The Jewish New Year is upon us. Now begins a time of reflection and repentance leading up to Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.
I recently had a vision of a new season in the Middle East defined by the re-drawing of its borders. I saw angels being released who had sashes over their shoulders on which were written the phrase “Border angel”. They were being sent forth to reset borders according to their original ethnic calling. In the Scriptures, the word “nations” is not used in our modern sense of “nation states” but more in the sense of “peoples” or “ethnic groups”. Many of the crises facing the Middle East can be traced to the colonial powers’ decision to re-draw the map of the Middle East (also in Africa) as modern nation states, putting warring tribal and religious groupings in the same nation state, and dividing united tribal or religious groups into different nation states.
When the Islamic State leader said they could even take Rome (with Muslim unity), he didn’t mean Italy. He meant the perceived capital of Christianity (and it doesn’t matter if you’re not Roman Catholic). The newly renamed Caliph Ibrahim is seriously nation building with a vision for an empire.
The unofficial state of war spreads as Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza continue to strike Israeli cities, hitting Jewish civilians (and occasionally Arab citizens of Israel). These jihadi rocket attacks are shot from launchers deliberately positioned by Hamas among Gaza’s civilian population – a war crime by legal and ethical definitions.
Right now, though, my heart hurts for the people of Gaza. They are people imprisoned by those among them who are power hungry and driven by a murderous hate for Israel. In Israel, there have been no deaths directly because of rockets. In Gaza, well over a hundred have died. Israel warns people to get out of harms’ way, but Hamas tells their people to stay put. They know dead bodies will win them points on the international stage.
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.
The bomb siren went off in Jerusalem this evening. Israeli media are reporting that there was a barrage of 40 long-range rockets from Gaza. As of this writing, there are no reported injuries. Israel began Operation Protective Edge early this morning, striking Hamas in Gaza. As many as a dozen have been killed by Israeli strikes, dozens more injured.
Fast-moving events are transfixing Israel this week. The bodies of three Jewish teenagers murdered by their Hamas kidnappers were discovered. Jihadi rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip have been smashing into Israeli kibbutzim and towns even as we go to press. Saudi Arabia announced that it has moved 30,000 soldiers to its border with Iraq, concerned about the jihadi onslaught rolling like thunder across Mesopotamian fields.
Saturday evening as the Shabbat rest came to an end, the quiet of the early evening was shattered in our small community. The Tzeva Adom alarm sounded to warn us all of the incoming rockets, and seconds later the loud explosion was heard as the rocket made a direct hit on a nearby factory. The flames and black smoke filled the sky. Houses were emptied as people came outside to see the horrific scene… their faces filled with fear.