Israel finds itself in the crosshairs of more than a handful of potential blow-ups this week. It is a time for those who love Jerusalem to be praying. Here is the list of significant events happening this week:
May 6 – Lebanese elections and Hezbollah’s ascendancy
The Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah (www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm) has been on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations since 1997. It has been functioning for years as a proxy army for the Islamic Republic of Iran. In this election it is expected to significantly increase its ‘spoiler’ influence over Lebanon’s stance toward Israel (www.timesofisrael.com/hezbollah-poised-for-major-gains-after-lebanese-election/; www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/with-hezbollah-set-to-make-big-wins-hariri-loses-seats-in-election-1.6069714). Iran has used Hezbollah in the past to attack Israel (www.timesofisrael.com/hezbollah-broadcasts-video-of-attack-that-sparked-2006-lebanon-war/), and security experts surmise that Hezbollah may end up joining in on the next attack against Israel:
Iran has been holding off on further hostilities against Israel until after this election in Lebanon, in order to sway undecided Lebanese voters. As soon as the elections are over, the winds of war blowing out of Iran will change tack abruptly.
May 8 – President Trump’s Iran decision
U.S. President Trump originally gave himself until May 12 to decide whether or not to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear accord with Iran. Israeli PM Netanyahu’s recent disclosure (April 30; www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5246689,00.html) of secret Iranian nuclear archives (smuggled out of Tehran by the Mossad) reveal a long-term Iranian strategy of bottom-line deception concerning its drive for nuclear weapons (www.timesofisrael.com/iran-lied-netanyahu-drops-a-mossad-bombshell-on-the-iranian-nuclear-deal/; www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5248726,00.html).
President Trump’s decision will certainly up the ante for Iran (www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/iran/iran-israel-and-trump-5-scenarios-ahead-of-the-iran-nuclear-deal-1.6067089). On May 7 the POTUS moved his decision up to May 8, so that decision will come five days sooner than expected (www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/05/07/trump-says-hell-announce-iran-nuclear-decision-2-p-m-tuesday/585689002/). Iran has threatened America if Trump pulls out of the agreement (www.timesofisrael.com/iran-says-itll-resume-nuclear-program-at-greater-speed-if-us-exits-deal/). Israeli military experts surmise that Iran is holding off any military actions out of Syria and against Israel pending President Trump’s decision on JCPOA.
May 9 – Putin-Netanyahu meeting
Israeli PM Netanyahu has met with Russian President Putin at least six times in the past two years. His upcoming May 9 meeting in Moscow is connected to the rising tensions between Iran and Syria (both client states of Russia) and Israel (www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-conflict-with-iran-better-now-than-later/). Russia has stated its intention to transfer its long-range S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Syria. This defense system could conceivably hit Israeli jets in Israeli airspace, and have the potential to become a casus belli (an act or event that provokes war) between Syria and Israel:
May 13 – Jerusalem Day – 51st anniversary celebration of city’s re-unification
This day (on the Hebrew calendar) commemorates the re-unification of the city of Jerusalem in June 1967, 51 years ago (www.itraveljerusalem.com/article/jerusalem-day/; www.jerusalem.muni.il/en/Pages/default.aspx). This celebration comes one day before the 70th anniversary of the day on the Gregorian calendar when Israel became a nation once again. As such, it has great meaning and joy for Israelis.
May 14 – Israel’s 70th Independence celebration (according to the non-Hebrew calendar)
This is the date when Israel became a recognized national entity after 1,813 years of continued conquest and occupation. The date has great symbolism for the Jewish people (https://twitter.com/ambdermer/status/967129384439177222), and also for those who oppose the restoration of the Jewish people to their homeland.
May 14 – The official opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
President Trump decided to move the US Embassy to Israel’s self-declared capital city of Jerusalem, and put the cherry on top by choosing the date of May 14 to make it official (www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/US-Embassy-road-signs-go-up-in-Jerusalem-553668; https://il.usembassy.gov/opening-u-s-embassy-jerusalem/). For many in Israel, this is a day of great rejoicing.
It is worth remembering that the U.S. State Department is still on record as calling for the internationalization of Jerusalem as a corpus separatum (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_separatum_(Jerusalem)); President Trump’s soon-to-be-announced peace plan seems to call for a Jewish withdrawal of sovereignty and presence from parts of Jerusalem (something the POTUS has never concealed as being a possible step):
At the same time as great rejoicing occurs surrounding the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, it is worth remembering that the Prophet Joel (3:1-2) declares that Messiah Yeshua’s judgment will fall on any nation that participates in the division of Jerusalem. This should spur intercessors on to pray for their own countries in this regard.
May 15 – PLO/Hamas commemoration of Arab defeat in May 1948 War of Independence (the Nakba)
In 1948 the combined might of eight Arab armies (Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Arab Liberation Army – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_War) invaded the fledgling Jewish state of Israel. The Arab forces did not succeed in vanquishing the Jews, nor in carrying out their national massacre. Instead, Israel survived and actually held on to more territory than anyone imagined. This Arab failure to obliterate the Jewish state is commemorated every year by the day of ‘nakba’ (Arabic for catastrophe or disaster). If the Arabs had managed to wreak disaster on the Jews, the Arab world would not be commemorating an Arab nakba, but instead would be celebrating a Haman-like bloody victory over Jacob’s children:
The yearly riots which accompany the nakba will dovetail in 2018 with Israel’s rejoicing at its own 70th birthday party.
May 15 – Hamas ‘March of Return’ attack on the Israeli border fence
Hamas has been on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations since 1997 (www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm). This jihadi terror group calls for the total massacre of all Israelis and the establishment of an Islamist caliphate on the land of Israel (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp).
It has called for violent confrontational attacks against Israel Defense Forces manning the border fence between Islamist Gaza and the Jewish state of Israel. Over 30,000 demonstrators took part in the first Friday of violence on March 30 (www.timesofisrael.com/just-in-case-anybody-forgot-what-hamass-march-of-return-is-really-all-about/). Hamas is hoping for a violent climax on Nakba Day May 15. Youth and children are encouraged to attack Israeli troops with Molotov cocktail bombs, while Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists hide among them and shoot at the IDF. This year there will be added fuel to the fire, coming just a few days after the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Organizers are hoping for much violence and casualties, as well as many cameramen and news media ‘reporting live.’
May 15 (or 17) evening – The beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan
The Islamic month of Ramadan, known for its day-long fasting for a duration of one month, is also linked in source Islamic documents to jihad. Hussein Shehata, a well-known lecturer at Al Azhar Islamic University in Cairo (the ‘Oxford’ of Sunni Islam), makes this clear, “Ramadan is the month of victory for those who wage jihad for Allah.”
The onset of Ramadan is close to the Day of Nakba for Arabs in Gaza, Hebron and Jenin. This crosshair intersection of many potent Islamist days as well as many joyous Israeli celebrations has the potential for igniting an explosion in the Middle East tinderbox.
Iran’s plan for revenge against Israel
Iran sees its revolutionary calling as being a standard-bearer in the rush to destroy Israel.
Iran has been moving rockets, drones and missiles into Syria over the past years, preparing for a war against Israel through its Syrian and Lebanese proxies. It has been aiding Syria in the construction of a nuclear bomb factory (which Israel demolished in 2007 –
Iran has moved hundreds of rockets and attack drone bases into Syria, recently sending an explosive-laden attack drone into Israel (where it was shot down within 30 seconds). Israel is reported to have demolished the T-4 Iranian drone base near Palmyra in Syria (www.timesofisrael.com/iranian-media-posts-photos-of-syrian-base-allegedly-bombed-by-israel/) and to have blown up over 200 surface-to-surface rockets in a secret Iranian underground armory (www.timesofisrael.com/syria-strike-said-to-have-destroyed-200-ground-attack-missiles/; www.timesofisrael.com/satellite-captures-destruction-on-syrian-base-after-alleged-israeli-strike/).
These strikes, coupled with Israel’s recent exposure of Iran’s bold-faced lies and dissimulation regarding its nuclear weapons drive, have engendered a strong Iranian resolve to strike at Israel – but from Syria and perhaps from Lebanon’s Hezbollah as well. Israel’s news media has been abuzz since Monday April 30, when the two major opposition parties cancelled their no-confidence motions in the Israeli Knesset (it was noted on Israeli TV) in light of the need to stand together in the face of a national emergency.
Dancing on the Middle-Eastern minefield
This next week in the Middle East appears to be rather dramatic. The most important thing that can be done for most of us is prayer – focused, heart-felt, bathed in compassion and intercession. Your prayers can be a secret weapon in the hands of the God of Israel to bring deliverance and salvation to His chosen people, and to lower both the flames of conflict and resulting loss of life.
How should we then pray?
- Pray that Iranian plans for destruction and murder in Israel be frustrated and stopped
- Pray for those who are responsible for Israel’s security – for divine revelation and strategies
- Pray for the leaders of Lebanon, Syria and Iran to receive divine visitations and revelation from God’s heart
- Pray for the Jewish people to be protected from all who would do her harm – both physically and spiritually
- Pray for believers and prophetic intercessors worldwide to tap into God’s heart about these issues
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s army speedily and in our day
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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