donation
Again, thank you for working alongside all of us in this needed work!