From Ancient Liberation until Today: A Passover Plea

Saturday 20 April 2024

“So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long would you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, so they may serve Me.”

Exodus 10:3

Dear Friends,

As we prepare our hearts and homes for the festive Passover season, a time of reflection on the liberation of the people of Israel from Egypt, our spirits are burdened by a modern-day plight that mirrors the ancient cry for freedom. Today, we stand united in our plea to Hamas: "Let my people go." This appeal is drawn from the depths of our hearts as we consider the harrowing ordeal of the hostages currently held in Gaza.

The situation in Gaza is a stark reminder of our ongoing struggle for freedom and dignity. Reports have unveiled the extent of suffering endured by the hostages, including accounts of abuse, neglect, and inhumane conditions that defy comprehension. The World Health Organization has urgently called for their immediate release, emphasising the dire health and humanitarian crisis facing these individuals—among them, fathers, mothers, elderly, and innocent children, with up to 30 of these souls being under the age of 18.

Disturbingly, recent disclosures have brought to light the brutal treatment of these hostages. Reports indicate a chilling pattern of sexual violence and physical abuse inflicted upon the captives, tactics of terror that are abhorrent to our collective sense of humanity. Witnesses recount the appalling conditions in which men, women, and children were held—beaten, threatened with death, and kept in cages, some marked to hinder any chance of escape. The plight of these individuals, who are denied basic necessities and medical care, is a horrifying testament to the cruelty they have been subjected to.

Amid these stories, the plight of the Bibas family stands out as particularly heart-wrenching. Abducted on 7 October, father Yarden, mother Shiri, and their sons Ariel, 4, and baby Kfir, became symbols of the human cost of this conflict. Hamas's claim, through a propaganda video, that Shiri, Ariel, and Kfir were killed during an Israeli bombardment adds a layer of anguish, while the separate holding of Yarden highlights the brutal tactics employed to fracture families and communities. IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari's response underscores a nation's commitment to its people's safe return.

“Hamas employs psychological terror against the families of the captives. Its purpose is to exert pressure, to harm our resilience.”

IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari

Our response to this crisis, as a community of faith and action, has been unwavering. Vision for Israel has sought to bring these injustices into the light, advocating tirelessly for the release of the hostages. Our efforts extend from the Millennium Centre's dedicated space honouring these individuals' stories to vocal advocacy on international platforms, urging for global intervention in this dire humanitarian crisis.

This Passover, as we recount the story of God's deliverance of Israel from bondage, let us also reflect on the empty chairs at our Seder tables—symbolising the absence of those still held captive. This year, we encourage you, our dear partners, to join in leaving an empty chair at your Seder table in honour of the hostages, a poignant reminder of those who cannot be with their families.

While we cannot directly contribute to the release of the hostages, we invite you to support the broader work of Vision for Israel. Your support enables us to continue providing aid, promoting awareness, and advocating for those in need. Your partnership is invaluable as we strive to embody the spirit of liberation and compassion that Passover represents.

As we gather with our families, let us carry the stories of those whose freedom has been stolen. Let their plight move us to action, and let our prayers for their release rise like incense before the Lord.

Your support can make a difference. Please consider supporting the work of Vision for Israel HERE.

“The Ruach Adonai is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,”

Luke 4:18

Shalom and blessings for a meaningful Passover,

Barry & Batya Segal

Are you willing to bless Israel, make a difference in the lives of people, and partner with God's plan for restoration of the land of Israel?

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