search

The Messiah

Prologue

Jews consider themselves to be God’s ‘Chosen People’ belonging to the ‘Promised Land’. They also believe that a Messiah will come to end war and conflict, unite people of all religions and races, and establish peace and righteousness in God’s kingdom.

Pilgrimage

My wife and I were on a pilgrimage. In May 2023, we first visited Makkah and Medina and then Jerusalem. During our Jerusalem tour (8–13 May), we visited the Old City. We walked through the Moslem, Christian, Jewish, and Armenian quarters and then visited the Western Wailing Wall, the Al Aksa Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock.  We also went to Jesus’ crucifixion and burial sites (Church of the Holy Sepulchre), the Virgin Mary’s tomb, and the Church of Saint John the Baptist.

We also travelled to many parts of the West Bank, including Bethlehem (the birthplace of Jesus Christ) and the tombs of Abraham, his wife Sarah, son Isaac, and his wife Rebecca at Hebron. We have been to Jericho at the Jordan River where Jesus was baptised and the Dead Sea. We also visited the Jewish neighbourhood where Orthodox Jews live. Unfortunately, we could not make time to visit Nazareth, Nablus, or the Sea of Galilee.

After visiting the controversial wall separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem, we planned to visit the Gaza Strip wall. Sadly, during the night of 9 May, conflict between Gaza and Israel erupted following Israel’s assassination of three Islamic Jihad leaders. Over the course of the Israeli offensive against Gaza – dubbed Operation Shield and Arrow – some 30 Palestinians were killed and many more wounded, with much property damage and destruction. There were one dead and a dozen wounded on the Israeli side [Source: The Jerusalem Post, 12 May 2023].

Despite the outbreak of the conflict, we were determined to make our planned trip to the Gaza wall on the morning of 10 May. Our taxi driver was an Arab-Israeli who spoke Hebrew, Arabic, and English and was of great help.

After nearly two hours drive, we came to deserted roads approaching the Gaza area. First, we came to a roadblock guarded by Israeli soldiers in full war gear with automatic weapons. From a distance, one of the soldiers signalled our driver to stop and turn back. He obliged.

The driver took another route, only to come to a second roadblock. There were no soldiers at this site, but there was a big board with a prominent ‘No Entry’ sign, with a phone number if help was needed. Our driver called and spoke to a lady, but to no avail. He was told to turn back. He obliged but did not give up on the mission.

We arrived at a third roadblock. There was no heavy metal gate, but rather a red tape hanging across the thoroughfare with several soldiers guarding the site. Two of them approached our car, cautiously pointing their automatic weapons at us. We freaked. It was a tense moment. This had become a common occurrence since the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions when car bombs blew up, killing everyone and destroying everything within a 50-meter radius. The soldiers looked nervous for obvious reasons.

One of the soldiers spoke some English. I made a request to allow us go to the wall to take a photo. I explained that we’d come a long way from Bangladesh, and it would be shame not to see the world’s most iconic wall.

The soldier explained that it was beyond his jurisdiction and would involve permission from the higher authorities. I asked, ‘How far is the wall?’ He said, ‘About a kilometre.’ I begged, ‘It is so close, my friend. We simply want to drive to the wall, take a photo, and return in just a few minutes.’ The soldier explained that we might not be able to reach the wall, let alone return. There were Palestinian snipers on the other side. They might shoot at the car at the first sight. We understood the seriousness of the situation. The driver quickly turned the car around and sped towards Jerusalem.

Epilogue

A major armed conflict between Israel and Hamas is now taking place in Gaza since 7 October 2023. It began when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. All political and diplomatic efforts have failed so far. The only option now appears to be the Messiah.

A man to perform the greatest miracle since the creation of life – freeing Adam’s children from hate and anger, torture and cruelty, and vengeance and violence – ought to be above race and religion, nation and tribe, and colour and culture. The Jews must not only be prepared for his arrival, but also should strive to make the world a safer place for his birth, journey, and ultimate mission – peace among the warring people, tribes, and nations.

About the Author
Tohon is the author of five autobiographical anthologies: My Awakened Soul (2023), Emil Joseph Burcik (2021), Life’s Invisible Battles (2020), The Jihadi (2016), and The Landscape of a Mind (2015), New Generation Publishing, London.
Related Topics
Related Posts