Today (May 1, 2003) in Israel marked the yearly Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here are some notes on this day’s activities, which give a certain “snapshot” of the strange life here in the “holy land”:
I. Survivors Rescued by Christian Families
On television, there was a special documentary with IDF General Yossi Peled, who was brought back to Belgium and Poland to investigate his survival from the Holocaust. In his case and as in the case of many others, he was saved because a family, in this case a Belgian Christian family, took him in and hid him for six years until the threat subsided.
He did not know his real parents and considered the “adopting” Christian family as his own. He went to church and thought he was a Christian until the war ended and he found out the truth. After the war he immigrated to Israel. It is surprising to find out how many leaders in Israel today, who were Holocaust survivors, passed those years as a secret part of a Christian family.
II. Abu Mazen
Abu Mazen’s government in the Palestinian Authority was sworn in on this very day, Holocaust Remembrance day. Abu Mazen wrote a doctoral thesis on the subject that the Holocaust did not really happen, but was just an invention of “Zionist” propaganda. Abu Mazen announced that he is against terrorism because it is not strategically helpful to the Palestinian cause of liberation.
III. Terrorist Attack
On this same day, a Hamas suicide bomber entered into a nightclub, “Mike’s Place” located on the beach in Tel Aviv, just a few doors from the American Embassy. He blew himself up, killing 4 and wounding 50.
IV. The “Messiah” Arrested
An ultra-Orthodox man, age thirty, father of three, by the name of Ophir Ben Arush, was arrested today. He claimed to be the Messiah. He was arrested for 12 cases of arson, having set fire to synagogues and wig shops. Why?
The ultra-Orthodox viewpoint is that women’s hair is a temptation to lust of the eyes. Women are required to cover their hair with a head covering. In the Sephardic view, that covering must be with a cloth. In the Ashkenazic view, that covering can be either with a cloth or with a wig.
The Sephardic hold that the wigs of the Ashkenazi are just as visually sensual as natural hair, and that therefore cannot be considered as a head covering. The sin of wearing a sensuous wig is considered by some so serious that it causes lust in the eyes and hearts of the men of the city, and thus PREVENTS THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH.
Therefore, Mr. Ben Arush, who considers himself to be the Messiah, felt it his duty to burn down these wig stores in order to purify the city for his appearance. Burning down the Ashkenazic synagogues was an attempt to persuade the Ashkenazic rabbis to pass a “halachic” law forbidding their members from wearing the wigs.
Mr Ben Arush did not resist his arrest, saying that he would be like Joseph in Egypt going to jail, and that he would soon be released and show himself to be the Messiah. However, he said that before his appearance as the Messiah, he would have to raise from the dead Ophra Haza, a beautiful Israeli pop music singer who died of AIDS a couple of years ago, as well as Zohar Argov, a popular male singer who recently died in a drug overdose that may have been a suicide.
In the synagogues that were set on fire, a few Torah scrolls that had survived the Nazis and were brought to Israel, were destroyed.
V. General Strike
Finally on this Holocaust Remembrance day, a total national strike of all union workers in the public sector, was declared. This strike virtually shuts down the nation, including all airport facilities, trash removal, schools, hospitals, welfare, banks, mail, government offices… everything.
The strike represents what may be the last great battle between two economic ideologies. The first is the labor oriented, somewhat socialist background of the Histadrut (Israeli labor union) headed by Amir Perez. The second is the more free market capitalist approach, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, currently serving as the head of the treasury department.
The two sides have been accusing one another for the disastrous state of the Israeli economy, although the main problem is that two and a half years of Intifada has cut off all tourism and foreign investment in Israel, causing a chain effect of bankruptcies, unemployment, tax deficit, etc.
In a positive scenario, the strike could spell the downfall of the socialist labor economists, opening up the country to real free enterprise, right at a time where the Intifada will be ended, and a new period of investment and economic growth will begin.
In a negative scenario, the strike could push the Israeli economy over the brink and cause a collapse of the banking system, the government and the stock market, before any cease fire or economic growth can have a chance to get started.
Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.
He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.
Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.