By Shira Sorko-Ram
"You are destined to live in Israel.” This prophecy was given to me numerous times as a young girl in my early 20’s. At that time, there were areas of my life not fully given over to the Lord, and moving to Israel to me sounded like I was being shipped off to a third world country like Afghanistan or Siberia.
But on October 15, 1967, exactly 40 years ago, I arrived in Israel for a two-week visit with my parents. Only four months before, the little nation of just over two million Jewish citizens had escaped complete annihilation by the concerted efforts of Syria, Jordan and Egypt, and had achieved a victory that was beyond the imagination of the prime minister, the army chiefs and the whole population of Israel.
The euphoria of the nation was indescribable. To the Orthodox Jews, there was no doubt the Days of Messiah were here.
To the secular citizens, a miracle had occurred.The Arabs were terribly beaten and surely had learned their lesson. There would be no more war! And all repeated in joyous rapture, “Jerusalem is once again ours!” It was into these stratospheric heights that my parents and I landed in Israel.
However, I soon discovered that there was only a tiny remnant of Jewish believers in the land. For all practical purposes, they didn’t exist. Yes, there was a family here and an individual there. Victor Smadja and his family, immigrants from Tunisia, had already established the Messianic Assembly in Jerusalem; and the Heimoff family (now Bar David) that emigrated from Bulgaria had a small group meeting in a Tel Aviv suburb.
I thought to myself, “How in the world will the Israeli people, with only a tiny handful of believers in the land, ever have the opportunity to hear a clear explanation of salvation, according to the Bible?”
Even though I had no prior plans to remain in Israel, after consulting with my father, I decided to produce a 30 minute documentary on the establishment of the new state of Israel and the recent return of Jerusalem to the Jewish people exactly as it had been foretold by the prophets. I felt it was critical for Christians to understand that important portions of Biblical prophecy were unfolding and Israel needed the prayers of intercessors worldwide. I also began to study the Hebrew language.
Together with my language studies, I spent almost three years working on this film which I called “Dry Bones.” I struggled for sometime over the script, and then one day I thought to myself, “Why should I describe current fulfillment of prophecy? I have the best script writers in the world! Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zachariah to name a few!” And so I spent many months pouring over the books of the entire Old Testament.
Each time I read a verse that foretold the suffering or described the glory of the coming Messiah, or talked about the return of the Jewish people to Israel, or Jerusalem’s restoration,
I wrote the portions on a card. In those days there were no computers! When I was finished, I had a stack of cards quite a few inches tall. Out of those Scriptures I created a script and contracted an Israeli company to produce the film which I directed.
During the filming, I had many opportunities to witness to my cinematographer, Adam Greenberg, who went on to be a much sought-after director of photography in Hollywood, filming movies such as “Terminator,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I searched for a very expressive voice with an Israeli accent to read the script which as I said, was entirely made up of Scriptures from the Old Testament. I was introduced to Yossi Yadin, a famous actor in Israeli theater, and brother of the celebrated archeologist, Yigael Yadin, who excavated Masada and Megiddo, and who later became Deputy Prime Minister. Yossi agreed to narrate the film.
In order to physically make the script, I simply took a Bible and cut out the Scriptures, one by one, and pasted them on paper. At first Yossi was taken back, asking if I wasn’t desecrating the Bible by cutting it up. I told him that desecrating the Bible was done by those who did not keep the commandments written in it. He was satisfied with the answer and we recorded the narration.
Yossi told his family and friends about our project, and later on, I was asked to direct an archeological film for Yigael Yadin on Megiddo (known as Armageddon in the New Testament.)
Yossi also talked to Golda Meir, then Prime Minister of Israel, about “Dry Bones.” She told him she wanted to see the film herself. Knowing how busy she was, I wrote her, offering to bring the film to her home. She invited me to show her the film on Aug 10, 1971. With great anticipation,
this opportunity brought me to much prayer!
As a girlfriend and I prayed, I seemed to see Golda Meir on her bed at night, looking up and asking, “Is there really a God?” I also felt that there was going to be some type of spiritual opposition to this invitation, and I and my friend began to pray with deep intercession that the Lord would allow me to show her this film without interruption.
The day came for me to take the film and I entered with a large bouquet of flowers. I remember the security people looking carefully through it to make sure there was no bomb planted among the stems. Several aids and family members were also there.
After small talk, the film began. Its theme portrayed Israel in the late sixties a nation raised out of the ashes just as the prophets had prophesied would come to pass in the latter days. There was also a section where the narrator read Isaiah 53, about the suffering Messiah who would die for the sins of His people. The images portrayed a Messiah-like figure falling among his sheep in a black and white, heavily overexposed film, giving it a mystical appearance. That scene was interwoven with a sheep being slaughtered on an altar. It ended with the prophets’ call to repentance, and God’s promise in Ezekiel to redeem his sheep from the wolves among the nations.
When the film was finished there was silence. Then Golda asked, “What part of the film was Old Testament and what part was New?” I answered, “The entire narration was only Old Testament.” She sat thoughtfully, and then said, “But why the blood? What significance does it have?” Of course, that opened up the theme of the priestly office of the Levitical tribe which was commanded to shed the blood of animals in order to pay the price for the sins of the Israelites. I stressed that only after the shedding of blood, could the Cohenim (priests) enter into the presence of God to make petition for the people.
“That,” I explained, “is why Jesus had to die and offer his life so we might live. He is the Lamb of God. He is the way to permanent forgiveness of sin for the Jewish people - and, in fact, all who want it. He is the gateway to the presence of the God of Israel.”
Golda again brought up the scene of Isaiah 53, and said softly, “That was Jesus.” I was amazed at how open her heart seemed to be as she spoke.
Suddenly, another person in the room shouted out rather angrily, “This is idol worship (avodah zarah)! This is against Judaism!”
That ended our conversation. But I had spent almost an hour speaking about the way to salvation with Prime Minister Golda Meir. I felt certain that through our prayers (and others who had been praying for us) that the Lord held back the comments of the angry man until the prime minister had had an opportunity to hear the Good News through the prophets’ own words. I left her residence at midnight, after having spent two hours with her; I felt God had desired that she have opportunity to ask questions of her heart.
The next day I received a phone call from the same aid who had burst out with his comments of idol worship. He told me that the prime minister had enjoyed very much the film and the evening. In fact, he told me, that everyone there had found the evening very interesting.
I heard, after she died in 1983, that a believing doctor who had cared for her in the hospital, said she accepted Yeshua as her Messiah. Because so many rumors swirl around Israel, I have no idea if the story is true or not. But I do know she asked serious questions and listened carefully to the Good News of Israel’s ancient prophets. One day the Good News will permeate this land in such clarity and power that all Israel will be saved. We believers in Israel today are pioneers, knowing that eventful day is coming! And oh! How we long to see it!