Eying Syria, Israelis scramble for gas masks, pray for mercy

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[Editor’s note: We will be sharing reports from contributor Maoz Israel as developments warrant.]

By Shira Sorko-Ram

Thursday night British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a stunning defeat when his parliament voted against joining the U.S. coalition to attack Syria for using chemical weapons against his own people.

The vote was close, but the prime minister’s resolution lost by 13 votes.  This has sent shock waves around the world and has dealt a setback to U.S. efforts to punish Assad through a Coalition of the Willing attack.

The reason Britain voted against being a part of the coalition is two-fold:

  1. There are still vivid memories of the mistakes made in the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars.
  2. Even though the up-coming attacks are to be limited, no one ever knows which direction such an act of war could lead, and parliament fears getting bogged down in another war.

This vote has left President Barack Obama in an even more difficult position.  He would have liked to see the UN Security Council authorize a punishing attack on Syria’s President Assad.

However, Russia, who is a close ally of Syria, has constantly vetoed all such Security Council resolutionsBesides, Russia is continually shipping arms to Assad, giving him a new momentum and ability to defeat the rebels.

Obama is still looking to put together a coalition force to carry out an attack which the White House says will be “discreet and limited.” But now his closest ally will not be part of a coalition.

So Israel is in a holding pattern as the war is for the moment seemingly “paused.”

Iron Dome Battery Deployed Near Ashkelon
Iron Dome Battery deployed near Ashkelon (Credit: Israel Defense Forces via Flickr)

Yet analysts in Israel believe that the four to five day “window of opportunity” is only between the time today when the UN inspectors leave Syria and next Wednesday when Obama meets Putin.  The UN inspectors have been documenting evidence of the use of chemical weapons.

Meanwhile Israel has set up one of its Iron Dome Batteries in the Tel Aviv area.  The Iron Dome is the most-effective, most-tested missile shield the world has ever seen, and can shoot down short-range rockets coming from 4-70 kilometers.  The problem is that Israel does not yet have enough to cover all the major cities and areas vulnerable.

Both Syria and Iran have repeatedly said they will attack Tel Aviv if anyone attacks them.

Because Jerusalem has a large Arab population and is the site of the Dome of the Rock Mosque, the Israel Defense Forces have not put an Iron Dome Battery there.

Right now, Israel is slowing down as we prepare for the Sabbath day of rest.  This Friday evening, Orthodox Israelis will be praying earnestly for God’s mercy on our nation.  I might add, there will be a whole lot of secular Jews doing the same.

Across our nation, the Messianic Jews and born-again Israeli Arabs will be seeking God’s favor in our congregational services.  We ask you to join in prayer that God will be jealous for His people, in spite of our sin.

So, unless there is a dramatic development Saturday, we, too, will take a day of rest.  Next update will be on Sunday.  Shabbat Shalom


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