When 6 million European Jews were killed in the Holocaust, only two main centers of Jewish life remained: America and Israel. That binary star system remains today, but a tipping point has just been reached. With every year, as the Jewish population continues to rise in Israel and decline in America (and in the rest of the Diaspora), Israel increasingly becomes, as it was at the time of Jesus, the center of the Jewish world.
An epic restoration, and one of the most improbable. To take just one of the remarkable achievements of the return: Hebrew is the only “dead” language in recorded history to have been brought back to daily use as the living language of a nation. But there is a price and a danger to this transformation. It radically alters the prospects for Jewish survival.
For 2,000 years, Jews found protection in dispersion — protection not for individual communities, which were routinely persecuted and massacred, but protection for the Jewish people as a whole. Decimated here, they could survive there. They could be persecuted in Spain and find refuge in Constantinople. They could be massacred in the Rhineland during the Crusades or in the Ukraine during the Khmelnytsky Insurrection of 1648-49 and yet survive in the rest of Europe.
Hitler put an end to that illusion. He demonstrated that modern anti-Semitism married to modern technology — railroads, disciplined bureaucracies, gas chambers that kill with industrial efficiency — could take a scattered people and “concentrate” them for annihilation.
The establishment of Israel was a Jewish declaration to a world that had allowed the Holocaust to happen — after Hitler had made his intentions perfectly clear — that the Jews would henceforth resort to self-protection and self-reliance. And so they have, building a Jewish army, the first in 2,000 years, that prevailed in three great wars of survival (1948-49, 1967 and 1973).
But in a cruel historical irony, doing so required concentration — putting all the eggs back in one basket, a tiny territory hard by the Mediterranean, eight miles wide at its waist. A tempting target for those who would finish Hitler’s work.
His successors now reside in Tehran. The world has paid ample attention to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s declaration that Israel must be destroyed. Less attention has been paid to Iranian leaders’ pronouncements on exactly how Israel would be “eliminated by one storm,” as Ahmadinejad has promised.
Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the presumed moderate of this gang, has explained that “the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.” The logic is impeccable, the intention clear: A nuclear attack would effectively destroy tiny Israel, while any retaliation launched by a dying Israel would have no major effect on an Islamic civilization of a billion people stretching from Mauritania to Indonesia.
As it races to acquire nuclear weapons, Iran makes clear that if there is any trouble, the Jews will be the first to suffer. “We have announced that wherever [in Iran] America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel,” said Gen. Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani, a top Revolutionary Guards commander. Hitler was only slightly more direct when he announced seven months before invading Poland that, if there was another war, “the result will be . . . the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.”
The dream of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
To destroy Israel with nuclear weapons
Last week Bernard Lewis, America’s dean of Islamic studies, who just turned 90 and remembers the 20th century well, confessed that for the first time he feels it is 1938 again. He did not need to add that in 1938, in the face of the gathering storm — a fanatical, aggressive, openly declared enemy of the West, and most determinedly of the Jews — the world did nothing.
When Iran’s mullahs acquire their coveted nukes in the next few years, the number of Jews in Israel will just be reaching 6 million. Never again?
Charles Krauthammer is a syndicated columnist who appears in the Washington Post and other publications. He is a regular on Fox News. Printed with permission.
But without doubt one tent drew more attention at the festival than any other - The Yeshua Village. Here, forty members of our congregation, Tiferet Yeshua together with ten members of the Jews for Jesus team joined together to be a light in the darkness at this festival - each of us wearing a T-shirt that declared in Hebrew “Yeshua Chai” (Yeshua lives).
In the Yeshua Village tent we had a bookstand where we handed out books, DVD’s and CD’s free of charge. In the Village we also had a live worship team whose music was heard over our loudspeakers by all those walking by. We invited people to come in, sit down, and hear more about Yeshua HaMashiach. During these three days we gave out hundreds of books of testimonies of Jewish people who had come to faith in the God of Israel through Yeshua HaMashiach. We told them how the decision to follow Yeshua changed our lives completely. Many people asked us for copies of the New Testament.
Motti Cohen, youth leader in Congregation Tiferet Yeshua, speaks to an inquirer
We had endless discussions with people from the early morning hours, when the festival was opened and until the wee hours of the night, way after the official closing time. Participants of this festival simply wanted to know who Yeshua is and why we, as Messianic Jews, believe in Him.
One of the conversations that really touched my heart was with a young man, whose grandparents were killed in the Holocaust. He was also handicapped due to service in the Israeli Army. Until last August he defined himself as a religious Jew who believes in Eretz Israel Shlema meaning that all the land promised to our forefathers belongs to us now. After the disengagement plan, in which he and his family were expelled from their home in Northern Samaria, he was so angry with God that he decided to get rid of his yarmulka and sidelocks; and he completely stopped living according to his Orthodox religion.
He had lots of hurt and frustration. He told me how disappointed he was with God, and I prayed that God would give me the right words to comfort him and use me in order to show him how much God really loves him. I told this young man that God loves him so much that He gave His only begotten Son for him. I also tried to explain to him that as long as our nation chooses not to follow God, there are things that God allows - such as what happened with the disengagement plan.
What is true is that God is faithful and will always stick to His Word. After this hour-long discussion focused on Yeshua, he thanked me for everything that I had shared with him, and went on his way. I pray that the good seed sown in his heart will grow very big fruit in the future.
Fifty people gave us their names, telephone numbers, and addresses so that they would continue to be in contact with us. This increase of people means that our congregation and the Jews for Jesus team will need to immediately begin to disciple them and continue in prayer that God will touch their hearts and show them the only way to the God of Israel is through His Son Yeshua.
During this festival, we believers spent a lot of time together. Several other pastors, such as Eitan Shishkoff and Arab Pastor Yosef Haddad brought young people with them to make our witness even stronger. Our friendships were strengthened as we labored together; we became a unified team that worked harmoniously and effectively. Even though this was a project that took a lot of logistical planning and effort, the readiness of our congregational members to join in the event made the whole campaign a joy. Perhaps the strongest testimony of all to the unbelievers during the festival was that they witnessed our love for one another.
I am in prayer that God would prepare more workers, because these three days caused me to understand how great is the harvest and how few are the workers. I am excited about what God has in His store for us at the next festival during Succot (the Feast of Tabernacles) in October!
We’ll be ready, again!
Dear Maoz Partner,
We have returned from the Shantipi New Age Festival, exhilarated, as we knew we would be. The Tiferet Yeshua Congregation and Jews for Jesus teams spoke with many hundreds of people about Yeshua, people who listened earnestly and with an openness that says to us that Israel’s day of salvation is nearer than we think!
As one leader noted, “A festival such as this one presents a level playing field. Since those who come to this festival are open to new ideas and non-traditional thinking, they do not have a difficult time listening to us talk about Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.”
This outreach has been one of the most encouraging events that our Israeli congregation has ever been involved in. Simply put, it is encouraging to talk to strangers in Israel about Yeshua and not be rebuffed!
One of our members told us that on the last day of the festival, everyone he began to speak with told him that they had already been to our booth or that someone had already talked to him/her. A Jews for Jesus team member said, “Well then, we have accomplished our mission. We have saturated this festival with the seeds of the Gospel!”
Interestingly, the Orthodox came by our booth a couple of times but quickly left without harassing us. We don’t know if it was because of the presence of 50 plus Israelis wearing our “Yeshua Lives” shirts, or because of the prayers of several thousand prayer partners--almost certainly, it was a combination of both!
After packing up our equipment at the end of the festival, I walked out toward the front entrance and passed by an Orthodox workshop tent. A young man was talking to a Rabbi and I heard him ask, “What about Yeshua?” The Rabbi sort of gruffly answered, “What about Yeshua?” I couldn’t stop to listen as I myself still had my “Yeshua Lives” shirt on; but as I walked down the path, I continued to hear them discussing “Yeshua.”
The followers of Yeshua are now able to make an impact on an entire festival. Your gifts and offerings have been well spent for this outreach! (By the way, our Muslim bus driver accepted Yeshua as his Messiah on the way back from the festival!)
Over the coming months there are two large festivals for which we are planning more outreaches. One very important thing that will make our witness even more effective will be to have better equipment.
The rag-tag tent netting provided by the festival caused temperatures to soar over 100°. Therefore much of the witnessing that went on inside our designated area happened in the evenings as the heat was almost unbearable during the day. Renting a good tent, better sound equipment and fans will make our outreach area more pleasant and inviting.
We are already working on the plans and logistics for these next two large festivals the first one being at Succot (the Feast of Tabernacles) in October.
To increase our impact for the future, we invite your partnership. The basic costs for the next Succot festival will be approximately $17,000,(£9,200) including rental of the space at the festival, equipment, food, supplies, literature and transportation. And we must also raise the necessary funds to provide for the team members’ bare necessities.
God has given us a wonderful window of opportunity and you can join us by investing in these outreaches as we step into a new level of witnessing in different parts of our nation.
For those who are the apple of His eye,
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. Again, we invite you to be a partner by enabling us to reach out and capture their hearts with the love of God! Your gift of $20, $50, or $100 will help us make an impact at the coming festival outreaches where Israel’s searching souls are looking for the answers and ready to listen to the truth!