Yom HaShoah 2024, Don't Just Remember, Pay Attention!

Every year, in an sober display of respect, the whole country of Israel pauses for two minutes at 10:00 AM on the 27th of Nisan. People pause wherever they are, including some stopping their cars on the highway, getting out, and joining the national moment of silence to remember the six million victims of the greatest tragedy in Jewish history. The day is known as Yom HaShoah or Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah (Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.) It started in 1951 and became an official observance as a law passed by the Knesset in 1959.

For the past two decades, I have tried to expose people to this important day and have written many articles to bring people's attention to it. I have increasingly felt pressure from people of all ages and walks of life, regularly reminding me that I talk too much about the Holocaust and that I dwell too much on an event of the past that needs to be left alone because it cannot be explained. I have also noticed the increasing belief–especially in our younger generation–that the Holocaust was exaggerated or inflated as if to help with the rebirth of Israel as a modern state. Then you also have those who claim that the Holocaust never happened. In short, I have often been accused of overreaction...Then, October 7, 2023, happened!

Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel claimed the lives of 1200 innocent victims and led to 240 hostages being taken to Gaza (half of them still in captivity). It was THE HIGHEST JEWISH DEATH TOLL SINCE THE HOLOCAUST. Since then, antisemitism has gone through the roof with absolutely no sign of slowing down. The recent US Campus uprising that is nearing the level of an intifada, gives me reasons to be very concerned. Signs reading "Go Back to Poland" or "Final Solution" are terrifying reminders of the past. How is it possible for the current generation to make such statements against the Jews and for most of the world to once again become bysatnders? Here are a few facts we need to remember as we observe Yom HaShoah 2024.

• The Holocaust didn't happen in a vacuum: It was a slow progression of anti-Jewish sentiment that started as theological anti-Judaism with no animosity. In the words of author and historian Raul Hilberg, “The missionaries of Christianity had said in effect: You have no right to live among us as Jews. The secular rulers who followed had proclaimed: You have no right to live among us. The German Nazis at last decreed: You have no right to live.” It's 2024, and we are back at step two when Jews are told to go away. Step three is next...Pay attention!

• The Holocaust officially started on the night of Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938.) While the casualties were less than 200, the destruction of businesses and synagogues was massive. Businesses were marked as Jewish with big white stars of David painted on facades. The goal was to identify where the Jews were for easier location and persecution. Fast forward to 2023. Soon after October 7, in Paris and its suburbs, blue stars of David were stenciled on Jewish properties to, again, identify where the Jews live. Additionally, from the US Campus violence, we have also seen private information about Jewish professors published by pro-Hamas protesters. It recently also happened on a larger scale in Australia and as part of a 23andMe data breach that took place just before the Hamas attack. Jewish people are being located...Pay attention!

• The Holocaust was facilitated by the sending of Jews into ghettos: Once the various European Jewish communities were identified, the next step was to gather them within controlled areas where they became confined 24/7 with very little room to move freely in and out. This was the short era of the Ghettos. They started to pop up all over Eastern Europe with the most infamous ones in Lodz and Warsaw. Originally, the Jewish people were told that they were gathered and grouped together in ghettos "for their own safety", but in reality, they were being temporarily corralled before being shoved in cattle cars on their way to the death camps. This all was committed by a group of people considered one of the most educated and cultured countries in Europe at the time. As a result of the Campus violence, Jewish students and faculty have been asked to go home and finish school online "for their own safety." How long before it is no longer safe for Jews to even live in their own homes? Pay attention!

As we remember the victims of the Holocaust and we continue to pray for the families of the victims and the hostages of Oct. 7, We must also pay attention. When the Nazis started the death factories, noboby believed that civilized people would be capable of such atrocities, and they kept it very much a secret as long and as well as they could.

Today, the enemies of the Jews in the land of Israel and in the diaspora are rallying behind the motto "Final Solution." Some kids don't even know what it means, but plenty of people do, and we have no reason to believe that they don't mean what they are saying. If there was ever a time for Christians to unite and redeem the past, it is today!



Terror in Israel: Lone Wolves are still Wolves!

In the last month, Israel has reported almost 800 acts of terror. Much speculation arose in the media around the globe as to the possibility of a third Intifada slowly taking place. Yet, as of now, if we compare the current events to those of the First Intifada of 1987-1991 and of the Second Intifada of 2000-2005, we are not seeing an out-of-control uprising of a large number of Palestinians. It is simply too early to tell. There is little doubt that it could pick-up more momentum and become a third Intifada, but for right now it appears to be a random series of acts of terror by Palestinians acting as "lone wolves".

Frankly, the recent attacks on Israeli citizens–as isolated and sporadic as they have been–are still posing a great danger to everyday life in the land. They represent individual jihad more than a third Intifada, but at the end of the day, the same people are targeted, the same people are victimized and the same agenda is promoted. Terror is terror is terror! Many unnecessary fatalities have been reported.

• Unpredictable Terror:
One of the grave dangers posed by this on-going terrorism in Israel is the fact that each act of terror is very unpredictable and very different form other murderous acts. Here are just a few:
• October 20: The stoning of a car forced an Israeli citizen to exit his vehicle and led him to be killed by a moving truck.
• October 18: A Palestinian grabbed the rifle off an IDF soldier, killed him and wounded eleven more people.
• October 16: A Palestinian disguised as a journalist stabs an IDF soldier
• October 13: A stabbing and shooting on a bus in Southern Jerusalem led to the killing of 4 people and wounding 15 more.
• October 1: Shooting to death of a young couple under the eyes of their wounded young children.

These acts are all different which makes them nearly impossible to predict or thwart. This unpredictability is possibly the greatest threat to Israel right now. Israel has become a world leader and expert on how to detect explosive devices ahead of their detonations. But how do you detect a knife made out of a school ruler? How do you predict the stoning of a car on the road? How do you avoid a car running into a group of people waiting at a bus stop? It is simple...You don't!

• Cheap Terror:
Martyrdom has long been part of the Palestinian culture. Young Palestinians are indoctrinated at a very early age against Jewish people. They are told and taught about "killing Jews." Death is part of the fabric of many Muslim countries in the Middle East, especially when it is connected to Israel. The promise of a "heavenly harem" of 72 virgins along with financial incentives to the families of homicide bombers have been common practice in Palestinian circles.

Not every Palestinian is keen on losing their life to "the cause", but just about anyone would be willing to randomly hurt Israelis as they have done recently. This demands a very small investment of willing "Palestinian Martyrs" and thus is a cheap method of terror that becomes very attractive to many. We can expect a lot more of these acts in the upcoming weeks.

• Financed Terror:
It was good to hear that the US decided to cut its financial aid to Abbas by $80 million (why they still sent the remaining $290 million defies logic). Financial help to a terrorist group is basically terrorism. Why would we look at any other terror states such as Iran funding Hamas, Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda and see them as terror partners but ignore the United States involvement in terrorism?
Not one dollar of the $290 million that the United States sent Abbas in 2015 was ever justified, unless of course we bought Abbas' lies about Palestinians being the victims of the Israeli occupation. The fact that the US retained $80 million in funding shows that something is wrong, but it is akin to trying to get somebody to stop smoking by pulling a few cigarettes out of their pack and letting them smoke the rest. It simply won't work!

This current wave of spontaneous terror attacks on Israeli citizens and soldiers is not an intifada per se, at least not an "old school" intifada. Yet it might end-up being more damaging than the previous two intifadas. If creativity prevails, we will see more attacks in ways that nobody could predict. This has become a logistical nightmare for Israel. No wonder the mayor of Jerusalem recently announced to its Jewish residents that if they had a valid carry license, they should never leave home without a firearm.

The wolves attacking Israel might not come in packs and might be far from being well organized and structured, but they remain wolves with a ferocious appetite for Jewish lives. It is not about Jerusalem, it is not about the Temple Mount and it is not about the disputed territories. It is simply about the complete eradication of Israel and all Jews.

I still rest in the fact that God continues to be a Zionist and continues to protect Israel from complete destruction as we can read in Psalm 121:1-4
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LordWho made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.

Nothing like a Third Intifada to regain the World's Empathy!

On Wednesday September 30th, Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas delivered his annual speech to the United Nations General Assembly. It had been advertised for weeks as a "bombshell." Apparently, Mr. Abbas wanted to stir the pot ahead of his yearly opportunity to lambaste Israel in front of a global audience at the UN.

The "bombshell" that Mr. Abbas dropped was thethreat to cancel the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It was a threat, not an actual move. It was a threat with very few details, characterized by vagueness:
"Thus, we declare that as long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us, which render us an authority without real powers, and as long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and to release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them. We, therefore, declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power, because the status quo cannot continue and the decisions of the Palestinian Central Council last March are specific and binding."

It looked like Mr. Abbas was grasping for straws. But you can always count on the bias of our liberal media to stir the pot further as many of them bought Mr. Abbas toothless threat, hook, line and sinker.
Most of the international press responded to it as if it was an official reneging of the agreements, their headlines spoke tons:
• Sun Herald: Abbas says Palestinians no longer bound by pacts with Israel
• Associated Press: Palestinian leader declares he is no longer bound by agreements signed with Israel.
The New York TimesMahmoud Abbas, at U.N., Says Palestinians Are No Longer Bound by Oslo Accords.

Frankly, I believe that Mahmoud Abbas was pouting at the UN General Assembly. If it was not for the fact that later on the UN raised the Palestinian flag along with the Vatican flag for the first time ever –booth entities have official observer status–Abbas would have had a temper tantrum.

There is no question that Mr. Abbas' latest threat can still be considered a repudiation of peace, even if it is an empty threat because it clearly shows his heart. But He is tired of playing second fiddle to other Middle East terror virtuosos. The Palestinian struggle has been losing momentum in recent weeks, being replaced in the news by other crisis  that deserve our attention. The following list is a brief overview of what has kept Abbas out of his cherished international limelight.

• ISIS continues to spread throughout the region, terrorizing Christian, Jews and Muslims alike as they indiscriminately behead those in their way of a caliphate.
• Iran is rapidly becoming a nuclear threat to the entire region. By the way, if they bomb Israel, will the nuclear holocaust stop short of leveling out Gaza and the West Bank? Of course not! Iran is also a threat to the Palestinian Authority, even if they ignore it.
• Syria's civil war and its recent Russian incursion, including some military actions is definitely further destabilizing the region.

Mr. Abbas's had the chutzpah to propose the annulment of the Oslo Accords, pointing the finger at Israel. It is akin to having Hitler make the statement that he would not dialogue with the Jewish community because of their crimes against the Germans. Ludicrous of course. The only difference is that 75 years ago, it would never fly but today, most of the world chooses to side with the Palestinians. Mr. Abbas knows it and he is banking on it to further his agenda.

He also knows that if he wants to retain his credibility within the Palestinian circles, he must make the news again, and in a bigger way. We have seen some rock throwing activity from the Temple mount in recent weeks as well as physical harassment in the old city against Jews on their way to the Western Wall for Holy Days prayers. Mr. Abbas probably thinks that now would be the ideal time for a third intifada (uprising).

Mr Abbas is pouting because to a certain extent the world isn't really paying attention to him as much as he would like it. But cancelling the Oslo Accords would also force the Palestinian Authority to dismantle and would eradicate all the credibility–as undeserved as it may be– that they have built over the years. He cannot afford to make that move.

A third Intifada on the other hand, would provide Mr. Abbas with the fuel he needs to revive his campaign of Jew-hatred. Even though in direct contradiction with real facts and the truth, Palestinian victimization and Israel's demonization would most certainly draw the attention of a world audience so enamored with tolerance and social justice. Not to mention that he is even losing popularity within his own people. The very people sick of Abbas' failures who are also pushing for another armed intifada.

The next few weeks will tell us if Israel will soon be faced with another Palestinian uprising. With ISIS pushing from the north, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula; Iran putting the final touch to its nuclear arsenal and Russia coming to Assad's rescue in Syria, that is a very full plate for Benjamin Netanyahu.

A third Intifada would complicate things for Israel but we must not forget that even if the world finds favor with Mahmoud Abbas, God holds Israel in the palm of his hand. Regardless of the many people in Israel who do not believe in God, that does mean that God doesn't believe in Israel.

Thus says the LordWho gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the Lord“Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.  (Jeremiah 31:35-37)