Originally, this book was published as two separate books though once started it is a difficult book to put down. ZVI was separated from his parents at the tender age of ten during World War II whilst in Warsaw. He was forced to conceal his Jewish identity and used his wits, courage, and resourcefulness to survive and eventually settle in Israel. Elwood McQuaid thoughtfully writes in his introduction, “Zvi is the biography of a man who, like his nation, Israel, defies explanation apart from God. His story, in the early stages is reminiscent of the book of Esther in the Bible-God is not consciously represented, yet He is obviously present and at work.”
After surviving the horrors of Hitler’s regime, Zvi had to endure the anguish of searching for his family and travelling around Europe in an effort to find them. Even the journey to Israel was perilous as he boarded an overburdened and overcrowded ship which had to be balanced with people carefully to ensure it did not sink. Storms and a tempest ensured and many travel- sick passengers saw days turning into weeks. As they neared their intended destination, they were disappointingly picked up by British patrol boats and temporarily taken to Cyprus. The turning point was when Israel obtained her statehood and Zvi made preparation for his new home.
Life in Israel
Yet as soon as Israel became re-established as a nation, she was attacked immediately. Man makes his plans though God directs his paths. At the outset of his arrival, Zvi met a believer who explained that in the days of Joshua, God had granted His people a miracle and a great victory. It was slowly dawning upon Zvi and to the reader that his story would be more than one person’s fight to survive despite the odds stacked against him. As he pondered upon the series of events leading up to this, the first step in his spiritual awakening was a humble recognition of the existence of God and his dependence upon Him.
Zvi put himself at great risk by working with mines. This would mean that he would not get a second chance if he made a mistake and it would require his full concentration to save the lives of others. Zvi worked patiently and methodically though some of his friends died during army service. Zvi needed answers and he started reading a Bible to find those answers and to become thoroughly acquainted with Hebrew. Zvi took great comfort from the Psalms and could relate to David’s experiences when many times his life was in danger through no fault of his own.
Life with Messiah
Shortly afterwards, he met a Swiss lady who insisted on giving him a New Testament written in Hebrew. Zvi read insatiably and wherever he went, he took his little black book with him. He was greatly impressed by Jesus; by His compassion and ministry and how He had suffered and why He had to suffer. It was a courageous step for Zvi to enter a meeting hall with Jewish believers in Yeshua the Messiah, though it would alter the course of his life forever as He came to trust in Yeshua, as His Lord and Saviour.
His new faith came with an inevitable cost. Zvi was an industrious and reliable worker though his foreman at the construction site sacked him on the spot when he enquired as to why Zvi was so joyful. One of his close friends was shocked when Zvi explained what his faith meant to him though they maintained a pledge to remain friends. Before Zvi married, he took his wife to be, along to many meetings and she also came to faith before they decided to marry. Their family would face persecution for their faith in God.
Zvi began sharing his faith at every opportunity and especially after the Yom Kippur War. Learning and studying the Scriptures helped him to be able to respond to many questions that people asked. Zvi was also able to demonstrate how Passover points towards the gospel and that Jesus is the Passover Lamb who takes away the sin of the world and provides atonement through His one sacrifice. Just like the afikomen, Yeshua’s body was broken, wrapped in grave clothes, hidden in a tomb, and brought forth in resurrection.
Sadly, many in Israel attempted to stop Zvi and others from sharing their faith. There was a tragic misunderstanding of equating Hitler’s Germany with Christendom. This perception is not surprising considering the magnitude of Jewish suffering received at the hands of those claiming to represent Christianity over two millennia in the early church, crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition. Nonetheless Hitler’s regime was a distorted perversion of the truth and could not have been further from the truth. Hitler’s ideas and actions were evil, tyrannical, Anti-Semitic and against true Biblical Christianity. The most wholehearted supporters of Israel and the Jewish people are undoubtedly evangelical Christians.
Life after death
Zvi’s family would also witness for the Lord and they discovered that many people are more open to talk about spiritual matters than we might initially think. Some people will not listen, but others will. It is of vital importance that people hear the gospel since only Yeshua can forgive sin, reconcile us to God and give us assurance of heaven and save us from hell. He is the perfect judge and we need to have things put right with Him and be made righteous before Him before Judgement Day. We would be wise to consider how we arrived, what we are doing, and where we are going. The Lord Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and the King of the Jews and the whole world is the way, the truth, and the life.
Zvi passed away in 2004, though his writings continue to be published and impact many lives. In the magazine ‘Israel My Glory’, the back two pages recall his conversations with various folk over many years. He had a special gift of being able to bring the conversation round to the most important thing in life, knowing God. He was an able communicator and explained in a simple yet profound way, how He came to faith and how we can have our sins forgiven and find peace with God.