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Oct. 7 and Gaza War seen through the eyes of a German Christian leader living in Israel

Two sons of ICEJ President Jürgen Bühler were called up to serve in the IDF

Dr. Jürgen Bühler, President of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ), giving a speech at the NRB’s Breakfast Honoring Israel (Photo: ICEJ)

The horrible events of October 7 changed Israel, Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the president of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ), said in his speech at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) "Breakfast to Honor Israel" on Thursday morning.

Living in Israel with his family for close to 30 years, and with two of his sons serving in the IDF, Bühler experienced this momentous time up close together with his fellow Israelis.

On the morning of Oct. 7, the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah, the Bühler family was preparing to celebrate the birthday of his daughter, when the first rocket warning sirens sounded in the Jerusalem area.

“We celebrated the 15th birthday of our daughter in the bomb shelter, where we stayed for more than half an hour, which is unusual for Jerusalem. We very quickly realized something is happening,” Bühler began.

Soon after, the first videos showing pickup trucks carrying armed Hamas terrorists in Israeli towns began circulating on Israeli social media, he said.

At first, he suspected the reports to be fake news until, together with the nation of Israel, the horrible realization of what was happening was slowly confirmed.

Dr. Jürgen Bühler, President of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ), giving a speech at the NRB’s Breakfast Honoring Israel (Photo: All Israel News)

“As the day was going on, we all realized that something very, very horrible was taking place. On that day, more than 3,000 terrorists infiltrated Israel,” Bühler said.

“On the streets of Ramallah and other Palestinian villages, candies were handed out to celebrate this victory and victory celebrations were taking place all over the Middle East and many Arab cities. At the same time, the Gaza communities were sheer chaos.”

Bühler called his contacts and friends living around the Gaza Strip to see how they were doing.

“I remember calling my friend Shai Halamish, a former Member of Knesset, and asked Shai, 'How are you doing?' And I will never forget his frantic call on the phone. He said Jürgen, where is the IDF? I’m in the bomb shelter and they are shooting outside our civilians... Where is the IDF?”

Bühler also tried to call then Mayor of the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, Ofir Libstein, “a personal friend,” who lived in a community adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

“I tried to reach him on October 7th, in the morning I called him, his line was already dead, and he was the first casualty in that morning. The man who was giving his whole life vision to live in peace with the people of Gaza,” Bühler said.

“He was telling me personally his great vision and dream he had for the community in Gaza. He was building a plan of many billions of dollars to provide work for 10 to 20,000 Gazan citizens, to expose them to the high tech of Israel, to build up industrial cities and communities on the Gaza envelope, so that they can live in peace and prosperity in their own community in Gaza.”

Later that Saturday, Israel began to call up hundreds of thousands of reservists, with two of Bühler’s sons among them.

“Our two boys received their Tsav 8. It means you drop everything and you run immediately to the army collection point. The amazing thing on that morning was that more people showed up… than actually were called in. The whole nation was mobilized, if they were called up or not.”

Among the ranks of nearly half a million Israeli soldiers stand roughly 800 messianic believers dutifully serving their country, Bühler noted in his speech, including those without Jewish heritage. Some of them sacrificed their lives in the fighting to protect their nation.

“There are 100 approximately soldiers like our boys, Gentiles who are living in the land and who are willing voluntarily to serve the Nation of Israel because they consider it their land. As a matter of fact, one of the first casualties in October was David Ratner,” Bühler added.

“He left his life in a heroic way, killing many terrorists on his tank until he, as the last soldier of his unit, brutally was murdered by Hamas. Or Urija Bayer, the son of German parents who are serving in the fourth generation in Israel, was one of the first Gentile victims that fell a victim of this terrorism.”

After a period of vicious infighting, the horrific invasion and massacre by Hamas has extraordinarily reunited Israeli society, Bühler stressed.

“We saw Israel united on that day like never before. Israel was at war. Israel was united. And all the legal reforms and everything was forgotten. You saw a nation united like I can’t remember in the 30 years I was living in Israel.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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