PAUSING TO REMEMBER... MOVING ON TO CELEBRATE
To those outside Israel, these are probably the most peculiar 48 hours in the entire year... The first twenty-four - Israel mourns, remembering fallen soldiers and victims of terror. The second twenty-four - we celebrate our Independence Day - this year Israel's 65th Birthday.
However, to Israelis - there's nothing strange about it! After all, it's because of all the people who gave their lives so that we might have this freedom and future, that we can celebrate. And remembering and thanking them just before the celebration is as natural as can be.
Merely a week after Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Memorial Day is truly full of weeping and mourning. While there are less and less Holocaust survivors each year, the number of soldiers and civillians killed in our struggle for survival continues to grow. Every one in Israel either has a loved one who died in one of Israel's many wars, or knows someone whose loved one who died. This is the day when hundreds of thousands will be visiting graves or memorials, turning back to memories - good and bad, many, wondering what life could be like if only the tragedy could be averted.
Each year, hundreds of stories are told about brave young soldiers who were taken away too soon. While the sirens are sounding loud across the country, and we put everything aside and stand for two minutes, one can't help but think about these children of Israel, seeing their faces, feeling sad for their parents, wives, children...
And then the evening of the second day will be drawing near. Kids will get out of school early, and stores will close, and for a while you will get that feeling as if Shabbat is coming... streets will get emptier and quieter as people will go home to get some rest before the celebration.
As the night falls, that emptiness quickly disappears and the streets fill up with multitudes. In every city, stages have already been built and now music plays and everything in between will be happening on every corner. Vendors with balloons, special independence knick-knacks and lots (LOTS!) of restaurants will serve their customers as fast as they possibly can. Firework budgets run wild on Independence Day, and they are spectacular!
Israelis will party tonight into the wee hours of the morning, and tomorrow millions will flood the national forests and parks for a traditional "al' ha'esh" (on the fire) grilling. This is the day to spend time with family and friends.
Yes, we go all out to celebrate Israel's birthday every year. After all, Israel, probably more than any other nation on earth, knows not to take our existence for granted. In fact, her struggle is one of thousands of years.
So while we remember the fallen and then celebrate this year, we pray that the Lord will safeguard our country. That He will shine His love on us. That He will show our people His Son in all of His glory. That this will be the acceptable year of the Lord, the year of His favor... when all Israel is saved.
Happy 65th Birthday, Israel!
Special Independence Day Edition of Maoz Podcast
Episode 10 is a special edition of the podcast, celebrating Israel's 65th birthday.
Chaim guest-hosts this episode, presenting a very special interview with David and Leah Ortiz, Israeli Messianic Jews whose son was critically injured by a bomb disguised as a gift that was planted at their apartment.
This interview was taken following the sentencing of Jack Teitel, the man who left the bomb at their home, targeting them because of their Messianic Jewish faith. You’ll hear how their family is doing today, after the bombing and the trial.
Also in this episode is Ron Cantor's special interview with the Maoz Israel co-founder and CEO Ari Sorko-Ram, focusing on Maoz Israel Ministries and how it all started.
Amazing Video: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force
There's just one more thing we wanted to share with you as we celebrate Israel's birthday. This video is absolutely a must-see, and we know you will enjoy it!
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GOD BLESSES ISRAEL TODAY AND FOREVER!