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Saturday, July 21, 2012

IN THOSE DAYS


The Prophet Jeremiah proclaims: “In those days, at that time, declares the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God.” There are many tears shed in Zion these days, ESPECIALLY THIS WEEK.

A dear Israeli friend shared her anger and sadness recently: “This is one of those weeks when it seems the whole world is out to get us.” My friend is no whiner. Israelis are not whiners. They are brave, stoic and determined people who live in almost incomprehensible complexity and constant threat. But some weeks are worse than others.

While we now mourn our own tragedy unfolding in Colorado, theatergoers attacked by a murderer, we must not forget that it was just a few days ago that Israeli tourists were killed and injured in Bulgaria. For Jews around the world this is far too common. Remember that the bombing in Bulgaria occurred on the 18th anniversary of the fatal bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Eighty-five people were killed in the 1994 bombing with hundreds more wounded.

Sadness is increased for Israelis by a couple of events that could be easily missed in this crowded news cycle. First, as the Jerusalem Post reports: “Israel, Germany, Australia and other countries have officially asked the committee to hold a moment of silence, but it has rejected such pleas.” As we approach the 40th Anniversary of eleven murdered Israeli OLYMPIC athletes and coaches, the International Olympic Committee rejects a “moment of silence” to remember the tragedy. Murdered athletes and coaches DURING an Olympic Games! It is not only sad; it is shameful. Secondly, in the same week the BBC publishes: “East Jerusalem” as the “Capital of Palestine,” but leaves the nation of Israel with no mentioned capital. Every other country profile includes a listed capital city. All countries but Israel. Yes, this is a week of sadness in Zion.

And so I join with my Israeli friends in their anger and sadness and I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MUST JEWS DIE?


Is it really necessary for Israeli Jews to be murdered in mass while on vacation in Europe for the world to pay attention? At least seven are dead and twenty are injured in a suicide bombing on an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria. On a tour bus! In Bulgaria!

Today marks 18 years since the fatal bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Eighty-five people were killed in the 1994 bombing with hundreds more wounded. Both attacks are linked to Iran. How much Jewish blood must be spilled in the streets before the world cares?

Too many people worldwide, including many Christians and Jews, have been taken in by the false narrative that Israel and Iran are equal aggressors. Israel has never threatened to wipe Iran “off the map,” but the president of Iran has said precisely that with regard to Israel. Israel has never attacked a bus filled with tourists or a community center jammed with people anywhere at any time. Iran has and will again if allowed.

No one in their right mind wants another war…no one. Yet, the government of Iran appears to want to provoke a war with Israel and the rest of the world seems content to be drawn in to this disastrous eventuality. We cannot stand idly by.

Our voices must be raised now! Our spiritual and political leaders must be reminded that our silence potentially condemns millions of Israelis and Iranians to death. We too will be condemned by our reticence to speak.

Our voices must be raised to God in prayer. Pray for the families that lost their loved ones. Pray for the leaders of Israel that their response is wise. Pray that the leaders of the world deal with this situation instead of delaying and ignoring the path we are on.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.