The Word:   A prayer of an afflicted person… Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.  For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers.  My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones… All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse. For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside. My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.  But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; Your renown endures through all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favour to her; the appointed time has come... For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea. Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord: (Psalm 102: 1-18)

Pointers for prayer:  The 27th January is Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK. We must never be allowed to forget the evil of the Holocaust (Shoah). In remembering, there is hope it will never be allowed to happen again. Please bring all the events happening over the next few weeks before the LORD in prayer. Pray that these events will be well supported – especially where schools and youth are involved.

Remember too, the thousands of Holocaust Survivors still alive today. May those Survivors, even now, find comfort, strength, and the LORD's blessing on their lives.  Do uphold in your prayers and support, all the work CFI do with Holocaust survivors in Israel.  To bless this work, click here.

Forsake Them Not    Seventy one years might seem a very long time, yet seventy one years after the liberation of Bergen-Belsen by the British, attitudes towards the Jewish people – and in particular to Israel as a nation – have taken on yet again a dark and ugly shadow.  Seventy one years after the liberation of another concentration camp – Auschwitz – this time liberated by the Russians - the soil surrounding the Nazi death camp remains so polluted by the ashes of those who were murdered and burned there that little will grow in that area. Many reports that I have say that birds don’t even sing in that place - even today.

In the late 1980s the Auschwitz Museum calculated that at least 1.1 million prisoners were killed at the Auschwitz group of camps and that 90% of these were Jews.  However, this is a deliberately cautious figure. Most modern Holocaust scholarship suggests figures in the range 1.1-1.5 million, with over 1 million being Jewish men, women and children.  Much of the difficulty arises from the fact that before the Soviet troops arrived, the SS destroyed most of the records at Auschwitz.  Rudolf Hoess, the first commandant of Auschwitz, stated that the number was 'up to 3 million'.  As Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK approaches (27 January), what action can we take to make both the church and the general public sit up and listen?  As I often state, mention the word Israel or Israeli to many people in 2016 and you may see rage or anger in people’s faces.   Is this the same dark ‘spirit’ that enraged throughout Hitler’s soul?

The Holocaust was of course a systematic, state-sponsored murder of six million Jews and many other victims (another five Million) by the Nazi-Germans and their collaborators during World War II.  However did you know - the Holocaust is one of the most thoroughly researched periods of history?  When my wife and I first set up the CFI Holocaust Exhibition (which can been seen here), the head Librarian was thrilled to have the photographic exhibition in her Library, and commented on how much it angered her that people could actually deny the Holocaust took place.  The amount of existing research is enormous and growing constantly as historians pour through archives full of surviving documents and artifacts. While important questions remain to be researched, nearly all trained historians who have studied this period agree on the basic facts: The Nazi's ‘Final Solution’ was an official, systematic program of extermination of the Jewish race involving mass murder on an industrial scale which ‘succeeded’ in killing around six million Jews, or approximately half of the Jewish population of Europe, before it was ended by the Allies' victory over Germany in 1945.  It is indeed therefor a mystery how anyone could even suggest that the Holocaust never happened.

So who are these ‘Holocaust deniers’ and why do they deliberately deny these well-established facts about the Holocaust? They assert that the murder of approximately six million Jews during World War II never occurred and that the Germans are victims of a ‘Zionist’ plot to extort vast sums of money from them on the basis of a hoax.  Under a rallying cry created by Holocaust denier David Irving - "Sink the Battleship Auschwitz!" and others - they deny the existence of the poison gas chambers in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and any other Nazi death camp for that matter.  Their goal is simple – they want to promote anti-Semitism and, at many times, anti-Israel sentiment.  However, it’s not just people like David Irving that deny the Holocaust took place.  Holocaust denial in the Arab and Muslim world is very strong – even in 2016 - and seems to be driven primarily by the goal of undermining what is perceived to be a powerful justification for Israel's existence. If these people can be allowed to voice their lies – then they have gained a mighty victory in their anti-Semitic war.  And, as reported in previous Watching over Zion reports, anti-Semitic incidents in London alone soared in 2015 with 483 anti-Semitic crimes being recorded during the 12-month period ending on November 15, while 299 such incidents were recorded during the corresponding period in 2014.

As you may be aware, David Irving has spent many years proclaiming that the Holocaust is a myth.  However, as mentioned, he is not alone.  The former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has on many occasions declared that the Holocaust never happened – just ‘lies for the Jewish world’ – along with wanting to wipe Israel off the map.  With the lifting of international sanctions against Iran this week, one wonders how long it will take before Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will once more declare the “end of Israel”.  Only four months ago Khamenei vowed that within 25 years Israel as a nation would be no more.   However, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has also publically stated that the Holocaust never took place, and even stated that the Nazis and Zionists were working together during WWII.  In a recent interview, among other things, Abbas said "I challenge anyone to deny the relationship between Zionism and Nazism before World War II."  For Abbas to link Zionism to Nazism would be laughable had it not been so serious and a new low even for his standards – especially seeing as the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Al Husseini, was in collaboration with Hitler's Third Reich, which in essence set the stage for today's Jihad war in Israel.  For interesting historical photos of this, click here.   

The fact is, Holocaust denial now regularly occurs throughout the Middle East, whether in speeches and pronouncements by public figures, or articles and columns by journalists. While some voices oppose this deliberate distortion of the historical record, the main reason for Holocaust denial - that Jews invented the Holocaust story in an attempt to advance their own interests - appears to be an increasingly accepted belief for large numbers of people in Arab and Muslim states. The growing affinity for the Middle East ‘Palestinian’ cause demonstrated by Western Holocaust deniers underscores the fact that the Middle East is one of the few regions in the world today where governments do not condemn, and even sponsor, such anti-Semitic propaganda.

However, to make their claims credible, Holocaust deniers are forced to reject enormous volumes of historical evidence.  In many cases, the denial of the Holocaust is simply another argument in their hatred of Israel. This has even led some Arabs to embrace Nazism itself, and to applaud its attempted genocide of the Jews.  This of course is not new, for as I have already alluded to, in 1941, Haj Amin al-Husseini (the Mufti of Jerusalem) fled to Germany and met with Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and other Nazi leaders. He wanted to persuade them to extend the Nazis’ anti-Jewish program to the Arab world.  The Mufti sent Hitler 15 drafts of declarations he wanted Germany and Italy to make concerning the Middle East. One called on the two countries to declare the illegality of the Jewish home in Palestine.  In November 1941, the Mufti met with Hitler, who told him the Jews were his foremost enemy. The Mufti offered Hitler his “thanks for the sympathy which he had always shown for the Arab cause, and to which he had given clear expression in his public speeches. The Arabs were Germany's natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely....the Jews.” Hitler replied: “Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine... Germany would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved in the same struggle....Germany's objective is solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere…  In that hour the Mufti would be the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world.” The Mufti thanked Hitler profusely.  For solid facts on the Holocaust click here:

One again this year, Christian Friends of Israel are involved in many areas in the UK with Holocaust memorial events.  To name them all would take too long; however many of our Area Reps have events in North Wales, Brentwood in Essex, Sheffield, Stoke, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Cradley in the West Midlands.  Collections from the events go to the work we do with Survivors in Israel, and to show just how much of a blessing this is, I’d like to include here a letter from one such grateful recipient.  From our Jerusalem office, Olga Kopilova, the Forsake Them Not coordinator writes, “I would also like to share with you a ‘thank you’ letter we received from [a Holocaust Survivor] Roman.  We have known Roman for many years and treasure this friendship very much.  He writes, "Dear Friends of Israel, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your generous gift to me, and to also express my appreciation to you all for your loving kindness and sensitivity.  The gift you gave not only helped us financially but also brought light, joy and hope into our home and to our spirits.  The kindness of your hearts and your desire to bring help to the needs of Holocaust survivors is very much appreciated. We would like to express our love and respect for all the work you do, especially the home visits to those who suffered during the horrific war years, and who miraculously survived it.  May your work be rewarded by the same kindness, mercy and generosity. We wish you health, prosperity and success in this noble charitable work that you are called to do."  Once again, thank YOU for your generous financial support, prayers and care for the Holocaust Survivors. Thank you for not forgetting Israel and His people. Olga Kopilova.”  

Iran’s license to kill?    It’s a strange world we live in, and one wonders what exactly will be US President Obama’s legacy once he leaves office.  Will he be remembered for being the first black President of the United States of America?  Or perhaps he might be remembered for his failed attempt at making peace between the Palestinians and Israel (Israel want peace I hasten to add, but not at any cost). Or perhaps Obama might be remembered for biting off far more than he can chew, in expecting Iran to cease from their Terrorist campaigns and from building a nuclear bomb.  Just what has he risked by agreeing to lift sanctions from Iran?

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei welcomed the lifting of international sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, but warned that Tehran should remain wary of its old enemy the United States. Iranian State television reported that Khamenei wrote to President Hassan Rouhani to congratulate him on implementing the nuclear deal, which resulted in the U.S., European Union and United Nations sanctions being lifted over the weekend.  In his first comments since the deal took effect, Iran's highest authority made clear that Washington should still be treated with suspicion. He made no mention of a surprise prisoner exchange that also took place this weekend.  Seeing as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sees Israel as ‘the little Satan’ and the USA as ‘the big Satan’, one wonders at what point Obama thought it would be a good and safe decision to lift international sanctions against Iran?  “I reiterate the need to be vigilant about the deceit and treachery of arrogant countries, especially the United States, in this (nuclear) issue and other issues,” Khamenei said.

‎Khamenei has also made it clear that ‎Iran will continue to fund ‎terrorism against ‪‎Israel and Iran has made clear it will continue supporting proxies waging war against Israel. Khamenei said, “We will use all means to support all those who fight Israel.”  Along with Khamenei, Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said a few days ago in Beirut, after meeting the head of ‎Hezbollah’s Hassan ‎Nasrallah, that the nuclear deal has provided an historic opportunity to stand against the Zionist entity.  Regarding these statements, the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “These comments bear out as correct and true what Israel has been saying all along: The money that will flow to Iran in the wake of the nuclear agreement will serve it to strengthen the terrorist organizations operating against us, in its name and under its auspices, in the avowed goal to destroy Israel.”   Am I over-reacting with my views here?  Well, ponder on this for a moment.  In view of the International Holocaust Memorial events happening, Ynet News are reporting that Iran has announced that it will be holding a cartoon contest aimed at creating caricatures denying the Holocaust. This year, the contest’s grand prize has been increased from $12,000 to $50,000.  Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon contacted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, demanding an official condemnation of the contest.  A full report can be read here.

Ongoing violence & murder in Israel   For those of you who have been reading my posts on my personal Facebook page, you may have seen the film clip I posted on Monday.  The Israel Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan presented ministers with the film of Palestinian Authority-sanctioned incitement against Israel over the past year. This incitement is not only ongoing, but actually escalating despite the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to halt all glorification of violence against Israel and its Jewish population.  If you have ever wondered why so many Israeli's and Arab Palestinians get killed, then check out how the Arab Palestinians get taught. Watch the film clip here:

Needless to say, if you have just watched that film clip of the young female Palestinian teaching children to hate Israeli’s, then you will understand just why these attacks are increasing.  Yet even by the appalling standards set by Arab Palestinian terrorists, Sunday night’s brutal stabbing of an Israeli mother in her own home was particularly sickening.  Dafna Meir, 38, was a nurse, mother of four children and foster mother to two, and she was murdered in front of her children.  The attack happened in Otniel near Hebron and according to reports Meir bravely fought off her attacker to protect three of her children who were in the house at the time. The horrific attack was also witnessed by her 17 year old daughter who gave a description of the terrorist to the IDF.  An Arab has since been arrested.  However, the western media once again either glossed over the murder, or reported it as if it was the Jewish woman’s fault due to where she lived.

A friend of mine, Kay Wilson, shared a short article on Facebook from a personal point of view regarding this recent murder of the Jewish mother in Israel. Having suffered a terrorist attack herself, Kay knows first-hand of the horror of these attacks and understandably is angry by how the media - in this case the BBC (yet again) reported this.  Kay Wilson writes, “When I saw someone murdered, something in me died. This is because there is a sanctity about death just as there is about life. The psychological implications and mental scars are unseen and life-long.  Yesterday a Jewish mother was brutally murdered, stabbed to death in front of her child. At least when it happened to me I was an adult. Heaven help Dafna Meir's daughter who has her whole life before her. Today a pregnant mother was stabbed. I'm sick and tired of terrorism. I'm also sick to death of those who undermine it with their blatant agenda by trying to morally justify and excuse these heinous acts because of "where people live."  I find it obscene.  Terrorism leaves concealed, tragic, eternal scars. Trust me, it is terrorism, not buildings, that forever destroys the lives of innocent men, pregnant women and helpless children.”   Amen Kay.  Please do pray into these issues, and lift before the Lord the children of Dafna Meir and the other attacks.

David Soakell  

(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)  Tweet me @David_CFI


Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Christian Friends of Israel UK & Jerusalem, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, & Israel National Radio