Last week, Iranian-supplied rockets were aimed from Gaza at beautiful, vibrant Tel Aviv. Thank God, no one was injured. But it was a reminder to all of us who live here how perilously close we live to wars we don’t start -- with enemies whose baseless hatred for the Jewish people knows no bounds.
These attacks are particularly jarring for Israel’s moms. Like so many families, my husband and I have decorated our home’s bomb shelter as a playroom. Our hope is that our kids will get used to being in there, so it won’t traumatize them too much when we have to rush them hastily inside.
My husband and I have coordinated who will grab each of our four children in the seconds we have to enter our shelter when - not if - the emergency sirens blare in the night. We go over these plans often to make sure they become our instinct.
Let’s call this part of the “on-the-job” training that every parent living in Israel has to master.
You have to be able to wake up in seconds, grab your children, and flee to shelter in the 30-to-90-second warning you have before the missile strikes.
I now lead The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, an organization founded by my father thirty-six years ago. Our group has provided over 5,500 of these bomb shelters to families in Israel thanks to the love and generosity of Christian friends. Each year, hundreds of thousands of Christian friends of Israel send into our ministry over $100 million dollars to help poor and persecuted Jewish people with basic needs, security projects, and aliyah (immigration to Israel). Our average donor gift is $74 a month.
It's an unacceptable reality when our priority needs to be providing bomb shelters to Jews whose families were killed in the Holocaust. Often I find myself asking, “Are we going to let the darkest time in history repeat itself on our watch?”
Less than a century after the Holocaust, French President Emmanuel Macron recently noted that anti-Semitism is at its highest in Europe since World War II. Just days before Macron’s chilling comment, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had the audacity to congratulate Iran’s extremist regime on the 40th anniversary of their Islamic Revolution. This is the same Iranian regime that has repeatedly supplied rockets to terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon, has called to wipe Israel off the map and destroy America, and has set up proxy terror bases on Israel's border in Syria.
Even the days when there are no rockets being launched into southern Israel, there is certainly no quiet. When the Gazan terrorists aren't shooting rockets into Israel, they’ve resorted to flying incendiary kites and bomb balloons over the border.
The rockets exploding in Tel Aviv will be on the minds of Jews throughout the entire world this week because this particular attack came to our beautiful Holy Land within days of Purim -- the Jewish peoples’ annual holiday commemorating of the biblical Story of Esther.
On Tuesday night and Wednesday, we will read the entire book -- or scroll, as we call it -- and remember how evil Haman sought his own holocaust of the Jewish people, literally conspiring to massacre us all.
Haman would have succeeded except for a strong woman, Esther, who raised her voice in support of the Jewish people “for such a time as this.” Risking her life, she stood up to the evil that aimed to annihilate the Jewish people by appealing to the Persian king to intervene and stop wicked Haman’s plan.
Remembering the evils of the past, whether at the hands of Haman or Hitler, helps us to recognize and prevent the evils of today. We see pure evil rising from the Iranian leadership, which ironically, is the site of ancient Persia.
But the terror is not limited to Iran; they have exported their terror tactics and weapons so that they are stationed on nearly all of Israel's borders. The terrorists of today are remnants of Haman and continue to threaten Israel’s children in a tangible way.
Yet, this Purim, as we recognize the evil Hamans, we must also recognize and give honor to our loyal and dedicated friends. The mothers of Israel look with special gratitude to our Christian friends around world -- hundreds-of-millions of Esthers -- who stand in solidarity with Israel’s 6.5 million Jews and serve as the “watchmen on the walls” through prayer and tangible aid.
We thank you.