“My God, my God! May these things never end – the sand and the sea, the rustling of the waves, the lightning in the sky, the prayer of a man…” This poem – titled ‘A walk to Caesarea’ – was written by Hannah Szenes, a Jewish poet and partisan. Born in Budapest, she moved to Israel in 1939, joining Kibbutz Sdot Yam (next to the ancient ruins of Caesarea) in 1941. At that time she wrote this poem, which today is considered one of Israel’s unofficial anthems and is the most-commonly played song on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). In 1943 Szenes was recruited into the Special Operations Executive, and on March 14, 1944 she parachuted into Yugoslavia along with three colleagues as part of a Jewish commando unit within the British Army. Upon entering Hungary in early June 1944, she was captured, interrogated by the Hungarian security services, tortured in Budapest, tried for treason by the fascist Arrow Cross court on October 28, 1944, and then executed by firing squad on November 7, 1944. She was 23 years old at her death.
Caesarea is mentioned in Acts 10 where Peter had significant experiences with Cornelius and his household, and in Acts chapters 23-26 where Paul spoke with Felix, Festus and Herod Agrippa II. Today Caesarea is known for Israel’s wealthiest real estate holdings. It is the home of politicians, oligarchs, artists and diplomats. Prime Minister Netanyahu has a house there as well, and often travels down from Jerusalem to spend his weekend beside the rustling of the waves, the sand and the sea.
The Stockholm Syndrome revisited
In August 1973 a branch of the Swedish Kreditbanken in Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm was robbed. The robbers held the bank employees hostage for 6 days, during which time the victims became emotionally attached to their captors. After they were released, the victims continued to defend the motives and actions of the bank robbers, and at least one woman got engaged to her former captor. Swedish criminologist and psychologist Nils Bejerot coined the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ to describe this puzzling phenomenon, where the hostage actually buys in to the oppressor’s or captor’s perspective, and then finds her own soul overwhelmed by her captor’s lies.
Certain conditions can trigger this syndrome, including a perceived threat to one’s personal survival; the perceived inability to escape; isolation from perspectives other than that of the captor; and small acts of kindness from the captor within a context of terror. The Stockholm Syndrome should be understood first and foremost as a survival mechanism for cornered victims.
Typical behavior of those suffering from this syndrome includes:
- focusing on the abuser’s positive side
- denying the abuser’s violence
- seeing the abuser as only a victim
- believing that one deserves the abuser’s violence
- hating that part of ones’ self which the abuser said caused the attack
The Stockholm Syndrome has specific significance for Israelis in the Middle East. After nearly a hundred years of Islamic Arab war against the Jews and their state, the ongoing hostilities and unremitting terrorism have triggered Stockholm Syndrome attitudes within many Israeli hearts. Some of us Israelis have begun to defend our enemies, to ignore their murderous goals and to blame ourselves for their hateful attacks. The world has encouraged this syndrome through slanted media as well as through political and economic pressure.
As a result, many in Israel have bought into an attitude of ‘accepting the necessity’ of –
- retreating from portions of our ancestral homeland
- shrinking Israel’s borders in order to be accepted in the Middle East
- hiding behind anti-terror walls
- shutting ourselves in and ‘hoping for the best’
Two of Israel’s three main political parties have platforms that mandate retreating from and surrendering our land to our mortal enemies as the best chance for peace.
Eyeless in Gaza
In August 2005 Israel’s then-PM Ariel Sharon responded to global pressure (which included veiled threats of economic and political boycott) by enacting and overseeing a unilateral retreat from Gaza (known as the ‘Disengagement’). In our day, PM Netanyahu is coming under huge international pressure to retreat from portions of the mountains of Israel in the West Bank (see Ezekiel 34:13-14; 36:1-8; 37:22; 38:8; 39:17). America’s realpolitik involves getting Israel’s government to fulfil one of global jihad’s wildest dreams – the Jewish people handing over huge swaths of our own territory to our mortal enemies on a silver platter (see Psalm 83; Ezekiel 35; Ezekiel 36).
How is that working out for us so far? After the August 2005 Gaza ‘disengagement,’ the vacuum left by the IDF was instantly filled by Islamist jihadi forces. Within a short time, advanced Iranian and Syrian weapons and millions of greenbacks flooded into the Gaza Strip. Soon after, Islamist terror groups were openly firing deadly rockets onto Jewish kibbutzim, towns and cities. Hamas gleefully declared that Israel’s retreats from Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005) were the result of their unceasing jihadi terror attacks. Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah’s Nasrallah and Hamas’ Haniyeh constantly proclaim that Israel is now on the retreat, and that continued Islamist steadfastness will lead to total victory – a Palestinian Islamist state with a Muslim-dominated Jerusalem as its capital.
An excellent analysis of these Stockholm Syndrome dynamics is found in Kenneth Levin’s ‘The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege.’
The Battered Child Syndrome
How was it possible that Israel could still support the Oslo Accords process, when PLO arch-terrorist Arafat spoke glowingly about peace before English audiences while simultaneously (when addressing Arabic-speaking audiences) called those same Oslo Accords a springboard for the destruction of Israel? After murderous terror attacks dramatically increased soon after the signing of the Oslo Accords, why is it that many Israelis continued to believe in its false vision?
Kenneth Levin compares these phenomena to victims of ‘Battered Child Syndrome,’ who blame themselves for the abuse they suffer, and are convinced that if they would only behave better, their parents would cease to beat them. The truth – that they will continue to be beaten anyway because it is their parents who have a problem and not the children – is too frightening for most to deal with.
This syndrome has afflicted the Jewish people since the early years of the Exile and continues to do so right up to the present. The Battered Child Syndrome has insinuated itself into Jewish consciousness over hundreds of years.
The Jewish people have been living under a state of siege for centuries, forced to confront unrelenting hatred directed at their people, merely because we exist. Some individuals are able to cope with this pressure, while others cannot. Those who do not find the necessary inner strength to confront and triumph over this anti-Semitism, try to solve the problem by identifying, to varying degrees, with their persecutors. Today this trend is most visible among Jews who choose the path of assimilation, who wish to find favor in the eyes of the nations whatever the cost.
A further step in this ‘Battered Child’ process involves Jews blaming each other for anti-Semitism. The step after that is for Jews to blame Israeli Jews for evils (specifically Islamist anti-Semitism) for which the Jewish people are entirely blameless.
- This dynamic is prevalent and active among Israelis, and is a key to unlocking why some in the Jewish state perversely choose politically self-destructive ‘solutions’ in dealing with our enemies.
Moving the goalposts at midnight
The strategies and tactics adopted in the 1990’s by Israel’s ruling Labor Party to carry out the Oslo withdrawals merit a closer look. Israel’s intellectual elite, the architects of the Oslo process, systematically misrepresented the substance of their negotiations to the Israeli public (and even to PM Rabin) throughout the process. Then Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin sought to create ‘faits accomplis’ (secretly signed agreements) which flew in the face of public opinion and also violated established Labor Party platforms. The Israeli crafters of Oslo publicly denied any deceptive intentions, while secretly compromising and backtracking on issues which had been long-standing governmental red lines. The strategies of Beilin and of his boss Shimon Peres (later PM) were essentially non-democratic in nature. This is the way they saw it: since most Israelis could not yet understand that peace with the PLO could be attained if only antiquated concepts (like defensible borders, security issues, threats from neighboring countries, etc.) were thrown out the window (according to Beilin, Peres and Nimrod Novik), it was the obligation of Israel’s leaders to create conditions suitable to ushering in this new coming peace, and to turn Israel’s concessions into established facts on the ground – despite the public’s resistance. Shimon Peres stated in November 1995: “A leader must be like a bus driver . . . He cannot turn his head all the time to see how the passengers feel.”
The now-ratified Oslo Accords have become the touchstone for ‘politically correct’ governmental leaders and world bodies like the UN in dealing with Israel. The international consensus is that Israel has no moral right to hold on to the biblical borders of the Promised Land, and thus it should be forced to withdraw from the lion’s share of those territories. A glaring example of this dangerous reality comes from just a few days ago:
- On January 19, 2024 European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said that the only peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the creation of a Palestinian state. He suggested this might need to “be imposed from the outside” – without Israel’s agreement. In a speech at the University of Valladolid in Spain, Borrell said that without international intervention, the “spiral of hate will continue generation after generation . . . The actors are too opposed to be able to reach an agreement autonomously. If everyone is in favor of this solution, the international community will have to impose it [emphases mine].”
Sons of thunder, sons of lightning
A ‘clash of the titans’ power struggle has been taking place in Israel since 1977 (see my newsletter of February 22, 2023: https://davidstent.org/establish-justice-in-the-gate-amos-515/). That was the year when the Labor Party, socialist holder of the Zionist reins since before 1948, lost its traditional majority to Menahem Begin’s Likud right-wing coalition. The domination of Ashkenazi Jews (from Eastern European origins) was broken, and now Jews from Arab and Middle Eastern countries (as well as fiscal conservatives and liberals) would eat and drink at the Knesset table of honor. Diehard Laborites were not pleased, especially as their percentage of the vote dwindled nearly to the point of political extinction. The last hold-out and flag-waver of these Labor Party positions is Ehud Barak. For an in-depth background of Barak and his role as ‘éminence grise’ – the Rasputin-like power behind the throne – see the following newsletters:
- March 28, 2023 https://davidstent.org/in-a-wilderness-of-mirrors/
- July 4, 2023 https://davidstent.org/the-wisdom-of-ahithophel/
- July 26, 2023 https://davidstent.org/following-after-the-crowd/
- August 18, 2023 https://davidstent.org/mcdonalds-and-the-second-coming/
‘Barak’ in Hebrew means ‘lightning.’ The most decorated soldier in Israel’s history and one of the IDF’s top generals, once head of Israel’s Sayeret Matkal (equivalent to the US Delta Force). head of AMAN (Israel’s Military Intelligence), Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense, Prime Minister – Barak has done it all. Yet he lost the Prime-Ministership to Bibi Netanyahu (at one time a sergeant under his direct command) – something which seems to have caused a poisonous root of bitterness to spring up within Barak’s heart over time.
Over the years, Barak has spearheaded a vitriolic campaign to bring down PM Netanyahu, no matter what the cost to the nation. This has involved ‘lawfare’ (using the courts as a weapon to attack and remove Netanyahu from office); stirring up public sentiment with repeated and lurid charges of fascism, treason and incarnate evil against Bibi; spearheading civil unrest and massive quasi-violent demonstrations attempting to block Bibi’s governance and remove him from office (the ‘Kaplan riots’); calling for soldiers and pilots to go AWOL in efforts to bring down the government; and, since October 7, hijacking the cause of those Israelis kidnapped by Hamas and transforming that movement by catalyzing it into further attacks on Bibi as PM, focusing on strident calls for new elections. In pursuit of these goals, Barak has been quoted often in Israel’s media, threatening blood in the streets and civil war, as well as calling for a putsch against the PM, etc.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me
The world has gone through a shift in recent days. Whereas evil dictators like Hitler and Stalin hid their nefarious deeds though ‘nacht und nebel’ (‘night and fog’) or through KGB secretive arrests and murders, in our day entities like the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Yemeni Houthis, the Lebanese Hezbollah and Gaza’s Hamas make no secret of their power-hungry plans. Barak and his coterie, in a similar way, are outspoken about both their agenda and their unbridled hatred of Bibi Netanyahu and his government. Here are some selected quotes of some of Barak’s statements over the past seven years.
A Hebrew Zoom clip from July 23, 2020 (an excerpt with English sub-titles available here) is of a private meeting Barak held with retired Israel Air Force pilots and navigators (‘Forum 555’) who all supported him in his desire to remove Bibi from office. The meeting included Shikma Bressler and Moshe Redman, present leaders of the 2023 ‘Kaplan’ protest demonstrations. In that meeting Ehud Barak stated that Bibi is heading up “an attempted governmental coup.” A civil uprising is needed, he added, but it must be presented to the public as an uprising “for the sake of democracy,” rather than an attempt to unseat Netanyahu.
In the Zoom video Barak discusses strategies for a civilian revolt, including the use of slogans, civil disobedience, and both general and ultimate goals of the protest movement. He stated that he will raise the necessary funds to cover all logistics for the project, including flags, banners and PA systems. He continued, stating that the more there are streets clashes with the government, the stronger would the opposition’s resistance become. This would inevitably lead to the government needing to use force against the demonstrators, which would again bolster the protest movement. In Barak’s own words, when an army shoots into a crowd, the government is bound to fall. Barak also declared on that Zoom clip a snippet of revealing information about his own self-awareness: “Objectively speaking, I am the most suitable person in the state to take control of the steering wheel.”
In recent public statements over the past eight years, Barak has declared:
- On June 16, 2016, Barak proclaimed (in Hebrew) at the Herzliya Conference: “We have been led for more than a year by a prime minister and a government that is weak, limp and all talk, even according to senior members of its coalition, deceitful and extremist, that fails repeatedly, in guaranteeing security, undermining the fabric of democracy in Israel, failing in managing diplomatic relations with the United States and in stabilizing Israel’s position in the world… Here, I call on the government to come to its senses and immediately get back on track. If you don’t do that, we will all have to get up from our comfortable and less comfortable seats – and overthrow it, through a popular protest and through the voter’s ballot – before it’s too late.”
- PM Netanyahu and his government are “dark and dangerous ultra-nationalists who are undermining the foundations of Zionism and Israeli democracy”
- Under Bibi, Israel is becoming a “fascist state” and an “apartheid country.” These are “the darkest days Israel has known. There is the “shattering of Israeli democracy” and “imminent dictatorship in Israel.”
- PM Netanyahu is “a fascist.” Justice Minister Yariv Levin is “a dictator.” Bibi’s cabinet are a “joke,” “jackasses,” “drivellers,” “simpletons,” and “people sick with autoimmune diseases.”
- The policies of his political nemesis on the Israel Right are to be described by the negative epithet “messianic.”
- Israeli citizens should refuse to serve in the IDF (at a February 2023 Ha’aretz conference: “When a black flag of extreme illegality flies over an army order, it is not just the right of a soldier to disobey that order; it is his obligation. We are now facing the civilian equivalent of black-flag illegality . . . Our only obligation is to liberal democracy as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. We have no obligatory contract with dictators, and history will judge to purgatory all those who submit to the dictates of dictators . . . We are the right side of history and we are not afraid of anybody or anything.”
- On Saturday June 10, 2023, Barak told his Haifa audience: “To this end, the protest must increase and move to civil rebellion, or in more precise language, nonviolent civil disobedience . . . The script for civil disobedience was written by Mahatma Gandhi, who drove the British Empire from India, by Martin Luther King, who led the struggle for civil rights for blacks, by the young people of the United States, who pulled it out of Vietnam, and by those who removed [Slobodan] Milošević from his dictator’s chair in Serbia. I am calling upon all the citizens of Israel to prepare for the call to act, and when the call comes, to answer it. We will fight, and we will not fear anyone or anything. The purpose of the protest must be clear. There are no compromises with someone who tried to destroy democracy.”
- On July 6, 2023 on Channel 12 TV, Barak called on “air force pilots and front-line commandos” to warn Bibi that if he succeeded in passing his legal reforms, these elite soldiers “would refuse to serve a dictatorship, period.”
- On July 20, 2023, Yossi Melman one of Israel’s top intelligence journalists wrote an analysis in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, reflecting Barak’s perspective: “A Military Coup Is Underway in Israel – and It’s Completely Justified”: “A military coup is underway in Israel. This is the unvarnished truth. At the same time, there is an attempt to play with words in order to avoid looking the reality in the eye. The rebels and their supporters are employing euphemisms and resorting to linguistic acrobatics rather than stating unequivocally that there is insubordination among many Israel Defense Forces reservists. They refer to it instead as ‘ceasing to volunteer’ . . . It’s more comfortable for all involved not to explicitly use the phrase ‘military coup,’ but if the issue is to be effectively addressed, the reality must be faced head-on and called by its rightful name . . . [This] is a military coup for the sake of democracy.”
- On July 24, 2023 the leadership of the Kaplan demonstrators proclaimed: “We will fight the government of destruction to the bitter end!”
Barak’s attempt to adulterate the hostage-release movement
Here are three short quotes from a longer recording on December 3, 2023 between former Prime Minister/Chief of Staff Ehud Barak and retired helicopter pilot Guy Poran, founder of Forum 555 and the ‘pilots’ protest’ inciter/organizer [well-publicized calls for IAF pilots to go AWOL in order to bring down the government]. In that recording Barak lays out his plan to depose Netanyahu using the two Trojan horses, ex-Generals Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, and to expel Members of Knesset Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich from the government – in order to facilitate the IDF’s withdrawal from Gaza which would be turned over to a “responsible entity,” namely the Palestinian Authority.
It is sobering but nonetheless true, that Barak’s end game involves a putsch against Bibi and the establishment of a PLO/PA/Hamas terror state in the Jewish heartland.
- Barak – “The initial nucleus . . . and true nucleus of the [protest to bring down PM Netanyahu is] the irresistible anger and demand . . . from the families of the murdered [by Hamas on October 7, 2023] and of the uprooted communities “
- Poran – “I agree with you and we, the [Kaplan] protest movement [against PM Netanyahu]and Forum 555 [the pilots who threatened to go AWOL in order to bring down the government] are telling the people . . . Do these movements need to, today, go out to the streets as rank-and-file citizens, or brand themselves as protest movements?”
- Barak – “Only as citizens. It’s important to separate [our involvement and steering of the hostage release movement] from the protest movement. The protest movement is being perceived by the public as something associated with the judicial coup [i.e., judicial reform] . . . We must not come with the insignia of the protest movement. Not the black flags and not the . . . ‘Brothers in Arms’ T-shirts, none of the markings of the protest, not the stage on Kaplan Street, and not even the leaders. Not I, and not [former Chief of Staff and Defense Minister] Bogie [Ya’alon] and not [former Chief of Staff Dan] Halutz, and also not [Moshe] Redman and Shikma Bressler and any of the other leaders. It must not be connected to the protest. It’s the same people, but these are people who come this time for an entirely different reason.”
The hostage-release movement is a genuine Israeli grass-roots movement. Its goal is to raise awareness about the condition of the up-to-136 Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas and held in terrible conditions, daily subjected to torture, rape, starvation, etc. This is a bona fide national outpouring of prayer and agony for the release of these Jewish and Israeli victims. It is worthy of support and prayer.
Yet at the same time, Barak and his back-door cronies are, like vampires, cynically manipulating this movement of grieving families in an attempt to stir up anger and hatred against the legal government of Israel. These shadowy puppet masters are paying for posters, billboards, T-shirts, buses for demonstrators, etc. – just as they did for the ‘spontaneous’ Kaplan demonstrators of 2023. They are even using the same PR firms and graphics. Most Israelis are not aware of the fact that this exceedingly popular movement has been somewhat tainted and is being manipulated behind the scenes.
- There is a strong need for prayer here – that God would ‘purify the sons of Levi’ (see Malachi 3:3) – and all the tribes of Israel, for that matter.
Scholars, politicians and political analysts have noted that the leaders of Hamas have been carefully studying Israeli politics and politicians, and had come to the conclusion that the civil unrest, quasi-violent demonstrations and calls for AWOL behavior throughout 2023 – all had served to weaken the IDF’s and the nation’s combat readiness. They also concluded that these events had downgraded Israel’s fighting spirit. These were some of the factors that influenced Hamas in choosing the date of October 7, 2023 as the time of their jihadi terror attack.
The Stockholm Syndrome – Hamas version
As Barak and his fellow-travelers have set their hand to massaging the public persona and message of the hostage-release movement, a new narrative is now being distributed to the Israeli and world media. It is classic Stockholm Syndrome. According to this narrative, Bibi Netanyahu must be publicly attacked, vilified, held guilty and removed from office because Hamas is still holding Israeli hostages in cruel captivity. “Bring them home NOW!” is one of the buzzwords associated with this spin, and its posters use the same graphics as did both the Kaplan demonstrators and fascist Germany of the 1930’s: stark black background, bold red text and white trim. Mass demonstrations are now held at Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Interchange but, as Barak commanded, the faces of the leadership have been ‘changed’; nevertheless, the song remains the same: “Throw out Bibi! New elections now! The Right wing is evil!”
- But Hamas does not take orders from Barak or Kaplan or Israel’s Left wing. When Israeli citizens are stampeded into screaming at Israel’s democratically elected leadership, stamping their foot on the ground in anger, calling for a 24-hour strike of all Israeli businesses – none of that has the slightest effect on Hamas, and none of it releases the Israelis held hostage in cruel Hamas cages. It only drives up the price for those hostages’ release in any hostage negotiations. The strident ‘orders’ being given to Israel’s government by Barak and his followers (backed up by threats of an electoral putsch) are a purely political ploy to unseat the government and bring the politics of appeasement to the fore. Those who manipulate the narrative in this fashion have no understanding of how Middle Eastern negotiations actually operate.
On the road to Caesarea
On Friday, January 19, 2024, the ‘Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum’ held a demonstration outside of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s home in Caesarea, shouting slogans like “For 105 days we begged you and now we demand: stop the executions of the hostages!” and “Their time has passed – we must make a deal now!” The Families Forum is demanding an immediate convening of an international conference composed of Qatar (Hamas’ main bankroller and asylum-granter), Egypt (which permits Hamas to re-arm through its Rafah border tunnels), the US (which has its main Middle East air base in Qatar) and Israel. Of course, neither Iran nor Hamas would attend such a conference; these two entities don’t care in the slightest about such gatherings.
In 1988, a Gazan terrorist associated with Hamas named Yahya Sinwar (Yaḥyá al-Sanwār) orchestrated the abduction and killing of two Israeli soldiers and four Palestinians considered to be collaborators. Two of these Palestinians he strangled, one he killed during a violent interrogation, and the fourth he accidentally shot during an attempted abduction. Sinwar was captured by Israel and sentenced to four life sentences in 1989. In 2008 while in prison, he was operated on by Israeli doctors who removed a brain tumor and saved his life. Sinwar served 22 years of his sentence, and in 2011 he was one of 1,027 Palestinian terrorists freed in a prisoner exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for five years.
In February 2017 internal elections, Hamas elected Sinwar as its political chief in the Gaza Strip, replacing deputy Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Sinwar is a founding member of the forerunner of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. He also founded Hamas’ al-Majd internal security service (targeting alleged collaborators with Israel), which operates under the oversight of Mohammed Deif’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades terror group. Sinwar was re-elected Hamas’ Gazan political leader on March 10, 2021. Sinwar opposes any power sharing with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and rejects any reconciliation with Israel. He has called on Hamas operatives to capture Israeli soldiers as bargaining chips for prisoner exchanges. He is the highest-ranking Hamas official in Gaza and Gaza’s de facto ruler, as well as the second most powerful member of Hamas after Haniyeh.
When Sinwar was imprisoned in Israel more than a decade ago, he explained to Yuval Bitton (then head of the Israel Prison’s Intelligence Division) his analysis of one of Israel’s major strengths – which is also one its major weaknesses. Sinwar said that what Israel considers its strength – that most Israelis serve in the army, and that soldiers hold a special status in society – is at the same time a weakness that can be exploited by Hamas, said Yuval Bitton. His observation proved prescient in 2011, when Sinwar was one of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners freed for a single Israeli soldier. Now, Sinwar is holding hostage 136 Israelis, including soldiers. The Hamas leader is betting he can force the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners and also maintain Hamas’ iron grip on Gaza. He’s relying on his judgment of Israeli society after two decades of Israeli jail time – where he learned Hebrew, watched local news and deciphered the Israeli psyche. Bitton concludes that Sinwar “understands that Israel will pay a heavy price. He understands this is our weak spot.”
Sinwar and 1,026 Palestinian terrorists were released in 2011 for one IDF soldier (Gilad Shalit) who had been captured by Hamas on June 25, 2006. On May 7, 2014 SHABAK (Israel’s FBI) detained Hamas terrorist Ziad Awad from the town of Idna near Hebron, who had also been released as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange. Awad had just murdered Israeli police intelligence agent Baruch Mizrahi (also a lieutenant colonel in the IDF reserves, who served in the ‘8200’ SIGINT of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate AMAN) on April 14, 2014 (the Eve of Passover) on Route 35 near the Tarkumiya checkpoint. Awad was aided in these preparations by his son Izz ad-Din Awad, age 18. These preparations included the purchase of a motorcycle and an AK-47 assault rifle for his father. Izz ad-Din also scouted out the best area for the ambush-attack.
In 2013 , two years after the 2011 prisoner exchange, Israeli security forces thwarted more than 40 terror attacks planned by Hamas operatives released in the Shalit deal. As of July 2015, six Israelis had been killed by Hamas terrorists released in the Shalit deal (see Shelly Aviv Yeini’s penetrating article in the Minnesota Journal of International Law, titled “Weighing Lives: Israel’s Prisoner-Exchange Policy and the Right to Life”; 2018). Certainly, Yahya Sinwar’s release has led to the murder of over 1,200 Israelis on October 7, 2023, as well as to the rape, torture and kidnapping of hundreds more.
Whose blood is redder?
The weighing of a decision to release terrorist murderers with blood on their hands, in exchange for innocent civilians – babies, children, teenagers, parents, pensioners – presents a terrible ethical quandary, and it leads to appalling moral choices.
In Tractate Sanhedrin 74a, an illustrative story is told about “a certain person who approached Rabba with the following question: ‘The ruler of my village came to me and said “Go kill such-and-such a person, and if you do not, then I will kill you.” Can I follow his order so that I will be able to save myself?’ Rabba responded: ‘Allow yourself to be killed, but you may not kill another. Who says that your blood is redder than his? Perhaps his blood is redder than yours?’ Who is sufficient to be able to weigh the lives of these hostages against the possibility of future Israeli lives snuffed out by possible future jihadi atrocities?
Here is a quote from Chen Shalita, whose article of October 10, 2023 bears reading: “The Dilemma around the Israeli Hostages Casts Doubts About National Priorities and Solidarity from Decision-Makers:”
- Someone else, who was also involved in the Shalit campaign, and wishes to stay anonymous, is rather more skeptical. “We are experiencing the flip side of the Shalit case. Hamas expected this to be a repeat of the Shalit case. They thought that they would kidnap Israelis and that we would cave in. I believe that it will not happen quickly – if at all. The State of Israel has implemented the Hannibal Directive on the whole of the Gaza Strip (since the current conflict erupted, based on the understanding that the moment we release prisoners, we are opening the door for countless more abductions.” The Hannibal Directive is a classified IDF order, the full meaning of which is not known, which states that the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers must be avoided at all costs, even if it means harming IDF’s own forces. It is worth noting that the directive deals with the case of the kidnapping of soldiers, not civilians as is the current situation. “So do we just give up on the Israeli hostages?” Shalita asks. The anonymous security individual responds: “You see it as abandoning the children, but if we pay the price, more children will find themselves in the same situation in the future. If photos of children ‘sell,’ after all they are published for a reason, because when they [Hamas] wanted to keep things quiet, they were able to do so, then the next time they’ll kidnap children again. That is always the dilemma when it comes to hostage negotiations.”
How should we then pray?
- Ask the God of Israel to grant increased understanding and revelation to Israel’s leaders about how to proactively deal with political witchcraft from within Israel and Hamas witchcraft from without
- Pray for a biblically sound prophetic ministry to be restored to the leaders of Israel, and that the world-wide body of Messiah would be moved by the Holy Spirit to focus with intercessory intensity as we progress deeper into World War III
- Pray for the physical rescue of the approximately 136 Israelis (including babies) kidnapped by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP/PLO. At this moment some hostages are being tortured, raped and starved (this based on testimonies of recently released hostages). Hamas is also holding onto many corpses as bargaining chips
- Pray for Hamas’ cruel terror dictatorship in Gaza to be decisively shattered and for all chains broken off the Palestinians living there – that there might be a ‘Free Palestine’ indeed, not under jihadi control – and for Iran’s role in jihadi deception, dissimulation and anti-Semitism to be exposed and rejected by world leaders
- Pray that Israel’s leadership be granted justice, clarity, moral courage, discernment and divine strategies in utterly destroying the jihadi threat in all of its aspects, and for minimal loss of life for Israel’s defense forces and for those Gazans who are truly innocent
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
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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