“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth change.”
(Psalm 46:2-3 TLV)
Shalom, my friend. I am writing to you with a heavy heart to ask for your prayers for Israel and her people. This week we’ve seen the largest clash between Palestinian terror groups in Gaza and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) since 2014.
Terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired more than 1,700 rockets and mortars at major Israeli cities and Israel has responded with more than 700 airstrikes on terrorist targets. As I’m writing this, Israel is weighing a possible ground invasion of Gaza.
To make matters worse, unexpected riots and clashes between Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis have broken out in multiple cities across Israel. Shockingly, several synagogues have been burned, and people on both sides have been gravely injured with at least one death.
Please join me in fervent prayer for Israel and the Jewish people. Pray supernatural peace for Israelis who have been under continual fire for four days and may have to endure more. Pray safety for the IDF personnel as they battle terrorist forces and wisdom of Israel’s military leaders to know the right course of action. Pray for an end to the violence both between Israel and Gaza, and reconciliation between Arab and Jewish Israelis. Finally, let’s pray that these times of trouble would lead the Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah.
HAMAS ATTACKS WITH 1,700 ROCKETS; ISRAEL RESPONDS
Starting with clashes between Israeli police and Muslim protesters in Jerusalem over the weekend, the violence escalated on Monday, during what should have been a time of celebration for Jerusalem Day, which commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967. Terror group Hamas began firing rockets from Gaza into southern Israel - even firing rockets at the Holy City!
Over several days, Hamas has fired more than 1,700 rockets and mortars, often hundreds at a time in an effort to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Iron Dome monitors all incoming projectiles on radar, determines which ones will hit populated areas and fires interceptor missiles to shoot down the largest threats. According to the IDF, it has a 90-percent success rate.
On Wednesday, for example, more than 500 rockets were fired at Tel Aviv within a few hours. While Iron Dome intercepted many of the rockets headed for civilian areas, one person was killed and at least eight were injured. Flights at Ben Gurion airport were suspended for two hours and schools were closed.
While Israeli casualties are a fraction of what they would be without Iron Dome, more than 6 people have died ranging from an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor to a 5-year-old boy killed by rocket shrapnel. Dozens have been injured. A brief malfunction of the Iron Dome on Tuesday allowed several rockets to slip past and hit Ashkelon and might have led to the two deaths that occurred in the attack.
In response to this massive attack, the IDF has conducted more than 600 airstrikes against terrorist targets in Gaza. On Thursday, IDF tanks and artillery made over 150 additional strikes in a short amount of time. These strikes have taken out rocket launchers, weapons caches, homes of Hamas leaders, Hamas’ intelligence headquarters, attack tunnels and more. In addition, Israel has killed 15 high-ranking Hamas leaders and operatives.
The Hamas Health Ministry says 85 Gazans have been killed so far and more than 500 wounded in the attacks. However, according to the IDF, many of those casualties are caused by Hamas rockets. More than 200 rockets launched toward Israel have fallen short and landed in Gaza.
Hamas also deliberately operates within a densely populated area, using the residents of the Strip as human shields, but Israel still does its best to avoid civilian casualties. The IDF has destroyed several residential apartment buildings that contain offices of terror leaders or weapons stockpiles. Before each strike, the IDF calls and texts building residents, or drops leaflets, telling them to evacuate. They also hit the building’s roof with a small missile that causes little damage as a warning to evacuate before the main attack.
Right now, the IDF has cancelled leave for IDF ground troops and is calling up 9,000 reservists. They have also moved tanks toward the Gazan border, which could mean a ground attack is in the works. This would be the first major ground action in Gaza since 2014.
UNEXPECTED CONFLICT IN ISRAEL
On Tuesday, the Jewish-Arab city of Lod was rocked by unexpected violence as a large group of Arab-Israelis rioted. Three synagogues were burned, along with numerous stores and cars, and several people were injured.
Lod resident Shiloh Fried told Channel 12: “Gangs of Arab youths are going street to street, burning stores, smashing windows… Jewish families are huddled at home, terrified of going out… Their cars are being set alight outside… Police are nowhere to be seen.”
Lod Mayor Yair Revivo asked the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to declare a state of emergency. He called for the military to be deployed in the city, saying “this is too big for police.”
Netanyahu responded by calling a state of emergency, which allowed a curfew to be established and the military to enter the city to support the police. However, the violence has not subsided.
In the days since, groups of Arab and Jewish Israelis have clashed in Lod and other cities, including Ramale, Acre and Jaffa. This is now considered the largest internal conflict in Israel for the last 20 years.
IRAN RELEASES CHILLING FAKE PROPAGANDA VIDEO DEPICTING A MISSILE BLOWING UP THE U.S. CAPITOL
It is no secret that Hamas is one of many terror groups backed by Iran. In fact, Hamas admits that Iran provides many of its weapons.
Last week, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) broadcast a disturbing propaganda video which shows the U.S. Capitol being blown up by a missile and its soldiers marching on Jerusalem. The video ran on Iranian state-run television before a speech to the nation by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The clip aired as reports are surfacing that the U.S. and Iran are getting closer to agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.
Should the U.S. return to the deal, it would be the largest and most controversial foreign policy initiative of President Joe Biden’s administration so far, according to British newspaper, Daily Mail.
LET US PRAY TOGETHER
Please pray with me for:
- Peace to prevail throughout Israel
- God’s provision and direction concerning the JCPOA nuclear deal negotiations between the U.S. and Iran
- A peaceful God-inspired solution for Israel’s government following the country’s fourth inconclusive election in the past two years
- Israel to be able to continue helping other countries dealing with coronavirus crises
- Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah