For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch. — Isaiah 62:1
This week Jews in Israel and around the world will mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, on May 2, honoring the six million Jews murdered at the hands of Nazi Germany. Throughout this week, I will share reflections from my father, the late Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, on the importance for Christians and Jews to never forget and to continue the fight against anti-Semitism and persecution wherever it exists. — Yael Eckstein, Fellowship President,
In 2016, the world lost an irreplaceable human being. Elie Wiesel, the noted Jewish author and Nobel laureate who survived the Holocaust, deeply impacted the world. My hope is that his memory and all he stood for will prevail at this time when the world needs Elie’s messages the most.
Elie was committed to perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust and its victims so that this horrific chapter in human history would never be repeated. However, along with that was his commitment to do all he could to encourage all people to oppose the oppression of innocent people wherever and whenever it occurred.
In 1986, when Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Prize, he recalled asking his father in the midst of the Holocaust; “Can this be true? This is the 20th century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?”
Later on Wiesel explained, “ . . . the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
And yet today, victims are tormented around the world and the world remains silent. Nowhere is this more evident than in Israel. When terror attacks occur anywhere else, social media is flooded with sympathy, condolences pour in from nearly every country, and almost all condemn the act of terror. However, Israel seems to be the exception. We are alone in our pain.
The silence is deafening.
Just two days before Elie Wiesel’s passing, Michael Marc, a rabbi, teacher, and father of 10, was gunned down by terrorists while he drove his car on the eve of the Sabbath. Two of Michael’s children were in the car and saw him killed. Michael’s wife was severely injured but miraculously survived. And the world was silent.
Later, a photo surfaced from a day years ago when Rabbi Michael Marc had opened his study hall for Torah study in Israel. Who was there to be part of the ceremony? None other than Elie Wiesel. I can only imagine what Wiesel might write today about the world’s silence at his friend’s murder. Another Jew killed for the crime of being a Jew. May both their memories be a blessing.
The prophet Isaiah said, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet.” And so I ask you, our Christian friends, please do not be silent. Please speak to Israel and for Israel. Let us know that we are not alone, and let the world know that you will not stand idly by.