Days of Remembrance

Days of Remembrance Jackie Santoro

Today is Yom Hazikaron which means the Day of Memory or Memorial Day. It is historically a very respectful and somber day as Israelis honor the memory of those killed in terror attacks or in the too many wars this country has fought in order to defend itself. Places of entertainment are closed early, there are traffic jams on the roads leading to the cemeteries with local ceremonies taking place all day long.

Memorial Day starts in the evening with a two minute siren – everyone in the nation stops and remembers the high price we have paid for our existence and it ends 24 hours later as the festive celebration of Independence Day begins. From Monday evening till Tuesday evening, we rejoice that our Jewish nation was reborn 76 years ago and is here to stay!

This year, all that has happened since October 7th has marked this day in a new way forever. The usual solemnity of these 24 hours has been magnified profoundly and the grief and mourning that has always been manifested is deeper and so much more intense. The pain and trauma that was ignited on that day and continues to today has changed this nation. Although the fight for survival has energized the indomitable and heroic spirit of our people, the sorrow in their hearts never leaves.

This year is the first year in the history of this country that Memorial Day and Independence Day are occurring while we are fighting a war. It is so clear as we walk through these days as a nation that Israelis love life and grieve death. So different from the evil Hamas spirit which emulates death and cares nothing for life. May the world see the truth!

Although the national motto for this war is “Together we win”, there has not been lasting unity and the spirit of division has raised its ugly head throughout the nation. The families of hostages continue to protest vehemently for a cease fire immediately in order to get their dear ones back. The government is fraught with in-fighting and there is conflict and significant disagreement even among our allies.

A few days ago, all of Israel was overwhelmed with disbelief by President Biden’s statement that much needed arms were being held back in order to discourage the government from continuing its plans to enter Rafah. Sanctioning arms to Israel by the USA has never happened in our history and no Israeli ever imagined it could or would happen. They were shocked over this announcement and were angry, disappointed, and feeling quite misunderstood on the world stage. PM Netanyahu issued a response and said that the war would continue until we achieve our objectives, even if we have to go it alone and fight “with our fingernails”.

The work of the enemy seems so clear to us but most are blind to it. Before our very eyes, the whole world is turning against us just as the Bible has foretold. Deception is like a mist covering the eyes and hearts of people and nations. The rise in antisemitism around the world and the pro-Hamas demonstrations are painful for us to watch.

Good is being protrayed as evil and evil as good – even to the degree that even those who should know better are getting confused. May the terrorist spirit be exposed and may the demonic blindness on the young people who are aligning with Hamas be dissipated. May Truth prevail.

President Herzog expressed Israel’s heart feelings in his speech which opened the Memorial Day service.

“…At this sacred moment, I remind us and the entire world: we never wanted nor chose this terrible war. Not this one nor its predecessors. All we wanted was to return to Zion, from which we were forcibly expelled, and to renew our freedom there — in a Jewish and democratic state. To build a life here. A future. A hope. We always dreamed of peace and good neighborliness with all the peoples and countries in the region, and forever, no less. But so long as our enemies seek to destroy us, we will not lay down our swords.”

The hours have passed since I started writing and the nation has made the transition from deep mourning to the joy of the celebration of Independence Day. Due to the sensitivity of the ongoing war, this year the festivities have been muted – no fireworks, no big parties, no street festivities, but the resilient and optimistic Israeli spirit cannot be quenched. In the midst of all that is going on, the declaration that “The nation of Israel lives” and that it will continue to do so is heard everywhere!

This nation, established by the Word of the Lord is truly a miracle. Rising from the ashes of the Holocaust and fighting non stop wars, enduring ongoing hatred from neighbors, the Jewish people have never given up. They have never responded with hating those around them and have instead filled the world with amazing technological and medical advances and are willing to serve any country with their expertise, especially whenever there is any kind of natural disaster. For those of us who live here, we can see the DNA of God himself in the fabric of this place. From this nation came the Messiah, and to this nation He will return. And so as the time draws near, the attacks intensify.

Please continue to pray for this embattled country as its isolation in the world increases. Pray that this war can end in a way that is beneficial for Israel and that the hostages are found miraculously. Please pray for a deep healing in the broken and bleeding heart of the nation and that eyes would be opened to the truth and see Yeshua, the One who died to save them. May He appear to them in dreams and visions. Israel is always and forever His chosen people.

In the midst of these days, though it is hard to leave. I am planning a trip to New York and Florida. I will be traveling with my son, Evan and we trust that we will be a light shining in a dark place and hope to be a witness wherever we go proclaiming the truth of all that is going on. We would appreciate so very much your prayers for our safe travel, divine appointments and that we would be a blessing to friends and family and all those we meet along the way. Pray that we would return refreshed and strengthened as we continue to fight the good fight of faith in our personal lives, and for this nation and its people that we love so deeply.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement as we press on in these difficult days of birth pains. Surely, we can do all things in Messiah who strengthens us. God is good and His mercy endures forever. His plans for us are good and His ways are true. To Him be the glory forever.

With love from Zion,