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Weekly Update: Can a nation be born in one day? 

15 April 2021

This has been a very emotional week in Israel. Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) was Israel’s official annual memorial day dedicated to fallen soldiers, as well as civilian victims of terrorism. Yesterday (Wednesday) morning, the nation observed two minutes of silence for the 23,928 men, women and children who have died in war or from terror attacks since 1948.

But today (15 April 2021) is Yom HaAtzma’ut  – Israeli Independence Day, which commemorates the declaration of independence of the Jewish State of Israel in 1948. It is a day of great joy.

Together, these events show that the Jewish State of Israel is a nation of contradictions. Death and life go hand-in-hand. War and peace. Tears and joy. A particular people with a universal calling. A nation “born in a day”, in the midst of war, fighting for eternal peace.

Every day, every Israeli experiences this paradox. On the one hand, Israel is constantly defending itself against actual and potential threats, all the while seeking to make good the promise in its own Proclamation of Independence: “The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; (…)”

The external threats are real. As Khaled Abu Toameh writes, while the West is pressuring Israel to compromise and withdraw from the “occupied” territories, it is by-and-large ignorant of the fact that Hamas and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which have enormous power within Palestinian society, have as their central goal the destruction of the Jewish state.

Further away, but no less dangerous, the regime in Iran edges towards production of nuclear weapons, making no secret of its aim to destroy both the small Satan (Israel) and the big Satan (United States). This past week it seems Israel again had to take unilateral steps to destroy part of Iran’s nuclear development program.

On the other hand, despite the dangers and threats, Jews and Arabs are living together. Israel —a Jewish State but a melting pot of religions and nationalities – has emerged as the major scientific, economic and military powerhouse of the Middle East. The world’s number one start-up nation is engaging in ever-increasing cooperation with many nations. Melanie Philips even dares to ask: “might this become Israel’s century?”

May the Jewish State of Israel continue to become what it was born to be: a country of blessing and prosperity for all its inhabitants – Jews and non-Jews – and a light to the nations.

Happy Independence Day Yom HaAtzma’ut Sameach!

The Editorial team
Israel & Christians Today



Israel: the Necessary Superpower
Melanie Philips writes: “Israel actually believes in itself. Sure, it has a ludicrously dysfunctional political culture, currently illustrated once again by its post-election gridlock and absence of a functioning government. It is also disfigured by deep social divisions between secular and religious communities, and subversive elements who regard the very idea of a Jewish state as anathema. But the vast majority of Israel’s public understands that its core value is the preservation of life and liberty and doing good in the world. It is a society built on redemption and hope, and in dramatic contrast to the death-spiral gripping America and Europe, it is relentlessly focused on its survival.”

> Read more..


IAEA says Iran has almost completed preparations for 60% uranium enrichment
Times of Israel reports: “UN agency confirms Natanz facility will begin increasing operations shortly, days after sabotage said to have damaged thousands of centrifuges.”

> Read more.. 

Palestinian Elections: What the Biden Administration Does Not Want to Know
Khaled Abu Toameh writes at Gatestone Institute: Hamas and the PFLP have rejected all the agreements signed between Israel and the PLO, including the Oslo Accords. Yet, these terrorist groups have no problem running in an election held under the umbrella of the Oslo Accords.


Israel’s declaration of independence: “
the most significant document composed by Jews since antiquity”

Mosaic Magazine has launched a new series of essays by historian Martin Kramer on Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which he calls “the most significant document composed by Jews since antiquity”. “Read the declaration and hear it read, and soak in the atmosphere that enveloped the Tel Aviv Museum on May 14, 1948, where David Ben-Gurion and his colleagues renewed Jewish sovereignty after a hiatus of 2,000 years.”

> Read more..


From Resurrection to Pentecost

Jesus died, rose on the third day, and forty days later (on Pentecost) the Holy Spirit was poured out. In this article, Rev. Cornelis Kant explores the significance of these festivals. “I find it very touching and meaningful that John, the evangelist, calls Jesus the ‘Word of God’, the Torah. Jews and Christians celebrate two different feasts at Pentecost. And yet, they have a lot in common. There is a deep connection between the two feasts. Jews and Christians are distinct, and at the same time, deeply connected.”

> Read more..

 

Coexistence | Teaching series “In the Footsteps of Abraham” by Johannes Gerloff 
God’s choice makes a difference between those who are chosen and those who are not. The question is not, whether we can make God choose everybody. Rather it is, how we live with God’s election. The Creator leaves options to us – and they are relevant to this very day.

It is not a fairy tale
| “The Signs of the Times”
with Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer 

Jesus is coming in Glory! That was the final message of the Apostle Peter. It was the most important thing Peter wanted to hammer down on the minds and hearts of the Church. He emphasized that he and the other apostles hadn’t been telling fairy tales, but that it is an absolute truth that Jesus is coming in Glory.

 

Scripture for the week: Isaiah 66:1-16

This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?”
declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor:  those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a person, and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense is like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations;
so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”

Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: “Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame.
Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the Lord repaying his enemies all they deserve.

“Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son.
Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? 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.
Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God.
10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her.
11 For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.”

12 For this is what the Lord says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass;
the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.
15 See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For with fire and with his sword the Lord will execute judgment on all people, and many will be those slain by the Lord.