Imagine: Four wisdom teeth pulled the morning of high school graduation! It wasn’t pretty, but it needed to be done so that the next day I could join a Young Life trip to Israel. It was 1974, and I was among 17 excited Christian high-schoolers and three counselors who traveled to Israel from Minneapolis-St. Paul.
We would spend that summer working and living in Israel, a land we only knew from colorful maps in our Bibles and pictures on Sunday school walls.
In 1974, Israel was recovering from the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, when she was miraculously saved from annihilation after a surprise attack from surrounding hostile Arab nations.
Fifty years later, nearly to the day, on Simchat Torah, when Jews celebrate the joy of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), Israel was surprised by a brutal pre-dawn murderous mob, with the attack described as pre-civilization carnage against innocent Israeli babies, children, men, women and the elderly.
The morning of the murders, Oct. 7, I was to take an early morning flight to Virginia Beach, Virginia, the location of Regent University, where I serve as dean of the school of government. Regent, a Biblical worldview university, is also my law school alma mater.
The phone rang as I lay in my bed. A friend called to tell me southern Israel had been savagely attacked.
In my gut I knew this attack was different. I sensed a spirit of death had been unleashed upon the Earth and that the hinge of history had turned.
The location of the attack included the same Jewish kibbutz—Kibbutz Be’eri—where 50 years ago we Minnesotans spent our summer living and working. Ours wasn’t a luxury visit. In fact, we lovingly referred to our bunk house and outdoor toilets as our ghetto.
In the kibbutz, we rose at 3:30 a.m. to pull weeds in a cotton field in the Negev desert near Beer Sheba. An armed Israeli soldier accompanied us to the fields every morning at 4 a.m., checking for land mines before we entered to pick weeds during our shift. None of us had experienced soldiers, mines or threats before. What an eye-opening education.
Naïve, knowing little of war and nothing about thousands of years of antisemitic history with its irrational hatred of Jews for being Jews, we were confronted with the Jewish story by living and working out our unglamorous lifestyle amid a hardworking Jewish people, committed to rebuilding their ancient homeland. Israel was still a developing country in 1974.
On Oct. 7, Kibbutz Be’eri was the site of some of the worst human slaughter. A staggering 10% of its people were killed within hours of the sunrise.
The attack wasn’t about land. Israel had given all of Gaza to the Arabs in 2005. Not one Jew lived in Gaza. The goal of Oct. 7 was simple: Kill as many Jews as possible.
The world witnessed antisemitism in its purest form.
It was a moment of unmistakable moral clarity when Gazans beheaded Jewish babies and burned alive pregnant women, old men and carefree teenagers targeted for death, rape and torture.
Genocide was the mission.
Article 7 of the Hamas Charter explicitly calls for killing all Jews. The Palestinian Authority calls for killing Jews. Iran calls for killing Jews!
We’ve witnessed Hamas supporters marching on global streets, committing acts of violence, defacing public and private property, and we’ve seen some calling for the genocide of Jews.
Antisemitic protesters smashed Grand Central Station as they marched in hatred of Jews. A college student at Cornell called on fellow students to kill Jews. At Columbia, Jewish students were locked in a cafeteria as haters banged on doors trying to physically beat Jews. Antisemitism is demonic, irrational, satanic.
Everyone wondered: Where was law enforcement and university security?
The hatred of Jews is as old as Satan’s hatred and jealousy of God.
God created a covenant nation—Israel, the people of the promise—and gave them a covenant land (Genesis 15:18), which produced our Jewish Messiah, who fulfilled the covenant by giving His life to pay the price for the sins of the whole world.
And in Him, all families on Earth are blessed (see Acts 3:25).
That’s why Satan is so angry. He knows his time is short. His plan was to stop God’s covenant by destroying the Jewish people.
Thankfully, we know how this ends.
We serve a God who loved us so much that He gave His only Son, the Messiah, that whoever believes in Messiah will not perish but have everlasting life. ©2023 Michele Bachmann
Above: An Israeli soldier patrols the area in Kibbutz Be’eri, where Michele Bachmann served as a student, near the Israeli-Gaza border.
Photo: DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy