Zvi Sep/Oct 2011
Anyone who remembers our War for Independence in 1948 knows about Latrun. It is an area in Israel located on a hilltop on the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the Ayalon Valley where Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still (Josh. 10:12). It is also where some of the fiercest battles against the Arabs have taken place. I know firsthand because I fought there. Many Israeli soldiers died at Latrun, and today it is still a dangerous place.
Many years ago I met several believers who had come from a church in Latrun to visit our church in Jerusalem. When they realized that I am the Zvi about whom Elwood McQuaid wrote in his book Zvi: The Miraculous Story About Triumph Over the Holocaust, they invited me to their church to give my testimony. So I went. Most of the people there spoke German or Arabic. Since I speak those languages, I did not need a translator.
I never heard anything more from them until recently, when I received a long, friendly letter. They wanted me to return. However, for Israelis, Latrun is an extremely dangerous place. So I wrote back, “If you want me, you can come to me in Jerusalem.” Some came, most of them Arabs who are not friendly to Israel.
“Please answer me this,” one asked. “Do you hate Arabs?”
“Those who try to kill me I will not go to with roses,” I replied. “I have to defend myself.”
“How can it be,” he asked, “that you who believe in Christ hate your neighbors?” Now they became not so nice.
I told them, “I have lived in Israel 63 years. We have never attacked our Arab neighbors but have done all that is possible to do to make peace. I am one who passed through the seven halls of hell in the long years of the Holocaust of World War II. Are you now telling me that I shall again become like a lamb going to the slaughter, as in the Holocaust? Is this what you are waiting for? You want me to let people kill me?
“Even God Himself is against such a thing. And I will tell you why I say this. When I came to Israel in 1948, we were a mere half-million people. You Arabs came against us like the mighty locusts. And you used a German saying we knew well: ‘Butcher the Jews and cast them into the sea.’ This was the Nazi motto, and the Arabs use it to this very day.
“And now you come to me and ask me such a question? We defend ourselves against you! And you can see who has been on our side”:
“If it had not been the Lᴏʀᴅ who was on our side,” let Israel now say—“If it had not been the Lᴏʀᴅ who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us” (Ps. 124:1–3).
Then I asked, “Do you believe all that is written in the Holy Bible? You have a Bible before you. So read!” I showed them many facts from God’s Word, including Isaiah 41:8–11:
But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen….You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.
The man replied, “This is the first time we have seen this.”
“You remind me of the ultra-Orthodox Jews,” I replied. “They only read what the rabbis tell them to read. What I have shown you is written in the Bible. You have seen it with your own eyes. I did not write it. It was written by the Holy Spirit of God.”
After a long discussion, one of the men asked if I had a Bible in his language, Arabic. I gladly gave one to him.
For many years I would not go to the Arabs to share the gospel of Christ. But in time, God gave me courage. Today it gives me great joy to bring them the good news of salvation through our Jewish Savior. As it is written in Psalm 126:5, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
Now we are beginning to see our work produce good fruit. So I put my trust in the Lord and speak to people who are not so nice in the beginning and often try to make trouble for us, like the Arabs of Latrun. But every now and then I meet Arabs who truly want to know the truth. And I am most happy to tell it to them.