Mayday in Gaza
Masked gunmen from the Qassam brigade, the military wing of Hamas (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
‘Mayday’ is a synonym for an international distress call. A senior radio officer at London’s Croydon Airport came up with the term based on its phonetic similarity to the French m’aider, which means “to come to my aid.”
Over the past few days Gazan Islamist terror groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas have directed substantial rocket attacks against towns and cities of Israeli civilians (both Jews and Arabs). Over 400 mortars and rockets of different trajectories have been fired, hitting kibbutz and moshav farms, small towns (like Sderot, Netivot and Gan Yavne) and cities like Ashkelon, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat and Beer Sheva. So far there are three Israeli deaths, a handful seriously injured, over 80 wounded, all schools in the South are closed.
- What’s the difference between these Islamist terrorist groups?
- What are their strategic goals here?
- What are Israel’s options?
- How can we pray?
Islamist jihadi groups – what’s the difference here?
The two major Islamist terror groups in Gaza are Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad(PIJ).
- Both groups view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not as a territorial dispute, but as a religious clash between Islam and heretics.
- Both believe that the land of Israel is consecrated for Islam as a result of jihadi conquest in 637-9 A.D. and that Israel has usurped Islamic land. Israel’s very existence is an affront to Allah and to Islam, and it is an Islamic religious obligation to destroy Israel and establish the Caliphate there.
- Both groups are committed to the destruction of Israel (and Western powers) through violent jihadi terror, completely rejecting negotiations with Israel or a two-state solution. The PIJ “Manifesto of the Islamic Jihad in Palestine” rejects “any peaceful solution to the Palestinian cause” and affirms “the Jihad solution and the martyrdom style as the only choice for liberation.” Hamas declares in its foundational Covenant “The Platform of The Islamic Resistance Movement (ed., Hamas): Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors”
- Both are dedicated to establishing a shari’a (Islamic law)-based Islamic dictatorship throughout the world
What are two of the main differences between Hamas and PIJ?
PIJ is supported by and takes its cues from the Islamic Republic of Iran (“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6. Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2014, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224829.htm;https://www.justice.gov/archive/ag/speeches/2003/02202003pressconference.htm).
Hamas is largely supported by Qatar, long-time US ally and the country where the forward headquarters of the U.S. Central Command [CENTCOM] is (al-Udaid airbase).
Hamas has received direct Iranian support in the recent past.
Regarding Qatar’s support of Muslim Brotherhood jihadi strategies:
* This Iranian link means that Iran is able to stir up major hostilities between Gaza and Israel whenever its ayatollahs choose.
The primary strategic goal of Hamas/PIJ is to wage jihad against Israel and to destroy it.
A secondary goal here – for Hamas to make sure that it receives Qatar’s financial backing for its jihadi terror activities. Those funds were supposed to be used for humanitarian purposes in Gaza, and it was agreed that they would flow through Israeli control. Unfortunately, the funds are being used for rebuilding and strengthening terrorist infrastructure, and Israel has been turning off these taps in recent days.
In the words of Middle East and Islam specialist Daniel Pipes, “the Israeli public cherishes normality and especially since the 1993 Oslo accords, has been ready to pay a price to keep the quiet. Therefore, the Palestinians play a game of chicken, disturbing the quiet in return for an Israeli pay-off. The Palestinian Authority says, give us the money you’re holding back that we use to fund attacks on Israelis or our whole structure will come crashing down and you’ll have a much bigger mess on your hands. Hamas says, give us access to the money Qatar is sending us or we will make life miserable for you, with rockets raining down during your Memorial Day, Independence Day … Palestinian logic boils down to blackmail: You Israelis are rich, strong, and happy, so we will make you miserable unless you give us or give us access to more money. It’s weird, it’s sick, but it usually works, especially given an Israeli security establishment for whom quiet is the first priority” (http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2019/05/making-sense-of-palestinian-logic).
- The real laser-like focus here is the Islamist desire to destroy Israel by any means possible.
What are Israel’s options?
This round of rocket attacks is not the first one Israel has experienced:
Usually these jihadi terrorists attack Israeli soldiers or civilians. In this case, a few days ago Islamist snipers wounded an IDF officer/tracker and a female soldier. Israel responded by taking out a Hamas observation post, and PIJ/Hamas started barrages of mortars and rockets.
The Islamist terrorists usually incrementally increase the trajectories of their rockets and ordnance, extending their reach from the areas beside Gaza to smaller surrounding towns and then on to big cities. This has been standard practice:
Right now, we are climbing the ladder toward full military engagement. Israel Air Force (IAF) planes and unmanned drones are scouring Gaza for rocket launchers, terrorist command-and-control structures and agents, and rocket storehouses. Central terror command HQs are being obliterated from the air.
The next steps involve Islamist rockets targeting Tel Aviv and IAF targeting PIJ/Hamas leaders – the ‘head of the snake.’ After this could come IDF artillery barrages and a tank/infantry invasion.
Egypt has been trying to get Hamas and PIJ to step back from the brink. Egypt has much to lose, as Hamas is an avowed Muslim Brotherhood enemy of Egypt, while PIJ and Iran would delight to see Egypt crumble into the sands of time.
How should we then pray?
- Pray for God’s strategies to guide Israel’s leaders and military
- Pray for the frustration of the enemies’ strategies, planning and communications
- Pray for the successful interception and destruction or all rockets and weapons formed against the people of Jacob
- Pray for miraculous deliverances and angelic interventions for the armies of the God of Israel
- Pray for the least amount of death, destruction and injury possible as this war is prosecuted
- 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.
This article originally appeared on David’s Tent, and reposted with permission.
Avner and his wife, Rachel, live in the Beersheva region of Israel and are dedicated to stirring up the creative arts, worship, intercession, evangelism and the prophetic gifts within a Jewish and Israeli matrix. They oversee Final Frontier Ministries.
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Israel under siege as hundreds of rockets rain down on the country
screenshot YouTube/Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry
Israelis were reeling from another day of violence after more than 450 rockets were fired from Gaza in one day, killing one man, a father of four whose home absorbed a direct hit by one of the projectiles.
Two more Israelis were killed on Sunday when a rocket hit a factory in Ashkelon during the workday. Another is in critical condition after either a rocket or an anti-tank missile hit his car in Sderot.
Several homes and schools were damaged and Israelis were cautiously staying near shelters in affected areas. Police evacuated the beach in southern communities and closed national parks. Schools throughout the entire southern region were canceled on Sunday.
Many of the rockets reached as far as Ashkelon, a city a couple of miles outside the immediate communities surrounding Gaza. On Sunday a rocket reached Beer Sheva which is 40 miles from Gaza. Israel responded by bombing over 200 Hamas and Islamic Jihad military targets and is mobilizing on the Gaza border today as the nation prepared for more fighting.
The army said that approximately 70 percent of the rockets fired fell in open fields, and some 150 headed toward populated areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
The rockets that did manage to bypass Iron Dome hit homes and schools though. Moshe Agadi, 58, a father of four, was declared dead after being rushed to the hospital after a middle of the night rocket hit to his home.
Another strike destroyed a kindergarten in Sderot, which was closed for the weekend.
Residents living in the Gaza periphery have about 10 to 15 seconds to reach shelters. In Ashkelon, they have about 30 seconds.
“Hamas bears responsibility not only for its attacks and actions, but also for the activities of the Islamic Jihad, and it is paying a very heavy price,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “We are acting, and will continue to act, to restore quet and security to the residents of the south.”
Agadi was the first Israeli fatality from Gaza rocket attacks since 2014’s war with terrorists based in the Strip. A Palestinian man working in Israel was killed in a rocket strike in Ashkelon in November.
Believers around the world should join with Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau who called the world to pray for the situation.
“Each one of us must bear mutual responsibility, read chapters of Psalms and strengthen Torah learning for peace for the nation of Israel,” he said.
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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[Prayer Alert] Rocket barrages and Israeli air attacks
As I write (about 6:15pm), once again there are rocket barrages and Israeli air attacks taking place along the Gaza border area, as well as cities beyond, such as Ashkelon, Rehovot, Netivot. There is a sense that this sudden escalation is connected with the Israeli Independence Day this coming week, which for the Islamic and Arab world is the Day of Catastrophe. Also, the Eurovision, a major European music festival, is scheduled to be hosted in Israel in a couple of weeks. As this weren’t enough, the month of Ramadan begins for the Muslims tomorrow (Sonday) — a month that generates strong religious feelings and threatens jihadi actions against unbelievers. The government of Israel following the elections last month is not yet formed, and the Prime Minister still remains in a dual office as Defense Minister. Israel seems to be in a position of greater weakness in the current situation, wanting calm for the celebrations, with many tourists coming for the Eurovision event (which, personally, I would not mind seeing canceled anyway). PLEASE PRAY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE BELIEVERS IN THESE BORDER AREAS ON BOTH SIDES; FOR REPENTANCE TOWARDS SALVATION FOR BOTH JEWS AND ARABS; FOR THE ISRAELI GOVT TO ACT RESPONSIBLY TO DEAL WITH THE ON-GOING ACTS AGAINST ITS CITIZENS AND BORDERS; FOR BELIEVERS TO HONOR THE NAME OF THE LORD YESHUA/JESUS IN OUR THOUGHTS, WORDS, ACTIONS, PRAYERS.
Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.
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In somber fashion, Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day
A ceremony held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, as Israel marks annual Holocaust Remembrance Day. April 23, 2017. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israelis stood this morning in commemoration of the Holocaust as sirens sounded throughout the country for two minutes, a time to remember the 6 million who perished during the genocide of the Jewish people during World War II.
Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, began last evening at sundown. Considered an official day of mourning, the day is marked with solemnity. Restaurants, stores and entertainment venues closed early on Wednesday while Israeli television ceased to broadcast except to air Holocaust documentaries and the official state ceremony which took place at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
When the sirens began this morning at 10 a.m. life stood still across the Jewish state. People paused to stand in silence including motorists who stopped and stepped out of their vehicles, standing with heads bowed.
Israelis take this somber day seriously. The motto “never forget” drives events held across the country even in schools for children as young as pre-school age. Facts about the Holocaust, perpetrated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in Germany, are fast fading from basic public knowledge abroad. According to a survey, 31 percent of Americans and 41 percent of millennials, believe that only 2 million Jews or fewer were killed in the Holocaust. A shocking 66 percent of millennials do not know what Auschwitz was and a mere 39 percent of Americans realize that Hitler was a democratically elected politician, the survey by Claims Conference showed.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is held on Jan. 27, the date marking the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. Israel opted to mark the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising on the Jewish calendar date of Nisan 27, which usually falls in April or May.
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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Are there differences between how American Evangelicals and Israeli believers view Netanyahu and his reelection?
(Jerusalem, Israel) — In the wake of our national elections, I did a series of interviews yesterday with American media outlets discussing the results, including with John Jessup and Jenna Browder, hosts of the “Faith Nation” program on the CBN News Network.
We certainly discussed Israelis’ reaction to the results, and the possible impact on the peace process. But they also asked me an especially interesting and perceptive question: How do Israel’s Messianic Jews and Evangelicals perceive Israel’s Prime Minister, and do their perceptions differ with American Evangelicals?
Here is a transcript of our discussion. To watch the full interview, please click here. (Note: The segment begins at 11 minutes and 30 seconds into the program.)
JOHN JESSUP, CBN NEWS: What is the mood there as Israeli react to the news of another Netanyahu term?
ROSENBERG: Well, first, I think people are stunned — either stunned with excitement, there were very few people that were sure that he was going to win reelection; in fact, the polls showed that he was behind for most of the campaign. The polls certainly showed that he and the Likud Party were closing the gap in the final week, but even the exit polls did not indicate with any assurance that Netanyahu was essentially going to perform a magic trick. They call him a magician. He pulled a rabbit out of the hat, again. Most people didn’t see it. Even people who were for him went to being thinking, “I don’t know.” But there is also a whole swath of the country that is thinking, “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. He’s here forever.” So, it’s a mixed view here right now.
JOHN JESSUP, CBN NEWS: Joel, what does Netanyahu’s reelection mean for the United States, and also for the Middle East peace process?
ROSENBERG: Great question. The first thing I would say is that with Prime Minister Netanyahu being reelected — and almost certain to be able to put together a coalition government; we’ll see that over the next few weeks — there will be continuity for the Trump team. President Trump knows Netanyahu well. Obviously, the Trump peace team — the architects like Jared Kushner and the rest — they know the Netanyahu team well. So, there will continuity and they’ll be very happy about that. They won’t have to change the game plan for Benny Gantz or the others who could have come in and been the new leaders here.
In terms of how it will actually affect the peace process, look, I’m of the view that the Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas has absolutely no intention of saying yes to any plan that President Trump puts forward. They will probably read the plan, but I wouldn’t even put it past them not to read it. I’m sure they will, but I’m just saying there’s no indication that Abbas and his team are even open at all. So, the question remains: Does the plan allow for the Gulf states’ Arab leaders to say, “Why would the Palestinians reject this plan? It’s not perfect, but it’s reasonable. It’s credible. It’s a serious plan. The Palestinians should sit down and negotiate.” And if the Palestinians don’t, then in theory it could open up an opportunity [for the Gulf states to move towards peace with Israel without waiting for the Palestinians.]
JENNA BROWDER, CBN NEWS: I want to talk to you about believers there in Israel. How do they perceive Netanyahu?
ROSENBERG: Well, there’s about 30,000 Messianic Jewish believers in Jesus here in Israel now. There’s another 4,000 to 5,000 Arab Evangelicals. And there are, you know, another 10,000 or more Christians of various other kinds, mostly Evangelicals, living, working, serving in the country in various capacities. It’s interesting, Jenna, I think there is quite a divide between how American Evangelicals perceive Netanyahu, and how believers see him here.
I think American Evangelicals see the best of Netanyahu — which is true about him, but he is a complicated man. American Evangelicals see him as a statesman, as a visionary, as a strategic thinker. [For example,] I don’t know who else could have stared down President Obama and taken on and resisted and refuted the Iran nuclear deal, and then gone on to persuade President Trump to scrap that nuclear deal and reimpose crippling economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. That was the right thing to do. Netanyahu resisted President Obama’s efforts almost to force Israel to relinquish strategic territory to Israel’s sworn enemies. So, Evangelicals see that in Netanyahu and they like that. Netanyahu is also opening diplomatic bridges to China, to Brazil, to India, to the Arab countries. And this is Netanyahu at his best.
But local followers of Jesus here see that, but they see other things, too. They see, for example, that he gives an awful lot of power and money to ultra-Orthodox religious parties that are hostile to Christians, and hostile to Messianic Jewish followers of Jesus — I mean, very hostile. They see that Netanyahu has said very unkind, very harsh things to Arabs here in Israel, Arabs citizens we’re talking about, even saying recently that a new law made it clear that only Jews were real citizens of Israel, and no one else really was.
I share that deep disappointment with Netanyahu on some of these matters, including the fact that Netanyahu brought into his political coalition in recent weeks — honestly, and I say this with deep disappointment because I worked for Netanyahu nineteen years ago — but he brought in a party called Otzma Yehudit, Jewish Power, that is a racist, bigoted, anti-Arab, anti-peace party, that was really associated with a violent, extremist party that was outlawed here 25 years ago. So, these are things that have caused Israeli Jewish believers and Evangelicals here mostly to vote for center and center-right parties, but not for Bibi. And I will tell you that I was one of them who struggled because I see both sides of Bibi, what he’s very, very good at, and the mistakes that he makes that are very disappointing. And I couldn’t bring myself to vote for him this time around, though I respect him. I pray for him. But I guess I’m becoming a little more Israeli than I was when I could only see him from a distance.
To watch the full story and interview, please click here. (Note: The segment begins at 11 minutes and 30 seconds into the program.)
This portion of the interview was reposted with permission from Joel C. Rosenberg’s blog.
Joel C. Rosenberg is a New York Times best-selling and award-winning author of 10 novels and five non-fiction books, with more than 3 million copies sold. He is also the Founder and Chairman of The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.com), a non-profit educational and charitable organization he and his wife launched in 2006 to mobilize Christians to “bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to Genesis 12:1-3.” He and his wife have four sons. They made Aliyah in 2014 and now live in Israel and the United States.