The Word: Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria... was a mighty man of valour, but also a leper. And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a Sabra, a young girl from the land of Israel, and she waited on Naaman's wife. Then she said to her mistress, "If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy." And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, "Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel." ...So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. And he returned to the man of God [Elisha], he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, "Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel... (2 Kings 5:1-4, 13-15) Read the whole of 2 Kings 5 for the full story.
Pointers for prayer: As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions this year, Israel continues to look quite vulnerable in these ‘days of Arab rage’ within the Middle East. As we continue to stand with Israel, please pray that we would have ears to hear, and hearts open to the areas the Lord wants us to be effective in. Standing for Israel will never be an easy task. During the early '90s, I remember thinking the work I did to help dying children in Romania was really hard. Yet show the world a dying child and the help quickly comes... telling the world you stand with Israel brings a completely different response. Today Israel needs the "workers in the field". We need men and women of God who are not afraid of the battle that rages. For all those involved with Israel, please continue to stand in the gap and uphold us all in your prayers. One of the roles of Christian Friends of Israel is to be pro-active rather than re-active. Pray that as we all take action where it is needed, we would remember ultimately, the Battle belongs to the LORD. May we, as intercessors, turn our attentions to the nation of Israel and pray that the Jewish state would at this time also cry out to the LORD God for His help, protection and salvation.
Please continue to 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 and other areas of Israel from the Islamic Palestinians.
How do we respond? In last week’s report I asked the question, “How do we react to terrorism?” This week I’d like to look at the issue of ‘How we respond’. I would also like to mention that where I stated that I had been “criticized recently for standing up for Israel” and that I felt I needed to state clearly why I do what I do – this criticism did not come from any one reading these reports. The angry reaction was by someone who emailed a radio station from a programme that I had been on. I was back on that radio show last week and I had the opportunity to reply to the person in question – providing he was listening of course. My apologies if I didn’t make that clear in the prayer pointers last week. I rarely, if ever, get any bad response to these reports, and to the many readers who have written to me these past few weeks with very positive replies, I’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’. It is most encouraging.
Next week is the beginning of Chanukah, which is early this year and starts on Sunday, December 6 and ends on the evening of Monday, December 14, 2015. I will be looking at this in next week’s report. However, today the same 'spirit' of Antiochus IV ~ the old King of Syria ~ certainly lives on, and many terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah are still trying to wipe Israel and the Jewish people out – along with other Islamic extremists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Isis and al Qaeda. For Christians, this raises difficult issues with prayer. How do we respond to the enemy? Do we allow anger and hatred a foothold, or with an attitude like the young captured girl from Israel in 2 Kings 5 (see the above Scripture), who had compassion even on her captors, do we pray for mercy even for the enemy?
In some translations of 2 Kings 5, the king of Syria is written as the King of Aram. This is a region mentioned in the Bible located in present-day central Syria, including where the city of Aleppo (Halab) now stands – or what remains of it due to the conflict in Syria. Aram stretched from the Lebanon Mountains eastward across the Euphrates, including the Khabur River valley in north-western Mesopotamia on the border of Assyria. In many ways, the Israeli girl that is mentioned in 2 Kings 5 reminds me of the humanitarian attitude that has been shown by Israel towards those who are seen as ‘their enemy’. There have been numerous reports of how Israel has been helping these people. One example is the Ziv Medical Centre in the mountain city of Safed, just west of the Golan Heights, which is the first port of call for most patients who come through the border fence near the devastated Syrian city of Quneitra. With 331 beds and seven operating theatres, Ziv is modern, well-equipped, and only 40 minutes from the border in a fast-moving IDF ambulance. In other incidents, Israeli doctors and medics stationed in the Golan Heights have often been seen treating what the IDF says is the most severely wounded Syrian rebels. On the ‘other side of the coin’ however, it is very difficult not to feel anger at what is happening to Israeli civilians with all these attacks carried out by Arab Palestinians. In the midst of all this, justice needs to be seen, and we need to remain faithful in our calling to the Jewish nation. Yet somehow we also need to allow room for mercy.
As for those who angrily oppose the Jewish nation and demand a ‘two-state solution’ to bring peace, well I believe the now famous saying from Golda Meir is very true: “We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” What is also true is the statement made many years ago by David Ben-Gurion, “In the midst of wanton aggression, we still call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State, with full and equal citizenship and due representation in its bodies and institutions - provisional or permanent. We offer peace and neighbourliness to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Hebrew nation for the common good of all.”
I have now been writing these reports since 2001, and have covered many reports over the past five years regarding the Middle East reeling from these geo-political earthquakes. While protestors all over the Arab world have brought chaos while celebrating a breath-taking cascade of revolutionary events spilling over from one Arab state after another, the issue with Syria and now Isis has taken this Islamic war – one that involves Muslims murdering other Muslims – to a new level. Many media reports are of course making out that Isis stand apart from any other groups, and the UN and most politicians appear to naively ignore the rest of the Islamic extremists.
In view of the recent terrorist attacks on Israel by both Fatah controlled Palestinians and Hamas controlled Palestinians, it’s worth remembering what is at the core belief of this. If Hamas wants legitimacy, if it wants the world to accept it as an equal partner in good standing, then it should have to account for its history of terrorism and its ruling charter. Hamas’ charter, written in 1988 and never repudiated, is riddled with hatred, anti-Semitism and explicit in its desire to rid the Land of Israel of Jews. How can Israel be expected to engage with Hamas and Fatah when its platform includes the following: “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it.”
The Hamas Charter also declares: “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up... There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.”
One of the biggest errors within the Western World’s understanding of the Arab Middle East, which includes the reasoning of our UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the US President Obama, is that they deny the relationship between the Hamas, Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the Charter states: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.”
Fatah/PLO: 51 years ago, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation was established to fight for the ‘liberation’ of what Arafat called the “occupied Palestine”. According to WAFA’s information archive concerning 23rd January 1964, Gamal Abdul Nasser, the late Egyptian president, convened the Arab summit to discuss the “Israeli threats”. The summit discussed the Palestinian cause and entity; it took ‘practical decisions to establish a body that will organise the Palestinian people to liberate their ‘homeland’. The First Palestinian National Council (PNC) for the PLO was held from 28th May to 2nd June 1964. Please note... this was three years before the 1967 six-day war. As the “West Bank” was under Jordanian occupation, from whom was the PLO going to “liberate” the land? The Palestinian National Charter was adopted, along with the Fundamental Law of the PLO, thus the PLO was established to destroy Israel 3 years before Israel took the “West Bank” and Gaza.
From 1964 to 2105 and from Arafat to Abbas, nothing has changed. A statement by PA Chairman Abbas explains why he has not yet condemned even one of the 22 murders of Israelis during the past two months of terror, even though he tells the international community he is against terror. Referring to the current Palestinian terror uprising, which at the time of Abbas’ statement had already murdered 14 Israelis and wounded 167 in 65 stabbings and 8 shootings, Abbas announced on official PA TV, Nov.16, 2015, that it is a “peaceful uprising.” Abbas stated, “No one called for this uprising and no one asked for it. It stemmed from the hearts of the young... We said to everyone that we want peaceful popular uprising, and that’s what this is. That’s what this is. However, the aggression of firing bullets has come from the Israelis.” You can watch the film clip of this, provided by Palestinian Media Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CeG_Rbf08Q . So according to Abbas, when Arab Palestinians kill young Israeli parents in front of their children, kill Israeli teens, or kill Israeli fathers with their sons, it is not to be condemned as terror because it is an expression of “peace.” And therefore, when Israelis kill the stabbers and shooters who are trying to peacefully kill Israelis - it is the Israelis who are the “aggressors.” This is where it clearly gets difficult to ask the question, “How do we respond, or how do we react to terrorism?”
Significantly, Abbas openly admitted that he called “to everyone” for this violence. He clearly states on PA TV, “We said to everyone that we want peaceful popular uprising, and that’s what this is. That’s what this is.” Since this public expression of support by Abbas for this terror, another 8 Israelis have been murdered, 48 have been wounded, and there have been 43 additional attempted murders. Abbas is clearly responsible for this latest uprising. In another public speech on September 16, 2015 he stated, “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every Martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah... The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours and they [the Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”
How do we respond? Prayer has to be key. Yet the truth also has to be told. When we hear of decisions made by the United Nations against Israel, we need to respond by making our case to our Members of Parliament. Once again, CFI UK is joining up with The Zionist Federation on Wednesday 24th February 2016 to lobby and speak up for Israel at the Houses of Parliament in London. This is an excellent opportunity to challenge the increasing anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli sentiment in the UK and also a chance to engage your Member of Parliament [MP]! So can I encourage you to come and join us at the House of Commons. For further information contact email@example.com
How does the Political world and the UN respond? On Tuesday December 1st 2015, David Cameron appealed to Conservative MPs to give him an overall parliamentary majority in favour of military action in Syria by warning them against voting alongside “Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers”.
Amid Downing Street concerns that support among backbench Labour MPs is weakening, the prime minister told a meeting of the 1922 committee that he needed to win the vote solely on the basis of Tory MPs’ support to achieve his goal of securing a clear consensus. Regarding his goal of wanting to engage British forces to be activated against ISIS, Cameron stated, “You should not be walking through the lobbies with Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers.” His remarks echoed an attack on Corbyn at the Tory conference in October. In a recent article in the Guardian newspaper, Corbyn asked Labour MPs to think of the “terrible consequences” of the wars in the Middle East over the last 14 years. This of course is a really difficult decision to make, and though I would never support Jeremy Corbyn, I do struggle with the idea of Britain once again getting involved in an area that I personally feel, will only cause further problems.
What I find really disturbing is that the British government will, as they have done in previous governments, attempt to send in British forces to fight a battle in the Middle East, yet condemn Israel for taking similar action by its own army on actions of terrorism by Hamas etc. Cameron and Corbyn’s sharp exchanges occurred on the eve of a debate in the House of Commons set to last 10 and a half hours after the cabinet agreed to scrap all the day’s business to allow a vote on Syria. The cabinet agreed a 12-point motion, which incorporated all the main points in a motion passed at the Labour conference in September and would pave the way for the Royal Air Force to extend its airstrikes against Islamic State targets from Iraq to Syria.
Likewise, there was further hypocrisy from the UN recently. On November 19, 2015, Palestinian Arab terrorists attacked Israelis which resulted in the death of five people. On the same day, terrorists in Mali attacked a hotel and killed 20. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon commented on both terrorist attacks. However, the approach to each incident was quite different. The UN placed significant weight on its comments towards the Government of Mali. It extended condolences and offered “full support” to fight terrorists and extremists. However, all such language and sentiment was absent for Israel over its wave of terrorism. Regarding the UNs support for fight on terror to Mali the UN stated that they would give “full support to the Malian authorities in their fight against terrorist and extremist groups”. However, regarding the UNs support for fight on terror to Israel the UN gave none and told the Israeli government that it was “Imperative to restore calm.” This has been true for every announcement made about deliberate murders committed by Palestinian Arabs against Israelis, whether the killing of the Henkins in front of their children (October 2015) or the slaughter of the Fogel family in their beds (March 2011).
On November 24, 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted six non-binding resolutions, drafted by the Palestinians and Syria, singling out and criticizing Israel, and no resolutions on China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, ISIS, or any other human rights situation. Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch stated, “Surreal barely captures the scene whereby the world is under assault by terrorists killing in the name of Islam and martyrhood - as Palestinians are doing while stabbing Israeli Jews - and the UN’s response is to reflexively condemn Israel in six separate resolutions, all of which are one-sided.” One resolution condemned Israel for holding on to the Golan Heights, demanding Israel hand the land and its people to Syria. “It’s astonishing,” said Neuer. “At a time when the Syrian regime is massacring its own people, how can the U.N. call for more people to be subject to Assad’s rule? The timing of today’s text is morally galling and logically absurd… What is also outrageous is that these resolutions claim to care about Palestinians, yet the U.N. proves itself completely oblivious to the actual suffering on the ground, happening right now: hundreds of Palestinians slaughtered, maimed and expelled by Assad’s forces... Today’s farce at the General Assembly underscores a simple fact: the U.N.’s automatic majority has no interest in truly helping Palestinians, nor in protecting anyone’s human rights; the goal of these ritual, one-sided condemnations remains the scapegoating of Israel,” said Neuer.
(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, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio