During the month of April, three very important days are commemorated by Jews both in Israel and throughout the world. The three days are ‘Yom Ha'shoah’, ‘Yom Hazikaron’, and ‘Yom Ha’atzmaut’.
Each of these days is very significant for Jewish people throughout the world. One specific day, however, has worldwide significance – that day is ‘Yom Ha’atzmaut’.
YOM HASHOAH (Holocaust Remembrance Day)
This year, ‘Yom Ha’shoah’ is commemorated on the 8th April which corresponds to the 26th of Nisan, 5781 in the Hebrew calendar.
‘Yom Ha’shoah’ remembers the death of six million Jews through the holocaust which took place from January 30, 1933 - when Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany - to May 8, 1945.
Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler devised a diabolical plan to create a perfect Aryan race in which there was no place for any ‘imperfect’ people. Millions of people throughout Europe were murdered, sent to concentration camps and annihilated, among these were six million Jews.
This is a very painful time for Jewish people as many holocaust survivors remember the horror of that time and mourn for fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters, grandparents, relatives and friends who were murdered by the Nazis.
In Israel, on the eve of ‘Yom Ha’shoah’, there is a state ceremony at ‘Yad Vashem’, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes Authority. At 10h00 on ‘Yom Ha’shoah’, throughout Israel, air-raid sirens are sounded for two minutes. During this time, people stop what they are doing and stand at attention; cars stop, even on the highways; and the whole country comes to a standstill as people pay silent tribute to the dead. On the eve of ‘Yom Ha’shoah’ and the day itself, places of public entertainment are closed by law. Israeli television airs Holocaust documentaries and Holocaust-related talk shows, and low-key songs are played on the radio. Flags on public buildings are flown at half-mast.
Also during this day, tens of thousands of Israeli high school students, and thousands of Jews from around the world, hold a memorial service in Auschwitz in what has become known as ”The March of the Living” in defiance of the Holocaust Death Marches.
The atrocities that have been committed against Jewish people throughout the ages are also remembered at this time.
Still today, anti-Semitism is rife throughout the world. Therefore, it is imperative to comfort Israel, especially at this time, according to the scripture found in Isaiah 40:1 which declares: ““Comfort yes, comfort My people!” says your God.”
It is also imperative that governments, the church and Christians throughout the world throw off the shackles of being ‘politically correct’ and boldly stand with, pray for, and support Israel and the Jewish people. It is also imperative that people throughout the world make a bold and public stand against anti-Semitism.
As an Orthdox Jew who grew up attending a Jewish school and who was always involved with the Jewish community, I had heard many accounts of the Holocaust and seen too many ghastly images of the annihilation of my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters during the Holocaust. But for the first time in my life, I stood at one of the very spots where this inhumane event took place when my wife and I visited Odessa, Ukraine.
Unfortunately, many Jew haters deny the Holocaust. Holocaust denial consists of claims that the genocide during World War 2 did not occur at all, or that it did not happen in the manner or to the extent historically recognized.
Most Holocaust denial claims imply - or openly state - that the Holocaust is a hoax arising out of a deliberate Jewish conspiracy to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other peoples.
Well I have news for all Holocaust deniers – the Holocaust was real; it happened; and it took place exactly as described. You see, while in Odessa I personally met with and spoke to Holocaust survivors. I saw the numbers tattooed on their arms with my own eyes and I heard their horrifying stories with my own ears. In fact, members of my own family died in the Holocaust.
I stood in the very streets where Jewish blood was spilled, and I stood on the very spot from which innocent Jewish men, women and children were marched to the train station to be herded into cattle cars like animals and sent to their death in concentration camps.
To my horror and sadness, my wife and I were told that when members of the Jewish agency recently went into the streets of Odessa to ask the younger generation what the Holocaust was, some answered that ‘The Holocaust is something out of China’; ‘The Holocaust is a plant of some sort’.
The Gentile youth of today, who live in a city where the atrocities of the Holocaust took place just over seventy five short years ago, have no clue about the Holocaust. And Holocaust survivors live among them - WHAT A SHAME!
However, is it any different amongst other nations – even amongst some of the church?
Now many Gentiles and professing Christians may know about the Holocaust, but do they care? After all ‘it is a Jewish thing’.
I am not saying that this is the general attitude of the church and of church leaders; but sadly I do have to say that I have been to many churches, and the indifference amongst some church leaders to the Jewish people and Israel dismays and saddens me.
In fact, I wonder how many churches around the world – and certainly here in South Africa where I live – remember and pray for Jewish Holocaust survivors, who are the flesh and blood brothers and sisters of Jesus.
How many church leaders actually pray for Jewish Holocaust survivors from the pulpit?
If you don’t care about Jewish Holocaust survivors (and Jewish people in general) who, as I just said, are the flesh and blood brothers and sisters of Jesus, how much do you really care for Jesus?
I spoke with the director of the Jewish agency who supports the Holocaust survivors in Odessa, himself a holocaust survivor. It was he who told my wife and I about the survey taken amongst the youth in Odessa. As he told us, tears shot into his eyes.
I told him that part of the calling of Emet Ministries is to make sure that the truth of what happened to the Jews in the Holocaust is related to the Gentile church and to the world. I promised him that as long as I had breath in my body, I would not let the world and the church forget about the horrific, brutal murder of twelve million innocent men, women and children, six million of whom were Jews - whose only crime was that they were Jews.
I will make sure that, wherever and whenever I can, I will relate what happened to six million Jews in the Holocaust; and so should you – especially if you are Jewish or a professing Christian.
In my opinion, keeping quiet about the Holocaust is just as bad as denying the Holocaust.
Let us, together with Jewish people in Israel and around the world, remember the ‘Shoah’, the Holocaust, and let us endeavour to make sure that such an atrocity never happens again.
‘YOM HAZIKARON’ (DAY OF REMEMBRANCE)
Israel Independence Day celebrates the anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. The day preceding this celebration, ‘Yom Hazikaron’, is devoted to the memory of those who gave their lives for the achievement of the country's independence and its continued existence.
The total number of soldiers and security personnel who fell since the War of Independence is over 21,000. The total including those who fell in the struggle for the state before 1948 is over 22,000.
On this day, Jewish people honour the memory of the young men and women who gave their lives for the creation and security of the Jewish State.
‘Yom Hazikaron’ is an Israeli national holiday, and this year it is commemorated on the 14th April.
The day includes many national ceremonies for fallen soldiers in which senior public officials and military officers are present. The day opens the preceding evening at 20h00, given that in the Hebrew calendar system days begin at sunset, with a one minute siren during which most Israelis stand in silence, commemorating the fallen and showing respect. Many Jews say prayers for the souls of the fallen soldiers at this time as well. The official ceremony to mark the opening of the day takes place at the Western Wall, at which time the flag of Israel is lowered to half- mast.
A two-minute siren is sounded in the morning, at 11h00, which marks the opening of the official memorial ceremonies as well as private remembrance gatherings which are held at each cemetery where soldiers are buried. The day officially draws to a close between 19h00 – 20h00 in the official ceremony of Israel Independence Day on Mount Herzl, when the flag of Israel is returned to full mast.
Thousands of Israeli soldiers, some of them young boys and girls just out of school, have died defending Israel during the various wars fought against them by the hostile surrounding Arab nations as well as the war against terrorism.
Arab nations are still trying to annihilate Israel, some of them stating that they ‘dream of a map without Israel’ – of course, this will never happen.
Pray for the protection of the Israel Defence Force (IDF) soldiers. More importantly, pray for their salvation.
‘YOM HA’ATZMAUT’ (INDEPENDENCE DAY)
Isaiah 66:8: “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labour, She gave birth to her children.”
The Balfour Declaration was a letter dated 2 November 1917 from the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland in which the following was stated: “His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
This year marks the 104th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, and in 1947, with a stroke of a pen, modern day Israel was signed into existence. And on May 14, 1948 the state of Israel was birthed with its own government, army and police force thus fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 66:8.
This year, ‘Yom Ha’atzmaut’ is commemorated on the 15th April.
‘Yom Ha'atzmaut’ commemorates the declaration of independence of Israel in 1948, celebrating the declaration of the State of Israel by David Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948, and the end of the British mandate of Palestine.
This ‘Yom Ha’atzmaut’ commemorates 73 years of the independence of Israel.
Modern day Israel is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 66:8 which declares: “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labour, she gave birth to her children.”
Many people say that G-d has rejected the Jewish people and Israel and that Israel has been replaced with the church. They say that G-d has no plan for the Land of Israel today and that Israel is just ‘another country’. They also say that the current return of the Jewish people to Israel is ‘just a coincidence’ and that it is not the fulfillment of prophecy.
This is not true. G-d’s intention has always been to bring the Jews back to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants (the Jewish people) – Israel, and Isaiah 11:11-12 confirms this: “It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria, and Egypt, from Pathros, and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath, and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
In fact we are living in the very time of the fulfillment of the above prophecy.
One of the requirements for the return of Yeshua is that modern day Israel has to exist and be under Jewish control; for it is to Israel, specifically the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, that the ‘Mashiach’, Yeshua, will return.
This is why I wrote earlier that ‘Yom Ha’atzmaut’ has worldwide significance…because it was on this day, 73 years ago, that Almighty G-d birthed modern day Israel.
Let us rejoice with Israel as she celebrates 73 years of independence. Let us marvel at G-d’s faithfulness in fulfilling His word.
We at Emet Ministries stand together with Israel and the Jewish people and mourn with them as they mourn the death of six million Jews in the holocaust as well as the death of all the soldiers who have given up their lives defending their Jewish homeland.
We also rejoice with Israel and the Jewish people as Israel celebrates 72 years of independence.
Please pray for Israel and her people.
Together with Jews all over the world, we proudly proclaim: ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ – The Nation of Israel Lives.
AM YISRAEL CHAI
THE NATION OF ISRAEL LIVES