“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.” (Ezekiel 37:21)
This week, many are remembering two significant anniversaries of events that helped shape the modern State of Israel.
On January 20, 1942 in an upscale neighborhood of Berlin, Germany, 15 officials and representatives of the Third Reich set the Nazi killing machine in motion.
“As a result of the meeting a network of extermination camps was established in which millions of Jews were murdered in 1942-1943,” says the website for Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem.
By the time Germany surrendered in 1945, six million European Jews were murdered. Only five million survived.
On January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember those six million who perished.
The United Nations chose this date to commemorate the Holocaust because it is the day that the largest death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau (built in Poland under German Nazi occupation), was liberated by Soviet troops.
The Holocaust Is History That Should Never Be Repeated
Even so, anti-Semitism is still spotted with unashamed honesty in the Middle East.
The Palestinian Authority’s leader of Hamas (which means “zeal” in Arabic and “violence” in Hebrew) summed up the region’s sentiments when he prayed, “’Oh, Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters,’ and ‘the Americans and their supporters.’” (MemriTV)
Statements such as this put the United Nations on notice to observe the Holocaust Remembrance Day—a day that they began—and protect Israel from another Holocaust—another annihilation.
The Rebirth of a Nation
“Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” (Isaiah 66:8)
The Holocaust is ever before our eyes here in Israel because our modern state came into existence on the heels of the surviving Jews of the Holocaust returning to the Promised Land en masse.
The re-establishment of Israel came at great cost: he tragic loss of 6,000,000 Jews and the shattered lives of 5,000,000 more.
History records this as a time of great sorrow, but also a time when we saw Bible prophecy fulfilled: God birthed a nation in a day. (Isaiah 66:8)
On May 14, 1948, the world witnessed the signing of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. It was ratified with this mandate: “The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles.”
Although the modern State of Israel cannot rely on the world to protect her, she can rely on God’s sovereign plan and promises to her.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 43:5–6)
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will save My people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be My people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.’” (Zechariah 8:7–8)
Every day, our ministry workers visit the small towns and villages throughout Israel, where there is a spirit to reclaim this nation as one that is dedicated to God. These towns and villages, such as Bet El, Ariel and Tapuach on the West Bank were rebuilt by Holocaust survivors and their children.
Many of these towns are being established by Jews who realize the significance of their labor—they are settling the land that God promised to them in His Covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring My people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 30:3)
Tzippy, a cousin of a Bibles For Israel ministry worker, said in Hebrew, “My grandmother, a Holocaust survivor from the Auschwitz concentration camp, who recently died, told me that it’s my destiny, my husband Elad’s destiny, and our three children’s destiny, to live here.
“And one day this small village will grow into a large town like Ariel, which is seven kilometers from here. Ariel also was once a small village.
“Even though we’re surrounded by Palestinian Islamic towns who would love to destroy us, we’re not scared to live here. We have a lot of soldiers guarding our village from the Arabs,” she said.
God Keeps His Promises
“Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your fathers.” (Ezekiel 20:42)
Over the millennia, Satan has tried to annihilate the Jewish People through the world’s hatred, jealousy, and slander that ultimately led to genocide.
Why does Satan hate the Jews so much?
He understands that if there are no Jews, then God cannot keep His everlasting covenant with Abraham. Nor can He keep all the promises and prophecies throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament) that vow to bring His people back to their own land forever.
No Jews = No Covenant = No Power of God.
The Bible would become null and void.
But in the midst of Satan’s plot to destroy the Jewish People—the People of the Book—God has kept His promises that He would re-establish them in their Biblical Land to show them and the world His Everlasting Covenant.
Wicked Decisions: The Wannsee Conference
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.” (Isaiah 54:7)
At the Wannsee Conference, 15 high-ranking German officials from all the departments of the Nazi government agreed upon the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”
This 85-minute conference dedicated to Jewish genocide was named after the suburb of Berlin in which it was held.
The villa at 56–58 Am Groben Wannsee where the conference was hosted, survived the Second World War. Today, it’s a memorial and educational site with a permanent exhibit called “The Wannsee Conference and the Genocide of the European Jews.”
The House of the Wannsee Conference displays the historical documents and evidence that has survived.
Among the documents are the excruciatingly precise minutes of the meeting that include the comments made by the conference participants.
Despite the brutality and viciousness of these comments, they are whitewashed versions of the real comments. The recording secretary of the meeting deliberately substituted coded language when referring to inhumane ways to murder innocent Jews.
For instance, the phrase “eliminated by natural causes” refers to death by a combination of hard labor and starvation.
With these minutes, a film entitled Wannseekonferenz was produced for German television in 1984, recreating the historical event in its entirety so that future generations would understand what happened there. Conspiracy, starring Kenneth Branagh, is a 2001 BBC/HBO adaptation of the film for English audiences.
Heydrich and Eichmann
Some of the documents that stand out from the Wannsee Conference are the meticulous lists of the numbers of Jews living in each country in Europe, including the 200 living in Albania.
These lists reveal that the Nazis meant business when they said they intended to kill every single Jew in Europe. They were not ready to let any get away, even the tiny handful in strategically insignificant Albania.
Another reason the Conference is remarkable is that, with the exception of SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler’s second in command of the SS, most of the participants were not well-known.
Aside from their presence at Wannsee, their names might have faded into history along with hundreds of other bureaucrats.
That is, except for one—Adolf Eichmann—a deportation expert whose infamy, perhaps, is largely an accident of history.
Eichmann’s Role in the Final Solution
SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Adolf Eichmann, who was the recording secretary of the Wannsee Conference, meticulously drafted for the conference a list of the Jewish population in each European country.
As a deportation expert, he attended primarily to offer advice about the logistics of transporting the Jews to concentration camps. And he was given great authority to carry out this assignment. When Germany lost the war, Eichmann escaped from Europe to Argentina, where he lived under a false identity.
In 1960, the Mossad (Israel’s Secret Service) captured and brought him to Jerusalem to stand trial for “crimes against humanity.”
After a sensational trial which was broadcast live around the world by dozens of TV news stations, Eichmann was found guilty and sentenced to death.
He was hanged shortly before midnight on May 31, 1962 at a prison in Ramla (a city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv)—the first and so far only prisoner ever to be executed in Israel following a civil trial.
The trial and execution of Eichmann was a cathartic experience for many Israelis and Holocaust survivors around the world. Many said it brought them what would later come to be known as “a sense of closure” as Eichmann had come to symbolize the entire Nazi regime and the Holocaust it carried out.
New Threats to Israel’s Existence
But the enemies of Israel and the Jewish People were not done.
Just five years after Eichmann’s death, in 1967, former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser threatened to “annihilate the Jews.”
In an article in the Washington Post he said, “We knew that by closing the Gulf of Aqaba it might mean war with Israel. [If war comes] it will be total and the objective will be to destroy Israel.” (Washington Post, May 27, 1967)
Other Arabs, like the leaders of Syria and Jordan, backed this bid. The Grand Mufti of Syria said, “The hour has come to end Israel’s existence.” (New York Times, May 28, 1967)
To the surprise of the entire world, however, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) under the command of General Yitzhak Rabin and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, launched a preemptive strike against the Arab air forces.
In the opening hours of a campaign, which would come to be known as the Six Day War, the Arab forces were decimated.
Again, many Israelis celebrated, thinking they could finally relax a little.
Only 20 days into the war, Israel’s forces had already encircled Egypt’s Third Army and a ceasefire enacted.
Many believe the swift victories of 1967 and 1973 were nothing less than Divine Intervention.
Terrorism, another form of war has been raging in Israel since the rise of the terror organization Fatah, meaning “liberation.” As a Syrian faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) led by Yasir Arafat, it consistently became more violent after Israel’s 1967 victory.
Hamas, an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, was founded in 1987 to also “liberate” Israel and establish an Islamic state in its place.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), created as a result of the Oslo Accords, was formed in 1994 as a five-year interim body to administer Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip until negotiations with Israel concluded.
The one thing that these and other Palestinian factions (including some leaders of traditional Christian churches) consistently agree on is their hatred for Israel and the Jews as well as the need to remove the Jewish State and reclaim all of “Palestine” from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
The only way there will ever be peace in the Middle East is if Yeshua (Jesus) the Sar Shalom (Prince of Peace) is reigning in the hearts and minds of the people who live here.