“Hear the word that Yahweh has spoken… O sons of Israel . .. Surely Yahweh the Lord does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared; who will not fear? Yahweh the Lord has spoken; who will not prophesy?” (Amos 3:1, 7-8)
It is the destiny of the prophetic to deal with tension. Tension exists between Heaven and earth. Yeshua calls us to pray that “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. His invitation to us presupposes that not all is right on earth, and that we need to pray into our planet’s situation.
The prophet Micaiah the son of Imlah was once threatened by the authorities of his day. He was told to “speak encouragement to the king” – to make sure that his prophetic input fit in with the soothing prophetic consensus. But Micaiah courageously declared, “As Yahweh lives, that which Yahweh will say to me – that I will speak out!” (1 Ki.22:8-14)
We live in a day when many run to and fro, and prophetic opinions (especially about events in Israel) increase daily by leaps and bounds (see Dan.12:4). Yet is it not time for the prophetic to slow down and speak with one voice, clearly, understandably and unmistakably? How else shall God’s army know that an alarm is sounding? “If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” (1 Cor.14:8).
Isaiah wept that in his day some prophetic watchmen were developing spiritual cataracts. The watchmen who were supposed to be Israel’s spiritual guard dogs were coming down with a case of prophetic laryngitis (see Isa. 56:10). Today the hour has come to ring out a warning and to call intercessors to take their place on the walls, especially as the enemies of Israel in Gaza gleefully anticipate drinking the new wine for which the sons of Israel have labored:
“On your walls O Jerusalem I have appointed watchmen. All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind Yahweh, take no rest for yourselves, and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Yahweh has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength, ‘I will never again give your grain as food to your enemies, nor will foreigners drink your new wine, for which you have labored'” (Isa.62:6-8).
In this context, prayerfully note the headline of a recent article by Hillary Leila Krieger in the Jerusalem Post (JP) Thursday June 30 2005 p.2, “In Gaza, Palestinians may reap what Israelis have sown”.
Hang in there, intercessors!
The Apostle Peter once explained, “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, even though you already know them and are established in the truth which is present with you. And I think it is right . . . to stir you up by reminding you …” (1 Pet.1:12-13). The urgent need of the hour is to stand with the Jewish people. Prayer is of paramount importance as Israel prepares to withdraw under fire from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria, as we Israelis abandon parts of our divinely promised biblical inheritance.
As Bible believers and followers of Messiah Yeshua Son of David, the time is now to clearly remind ourselves about the truth and to zoom in with prayer. We need to know beyond the shadow of a doubt whether or not this withdrawal is strategically wise for Israel; whether or not Prime Minister (PM) Ariel Sharon’s decision is supported by a majority of Israelis; and what the Bible teaches about the territories under discussion. We need to accurately know what Israelis are thinking, saying and feeling. We need to clearly grasp God’s heart on the matter, and not simply react to fast moving political events and the schemes of men. Let’s explore these areas now.
IS WITHDRAWING FROM GAZA STRATEGICALLY WISE?
Israel is getting ready to withdraw from Gaza, even under fire, and to forcibly uproot and remove all Jews from that area. Is this operation in Israel’s strategic interest or not? Actually there has been no government debate in Israel or even public explanation regarding the strategic issues or military risks of this operation. All attempts to start such a debate in the Knesset have been quashed by PM Sharon.
“All Israelis who don’t have a death wish are concerned with the security implications of handing land and strategic positions over to a junta of terrorists who have repeatedly stated their intention to use that land and those positions to advance their terror war against the State of Israel. Yet, to date . . . no government official – from the Prime Minister on down – has been called on to answer how Israel will be militarily better off without Gaza and northern Samaria. Indeed, no government spokesman from Sharon on down has been able to coherently explain how Israel will defend itself when Gaza and northern Samaria are under Hamas and Fatah control. The security consequences of the plan have been systematically ignored while the full brunt of media scrutiny has been placed on its religious opponents. They are reviled as zealots, criminals and extremists.” (“Scorched-earth Kulturkampf”, Caroline B. Glick, JP, Tues July 12, 2005, p.16).
The following are quotes ‘from the horse’s mouth’ – quotes from Israel’s top military and security leaders, statesmen and Members of Knesset (MKs), as well as from internationally respected strategic thinkers and commentators regarding the security and strategic aspects of this withdrawal..
The former head of the Shabak or General Security Services (Israel’s equivalent to the FBI) Ami Ayalon “said that the government ha(s) to openly discuss why it (is) taking Israel in this direction” (“Government is failing to explain disengagement”, David Horovitz, JP, Tues June 28, 2005).
The former Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), equivalent to the US Head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, is Moshe Ya’alon. He is also former commander of Sayeret Matkal (Israel’s Delta Force) and former Chief of Military Intelligence (AMAN). He recently stated that he was not consulted by PM Sharon on the strategic and military aspects of the disengagement. “Former Chief of General Staff Moshe Ya’alon revealed on Tuesday that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not consult him on the risks of unilateral disengagement before deciding to advance the plan. Ya’alon was speaking to the Knesset State Control Committee which convened to discuss the recently published book Boomerang that suggests that Sharon devised disengagement to deflect pressure from the criminal investigations against him. ‘I was brought into discussions after the decision was made and not before it’ Ya’alon said. ‘I got the plan as a done deal'” (“Ya’alon: I wasn’t consulted on disengagement”, Nina Gilbert, JP, Wed June 29 2005, p.3).
And what is Ya’alon’s perspective on the strategic implications of the disengagement? Uri Dan, respected commentator and long-time personal friend of Sharon candidly stated that Ya’alon “warned that after disengagement Palestinian shelling can be expected not only of Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip but also of cities in the center of the country, from Palestinian bases in Judea and Samaria, if Israel doesn’t continue to make concessions to the Palestinians in the West Bank also” (“The Ya’alon-Dichter Divide”, Uri Dan, JP, Sun June 19 2005, p.14).
In his first interview as a private citizen after over 35 years in the IDF, Ya’alon said, “We have a situation of reverse asymmetry. The State of Israel is ready to give the Palestinians an independent Palestinian state, but the Palestinians are not ready to give us an independent Jewish state. . . Despite their military weakness the Palestinians … have a feeling of success, (w)hereas we are waging a battle of withdrawal and delay… Look, the whole question is whether your withdrawal is perceived by the other side as an act of choice or an act of flight. If it is perceived as a flight, they will continue to come after you” (“Parting Shots”, Ari Shavit, Ha’aretz, June 2, 2005).
Former Chairman of the Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress, Isi Leibler, explains what was PM Sharon’s reaction to General Ya’alon’s de facto strategic evaluations: “General Ya’alon felt obliged to tell his prime minister that in his military estimation, the proposed unilateral; disengagement is a recipe for disaster. An outraged Sharon … responded by effectively sacking the military chief a year before Ya’alon’s retirement . . . If the Knesset ignores Ya’alon’s cri de coeur that the House of Israel is in danger, history will judge our leaders harshly for failing to live up to their responsibilities during a time of crisis” (“For a real Knesset debate”, Isi Leibler, JP, Fri June 17, 2005 pp.9-10).
Former Prime Minister of Israel, MK and Minister of Finance Binyamin Netanyahu agrees with General Ya’alon. “if the Palestinians sense a pattern of unilateral withdrawals under terror and without any Palestinian reciprocity, this poses a great danger to us. We’ll have to wake up to it at a certain point. But the later we wake up to this danger, the more we pay . . . The principal problem with the withdrawal as it is taking place is that it … set(s) in Palestinian minds the belief that there is a pattern of Israeli behavior: We received terror in Lebanon, and withdrew. We received terror in Gaza, withdrew. We received terror in Judea and Samaria, we will withdraw. And then under terror the Jews will withdraw from Palestine” (“We must reduce the terrorists’ sense of victory”, David Horovitz & Gil Hoffman, JP, Wed May 11 2005, p.7).
Former Brigadier-General and commander in Sayeret Matkal (Israel’s Delta Force) MK Effi Eitam says, “Disengagement … could turn into a major strategic defeat for Israel, just like our withdrawal from Lebanon. . . And if now, heaven forbid, we flee from Gaza and dismantle the settlements in Gush Katif … this will signify the success of terrorism and guarantee its continuation within Israel by Israeli Arabs” (“A different kind of battle”, Ruthie Blum, JP, Thurs Jan 13 2005).
Former Soviet Jewish refusenik and MK Natan Sharansky adds, “The disengagement plan is a tragic mistake that will exacerbate the conflict with the Palestinians, increase terrorism and dim the prospects of forging a genuine peace” (“Why I am quitting your government”, Natan Sharansky, JP, Tues May 3 2005).
Israeli Arab and Druse Likud MK Ayoub Kara says, “I am a patriotic Israeli and I don’t think disengagement will bring benefit to Israel. I have lost two brothers, uncles and cousins in battle, and I myself was wounded … But why should I support a unilateral move that will increase terror, endanger people and not bring peace? . . . My opinion is completely based on security . . . I am also against the plan because there was a referendum in the Likud that decided against it … I represent the Likud. I am being loyal to my party and not to its chairman, because party heads come and go” (“The Right kind of ally: Why is Druse MK Ayoub Kara one of the leaders of the battle against disengagement?”, Gil Hoffman et al, JP, Tues July 26 2005).
Director of the Middle East Forum and a prize-winning columnist for the New York Sun and The Jerusalem Post, Daniel Pipes’ website, DanielPipes.org, is the single most accessed source of specialized information on the Middle East and Islam. Mr. Pipes was one of the few analysts who understood the threat of militant Islam prior to 9/11. The Boston Globe states that “If Pipes’s admonitions had been heeded, there might never have been a 9/11.” The Wall Street Journal has called him “an authoritative commentator on the Middle East.”
In an article titled “Ariel Sharon’s Folly” (NY Sun, April 5 2005) Pipes says, “Name another democracy that has forcibly removed thousands of its own citizens from their lawful homes … The planned withdrawal of all Israeli installations from Gaza amounts to an act of monumental political folly. Because the decision to retreat from Gaza took place in the context of heightened violence against Israel, it vindicates those Palestinian voices arguing for terrorism. The Gaza retreat is, in plain words, a military defeat. It follows on the ignominious Israeli abandonment of its positions and its allies in Lebanon in May 2000, a move which much eroded Arab respect for Israeli strength, with dire consequences. The Gaza withdrawal will almost certainly increase Palestinian reliance on terrorism. Mr. Sharon betrayed the voters who supported him, wounding Israeli democracy. He divided Israeli society in ways that may poison the body politic for decades hence. He aborted his own successful policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians. He delivered Palestinian, Arab and Muslim rejectionists their greatest boost ever. And he failed his American ally by delivering a major victory to the forces of terrorism”.
The cream of Israel’s military and security leadership opposes Sharon’s disengagement on strategic grounds. This reality is reflected in the title of Jerusalem Post reporter Caroline Glick’s recent article “Sharon the tactician: He has lost sight of the significance of strategic realities” (JP, Tues March 29 2005, p.16).
Some Palestinian perceptions of Israel’s withdrawal
Co-founder and senior leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip Dr. Mahmoud al-Zaher declared, “History has proven that the rockets … have forced Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, and they will end the occupation in the future. It’s the resistance and not the negotiations that brought about the end of the occupation” (“Hamas says rockets, not talks, brought pullout decision”, Khaled Abu Toameh, JP, Tues July 19 2005, p.3).
The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei is planning victory celebrations and military parades. “The Palestinian Authority is planning celebrations in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli withdrawal from the area, PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei announced Thursday . . . Sources close to Hamas said the Islamic Movement was also planning ‘mass celebrations and military parades’ in the settlements after pullout” (PA, Hamas plan celebrations in Gaza Strip after withdrawal”, Khaled Abu Toameh, JP, Fri July 23 2005, p.4).
Hamas “is planning to hold a huge victory celebration after Israel completes its withdrawal from Gush Katif, including parades similar to those held by Hizbullah after the IDF pulled out of Lebanon. Sources in Gaza said the terror group already purchased 30,000 uniforms ahead of the planned victory parades . . . The movement is hoping to utilize the parades to convey the message that the Gaza Strip withdrawal is a direct result of the group’s military triumph over Israel” (“Terror group purchases 30,000 uniforms ahead of planned post-pullout celebrations”, Ronny Shaked, Ynet.com, Fri July 8 2005)
Former Palestinian terrorist leader “Nayef Hawatmeh, head of the Marxist-Leninist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), announced Thursday that he will move to the Gaza Strip after Israel completes its withdrawal. Hawatmeh, who is based in Damascus, is the first leader of a radical Palestinian group to announce his intention to move to Gaza after disengagement. The leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have also reportedly expressed their desire to move to the Gaza Strip . . . ‘I will return to the Gaza Strip after a full Israeli withdrawal from the area,’ Hawatmeh said … One of the group’s most notorious attacks was the raid on a school in Ma’alot in 1974, when a squad of DFLP terrorists took over a school where scores of children from Safed on a field trip in the region were sleeping. Twenty-four people, most of them children, were killed” (“Hawatmeh to Gaza when Israel leaves”, Khaled Abu Toameh, JP, Fri July 22 2005, p.1).
U.S. State Dept perspective on the strategic significance of the Gaza withdrawal
Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice: “Because the real point about Gaza is not to stop with Gaza. The President has been clear, we’ve been clear with the Israelis that it cannot be Gaza only” (U.S. Department of State Office of the Spokesman, Shannon, Ireland; June 17, 2005. Press briefing by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the traveling press en route to Shannon, Ireland June 17, 2005)
Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice: “President Bush asked me to come here in the wake of the President’s very good visit to Washington to follow up with the parties about plans leading to the disengagement of Israeli forces and settlers from the Gaza that will take place shortly. We must all focus on the disengagement as our best chance to reenergize the roadmap . . . What I’ve been very heartened by today and appreciate very much is the degree to which the President, in particular, but also many of his ministers are focused on making sure that this Gaza disengagement works. Because we’ve said many times that this is not Gaza only; this is the first step on a process that is outlined. The roadmap says how we get to final status, it says how we get to a Palestinian state” (U.S. Department of State Office of the Spokesman, Jerusalem, Israel. June 18, 2005. Joint Press availability with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Ramallah, West Bank June 18, 2005).
An Israeli Sarcastic Op-Ed on PM Sharon’s political credibility
Who’s for the destruction of the Likud?
Uri Porat (Yediot Aharanot, Mon July 25 2005; translated Avner Boskey)
“For Sharon, his word is his bond. In April 2002, a few months before he was re-elected as PM by an unprecedented crushing majority, he burst into anger when rumors were floated about IDF brass who suggested disengaging/evacuating outlying settlement enclaves. Opposing those rumors he proclaimed, ‘There is no basis to these declarations! No settlement will be evacuated! Such an evacuation would only encourage terrorism and increase pressure against us. What goes for Netzarim (ed., in the Gaza Strip) goes for Negba (ed., a kibbutz close to Beersheva which held out bravely against Egyptian army attacks in 1948), Yad Mordechai (ed., a kibbutz overrun by Egypt in 1948 and later retaken) and Tel Aviv!’ During the same week he emphasized this position in a government meeting, when presented with the possibility of any form of disengagement as a ‘national imperative’. Striking the table with his fist in anger, he declared in a tone not given to the slightest misunderstanding: ‘As long as I preside over this office, there will never be a debate over the evacuation of settlements, including outlying settlements!’ After such words, nothing remains to be said. Every one of his words is as immoveable as the Rock of Gibraltar”.
THE WITHDRAWAL – A DEMOCRATIC ISRAELI DECISION?
Was the disengagement plan ever voted on by the Israeli electorate? What was the legal outcome? Does a majority of Israelis stand behind Sharon’s strategy?
* * *
The following quotes explain the process of how disengagement was adopted. They are taken from an op-ed titled “Democracy and disengagement” (Evelyn Gordon, JP, July 20 2005) www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer&cid=1121825993157&p=1006953079865
“A brief history of the plan suffices to show why many protesters today are disillusioned with democracy. It begins with the January 2003 elections, in which the central campaign issue was Labor’s proposal for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, which Sharon adamantly opposed . . . (T)he results were unequivocal: Sharon’s Likud Party, running on an anti-withdrawal platform, won more than twice as many seats as Labor, giving Sharon the largest electoral victory in Israel’s history. Then, in December 2003, Sharon suddenly adopted Labor’s unilateral withdrawal platform – the very policy he was elected to block. He thereby single-handedly nullified the democratic victory won by pullout opponents 11 months earlier.
. . . When Sharon announced a referendum of Likud members on his plan and pledged to abide by the results . . . once again they won a stunning victory: . . . a 60% majority against (disengagement) at the ballot box. . . . Ignoring his pre-referendum promise, Sharon brought the plan to a vote in the cabinet and Knesset, where he and his cronies defied party members’ unequivocal directive and approved it.
Thus in the only two electoral contests ever held on disengagement, pullout opponents won decisive victories through strictly democratic means. Yet the plan continues to sail toward implementation. So thousands of anti-disengagement activists have drawn the only possible conclusion: Democracy does not work – because no matter how many democratic contests you win, those in power will still do as they please unless forcibly prevented.
The media . . . routinely describes Likud MKs who honored the referendum results by voting against disengagement as ‘rebels’ – the implication being that it is illegitimate to prefer the voters’ will to that of the prime minister. But how can one argue that democracy works if it is illegitimate for MKs to honor their voters’ wishes? . . . The accumulation of evidence over the past two years has been overwhelming: Israel’s power centers – the politicians, the media and the justice system – may pay lip service to democracy, but they have no qualms about riding roughshod over its most fundamental principles anytime the democratic process fails to produce the results they desire”.
* * *
The following quote is taken from an interview with former coalition partner MK Effi Eitam titled “A different kind of battle” (Ruthie Blum, JP, Jan 13 2005) and suggests that Sharon is achieving his political goals by radically anti-democratic means. (www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1105504413071).
“We have a prime minister who bent all the rules – who circumvented all the checks and balances of our democracy – from the minute he began his election campaign, in which he denounced Mitzna’s platform and on that basis won the election. By implementing disengagement, he is committing the greatest embezzlement a leader can commit against his electorate.
Of course, one has to make a distinction between representative democracy and its specific representatives. Of course there has to be some leeway and flexibility for the voters’ ‘emissary.’ But such an about-face goes way beyond what is acceptable. . . One could argue that the prime minister is using legitimate democratic tools to implement his plan, such as firing ministers who don’t agree with him . . . But, whether the legality of the process is intact, the spirit of democracy – according to which there has to be a concrete majority in order to make fateful decisions – is lacking. This behavior is going to lead to a schism”.
* * *
“Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the pre-eminent halachic authority for Sephardic Jews, has come out against disengagement on the grounds that it endangers Jewish lives by encouraging terrorists to pursue violence for further territorial compromise” (Rabbi rules: Disengagement entails 14 biblical sins”, Mati Wagner, JP, Thurs Feb 24 2005, p.2).
“A Druse soldier has sent a personal letter to Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz asking to be excused (from) duty that would involve evicting Jewish settlers from their homes and land. ‘If I am required to act against Israeli citizens, evict them from their homes and uproot them from their land, my conscience will never give me rest’ the soldier said in his letter” (“Druse soldiers: Don’t make me evacuate settlers”, David Rudge, JP, Sun June 19 2005, p.3).
“Sharon … must also stop misleading his own people. He can no longer fall back on his oft-repeated ‘trust me’ mantra. It is past time for him to report to the nation and make us privy to his intentions . . . At present most of us are plagued with doubts as to Sharon’s intentions and many are disinclined to believe anything he says. The time for openness and transparency is long overdue. We are at a crucial turning point in our history and we should not be obliged to read Sharon’s mind. Mr. Sharon: Speak to us.” (“Mr. Sharon Goes to Crawford”, Isi Leibler, JP, Thurs April 7 2005, p.5)
* * *
What percentage of the Israeli people actually back Sharon’s plan? The answer depends on how and to whom you ask the question.
“When asked ‘Are you for or against withdrawal under fire in the disengagement plan?’ only 37% of respondents in a recent Maagar Mohot Institute survey supported disengagement” (“The Disengagement Lie”, Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, JP, Mon July 18 2005, p.13).
“A full 41.8 percent of Israeli Jews believe that no settlements should be dismantled as part of a peace agreement, a new survey released by the University of Haifa reveals. Furthermore, 41.8% of Israeli Jews said no territories should be handed over to the Palestinians even in the framework of a peace agreement … By contrast, 91.6% of Israeli Arabs polled favor such a withdrawal” (“Poll: One in five Israeli Jews ready to block roads”, Talya Halkin, JP, Wed June 29 2005, p.3).
“‘Israeli Arabs totally reject the notion of a Zionist state’ said Prof. Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa department of Sociology and Anthropology, and one of the main organizers of a survey conducted by the University. Of the Israeli Arabs polled, only 13.8% agreed to Israel’s right to exist as a democratic Zionist state in which Jews and Arabs live side by side” (“Poll: Most Israeli Arabs oppose Zionist stae”, David Rudge, JP, Tues June 21 2005, p.6).
In an article in Yediot Aharonot titled, “Youth against the disengagement”, Sever Plotzker points out some surprising facts. In a poll conducted by Dr. Mina Tzemach and the Dahaf Institute among Israeli Jewish youth 15-18 years of age, 55% come out against the disengagement, 68% classify themselves as rightists, and 64% are for selective refusal during disengagement. He concludes his Hebrew article (Avner’s translation), “Concerning the burning issue at hand – the disengagement – the stance of Israel’s youth is directly opposite from that of their parents. Whereas a majority of adults – 58% – support the disengagement, 55% of the youth oppose the disengagement. There are many reasons for their opposition – from personal identification with the settlers to a crystallized hawkish world view. The ‘youth revolt’ …, this ‘orange revolt’(ed., the color orange represents the anti-withdrawal forces) is seen by Israeli youth as a cry of protest against the current corrupt political order, and as a sincere shout against politicians who said one thing during their election campaign and now are doing the exact opposite after they were elected.” (“The youth turn toward the right: Youth against the disengagement and for selective refusal”, Sever Plotzker, Yediot Aharonot, Musaf Shabbat, Fri July 22 2005, pp.4-5).
Sharon’s abandonment of his own election platform, his disregard for his party’s legal constitution and member’s referendum, his firing of cabinet members who upheld party positions – all these have taken their toll on Israeli attitudes toward democracy. A recent poll “conducted by Mina Tzemach for the Knesset Channel found that 87% of the public does not believe the Knesset represents it. In another alarming statistic, 48% could not name one MK who they felt served them well” (“Public puts little trust in members of Knesset”, Nina Gilbert, JP, Tues July 28 2005, p.5).
Natan Sharansky, a world-respected former Soviet dissident/refusenik and also a former coalition member in Sharon’s cabinet, quietly stated, “The government’s approach to disengagement is dividing Israeli society. We are heading toward a terrible rift in this nation; and to my great chagrin, I feel that the government is making no serious effort to prevent it” (“Why I am quitting your government”, Natan Sharansky, JP, Tues May 3 2005).
As you pray over these issues, remember the soldiers who are being asked to turn their strength against fellow citizens instead of against the enemy. IDF OC Manpower Maj-Gen. Elazar Stern drafted a booklet of guidelines to help commanders deal with such problems. He states, “This reality places, on occasion, IDF commanders and soldiers … in a moral collision course between their personal views and positions and the obligation to carry out the missions they were tasked with by the political echelons” (“Guidelines issued for troops who refuse to evacuate”, Arieh O’Sullivan, JP, Wed Mar 16 2005, p.2).
The above quotations show how PM Sharon’s decision for disengagement violated both his electoral mandate and his party referendum. In a healthy democracy Sharon would have been required to ask the voters for a new mandate by holding fresh elections. Though Sharon has kept things barely legal, he has lost the hearts of many in his own party, the trust of many common citizen and the support of the majority of youth in the country. Sharon’s withdrawal is not a high point for democracy in Israel.
GAZA & NORTHERN SAMARIA – PART OF THE BIBLICAL PROMISE?
The God of Israel clearly promises the Gaza Strip in its entirety exclusively to the Jewish people. The same is true for northern Samaria. Texts involved include Gen.12:3; 13:14-18; 15:7, 18-21; Num.34:4-6; Deut.1:7-8; Joshua 13:3; 15:1-6, 47; Isa.11:13-14 et al. Though other nations might attempt to settle on those territories and claim them for themselves (see Ezek.36:2-7, Psa.83), the God of the Bible does not recognize such claims. The gifts and calling of God upon the Jewish people are irrevocable and include the entire land of Israel. Pray for your own nation’s leaders to receive God’s revelation and heart about these matters (see Zech.14:1-3; Joel 3:1-2).
God is in the process of bringing the Jewish people back to their ancient homeland. The majority of us are being brought back in a state of unbelief, as Ezekiel 37 describes. As we have been returning, we’ve begun to reclaim the deserts and the swamps, defending our biblical homeland with our own blood and watering it with our sweat and tears. Though the enemy may attempt to dislodge us by using superpower pressures and terror attacks, God is still calling us to reclaim our inheritance, to re-dig the ancient wells and to enter into a personal relationship with our God.
For those of us Israeli Messianic believers who serve or have served in the IDF, these are not just abstract concepts. We live our daily lives with these realities before our very eyes. God’s purposes certainly involve shaking Israel and the nations (see Amos 9:7-10) but at the same time most Messianic believers in Israel believe with determination that we are to hold on to our calling and to our land with all our strength. In the same way that we do not understand disease to be God’s gracious gift to believers but we pray for healing as commanded by Yeshua Himself, so we do not make excuses for Arafat, Bin Laden and Hamas as they attempt to rob us of our divine inheritance!
Pray for us as a nation, that God would use these times of the dire straits to purify and soften our hearts, to grant us the gift of repentance and eternal life, and to lead us in standing fast on the land that He promised to the descendants of Jacob as an everlasting possession. We ask you to pray with and for us, that we as a nation and as a Messianic body would look beyond partisan politics and into the wounded hearts of our people. Pray for our healing through a revelation of Yeshua as our Messiah and King on David’s throne (see Zech.12:10-13:1).
A famous Israeli writer Natan Alterman penned what was perhaps his last poem before his death in 1970. This prophetic verse originally written in Hebrew symbolizes our Israeli nation as we press toward our divine calling, surrounded by enemies who would destroy us.
Then Satan Said by Natan Alterman
Then Satan said, “How will I overcome this one who is under siege?
He possesses bravery, ingenuity, weapons of war and resourcefulness”.
And he said, “I’ll not sap his strength, nor reign him in, nor put a bit in his mouth,
Nor fill his heart with cowardice, nor overwhelm him with discouragement
As in days gone by.
I will only do this:
I will cast a shadow of dullness over his mind until he forgets that his cause is just”.
World War Three is Here
Years ago a prophetic man, Bob Jones, declared that WWIII had broken out with the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on October 6, 1981. Two men involved in planning that murder were Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (later convicted of conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center, as well as planning the bombing of the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the George Washington Bridge) and Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of Osama bin Laden’s two top lieutenants. The assassination of Sadat heralded the resurgence of jihadi Islam. Though Mohammed established jihad in the Koran, and even though jihad is considered one of the pillars of Islam, modern Western political correctness prefers to call jihadis ‘Islamists’ or ‘followers of radical Islam’.
Israel is at the forefront of the struggle against jihadi Islam. Al-Qa’eda recognizes this fact, as does Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. The Western world has by and large not yet joined the dots. The Palestinian terror movement sees it self at the forefront of jihadi Islam, as Islam’s spearhead against the Jews. Jihadists understand the struggle in Gaza and the West Bank to be apocalyptic in nature.
Senator Hillary Clinton once said that “Israel is the canary in the mineshaft: what happens to Israel will happen to the rest of the world” (JP, Sunday, Feb 24 2002, p.1). In times past a caged canary was taken by coal miners down into a mine. If the canary stopped singing and passed out, the coal miners knew that deadly gases were present and they took appropriate action. A canary in the mine shaft is a tripwire, a lightning rod. What happens to Israel is also a sign of coming events for the rest of the world. If the world ignores Israel’s frantic chirping and warnings, the same attacks now being carried out against Israel will happen to the rest of the world. Bombs blew up for years in Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv and in Netanya. Now they have begun to explode in New York and in London.
It is instructive to listen the advice of Ephraim Halevi, former head of the Mossad, (Israel’s equivalent to the C.I.A.) in his article “Rules of conflict for a world war” (JP, Fri July 8 2005). Halevi now heads the Center for Strategic and Policy Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
“We are in the throes of a world war, raging over the entire globe and characterized by the absence of lines of conflict and an easily identifiable enemy. There are sometimes long pauses between one attack and another, consequently creating the wrong impression that the battle is all over, or at least in the process of being won . . . With the passage of time, our memories fade and we return to our daily lives, forgetting that the war is still raging out there and more strikes are sure to follow. It cannot be said that … we can see its conclusion. We are in for the long haul and we must brace ourselves for more that will follow. The ‘Great Wars’ of the 20th century lasted less than this war has already lasted, and the end is nowhere in sight . . . International cooperation … cannot replace the requirement that each and every country effectively declare itself at war with international Islamist terror …This war is already one of the longest in modern times; as things appear now, it is destined to be part of our daily lives for many years to come”.
A recent AP-Kyodo poll sampling 1,000 Japanese and 1,000 Americans discovered that 6 out of every 10 Americans believe that World War Three will occur in their lifetime (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=971221). If the prophets are to be believed, World War Three is not an event in the future; it is already here among us. And the withdrawal from Gaza is part and parcel of this global conflict.
This newsletter has been longer than usual. We hope that you will take the time to chew on what is said here, and that you will pray with us over these urgent and highly strategic matters. It is good to labor with you for Yeshua’s glory, for the sake of His Kingdom and for the harvest of His people Israel!
Once again, we want you to know how much you mean to us. Thanks for standing with us in prayer and financially.
In Messiah Yeshua’s love,
Avner Boskey (for Rachel, Daniel, David, Asaph and Elisha)
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