29 December 2015

Don't Stand By


"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." 


Elie Wiesel
Acceptance speech – The Nobel Peace Prize 1986

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) was established as an international day of remembrance by the governments of 46 countries. The theme of this year's event is 'Don't Stand By'. It is an opportunity to remember atrocities in the past while at the same time looking towards making the future a better, safer place for all people. International Holocaust Memorial Day enables us all to lead the way in resolving not to just 'stand by' when we witness the actions of hatred.

Holocaust survivors and MPs help to launch resources
for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016
In the UK, with over 3,600 local activities taking place to mark HMD, hundreds of thousands of people are able to come together with neighbours and consider their responsibilities to learn from the past in order to create a better future.

The Holocaust and subsequent genocides took place because the local populations allowed insidious persecution to take root. In a gradual, subtle way, people groups were marginalized, lied about and de-humanized in such a way that attacks on them were not questioned anymore. Whilst some people actively supported or facilitated state policies of persecution, the vast majority stood by silently – at best, afraid to speak out; at worst, indifferent. Bystanders enabled the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides to suceed.

- Find out more about the theme of HMD 2016: CLICK HERE

"The theme this year will be forward-looking with a clear call to action in the present: focusing on the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, and considering our individual responsibilities not to be bystanders to hate crime and prejudice, nor to international threats of genocide. We must ensure that the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides are not forgotten, trivialised or denied.
Vera was saved by a man who refused to stand by,
Sir Nicholas Winton rescued many children from
Nazi persecution - See more at: VERA'S STORY

The central vision of Holocaust Memorial Day is to learn from the past in order to create a safer, better future. HMD 2016 will enable people to learn about the ways in which bystanders created cultures in which genocides were able to take place, and about the rescuers and resisters who challenged this. HMD 2016 will encourage people today to consider the ways in which they can choose not to be bystanders." - Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (UK)
The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because ofthose who look on and do nothing. 
Attributed to Albert Einstein

"We should be aware of ongoing conflicts in the world which risk descending into genocide, or in which genocide is being, or may already have been, committed; with Syria and Iraq at the forefront of our minds. Holocaust Memorial Day should challenge us to consider whether we; individually, nationally, and internationally; through our governments and through NGOs; are doing enough to prevent and combat genocide. We always need to challenge ourselves to ensure we aren’t simply standing by.

Antisemitism, racism and hate crime have not gone away. And every one of us can make a difference in our own communities. We can all challenge prejudice and discrimination if we hear and see it in our schools, workplaces or civic spaces...We can all take action today for HMD 2016:
Don’t stand by."

Your People My People supports projects in Israel that help Holocaust Survivors. If you would like to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day by donating to a project in Israel CLICK HERE

If you are in the UK, and want to get involved in an HMD event in your area, CLICK HERE to find out about activities all around the United Kingdom.


18 December 2015

Yeshua Hits the Headlines in Israel

Jewish followers of Yeshua (Jesus) are a minority in Israel.  In fact, they are such a small minority that they make up only 0.2% of the population! 

At times they are ostracized and even persecuted for their faith.  So it was no small surprise to us when we heard that one of the largest media companies in Israel had approached Messianic ministry, 'One for Israel', with a proposal to present a series of programmes and internet articles about Jewish faith in Yeshua (Jesus). Israeli media giant, Walla! News, had noticed One For Israel's Hebrew language website, featuring professional videos and articles about Jewish believers in Yeshua.

The media company proposed a series of interviews between Messianic Jewish believers and a well-known Israeli actress, together with written articles exploring the topic and links to One For Israel's evangelistic website. The exposure potential was huge and 'One For Israel' jumped at this opportunity to share their faith with such a large audience.

Five episodes were filmed and the first two have already aired on Walla!'s internet media portal. "The interviews and articles about Messianic Judaism that we worked on with the Israeli media company, Walla!, were presented on the front page of their website!", shared One For Israel,

Below is a screenshot of the headline that appeared on Wallas! website. The picture of the bread and wine leads to the article and interview with Dr. Erez Soref, president of One For Israel, explaining what Messianic Jews believe.

"The teaser asks, "Is it possible to believe in both the Jewish Scriptures and the New Testament?"

Of course, our answer is "yes!"

The subheading continues, "They believe in the Jewish Scriptures but also believe that the New Testament is its natural sequel. They are persecuted, yet they are not trying to persuade people to leave their Judaism. Who is Messianic Judaism suitable for and how can we overcome prejudices about it?"

"Incredibly, this opportunity just came to us, with the media company paying for all the production and promotion of the videos and articles. It was posted at key times when there are many readers online, and the article invited people to visit our evangelistic websites with a direct link on the page. This is truly the hand of God at work, wanting Israel to know the truth about his Son."

The first two interviews that have aired already cover the following topics:

1. WHO ARE MESSIANIC JEWS, AND WHAT DO THEY BELIEVE?
(This allowed Erez to set the stage to who they are and why they believe in Yeshua)

2. WHY CAN'T YOU BUY THE NEW TESTAMENT IN ISRAELI BOOKSTORES?
(Erez was able to share some of his testimony, and to talk about the beautiful teachings of Yeshua and his message of love)

These interviews were aired on Walla! with links to more information on One For Israel's website. The remaining interviews covered three more topics that are very relevant to modern Israelis:

3. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MESSIANIC JEWS AND CATHOLICS?
(Since many Jewish people immediately think of the Inquisition and persecution when they hear the name of Jesus, this helped deal with many of the misconceptions)

4. WHY IS ISAIAH 53 NOT READ IN SYNAGOGUES?
(This allowed One For Israel to open the 'Pandora's box' of Messianic prophecies)

5. TALMUDIC LEGENDS ABOUT YESHUA
(The Jewish writings have some interesting stories about Yeshua, most of which are defamatory. One For Israel was able to challenge the truth of these myths and deal with Jewish objections to Yeshua as Messiah)


NEWS UPDATE SINCE FIRST PUBLICATION OF THIS ARTICLE:


Unfortunately there was a huge outcry from factions within the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community who see the message of Yeshua the Messiah, as a threat that attempts to steal their very souls. Just like Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, they are zealous to protect what they see as the ‘true faith’. They threatened to sue Walla! News for exposing Israelis to what they see as a heresy.

One For Israel shared that, “After the legal consultants of “Walla! News” explored the issue at depth, they came to the correct conclusion that no law was in fact violated, and they decided to re-release the videos.

“A week later, however, “Walla! News” received additional threats from Rabbinic Ultra-Orthodox representatives, threatening a major consumer boycott on “Walla! News” and its mother corporation. Consequently, “Walla! News” decided to remove the interviews from the site on Friday, the 25th of December.”

Sadly, Walla gave in to pressure from the consumer market, despite the fact that Israel is a democracy that ensures freedom of speech.

“This is a frustrating situation,” continued One For Israel. “At the same time, we are encouraged by the widespread exposure for the name of Yeshua that did take place. It is important to note that we at ONE FOR ISRAEL bear no ill feelings to those who oppose us, and we continually pray for those who attempt to persecute us. Just as the first Messianic Jews refused to keep silent about their Messiah two thousand years ago, at our ministry we do not intend to slow our pace or to silence the public discussion about Yeshua just because of persecution...Please continue to pray with us for the salvation of Israel!”

Despite the setback, we rejoice with One For Israel that two of the interviews did air and many Israelis would have been able to hear about Messianic Jews and their faith in the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). We pray that seeds that were planted will bear fruit and that many will be drawn to revisit the evangelistic websites and ask questions.

We pray that many Israelis will receive their Messiah and that  “all Israel will be saved!”

If you would like to support those who are sharing the Gospel in Israel, please click here!