Yad Vashem and Israeli Ministry of Interior have contradicting definitions for the question who is a Jew
Margarita Kishnav (a pseudonym) arrived in Israel in 2016, to connect with her Jewish heritage and officially commemorate the memory of her Jewish grandfather, Hans-Walter Hirschberg, a German citizen who was a member of the resistance during World War II. He undermined the Nazi regime and courageously helped save many Jews. Margarita approached our law firm in order to assist her in the process of contacting Yad Vashem in order to perpetuate his memory and to arrange her status in Israel vis-a-vis the Ministry of the Interior as the granddaughter of Righteous Among the Nations.
Walter Hirschberg – his life and work
Walter was born as a Jew, but lived most of his life as a faithful Christian. Today we might refer to him as a Messianic Jew, but at the time his preferred term for his denomination was probably a Christian or Evangelical Jew. In those days, many young German Jews chose to convert, either due to honest belief or a desire to advance in an anti-Semitic society. When the Nazis came to power, many Jewish families chose to save their children by delivering them to Christian friends for hiding. Some of these children discovered their Jewish roots as adults, long after WWII was over, and made Aliyah to Israel.
Mr. Hirschberg succeeded to advance in German society – reaching a senior position in the Berlin municipal attorney’s office – but he never forgot his connection to Judaism. He used his connections at the prosecutor’s office to save Jews who would certainly have been sent to the extermination camps without his aid. He helped Jews to fake passports, alter documents, and even cross the border into neutral countries in Europe. Walter did not limit his actions solely to saving Jews – he was part of an international resistance movement that operated against both the Nazis in Germany and the Fascists in Italy. His political views and his moral outlook convinced him that action must be taken to both save the innocents and strike against the murderous criminals.
Mr. Hirschberg was captured by the Nazi regime because of his past support for leftist politics and his resistance activities, rather than his Jewish heritage. He was sent to the Theresienstadt extermination camp in 1944. The testimonies of the survivors present him as a man who did not lose his courage, composure, and sense of empathy even in the darkest hour. He led the Lutheran Church in the camp, providing spiritual support as well as physical assistance to his fellow inmates. He himself survived World War II, described his experience in the camps in his memoirs, and actively participated in bringing the Nazi criminals to justice for their crimes.
Legal status in Israel for descendants of Righteous Among the Nations
Grandchildren of Righteous Among the Nations have the legal right to receive temporary residency status in Israel on the basis of a permit from Yad Vashem. Margarita wanted to perpetuate the memory of her grandfather as a Righteous Among the Nations as a matter of principle, regardless of practical implications.
Our law office contacted Yad Vashem with documents and testimonies about Walter Hirschberg’s impressive story, showing conclusive evidence that Walter was a member of the resistance, a rescuer of Jews, and a victim of Nazi oppression. Testimonies collected by officers of the Red Army, who had liberated the camp, as well as evidence submitted by fellow survivors who owed him their lives, proved the veracity of the story without question.
However, all these documents were dismissed as irrelevant by the Holocaust Martyrs ‘and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority. Jews – even Jews who converted to Christianity and are no longer considered Jews by the State of Israel – cannot be Righteous Among the Nations. The title “Righteous Among the Nations” is reserved only for gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
Meanwhile Margarita’s request for Aliyah was responded by Ministry of Interior officials, stating that according to the Law of Return and Supreme Court rulings in Israel, the descendants of a Jew who converted to Christianity are not entitled to make Aliyah.
The result was utterly absurd. On the one hand, Margarita is not entitled to immigrate to Israel because she is considered by the Ministry of Interior to be a granddaughter of a Christian. On the other hand, Yad Vashem does not recognize him as a Righteous Among the Nations because he is considered to be a Jew. We would be happy to appeal this decision, but Margarita was so disappointed she decided to leave Israel.
Immigration to Israel should be open for Jews of all creeds and denominations
The Nazi attempt to annihilate the entire Jewish people did not discriminate between Jews. The Nazis sought to eliminate Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, Orthodox and Reform Jews, atheist and Christian Jews. The State of Israel and Yad Vashem include among the 6 million Jews who were victims of the Holocaust those who would not have been allowed to immigrate to Israel and become citizens by the Ministry of Interior these days.
Anyone who is familiar with the history of the question “who is a Jew”, may be reminded of “Brother Daniel”. Shmuel Rufeisen was also born as a Jew, was given to a Christian family at a tender age, and grew up to become a Catholic priest who risked his life to save Jews during World War II. In the well-known High Court of Justice case, from 1962, it was decided by a majority verdict that he had no right to make Aliyah to Israel.
Eventually, Brother Daniel received the right to live in Israel as a permanent resident, rather than the right to immigrate to Israel and acquire citizenship under the Law of Return. It is possible that Margarita would have been given some status had we taken the case to court. But that would change things for an individual appellant, rather than cause a reconsideration of the absurd and infuriatingly Kafkaesque standards as a whole. There is no doubt that the State of Israel is required to do a sincere soul-searching regarding the way it decides to define and limit Judaism, even for heroes from previous generations.
Advocate Joshua Pex is a partner at Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law firm in Jerusalem. He specializes in immigration to Israel.
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Health update on Pastor Santoro
As I reported in the last update, the results of the MRI which I took in October was very positive. At my most recent doctor’s appointment this past week, the oncologist said that this was the best MRI I have had in a year! There was no evidence of the cancer! The doctor always assures me that it will certainly come back but we praise God that it is gone today and by his all powerful grace and all of our prayers, it will never come back. Amen!
As a result of all that my brain has endured and continues to go through- the two surgeries and treatments including this current one that I take every three weeks, there has been damage, especially in the memory area. We are believing that healing includes not only the eradication of the cancer but a restoration of all that has been lost. God is able to give back what the locusts have eaten! Please stand with us in agreement for total restoration of every damaged part.
We are forever grateful for each day that He has given us and we look forward to many more in which to serve him and bring forth his Kingdom in this nation.
The Amazing Good Works of God
It was August, 2015 that I originally became aware that something was not right in my brain. The scripture declares that our God works all things together for the good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. In those days, as Satan endeavored to destroy me, God worked to bring a wonderful new reality filled with good fruit into my being.
For the first time, I had to deal with the reality that my life on this earth might be finished shortly and that the time to go home could be coming upon me. As I spent time pondering these two realities, I came to see that either would be an incredible blessing. To live in and with Messiah, either in this world or in heaven were both wonderful. Although I was able to accept leaving, I also knew that my heart was to stay and so I chose life. By God’s grace, as I did this, I came into a new place in God. Both Jackie and I began a journey of faith, growing in the knowledge of his heart of love and in his goodness, which manifests in his desire to heal us and our part in cooperating with him on this path.
I came to know that His life and power within me can destroy the work of the enemy. The doctors still say that the cancer will kill me soon but we stand in our God and proclaim a mighty NO! I will not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.
I share all this to say to you that those of us who love God are locked into battles with the devil. I want to encourage you today that no matter what you are fighting, God is with you and there is only victory as we trust in him. We all face challenges but the overcoming power that is ours in Yeshua is far greater. Turn to him. Trust in him and He will make a way for you. Trust in His infinite power and love. We may lose a battle but ultimate victory has been given to all of us who believe. In Yeshua, we win! Apply this reality in your life. You will not be disappointed!
This article originally appeared in Zion’s Glory Update, December 2, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Eddie and his wife, Jackie, are senior leaders of Ahavat Yeshua Messianic Congregation in Jerusalem and also serve in positions of senior leadership in Revive Israel.
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How I was saved and called by God to make aliyah (Part 1)
Knowing that many Jewish people may read this article, I have decided to write my story on how I was saved, and later why I made aliyah to Israel in 1995. I write this especially for the many unsaved Jewish people, to share how I, as an American Jew came to know Yeshua as the real Messiah and my Savior when I was 29. I am now age 75, and I have lived in Jerusalem since 1998.
My parents were both first generation American Jews born from Russian Jewish parents. Neither of my parents believed in God. God was never mentioned in my home, nor the name Jesus except as a curse word. A few times while I was growing up my parents would take us four children to different relatives homes to have a Passover seder. As a secular Jew growing up in Chicago, I knew almost nothing about my Jewish history or about Jewish religion.
Then in the spring of 1973 at age 29, I picked a Bible for the first time in my life, and I took it home to read. I began reading from Genesis. Suddenly a Scripture came alive off the pages of that Bible into my heart with the most wonderful and incredible love of God, like an ocean of love. And I just cried, and cried, and cried. I had never experienced such love like this in all my whole life. And so I couldn’t put that Bible down, and continued reading it day and night. After a while of having these wonderful daily experiences of divine love, I knew it was God from Heaven who was making His Words of Scripture come alive from off the pages of that bible and into my heart with this divine love. And this experience of those Scriptures coming alive with Love kept on continuing every day. Those Scriptures which came alive from the Bible pages with God’s Love were all the Old Covenant Messianic Scripture prophesies about the coming Messiah of Israel.
And this experience of God’s divine Love happening to me continued for the next three months. And during that time I lived and walked in a most wonderful and amazing dimension not of this world, that seemed like ecstasy, perhaps something of Heaven.
It was only the God of Israel who made those Scriptures about our Messiah come alive from off the pages of the Bible, and into my heart with His divine Love every day for about three months.
Later during that time God directed me to also begin reading the first four books of the New Covenant … Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I soon discovered that Jesus, Yeshua, in the New Covenant is the One who is the fulfillment of all those Messianic prophetic Scripture prophesies of the Old Covenant which had come alive with God’s wonderful divine Love. And then I gave my life to Yeshua, repenting of all my sins, and was saved by God’s Word and by His Holy Spirit in 1973.
One day, later during those three months, Yeshua spoke to me, as He planted three divine Living Words deep into my soul, while I was reading from the 21st Chapter of the book of John. Yeshua said to me, “Feed My Sheep!” And I said to Him, “Yes, Lord!” (John 21:17)
My life was changed forever, never to be the same.
It was the God of Israel who made His Words come alive from the Bible concerning His promised Messiah, Yeshua, proving to me, and also to thousands of other Jews that Yeshua is truly God’s Messiah, the Savior of our Jewish people. The Israeli government has passed unrighteous laws to deny to many Jews who believe in Yeshua their God given rights to make aliyah, to return to Israel, God’s promised Land. What can we do to change this situation?
The Israeli government has closely followed Orthodox religious Jews, who deny their Messiah Yeshua, and have left the Tanakh as their main study, instead primarily studying an Oral Law. Religious Jews believe that God gave Moses both the divine written Word and also a divine Oral Law at Mount Sinai. But God’s written Word in the Tanakh explicitly commands not changing God’s written Word. So many Israeli’s have become deceived by Jewish oral religious tradition, and have left the Word of God, putting their primary focus on an Oral Law. Therefore is it not surprising that Israeli Orthodox religious Jews cannot see, or perhaps even refuse to see Yeshua as their true Messiah and Savior, found repeatedly in their Hebrew Holy Scriptures.
Rejecting God’s written Word will blind you from seeing Truth.
I have found over 225 places in the Tahakh where our Jewish Messiah can easily be seen in the prophesies. What can be done to help our Jewish people see the Truth about their Jewish Messiah?
After I got my Israeli citizenship in 1995, and made Aliyah, and moved to Israel in 1998, one day the Holy Spirit directed me to take those many Messianic Scriptures that God had made come alive with Love off the pages of the Bible, and put them into little 12 page brochures. The first one was done in English, using the top 70 most important Old Covenant prophetic Scriptures about the Messiah. These brochures were made to be freely handed out. The next was done in Hebrew, using the 86 most important Messianic Scriptures taken from the Jewish Orthodox Hebrew Tanakh. These free brochures now go out as handouts to many people in Israel for Israeli’s to just study the Word of God from their own Scriptures. They are now available free in 15 different languages, in the main languages which Jewish people have been returning home to Israel.
These brochures are now in English, Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Ukrainian and now also in Amharic (Ethiopian). These brochures are all available free on my website, to download as PDF files, and to send out to others.
My website is www.FeedMySheepJerusalem.com
Also for almost 40 years my hobby has been nature photography, where I take great photos that God has given me, and then combine each photo with the bible Scripture that God has shown me to use.
God has taught me that this is an excellent way to both help people and also to fight our enemy with God’s Creation and His Holy Word.
There are now over 300 choices of these great Scripture nature photographs that God has given me, in nine different categories on the website, all free to download and send out to others, to help encourage believers in their walk with the Lord. Here are just a few samples of this work.
RIchard has served the Lord full-time from Jerusalem since 1998, having made Aliyah to Israel in 1995. He been a writer for the Lord Yeshua since 1982. All of his books, including the newest one, ‘King Priest Yeshua from the Seed of David and Aaron’, along with other writings are free to read and download from his website.
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Builder of Noah’s Ark replica hopes to sail it to Israel
JERUSALEM, Israel – Dutch Christian businessman Johan Huibers plans to sail his life-size replica of Noah’s Ark to Israel, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported last week.
Huibers completed the four-year project – built to the exact specifications in Genesis 6 – in 2012, raising the $5 million needed for its construction. He had hoped to sail it to Israel not long after its completion, but Israel was dealing with massive wildfires at the time so the plan was postponed.
CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell traveled to Holland several years ago to interview Huibers.
Though the ark quickly became a popular tourist attraction in southern Holland along the Maas River, Huibers says it belongs in Israel.
“My preferred destination for the ark is Israel,” he told JTA. “I love the land, I love the country, I love the people.”
Huibers said he believes the Bible verbatim, that is, word for word.
“It may sound scary, but I believe everything written in this book, cover to cover,” he told JTA, pointing to a Dutch translation of the Hebrew Bible. “This [the ark] is a copy of God’s ship. It only makes sense to take it to God’s land.”
According to the report, Huibers needs to raise $1.3 million to hire tugboats for the voyage because the ark has no motor of its own. Earlier, he’d considered sailing it to Brazil, but those plans didn’t materialize.
The 60-year-old businessman, who made his fortune building storage units, told JTA he got the idea in 1993 after reading a story about Noah to his children.
Huibers and a crew of seven amateur carpenters built the 390-foot-long, 75-foot-high structure in just four years.
“We had a butcher, a hairdresser and a teacher working here,” he said, definitely not professional boat makers.
Huibers hopes his replica of Noah’s Ark will help people understand that God is real, “to show people that God exists.” He says we’re living in the end times though many people aren’t aware of it.
Born five years after the North Sea flood in 1959, which killed some 2,000 people, Huibers believes there will be more flooding in the future, but that’s not why he built it.
“Maybe it will, who knows, but my survival is not its purpose,” he said. Rather it’s meant to educate people and strengthen their belief in God.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, November 26, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.
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Protecting the future of Israel: Pro-life organization saves lives
It was during her third pregnancy when Elana felt she was slowly fading into hopelessness.
After being abused by the father of her first child, then forced to abort her second baby by the father’s family, she was now pregnant with yet another man who had no interest in taking care of her or their unborn child.
She was not ready to go through the trauma of abortion again, so she turned to her friends for advice.
Miraculously, an acquaintance introduced her to Sandy Shoshani, director of Be’ad Chaim, a pro-life organization headquartered in Jerusalem.
Be’ad Chaim is dedicated to protecting both the mother and the child in their quest to stop abortion in Israel and raise public awareness on the sanctity of life from conception.
With offices and hotlines throughout Israel, Be’ad Chaim provides practical resources, training and emotional support for pregnant women, including homeless and single mothers considering abortion – just like Elana.
Sandy with her staff and volunteers want to come alongside mothers who lost all hope and speak life to them.
Invited to encourage Elana and provide her with basic supplies, Sandy ended up playing a pivotal role in making sure that the neglected woman safely delivered her baby and took care of it. But Sandy knew that the young mother needed more than just purchased goods.
Aside from protecting the unborn life, Be’ad Chaim also brings counsel and healing to those hurting from PAS (post abortion syndrome), and supplies practical needs for mothers who choose to keep their babies.
When Elana first came to know Be’ad Chaim, she was withdrawn and skeptical. It took one very important conference – on healing after abortion – to change her disposition dramatically.
Today she is confident and optimistic, and serves as a counselor at Be’ad Chaim, meeting with young women who seek help just like she did a few years prior.
It is estimated that one in every five pregnancies in Israel results in abortion.
These alarming statistics are fueled by expedited abortions done by young girls in the mandatory military service.
If a woman gets pregnant during her service and opts to keep her child, she is dishonorably discharged and left without any support.
Be’ad Chaim is currently facilitating a specialized program called Operation Moses, designed to support the pregnant women who decide to keep their babies and sponsors them for a year.
On behalf of their sponsors, the mother and the child receive necessary supplies, including formula, diapers, wipes, stroller, crib and more.
Learn More: http://www.beadchaim.com/
This article originally appeared on FIRM and reposted with permission.
FIRM (Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries) is a global fellowship of Biblically-grounded believers committed to cultivating Messiah-centered relationships that bless the inhabitants of Israel—Jews, Arabs, and others—and the Jewish community around the world.