We begin this day with a morning visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and education center in Jerusalem. We meet Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, the executive director of Christina friends of¬†Yad Vashem, and her assistant¬†Shavit.
They arrange a top guide for our visit to the museum. We follow a path through¬†the main museum that takes us from the ridicule and marginalization of the Jews in Europe to the systematic murder of men, women, and children without conscience.¬†It’s a hard lesson today but one worth considering as not far from here Christians¬†are being dehumanized and killed in¬†similar fashion.
It has been said that you cannot understand Israel without understanding the Holocaust.¬†It forever the way Israelis think about things such as their security.¬†The Shoah or, the Holocaust may be a subject in the history books for some, but for the people of Israel its a real sorrow they bear.
They say you know that a war is over when the people come home. After WWII¬†the Americans went back to the U.S. The Brits to England. The Aussie to Australia, but where did the Jews go? As they stumbled out of the death camps, they could not go back to their previous homes,¬†because as they were either gone or had been seized. Many survivors of the Holocaust¬†were taken to¬†other countries¬†like Canada and the U.S.¬†But many others wanted to return to their ancient homeland.
Their struggle continues to this day. Israel became an¬†independent state in 1948/ Five Arab nations have tried¬†to destroy it, but Israel survives just as the Jewish people survives. Over the centuries,¬†nineteen empires¬†sought their destruction and the destruction of the God they believed in,¬†¬†and the sacred writings they preserved.
The next stop on our tour today is the military base at Latrun. Here we view a memorial to the¬†struggle of the Jewish people. Here we see many tanks and learn a bit more about the many battles for this land.¬†Before we leave, we pray at the memorial¬†wall for the families of fallen soldiers, and we give our guide¬†and other IDF soldiers we encounter Psalm 91¬†bandannas.
It’s been another incredible day in Israel.
On our way back to Jerusalem we stop at Ben¬†Yehuda Street . We take the test of the afternoon to walk¬†amoung the shops and soak in life in Jerusalem.