“The gates of hell opened wide on January 27, 1945”. This was the opening statement of Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin. He spoke yesterday during the main event held at Yad VaShem museum in commemoration of International Holocaust Memorial Day. Rivlin referred to the liberation of the Aushwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
This event is commemorated world wide since 2006. In previous years, dignitaries and diplomats visiting Israel have been invited to this annual ceremony. This year, however, and to our utter amazement, the heads of almost 50 countries accepted the invitation. Main traffic routes from the airport to Jerusalem have been blocked, as an airlift of dozens of aircraft carried presidents, prime ministers, princes and kings from all over the world into our Capital, and the police and Shin-Bet (Secret Service) were on high alert to ensure the safety of the event.
Images of the flags of all these countries projected on the walls of the Old City (Photo credit: Yehudah Perez)
When Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukranian president, found out that due to the large number of dignitaries there was hardly any room left for holocaust survivors to attend, he moved hearts by relinquishing most of the seating spots allotted for his delegation.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German president, surprised the audience when he opened his speech in Hebrew and pronounced the “SheHecheyanu” (the blessing recited upon a noteworthy achievement, commencement of a feast, high holiday, etc.) [https://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/425243]. He stated that he wished his nation has learned its lesson, but in light of the rapidly growing hatred towards Jews in Germany, he is not able to do so.
At Sacher Park in Jerusalem a monument was built to commemorate the heroism of the victims of the Leningrad siege during WWII. President Putin arrived to take part in the event – that was the formal reason.
Netanyahu and Putin unveiling the new monument yesterday morning
(photo credit: Amit Shabi)
The Memorial Candle Monument (photo credit: EAJC)
Around 1 pm, all the dignitaries had already arrived at the special tent built for the occasion. President Rivlin took the stage and gave his moving speech. As he was closing, Putin entered the room. Some commentators suggested that his late arrival was strategically planned, carrying a message that says: “I am the top leader here, the strong man”. Some even say that Putin was involved from the get go in all the details of the ceremony, and that every details was well planned and thought by him.
Each year Israel chooses a different theme to focus on during this event, a theme related of course to the Holocaust and WWII. The main goal this year was to raise international awareness to the new wave of antisemitism across the world. Judging by the speeches and the responses of the audience present, this goal was achieved. The event received much media coverage and will continue to do so in many countries. But will the movies presented and the statements made turn back the wheel of antisemitism that is already rolling with much force? Too soon to tell.
The Little Man in the Eye
The Hebrew word for the pupil of the eye is “Ishon”. It means a tiny or little man. Scripture calls Israel the apple of God’s eye (Zec. 2:8; Deut 32:10). The Hebrew words used here refer to the most precious thing, to the pupil of the eye. Israel is that little, tiny precious man, sitting right in the middle of God’s eye.
Try to reach out and touch your pupil with your finger. It’s impossible! Your eyelids will close in an immediate response. And if somehow you are able to touch it, it will immediately cause tears to flow.
Think of touching the pupil of God’s eye. The truth is it is possible. Apparently, many people and nations have done so throughout history. They did not just touch it, they have trampled it. And to their own end, they have caused him to shed many tears and bring judgement on themselves (e.g. Isa. 10:5-16; Amos 1-2; Zec. 1:15).
When one draws near to God and learns to think His thoughts, they must see Israel in His eyes. You can’t draw near to Him without seeing what is reflected in the apple of His eye. And you can’t understand the signs of the times without seeing Israel there.
As I was praying yesterday with my intercessors, one of my “Ruths” on the team explained that the pupil of the eye serves as a gate. Light enters the eye through it, so it can be focused on the retina and begin the process of sight. Israel’s calling involves seeing through the prophetic eye of God’s pupil. Only with Israel in sight can a nation fine-focus its spiritual pupil and position.
In the past few weeks, as the Israeli media started talking about yesterday’s event, it mostly focused on the many expected traffic jams. I was wondering: why are all these important people coming? This is not the first time International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated. What is behind this Mega-event? Is it a front for something entirely different?
Is there a conspiracy taking place? Maybe. This is always a fascinating possibility, even when it is unlikely. Maybe it’s another opportunity (perhaps the last one?) for all these big wigs to see Israel commemorating one of its horrors, and to choose (again, for the last time maybe?) whether they will rise against God, or look Him in the eye and see us through Him, and Him through us?
Have mercy, O God, on all the Cyruses and Nebuchadnezzars you have elected from before the foundation of the earth. You know which of them is a vessel of honor, and which is of disgrace; who among them will harden their hearts, and who will allow Your strong and mighty Arm to soften their necks. And still we ask, Father, have mercy. The same grace and mercy you have granted your people Israel, when we were so unworthy, please grant to the nations of the world who walk in darkness; who think they look You in the eye, not realizing they either look down at You, or into an eye that only pretends to be You.
I also ask you, Lord, to help Israel lift our eyes to You. In the face of more antisemitism on one hand, and a growing approval of nations on the other, keep us from being deceived and numb. In the name of what Yeshua had accomplished for us I ask: keep us from relying on a modern version of “a staff of bruised reed” that will lead us astray from our calling: to reflect your Heart and your eye.