newsIsrael at War

Japanese Christians donate ambulances to replace those destroyed in Oct. 7 attacks

“We know that Israel is at the forefront of a battle between light and darkness,” says Gifu mayor.

View of a burnt ambulance near the site of the Nova festival massacre in southern Israel, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
View of a burnt ambulance near the site of the Nova festival massacre in southern Israel, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

A group of Japanese Christians are donating two ambulances to Israeli communities along the border with Gaza, in a show of faith-based support.

The symbolic move by the group of Christian politicians from across Japan comes at a time of surging international censure of Israel over the nearly eight-month war against Hamas in Gaza. The group is led by the mayor of Gifu, which is the birthplace of a diplomat who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis during World War II.

The first of two fully equipped ambulances were presented to Israeli rescue officials this week during a visit to Israel by the Japanese delegation in a donation made via the Jerusalem-based evangelical organization Bridges for Peace.

The Japanese group visited the Israeli communities near the Gaza borders which came under attack during the Oct. 7 massacre, met with President Isaac Herzog and then presented Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue services with a $150,000 mobile intensive care unit ambulance last week to replace one of the 14 ambulances destroyed during the Hamas attack. The second ambulance will be delivered later this year.

Gifu is the birthplace of Chiune Sugihara who was recognized by Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Center as a ‘Righteous Among the Nations” for his courageous actions which helped more than 6,000 Jews escape war-torn Lithuania in the summer of 1940.

“Today, 84 years later, the Jewish people are once again facing a tidal wave of antisemitism, and as the mayor of Gifu City, I am deeply honored to continue in Chiune Sugihara’s legacy of standing with our Jewish brothers and sisters,” said Mayor Masanao Shibahashi in a written statement.

Shibahashi also serves as co-founder of the Japanese Christian Politicians Prayer Network comprised of 50 members from across the Japanese political spectrum who pray and advocate for Israel.

“As propaganda and slanders threaten to sway public opinion against the Jewish state, it is our honor to remind Israel that it is not alone, that its Christian brothers and sisters in Japan stand with it, support it and pray for it,” Shibahashi said. 

“We know that Israel is at the forefront of a battle between light and darkness and that the sons and daughters of Abraham are leading the charge on the side of light,” he said.

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