Zohar was raised in a secular Jewish home in Israel. Like most young Israelis, after finishing his I.D.F. military service, he travelled abroad where he met, for the first time, Gentiles who love Israelis. Some of these dear believers told him about Yeshua (Jesus) being the Jewish Messiah and that salvation is only possible through Him.
Shortly after returning to Israel, Zohar began weeping over the realisation of sin in his life. It was then that he acknowledged that the Lord Yeshua had sacrificed His very life for him. He also began to mourn for his own nation, knowing that they had rejected the Messiah for 2,000 years. Thus began Zohar’s intense burden for his people, and a longing to see them turn to Yeshua in repentance and faith.
Zohar joined an Israeli Hebrew-speaking congregation, where he met and married his wife, Tehila. Together they served in Israel for many years while raising their young children. For ten years Zohar worked as an engineer for a telecommunications company in Israel until the Lord led him to a wonderful Bible College in New Zealand. It was during their time in New Zealand that Zohar and Tehila realised the great potential for reaching out to Israeli travellers.
Zohar followed God’s call to full-time ministry among his people by coming on staff with Celebrate Messiah NZ. Zohar and Tehila reach out (in Hebrew) to many of the thousands of Israelis who travel through New Zealand each year, connecting interested Israelis to local congregations back in Israel. In addition, Zohar trains local believers on the subject of Jewish evangelism, the unique role and future of Israel, the Feasts of Israel and other related topics. The Gonens have five children whom they aim to raise to the glory of God: Aviel, Liam, Yakim, Eliya and Emette.