Archives For Isaiah 2
Yesterday was a difficult day in Israel. Hamas, the terror organization that controls the people of Gaza by force, unleashed more than 120 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli population centers. One shell exploded in a kindergarten. If not for the fact that the school did not open for another hour, we would be looking at all-out war in Gaza, in addition to burying young children whose only crimes were: 1) being Jewish, and 2) living in the restored nation of Israel.
This unprovoked attack was so grievous that even nations that normally wink at Hamas violence, or make excuses for the terror group, condemned their actions.
“Germany unequivocally condemns the escalation of violence. There is no justification, under any circumstances, for the continuation of the massive mortar attack on Israel from Gaza. Especially malicious was the firing of a large portion of the rockets at Israeli cities and communities exactly during the hours of heavy traffic when people go to work. As a result of that barrage, a kindergarten was hit, among others. We wish the wounded a speedy recovery. It is Israel’s right to [preserve] its security, defend its borders and respond proportionately to attacks.”
I have an app called ‘red alert’ that sounds a siren whenever there is a rocket launch. Not since the 2014 war with Gaza have I seen my phone blow up like that. Sirens went off 166 times as more than 100 shells and rockets were fired at Israel during rush hour.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney had strong words for Hamas, tweeting,
“I strongly condemn firing of rockets from Gaza at Israel today. I continue to advocate strongly for people of Gaza who live in impossible conditions, but this Hamas-led violence undermines Palestinian cause plus it is counterproductive to political progress.”
Of course, he might blame the “impossible conditions” on the Israelis, but my wife can remember shopping in Gaza as a seven-year-old with her dad. In 1967, Israel liberated the people of Gaza from Egypt, who treated them horribly—worse than a prison. But Israel gave them freedom, commerce and friendship…until they chose to follow Yasser Arafat over peace. And then, in 2006, they voted in the Hamas terror group to lead them.
Emanuel Griaufret, the European Envoy to Israel, understood the reality of the situation for the traumatized Israeli children of the south:
“As kids were preparing for school this morning, a barrage of rockets from Gaza fell on southern Israel. One landed outside a kindergarten. I know the resilience of communities in southern Israel but indiscriminate attacks are totally unacceptable and to be condemned unreservedly.”
Even the uneven UN was critical of the attack, but could not help itself from issuing the typical verbiage that makes it seem that Israel and Hamas are equally at fault: All parties should show restraint and avoid escalation.
Israeli Restraint is Unmatched in World Conflicts
Let me tell you something UN, if Israel was not showing restraint, Gaza would be no more. It is only because Israel has more love and respect for the people of Gaza than Hamas does, that we don’t demolish it.
Last night, thousands of Israelis in the south had to sleep in bomb shelters as 40 more rockets were shot at our southern communities. While there were no casualties, the affects of terror wreak havoc on the souls of the young.
Now, to be clear, these outbursts usually cause little damage and I am not even sure Hamas is looking for a direct hit on Israelis, as it would bring a response that would not be beneficial to their existence. There seems to be some unwritten rules of engagement. If you don’t actually kill anyone, our response will be minimal. But heaven help them if there ever are mass civilian casualties.
While Tel Aviv has not been targeted, we know they have the capabilities. Please keep our Tel Aviv community in prayer, that we stay the course of preaching the gospel. Pray that God will use these circumstances to open up the eyes of Israelis to the truth of Yeshua. And pray for the innocent Arabs of Gaza who are under the oppression of Hamas, especially the Christian Arabs.
(Pic: A mortar shell landed on the grounds of a kindergarten — Shay Machluf)
Living in Israel, all the exciting stuff happens when I am sleeping: Iran bombs Israel and Israel destroys Iranian infrastructure in Syria, the Super Bowl and NBA Playoffs, etc. etc. And last night was no different, because at 3AM Netta Barzilai (known here as simply Netta) won the yearly Eurovision competition for Israel.
I woke up 6:30 am and realized we were out of milk. I groggily walked to the gas station and bought chalav. I picked up the free Israel Today newspaper, when a cabby asked me to give him a copy. I threw it through his window and grabbed another. The headline in Hebrew, “Next year in Jerusalem.” That is what we say every year during Passover, but this was speaking of Eurovision.
What is Eurovision?
If you are from the U.S. I know what you are asking, “What is Eurovision?” But in Europe and even in Israel, there is no one who does not know what Eurovision is. It is an international song competition that started in 1954. It is cheesy, annoying and I mostly ignore it. Israel has won the competition three times before.
But given the fact that we are the most hated country on earth, I didn’t see us winning again until at least the millennium—though I hope one of the first things Yeshua does when He returns is to abolish it!
What is God saying
So let me be serious for a minute. God is always speaking through world events. And it doesn’t mean that He condones everything about an event, if He speaks to those with ears to here, through it. The song is not particularly one I like, but the message was interesting. The song, Toy, is connected to the #metoo movement. Netta sings, “I’m not your toy, You stupid boy.”
But as a proud Israeli, she is also saying to the world, “We don’t care what you think about us. We will not be cowards.” Intended or not, there was a prophetic message released through her song.
It is interesting to note that she won on May 13th, the day before Israel’s 70th re-birthday and the day that the U.S. will open its embassy in Jerusalem, a clearly prophetic event in my opinion. God is saying, “My favor is on Zion.”
Just this week, Iran sent 20 missiles at us and not one hit a target—16 didn’t even make it to Israel. God is saying, “I am Israel’s Watchman—Shomer Yisrael (Ps. 121:4).”
And though the nations rage against him (Ps. 2:1-2) as he favors Jerusalem, He mocks them in his laughter (Ps. 2:4), because, as Netta cried out after winning, “There is nothing like an Israeli party. You will find out next year. Next year in Jerusalem.” Yes, Israel wins the right to host Eurovision next year in our capital Jerusalem. She was a bold ambassador for Israel, “Israel deserves a reason to celebrate. I love my country.”
Praise from Netanyahu
Funnily enough, I thought I caught our Prime Minster make a typo on Twitter this morning when he wrote, בוקר טוי instead of בוקר טוב. The latter spells boker tov—good morning. Only later did I realize he was paying homage to Netta, as it say boker toy—the same of her song.
“These days, Jerusalem is blessed with many gifts. We received another one yesterday evening, with Netta’s suspenseful and shining victory,” Netanyahu shared this morning, “The gift was that Eurovision will be coming to Jerusalem next year, and we are proud to be hosting it.”
Yes, God is showing that His favor is on Zion—His grace is on Jerusalem.
I remember the day we landed in Israel. We were all depressed. And then years of learning Hebrew. Finally after seven years I preached my first message in Hebrew. We made this short video looking back on the past 15 years.