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CBN Israel Comforts Bereaved Families During War

By Nicole Jansezian

This week, Israel marked Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism for 24 somber hours right before switching gears into Independence Day the following day.

Normally, the transition from solemn ceremonies dedicated to the fallen into the celebration of the birth of the Jewish state is welcomed with fireworks, a national air show, and picnics around the entire country. 

But as Israel celebrated its 76th year, festivities were muted as the national mourning was still raw from October 7. Some 1,200 people were killed on that day and another 250 taken hostage. Now, 132 hostages remain in captivity in Gaza and more than 600 Israeli soldiers have been killed as a war still rages with no end in sight.

One of these soldiers was Cedrick Garin, killed in action on January 22, 2024, and the only son of Imelda Garin.

Imelda came to Israel from the Philippines on a visa for foreign workers in 1995. Cedrick was born in 2000 and Imelda, raised him alone after the boy’s father returned to the Philippines. 

Imelda worked several jobs to provide for her son and afford their small apartment. When Cedrick entered high school, he tried to quit school so he could also work and supplement his mother’s meager income. But Imelda convinced him to go back and made sure he graduated despite his tumultuous teen years.

When Cedrick was called up for army service at age 18, he insisted on joining a combat unit against his mother’s objections.

“He worked hard to become a fighter. I hoped that this would help him to mature because before it was a little bit hard for me,” Imelda told CBN Israel. “He told me, ‘Ima (mom), one day you will be proud of me.’ I said, “What do you mean, I will be proud of you when you finish the army?’ He said, “No, you will be proud of me, Ima. Not like before.’”

Cedrick distinguished himself as a solider and then tried out for a commanders course. He finished in the top three but didn’t expect to be chosen as the top because he was the only Filipino.

“Then one day he called me all happy and shouting, ‘Ima! I’m the one they chose based on excellence to become a commander,’” Imelda recalled.

When October 7 transpired, Cedrick knew he was being called up as a reservist to fight in Gaza and prepared both his mother and his wife Daniella for his absence. 

Imelda resisted the thought. 

“I start crying. I said, ‘No, don’t go.’” Imelda recalled Cedrick’s response: “‘No, Ima. I will do my job. This is the right time to fight for this country. I love this country. And now so many people died, so I must go.’”

One weekend in January, Cedrick came home for a visit. Normally when he said goodbye after his time off, he told him mom he would see her again soon. This time he didn’t, but Imelda didn’t notice at the time.

A few weeks later she awoke to phone call. Daniella was on the line crying and asked Imelda to come outside. As Imelda stepped outside in pajamas and slippers, she saw many people including soldiers. 

“Then I felt that something happened to Cedrick. Maybe he’s in the hospital or something else, but I didn’t think that he was gone,” she said. “When I saw the soldiers, I opened the gate. The soldier came to me, and he just started to tell me something. I said, ‘Stop, my son is alive. Maybe it’s not him. Maybe you didn’t recognize him and it’s not him.’” 

“I was there for an hour crying. I couldn’t accept this,” she said.

CBN Israel’s Family Department reached out to Imelda and Daniella after the news of Cedrick’s death made national headlines. The organization is helping Imelda with her debt, the expenses of a funeral and connected her with trauma counsellors as she navigates this new season.

“He’s the only one to do everything for me because my Hebrew is weak,” Imelda said of Cedrick. “He’s my mouth, he’s like my feet, because everything that I need, he’s the one to do it for me.”

Imelda said the hardest thing is not seeing her son.

“It’s been nearly four months, and I really miss him,” she said. “I know there is a purpose of the Almighty Father. We don’t know what’s the purpose, but later we will see the answer.”

Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.

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After October 7, How Are American Jews?

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

On May 12, Israel literally stopped—as it does each year for two minutes of silence—when sirens notified the country to come to a standstill on their Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron). Warning sirens also sounded with incoming rockets from Hamas and Hezbollah. There was no peace that day, even in grief. Later, at the Western Wall, President Isaac Herzog stood with his shirt collar torn in mourning, which he called “a symbol of a blood-drenched rend in the heart of the people. A tear in the heart of the State of Israel. … A great tragedy has befallen us.”

Since October 7, 2023, every day is Memorial Day in Israel. The Times of Israel reports that 1,600 soldiers and civilians were killed either in combat or by terrorist attacks since Israel’s last Memorial Day, according to authorities. It was unquestionably the deadliest year for Israel’s security forces and civilians in 50 years. For 76 years—in multiple wars launched against Israel since its founding—the national casualties in this small country have totaled 30,140.

The day after Memorial Day, Israelis celebrated their Independence Day (Yom HaAtzma’ut). The switch from mourning to celebration is intentional, because for Israel, hope and happiness must endure. On May 14, Israel’s 76th anniversary was still celebrated, yet the celebrations were muted amid the heartbreak hovering over Israel in its national trauma. The usual dazzling fireworks displays—which might have triggered additional trauma in IDF soldiers, families and victims—were canceled.

The grim realities in Israel resonate with most American Jews. I checked in with several of my Jewish friends here in the United States by taking an informal poll during this significant week in Israel, asking them to reflect on their experiences here during the ongoing Hamas War. With eruptions on university campuses and the advent of additional silencing strategies toward Christians, we must echo the same concerns of our Jewish friends. Heed their voices. They are our “canary in the coal mine”—right here in the USA.

Susanne M. Reyto, a Holocaust survivor and an author (Pursuit of Freedom and Destination Freedom), is an educator through her books and leadership. She brought to Los Angeles the Violins of Hope, a collection of lovingly restored violins played by Jews during the Holocaust, to educate modern audiences through the power of music. Susanne cautions, “We must teach youngsters to empower themselves to fight for the truth. American Jewry has the good fortune of never having to flee and run to a homeland, so their appreciation for Israel is different than those of us who feel Israel is our umbrella protector.”

Ari Bussel, an Israeli-American friend and a foreign correspondent, gives us a clear view of what he saw with his own eyes: “Seeing my alma mater turn into a battleground at the University of California in Los Angeles caused me not to sleep. Jewish women dared to stand up at a press conference, and the young terrorist-protesters made them into victims. When the police moved in to arrest the aspiring terrorists in the encampment, they also attacked the police.”

Ari’s observation is that, once again, the lie has been multiplied—that Jews dared to attack the peaceful students! He warns, “To win, we must understand this is a war against the USA. Our enemies want ‘Death to Israel and Death to America’; they are against the two satans, and our fate will be one. Therefore, it is time for action to save America.”

My friend Norma Zager, an award-winning journalist, declares: “As a Jew in America today I feel an enormous sense of betrayal and fear. The promise of my country to accept all races, creeds and colors of people has been changed to ‘all but Jews.’ It should be a priority for every Jewish person to pray the Jewish State is triumphant.”

Paul Samuels, my Jewish husband, reveals another perspective. “Both my parents’ families fled Russian pogroms and immigrated through Ellis Island in the early 1900s. In the Bronx I was called a “Christ killer,” but no one marched against us. I am shocked now by the intense Jew hatred in the U.S. I don’t have deep fear, yet I look around me far more now,” he said. “I am glad that my parents are not alive to experience the same Jew hatred they faced as children in Russia. At 80, I am a proud first-generation American. My Dad served in World War II, and I am a Navy veteran.”  

Another Israeli-American friend is a deeply concerned parent of three younger children. “My children know they are Jews by birth and tradition and have family in Israel. Sadly, it’s a challenge to preserve their innocence. Some people simply dislike my kids for who they are, an awful reality. Can you imagine your kids living with that? I must teach my kids how to deal with hate and advocate for themselves. It’s a lot to ask.” My friend had chosen to remain silent about her Israeli heritage to avoid conflict, but October 7 totally changed her. “I cannot afford to keep quiet now. I must face the hatred head-on.”

Ari Bussel has an unambiguous message for his fellow Jews. “American Jews are responsible for the failure to respond to our Jewish students. The Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federations of North America, Hillel and J Street, the organized Jewish world failed miserably and is fully responsible.”

My message as a Christian to other Christians reflects the thoughts of my Jewish friend who was a U.S. Navy pilot flying the famous F-14 Tomcats. “As an American I put my life on the line for the United States, including in the Iraq War. I am heartened by the evangelical Christian outreach to the Jewish community.”  

Let us make sure our “evangelical Christian outreach” multiplies. We must not remain silent on the sidelines like the German church in the 1930s. Our Christian faith was built on the rock of ancient Judaism. We are grafted into Israel, our spiritual homeland, and read a Jewish-inscribed Bible and serve a Jewish Savior. Standing with the Jewish community in the United States and worldwide is an important way to honor the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s redemptive plan! Reach out to your Jewish friends with encouragement this week!  

Our CBN Israel team welcomes you to join us this week based on Psalm 119:28—“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.”

 

Prayer Points:

  • Pray strength for Israelis afflicted by the ongoing national traumas.
  • Pray that Jews everywhere will reconnect with their Holy Scriptures.
  • Pray for Christians to reach out personally to any Jewish friends.
  • Pray for total victory for the Israel Defense Forces in Rafah.

 

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.

 

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Providing Food and a Sense of Home for the Displaced

Talya was anxious about returning home to Maagalim, near Gaza, with its daily sirens and rocket fire. She and her little boy, along with her neighbors, were evacuated to a moshav, or farm community, in Yad Hashmona outside Jerusalem. She is safer, but living in transition has been challenging.

 

Evacuees from the north and south have had to make a new routine here and a sense of home for themselves. And organizations like CBN Israel have joined together to help with that process.

 

Thanks to caring friends like you, CBN Israel has offered evacuees temporary lodging and essentials, along with a food truck that hands out free lunches every day. Here, they can gather at the truck for a midday meal to connect with each other, and share the traumas and challenges of being displaced. For now, it gives them something to look forward to—and a sense of belonging.

 

Donors also hosted a festival for families, with bouncy castles, carnival food, and a Superbook movie. For the displaced children staying there, it gives them a reprieve from the war.

 

“The kids are living out of their house …there’s no school, there’s no normal life,” CBN Israel Director Daniel Carlson explains. “This just gives them some time to forget and be kids again.”

 

As an architect, Talya realizes the difference between a house and a home, and observes, “Back in my town near the Gaza border, I only have four walls to go back to… What we have here is home, we have routine.” She is thankful for those who have supported her, and says, “It warms my heart that there are people who think of us, in this dark situation, who want the best for us.”

 

And your gifts to CBN Israel can offer encouragement and practical aid to so many war victims—as well as to Holocaust survivors, single moms, and refugees. The needs are great, and you can make a difference.

 

Please join with us today in blessing those in need!

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Poignant Holocaust Remembrance Day Reminds Israelis of October 7 Atrocities

By Nicole Jansezian

While sirens rang out, all of Israel came to a standstill for two minutes last week. 

These weren’t the sirens that warn of incoming rockets or reminders of the current war still raging on Israel’s borders, but rather were a sign for Israelis to mark in silence Holocaust Remembrance Day, honoring the memory of 6 million Jews killed in the Nazi slaughter.

This year the memories were not too distant. More than half of Jewish Israelis believe that what happened on October 7 is comparable to the Holocaust, according to a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute. 

Israel observes Holocaust Remembrance Day on the date on the Hebrew calendar that marks the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The date commemorated internationally is on January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

One of CBN Israel’s focuses in its humanitarian outreach is caring for the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors in Israel—at least one third of whom live below the poverty line. Financial and material help is designed to allow them to live with dignity after all they suffered.

Two such survivors that CBN Israel supports are Malka and Michael who came under attack when a rocket destroyed their home and almost killed them.

“When I heard the blast, I thought the world ended. I saw my husband covered in blood,” Malka said. “Shrapnel pierced his ear. He has Parkinson’s disease, and I couldn’t move him to safety. It was so horrible.”

Eventually paramedics reached and treated the couple and got them to safety. Now CBN Israel is supporting the couple with rent and groceries while their home is being repaired.

To mark the somber occasion, representatives of CBN Israel attended the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony of the Association of the Deaf in Israel in which survivors who are also deaf, shared their stories in sign language with a large crowd that gathered in Tel Aviv.

Understanding that in war time the challenges of people with disabilities are exacerbated—for instance, people who are deaf cannot hear sirens that warn of incoming rockets—CBN Israel is now coming alongside the Association of the Deaf to support their community. 

At a moving ceremony, participants watched the testimony of Leah Boznitsky, who became deaf at the age of 2 right before the Nazis entered her hometown in France. Leah survived because her parents placed her in a Catholic orphanage during the war where she hid her Jewish identity.

Leah, who sadly passed away on October 12, was able to reach Israel in 1949 after a harrowing journey and time spent in a detainment center. She was a longtime member of the Association of the Deaf branch in Tel Aviv.

Through CBN Israel’s support of organizations such as these, our impact will extend to more communities throughout the country who have suffered in diverse ways. 

Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.

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Stepping into Holocaust History: Connecting 1933 and 2023

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

On March 22, 1933, the Nazis admitted prisoners to Dachau, the first concentration camp where they began to imprison Germans whom they deemed a political, social, or cultural threat to their unholy government. Ninety years later, on October 7, 2023, Hamas invaded the Jewish homeland in an attempt to repeat a holocaust. Echoes of World War II arose amid terrorists’ frenzied shouts and Israelis’ anguished screams, with 1,200 murdered, hostages kidnapped, and thousands wounded.

At Israel’s national Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on May 5, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared, “The terrorist attack on October 7 was not a holocaust—not because of the lack of intention to destroy us, but because of the lack of the ability to destroy us.” In God’s fulfillment of promises, Israel became a modern state in 1948 and with it gained the ability to defend itself.

During World War II, reports from Europe about Nazi mass arrests, industrialized murders, and the numbers of concentration camps merely trickled out. Today, with the ubiquitous presence of social media, we have no excuse for misunderstanding or misrepresenting the events of October 7. Nevertheless, mainstream media is weaponizing truth into lies day and night in every time zone. It is essential to listen to trustworthy media only, which I will mention in my closing.

The goals of Hamas replicate the Third Reich’s homicidal goals. Back then, most of Germany’s Protestant and Catholic clergy and their congregations embraced the Nazis. Now, too, many clergy and churches live in dangerous passivity by departing from God’s redemptive vision through Israel and the Jews outlined in the Bible.

The 1988 Hamas Charter that is still in force notes in Article 12: “Nationalism, from the point of view of the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the religious creed. Nothing in nationalism is more significant or deeper than in the case when an enemy should tread Muslim land. Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Muslim, male or female.”

Hamas claims that theirs is a religious creed, but it strikes me as an addiction. Murdering Jews is their horrific “high”—carried out with no regret. That partly explains these pitiless terrorists acting as if they were producers excitedly filming innocents on a movie set in Israeli homes! Read the statement of Ghazi Hamad, who is part of the Hamas political bureau and who refers to the October 7 attack as Operation al-Aqsa Flood. “We are called a nation of martyrs … proud to sacrifice martyrs,” Hamad declared. “Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove that country,” which he called “a catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nations.” This statement is the only fact we should believe. Inaction will not stop these brutes. World War II proves my point.

Is it too much to hope that the 2024 annual Days of Remembrance between May 5 and May 12 have awakened facts for naysayers and those whose thinking has been distorted by hatred?

It is debatable as to whether the two—Holocaust Remembrance Day and October 7—should even be mentioned in the same sentence. Yet, it is important now to reiterate the October 7 atrocities, especially since we have massive numbers of facts from the beginning of the attempted holocaust. The genocidal murders of 6 million Jews in World War II, embedded in the Jewish DNA for 90 years now, re-invaded their minds and hearts with demonic intensity—as it took place not in Europe but inside the Jewish homeland. Non-Jews cannot fully grasp the depths of Israel’s national trauma over this lethal invasion into their ancestral homeland—on their own soil—with God’s unbreakable deed thousands of years ago for all eternity.

For me, stepping into any Jewish commemoration is a step into history both ancient and modern, celebratory or somber. On May 5, I attended a somber, emotional, yet uplifting program sponsored by the Birmingham Jewish Foundation in Alabama. Movingly presented with memorable storytelling, honoring both Holocaust survivors and liberators, it also included a special tribute to the late Amnon Weinstein. Weinstein was the Israeli founder of the world-renowned Violins of Hope, violins lovingly restored for the last 30 years by luthiers Amnon and his son, Avshi.

Amnon and Avshi had appeared in Birmingham in 2018 with 60 of the precious, restored Holocaust-era violins. The recent tribute to Amnon, the brilliant recipient of honors worldwide, including Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit, is close to my heart. I served on the board of the South Carolina Violins of Hope, and in April 2022, with numerous sponsors, we held four large-scale concerts featuring the historic violins as well as numerous smaller venues. Around 10,000 attended and heard one of Amnon’s inspiring quotes, “Our violins present the victory of the human spirit over evil and hatred.” 

Nazis murdered 400 of Weinstein’s family during the Shoah. In the 1930s, his parents escaped from Poland to Israel, where Amnon’s father set up shop in Tel Aviv. Amnon and his son, Avshi, carried on the business, dedicating it to collecting and restoring violins played by Jewish musicians held in concentration camps during the Holocaust. After concerts in 2018, Amnon and Avshi presented Violins of Hope Birmingham with the lovingly restored violin. As part of the May 5th tribute, a local violinist played two beautiful melodies. My tears fell as I heard the century-old violin and prayed for Jews worldwide who are facing danger at every turn.

In the Samford University auditorium (no protesters outside or inside), in stories told by Holocaust survivors and their families, several comments clearly reminded me of Hamas. “After the Holocaust, survivors were liberated but not free.” “Nazis began a steady drip then moved into shocking speed.” “A small rockslide must be removed quickly because an avalanche is unstoppable.” “At Buchenwald, when Allies freed the survivors, the killing furnaces still burned with Jewish bodies.”

Nazis and Hamas are both cut from rancid, evil cloth. Hamas’s attempted holocaust was stopped, yet Israelis are not free from their national trauma and not yet totally victorious. Hamas has repeatedly fired barrages of rockets into Israel for almost 20 years, then with shocking speed in the al-Aqsa Flood on October 7. Burning Jewish families tied together and babies in the ovens of homes in the Israeli kibbutzim reenacted the Nazi tool of demonic fire.

Ghazi Hamad says Hamas are victims. “Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7, October 10, October 1,000,000—everything we do is justified!” If you believe what Ghazi Hamad defends, then act!

Commit to choosing at least one article a week. Pass it on. Christians must deliver facts about what is happening in Gaza amid the falsehoods overwhelming so many minds. Here are several news outlets I trust: CBN Israel, Gatestone Institute, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), and Israel’s Defense and Security Forum (IDSF).

Join our CBN Israel team this week knowing that Israel and the Jewish people will forever carry the profound message of survival and resilience. As we read in 2 Samuel 7: 24-26, “You have established Your people Israel as Your very own forever … so that Your name will be great forever. Then men will say, The LORD Almighty is God over Israel.”

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for facts from Holocaust Remembrance Week to renew compassion.
  • Pray strength for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet as they must make weighty decisions.
  • Pray for the IDF shifting Gaza residents to safe zones to eliminate Hamas in Rafah. 
  • Pray for Israelis to remain unified and have supernatural patience amid pain.
  • Pray for American university leaders to make wise decisions. 

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.

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Victim of Terrorism: Katerina’s Story

Katerina and her husband Alexsky were raising their family in Ukraine when the Russian attacks began in 2014. Alexsky saw how it traumatized their oldest daughter, who was 10 years old, and knew it was time to leave. They sought refuge in Israel and made Aliyah, becoming Israeli citizens in 2017.

Then came the October 7 Hamas invasion. With no safe room in her apartment, their oldest daughter, now an adult, was terrified, and moved back home. When their city of Ashkelon came under heavy rocket fire, Katerina stayed at home with the kids, while Alexsky had to work, facing danger in the streets. The government soon evacuated Katrina and her children to safety, while Alexsky looked for extra jobs, trying in vain to make ends meet.

When Katerina returned, their finances were even tighter. She recalls, “Because I wasn’t working, we suddenly couldn’t pay the bills. It was very stressful.” Yet, friends like you were there for them.

Through CBN Israel’s partnership with a local ministry, the food packages that caring donors provided for this desperate family kept them from starving. They also gave the couple emergency finances for extra groceries and essentials, and to pay off their mounting debt from lost income during the war. Katerina shared, “We’re very thankful for people who care. It was a big help. We’re so grateful!”

Your gifts to CBN Israel can help many more war victims with food, lodging, and necessities—while continuing to assist others in dire need. And your support can also offer a crucial lifeline to elderly Holocaust survivors, single mothers, refugees, and those who are struggling alone.

Please consider blessing Israel’s people at this critical time!

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A Double Disaster: Hatred Against the Jewish Homeland Eliminates Hope for Gazans

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Since the beginning of its military operations against Hamas, Israel has reported that the Iranian proxy has been appropriating donated food meant for the civilian Gaza population. The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) verified that a Fatah (political branch of the PA) TV anchor reported that, since the start of the war, Hamas has attacked, persecuted, and even killed aid workers. The food was stolen not only for Hamas to sustain their strength but to also murder Gazan Palestinians and IDF soldiers.

PMW describes that in attacking and killing aid workers to control distribution and to divert the food and water for itself, Hamas caused food prices in Gaza’s markets to skyrocket. An Al-Jazeera TV reporter observed, “Few things are arriving and they [Hamas] claim they are distributing them.” A Gazan woman spoke out, saying, “It is all going to their own homes. Let Hamas catch me and shoot me and do what they want to me.”

Allow the Fatah and Al Jazeera broadcasts to remain in your thoughts as you read what U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres insisted: “This is an entirely man-made disaster, and … it can be halted.” Guterres was telling Israel to allow more routes into Gaza for the delivery of humanitarian goods. Yes, it is a man-made disaster—one, however, that was implemented not by Israel but by barbaric Hamas, beginning on October 7, 2023.

The two or three days of compassion for Israel evaporated almost immediately after the Hamas invasion on October 7. Hamas’s horrors against Israel have faded in the wake of a powerful propaganda operation, with most worldwide media either intentionally or unintentionally promoting lies. This, after Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) hosted 4,000 journalists, showed them the murderers’ indisputable body cam videos, and walked them around the Gaza envelope area where parents, children, babies, and homes were burned amongst atrocities that cannot be described.

How do mainstream media see what they saw, then sit at their computers posting on social media as if they had never seen evil up close? After all, the GPO staff did not take journalists to a movie set—the October 7 atrocities actually happened! Secular media have turned truth upside down by their omission of facts and by neglecting to blame Hamas and its Islamic benefactor for circumstances that Israel did not ask for and did not initiate.

A Washington Post article describes Israel’s war against the “Hamas rule” as one where “Gazans go hungry” and “aid groups retreat.” No! The war is primarily against the Hamas terrorists who attacked the Gaza envelope, murdered 1,200 Israelis, and kidnapped hostages from 18 countries! Americans are still among the hostages. Led by terrorists in expensive suits and flying in private jets, Hamas and its virulent followers certainly have no regard for Israel or any Palestinians. Despite these truths, the blame is laid—as usual—on Israel.

Strident voices accuse Israel of slowing down aid to Gaza. One of the most shocking accusations comes from Josep Borrell, the European Union foreign policy chief who asserted that Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war. However, on April 9 David Mencer, spokesperson at Israel’s National Public Diplomacy Directorate, pushed back, saying enough food is going into Gaza “to feed every single person there.” He added, “The U.N. fails to distribute it and Hamas steals it.” Earlier, on March 14 Elad Goren, head of Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), informed reporters: “There is no starvation; there are challenges to accessibility.” Another factor rests on slow-moving humanitarian agencies, with blame (once again) typically laid at Israel’s door.

COGAT reported in an April 11, 2024, press release that 600 humanitarian aid trucks were inside Gaza after coming through the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel and were waiting for the United Nations to unload them. COGAT posted a video on X with stacks of aid, pointing out that they must be collected and distributed by the United Nations agencies. Goods have increased, but the UN “must do the job it has been entrusted with.” Nebal Farsakh, spokeswoman for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, a humanitarian organization, is correct in saying, “Once shipments reach the border, at both crossings [Rafah from Egypt and Kerem Shalom from Israel] they are reloaded on to Palestinian trucks.”

She further describes this as “a long and complicated process which delays the delivery of aid.” That said, Israel must inspect the aid trucks. They’re aware of Hamas’s long history of smuggling many thousands of tons of goods—food, medicines, construction materials for institutions—convoyed into Gaza by Israel for reasons of peace. All the while, the Islamic Regime and its handy Hamas surrogate next door to Israel has used much of this aid meant for civilians to build 300 miles of terror tunnels instead. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu observes, “Hamas is coming at gunpoint and stealing the food. Humanitarian deaths and starvation are, for us, a tragedy. For them, it’s a strategy. They think that this will help them place more pressure on Israel to stop the war, leave them in place so they can repeat the October 7 massacre.”

Netanyahu is absolutely right in his assessment of the Hamas character. He understands that their goal remains another October 7 massacre, which they aim to do by demonizing Israel in every way possible via world leaders and media who—whether by naïve choices, secular mindsets, or habitual denial—do not recognize evil and its source. Israel is not a perfect nation. No nation is. Yet, Israel is our spiritual homeland, the birthplace of our life-giving faith through Jewish scribes in the Old and New Testaments and Jesus, our Jewish Savior.

We in the Christian community vividly recognize the difference between good and evil. That is why we have a responsibility to share facts to help Israel fight the well-equipped media warfare against them. Let us encourage Israel in Deuteronomy 20:1-4 with an ancient promise that will not fade away! “The LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! … Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the LORD your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and He will give you victory!”

 

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for the United Nations to efficiently distribute food and medicines.
  • Pray for Christians’ worldwide commitment to oppose media warfare against Israel by sharing facts.
  • Pray for the safety of truck drivers delivering goods into Gaza.
  • Pray for those unloading and distributing goods to Gaza’s civilians.
  • Pray always for hostages, the IDF, PM Netanyahu, and his war cabinet.

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.

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Victim of Terrorism: Yulia’s Story

Yulia and her family lived in Kiev when the Ukraine war started. They hid in the town of Bucha—until a major Russian offensive made it a target, and they feared for their safety.

So, Yulia and her husband tried to flee to Israel with their three children, but he was detained at the border. Reluctantly, she and her kids continued without him, arriving with only their suitcases. Adapting to a new country where she didn’t know the language was difficult. And Yulia felt lonely and stressed, worrying about her husband’s wellbeing.

Now, after two years in Israel, she says, “All I want is to bring my husband here. He’s ready to go. We’re just looking for a way for him to finally leave Ukraine.” However, since October 7, the Hamas war has made their situation even more difficult. Trying to navigate life alone in Israel with three children, and in the middle of a war, was taking its toll on Yulia.

That’s why she was so grateful that friends like you were there to help her. Through CBN Israel’s partnership with a local ministry, caring donors delivered needed food packages—along with buying them a new refrigerator (to replace an old one that didn’t keep food cold) and a washing machine. Yulia shared, “Your support made us feel like we’re not alone. Thank you!”

Your generous gifts to CBN Israel can offer aid and encouragement to many others who feel alone. You can be there for aging Holocaust survivors, single mothers, immigrants, terrorism victims, and more.

And your compassionate support can also provide meals, essentials, housing, and finances to those in crisis from the war.

 

Your gifts mean so much—please join us in helping others!

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History Repeats Itself: New Nazis on American University Campuses

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Passover 2024 began on Monday, April 22. With Passover now in its fourth day, Jewish families worldwide celebrate their freedom festival retelling Moses’ rallying cry to Egypt’s Pharoah: “Let my people go.” In Israel this year, Passover’s rallying cry is “Let our hostages go!” However, the rallying cry on many prominent university campuses glorifies Hamas, the new Nazis. Their hostile shouts, such as “We are Hamas!” reverberate on campuses across the United States with help and funding from their unashamed anti-Israel and antisemitic backers.

Alas, the tsunami of Jew-hatred on American college campuses is not new. In the lead-up to World War II, Hitler handed a far-reaching propaganda portfolio to Joseph Goebbels, his head of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. The 35-year-old Goebbels wielded unlimited power over schools, universities, film, radio, and propaganda. When Hitler became dictator in 1933, Goebbels shut down Germany’s free press. The long arm of this 5-foot-5-inch propagandist, who was nicknamed the “poison dwarf,” stretched across the Atlantic to mainstream anti-Semitism into the minds of American college students.  

The “public relations” machine of the demonic duo, Hitler and Goebbels, took hold in the mid-1930s. Their plan included broadcasting Nazis in a good light, drawing German-Americans into their web, using ways to divide Americans, and when war broke out in Europe, Nazis sought to keep Americans out of it at all costs. Fortunately, the Nazi strategy did not appeal to all Americans. Three responses emerged: active opposition to Nazism, disinterest, and yes, on American soil, sympathy for the Nazis.

Examples of pre-World War II anti-Semitism on elite campuses such as Columbia and Harvard are easy to find. Administrators welcomed Nazi leaders to campus, enrolled Nazi-trained German exchange students, and promoted the idea of American students studying in Germany under Nazi oversight. Some returned to the United States mesmerized into supporting Hitler’s “New Germany.”

Today’s ineffectual tolerance of the outbreak of Jew-hatred for the last six months at Columbia University was preceded by a steady, ongoing assault. This blatant antisemitism can be traced all the way back to 1933 with former President Nicholas Murray Butler’s welcome to Nazi Germany’s ambassador, Hans Luther. Butler, like other Ivy League presidents, perhaps naively wished to connect with German universities in the mid-1930s—when Goebbels gradually turned halls of learning into halls of Nazi propaganda. A 2008 Jerusalem Post article pointed out that Stephen Norwood, Ph.D. from Columbia University and author of The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower, said at a conference that “Butler was morally indifferent to Nazi crimes during the critically important early years of Nazi rule.”

Not all American university students accepted the Nazi line. Robert Burke, who was chosen as president of the class of ’38, was expelled from Columbia in 1936 for leading one of the largest anti-Nazi demonstrations on campus. Afterwards, a series of strikes and protests at New York City colleges grew into what would become the longest student free-speech fight until the 1960s. These students demonstrated on the right side of free speech against an enemy, Hitler. The administration’s determined blindness to America’s higher education elites took place even with Nazi atrocities already marching against Jews in kidnappings and murders. 

The pattern of anti-Semitism on college campuses continued into 2007 when Columbia invited then-President of the Islamic Regime, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to speak. Columbia President Lee Bollinger and his administration were aware of Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial and genocidal threats against Israel—including his statement, “The world powers established this filthy bacteria, the Zionist regime, which is lashing out at the nations in the region like a wild beast.” Ahmadinejad had a dangerous knack of turning the Islamic Regime’s own evil into lies against Israel. Keep this in mind when you hear the Islamic pharaohs and their proxies’ “facts” against Israel. They always describe themselves.

Here’s another example. In 1934, Harvard’s administration and alumni were delighted to receive Ernst Hanfstaengl, the Nazi party foreign press chief arriving from Germany for his 25th class reunion at Harvard. He was regaled at the dinners and meetings where he interacted with prominent alumni in corporate business, banking, and higher education. Just try to imagine the meetings and dinners where Hanfstaengl was quoted as saying, among other such pronouncements, that Jews were “vampires sucking German blood.” Yet Harvard’s student newspaper, The Crimson, had described Hanfstaengl as one who should be honored for his “high position in the government of a friendly country.”

Again, 1930s students bravely rose up at Harvard’s graduation ceremonies. They filled Harvard Square to oppose Hanfstaengl’s presence, demanding that the administration should instead give him a “Doctor of Pogroms” award. University police ripped down the anti-Nazi signs posted on campus. They also arrested some of the protesting students and imprisoned them for six months—without Harvard President James Bryant Conant speaking a word on their behalf.  

History repeats itself with a questionable ambivalence about the safety of Harvard’s Jewish students today. On January 2, 2024, President Claudine Gay resigned after her Congressional testimony, in which she did not clearly condemn anti-Semitism on campus. When asked if calls for genocide against Jews following the Hamas war were in violation of Harvard’s code of conduct, this was her tepid response: “It can be, depending on the context.”  

Regarding Columbia University’s protesting students, the unpeaceful encampment protests were organized by Columbia University Apartheid Divest and joined by dozens of student-led organizations. Where are the brave students of yesteryear who opposed Germany’s Nazis? Where are the students standing up for both Jews and Christians on campus to oppose the inhumane new Nazis? Where are the 600 million pro-Israel Christians worldwide who are massively spreading facts and education about Israel, our spiritual homeland?  

Is this where our universities are now? Are they merely elevated institutions for Hamas—the beastly murderers of Jews who imitate Hitler, Goebbels, and the Islamic pharaohs (and their surrogates) cruelly oppressing freedoms within their own populations?

Century upon century—scattered across the world in the Jewish Diaspora—the Jewish community worldwide has celebrated Passover, its oldest festival, which originated more than 3,000 years ago. Jews have steadfastly remembered their exodus from Egypt amid wars, pogroms, persecution, in concentration camps, and now during the first Passover in their modern homeland following the barbaric October 7 attacks. Admittedly in their own words, the Islamic Regime’s new pharaohs recently confessed and boasted about what we knew: their planning of last year’s horrific assault.

Until April 30, Israelis sit with empty chairs at their Passover tables, traumatized and grieving as they think about those they have lost, yet resolute to survive as they always have under the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israelis and Jews worldwide celebrate their history—while clearly understanding shouts from American campuses and worldwide. They all mean death.

“From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.” “Arab blood is not cheap, for the martyrs we will speak.” “Resistance by any means necessary.” “Globalize the intifada!”  “Go back to Poland.” “We are Hamas.” And from a 1930s chant, “Let us all be American Hitlers.”  

An important note! If any readers personally know of Jewish or Christian students intimidated on a university campus due to protestors’ hate speech or physical assaults, contact the American Center for Law and Justice at www.ACLJ.org. Upon reviewing the situation, they are willing to represent college students for free. It is part of their ongoing outreach to stand for freedom!

We welcome you to join our team at CBN Israel this week on behalf of all university students under threat who are standing on the truth of God’s promises. As stated in Isaiah 41:11-12 NIV, “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you  will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.” 

 

Prayer Points: 

  • Pray for wisdom for all parents of students in threatening contexts on campuses.
  • Pray for Christian students to stand beside Jewish students in prayerful, protective ways.
  • Pray for university administrators to make strong decisions to protect students at risk.
  • Pray for university presidents to reject pressures to tolerate Jew hatred on their campuses.

 

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.

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Passover in the Holy Land: A Celebration of Freedom Under Shadow of Ongoing War

By Nicole Jansezian

Israelis are preparing to observe Passover beginning at dusk on Monday night, but this year the holiday will take place under the shadow of war and with 133 hostages remaining in Gaza.

The weeklong celebration is a biblical holiday in which the Lord commanded His people to recall the events that led them out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. During that week, the Israelites were to abstain from bread or leavened products as a symbol of a hasty departure from Egypt. 

Passover occurs in Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar, and is known as the spring holiday and a time of new beginnings. Families gather on the first night of Passover for the “seder” meal which includes specific food, songs, and scriptures from the Book of Exodus.

Throughout Israel in the weeks leading up to the holiday, observant Jews will clear their homes of hametz, or leaven, and clean thoroughly in order to remove any trace of it in their midst.

Supermarkets seal off the shelves of pasta, rice, and legumes and sell matzah instead of bread for the week. Kosher restaurants either close for the week or reopen after a major cleaning with “kosher for Passover” products.

This year, however, the holiday occurs under a cloud of mourning, the ongoing war with Hamas, and continued threats from Hezbollah and Iran. Tens of thousands of Israelis are still evacuated from their homes and living in hotels or temporary housing. 

The night of the seder, April 22, coincides with the 200th day since October 7. And with 133 hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza, many Israeli families will not be in a celebratory mode for Passover this year.

But thanks to caring friends like you, CBN Israel is marking the holiday by supporting people in need throughout the Holy Land—including a special dinner and financial assistance for single mothers and widows.

CBN Israel partners are also making it possible to distribute hundreds of holiday food and care packages to families and communities that have been directly impacted by the war.

Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.

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