The Word:   Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:12, 13

"Listen... all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. (2 Chronicles 20:15)

Pointers for prayer:  Once again as you read this WoZ report, do please seek the Lord for wisdom in knowing how to pray regarding these issues, and as always, do pray in line with the Word of God.

Having been criticized recently for standing up for Israel, I felt I needed to state clearly why I do what I do, and to give an answer to the person who hammered home his angry thoughts.  Due to this, my report this week is slightly different, however as you read the article below, I pray it will speak to you all and that we can ‘strengthen the hands that hang down and the feeble knees…’ and battle on.

As troubles in Israel increase, we must stay focused in our intercession for Israel and the Middle East. Let us remain watchful and constant in our prayers, and continue to pray that the LORD God would place His Wall of Fire around the Nation and people of Israel.  (Zechariah 2:5). More than ever before, our prayer life must be led by the Holy Spirit.  Please pray that we would have ears to hear, and hearts open to the areas the Lord wants us to be effective in.

Please pray for strength and wisdom for the leaders in Israel, especially Prime Minister Netanyahu to deal with the threat from the continuing uprising in Jerusalem from the Islamic Palestinians.  

How do we react to terrorism?    In last week’s report, I included a picture that stated: ‘Paris 13/11, New York 9/11, Israel 24/7.  The meaning was clear.  The recent Paris attacks happened on 13th November; the Twin Towers in New York were hit on 11th September.  Both attacks were horrific and action was demanded by the people and governments to be carried out.  The media told the events on the world’s screen over and over – and of course all this is understandable.  But Israel suffers terrorism 24/7 and the world shows little concern.

More and more radicalized Muslims are being training and spreading their violence to the rest of the world. This was the fear of many Western intelligence agencies. There seems no end in sight as the wars in Syria and other Islamic countries rage on and more people are killed, maimed and dislocated and more countries get involved on multiple sides.

It is common to read articles in the media and hear speeches from Western Politicians that describe Islam as a peace-loving religion. But is this really accurate? It is one thing to say that there are many peace-loving Muslims (which I believe there are) and quite another thing to say that Islam is a peace-loving religion.  The reason I state this is that I believe there are at least a couple of things inherent in the religion of Islam that have been used by terrorists to promote violence: First of all, the founder if Islam, Muhammad, rode into Mecca on a white horse with a sword in hand to conquer by force. By contrast, what I believe is the Jewish Messiah and Saviour of the world, Yeshua, saddled up a donkey to ride into Jerusalem to humbly suffer and die for the sins of the world. Herein lies the difference.  From the beginning, Islam has condoned the use of the sword. Thankfully, not all Muslims have used it and many modern Muslims refrain from it. But Islam is still a religion which sanctions force, if necessary, to advance its purposes. 

Another aspect of the Islamic faith which has the potential to create what we see in the role of an Islamic terrorist is that Islam puts a strong emphasis on ‘salvation’ by works. Apparently, according to sources, Muslims have no assurance of heaven. However, if a Muslim dies while engaging in holy war (jihad), he is assured of entering heaven. The Encyclopaedia of Islam states, jihad is ‘an act of pure devotion - one of the gates to Paradise.’  According to this reference there are rich heavenly rewards guaranteed for those who devote themselves to it - those who fall in the jihad are the martyrs of the faith.  Iet Bleeker, in his book ‘Israel and Ishmael’ states, “I have a deep love for the Arabs, but I hate Islam, because I have seen what it leads to in the lives of people.”  David Demian, a Canadian minister who was born in Egypt said once as he was teaching a Messianic Jewish Fellowship, that “Muslims have 99 different names for God.  However, two names they do not know are ‘Father’ and ‘Love’.”  So in many ways we need to pray that the truth would be revealed to those who follow Islam.

As I’ve mentioned, Islamic extremism is increasing. Suddenly, the Western world are experiencing what Israel has experienced since 1948, and indeed what the Jewish people experienced in the land decades before it was renamed back to its Biblical name of Israel.  And as I mentioned last week, while the whole world has been outraged by the terrible recent terrorist attacks in Paris,  since the Jewish New Year just over two months ago, Israel has been hit by more than 778 terrorist attacks (actually it will be much higher than that now).  How is it possible that all these terrorist attacks can be waged on Israel yet the world remain silent whilst the ugly BDS campaigns against Israel grow stronger?   It is quite understandable for those who support Israel to get angry.  However, who gets the glory when our hearts beat loud in rage?

You may remember the man who lost his wife in the Bataclan terror attacks in Paris who published an open letter to her killers vowing not to dignify the bloodbath with his hatred.  Antoine Leiris, directly addressed the terror gang who gunned down his wife Hélène Muyal-Leiris.  He wrote on his Facebook page, “On Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you won't have my hatred.  I don't know who you are and I don't want to know - you are dead souls. If this god for which you kill indiscriminately made us in his own image, every bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound in his heart.  So no, I don't give you the gift of hating you. You are asking for it but responding to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.  You want me to be afraid, to view my fellow countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have lost.”    He concluded, “Of course I'm devastated with grief… [but] We are two, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world.  I don't have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either.”  That’s a powerful statement from a man who has had his life torn apart yet refuses to respond with hatred.

In a similar way, a friend that goes to my church reacted in an amazing way having been attacked whilst collecting money last Friday.  The attacker held a knife at her throat yet somehow he fled the scene without getting anything and my friend chose to forgive and not to hate.  This was a tough lesson in life, yet it really spoke to me. 

When I posted my blog about Israel being attacked 24/7 to my dear friend and former CFI colleague David Dolan, he wrote back stating, “Yes but Israel has God with then 24/7 - God is in and with Israel 24/7.”  And if He is with Israel 24/7, He is also with us if we follow the Lord God 24/7.  So can we have the mind-set of someone who can turn bad into blessings?  As Dwight Prior once stated, “We are commanded to become what we already are by faith.” 

There is a word in Hebrew called ‘Emeth’ אמת and the meaning of the word is ‘truth’.  At the same time we need to be careful in how we react or respond to the evils of Islam, equally we need to proclaim the truth. Today there is a lack of truth regarding the whole issue relating to Israel – and this sadly comes through anti-Israel bias especially through the boycott, diversion and sanctions movement (BDS), and other anti-Zionist groups such as the Palestinian Solidarity campaigners etc.  Yet the truth needs to be told, and the Scriptures command us to stand in the gap for Israel.   The Bible commands us to Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. (Psalm 122) - Jerusalem is not an imaginary place, it is the capital of Israel – both the ancient country and the modern State. It is referred to as the “city of the Great King” (Psalm 48:2, Matthew 5:35) and it is where Yeshua the Messiah is returning to reign.

Now as you know, I’m constantly monitoring developments in Israel and reporting what impact that has on the world in these reports - which are intended to keep people informed and equipped to act, and also pray about the events in Israel and the Middle East.  I believe this is a vital part of the Church – to be active, informed, and being intercessors for the nation of Israel in these days.  However… although I have stood with the Jewish people in the Land of Israel since 1985 – one has to first understand what God’s heart is regarding this. And with every area of ministry with Israel, we need balance. And I try hard to keep my attitude balanced.  Naturally, I support the Jewish people, and a Jewish homeland, but I also support an outreach ministry to Palestinian refugees, and a ministry called ‘Shevet Achim’ – opening the doors of Israeli hospitals to the Arab’s dying children where Jewish Doctors treat Arab Palestinians. 

Why is this? Well, ultimately the true God – the God of Israel is a God of love. When we consider that this God of love exists by His Spirit in us then we must understand that that love must infuse our lives and emanate out.  As Christians, we need to come to a place of surrender and allow our devotion to God to be a priority in our lives so that work of the Holy Spirit is channelled into, through, and out of our lives.  This is why I’ll often state in these reports, that the reports are not written to stir up hatred or ill feelings against the Arab people.  If that is all I succeed in doing, then I’ve failed. To deal correctly with these difficult issues, we must always examine our own heart and let compassion be our motive. The information I give out is solely that we might be equipped to understand today’s situations in Israel better. This is paramount.  After all, without love, we are nothing more than a “clanging bell” (1 Corinthians 13).

Yet in the midst of that, we also need to stand firm on the Biblical mandate that God is the One who has, and is working through the nation of Israel.  A question I’ll often ask those who oppose Israel is, “Have you ever thought of trying to befriend Israel?” The reason I ask this is concerning a second question, which is: “Can a Zionist who stands for the nation of Israel as a Jewish Sovereign State be a friend of Muslim Palestinian Arabs?” The answer is: Yes he can, as I am that Zionist and every time I go to Israel I meet up with my friend Mohammed, who I met years ago on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

I do NOT accept that there should be a Palestinian state in the heart land of Israel. Judea & Samaria (the West Bank) I believe biblically and legally belong to Israel.  I am also a Christian who believes Yeshua (Jesus) is the Jewish Messiah. My friend Mohammed is a Muslem, who does not support Israel’s right to the Land. So what have we in common? We both like coffee! And for some strange reason, we seem to get on well…. and so we meet up and go for a coffee, and ask how life is for each other. I will never accept his views and he currently doesn’t accept mine, yet this does not stop us from being friends or acting in an uncivilised manner.  How do we react to terrorism?   I guess we can only pray and trust in the true God we follow.

The continuing acts of terror that the world forgets     Things look bleak in the Middle East at the moment – although in truth, they have looked that way for the past ten years.  However, could a new battle be commencing?  Remember some time ago, Russia went to the aid of Bashar Assad in his brutal war against the rebels trying to depose him?  Russia’s President Putin stated that he wanted to overcome ISIS, which is the world’s favourite ‘villain’ at the moment.  However instead of bombing ISIS positions, Putin’s first targets were the Western-supported Syrian rebels.  Since then, the new Turkish government started bombing Kurdish positions.  The Kurds are best placed to defeat ISIS.  This week Turkey complicated matters by shooting down a Russian fighter jet over what it says is Turkish airspace, while Russia insists the plane stayed within Syrian airspace.  In Tunisia, trouble has loomed again as an explosion hit a bus carrying Presidential guards, killing 12 people, and a state of emergency was declared.  Last week, Islamist terrorists besieged the Radisson Hotel in Bamako, capital of Mali, eventually killing 27 people including an Israeli citizen.   And of course after the Paris massacre, the hunt for the perpetrators and associated terrorists continued this week with Brussels being the focus of the search and under a lockdown for many days.  Even London was said to be caught up in it for a few hours.  And the news camera’s covered it all… that it unless the killings are of Israeli Jews.

The beautiful 21-year-old Hadar Buchris was the latest Israeli murdered in yet another Islamic terror attack at Gush Etzion Junction in Israel. She sustained serious stab wounds while standing at the junction before security forces shot and killed the terrorist, a 31-year-old Palestinian Arab from the Hebron district. The 21-year-old was waiting for a ride from the Gush Etzion district towards Kiryat Arba when she was attacked.   Buchris was taken to the trauma unit of Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem in a critical condition, having lost a significant amount of blood due to the severity of the stab wounds to her body. Sadly she died sometime later.  This latest murder brings the total murders since the start of the current Arab terror surge up to 21.  The total number of casualties taken to hospitals by Magen David Adom during this period is 213.

These atrocities are equally as horrific as the Paris murders recently, but they are not carried out by ISIS but by Palestinian Authority (Fatah) controlled Arabs.  The shooting murder of the Henkins family - which took place as their children watched – was followed by the stabbing murders of two Rabbi’s in Jerusalem’s Old City.  Next to be murdered by Arab terrorists were Haim Haviv, Alon Govberg and Richard Lakin, who were shot and stabbed inside a bus in southern Jerusalem.  Another Rabbi, Yeshayahu Krishevsky was then murdered in a car ramming attack on Malchei Yisrael Street in Jerusalem.  Following this, an Israeli soldier was shot to death in the Beer Sheva’s Central Bus Station.  Another Israeli was run over deliberately on Highway 60, near Kiryat Arba, and Border Policeman Sgt. Binyamin Yaakobovich was killed at the Hahoul Junction.   

Another attack that took place this week on Route 443, one of the major highways linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem was that of Ziv Mizrahi, an IDF soldier who had stopped at a service station and was stabbed to death by a 16 year old terrorist.  Ziv Mizrahi is not the first member of his family to fall to terrorism. Twelve years ago, his cousin Alon Mizrahi was murdered when an Arab terrorist blew himself up in an attack on Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem.  Along with these murders, Rabbi Yaakov Litman and his son Netanel were murdered in a shooting ambush near Otniel. Reuven Aviram and Aharon Yisayev were murdered in a stabbing attack in the Panorama Building in Tel Aviv. Yaakov Don, Ezra Schwartz and an Arab, Shadi Arfa, were murdered in a shooting attack near Elon Moreh and as mentioned, Hadar Buchris, the young Israeli girl was murdered this week. 

A total of 192 people were injured in car ramming, stabbing and shooting attacks by Islamic Palestinian Terrorists in Israel. Of these, 21 were seriously injured, five suffered moderate to serious wounds, 28 were moderately injured, one was classified as having light-to-moderate wounds and 138 endured light wounds.  In addition, MDA teams have treated 82 emotional shock victims – but how many have you heard reported by the Western Media?  It’s time our voices were heard!

David Soakell  

(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)  Tweet me @David_CFI

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Christian Friends of Israel UK & Jerusalem, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, & Israel National Radio