On Tuesday afternoon, about 1,500 Christians from over 30 nations paraded through the streets of Jerusalem, expressing their love for Israel’s eternal capital in the March of Nations.
Parade of nations (Photo: Israel365 News)
The March of Nations has been taking place since 2007 as an initiative of Jobst and Charlotte Bittner, head of TOS Ministries in Tübingen, Germany. Marches have been held in 20 nations and in more than 400 cities in cooperation with Christians from different churches and denominations, with many of the participants being the descendants of perpetrators of the Holocaust. In addition, many Jewish communities have joined the marches over the years.
Parade of Nations (Photo Israel365 News)
“Their family stories serve as a reminder to future generations to never again be silent in the face of antisemitism,” Bittner said at the event.
After the parade, Bittner addressed the gathering at its culmination in Safra Square.
Parade of Nations, Safra Square (Photo Israel365 News)
“The founding of the State of Israel in 1948 is one of the greatest miracles in our time,” Bittner said. “On May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion announced the creation of the Jewish state. From the ashes of the Holocaust arose the modern State of Israel. Millennia-old biblical promises became reality. The Jewish saying ‘Mishoa le Tekuma’ – ‘from the Holocaust to new life’ describes God’s unique history with the Jewish nation from its founding to its 75th anniversary in this year 2023. We have chosen this proverb as the theme for this year’s March of the Nations.
“As Israel celebrates its 75th anniversary, the Jewish state is in the midst of one of its greatest domestic crises since the founding of the state in 1948. Almost daily, Israel faces terrorist attacks and a growing threat to its external borders. Antisemitism and hatred of Jews has increased dramatically in most countries.
“The call to prayer and intercession for Israel is more relevant now than it has been for a long time,” Bittner said, invoking a verse from Psalms.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper!” (Psalm 122:6)
“Several thousand participants from 26 nations have united behind this cry at the March of the Nations in Jerusalem, proclaiming, ‘Israel, we stand with you! Israel, you are not alone!’.”
On Wednesday, similar marches were held in seven cities of Israel: Metula, Tiberias, Zikhron Ya’akov, Netanya, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, and Merchavim.
Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan-Nahoum also addressed the crowd.
“I saw you all marching,” she said. “it’s so heartwarming to see our city filled with lovers of Jerusalem. You are correcting something that was so wrong, and doing so with so much love and empathy. This is an example of something that you don’t see anywhere else in the world. I‘m so proud to be their friend and to welcome them every single year. Your friendship is crucial to us remaining in our eternal capital forever.”
Lisa Besteck came from Germany to participate.
“I found out that my great-grandfather was part of the SS,” she told the crowd. “He was in Serbia, Croatia and he was part of killing around one million people in a very horrible way. I want to say that I am so sorry for what he did. For me, it is so important to talk about what my family did, because my family doesn’t [talk about it]. It is important for me to be part of the March of Life movement and to tell the story of what he did and to stand here against antisemitism and for Israel and the Jewish people.“