Sound of the Shofar #92
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.Exodus 13:21-22
Amud Annan - Pillar of Cloud
Operation "Pillar of Cloud," Israel's latest battle with Hamas in Gaza, is now over. As the sirens have stopped screaming and the dust has settled it would be good to try and see what we have learned from this ongoing conflict. Yes, the first thing that everyone knows and agrees on is that this conflict is not over and that it will take something cataclysmic for it to come to a final conclusion.
One reason is that while Israel has the military might to annihilate Hamas, it has neither the will nor desire to do so at the present time. There are a number of reasons for this. Annihilating Hamas as a political force would mean either reoccupying Gaza or turning it over to the Palestinian Authority. Neither option has much appeal to most Israelis. And while I know that Gaza is part of Judah's inheritance and I prayed fervently that we would not "disengage" from it in 2005, to go back in now while there are 1.5 million fanatical Moslems living there just doesn't seem like the right time. I am realizing more and more that what we preach in the pulpit is not always a political or military option. Also, in order to crush Hamas, it would have necessitated an extensive ground campaign resulting in many casualties. Here, I and most Israelis did not agree with our government's decision not to attack Gaza from the ground. Though here too my feelings were not black and white. My son Seth was on the Gaza border preparing to go in. Much of the IFI team had children that were either doing their compulsory army service or were called up for the battle. Certainly we are all relieved that our sons are safe and sound. The vast majority of the expected casualties would have been Gaza civilians who are living in the midst of Hamas' bunkers and rocket firing positions. This is the "human shield" phenomenon that Hezbollah in Lebanon also uses. The expected international pressure on Israel in response to high numbers of Moslem civilian deaths was something the Israeli Government was not willing to risk. However the fact that we called up 40,000 men with emergency orders for the army, many of whom were camped on the Gaza border ready to go in, was certainly a deciding factor in Hamas' willingness to agree to a cease fire.
More than ever before I have been impacted by the evil and utter depravity of Islam and of those who fundamentally follow it. When Hamas fired rockets on Jerusalem they were just as likely to hit an Arab as they were a Jew. They were just as likely to hit one of their "holy places" as one of ours. They do not care. And what of Israeli Arabs who cheered from their rooftops when Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were attacked? Certainly it was not all of the Israeli Arab community but it was a significant number. Hanna my wife is a tour guide, and she was working the day the bus in Tel Aviv was bombed. She was sitting in a restaurant at a table for the tour guides and their drivers. All were Israeli Arabs except Hanna's driver. They had just heard about the bus bombing and the Arab guides and drivers were celebrating. The lust amongst the Moslems for Jewish blood is not human but demonic. Many critics of Israel and "Christian Zionists" accuse us of dehumanizing the Palestinians. I do not believe it is true, but what is true is that they and the other Jew-hating Moslems dehumanize themselves. The passionate blood-lust they exhibit is not even found in the animal kingdom - with very rare exceptions: man-eating tigers, etc.
When it comes to Israel, the so called civilized world is not much better. No, they do not (mostly) have the blood-lust, but also they do not put a very high value on Jewish life. When Hamas sent thousands of rockets into Southern Israel, which nation complained? As long as Israel was willing to suffer the attacks, no other nation said anything against Hamas. When Israel finally decided that we had to react, most nations gave a reluctant "OK" but warned us that our response must be "proportional" and no ground offensive! In reality they want more Israeli deaths, to balance out the deaths on the Gazan side. Truly this is insane. What country in the world wants to have "proportional" casualties? Is this the way any other country would fight a war?
During this operation against Hamas, Israel sent food and medicine into Gaza daily. We continued to supply Gaza with water and electricity during the 8 days of fighting while they continued to bombard our nation with 1,500 rockets. Proportionality!
We are fighting an enemy who terrorizes our civilian population, who proclaims that they will not stop until every Jew in Israel is either dead or driven into the sea. So what is proportional? Whatever mathematical formula these nations are using, I do not understand it and I do not believe it is a heavenly formula.
Hamas is the spiritual daughter of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood that is now ruling in Egypt. Hamas's charter includes:
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.
The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out:O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.
[Peace] initiatives and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the infidels as arbitrators in the lands of Islam… There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.
This is the inhuman face of the enemy we are fighting.
While God's desire is for all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), He has also given us free will and most unfortunately, do not come to the saving knowledge of His grace.
Palestinian Statehood at the U.N.
And what of the other half of our Palestinian enemy? The P.A. has petitioned the United Nations General Assembly to grant it nonmember nation status. And those bastions of western civilization such as France, Spain, Denmark and Switzerland who were so worried about Israeli proportionality are voting for a Palestinian State, totally ignoring and even destroying the former internationally agreed benchmark of a negotiated settlement. The facts that the Palestinians meet none of the criteria for nationhood and cannot survive without international aid, do not seem to matter.
The Palestinians have refused to negotiate in good faith so they are asking their friends in the U.N. to give them the prize for free. No negotiations, no compromise. Former Prime Minister Barak offered Arafat a state and even a division of Jerusalem. Arafat never even discussed it; he left Camp David and started the war called the Second Intifada. Former P.M. Olmert offered Mohammed Abbas a state and a division of Jerusalem and Abbas said he would think about it. That was in 2008 and I guess he's finally done thinking and has now gone to the U.N. instead of negotiating with Israel. P.M. Netanyahu submitted to U.S. President Obama's demand for a settlement freeze to restart negotiations with the P.A., and he froze settlement construction for 10 months. For 9 ½ months Abbas refused to negotiate and when the 10 months were over he made a settlement freeze including Jerusalem a new demand for negotiations.
While Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are considered the moderate branch of the Palestinians in truth they have the same aim as Hamas, the destruction of Israel.
Answered Prayer - Iron Dome
For many years we have been praying that Israeli scientists would be developing weapons of war that would surprise the enemy and bring victory by their application. Iron Dome, Israel's short range anti-missile defense system proved itself in the Pillar of Cloud operation registering at least an 85% success rate. This is a weapon system that the Israeli military didn't want, a system that the American military thought was impossible to work. Our Defense Minister in 2006 overruled the military command and gave the go ahead for Iron Dome. Combined with the Arrow long range system and the soon operating David's Sling medium range system, Israel will have the only working integrated missile defense system in the world.
Israeli Elections - January 22, 2013
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.1 Ti 2:1-3
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.Rom 13:3-4
With the US elections over, Israel is preparing for very important, even fateful elections on 22 January, 2013. At this very early stage in the election process we don't even know all the parties and the makeup of their lists. (In Israel you vote for a list - a party not an individual.) We do know that P.M. Netanyahu's Likud party is running a joint list with Foreign Minister Lieberman's Yisrael Betaynu (Israel my home) list. This is not a merger of parties but a joint list that hopefully will be the largest party in the next Knesset and so will be able to form the government.
Kadima, Ariel Sharon's failed party, is already running a billboard campaign against the P.M. warning that he would bring us to a nuclear war. Of course this is actually the polar opposite of what P.M. Netanyahu intends. His intention has been crystal clear for more than 30 years, "Stop Iran before she gets the bomb."
I honestly do not think the Israeli electorate will be swayed by this kind of fear mongering. We all know that we live in a very bad neighborhood that is getting worse day by day. Israelis do not look for a war. But at the same time we realize that sometimes going to war is the better and only appropriate response to the threats looming from Iran, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. That, of course is only the list of today's threats. Tomorrow they might include Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and others.
While Prime Minister Netanyahu is far from perfect as the P.M. of Israel he is certainly the best candidate of all those running against him. We have strongly believed during the last four years that God answered our prayers for Netanyahu to become the next P.M. We prayed for a man through whom God could be glorified and who was the right one to lead Israel at this critical time.
P.M. Netanyahu studies the bible weekly. On Shabbat with his son and on Friday he has a bible study at his residence. He is only the third P.M. to have such a bible study. The others were David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin. We know that Netanyahu has an historian's perspective on both the restoration of Israel and the Iranian nuclear threat. Some years ago when he was in Auschwitz he quoted Ezekiel 37:1-14 and actually proclaimed that those verses had been fulfilled in the rebirth of Israel. We continue to pray that God will be glorified in times which are only becoming more and more critical. So until God shows us otherwise we continue to pray for Netanyahu's re-election.
International Prayer Conference Jerusalem
January 21 - 28, 2013
"A World Upside Down"
The theme of this year's prayer conference is "A World Upside Down" and we see the truth of that statement more each day.
Israeli elections will be held the day after the opening of the IPCJ 2013 on 22nd January. Thus we will be praying the night before the elections and the week when the coalition negotiations begin. I believe this is a Kairos moment for us. Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). You will notice that 2013's IPCJ is a week earlier than we have had for many years now.
We have seen many special weeks that happened to occur during the IPCJ including the "Arab Spring" in January 2011 (we did accurately say at that time that this was not an "Arab Spring" but an "Islamic Winter"). This time we already know of at least one very important event (the Israeli elections) that will be unfolding during our time together.
If the Lord has been calling you to come to the IPCJ 2013, please heed His call to come and stand with us in Jerusalem as one of His Watchmen of Jerusalem at this critical time. As I have written this election will be as vitally important for Israel as the 2012 American elections were.
There will be a prayer tour following the conference and we will go to the Knesset on Wednesday 23 January to pray on site.
For more information about the conference and tour and to sign up for IFI's weekly prayer points please go to www.ifi.org.il
The cease fire with Hamas to last as long as God wants it too. It would be great for the long suffering people of the south to get a good break from the terror of the rockets.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day.Psalm 91:5
The IDF to have actionable intelligence on the movement of new rockets and other weapons into Gaza and the means, plans and will to stop that resupply.
The continuing revelation to the world and especially to the Church of the evil, demonic nature of Islam and the oppressive bondage that Moslems are under.
P.M. Netanyahu's combined Likud/Yisrael Betanu Party to win an overwhelming victory on 22 January 2013. No party has ever in Israel's history had 61 seats so they could govern by themselves. Israeli governments have always been coalitions but the larger the main party is the easier it is for them to govern.
Israel's government, intelligence services and the IDF to remain focused on the Iranian nuclear project.
Israel's government to know the proper response to the P.A. after she was accorded this new status.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.Numbers 6:24-26
Jerusalem, 30 November, 2012