Written by: Vivienne Myburgh
Article source: JOY! Magazine
Nearly 700 Christians descended from Jerusalem to Israel’s Be’eri Forest in the western Negev desert, 150 m from the Gaza border, for the dedication ceremony of the new Christian Embassy Nature Park on Thursday, 5 Oct 2023. The trip was made in a show of support for Israeli communities living under the threat of regular rocket attacks from Gaza (an area where the ICEJ has donated over 200 bomb shelters). We were addressed by the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council mayor Ofir Libshtein, a good friend of ICEJ.
Attacked by Hamas
Two days later, on Saturday, 7 Oct 2023, scores of terrorists broke through the security fence at that very spot. In what is described as Israel’s “Ground Zero”, the Be’eri Kibbutz was among the bloodiest scenes of the Hamas attack and Ofir Libshtein was killed during fighting with Hamas terrorists as he defended a community during the terrorist attack.
Evacuated and devastated
By Sunday evening, survivors of the attack on the Be’eri Kibbutz had been evacuated to the hotel where our group was staying at the Dead Sea. On Monday, the devastating news started coming in that 108 family members had been slaughtered by Hamas (besides the many who had been taken hostage). We had just visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial site, and the parallels were clear. Groups of people mowed down at point-blank range, survivors hiding under dead bodies, the elderly, children, and babies murdered in the most gruesome ways, just because they were Jewish.
Heartbreaking stories from Israel
It was heartbreaking to hear the stories first-hand from the survivors. We met Thom on Sunday evening, an Irish Jew, who was struggling with the thought that his 8-year-old daughter, Emily, was taken hostage. The news came through on Monday that Emily and her little friend were murdered. He was actually relieved that she was rather murdered and not in the barbaric hands of Hamas.
The spirit of Amalek
The spirit of Amalek rises in every generation… David contended with them just before being anointed king, after they burnt Ziglag and kidnapped all their wives and children (1 Sam 30). We saw its genocidal spirit operate through Haman and again through Hitler in our century. When the Amalekites came up against the Israelites, God gave them victory while Moses’ hands were held up. Hamas is operating with this same spirit… one that deeply hates God and His people.
It is now the time to hold up our Jewish families’ arms!
“‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God” (Isa 40:1). ICEJ helps you to do this in the most practical ways and this brings great comfort as well. Visit icej.org.za/crisis to see how you can take hands with ICEJ and donate towards relief. Visit icej.org.za/ironswords to read ICEJ SA’s official statement.
Date published: 30/10/2023
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