By Arlene Bridges Samuels
Hanukkah 2023 ends on December 15 after eight days filled with both hope and horror. In Gaza, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)—the modern Maccabees—recaptured what Hamas, the new Nazis, called Palestine Square. On October 7, terrorists paraded hostages through this symbolic heart of Hamas authority. Huge crowds of Palestinians cheered and abused hostages as they passed by.
But now, a tall menorah sits in the center of the Square, a symbol of light and rededication lit by the IDF as they voiced traditional prayers: “Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who performed wonderous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.” Our Christian community can echo the same prayer to God, Sovereign of all.
Good and evil have coexisted throughout 69 days of war—and wide is the gulf between them. Let’s consider a story that powerfully illustrates the vast difference between light and darkness—and leaves no doubt as to which side is the bearer of light. As lies about Israel circle the world with a vengeance, may you remember the following incident, which began at 2 a.m. on the fifth day of Hanukkah.
An IDF team noticed movement on a nearby horizon. To their astonishment, it was a child, about four years old. She was walking around barefoot and with many wounds. After gently carrying her to the IDF field doctor, who treated and wrapped her wounds, they took her to one of the humanitarian safe zones the IDF had set up. They then learned the truth: that Hamas had deliberately sent the child into a war zone to see if the Israeli soldiers were alert and awake.
Friends, when you read or hear libel or slander against Israel—yet diabolical support for Hamas—remember this Hanukkah 2023 story of a 4-year-old Palestinian girl sent by cowards to her likely death. The expansive divide between good and evil, light and darkness, is obvious to those who are truly paying attention.
Hamas terrorists habitually use their civilians as human shields, even a 4-year-old girl. Hamas is still firing rockets into Israel from Gaza’s Al-Mawasi safe zone. Hamas knows that Israel does not intentionally murder civilians, a fact that the world’s demonic Jew haters would do well to understand. At its foundation, the war is satan’s rage against God. The new Nazis and satan both idolize evil power.
Nonetheless, God’s rescue mission—expressed in His life on earth for 33 years—overrides evil’s history with outrageous, sacrificial love. John 10:22 is the only verse in the Bible to mention that Jesus attended the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). Scripture does not clearly indicate that He quoted these words at the Feast, but it seems reasonable. John 8:12 tells us that “Then Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.’”
The everlasting Light of the World shines today, exposing what is hidden in the darkness of sin yet illuminating the Holy Spirit’s presence in the hearts of those who believe and repent.
Light is also shining brightly among Muslims and Jews. The well-known Egyptian-born pastor Michael Youssef recently conducted an evangelistic event in Cairo and reported the good news that among 17,715 people, more than 7,850 put their faith in Christ. Reverend Youssef only expected around 6,000 at the event.
Among Jews, leaders and staff of Behold Israel and Jews for Jesus comment that Israelis are requesting Bibles and asking questions about their messianic Jewish faith!
More contrasts between light and darkness emerge in widespread support amount Christians. Before and during the Holocaust, a minority of churches and Christians rescued Jews from Hitler’s Third Reich. Today, with Jew hatred exploding, a significantly greater number of Evangelicals, governments, and churches worldwide are speaking out about the terrors Hamas unleashed on Israel. Their words are matched with actions to send vast amounts of humanitarian aid to Israelis.
The popular Dr. Phil eloquently spoke up on his TV show after three elite U.S. university presidents—at MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania—were questioned by the Congressional House Committee on Education. In defective moral clarity, not one of the women could bring themselves to agree that Jewish students are at risk amid genocidal protests with the potential to grow into physical attacks.
Lights are shining into the darkness of propaganda and money. Qatar, a small Middle Eastern country, is the home of Al Jazeera, a longtime Hamas media mouthpiece spewing lies against Israel. Al Jazeera has extensive credentials for access in the U.S. House Press Gallery for 136 Qatar employees. Compare that astonishing number to 82 New York Times employees with credentials.
Now illumination is showing via Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Michigan) in a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson asking him to revoke Al Jazeera’s credentials. It seems our government and elite universities have welcomed the Qatari propaganda against Israel and Jewish students. Al Jazeera reports that it broadcasts to over 150 countries, with 3,000 employees from 95 countries, and globally into 430 million homes. Now illumination is showing via Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Michigan) in a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson asking him to revoke Al Jazeera’s credentials.
Not only has Qatar welcomed top Hamas leaders live there; we now know that Qatar has donated billions of dollars to American colleges and universities. That fact combined with Al Jazeera’s influence also explains the demonic protests worldwide. Once-hidden truths are coming to light that also explain the irrational answers from presidents of three universities who recently testified before Congress.
As for the United Nations’ 193 member countries, the majority have blackened Israel’s reputation for decades by weaponizing truth and turning it into lies—lies against the only democracy in the Middle East. Their Jew hatred and bias against Israel has resulted in hundreds of unjust resolutions against the world’s only Jewish nation while ignoring numerous human rights violations perpetrated by dictatorships.
In a recent resolution, however, the United States shed a ray of light by voting NO on a Security Council resolution that called for another ceasefire without mentioning Hamas atrocities. (Ceasefires are always broken by Hamas, who not only use civilians as human shields but divert humanitarian aid to themselves.)
On the other hand, the United States and the European Union keep pressuring Israel into a two-state solution. Israel already did its part to unilaterally offer Palestinians a state in 2005. Israel forced their 8,000 Jewish citizens out of the Gaza Strip and tuned it over to Palestinians—who trashed it, then voted for the Hamas terror organization in 2007. October 7 is proof that Israel will never agree to a two-state solution. Even suggesting it is insensitive and insulting.
Sixty-nine days of war have passed. The modern Maccabees are conducting a necessary war against the new Nazis who began it. As the Allies moved against Hitler and his armies, so must the IDF of the modern Jewish state respond. I encourage Evangelicals to volunteer as truth-tellers to oppose, via social media and conversations, the lies inhabiting the darkness. I hope you will spread these facts of light, and others, realizing that facts can indeed lead you to informed prayer.
Our CBN Israel team invites you to join us this week reflecting on Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV: “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
- Pray for the innocent Palestinian children whom Hamas continues to use as disposable human shields.
- Pray for Evangelicals to join a legion of truth-tellers to oppose lies against Israel.
- Pray for the IDF to continue gaining victory over evil.
- Pray for Israeli families making their own sacrifices, as hundreds of thousands of active and reserve IDF must serve their country away from home.
Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After she served nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her as Outreach Director part-time for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel and has traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. By invitation, Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summits. She also hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on her website at ArleneBridgesSamuels.com.