By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) -- Movie Review
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (ANS - May 2017) – Two groundbreaking movies premiered in special one-day screenings in theaters across the country May 23, bringing to audiences in many cities stories of the battle for Jerusalem during Israel’s Six-Day War in 1967, and of those who are persecuted because of their faith.
On the 50th Anniversary of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, comes the gripping new docudrama IN OUR HANDS: THE BATTLE FOR JERUSALEM, bringing to life the miracle battle of paratroopers’ hard-won victory at Ammunition Hill that reclaimed Jerusalem’s Old City and the Western Wall.
From CBN Documentaries and packed with interviews, archival footage and historic reenactments, IN OUR HANDS came to movie theaters nationwide for a one-night Fathom Events presentation on May 23, including exclusive commentary from CBN CEO Gordon Robertson.
“To know this story is to have to tell it, particularly on the 50th anniversary of the event,” CBN CEO Gordon Robertson said. “From the very Israeli paratroopers who fought it, IN OUR HANDS unveils the surprise victory that returned to the Jews the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall of the old Temple. One soldier called it ‘the returning to the nation its heart.’”
For centuries, their nation had been in exile. For a generation, they had been without access to their ancestral city. For six days, surrounded by enemies, Israel stood alone…and changed history!
In May of 1967, Arab nations joined together with a stated goal to wipe Israel off the map. Less than 20 years after reforming as a nation, Israel was on the verge of extinction.
Yet six days in early June 1967 changed history forever.
IN OUR HANDS tells the story of Israel’s 55th Paratrooper Brigade and how Israel Defense Forces (IDF) risked everything for the sake of their homeland. With firsthand interviews and historical reenactments, this powerful docudrama focuses on the commitment and sacrifice of the soldiers who reunited Jerusalem.
For those who vividly recall the historical declaration by the IDF that “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” and those who would like to learn more about this stunning victory by Israel, IN OUR HANDS, will captivate and compel them to increase understanding of the critical aspects of that victory.
Shot in Jerusalem on the actual battle sites, more than 100 actors (extras are real paratroopers) re-enact the deadly fighting at Ammunition Hill and the Old City. Other scenes are replicated at the Rockefeller Museum and the Mount of Olives.
“Most accounts of the Six-Day War are straight documentaries, and The Battle of Ammunition Hill is a sentence or two,” Robertson said. “No film we know of actually recreates these pivotal scenes and events with such intense accuracy. For new generations of Jews and Christians, IN OUR HANDS is a must-see.”
IN OUR HANDS: THE BATTLE FOR JERUSALEM brings to vivid life the miraculous battle of the 1967 Six-Day Arab-Israeli War and the paratroopers whose hard-won victory at Ammunition Hill reclaimed Jerusalem’s Old City and the Western Wall.
David conquered Jerusalem 3,000 years ago. The Babylonians destroyed it; Ezra and Nehemiah restored it, and in 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed it again. For the next thousand years, Israel’s ancient capital was not its own -- until 50 years ago. Fifty years after reclaiming Jerusalem, Jews and Christians do well to remember the truth of the battles, the humanity of the fighters and the miracles that shape our story.
A MIRACULOUS VICTORY’S UNTOLD STORIES
In the Six-Day War’s first two hours, Israel’s air force victory testified to years of prep and rehearsal. By contrast, the reservist paratroopers were unprepared for city and trench warfare, house-to-house combat, in places new to them. Yet both sets of soldiers won.
Other stories and scenes featured in the two-hour movie are:
● The paratroopers were both orthodox and secular Jews, which is highly unusual.
● An old woman from another time gave the soldiers the flag to raise.
● In the Old City, a paratrooper delivered an Arab woman’s baby.
● A military leader sobbed as names of the dead were read.
● Husbands, fathers, and tradesmen, as temporary soldiers, reclaimed Jerusalem.
● Israeli soldiers buried their Jordanian enemies with honor.
A GOOD STORY TOLD ACCURATELY
Many battles were filmed in their exact locations. Every line of dialogue comes from records, diaries, and interviews. Where politics prevented the use of an actual site, filmmakers worked to accurately recreate scenes and surroundings. In battle scenes, the film’s extras are actual paratroopers. The line producer was an Israeli military veteran. The man in charge of training military medics ensured battle-scene medics’ authenticity. Facts were checked against Michael Oren’s definitive book, Six Days of War.
Gordon Robertson became chief executive officer of CBN on Dec. 1, 2007, having served as vice president of CBN International, executive producer of The 700 Club, and a member of CBN’s board of directors.
Robertson founded CBN Asia and the Asian Center for Missions (ACM), now the largest missionary agency in the Philippines. Following the model created in Manila, he started CBN centers in Indonesia, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Beijing. He co-hosts CBN’s original flagship program The 700 Club, as well as 700 Club Interactive. He oversees all aspects of ministry programming, both in television and on the Internet.
He has produced award-winning special programs such as TEMPLE OF HEAVEN, filmed in Beijing; the three-time Emmy-nominated documentary MADE IN ISRAEL; and THE HOPE: THE REBIRTH OF ISRAEL.
In an interview with ASSIST News (www.assistnesw.net), Robertson was asked what is behind the interest in a docudrama about the fighting in Jerusalem?
“CBN’s desire to create the film In Our Hands goes back to the 1960s when CBN’s founder, Pat Robertson, visited Israel for the first time. The Lord impressed upon him that part of CBN’s mission was to be a blessing to Israel. This mission includes proclaiming the truth about Israel’s past and present,” said Robertson.
“From the day of its founding in 1948, modern Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Arab nations. In 1966, President Nasser of Egypt tried to create a pan-Arab union, calling for the annihilation of Israel. He worked to mobilize the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies against Israel in 1967’s Six-Day War.”
Robertson said the biggest surprise from the research into the Six-Day War and the Battle for Jerusalem was finding that the 55th Paratrooper Brigade was comprised of part-time soldiers. “These fighting men were also students. In fact, one chief strategist was studying for an economics exam while preparing for war,” he said.
Asked about the connections Robertson saw between biblical prophecy and Jerusalem today, he replied: “Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 24:1-2, ‘Then Jesus went out and departed from the Temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the Temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’”
Robertson said Titus fulfilled that prophecy in AD 70 when literally every stone of the Temple was thrown down.
“Jesus also prophesied the return of the Jews to Jerusalem in Luke 21:24, ‘And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’”
He added: “Two thousand years later Israel’s 55th Paratrooper Brigade fulfilled that prophecy. When Jerusalem was reunited, the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled. The Jews are back and Israel has been reborn.”
He concluded: “Today we find ourselves fulfilling the words of Psalm 126:1-2, ‘When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’”
'Faithkeepers': The Groundbreaking Movie Demanding Action on Christian Persecution
“America will stand by followers of Christ in this hour of need,” US Vice President Mike Pence told the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians on Thursday, May 11. “Our administration is fully committed to bringing relief and comfort to believers, not only across the Middle East but across the world.”
People from 130 countries were represented at the summit, which was organized by evangelist Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
So what is happening to Christians around the world that is worrying so many people?
Clarion Project’s new film Faithkeepers uncovers the horrific reality faced by so many simply for being who they are.
“In the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, Christians, and other minorities are being violently persecuted, driven out of their homes, and killed," the Faithkeepers team says. “Their places of worship are being destroyed, and their history is being erased.”
Across the world, but particularly in the Middle East, Christians and other religious minorities are persecuted for their faith. Most of this persecution is meted out at the hands of radical Islam, although by no means all of it.
In Iraq and Syria, ravaged by war, Christians, Yazidis, and other minority groups are suffering grievously under the yoke of terrorist groups like the Islamic State. Christian communities that fall under their control are given a simple choice: convert to Islam, pay the jizya, a humiliating protection tax, or die.
Thousands of Yazidi women and girls were kidnapped into sex slavery and sold in the markets of Mosul and Raqqa. They have suffered unimaginably.
“Faithkeepers gives face and voice to the humanitarian crisis and genocide affecting millions in the Middle East as a result of religious and ethnic persecution,” the Faithkeepers team added. “The film is a testament to the stories of the persecuted and an inspiring portrait of the human spirit. Faithkeepers – the movie and movement – will awaken, enlighten and inspire all people of faith to stand up and take action.”
Ryan Mauro is www.ClarionProject.org ’s national security analyst, a Shillman Fellow at the Clarion Project, adjunct professor of homeland security (counter-terrorism) at Liberty and Regent Universities and associate producer of Faithkeepers. Mauro is frequently interviewed on television and radio.
Photo captions: 1) Movie poster for IN OUR HANDS. 2) Paratroopers from the 55th Paratrooper Brigade.3) ‘Faithkeepers’ movie poster. 4) Michael Ireland
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to https://actintl.givingfuel.