It is incredible that Eastern European Jewry survived in the light of the pogroms in addition to being systematically brutalised and slaughtered, Jewish people were forced to live in designated areas. The Fiddler on the Roof was a clever production still popular amongst a wide audience today with its winsome humour despite living under a hostile regime. This helpfully enables the story to be communicated and not forgotten.
The holocaust was a sad and tragic event and the alarm bells sounded prior to the event, but who was listening? A third of Jewry was killed during WWII. Boycotting of Jewish business and extensive propaganda were the early signs. When Jewish people were forced into ghettos, they could be more easily transported to concentration camps. Thankfully, there are memorial events held across the UK and a few survivors remain to give first- hand accounts to a post-modern society which is painfully ignorant of world history. Auschwitz and Yad Vashem have carefully documented these atrocities too.
Though there had been a small number of Jewish people in what was then known as ‘Palestine’ early settlers arrived at the end of the 19th century and thereafter. At that time, the land was not desirable in terms of the desert and swamp conditions plus the risk of malaria. Israel was re-established as a Nation State on May 14th, 1948. For how long would they experience peace? The War of Independence started immediately and as a small number of people with limited training and provisions, Israel was immediately forced to defend itself. This was not just from the Palestinians, but also the armies of Egyptian, Syria, Lebanon. Jordan and Iraq.
In 1956, the Sinai Campaign or Operation Kadesh, reminiscent of Numbers 13:26 fought to end terrorist activity in Israel in addition to the Egyptian blockade of Eilat, which is a strategic port and the only Israeli port on the Red Sea. In 1967, the six- day war was again like history being repeated when Joshua walked around the city of Jericho in Joshua 6:1-27. In 1973, the Yom Kippur War , was another cowardly and awfully timed attack on Israel, yet Israel amazingly survived.
Today the United Nations has systematically and disproportionately singled out Israel, portraying her as an aggressive occupier and seemingly fails to consider that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and at times turns a blind eye to actual atrocities. Boycotting of Israeli products has happened in some retail stores and especially supermarkets in Britain, yet the Jewish people and Israel survive. History repeats itself. Could it be that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has preserved His people? We would do well to take heed and seriously consider what the Bible says.
What does the Bible say about the survival of the Jewish people?
I spoke with a Jewish Atheist who acknowledged that the preservation of the Jewish people is a ‘miracle’. In Genesis 17:8-9, God promised Abraham’s descendants a land as an everlasting possession through an unconditional covenant that was itself everlasting. That covenant went through the line of Isaac (Genesis 17:9). Ishmael was also blessed, but he would beget twelve princes and become a great nation (Genesis 17:10-11). Israel, Egypt, and Assyria will be at peace in future days yet still to come (Isaiah 19:18-25).
If that was not clear enough, Jeremiah 31:35-37 explains explicitly that if the sun, moon stars and waves of the sea depart from their ordinances then the nation of Israel will cease from being a nation. They remain and God has not forsaken Israel. In Romans 11:1-2a, the apostle Paul said, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I am also an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people who He foreknew.”
But there is also a warning for those who refuse to love Israel whom God loves and seek her harm. Zechariah 2:8 states, “For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.” Additionally, in Genesis 12:3, God will bless those who bless Abraham’s descendants and curse those who curse his descendants.
Let us close with Psalm 124
Psalm 124 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Lord the Defense of His People
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
124 “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—
2 “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
When men rose up against us,
3 Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us;
4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
The stream would have gone over our soul;
5 Then the swollen waters
Would have gone over our soul.”
6 Blessed be the Lord,
Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.