The Word: The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me to and fro among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. [The holocaust?] He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life... Then he said to me, "Prophesy... Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet-- a vast army. Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.' Therefore prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you back to the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 37:1-5, 9-12)
Pointers for prayer: I have lost count how many times I have spoken on the subject of Ezekiel’s dry bones. I wish time and time again that the church would understand the full picture of God’s revelation to Ezekiel for Israel. Oh that we would persist in our intercession of this issue. And know this; God is not irritated by our persistence in prayer. He urges us not to give up, but to bombard heaven with the desires of our hearts. So please, once again, use this report for prayer purposes. It is my desire that this report will activate your spirit and enable you to intercede for Israel – especially during this time of remembering.
As January 27 is International Holocaust Memorial Day, we must never be allowed to forget the evil of this period in history. Please bring all the Holocaust services & events that have happened over these past few weeks before the LORD in prayer asking for His seal and blessing. Pray that these events will have great impact on people’s lives – 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.
Lest we forget I’d like to continue on in this week’s report with the same theme I covered last week. Back in the year 2001, the British Government brought about the creation of a National Holocaust Memorial Day with the aims to recognise that the Holocaust was a tragically defining episode of the 20th Century and a universal catastrophe for humanity. Though I feel the many other genocides that have happened since the Shoah are very important to remember, I equally feel that as the years move on, the very reason for the National Holocaust Memorial Day being put on the calendar is becoming a secondary issue to these other genocides. I personally believe it is vital that we teach the children of what happened to the Jewish people during the Nazi era. We so need to learn lessons from the past, for if we don’t learn from the past, what will the future hold? Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust Survivor, once stated: “How do you teach events that defy knowledge, experiences that go beyond imagination? How do you tell children, big and small, that society could lose its mind and start murdering its own soul and its own future? How do you unveil the horrors without offering at the same time some measure of hope? But hope in what, in whom? In progress, in science, literature, God ?” I have visited many Holocaust Survivors both in Israel and here in the UK… and one statement, and one question always remains… they will often state, “I might have left the Camps, but the camps have never left me”. And then the following question haunts me, “Where was God in the Holocaust?” Steven Jaffe (Board of Deputies of British Jews) quoted the former Chief Rabbi Sack’s recently however by asking, “Where was man?”
Over 20 years ago, I had recurring dreams regarding the Holocaust. 15 years ago however, I dreamt that I was standing near some tall buildings in Israel looking down into a valley. Suddenly I saw a huge missile fly right over my head and land in an almighty explosion in the valley. At the same time as the explosion, I remember grabbing my son Matthew (who was six at the time) and my wife Julia and yelling at them to get behind some large rocks. And I can remember the feeling that went through me… a sigh… which stated, "I wish we could go back to life as it was." I can distinctly remember thinking, "if only I could have that 'time of peace' again, I would have done things differently, I would have sought God more… I would have prayed more..." Then some scripture came to mind from Ephesians 5:15-16: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." It is 71 years since the Holocaust, but has mankind really learned anything?
The late great Lance Lambert once said, "Overcoming is so to discover the grace of God and the power of God made available to us, that we stay on course in spite of our faults and weaknesses, even our sin ~ and come to the place where we are no longer Jacob but Israel. That is overcoming. Overcoming is when you are still in the race at the end." As I reflected once again over these words, I wondered how the Jewish race ever managed to overcome the battles they have faced. Israel is in one of the hardest places one could ever be in. Surrounded by a sea of Arab nations - many of whom desire Israel's demise - Israel is a tiny speck in the whole of the Middle East with the Muslim world taking 99.9% of the land mass. Equally, after the painful horror of losing six million in the Holocaust; then being attacked by the Arab Nations in 1948, 1967 & 1973; Two ‘Intifadas’ (with a third currently at their door) and still living in fear of being attacked by Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO/PA and Isis ~ we can't really blame Israel for simply wanting to be left alone in peace. And yet they pursue so much more in life.
The image that Great Britain had as being the Bulldog seems to be fading these days, yet if Britain was a Bulldog, Israel would have made a great Bull Terrier. Having grown up watching my parents breeding the English Bull Terrier, I know a thing or two about them. Generally, if a Bull Terrier gets its teeth into something, it doesn't let go. 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 – haven’t really changed. As I’ve mentioned in previous reports, anti-Semitic incidents in London alone soared in 2015 with 483 anti-Semitic crimes being recorded during the 12-month period. Along with this, the magnitude of emotional trauma in which the Jewish people endured throughout the Holocaust period is still etched upon their memories, never to be forgotten. Many came to Israel having lived through the horrible catastrophe with their hearts completely broken. And yet today, Israel are not merely “surviving” - they are changing the world for the better. Israel yields awesome pioneering technologies and some of the world’s best profitable business opportunities. This is why some of the biggest names in the world – businesses like Microsoft, Motorola, Intel, HP, Siemens, IBM, Philips, AOL and more - choose to invest in Israel. There is so much more that I could tell you about Israel, including that fact that Israel is not only a world leader in high tech, life sciences and computers but also in green technology involving agriculture, water treatment and solar power. However Israel herself was literally reborn from the ashes of a time in history which no one should ever forget ~ the Holocaust. And that era – possibly the darkest period in history – must never ever be forgotten, not compared as equal to.
Remembrances Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day reminded us all just how important it is to remember this day and this period of history. Netanyahu stated, “Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever for in this period of resurgent and sometimes violent anti-Semitism, it is commemorations like this that remind us all where the oldest and most enduring hatred can lead. Unfortunately, in Europe and elsewhere, Jews are once again being targeted just for being Jews. Around the world, Jewish communities are increasingly living in fear. We see anti-Semitism directed against individual Jews, and we also see this hatred directed against the collective Jew, against the Jewish state. Israel is targeted with the same slurs and the same libels that were levelled against the Jewish people since time immemorial.”
Netanyahu went on to say, “Islamic extremists incorporate the most outrageous anti-Semitism into their murderous doctrines. We see this in Gaza; we see it in Raqqa; we see it in Tehran. And it's not just Islamic extremists in the Middle East and Europe. Even respected Western opinion leaders have become afflicted with hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish state… When a state like Iran and movements like Daesh [Isis] and Hamas openly declare their goal of committing another Holocaust, we will not let it happen. But Europe and the rest of the world must stand up together with us. Not for our sake; for theirs.” You can listen to Netanyahu’s full speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUE9yNffy5U
As Netanyahu rightly stated, preserving the memory of the Holocaust is indeed important today, and once again as in past years, Christian Friends of Israel were 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 had events in London, North Wales, Brentwood in Essex, Sheffield, Stoke, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Cradley in the West Midlands.
In Stoke, an event arranged by Jennifer Neville on January 21st included readings about the Danish Jewry and saw film tributes given. Julia Soakell writes, “A challenge from David Soakell about looking for hope in the despair reminded the attendees that from the ashes of the Holocaust a nation was miraculously reborn in three years after the tragic events of the genocide of six million Jews, to a nation of six million today. The remembrance concluded in the laying of stones, a very Jewish way of remembering lives lost.”
Julia Soakell looked at the need to remember HMD each year and that we must all encourage individuals, churches and the younger generation to be educated about the horrors and the need for Truth to be spoken out. With this in mind, the inaugural event for CFI’s new, and youngest rep – Kristie King took place in Sheffield, hosted by the Bushfire Church. Julia Soakell writes, “The drama presented by Kristie and the Sh’ma Kingdom Dancers brilliantly portrayed the anguish of a Czech family, making the heart breaking decision to send their children on the Kinder Transport during the war years, and was a fitting and poignant tribute to the life and work of Nicholas Winton. A fascinating interview by Kristie with Sue Pearson – a Kinder transport survivor, was shown and an address from Steven Jaffe (Board of Deputies of British Jews) reminded the gathering of over 120 people that the Amalekites of the Old Testament had no reason for attacking Israel, much the same as today as Israel and her people and borders and very life are often attacked without reason. He reminded the audience – Jews and Christians and non- believers - that we should not be afraid, that we must fight falsehood with truth and hate with love and turn prayer into action.”
Speaking on the spiritual dimension of Amalek, Steven Jaffe stated, “Amalek wished to show denial of G-d and His power. In Deuteronomy, Amalek is described as a people “who feared not G-d”. The struggle between Amalek and Israel is the eternal struggle of good versus evil - a spiritual battle. Some rabbis see it as an internal battle within every one of us. But it’s also a moral and physical battle in our world today.
As people of faith – Jews and Christians - we are challenged by the Shoah, by its vastness, its rawness…
From the speeches of Hitler it is clear to me that faith and rejection of faith stand at the very centre of the Shoah. The Torah says of Amalek that they “feared not G-d”. Listen now to Adolf Hitler: “The Ten Commandments have lost their validity. Conscience is a Jewish invention, it is a blemish like circumcision.” “The heaviest blow which ever struck humanity was Christianity; Communism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew.” Like Amalek the Nazis defied G-d and were merciless in attack – selecting the old, the infirm, the disabled, the children first for slaughter.
G-d’s commandment regarding Amalek is therefore so relevant to what we are doing here today. We must remember Amalek – the Torah says you will not forget.”
In Brentwood, CFI’s Area Rep for Essex, Moira Dare-Edwards, also had very successful Holocaust events. Moira writes, “The Holocaust Commemoration Exhibition held at Brentwood Town Hall from January 21st till 23rd, open to the General Public and schools, featured the lives and stories of 2 "ordinary" people who saved Jewish people before and during the Second World War. Groups from local schools and beyond came to hear Holocaust Survivors speak movingly about the Kindertransport which rescued children from Nazi dominated Europe and brought them to the UK. Two of the survivors arrived in the UK this way, one of whom was on the last transport organised by Sir Nicholas Winton. Young people from years 5 and 6 to years 10 and 11 also spent time in the exhibition area gleaning information about Sir Nicholas Winton and the Dutch Ten Boom family from structured worksheets and an interactive approach which included making comments on how they might have felt had they experienced this ordeal and lasting separation from their families. Every group was genuinely interested and engaged wholeheartedly with what they saw and heard. From the youngest in year 5 to the older students, all listened intently and showed real enthusiasm, focus and commitment to the whole experience. It was most inspiring to be involved.”
Moira continues, “On Saturday evening the exhibition was transferred to a local school hall where later there was a Meeting of Commemoration including a dramatic presentation by Susan Sandager who beautifully and accurately portrayed Corrie Ten Boom in "Corrie Remembers" followed by a Candle Lighting Ceremony with the local Jewish Community in memory of the 6 million who died in the Holocaust. This was in the presence of Sir Eric Pickles our local MP and our Mayor, Councillor Mark Reed.” The events were organised by Moira Dare-Edwards, her team, and supported by Tikvah Chadasha Synagogue.
Thoughts on Hitler by the Palestinian Authority As I mentioned in my report last week, for those who deny the Holocaust ever happened means that they 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. With this in mind, while the world remembers International Holocaust Memorial Day, a senior Fatah official was stating that, “Hitler wasn't morally corrupt, he was daring.” The Fatah Central Committee Member Tawfiq Tirawi went on to state, “There is a difference between an officer's discipline and loyalty to a leader. The leader could be morally corrupt… You have to know. Is there anyone who does not know his leader?” When the TV host stated that the German people did not know that Hitler was morally corrupt, Tirawi responded, “He was not morally corrupt… Hitler was not morally corrupt. He was daring.” To watch the PMW video clip click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frYW1jgAp6I
There is no need to wonder where these people get their understanding from – they simply look to their 80-year-old leader - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In Abbas’s biography it states that for his PhD he wrote a dissertation, published as ‘The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism’. In it he argues that the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in order to spur more Jewish immigration to Palestine. “The Zionist movement,” it explains, “led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule, in order to arouse the government’s hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them, and to expand the mass extermination… The Zionists were the Third Reich’s “basic partner in crime.” Abbas also claims that the figure of six million dead has been exaggerated for political gain, and suggests one million as a more reasonable estimate. And then Israel are supposed to agree to a peace deal with Abbas?
(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, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio