As Jewish worshipers were ending their sabbath early Sunday morning, March 22, 2015, an angry mob of 20 people attacked the synagogue. Nothing new here, as extremists have launched attacks against Jews for decades.
But what is different is the location. The Ahavas Torah synagogue is found in London, England.
Shortly after 1 am Sunday morning, a drunken group stormed the synagogue screaming “kill the Jews.” Inside the Jews struggled to hold them back, some picking up chairs to defend themselves. A couple of Jews were hurt, windows smashed and the synagogue vandalized.
Apparently, there had been a party nearby and a group decided to storm the synagogue. Some videoed the attack and this resulted in the arrest of six people.
Attacks on Jews is on a definite upswing across Europe and in some instances Jews have formed patrols, called Shomrims, to protect the themselves. When Ahavas came under attack, they called in the Shomrim.
But why all this hatred for the Jews? With about 6 million Jews living in Israel and 7.8 million scattered in other countries, they only make up .2% of the world’s population.
Yet somehow this insignificant cultural group has become the focal point of people’s anger. Some extremists use Israel’s ongoing conflict with Palestine to prove their bitterness.
But Israel only formed as a nation in 1948 and before then Nazi Germany slaughtered nearly half the world’s Jews in concentration camps in World War II (1939 – 1945). They couldn’t use the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as their excuse, because Israel didn’t exist.
But still they hated the Jews.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel used a phrase to describe what we are seeing today. In the Hebrew, it is “olam ebah” which translated means “everlasting hatred.” It is a hatred that travels through the generations. It is a hatred that has no beginning and no end and makes no sense.
5 Because you have had everlasting enmity and have delivered the sons of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment of the end. (Ezekiel 35:5 NASV)
This prophecy was directed specifically to the Edomites who lived on Mount Seir. They are the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob, who became bitter enemies of Israel. .
According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word Olam is used over 300 times in the Old Testament and speaks of something continuing into the distant future. But several times, it also extends back in time — to the ancient past.
Olam is believed derived from the Hebrew word “alam” which means hidden. And from this you get the idea it’s so far into the distant future, it can’t be seen. It has passed the time sight line and is hidden from people’s eyes. But it also portrays the idea that the reason for the hatred eventually becomes hidden as well (the distant past) and people no longer know why they are doing it.
But this hatred extends beyond Edom. The Psalmist mentions a number of nations who wanted to obliterate Israel, wipe it off the map, including the Ishmaelites, the Midianites, Ammonites, Philistines and even Assyrians to name a few.
They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation,
That the name of Israel be remembered no more.” (Psalm 83:4 NASV)
This was similar to the goals of more modern groups, such as Nazi Germany, which tried to do the same. Even Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip in Palestine wants to rid the world of Israel. In their charter, which you can read here, the organization states:
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
But the Psalmist goes one step further and provides the cause of this hatred of the Jews:
For behold, Your enemies make an uproar,
And those who hate You have exalted themselves. (Psalm 83:2 NASV)
He describes these nations as the one who hate Jehovah, and because of this they also hate God’s people. Though the Jews have not embraced the Messiah, they are still God’s chosen people. This is the root. How else can you explain this hatred that has followed Jews for generations?
In the natural, it just doesn’t make sense.
This hatred against God is now extending past the Jews and including Christians. Jesus warned His disciples, they would be hated because of Him (John 15:18-19).