Since I sent out our Middle East Update yesterday, over 150 missiles, rockets and mortars have been fired at Israeli populations centers. There are videos of mothers and children running for cover. Last night during dinner, my phone nearly exploded because of the app that warns me of incoming missiles—one came after another. I could only think of my fellow Israelis in the south of Israel.
Hamas terrorists even targeted our fourth largest city, Beersheba. This is something they have not done since Operation Protective Edge—the devastating 2014 War with Gaza. If you lived in the south, you spent the day—and night—running to and from shelters. And the bombing has continued to today.
The Iron Dome took out 25 of the rockets, but it is not a perfect system. So far, we know of 17 injuries to Israeli civilians. Three homes were hit, including one in Ashkelon, where my in-laws live. Several moms went into premature labor. And countless children will be plagued with PTSD, after what occurred yesterday.
WATCH & SHARE:
Grabbing their kids and running for cover, the scene live from the southern Israeli city of Sderot, blitzed by rockets from #Gaza, terrifying. pic.twitter.com/MoJJ95aeSf
Israel Defense Forces retaliated, targeting 150 Hamas sites. According to an Israeli official, “Hamas has suffered a severe blow—Israel will continue to act with force.”
Housing Minister Yoav Gallant, who works with senior level leaders on the security council, said, “Whatever is needed to protect our citizens and our soldiers will be done, no matter what the price will be in Gaza. Let’s hope for peace, and let’s be ready for war.”
While Israel has the IDF, the Iron Dome and, dare I say, God on our side, my heart breaks for the innocent people of Gaza under Hamas’ control. Hamas has driven their economy into the ground. Wherever you find Islamic extremism, you will find poverty. You don’t find education, but rather indoctrination. Iran is on the brink of bankruptcy, despite its vast oil supplies. Islamic extremism is an evil ideology that imprisons its devotees and those over whom they rule.
Please take some time right now and pray for Israel and Gaza:
Pray that God will use this crisis to open the eyes of Israel to her Messiah.
Pray for supernatural protection for Israelis in the south.
Pray for the innocent ones in Gaza, that they would revolt against Hamas.
Pray that those who dig a pit for others (Hamas), will fall into it. (Prov. 26:27)
I know that an advertisement for our 2019 tour will appear automatically on this page. It may seem odd that we would advertise a tour in an article about Israel on the brink of war. All I can say is that Israel is my home. I have no fear. I am abroad now—ministering and celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary—but I wish I was home. I long to be with my fellow Israelis right now.
Until now, all these conflicts have been contained to a small area in the south. But even still, those who have been in Israel during such conflicts will tell you of the grace they experienced—and the joy of standing hand in hand with God’s chosen people. Don’t be afraid—come to Israel!
As we draw closer and closer to His coming, things are only going to heat up in the Middle East. Come Yeshua, come!
Seven ISIS fighters infiltrated Israel last week from southern Syria. Israel has a sophisticated fence system, whereby they know when someone approaches the border. The terrorists made it 650 feet before the Israeli Airforce took them out.
The IDF found a Kalashnikov rifle and several explosive belts. The belts would have been used in suicide bombings. It was a bold but stupid move for ISIS, as there was little chance that they could sneak through the border undetected.
The questions we should be asking are: Why were they sent? Was it a test? Does ISIS have other plans?
ISIS also sought to infiltrate Jordan. However, Jordanian forces attacked them, killing several members of the radical Islamist group.
Eli Wiesel’s house, Defaced
Last week, the childhood home of one of most prolific voices from the Holocaust, Eli Wiesel, was vandalized with pink paint. The culprits wrote: “Pedophile. Jewish Nazi who is in hell with Hitler.”
Wiesel’s book, Night, recounts the horrors he and others suffered in the Holocaust. His childhood home in Romania is, not only a museum, but also a historical monument.
“This grotesque act represents an attack not only on the memory of Elie Wiesel but on all the victims of the Holocaust,” said a statement by Romania’s National Institute for Holocaust studies, which is named after the writer. —Breaking Israel News
Jewish State Law
There is a huge controversy in Israel, at the moment, over the new Jewish State Law. In short, it declares:
Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people.
Hebrew is the national language, while Arabic has special status.
Hatikva (The Hope) is our national Anthem.
The flag of Israel is two blue stripes near the edges and a blue Star of David in the center.
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Jews from all over the world are welcomed to come home to Israel.
Encouragement of settling the land.
That is basically it. There is nothing all that controversial about it—so why all the hoopla? Why did it barely pass (65-52)?
In our Declaration of Independence, we guarantee equal rights to all citizens—Jewish, Arab, Christian, etc. Had Netanyahu included a statement that affirms equality, it would have received more than 100 votes. So why not include something that we all agree on? Netanyahu would say, equality is already affirmed in other laws—and that is correct. However, his opponents claim that he did not include it because he wanted the vote to be close, giving him the opportunity, before the next elections, to point at the opposition and say, “They are not patriots—we are.”
Sadly, even here in Israel, politics is a very dirty sport.
50,000 Israelis came out to Tel Aviv, in support of our 300,000-strong Druze community, over the weekend to protest the law.
Rally in Tel Aviv against new Nation State Law
Fresh Sanctions Could Tumble Iran
Today, new sanctions take effect on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The goal is to put massive economic pressure on Iran. Already, there are protests in the country—and they are not blaming the US, but their own leaders for their economic woes.
Jerusalem has praised President Trump for leaving the Iran Nuke Deal and returning to sanctions, while Europe seeks to keep the deal alive. However, Europe is shortsighted by only seeing the economic value in doing business with Tehran. They fail to see (or refuse to see) how damaging it is to Middle East stability—as Iran props up Syrian Dictator Assad, funds Hezbollah and Hamas, and stands with the rebels in Yemen against the Yemeni government.
Trump commented on the failed Iran Nuke Deal:
“The JCPOA (Iran Nuke Deal), a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos.
“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond.”
The people of Iran want to know why their government is sending all their money to terrorists, while the country is falling apart.
Pray for angels to be with the IDF to combat ISIS.
Pray for the Iranian people to have courage to take back their country.
Pray for unity in Israel over the new Jewish State law.
Pray that God will give us politicians who love the land and the people, more than power.
Pray against anti-Semitism in Europe.
Pray for a great move of God in Israel that would open the eyes of the Jewish people.
On Friday, during the “peaceful” border protests in Gaza, Aviv Levi was gunned down by a Hamas sniper. At 21 years of age, his life was over. I want to help you feel the pain that we feel, here in Israel, when a soldier dies in battle.
Unlike in the U.S., where I come from, from the time you can speak, you know that one day you will serve in the Israeli Defense Forces – and you are proud of that. Most young men want to serve in a combat unit—we call that, kravi.
Israeli men serve three years, and the women serve two. It is pounded into your psyche your whole life that one day you will serve. It is an honor. Beginning in your junior year of high school, you start filling out the forms, going to special meetings and preparing yourself mentally for the army. For those who seek to be in an elite unit, they take special courses during their senior year. I see them jogging with backpacks on the beach. Young people, 17 years old, getting in the best shape of their lives.
In most armies, the commanders stand back and command their soldiers: “Forward!” In the Israeli army, the most legendary phrase is “Acharai” or “Follow me.” Israeli commanders lead the way into the battle.
In 1948, a solider was shot in the eye during the War of Independence. As he lay on the ground dying, he heard over the radio, “We are coming!”
Twenty-three men under the command of Nahum Arieli arrived on the scene, and platoon commander Shimon Alfassi yelled, while under fire: “Privates retreat! Commanders cover them!” —Times of Israel
Many of those commanders died that day, and many believe that was the day that the “Acharai” principle was birthed. Soldiers know that their commanders are willing to die for them. And these bonds last forever in a small country, where you maintain contact the rest of your life.
They are all our sons and daughters
Every one of my daughters’ friends went into the army. Our soldiers are not people we don’t know, going to a foreign country, but they are our children who come home for Shabbat dinner and, then, sleep until 4:00pm on Saturday. They go out with their friends, only to lug a massive backpack to the train or bus station Sunday morning, heading back to base.
My daughter went to school with Nissim Sean Carmeli. They had something in common, both being American immigrants, and were friends. On July 19, he was killed in the 2014 war in Gaza, during a shootout.
There had been concerns that the lone soldier, who split his time between [Israel] and South Padre Island, Texas, where his Israeli parents live, wouldn’t have enough people paying their final respects at his funeral.
But, since he was a huge fan of Maccabi Haifa, the soccer team posted a photo of Carmeli on its Facebook page after his death, asking fans to go so that his funeral wouldn’t be deserted. —Times of Israel
The Soccer team provided two buses to bring people home from the funeral. However, 20,000 Israelis showed up to honor him. Someone wrote a song about him:
“Yesh lcha shtey achayot, v’20,000 achim.”
“You have two sisters and 20,000 brothers.”
In most countries, you go off to war. In this country, you travel an hour and a half south or north to go to war. Gaza is an hour from my apartment in Tel Aviv. During the 2014 conflict, after the first Israeli soldiers died, Israeli citizens poured into the south to support the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). I will never forget going to visit my daughter at her base near Gaza and seeing rockets flying over my head.
My niece hands out popsicles to soldiers
One farm had been turned overnight into a R&R station for weary IDF soldiers with massages, hamburgers, salads, ice cream, haircuts and more. I walked around, amazed at the hundreds of non-soldiers who had come down to serve. On another occasion, Elana and I (along with some others) went all the way to the front lines to hand out coffee, underwear and sweets. We went from tank to tank, blessing these young men.
In the midst of the Gaza 2014 war, a family visits there son near the front lines.
Elana with soldiers on the Gaza border in 2009. We brought all kinds of food, coffee, underwear and socks.
Israel has earned the nickname The Start-Up Nation, with more start-ups per capita than any other nation. In their book by the same name, Dan Senor and Saul Singer show how the IDF is the best training for entrepreneurship. IDF soldiers understand what it means not to give up. How did such a young nation that is 15 times its original population, taking in immigrants from all over the world, become one of the most stable and profitable economies in the world? In 2009 Israel had 63 companies on Nasdaq, more than any other foreign country. Senor and Singer would tell you its the IDF
The authors believe that IDF service provides potential entrepreneurs with the opportunities to develop a wide array of skills and contacts. They also believe that IDF service provides experience exerting responsibility in a relatively un-hierarchical environment where creativity and intelligence are highly valued. IDF soldiers “have minimal guidance from the top, and are expected to improvise, even if this means breaking some rules. If you’re a junior officer, you call your higher-ups by their first names, and if you see them doing something wrong, you say so.” Neither ranks nor ages matter much “when taxi drivers can command millionaires and 23-year-olds can train their uncles,” —Wikipedia
Learning about the Fallen
The first thing Israelis do when a soldier falls in battle is to find out who he was. Where did he live. Did I know him. Did my kids know him. Over the days to come, information comes out about his life, what he liked, how he grew up, what were his hobbies. A girlfriend or wife, through tears, shares about his aspirations. What were their plans. Hid dad will share some funny stories about his childhood that molded him into the man he became. Israelis scour the papers to learn about this “boy”. All this through tears.
This custom is partly because we are such a small country and partly because his memory must continue to live in us. He can never be forgotten. On Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day, his name will be read out loud this year, along with thousands of his brothers who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
So last night, it was a familiar sight to see a crying girlfriend on the news. She wrote this:
Levi’s girlfriend breaks down with reporters.
“My dearest love, my fighter. The heart burns and the tears don’t stop. Who would have thought you’d be gone so quickly? My Aviv, I refuse to believe this is real. I refuse to believe you are gone.”
His friend speaks of their planned trip to South Africa after their army service.
Seeing his friends on TV was something I’ve seen many times, speaking about him, talking about what he loved, what a great friend he was and how he never backed down from a challenge.
His father eulogized him:
“You were a ray of light for us, glowing and smiling. We loved to watch you grow into the man you became. You were the salt of the earth and paid the highest price because you excelled. You did not evade any task, big or small. You watched over your friends. We are not parting from you — you will be with us forever.”
When an Israeli soldier dies in battle, the country stops. The country mourns, recognizing that it could be just as easily be our own son or daughter. Actually, it is.
Ron with Lt. Col. Moreno (c) and Dalton Thomas (r) on the Golan Heights at border with Syria.
On Sunday, I went to the Golan Heights on the Israeli/Syrian border to interview leaders of FAI Relief. The founder of the group, Dalton Thomas, is a believer and his Chief of Operations is Jewish IDF Lt. Col. (res) Marco Moreno. Moreno was the creator of the Israeli Defense Forces “Good Neighbor Program,” that treats Syrians in need of medical attention and brings in aid. I will write a full blog about this, and we are going to create a 30-minute documentary for GOD TV.
In short, Moreno made contact with the Syrian rebels when the civil war began. They developed a relationship and began to bring wounded Syrians into Israel for treatment. And this is changing the way many Syrians view Israel.
“The Syrians when they came the first time, they were surprised because they saw the Arabic language on the signs. They asked, ‘How come it is in Arabic here?’ We told them, ‘We have 1,000,000 Muslims living in Israel, and they are part of us.’ And then they will go to the hospital. They will see a Christian doctor, a Muslim doctor, a Jewish doctor working together.’
“They would say, ‘This is not what we have been told [about Israel. We’ve been told that] you guys are the big Zionist enemy and here you are saving our lives.”
FAI Relief recruits doctors from all over the world and takes them into Syria for three months at a time. I was able to talk to Tanya. Tanya is barely five feet tall and looks like she is in her teens. But she is a 29-year-old Peruvian Wonder Woman with a medical degree. She works tirelessly, treating the Syrians caught in the civil war.
Dalton Thomas heads up the mission and, after living several years in Iraq, relocated his family to the Golan Heights. He and Moreno cooperate with the IDF to take doctors and aid into Syria.
“We need human bodies. We need ‘salt and light’ people on the ground. So if you are a medical professional, education, psychological trauma counseling, you name it, we need it.”
Defense Minister Vows To Protect Syrians from Syria
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that Israel will defend the 1974 buffer zone between Israel and Syria. Israel will not allow any Syrian soldier in the buffer zone on the border, and the Assad regime will be the target of retaliation.
“This attempt to establish terror infrastructure in the Syrian Golan Heights under the regime’s purview is unacceptable to us. We will operate with full power against any terrorist infrastructure we identify in the area.”
The Russian-backed Syrians have been advancing southwards, causing over 300,000 refugees to gather in the buffer zone, seeking safety. Under the auspices of the United Nations, the buffer zone, about 80 km long, and between 0.5 and 10 km wide, was created after Israel defeated Syria in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Part of that agreement was that neither side would build up its military on the border. Israel believes it has every right to stop any attempt from Syria.
Lieberman continued, “As far as we are concerned, the Syrian regime is responsible and it will pay a heavy price for cooperating with the axis powers [referring to Iran and Hezbollah] and for trying to set up terror structures here.”
Iran’s goal is to create a military base in Syria, from which they can unleash terror attacks on Israel. Israel has been steadily destroying each attempt. Just a few days ago Israel was thought to be behind an airstrike on a Syrian airbase near Homs, that was believed to a base for Iranian fighters.
A Girl and Her Sad Before and After Pictures
Hamas terrorists continue to provoke Israel by sending kites with incendiary devices aimed to start fires in Israel’s farm country. Estimates are that 28,000 dunams (7,000 acres) have been burned since March 31st using, not only kites, but balloons and even condoms.
On the news, Sunday, a girl was interviewed about pictures she took in the spring. She went back to the place and recreated the pictures. Only, now, the beautiful field has been burnt to the ground.
Israel is looking for ways to halt the attacks. One of the crossings has been closed in order to put pressure on Hamas.
“Kerem Shalom is the main commercial crossing into the Gaza Strip. The IDF announced that there would be no export or marketing of goods from the Gaza Strip – except for humanitarian supplies such as food and medicine which will have to be approved on an individual basis by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).” —Jerusalem Post
A military aid said,
“The Hamas terrorist organization is responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip, and its consequences. Hamas is dragging the residents of the Gaza Strip into an abyss, and the IDF will continue to act as necessary to preserve the security interests of the State of Israel.”
Bibi and Putin Set to Meet Today
Amid Israel’s commitment to bomb Iranian infrastructure in Syria and Syrian forces making their way south to the Israeli border, Prime Minister Netanyahu is set to meet today with Russian President Vladimir Putin. One might wonder why Putin cares what little Israel thinks.
It is simple. Israel has the military might to put Syria back in the stones age. Russia does not desire for a conflict with Israel—not out of fear, but there is simply no reason for it—nothing to gain. Russia wants one thing: To keep Syria as a paying client. So Bibi will express to Putin that we will not attack the Syrian regime, but we will not tolerate Iran to build a permanent presence in the region.
The Prime Minister’s office sent word yesterday to Russia’s foreign ministry that Israel will,
“not tolerate a military presence by Iran or its proxies anywhere in Syria and that Syria must strictly abide by the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement.”
Meaning, stay away from the Golan border with Israel!
Pray for the Prime Minister’s meeting with Putin.
Pray for our friends with FAI Relief that they would continue to be a powerful witness to the Syrian people. Pray for revival in their midst as the see first-hand, the love of Yeshua.
Pray for a supernatural solution to the “Kite Bombs” from Gaza.
Pray that the Iranian people, who are tired of propping up terror organizations would rise up successfully against their government.
Pray that God would move in Israel, opening up the eyes of His people to Yeshua.
How your Gift will Impact Israel
When you support Messiah’s Mandate, you are supporting Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv that is sharing the good news of Yeshua, discipling Israeli believers, raising up young leaders and serving the needy. We continue to see growth as God fulfills his promise to remove the blinders from the Jewish people in the end-times. Just go to www.standwithmmi.org and take your stand for Israel. Let’s believe for revival in the Israel and the whole Middle East!
Once again, proving that it is morally bankrupt and anti-Semitic, the United Nations voted 120-8 in favor of a passed a one-sided resolution, calling for the protection of the Palestinian civilian population. Somehow, they failed to condemn the one group most responsible for putting Gaza’s civilian population in harm’s way: Hamas! Instead they blame Israel, for using “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate” force in our efforts to stop terrorists from storming the border and killing Israelis..
In case you have not been reading the news, or live in a cave, Hamas has been urging citizens of Gaza to storm the border with Israel, so they can enter and commit acts of terror. This has been going on since Israelis celebrated 70 years of independence in mid-April.
Not a Peaceful Protest
Hamas has told the world that the protests would be peaceful. Not only does Hamas not believe this, but many of the nations, who condemned Israel yesterday, know it is a lie. They don’t care. They hate Israel—pure and simple.
Presented by Algeria and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, the measure won a decisive 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions. (source)
No Place for Nikki
Nikki Haley, the fiery United States Ambassador, tried to include language that would bring a modicum of balance to the one-sided resolution.
“For some, attacking Israel is their favorite political sport. That’s why we are here today… the common practice of turning a blind eye to the UN’s anti-Israel bias is changing. Today, a plurality of 62 countries voted in favor of the US-led effort to address Hamas’s responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Gaza. We had more countries on the right side than the wrong side. By their votes, those countries recognized that peace will only be achieved when realities are recognized, including Israel’s legitimate security interests, and the need to end Hamas’ terrorism.”
One thing is for sure, Nikki Haley has become (in just over a year) the most outspoken, pro-Israel UN Ambassador in history. Once again, she held nothing back in pointing out the UN’s hypocrisy when it comes to Israel.
Unfortunately, it takes a two-thirds majority to add the amendment. So, even though they had over 50% of the nations condemning Hamas, it was scraped. Even more shocking, is that 58 nations refused to condemn Hamas, a group that has not only terrorized Israel, but has:
thrown Palestinian leaders off buildings,
chopped off the heads of suspected collaborators with Israel (and then dragged their dead bodies through the street on motorcycles as a warning to others),
Islamized a secular community, arresting people and torturing them for heinous crimes like wearing jeans or hair gel,
And enacting policies that have all but destroyed the Gaza economy.
In this recent peaceful conflict:
Hamas bribed families with $100 per family to come to the border protests.
They threatened those who didn’t come with the possibility of being accused of collaboration with Israel—a death sentence.
From the border, Hamas operatives are flying “terror kites” fill with petrol, causing 198 separate fires in Israel.
A terrorist killed an Israeli soldier, in the West Bank, when a massive marble slab was dropped on his head from a height of three stories.
Hamas operatives have sought to blow up Israeli tanks at the border.
They’ve forced bus drivers to drive civilians to the border.
Hamas makes innocent people rush the borders, resulting in the death of Gazans!
And that is their goal. They know they cannot beat Israel militarily, so they sacrifice their women and children, and rejoice when one is killed. They cry on TV and celebrate in private at the public relations jackpot.
“We are asking for a simple thing,” Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour told the UN assembly. “We want our civilian population to be protected.”
Well, Mr. Mansour, maybe you could start by demanding that Hamas stop taking civilians to the border and goading them, if not forcing them, to risk their lives by storming the border. But Mr. Mansour doesn’t dare challenge Hamas. He’d be a dead man.
Israel Loves Nikki
Israel’s UN Ambassador, Danny Danon, gave praise to the US for standing with Israel in a tweet.
While procedural maneuvers were used to block it, We’re proud that by working with the Americans and our friends around the world, a majority of nations in the @UN voted for the first time to condemn the terrorists of Hamas. pic.twitter.com/coyzqWPq1P
“The backers of this resolution are “colluding with a terrorist organization…empowering Hamas. You are the ammunition for Hamas’s guns. You are the warheads for its missiles. This session today is about our right to defend our people. It is the international community’s attempt to take away our basic right to self-defense.”
“The resolution before you today does not protect innocent Palestinians. It does not protect innocent Israelis. It does not condemn, does not even mention Hamas, the internationally recognized terrorist organization directly responsible the violence in our region.”
“The UN’s incessant focus on Israel not only brings shame to the organization. It also draws attention away from so many other pressing issues that demand the attention of the international community. Israel appreciates the Trump administration’s steadfast support for Israel at the United Nations and Ambassador Haley’s strong statement today exposing the hypocrisy of the UN’s bias against Israel.”
Pray for the innocent victims in Gaza being manipulated by Hamas.
Pray for protection for our dear soldiers defending our country.
Pray for revelations of Yeshua to come to the Hamas terrorists.
Pray for the IDF, that even in frustration, there would still be self-control.
Pray for the Jewish citizens of the cities in the south, particularly the traumatized children.
Shalom from Israel! I am Ron Cantor and this my blog. I am the GODTV Israel Regional Director host of the daily TV program, "Out of Zion". I also serve on the leadership team of a Hebrew-speaking, Spirit-filled congregation in Tel Aviv. We love Yeshua and we love Israel. Hope to see you here soon!