Memorial Day and Independence Day
Independence Comes with a Price—Maybe that is why Israel Celebrates the Holidays Back to Back
Tonight the Siren will blare out its sound, and again at 10 am tomorrow. When Israel hears it she will stand still. The sound is to remind us of the 22,000 plus fallen soldiers who have paid the ultimate price so that we can live in safety in our own country. No matter where they are, in the market, driving on the highway, on a bus, in the kitchen, in the office, on the playing field, they will stand at attention for two minutes to honor Israel’s slain.
Memorial Day in Israel is a far cry from the Memorial Day that is commentated in the US each year. There will be no picnics, no volleyball games and no barbeques—instead all day long on the TV there will be documentaries of the lives and deaths of those who died in battle. There will be many tears on this solemn day, as families remember fathers, brothers and sons—and yes, even daughters who have died in the line of duty.
And then—amazingly, at 6PM, like magic, the entire mood of the country will change, as if someone pulled back a curtain, and cities light up, grill’s flair up and Israeli’s cheer up. This is Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day. The Israeli flag will fly and there will be concerts, festivals and street parties in nearly every city. Israel will turn 61 tomorrow.
In May 1948 British forces had had enough of the Holy Land and left. That evening, May 14th, 1948 was the hacrazat hamidina or declaration of statehood came forth from the lips of our first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion. We should not have survived, as five nations declared war against us and sent troops in to euthanize what they felt was an unjust birth. But somehow the baby fought back and with a rag tag army that was willing to fight to the death, Israel survived.
Jews from all over the world began to flock to the new state and in just the first few years, her population doubled to over 1,000,000. The Jewish Agency, in charge of bringing Jews back, authorized several daring missions to rescue oppressed Jews from nations like Yemen, Ethiopia and Iraq. Hundreds of thousands came from Morroca, Tunisia and Iran. Others came from Western Europe and the US. In the nineties over 1,000,000 Russian Jews returned home just as Jeremiah prophesied:
“However, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when men will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers.”
Ezekiel spoke of day in which Israel would be like a valley dry bones coming back to life. Truly, am yisrael chai—the people of Israel live! Of course, coming back to the Land is only a fulfillment of the first part of the prophecy—where the dry bones are form into bodies. I believe this to be the formation of the state of Israel. However the second part—where he calls the four winds of the earth to breath life into the bodies, is the coming Revival! Indeed it has already begun as there are over 100 messianic congregations in Israel today, and yet this is just a fraction of the 6,000,000 Jews who live here.
Let’s believe God, as we approach Shavuot for the second part to move into full gear!
Committed to the Messiah’s Mandate,