April has been a time for Israel to remember, reflect and celebrate the past.
The month began with Pesach (Passover) with Jews in Israel and around the world celebrating their freedom from slavery in Egypt. Then, on 16 April Israel commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day – a time to remember the millions who lost their lives and honour the thousands of survivors who are still alive today.
Wednesday this week was Yom Hazikaron, which is the ‘Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism’. This is a time to honour those who gave their lives fighting for Israel. A recent addition to this day was the inclusion of Victims of Terrorism. It was rightly decided that people who are killed for being Israeli should be honoured as “Soldiers of Israel” just as much as those who died in uniform fighting for their country.
The following day, 23rd April, was Israel Independence Day. As Prime Minister Netanyahu explained, Israel Independence Day is the day when “Jews celebrate the rebirth of our national freedom in our historic homeland, the Land of Israel. We celebrate that the Jewish people are no longer stateless and powerless, but are masters of our own fate.”
The Jews have survived some of the worst atrocities to humanity and they have come out the other side victorious. In most fictional stories, once the battle is fought and the victory is won, the story comes to an end. The reality for Israel is that the horrors of the past are a reflection of the threats of the present. Battles have been won, but the war is still ongoing.
On Thursday night, Israel Independence Day, when Israelis (Jews and non-Jews alike) were celebrating their freedom as a nation, a rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel. It was as if the enemy was knocking on the door and saying, “You can celebrate, but don’t forget about us.”
Despite the current threats, of which there are many, we can be encouraged that the “battle is the Lord’s” (1 Samuel 4:17). Let us also remember that the God who has delivered and protected the Jewish people over history will be with His people to the end.
“Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:4
Christians United for Israel – UK