Interview with Dan Carlson of CBN Israel

“God is still sovereign”

Interview with Dan Carlson, CBN Israel


On October 7th last year, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel in which more Israelis were killed than at any time since the Holocaust. Dan Carlson heads the CBN office in Israel. He visited us and as a team we were able to spend time with him, hear from him and pray for him and Israel. Even though he hasn’t lost his sense of humor, you can tell that the last few months have weighed heavily on him. Dan spoke to us about the situation in Israel.




The Interview

Israel has been in a war situation for over 100 days now. How’s the atmosphere in Israel?

Well, it’s complicated. Just like every war, there is a lot of sadness with regards to the war. The war is very close. And so we all feel its effects all the time.

Everything you do in Israel is connected somehow to the war. There’s disappointment with the government. There’s also a feeling like we’ve tried this, we’ve tried that nothing seems to work. And I think even a question of where do we go from here. Many Israelis maybe in the time after the war, are going to be saying: ”Okay, what is the solution long term?”

The people in your country are facing a lot of cruel situations. How traumatized are they?

I think the trauma is definitely great. You know, they have definitely said that this has been the worst event in Israel’s history since the days of the Holocaust. And it’s been a very terrible time. We’re used to the idea of conflicts where for ten days, two weeks, there’s fighting and all that, and then it calms down and people go back to their normal lives. But this is a different war. Now it’s already getting close to four months of constant conflict. The magnitude of the massacre and all that was happened is something that we are still experiencing. It’s just like a very, very long October 7th, even today.

You’re the national director of CBN in Israel. How is CBN helping people?

Well, that’s been adjusted as well with the war. Like the first part of the war, the first thing was to evacuate people. Even before the government realized what was going on and got into gear and provided for shelter and food. So, you still have an enormous number of Israelis that have now been living in hotel rooms, sometimes four or five members of a family in one hotel room for now, almost four months. And the projection isn’t ‘going back to normal’ any time soon. They’re talking about the end of 2024. They will still not be able to return to their homes.

For CBN Israel: We’ve adjusted our aid, whether it’s providing for shelter or food, but now also how do you strengthen communities, how do you strengthen families that have been had these traumatic events? Providing aid to those people as we go is just ongoing … Nothing’s gotten back really to normal. So, there’s always like coming from different angles. There’s also restoring community, the sense of community. How do you do events that allow people to interact with each other in a healthy way that brings restoration, counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder, things like that, that, where people can start to process on an emotional level, the things that happen.

How do you personally deal with all the challenges you’re facing?

For the first two months of the war, I just tried to not sink into depression. So, you just run and do all the time. You try not to even sleep until you’re dead tired and then you go to sleep. You wake up after a few hours, you get up and you start running again so that you don’t have to think about what might catch up with you. I’m not a psychologist or anything, but that’s probably not the best way to deal with things. It’s the way I’ve dealt with things. And I think that many of us are dealing with things in a similar way. You don’t have the luxury of time to mourn and to, you know, sit down and process. You’re still in the event. So anyway, that’s kind of where we’re at. And I don’t think I’m alone in that.

I read on your home page the quick prayer requests where you ask people to pray for you.  You wrote there that we should pray for the Palestinians …

We do humanitarian projects among the Palestinian people. We feel that God’s love is not limited to us or people that are like us. It’s limited to everybody. And therefore, the mercy of God is extended to people, no matter what nation they’re from. We know that in the end, around the throne of grace, there will be people from every kindred tribe, tongue, and nation. And if that’s the case, then it’s our duty before the Lord to provide outreach opportunities of grace, to extend that grace to those who are of every tribe, community and language that are part of Israel.

Maybe we can open up this spiritual view a little. How do you see this situation you’re facing at the moment from your spiritual view?

I think the human history, if you zoom out and you see human history, human history is riddled with terrible events and terrible things, The Jewish people have gone through a tremendous amount of suffering. And so when I look at what’s going on, in essence, it’s not new. Humans may have developed in the areas of technology they haven’t developed in areas of the transformation of the heart, which is what God needs to transform for us, not to be what we are, which is fallen human beings. And we have to change our view of things. We know that God is still God in spite of things that we don’t understand and struggles that we go through. God is still sovereign. His throne is not shaken by the things that shake us and sometimes the things that shake us cause us to look for something that is more stable. And if we find him in that process, then that’s a solid foundation we can build on.

What can we as Germans do for Israel, especially as Christians?

I think it also was appreciated in Israel to see that the German government made the decision to stand with Israel in the Hague, to defend her right, to defend herself in this war. This is a war of defence that Israel did not choose. It was a complete surprise and shock to many and most Israelis and for the fact that the German government recognizes that this is a legitimate war of defence, and that Israel is not a conquest imperialistic state, that they want to live in peace and that the Germans recognize that I think warms the heart of Israelis specifically. So that’s obviously something that especially coming from Germany, is, I think, touching for the Israelis that German chose to stand where other nations did not. A lot of nations had the opportunity to make that stand against this liable distortion that South Africa brought in the international court against the Israeli nation and the Jewish people. Specifically, the Jewish people are probably more sensitive to the issue of genocide more than any other nation in the world. And for South Africa to accused Israel of genocide is a horrendous lie and Israel often feels like it stands alone. And for Germany to specifically stand with Israel on that, I think was a very important step for the Israelis to see that someone stood with them.

Thank you, Dan, that we could have this talk. Thank you for sharing. And we wish you a lot of strength, a lot of hope, and take all this to your people.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Please pray for strength and inner peace for Israel, for the CBN team on the ground and for all people affected by the war. Pray for peace. And, if you can, support CBN Israel with a donation.


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