Immediately on the coat tails of the Hamas terror group’s kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers, a group of six Jewish extremists (ages 16-25) kidnapped and murdered a sixteen year old Arab teenager, Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, from the north Jerusalem suburb of Shu’afat.
The Israeli police managed to crack this case and arrest the perpetrators within four days (www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4538687,00.html).Three of the six men have confessed to the crime and reconstructed parts of it for police. The speed with which the police were able to solve this case was praiseworthy, considering that the Hamas terror gang which murdered the three Jewish teens is still at large in Palestinian territory.
This revenge killing has created waves of revulsion and shock throughout Israel. Many Jews believed that it would be impossible for Jews to engage in such a heinous crime (http://m.townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2014/07/07/renouncing-jewish-jihad-n1859365#). Top statesmen and politicians have condemned the crime unequivocally (www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4537753,00.html), while the parents of one of the murdered Jewish teenagers paid a condolence call at the home of the Arab bereaved family (www.timesofisrael.com/slain-israeli-teens-uncle-consoles-murdered-palestinians-father/).
Palestinian response to the kidnapping and slaying of the Jewish teenagers was nearly totally opposite, with demonstrations of joy, public distribution of sweets, and a special three fingered salute to the terrorists, symbolizing the three Jewish victims.
Street fightin’ man
Within a few hours of the breaking news about Muhammad Abu Khdeir, rioting began in the Arab suburb of Shu’afat, a two minute drive from Jerusalem’s French Hill district. The light rail network’s bus stops were burned, commercial garbage containers set afire and upended, electricity poles were downed, and Israeli police were attacked with stones, Molotov cocktails and slingshots.
Within two days rioting had spread throughout Jerusalem, exploding in Israeli Arab neighborhoods adjoining Jewish areas (a-Tur, Hizmeh, Ramat Rachel forest, Jebel Muqaber, Wadi Joz, Isawiyeh, Abu Tor, etc; www.jpost.com/National-News/Climate-of-fear-pervades-city-following-Jerusalem-riots-and-spate-of-attacks-against-Jews-361726). From Jerusalem rioting spread to Arab towns south of Haifa (like Taibe, Baqa al-Gharbiya and Qalanswa; www.timesofisrael.com/israelis-attacked-car-set-on-fire-during-riots-in-arab-israeli-towns/), as well as to Western Galilee (Yafia, Tamra, Nazareth, Arraba, Ar’ara, Shfaram, etc; www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4538641,00.html). Even our own suburb of Omer near Beersheva was attacked during the night by local masked Beduin armed with Molotov cocktails, stones and slings.
The scene on Israel’s burning streets is reminiscent of the Rolling Stones 1968 anthem ‘Street-fighting man’: “Hey, everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy. ‘Cause summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy. .. Hey! Said my name is called disturbance. I’ll shout and scream, I’ll kill the king, I’ll rail at all his servants” (Lyrics© ABKCO Music, 1968).
All this is occurring to the tattoo drumbeat of hundreds of Hamas Grad and Qassam rockets (as well as mortars) falling on Israeli towns, kibbutzim and cities at the rate of between twenty and seventy per hour.
Why are Israeli Arabs rioting?
The surge of violence from Israeli Arab citizens is a troubling phenomenon. It is sad to note that no sympathetic demonstrations occurred in the Arab sector when the Jewish teenagers were kidnapped or when their bodies were found. But the widespread Arab violence has shocked even some Arab community leaders (www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4538371,00.html).
Most of the violence has been stirred up by agitators from the Islamic movements and community hotheads (e.g., Raja Ighbarieh of Abnaa al-Balad; www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4539089,00.html). Yet the radicalizing of Arab Israeli youth and their willingness to cross the red line into violent civil insurrection is fraught with serious complications for all sides in Israel.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring decrease in tension and violence in the Israeli Arab sector, and for revelation of Yeshua for many young Arab rioters.
The blame game
Many Israeli voices on the left side of the political wing are loudly blaming their political rivals as to why Arab Israelis are rioting.
- Security journalist Yossi Melman believes that the Jewish settlers returning to the fields of biblical Israel are the cause of the troubles, and that a rejection of this vision for Jewish restoration will put everything right (www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Comment-Nightmare-scenario-361707).
- Former head of Shin Bet (Israel’s FBI) Yuval Diskin is convinced that the problem is Israel’s holding on to the West Bank, and declares that a prompt withdrawal from the lands taken by Israel in June 1967 will solve all problems. (www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4538232,00.html; http://blogs.forward.com/jj-goldberg/201468/ex-shin-bet-chief-israeli-illusions-fueled-blowup/).
- David Horvitz, former editor of the Jerusalem Post, also blames ‘the occupation’ for Jewish moral failures (www.timesofisrael.com/a-sobering-moment-for-complacent-israel/).
In each case, the political perspective of each writer colors and shapes his analysis, his ethical criticisms and his suggested solution.
However, few of these commentators today hold the Israeli Arab rioters to accepted Western standards of protest and debate. As a result, these writers unwittingly end up justifying the tactics of those who would weaken and destroy Israel, the Jewish state.
In Bet Umar, just north of the area of Hebron where the three Jewish teens were murdered, a huge Nazi flag was raised for the third time in the past few years (www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qJB_77NflE). This town has been the scene of many attempted lynches of Israeli passersby. The sympathetic vibrations between Palestinian Islamic jihad and Nazism speak loudly here.
- The spiritual roots of violent hatred of the Jewish people and their state must be factored into any spiritual appraisal of the situation.
Rocket’s red glare
Over the past few days Hamas and Islamic Jihad rocket fire against civilian targets has increased. In the past hour 70 rockets were fired at Ashdod, Ashkelon, Rehovot, Gedera, Bet Shemesh, Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat, Ofakim, Sderot, Rahat, etc. Miracously, only one man was slightly wounded.
- This is due to God’s gracious protection, the prayers of the saints, and the ministry of angels. Keep praying for Israel’s protection!
Hamas is intent on egging Israel on and drawing the Jewish state into a military land operation in Gaza. The extent and depth of rocket fire leaves Israel little wiggle room here.
The result of such an operation would include:
- some loss of life and much destruction of infrastructure within Gaza
- massive Hamas rocket fire against major Israeli cities and massive Israeli bombing and destruction of those launchers
- some loss of life of Israeli civilians and soldiers, and some destruction of buildings in Israel
- swift world condemnation of Israel leading to massive pressure for an inconclusive cessation of hostilities
Avi Dichter, former director of Shin Bet, former Minister of Internal Security, and former Minister of Home Front Defense, commented just a few days ago: “We must focus on how we’re going to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities in Gaza,” he said. “This is not a three-week operation like Cast Lead and not an eight-day one like Pillar of Defense. This will take over a year. This is a move we can’t avoid. While we can’t destroy ideology, we can destroy a terror organization” (www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4539058,00.html).
- Pray for wisdom for Israel’s decision-makers
- Ask the Lord of armies to bring down the spiritual forces behind these murderous jihadi attacks
Ostrich on the battlefield
Believers who are called to love Israel should also have a heart for the Arab world. It is heart-breaking to watch war and not peace break out again in Israel. Yet Isaiah calls us all in Isaiah 40:2 to “speak over the heart of Jerusalem.” Truth and love must blend in our heart and our message to Israel. Rodney King-type appeals (“Why can’t we all just get along?”; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_King) are not the need of the moment, and have an unreal kumbaya quality to them. This is a time for war, not a time for peace.
Unity and love between Jews and Arabs is a prime value and a deep necessity. But God is not about the business of creating ‘one new ostrich.’ When concerted efforts to destroy the Jewish people arise, Messianic Jews and believing Arabs need to look unflinchingly upon murderous Islamist violence and destructive strategies, call them for what they are, reject them and take a bold and public stand against them. Anything less than that will not carry the day.
Stay on target
How can we remain balanced in a time of war? The first point would be to hold to the truth of the Word in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All viewpoints about Israel, the Jewish people, God’s intentions and covenant promises regarding the Land, eschatological beliefs – all of these must be shaped and seasoned by the clear teachings of Scripture. The Islamist denial of irrevocable Jewish covenantal connections flies in the face of YHVH’s heart, Paul’s apostolic teaching and Jewish history. When Replacement theology, BDS movements or even pseudo-reconciliation teachings justify such denials of God’s word, their false narratives must bow before the Messiah of Israel’s burning throne.
Here are seven short Biblical concepts to remember:
- The Jewish people have irrevocable gifts and calling (Romans 11:29)
- The God of Israel promises to restore them to their land for good, for blessing and for salvation (Jeremiah 30:1-2, 10-11, 15-22; 31; 32:36-44 etc.)
- God will judge Israel’s enemies who scornfully and falsely claim that Israel belongs to them (Ezekiel 36:1-12; Psalm 83:1-12)
- The whole world will turn against Israel over the issue of settlements and land, and will be judged for this by Yeshua Himself immediately at His Second Coming (Joel 3:1-2, 19-21; Zechariah 14:1-4, 12-15)
- God will purify His people through these great trials and call them back into covenant with Himself (Zechariah 12:10; 13:1, 8-9; Hosea 5:14-6:3)
- God will forge Israel into the mightiest army the world has seen through this smelting process (Ezekiel 37:9-11; Isaiah 41: 14-16)
- The Jewish people and Jerusalem will be the center of the world and will reflect God’s glory to all the nations (Ezekiel 38:12; Daniel 11:41; Isaiah 2:1-4; Jeremiah 3:17; Matthew 19:28)
As all these things draw nigh, remember that Israel is not “hamburger helper,” an appendix-like additive which will help make better burgers (or a more politically correct and balanced theology)! Israel is the “hamburger” in God’s heart and strategy –real and meaty, central and axial in His kingdom – the key to world revival and the throne of the Lord!
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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