David HaLevy, FISM News Contributor
Yom HaShoah, better known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, is being observed by many Jews and non-Jews around the globe today. Every year in Israel a siren blares and everyone stops where they are. They stand still and silent for 2 minutes. Those driving vehicles stop their car and get out to observe the moment.
As a Jew, there has never been a time in my life when I don’t remember knowing about the Holocaust. It is something every Jewish person lives with. Those in my generation have all have personally known a Holocaust victim or have family who is a Holocaust victim.
The current war in Ukraine has sparked much discussion in Jewish circles as to what role the State of Israel should take in helping Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskyy is himself Jewish. The Jewish people have long had a presence in Ukraine going back hundreds of years before its official inception in 1991 and it is the fourth largest Jewish stronghold in Europe. So as Russian forces invaded Ukraine and continue to leave wakes of death behind them, the motto “Never Again” in reference to Jewish genocide, seems to be beating down the door of the Defense Ministers’ office in Jerusalem.
Israel is in a very difficult position. Long before Russian forces invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin began warning Israel not to strike Syrian forces to its north. The Kremlin also publicly proclaimed that the Golan Heights, which Israel gained in the 1967 six-day war, was, Syrian territory to which Israel had no right.
This type of language, which declared Israel’s legal sovereign territory as not being legitimate, is the exact same language used by Russia in reference to the Crimea and Ukraine’s existence in general. We have seen Putin’s fervor for a reunified Soviet state lead to the death of thousands and the destruction and displacement of millions in Ukraine. Will his language about the Golan Heights lead to a similar affair? No matter how Israel reacts, it seems to be a lose-lose situation.
Israel knows that defending Ukraine with weapons that would eliminate the possibility for Russia to effectively fly planes or rockets over Ukrainian airspace, would poke the Russian Bear into turning its teeth towards the Jewish State. Recently the Kremlin accused Israel of provoking war with Russia by sending flak jackets and first aid to Ukrainian medical workers. Imagine what actual weapons might provoke.
Russia’s alliance with Syria will only lead to an eventual conflict between the two nuclear states. Israel will not allow its annihilation and has always used its policy of preemptive strikes to ensure its survival.
The prophet Ezekiel prophesied of a war between great armies of the north headed by a principality named Gog, which some believe to be Russia.
Much has been debated and written about this passage. Some say this is the war of Armageddon as seen in John’s Apocalypse. However, an in-depth study of the nations involved, its duration, and its aftermath have led many to surmise that this is a regional war with very specific players.
Let us take a brief look at the war of Gog and Magog’s points of interest.
- War between Israel and a great army from the far reaches of the north. Gog who is the leader of this campaign is allied with modern-day Iran, Syria, Turkey, and possibly Sudan/Libya, Algeria/Tunisia, and even the British Isles.
- No Arab nations are involved which, would be the first such war since Israel’s modern birth in 1948. This is amazing considering the Abraham Accords recently paved the way for Israel’s former Arab enemies to become its friends (at least on paper)
- It is supernaturally started and stopped by God himself. Many believe that this will be a nuclear war. I am unconvinced for several reasons, but the primary is as follows: God is the central actor in the passage who uses natural phenomena and supernatural phenomena to stop the armies of the invaders in the mountains of Israel’s north. The inhabitants of the land clearly see God as its Savior and not man’s military might.
- There is a seven-year-long cleanup of the aftermath of this war. Israel can use the spoils of war for many years and there are so many dead that special people are hired to bury the dead which takes several years.
- Why don’t I believe this is the war of Armageddon like some believe? The general description of the war in the text is very different from what we see in the war in the book of Revelation.
Many scholars see Russia as the leading faction against Israel in the war of Gog and Magog. I believe this to be the most likely scenario due to textual clues. However, it is clear that the Lord is the motivating factor in the instigation and termination of this war.
In light of this, Israel doesn’t need to do anything to provoke Russia to attack it. The Lord will be the one to do this as He is “Against you oh Gog chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”(Ez. 39:1) and will bring this war about as a judgment on those nations he has seen fit for judgment.
Above all, we must take comfort in the fact that God keeps his promises to Israel. Because of his track record in doing so, all those who trust in the Jewish Messiah Yeshua/Jesus of Nazareth can rest in the reality that he keeps his promises to you as well.
On this Holocaust Remembrance Day pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. We are hated by most, protected by few, and need the salvation of our Messiah. Be blessed.
David HaLevy is a Jewish Texan/American Israeli, Christian apologist, and Founder/Director of Builders of Israel