Yesterday morning in Jerusalem started like most others here for us. At 4:15 am, I (Kerry) gulped down a cup of coffee and left home to start a day of work at my office nearby. But instead of enjoying the usual chirp of early birds heralding the break of dawn, I was treated to the ear-piercing wail of what I thought were sirens warning of incoming rocket fire. Within seconds, however, I recognized the blare as extraordinarily loud Islamic prayers (or perhaps more accurately, curses) blasting from minaret speakers in the Old City. These prayers regularly spew throughout Israeli airwaves fives times a day, but possibly the speakers were cranked up to mark the end of Ramadan. In any case, I was prompted to pray in the spirit, worshiping Yeshua out loud. Later that day, I learned Sandy had been similarly led to prayerwalk the streets, repeatedly singing and proclaiming over and again the name of Yeshua.
As you likely know, last week terrorists in Gaza started firing rockets daily into the Negev. Israel responded to these escalating attacks with precision-targeted air strikes into Gaza that killed key terrorist leaders. Then on Thursday, matters took a dramatic turn. The Israeli resort city of Eilat was devastated by a coordinated terror attack claiming the lives of eight innocent civilians. Private cars and a public bus filled with innocent passengers were mercilessly fired upon and bombed. A peaceful Israeli desert instantly morphed into a grisly and deadly bloodbath.
As the perpetrators fled back into Egypt, some were gunned down by Israeli troops. Sadly, two Egyptian security personnel were also—accidentally—killed in the process. Egypt condemned Israel for this and demanded an apology, which was promptly offered by Defense Minister Barak. Perhaps as a harbinger of things to come, Egypt did not accept his apology, offering no explanation as to why. Neither did they issue any concomitant apology for serving as a porous conduit from which the terrorists had entered Israel. (Israeli intelligence reports numerous nests of terror have taken over the Sinai Peninsula since Egypt’s “Arab Spring” and the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascent to power.)
Within hours, Israel pilots targeted and killed the leader of the group responsible for the murders in Eilat, in a defensive measure to thwart further terror. In response, Gaza declared the ceasefire it had negotiated with Israel to end Operation Cast Lead in 2008 (which the Gazans had previously broken multiple times) was breached and over. Since then, over 100 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. Once more Jewish blood is flowing in Southern Israel, with havoc and panic throughout the Negev and coastal cities south of Tel Aviv. Jordan and Egypt, Israel’s two neighboring countries with whom it has formal—albeit fading—peace treaties, have both warned Israel that it is destabilizing the region by counter-attacking terrorists in Gaza. Jordan outlandishly accused Israel of “targeting civilians.”
The Palestinian Authority (which technically retains some level of jurisdiction over Gaza) has not issued any condemnation of the terror attacks. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office called this silence “deafening” and questioned whether it doesn’t raise serious questions about their [the Palestinians’] readiness for independence and willingness to fight terror. PA President Abbas instead called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to talk about “halting Israeli aggression,” expressing his “concern that the latest escalation would undermine the prospects of peace in the region.” (“Abbas calls on UNSC to halt Israeli aggression”, Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2011)
A call by Israel for the UN Security Council to issue a condemnation of the Eilat terror operation was vetoed by Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon. (In an ironic turn of events, Lebanon will hold the rotating Presidency of the Security Council starting next month.)
Meanwhile, the Arab League met in emergency session to condemn Israel and urge the UN to take action to stop “the Israeli offensive”. Now, please bear in mind that since January, the governments of Tunisia and Egypt have fallen through civil uprising, and Libya is in full blown civil war. Syria’s President Assad slaughters large numbers of protestors in his country weekly. Lebanon is essentially controlled by Hezbollah, which was recently implicated in the assassination of that nation’s former president. Iran is racing to build nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the Arab League has concluded that it is the Israeli response to unprovoked rocket fire from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilians that is destabilizing the Middle East. This accusation is so absurd as to be outright dismissible by any thinking person—if there were no historical precedent for basing the attempted genocide of Jews on such very absurdities time and again. Recall that it was not long ago that Adolf Hitler blamed the Jews for the demise of post-World War 1 Germany, hurling outlandish accusations that eventually culminated in the murder of a third of the world’s Jewish population.
In an overnight emergency cabinet session that lasted until 3 am this morning, the Israeli government decided not to undertake further military action in Gaza at this time. The population centers of Beersheva, Sderot, Ashkelon, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi, Beer Tuvia, Ofakim, Azrikam, Gan Yavne, Gedera and Ashdod must therefore remain under fire for now, due to “the lack of international support” preventing Israel from launching an offensive against terrorists in Gaza. (“What has happened to Israel?” by George Rooks, Jerusalem Post, August 23, 2011) How many more Israeli deaths, one wonders, might ever garner such international support?
As I walked to work yesterday and heard the Islamic minaret, I was left sensing the storm clouds of war gathering ever closer to Israel. Rage and unbridled hatred towards the Jewish state may soon release winds of war over the entire Middle East. Sadly, from that point on, the West will not prove nearly so far away. But the battle belongs to the Lord. And so we continue lifting up the name of Yeshua in the City of the Great King, knowing it is to that Name that every knee will someday bow. For His sake, for their sake, for Zion’s sake, may that day come quickly—this side of eternity—for many.
Light of Zion’s Prayer Center will hold a 24 hour-long day of prayer September 3-4, as we shared in a news post emailed to you August 22. Please join us that day, live and in real time, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, all Israel, and all her enemies through Yeshua, the Prince of Peace. Details are described in the news post you should have received by now.
Meanwhile, regarding the current crisis, we suggest prayers and petitions be lifted up to the courts of heaven:
- Exalt and prophetically proclaim the Name of Yeshua over Israel and the Middle East, cleansing the region from the Ramadan season and its accompanying release of devilishly inspired, murderous Islam.
- Pray the fulfillment of God’s end times purposes for Israel will occur only in His sovereign timing. Though future war is inevitable, the devil often tries to usurp the divine timetable. (Psalm 102:13)
- Pray that God will comfort and reveal His salvation to grieving families and terror-stricken Israelis, glorifying Himself in Israel and the whole Middle East through this tragic conflict (Psalm 83:1-18)
- Pray that Israeli hearts will be softened to receive the Holy Spirit’s loving conviction unto repentance. Please join us in praying that hearts will turn from idolatry, perversity, corruption and in particular, abortion. (Ezekiel 36:24-28; Isaiah 30:15-21; 2 Chron. 7:14)
- Likewise, pray for a spirit of repentance to be released on those raging against God and His people. (Psalm 2) Pray for the church in the Middle East to boldly arise and shine with in truth and love.
- Prophetically declare God’s sovereignty over Israel, specifically her land and sea borders. (Isaiah 60:18; Psalm 124) Proclaim, according to the Scriptures, that there is no sorcery effective against Jacob. (Numbers 23:23) Prophetically pray the blood of Yeshua over Israel’s borders.
- Pray for an infusion of godly wisdom on Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders to discern the proper and godly response to any future terror, regardless of “international support.” Pray that he would courageously call for a national day of prayer and fasting to seek God’s face. (Proverbs 21:1)
- Pray all of Psalm 91, especially on behalf of the Church truly abiding in Messiah and following Him in love. Pray protection over Israeli soldiers, police, security operatives, and civilians. Ask God for a minimum of casualties on all sides, with no further collateral damage by Israeli troops.
- Pray for the Israeli body of Messiah to be prepared and anointed not only to intercede spiritually, but to reach out to those in darkness during these difficult times. Pray for great grace to forgive our enemies. (Colossians 1:9-12)
- Pray for an unprecedented spiritual harvest of Palestinians (including Gazans), Arabs, and Muslims in the Middle East. (2 Peter 3:9; Isaiah 19:23-25) Pray for revival — already incipient — in Israel, including the West Bank.
Be assured, fellow laborers, that your prayers are making a difference. Keep pressing in for God’s promises. He is faithful! The time to favor Zion has come. (Psalm 102:13) We pray heaven’s richest blessings on you and your household as you bless the Jewish state and extend the grace of God’s kingdom to this whole war-torn region.