Israeli believers remember pastor, bridge builder – David Davis

Pastor David Davis teaching during a Shabbat service at Kehilat HaCarmel

It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Pastor David Davis, founder of Kehilat HaCarmel (Carmel Congregation) on Mount Carmel, in Isifiye, near Haifa.

David was 79 years old and was ill for an extended period. He is survived by his wife Karen and their two sons.

Karen and the ministry team of Kehilat HaCarmel, said in an email that though they are grieved, that they are reassured “he is in the presence of the Lord now and so our great loss is tempered with joy and the assurance we shall see him again.”

Pastor David was ordained with World Challenge International Ministers Fellowship, founded by David Wilkerson, who began the Teen Challenge model of drug rehabilitation. The Davis’ made aliyah in 1989. They founded Beit Nitzachon (House of Victory) in Haifa and Kehilat HaCarmel in 1991. The vision for both of these ministries is Jews and Arabs joined together as the “one new man” based on Ephesians 2:15.

Over the years, David and his wife Karen and the ministry team of Kehilat HaCarmel invested in the diverse people groups of Israel and visitors from all walks of life in their various ministries often under difficult circumstances. David served as senior pastor there for 25 years, and Karen serves as worship director.

When David Davis became ill, believers from around the world rallied to pray. Soon after he died, social media forums were flooded with tributes from all over the world to a mighty man of God who invested in and impacted thousands.

Pastor David was previously a professional actor in Broadway and off-Broadway theaters and was chairman of the Division of Arts of Fordham University at Lincoln Center in New York City. In the mid-80’s, during a successful acting career, Davis had a dramatic encounter with the Lord in a revival among performing artists in New York, where he also met Karen, who is Jewish. Afterwards, he began working with addicts and homeless people under the mentoring of David Wilkerson, former pastor of Times Square Church.

Davis also met Denzel Washington in drama school more than 20 years ago and performed together in a Broadway show. When Washington visited Israel in 2010 he spent time with Davis, according to Israel21c.

In his book, The Road to Carmel, David chronicles the miracles along the way to his salvation, his meeting of Karen and the calling of the Lord to move to Israel where the couple founded several ministries and touched countless people.

His most recent book, The Elijah Legacy, deals with Israel, Islam, and the Church in the last days. David also ministered extensively in the nations as a conference speaker.

Before they moved to Israel, David and Karen already felt a burden to reach out to drug addicts in the land and thus founded Beit HaNitzahon (House of Victory). After arriving in Israel, the couple eventually settled in the north in Mount Carmel, near Haifa.

“Our call on Mount Carmel is ‘to turn the children of Israel to the Lord their God’ and ‘to make ready a people prepared for the Lord,’” Davis wrote. “Elijah and John the Baptist, who moved in ‘the spirit and power of Elijah,’ are examples for us today.” (page 193)

Mount Carmel is where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal and Jezebel. The “spirit of Elijah” was a main theme of David’s teachings.

Another fruit that was evident in David and Karen’s ministry was the bringing together of Jewish and Arab believers.

“This ‘one new man’ has always been in the heart of God,“ Davis wrote. “We are the stones of a spiritual community seeking to define and express a oneness (unity in diversity) where Jews can be Jews—Arabs can be Arabs—and Gentiles can be Gentiles. However, we are called to be ‘ONE’ and ‘CREATION’ which has been planted on Mount Carmel by the Spirit of God. We are going a way we have never gone before—and we have just begun.” (pages 216-217)

Kehila News Israel staff spoke to several leaders in Israel who honored Pastor David Davis and conveyed their deepest condolences:

“We so appreciate David’s wisdom and counsel and appreciate what God called David and Karen to do. The drug rehabilitation center has been a tremendous ministry. David and Karen were pioneers here in Israel; David was such a leader in the land and meant so much to us. We are so sad at his passing but encouraged to know he is with His Savior.” Avi and Chaya Mizrachi, Adonai Roi congregation, Tel Aviv

“David Davis was a true man of God. I first met him and his wife back at the beginning when they first came to the land before they went to Haifa. I was always inspired in my relationship with him and Karen and was always very blessed when I visited Kehilat HaCarmel. He was a person who was not afraid to really speak the truth and deal with the difficult things of the Word. I always had tremendous respect for him and his wife and all that they built and I’m sure he was welcomed with a, ‘Well done my faithful servant’ into the arms of the Lord. There is much fruit from David’s life which remains and will continue to spread both in Israel and abroad.” Jim Schutz, executive director of the Joseph Project.

“David Davis was a man I greatly admired. He was a role model, pioneer, a man who stood for great values, holiness and integrity. He also helped me out in a particular situation offering acute wisdom and insight. We as a whole Body will miss him and he has been a part of us, a father figure in the land.” Shmuel Birnbaum, Yam Ahavato congregation, Bat Yam

The funeral is planned for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9 at the Haifa Messianic cemetery.  It will be followed by a time of fellowship at Beit Yedidia, 122 HaTishbi St., Haifa.

We at Kehila News Israel send our sincerest condolences to Pastor Davis’ wife Karen, their families and Kehilat HaCarmel.