Headlines from Jerusalem, 2 May 2019

““Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail” Lamentations 3:12-22


Israelis Mark Holocaust Remembrance Day

Sirens sounded throughout the Land of Israel at 10 AM Thursday morning as part of Holocaust Memorial Day, honoring the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. Ceremonies were also held at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening and throughout the day on Thursday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at Thursday night’s ceremony, saying “To those who seek our destruction, I say precisely from this place: We have returned to the stage of history, we have returned to the front of the stage, we have defeated our oppressors in the past, and – with God’s help – we will defeat you as well.”


Neo-Nazi Group Holds Marches in Swedish Cities

The Nordic Resistance neo-Nazi party (NMR) held marches in several Swedish cities on 1 May, prompting a statement by World Jewish Congress (WJC) CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer that “there must be zero tolerance for such manifestations of evil.” The NMR also has branches in Norway, Denmark and Finland.

Israel Blesses the World

Researchers at Tel Aviv University announced this week that they have found a new way to apply existing medications to a new program of treatments for multiple sclerosis, giving hope to people worldwide suffering from epilepsy and other disorders of the brain including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Their research was published in peer reviewed medical journals and will likely lead to further research in the field.

Hamas Launches Barrage of Incendiary Devices Into Israel

The Israeli Air Force carried out strikes in the northern Gaza Strip Wednesday night in retaliation for a barrage of hundreds of incendiary balloons launched into Israel by the Islamist terror militia Hamas which rules the Strip. The balloons caused several fires in the Eshkol region of southern Israel.

Israeli National Hockey Team Wins World Championship

Israelis were celebrating a victory in international sports competition this week following the victory of its national ice hockey team in the IIHF World Championship Division II Group B tournament held in Mexico City. The Gold Medal was the crowning achievement of several years of effort by the Israel Ice Hockey Federation, which in January entered into an alliance with the Israel Hockey Foundation of North America.


Torchlighters on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2019
Yad Vashem

Each year, six Holocaust survivors are chosen to light torches at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins Wednesday evening, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.


ICEJ Adopt a Holocaust Survivor Program

There is a special way to be involved in the much needed ongoing support for the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors. The Home has opened its doors to Survivors. They include those who need physical ongoing care, the lonely, the destitute and even some who were found to be homeless. This is why our ongoing support is vital and “Adopting a Survivor’ is an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way.

Today’s news was written and compiled by Aaron Hecht.

ICEJ News is a free email service providing news and comments on Middle East affairs compiled by journalists at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and supported by donations from subscribers.

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Anti-Semitism in the US rises 99 percent in four years: My personal response

May 2, 2019  |  READ TIME: 3 minutes
In The Daily Article today:

  • The shocking rise of anti-Semitism in our time
  • Three biblical responses for Christians
  • Observing Holocaust Remembrance Day
Imagine beginning your worship service this weekend with an announcement about where the exits are—in case a shooter attacks and people need to run for their lives. Or locking your doors once the service begins. Or training your congregation in ways to respond to a live shooter.Imagine installing airport-style metal detectors and security guards at the entrances to your church. Or being harassed by demonstrators outside your building carrying signs celebrating those who murdered six million followers of your faith.

This is life for Jewish people today—not just in France, where anti-Semitic violence has risen 74 percent; or in Germany, where 1,646 anti-Semitic acts were reported last year; or in the UK, where 1,652 such incidents were reported; or in Canada, which recorded 2,041 anti-Semitic acts—but in America.

Six months ago, a man who said he wanted all Jews to die attacked the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing eleven people and wounding seven. Last Saturday, around one hundred people held a vigil at the synagogue to honor the victims of a similar shooting in San Diego.

Last year, anti-Semitic acts in the US were 48 percent higher than in 2016 and 99 percent higher than in 2015.

Three reasons anti-Semitism is growing

Why is such horrific prejudice and violence increasing in our country?

Conspiracy theories are one factor.

At a 2017 confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia, neo-Nazis chanted “Jews will not replace us.” The teenager accused of the Poway shooting in California apparently embraced conspiracy theories that refugees and immigrants are replacing the Christian European majority. Some white supremacists call this “The Great Replacement.”

Fear of the “other” is a second issue.

Sharon R. Douglas, CEO of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York, believes hate crimes are driven by economic competition and the fear of others. “Some of our most vulnerable citizens feel empowered to turn to violence in defense of the us versus them” mentality, she explained.

Social media is a third factor.

Today it is easier than ever to disseminate conspiracy theories and hateful ideologies. According to one analyst, “These systems of communication allow racists and anti-Semites to support one another and share ideas, which apparently help inspire them to commit violent acts.”

An appalling cartoon

Anti-Semitism is not confined to Jewish synagogues.

The New York Times recently published a cartoon picturing a blind President Trump, wearing a skullcap, being led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, depicted as a dog on a leash with a Star of David collar. The paper said it was “deeply sorry” for the offensive cartoon and is “committed to making sure nothing like this happens again.”

Anti-Semitism is more than a phenomenon—it is an ideology.

Tragically, some still believe that the Jewish people were responsible for Jesus’ death. However, the religious authorities and crowds who called for Jesus’ crucifixion were a tiny minority of the larger Jewish population. And Jesus prayed for their forgiveness from the cross (Luke 23:34).

In addition, many through history have seen the tiny Jewish population (comprising fifteen million people, less than 0.2 percent of the world today) as a threat to themselves. When Jews flourish in business and commerce, others resent their success.

Adolf Hitler convinced his followers that they were an Aryan superrace whose global supremacy was threatened by the Jews. Neo-Nazis continue this horrific heresy today.

Three biblical responses

What can Christians do to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism in our day?

One: Love the Jewish people as God does.

He chose them “to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2). Jesus died for them just as he died for us (Romans 5:8).

Two: Seek their salvation in Christ.

Paul testified, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” as he worked for the salvation of his fellow Jews (Romans 9:2). Build bridges to Jewish people in your community. Look for opportunities to demonstrate God’s love for them.

Three: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

Ask God to protect Israel and Jewish people around the world.

When an entire nation pauses

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel began last night at sundown and continues through sundown today. (It was observed yesterday in the US.)

A two-minute siren will sound at ten this morning across the Holy Land. I have witnessed firsthand how the nation responds: drivers stop their vehicles and stand beside them; people cease their activities; the entire nation pauses to remember the six million Jews (a fourth of whom were children) who were murdered in the Holocaust.

This annual tradition should be a daily remembrance. What has happened in the past can happen again in the present. Anything humans have done, they can still do.

When I visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, I always make time for the Children’s Memorial. Visitors walk through a darkened underground chamber. The only illumination comes from a memorial candle reflected in mirrors to produce thousands of tiny lights. The names of children murdered in the Holocaust are read in the background.

Each time I visit, I weep for those who died. And I pray that it never happens again.

Please join me.

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