Benjamin is a Holocaust survivor living in Greece. But this week he met with other survivors to mark the 85th anniversary since Kristallnacht. This is the progom of 9th-10th November in Germany and Austria in which the Nazis torched 250 synagogues, vandalised Jewish homes, schools and 7,500 businesses. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. This is what Benjamin says about the massacre of Israelis perpetrated by Hamas: “What Hamas did to the Israelis on October 7th is as cruel, barbaric, and tragic as what the Nazis did to the Jews 80 years ago. When I see Jewish homes marked with the Magen David, it brings back nightmarish memories from my childhood, reminding me of swastikas and concentration camps.”
The huge rise in antisemitism in the UK and other European nations should prompt Christians to identify the evil in our midst, call it out for what it is, and stand up and defend Israel and the Jewish people. Furthermore, Christians should reject the spirit behind the antisemitism and certainly not be complicit in it. Here are some ways we can pray this week:
Pray against the fear that many Jews are feeling at this time. They are not responsible for feeling fearful. Its only those who are stirring up hatred towards Israel that are accountable for the welfare and safety of Jews. The enemies of Israel and the Jewish people are accountable for their actions before the One True God, who will judge their deeds righteously. We do not negate praying ‘for our enemies’, but we also pray that the promotion of evil will not succeed. This is a battle of good vs evil. We must not be complacent in praying for divine victory over what the enemies of Yahweh are attempting to achieve.
But there is another type of accountability – that of the observers. Many on-lookers during Kristallnacht remained silent. If you are reading this and are not Jewish, tell the Lord how you love the Jewish people and seek their peace. Ask the Lord to help you find ways to demonstrate this love in words and actions. Pray that if challenged about your views, you will have courage to speak up for Israel and against antisemitism.
There is also a third type of accountability – that of those in authority. During in Kristallnacht, there were those in authority directly responsible, others wilfully complicit, or others fearful to not obey orders. But all those in authority who had the power to act and didn’t are accountable for their involvement. This is why we are at a watershed moment in the United Kingdom when it comes to the rise in antisemitism and questions over how authorities respond. The huge size of support for Hamas on the streets of Britain has shocked many. Yet, there seems to be confusion about what exactly to do about it, especially when the spirit of antisemitism manifests itself in ways that supposedly do not break existing laws, or at least proponents claim. Pray for all those in positions of authority. The police, including the Met police in London, the Prime Minister and Home Secretary, the Mayor of London, and other council leaders across the UK. Pray against attitudes of weakness, compromise and complicity that all those in authority are prone to unless guided by Godly wisdom.
We end with Benjamin’s closing words: “My message is that we, the Jewish people, have endured significant suffering throughout our history, with the Holocaust being the darkest period. Though the current times are challenging, thanks to the brave IDF, a sense of normalcy will soon return to the State of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.”
As someone who endured the Holocaust, seen the miracle of the rebirth of Israel, and has seen Israel fight for its survival repeatedly throughout the past eight decades, let us receive Benjamin’s wisdom and experience with hope for the future. Evil will not win. Israel lives, Israel lives.