ICEJ-Fiji elated as government commits to open Jerusalem embassyPublished on: 23.2.2023
By: David Parsons, ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman
During the ICEJ’s Envision pastors’ conference in late January, ICEJ-Fiji national director Pastor Mikaele Mudreilagi proudly announced at a gathering in the Knesset that his nation’s new government has decided to open an embassy in Jerusalem.
The new government of Fiji, led by Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, made this decision as part of a coalition agreement reached to form a government following the close national elections in December 2022. He needed a small Christian party to join the coalition to gain a majority in parliament, and they made just one demand – to open an Embassy of Fiji in Jerusalem. Rabuka readily agreed, as he has been a supporter of Israel and the ICEJ for many years.
Rabuka confirmed this decision to Amb. Roi Rosenblit, the non-resident Israeli ambassador to Fiji, during his official visit to Fiji in mid-February. The Israeli ambassador in turn delivered to Rabuka an invitation letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Israel soon.
The ICEJ-Fiji branch has been working and praying for many years for this very outcome, and they deserve much credit for making it an issue of national importance. One key figure in this effort has been Fine Ditoka, the Executive Assistant to ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler in our Jerusalem office, who hails from Fiji and previously served as a protocol officer in her nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea recently installed a new government as well, and its leaders have likewise committed to opening an embassy in Jerusalem. PNG Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko announced in mid-January that his country, which already has a consulate in Tel Aviv, would be opening a new embassy in Jerusalem within the next three years.
“Israel has big significance in religious aspects with the mother land and a lot of people have an understanding in that regard and also in technological developments and the way they do things in Israel with business is very outstanding,” said FM Tkatchenko. “We want to work with Israel closely through the Word of God, and also through all the aspects of economic empowerment and agriculture industrial and commercial aspects.”
The background to both of these exciting developments goes back to the late Victor Schlatter, a nuclear engineer from the United States who answered the call to become a Bible translator in Papua New Guinea. Schlatter also served for several decades as an ICEJ special representative to the Pacific Island nations. He preached throughout Papua New Guinea and the many islands of Oceania and always brought a strong message on why Christians should support Israel. Because of his work over the decades, many of these Christian island nations in the Pacific region are pro-Israel, which is even reflected in their voting patterns at the United Nations. They also send large, faithful delegations to the Feast of Tabernacles each year.
And now, the leaders of Fiji and Papua New Guinea are rightly aligning with God’s word by deciding to open an embassy in Jerusalem.