It is once again Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. At 11:00 AM, a nationwide two-minute siren was sounded, honoring the 23,816 fallen Israeli soldiers and 4,166 victims killed in terrorist attacks against our tiny nation.
This year is different than others, but it’s also very much the same. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused government restrictions to be put in place, as part of the struggle to halt the virus’ spread. Roadblocks have been set up at the entrances to military cemeteries across Israel. As opposed to past years, families are not permitted to visit the graves of loved ones killed in Israel’s wars or in terror attacks against Israel.
The pain is great, but we are a resilient people. Memorial Day is immediately followed by Yom Ha’atzmaut, or Independence Day, when we celebrate the miraculous ingathering of the exiles that was prophesied in the Book of Ezekiel and which led to the establishment, in 1948, of the modern State of Israel. It is all happening in our times!
Despite all of the momentary, yet difficult challenges, we are back in our country, in the very same Land that the Lord promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We are rebuilding its hills and restoring its valleys with fig trees, almond trees, and pomegranate trees, and the Land is giving of its fruit again, exactly as the prophets foretold!
We will rejoice once again, but we will do so with the keen awareness that those who have sacrificed their lives have not died in vain. As one of the victims who was wounded, yet survived a brutal terror attack, along with my then three-year-old son who was shot in the head, I know that every act of evil happens for a good reason. That does not mean that everything that happens is good, but that good is meant to emerge out of evil.
However, it is up to us to reveal and to increase the light in the darkness. After the attack, I had a vision of a therapeutic-educational solution to the psychological trauma that thousands of children were suffering from, as a result of the incomprehensible onslaught of terrorism and wars. That vison eventually became the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund.
The goal is to heal the trauma of the terror victim children and to restore some of the lost innocence of childhood to their young lives. After years of hard work, we now have a Therapeutic-Educational Campus serving over 2,000 children with therapeutic programs utilizing music, art, horses, small animals, and various other realms of treatment. The treatments are both formal and informal, both individual and in groups, and lives are being restored!
This amazingly successful project is enabled by Jews and Christians around the world who send donations to support our work. This is a beautiful way for friends of Israel to transition, as we Israelis do every year, from sorrow to joy, becoming partners in the rebuilding of Israel in our times.
For more information, go to www.ShilohIsraelChildren.org