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Saturday, January 12, 2013

SHADOWS OF DARKNESS, BEAMS OF LIGHT


A surprising and significant event occurred just a few weeks ago in Hungary. Over 10,000 Hungarians protested in front of the Parliament building in an anti-Nazi rally in Budapest. This demonstration resulted from a proposal of a far-right leader to develop lists of Hungarian Jews who, according to this parliamentarian, presented a “security risk”. Leaders of the government and opposition parties joined the protest. This controversy began when Marton Gyongyosi of the of the Hungarian Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), stated it should be determined “how many people of Jewish origin there are here, especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who represent a certain national security risk."

That is when Christian and Jewish leaders began to mobilize thousands of protestors who rallied on December 12, 2012. The Israeli and American ambassadors also attended the rally. The US embassy said in a statement: "The recurrence of anti-Semitic and other racist statements in the Hungarian parliament demonstrates the need to further empower voices of tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Hungary."

Thank God for those who stood and continue to stand against anti-Semitism in Hungary. There are over 100,000 Jews living in Hungary today.

In May of 1944, a seven-week campaign began that resulted in more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews being transported to the infamous Nazi Death Camp  “Auschwitz” in Poland. Many more were simply shot and pushed into the Danube by members of the fascist "Arrow Cross Party".

In October of 2011, while in Budapest attending an event sponsored by the “Israel Allies Foundation”, I stood at the edge of the famous and beautiful river where this horrific tragedy occurred. A monument to those who lost their lives at the hands of anti-Semitism is spread along the modern boardwalk. "Shoes on the Danube", created by sculptors Gyula Pauer and Can Togay is simple, gruesome and heart rending – 60 pairs of shoes large and small, cast in iron along the concrete walkway on the bank of the river. I wiped away tears as I thought of the beautiful Israeli children I know. Fascism is again trying to emerge throughout Europe. Again, the Jews are being vilified. We cannot stand idly by. We will not.

The Jewish people are spread throughout the world as productive citizens who significantly contribute to the success of the nations in which they reside. Yet, in so many places, they are resented, condemned and persecuted.

There MUST be one place on earth where the Jewish people can live without fear of retribution; the State of Israel must exist within secure and peaceful borders with Jerusalem as its undivided capital.

The recent events in Hungary remind us that shadows of darkness still prevail, but also remind us that Jewish/Christian cooperation and understanding can explode into beams of light. So we pray and work, not in despair, but in hope.

Pray for the Hungarian Government. Pray for the Jewish and Christian leaders. Pray for the 100,000 Jews who live under the shadow of rising anti-Semitism in Hungary and across much of Europe.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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