PRAYER FOCUS FROM JERUSALEM
OCT 8, 2000
HEAL OUR LAND
We appreciate the E-mails and phone calls from many of our friends who
care and stand in prayer on our behalf. Our family is doing fine, all
things considered, and going on with daily life and ministry, though not
without the grief and adjustments due to the recent painful events. You
have heard the news and seen the TV reports, and I am sorry to tell you
that the situation on the ground here has been as bad as the media
portrayed, and even worse in some places.
I was grieved when the riots broke out, but not surprised. We have long
warned that we are not to be lulled by the attempts and promises of man to
resolve the Middle East dilemma by human ingenuity, but rather must stay
alert and watchful since we are sitting on a time bomb which will go off
sooner or later. Well, it did, and I don't see relief in sight.
As Jerusalem came under virtual siege last week with blocked roads and
mass violent demonstrations on all sides but the western side,
transportation in our area has been somewhat stressed and sometimes risky,
depending on where one travels. Three days ago I was addressing a crowd of
one thousand international prayer delegates who gathered in Jerusalem in
order to intercede during the Ten Days of Awe. The complex where the
meeting was held was nearly evacuated due to its proximity (a quarter of a
mile) to Bethlehem and to the gunfire. Obviously, prayer prevailed, and
the convocation continued as planned.
All of us here have to take the situation into account as we conduct
ourselves these days. Our daughter has to be careful and mindful when she
takes public transportation in and out of Jerusalem (the music academy she
attends is in the heart of the city). For the same reasons I canceled a
planned family trip to the Golan Heights since the Galilee was temporarily
cut off from central Israel. The main roads have been under siege of
thousands of violent Arab demonstrators hurling Molotov cocktails, rocks,
and live fire on Israeli traffic passing by Arab villages.
Indeed, the "Genie came out of its' bottle", and for the first time
1948 Israeli Arab citizens (which number nearly 1,000,000) have joined the
Palestinian Arab rage against Israel. This unnerving fact, plus the
intensity and breadth of the violence throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza,
have shocked the Israeli public. This week, even our most dovish and
compromising friends have gone through a rude awakening as to the nature
of our dilemma and the bankruptcy of the political process.
I am convinced that, as painful and sorrowful as these times are, there
are no short cuts to the promised peace and harmony in the region. In
fact, I believe that God is working during these times, accomplishing His
purpose, even as Psalm 76:10 says, "for the wrath of man shall praise
Thee..." The future will prove to all who have eyes to see that only a
genuine change of heart will heal the region's ills, and that change, we
know, only the gospel can effect as it draws man to God and He redeems and
transforms our broken lives.
The living God has chosen to place the two most wounded and troubled
people groups in world history, the Jewish and the Arab, together in this
tiny speck of land, here to work the miracle which will touch the whole
world. Ishmael still cries in the desert, broken hearted and rejected by
his father Abraham (Gen 21:17), while Jacob still wrestles with the Angel
of the Lord as he tries to reenter the land fearing Esau's rage and
violence (Gen 32:24). Only God can heal these hearts; and His medicine,
the Word and the Spirit, are our only recourse.
At this writing, Sunday morning, the situation continues to deteriorate
as, in addition to wide spread "mini battles" surrounding Israeli
settlements and villages throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza, our northern
border, as well, has become a battle zone with mortar and automatic fire
coming from Hizballa positions. Yesterday, three isolated Israeli soldiers
were captured and taken captive into Lebanon, an act which will
undoubtedly draw a sharp response. The relative calm which typified our
northern border following the pullout of our forces from the security belt
in southern Lebanon four months ago was shattered with renewed fighting.
Following these ten days of unrestrained Palestinian violence and limited
Israeli military response, Israel finds herself with a collapsing peace
process while facing hostile Lebanese and Syrian borders, in addition to
one million Israeli Arab citizens whose allegiance is now in serious
question. Prime Minister Barak, himself shaken and awakened by these
events, has given Chairman Arafat an ultimatum of forty eight hours to
bring his people under control, or suffer the brunt of a full scale
Israeli military action which will quell the violence with force.
Having experienced the Arab, Middle-Eastern mentality, and especially
driven by religious and demonized Islamic fervor with cries of "Jihad" in
the air, I fear that this ultimatum will not change the over all Arab
posture. Any demonstration of restraint, patience, or sympathy on the part
of Israel has historically been understood as a sign of weakness by her
opponents, inviting further violence and demands. In fact, I suspect that
Israel's compliant and accommodating posture during the recent years of
desperate attempts to "rescue" the peace process time and again have
contributed to, if not caused, the recent breakdown.
Such perceptions of a weak and compromising Israel actually encourage
convictions that the Jewish state is an idolatrous temporal phenomenon
which can be brought to its demise with another big push, or an extended
season of wearing down, as is the case now. Naturally speaking, the only
wise and compassionate recourse is to respond in, and display, the
opposite spirit, that of strength and confidence. The alternative will be
a drawn out and costly wrestling match. The best course of action right
now (short of national repentance and a return to God) is for Israel to
firm up her stand and draw clear lines.
A. The Arab violence must be quelled immediately
and decisively. If we had
given in to violence in 1948 there would be no State of Israel today.
B. No negotiations should take place under threat or pressure of violence.
Concessions arrived at under such conditions only invite further demands
C. The truth surfaced in the last days, again, that the conflict with our
Arab neighbors is not geographical, or even ideological in nature, but
existential. The Arab territorial demands now appear to be not a return to
1967 borders, but to 1947, meaning the cutting off of the Galilee in the
north and the Negev in the south. Neither option is acceptable as both
leave Israel with indefensible borders in a hostile neighborhood.
D. In addition, the return of Palestinian refugees to Israeli territory as
part of any future agreement should also be completely rejected. The
recent riots in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, the Galilee, and Jerusalem prove that
these Palestinian aspirations are alive and well, and even a small
concession will lead to an unmanageable flood of hundreds of thousands of
hostile Arabs. Can any nation allow such a potential fifth column in her
E. And, last but not least, the indivisibility of Jerusalem must be
reaffirmed and proven. There are numerous other cities in Israel with a
mixed Arab/Jewish population, and dividing Jerusalem will pave the way to
demand the dividing of Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Ramla, Tiberius, Nazareth, and
others. And more, Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish national identity,
and forsaking her will rock our national foundation.
Pushed to the corner with wide spread internal Arab unrest within Israeli
cities and villages, deadly assaults on Israeli settlements in the
territories, open violations of the basic peace process agreements, and
heating borders, the Israeli leadership may resort to harsh military rule
and curfews to restore order, accompanied with swift and decisive military
responses to end the violence. I hope that the present situation will be
brought under restraint before more lives are lost, yet at the same time I
believe that we should be prepared for an extended and difficult season of
violent eruptions, unrest, international pressures, and tension on our
The participation of some Israeli Arabs in the attacks and riots against
Israeli civilians and police is of grave concern to most Israelis and
considered seditious, as these Arabs are citizens of Israel. The potential
effect of a growing fifth column is a red line that Israelis would prefer
not to consider, for that would put the majority of Israel's Arab citizens
(over one million Arabs are Israeli citizens) under the shadow of
treasonous suspicion. How can any government control one fifth of her
population turned treacherous and unreliable? Indeed, we have a nation
within a nation, and only by divine grace and wisdom can this work.
Obviously, this battle is not fought on the ground only, but also in
international arena of public opinion. Four main points are consistently
pushed by Palestinian spokesmen and the media. All of them are discolored,
yet are gaining momentum due to excessive repetition and the general air
of deception, which saturates the entire drama.
At the risk of boring you with technical and political details I will
depart from our usual spiritual "high ground," and address these points in
order to arm you with the truth, which is sadly lacking in most of the
media reporting. Some of the comments below were compiled from various
sources, and I especially drew upon Tony Black's analysis. This is the
land where "the word became flesh," and all spiritual principles and
allegories relentlessly translate into earthly realities, which test the
heart of all who touch them.
DECEPTION # 1: THE PALESTINIAN RIOTS ARE BUT AN EXPECTED REACTION
BLATANT ISRAELI PROVOCATION WITH THE VISIT OF (RIGHT WING LEADER) ARIEL
SHARON TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28.
Not necessarily approving the timing of Sharon's visit to the Temple
Mount, we must remember that Israeli politicians have visited this area
many times in the past, as has Sharon, without drawing such fire from the
Palestinian camp. The fact is that thousands of Israelis and tourists from
all over the world visit this site daily without causing riots.
Since the Temple Mount has been under Israeli sovereignty following
1967 six-day war, Israeli police post is located on the northwestern
corner of the compound, and armed Israeli soldiers regularly patrol the
area. All this to say that Sharon's visit on September 28 did not
introduce any new dynamics into the arena. The recent eruption of violence
has nothing to do with Israeli provocation or defilement of the Islamic
shrines, but everything to do with a strategic decision by the Palestinian
Authority to allow the use of violence in order to gain more ground in the
so-called peace negotiations.
This Temple Mount plaza is part of the area of Mount Moriah, where the
Bible says (and archeology confirms) that Solomon's and Herod's Temples
stood, and where Jesus taught and prayed. This area is promised to the
Jewish people as the heart of their biblical inheritance, and will be the
focus of worldwide pilgrimage and devotion at the end of the age. Islam
has long attempted to replace the Jewish people on "ground zero," the very
place where the Messiah of Israel will establish His glorious throne, and
the battle we witness on earth is in fact fueled from hell itself. Don't
let the winds of deception pull you into humanistic notions. Jerusalem,
and the Temple Mount in her midst, is the grand prize, and her warfare
will test every nation and people on earth as it is written.
DECEPTION # 2: "THE RIOTS WERE SPONTANEOUS, AND ARAFAT HAS NO
Prior to Sharon's visit, on Wednesday Sept 27, two explosive devices
detonated by Palestinian terrorists near Netzarim, a Jewish farming
community in the Gaza Strip, mortally wounding a 19-year-old Israeli army
medic. Armed Arabs then proceeded to attack the Israeli soldiers present
with submachine guns.
During Sharon's visit on Thursday Sept 28, three Arab Israeli parliament
members who followed him led chants of "murderer, out", stirring up Moslem
bystanders. After Sharon left, Palestinian worshippers began throwing
stones, bottles and chairs at police, who responded with tear gas. Arafat
then called Sharon's visit "a dangerous process conducted by Sharon
against Islamic sacred places," and called upon Arab and Moslem states to
take action to protect the Islamic holy shrines.
This was followed with a statement by the Moslem Brotherhood Movement's
Central Committee in Jordan, stating, "This is an atrocious act which
requires Moslem and Arab leaders to declare jihad (holy war) to liberate
. the shrines in Jerusalem," calling for "shedding the blood of those
Jews if they implement their outrageous crime and establish their alleged
temple in the yards of the blessed Al-Aksa Mosque." These words, as well
as many other official militant statements by Palestinian leaders, were
the fuel that ignited the streets.
As is often the situation, the hysteria and chaos spread like wild fire
among the Palestinian communities, and riots broke out in various hot
spots. On Friday, Sept 29, an early morning joint patrol of Israeli and
Palestinian soldiers (part of the Oslo peace process security framework)
were drinking coffee together while on break. As the Israelis returned to
their jeep, one of the Palestinian soldiers, Nail Suliman, walked over to
the Israeli jeep, shouted "Allahu akbar" (Allah is great), and emptied his
clip into the heart of one of the Israeli soldiers, Joseph Tabaja, a
27-year old immigrant from Ethiopia, killing him and wounding his partner.
This Palestinian soldier then escaped to the Palestinian Authority
controlled area where he turned himself over and was temporarily detained
(pending a quick trial and soon release, as is the norm in these matters).
Palestinian officials immediately issued a complaint that the Israeli
forces had provoked (!) Suliman into murdering them.
I bring this early insane incident to your attention as only one example
of the level of brazen deception, treachery, and twisted logic Israel is
facing. The world cannot, and will not, understand that. While I do
believe that Arafat has lost control over the Palestinian street as many
of his people despise and disrespect him, he can, never the less, quell
the violence if he wants to. But does he? Right now, according to his
reasoning, he is gaining international favor and clout, while isolating
Israel and cornering her into a tight spot. This, in Islamic logic, is
worth the blood of many "martyrs."
DECEPTION # 3: "ISRAELIS WERE THE FIRST TO SHOOT, PERPETRATING
OF YOUNG CHILDREN AND RESCUE TEAMS. THEY DID NOT USE PROPER ANTI-RIOT
CONTROL BUT SHOT TO KILL."
As written earlier, the first riots occurred Thursday, Sept 28, on the
Temple Mount after Ariel Sharon departed. Thirty Israeli policemen and
four Palestinians were lightly wounded, and only one round of tear gas was
fired by Israeli police. On Friday, Sept 29, just after the noon prayers
as Moslem worshippers began to exit the mosques on the Temple Mount,
hundreds of them tried to overpower Israeli Border Patrol guards and began
to throw stones over the retaining wall down onto Jewish worshippers 120
feet below as they were praying by the Western Wall.
With over 22,000 rioting Moslems on the Mount, the situation was
explosive. At that point Israeli Border Patrol reinforcements entered the
Mount and began to disperse the rioters, first using rubber bullets and
tear gas. This scenario has been the norm for the last ten days with
violent armed Palestinian masses storming Israeli civilian communities and
blocking main roads and junctions. What would any other government do to
secure its citizens?
During the past days of rioting, four Israeli mobile intensive care
and eleven ambulances were shot at, damaged, or destroyed by rioting
Palestinians. During an intense firefight between Palestinians armed with
machine guns attacking the Netzarim outpost in the Gaza Strip, a 12-year
old boy and his father were caught in the middle of a murderous crossfire.
The boy was shot dead and his father was wounded. It is not clear whose
bullets killed the boy, though the Israeli forces took responsibility for
the tragedy, nor does that fact matter for his father and family. Some
bystanders said that he was participating in the stoning of the Israeli
outpost when his father came to drag him home.
So far, the Israeli forces were ordered to only respond to shootings,
that with the greatest restraint. Casualties are inevitable when violent
confrontations occur, and the moral responsibility for them is upon the
perpetrators and initiators of the violence. The situation might escalate
yet, as Arab rioting is spilling into Israel's main cities. Jerusalem's
southern neighborhoods came under live fire in the last two nights coming
from a nearby Palestinian village, and our own area in the Judean
Mountains west from Jerusalem was sealed this morning (Sunday, Oct 9) due
to a bomb scare by a nearby mall.
DECEPTION # 4: "PEACE CAN BE RESTORED AND THE PEACE PROCESS RESUMED
THE ISRAELIS WITHDRAW FROM THE ARAB AREAS IN QUESTION. ANYTHING LESS WILL
LEAD TO CONTINUED VIOLENCE."
Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. During the riots, Arafat
and his negotiators released unofficial demands for stopping the riots.
(How can one stop that which one has not started?...) These include
Israeli forces surrendering all outposts who were being attacked by
Palestinian forces; an official Israeli apology for having responded with
force to mob violence and shootings; and total removal of all Israeli
forces from the Temple Mount.
In other words, the bully mentality says: 'give me what I demand or
continue to hurt you.' Unfortunately, we are not dealing with a rational
western nation here, but with a Middle Eastern violent mentality, which is
further reinforced by deep Islamic religious obsessions. Peace is every
Israeli's dream, but what kind of peace? One can have warm peace with a
democratic state where the majority voice prevails and secures rationale
and sanity. But we are not dealing with democracies, rather with unstable
dictatorships, where peace is attainable only when supported and secured
by a deterring force. Not unlike the peace the US has kept with Russia
during the long years of the Cold War.
THE HISTORICAL ROOT
Insecurity, jealousy, and selfish ambition sadly influence the Arab
mindset, and are at the heart of our present traumatic trials. How can one
humanly satisfy the bottomless pit of Arab need and woundedness? After
all, poverty, persecution, and social chaos are rampant in the Arab
nations independent of Israel, and should be viewed as such. Hagar and
Ishmael did not develop their rejected and abandoned attitude in the
wilderness, rather, they were sent away because of it. As it is written
concerning Hagar, "...and she conceived; and when she saw that she had
conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight." (Gen 16:4 NASB)
Humanly speaking, Sarah and Abraham couldn't deal with the accusatory
despising spirit that came from her and her son, and a separation was
necessary. Only God could deal with such hearts, and He did when He saved
the lad and secured his destiny. Still, the darkness traveled down the
generations carrying the matriarchal poison of ambition, jealousy, and
hatred toward her mistress and her mistress' offspring.
It could have been stopped at Hagar's first encounter with the Lord
Geneses 16, when He identified her as "Sarah's maid," and questioned her
flight. She was on the run even before the child was born as her heart was
already poisoned with ambition and lust for Sarah's position. God,
however, showed her mercy and sent her back to serve in Abraham's
household. Hagar had nearly twenty years from this point of divine
encounter to the moment of her casting away. Years in which she not only
did not repent from her past attitudes, but nurtured her pride and
hardened her heart. In effect, she resisted the God who showed her grace
and mercy by resisting His plan.
Isaac was not a surprise. The witness of the divine visitation and
conception was well known, and Hagar had plenty of opportunity to fall in
line with the plan. But her heart was too proud. "I will ascend" was her
attitude, and this seed fell into her son's heart. The prevailing spirit
which still afflicts the corporate Arab soul as it relates to the Hebrew
nation today is often resentment, envy, and ambition. Because of this
spiritual principle the Arab people cannot accept Israel's offer of
coexistence, but rather find themselves, sometimes in spite of themselves,
lusting after her tiny inheritance and position with God.
Contrary to Arab propaganda, Israel isn't the source of the Arab problems;
rather the Israeli Arabs enjoy a quality of life, which far exceeds the
Palestinian conditions in any other Middle Eastern nation where they are
dispersed and persecuted among their own brethren. In fact, some of their
greatest modern day calamities and massacres occurred in neighboring Arab
countries by the hands of their so-called kin. Still, the ancient wound is
not healed through repentance and faith in God, and their deep cry goes on
and on. Yet, only God can restore the sense of identity and wholeness of
this family, and only God will.
Even Esau, with all his troubles and trials, appears to have been gathered
back into the plan of God as he accepted Jacob back into the land of their
fathers. It was the introduction of the spirit of Islam into the Arab
tribes in the seventh century, which darkened the stage beyond repair and
set the Arab woundedness firmly into spiritual and religious frameworks.
Their plight now became a religion. With Islam's empowerment, the Arab
ancient wound becomes a noble destiny, a divine mission to replace the
despised Jew and ascend to the family's top rank.
HOW TO PRAY?
The biblical priority is to pray for Israel's salvation. Rom.11: 15
that Israel's salvation will transform the Middle East and bring life from
the dead to all the peoples of the world. God has purposed to bring life
to this people; the enemy has purposed to bring death. Pray that God will
bring resurrection life out of death, salvation out of destruction, and
mercy out of judgment.
* Pray for God to open the eyes
of His people to their crucified Messiah,
and that He would establish His Kingdom of peace and justice upon the
earth. Remember that interceding for Israel's salvation, her entering into
God's magnificent purposes, and her call to be a light to the nations -
all are being opposed by the enemy.
* Pray for whatever peace can be
preserved, be it even a temporary one,
which is based on clear-eyed discernment and courage on the part of
Israeli leaders. (2 Tim.2: 1-4)
* Safety for the many Israeli children
as they travel to and from school.
In the past, bus bombings and suicide bombers blowing themselves up in
crowded situations have often been part of the Palestinian terror
strategy, and may return to our streets at any moment. Often, the Lord, by
His Spirit, kept believers away from such trouble spots and safe in times
of danger, and He will continue to do so as we stand in prayer. However,
He also found fit to let some suffer, and that too is for His glory.
* Wisdom for those in authority
on both sides. May God's hand move our
political leaders to chart the most compassionate and just path forward.
Though God's purpose and covenant for Israel are beyond refute, His
mercies and redeeming love is shed upon the Palestinian people as well.
Many of them are caught in this cruel demonic bondage of wounded hearts,
wicked leadership, blatant lies, and consuming rage. My heart goes out to
them in their suffering, and I pray to God to have mercy over them and set
them free. Leaving theological, ideological, and historical facts aside
for a moment, the reality is that an unredeemed heart can only take so
much oppression and reproach before it looses the anchor of logic and
reason and becomes susceptible to every foul spirit of hatred, deception,
* Pray for revival among Muslims.
This is ultimately the only solution to
our predicament. Political maneuvers may buy us time, but we will not be
able to avoid the eventual collusion of light and darkness as hell rises
to resist the nearing of the Lord's return. Islam will fall, as did
communism, hopefully without a shot, and its hold over nearly a billion
souls will be loosed. Pray for those who are called to labor in these
parched and dangerous fields of harvest.
* Pray for the binding of the suicidal
spirit which drives Palestinians to
sacrifice young lives on its' demonic altars. Rather than protecting their
young, they often push them forward into danger in order to obtain media
attention and win international sympathy. One tragic photo on television
is worth much political currency. Pray also for the binding of the
witchcraft, which is rampant in Jewish Orthodox circles, ripe with curses,
superstitions, demon possession, and idolatry. God will have to clean
house here as both peoples are bound and helpless, and the church is His
only instrument on earth. May we be found faithful and fruitful in the
Thank you for praying. Following is the prayer alert from Lars Enarson
Watchmen International, who lives in Haifa and ministers throughout Israel
and the nations. His call for urgent immediate prayer is timely, and I
thank you for taking his burden to heart, as we do.
>From Jerusalem, the eye of the storm, we bless you. Reuven Doron and
Quelle: Embrace Israel
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