In the wake of Hosni Mubarak leaving his office as leader of Egypt, one would think that there should be a ‘wait and see’ attitude for any changes in the security threat to Israel.However, the instability which already exists on the 240km Israel-Sinai border heightens the concerns of the confusion surrounding a regime change, and the potential problems a government less friendly toward Israel could pose to Israel’s security. A Jerusalem Post article points out that Egyptian police stations in the Sinai have already been abandoned when attacked by Bedouins who hold no loyalty to Egypt.Referring to the peninsula as a ‘lawless land,’ a senior defense official indicated,
There is real concern that if the Egyptians don’t get the Sinai back under their control, it could develop into a major threat to Israel.
Hamas has used the region to launch multiple attacks against Israel over the past several years, so they may use the governmental upheaval to their advantage. According to an Arutz-7 news brief, the police in the Sinai region have been attacked, beaten and kidnapped by militants in the region, prompting Israel to approve the deployment of Egyptian forces to the Sinai for the first time since Egypt signed their peace treaty with Israel, to address the increase in violence.
Believers who are concerned for Israel’s safety are having mixed reactions toward these developments in the Sinai and the potential for greater freedom for the Christians in Egypt if the new government is one that will embrace religious liberty. However, with the election of the Hamas in Gaza and the ‘tactical coup’ by Hezbollah in Lebanon, the region is not trending towards freedom and democracy.Let us be diligent in our prayers for the entire region for God’s purposes, the protection of believers and Israel.
What is daily life in Israel like? The following video was shot in Ashdod. It depicts a “Code Red” warning siren followed by a missile explosion (pardon the imperfect English on the video): [Link To Video]
A Fatah official in Ramallah on Sunday launched a scathing attack on Hamas and described its leaders as “criminals.”
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on condition of anonymity, the Fatah official denounced Hamas as a “black and bloody militia” that was responsible for the “catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip.
The official warned that failure to crush Hamas completely would undermine Fatah and pave the way for the collapse of moderate Arab regimes.
He said that Hamas was fighting on behalf of Iran and Syria – the only two countries that have been supplying the movement with weapons and money.
“The Iranians and Syrians are using Hamas to undermine the Palestinian Authority and other moderate Arab governments,” the Fatah official told the Post. “Victory for Hamas in this war would mean victory for Iran, Syria and Hizbullah. This is something we need to prevent.”
The official expressed hope that the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would revolt against Hamas when the IDF operation ended. He also expressed hope that Hamas leaders Mahmoud Zahar and Ismail Haniyeh would be tried before a Palestinian court as “war criminals.” The Hamas leaders, he charged, were responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent Palestinians. “Ever since they came to power, they brought death and destruction to our people.”
The official would neither confirm nor deny a report according to which Egypt was training Fatah activists to regain control over the Gaza Strip. According to the report, some 300 Fatah militiamen who had fled to Egypt during the violent Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007 were being trained by Egyptian security experts.
Ahmed Abdel Rahman, the official Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, mocked statements made by Syrian-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to the effect that Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip had failed.
He said that Mashaal’s remarks did not reflect the reality on the ground. “Khaled Mashaal was talking [on Al-Jazeera] as if the Hamas tanks were surrounding Tel Aviv,” he said. “It’s obvious that Mashaal has never been to the Gaza Strip and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Abdel Rahman, who is also a senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that Mashaal and the Hamas leadership were mistaken to think that the Gaza Strip belonged to their movement. “The Gaza Strip belongs to the Palestinian people,” he said. “The Gaza Strip is part of Palestine and not a Hamas-owned estate.”
In a separate development, a leaflet distributed by Fatah in Ramallah accused Hamas of targeting dozens of Fatah members in the Gaza Strip. It said many Fatah activists and supporters have been executed by Hamas militiamen in the past two weeks.
The leaflet said that the Hamas government had placed hundreds of Fatah members under house arrest out of fear that they would exploit the IDF operation to stage a coup against Hamas.
In addition, the leaflet said, Hamas militiamen have shot many Fatah members in the knees to make sure that they won’t be able to participate in any anti-Hamas activities. The leaflet called on Abbas to fire the Fatah leadership in the Gaza Strip for allegedly failing to defend its members against Hamas.
On January 10th, VOR posted Dr. Brown’s The Hollow Sound of Anti-Israel Protests article on our Daily Kos diary. Daily Kos is known as one of the most liberal sites on the net, thus it is no surprise that response to the article in the comments section was quite negative (perhaps vitriolic is the more precise word), with most of the venom directed at Dr. Brown for things unrelated to the article. One of the more interesting (and less hateful) comment threads involved Jesus’ command to “turn the other cheek”, suggesting that as believers in Jesus, we ought never support any side in a war, with nations needing to “turn the other cheek” upon being confronted militarily. The following is a sampling from the thread:
As your sister in Christ, might I suggest turning the other check is in both party’s interest if they really want this conflict resolved.
by grannyhelen on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 03:09:58 PM PST
I thought that Christ’s maxim was that if someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek toward them. I don’t recall him saying, if someone slaps you on one cheek, bludgeon them with a sledge hammer. Please clarify.
by Leftywingnut on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 03:24:37 PM PST
I find it sadly amusing that so many so-called self-identified ‘Christians’ have to do all sort of logical gymnastics to twist Christ’s simple and direct language to suit their ends, as opposed to listening in their hearts and reading the specific words on the page.
These same ‘Christians’ love Leviticus when it tells them to persecute gays, but fail to abstain from eating shell-fish, wearing a cotton/poly shirt, or eating a bacon double cheeseburger.
Often times they moan about efforts against public prayer (in government chambers) without acknowledging Christ’s clear directive to pray in private rather than make a public display of their superior piety, ‘like the hypocrites.’
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God.”
by Leftywingnut on Sat Jan 10, 2009 at 03:49:12 PM PST
Are we “do[ing] all sort[s] of logical gymnastics to twist Christ’s simple and direct language to suit [our] end” when we support Israel in their war on terror? We want to obey Jesus in all ways, so what does He want us to do when He commands us to “turn the other cheek”? Should we abstain from defending ourselves from somebody physically attacking us? Should we denounce rather than support nations for defending themselves from terrorists? Consider the following:
Interestingly, while it is not uncommon for anti-missionaries to attack some of these passages, it is often the Jewish background to the passage that elucidates its meaning. Note, for example, that Luke 6:29 states, “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also,” but Matthew 5:39, which occurs in the context of legal retaliation (see Matt. 5:38!), provides an important detail: “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Does this mean that if someone breaks into your home and tries to kill your spouse and your kids, you should sit idly by even if you could easily stop them, or, perhaps even turn your family over to the intruder to be brutalized? Does it mean that you don’t call the police or offer any resistance? Of course not. The issue is one of legal retaliation, in this case, for being publicly shamed, which we know because of the words, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek,” implying a backhanded slap against the face. That is to say, a right-handed orientation is assumed in similar legal cases, and, since a right-handed slap would strike the left cheek and a right-handed person would not strike with the left hand, being struck on the right cheek means being struck with the back of the hand.
As Nolland and others have noted, the Mishnah dealt with this very situation in m. B. K. 9:6. To summarize, ‘a slap with the back of the hand calls for twice the payment in recompense for other blows; in terms of dishonor it is on the same level as tearing an ear, plucking out hair, spitting on someone, pulling a cloak off, and loosing a woman’s hair in public.’
Now, it must be remembered that the Mishnah was often dealing with actual laws and procedures, along with legal theory, just as a court today would get into great detail in terms of determining culpability and assessing fines and punishments. That is perfectly understandable as an ongoing application of Torah law. Yeshua (Jesus), however, was saying to his disciples, ‘This is not for you. I’m calling you to something higher. When you are publicly shamed and have the right to exact payment, turn the other cheek. Make yourself vulnerable and don’t try to fight your opponent on his terms. Step higher!’
— Michael L. Brown: Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 4
As is so often the case, taking time to understand the subtleties in the Scriptures, rather than forcing some hyper-literalistic 21st Century application, reveals the truth.
More information and perspective on the peace-in-Gaza rallies happening around the globe from David’s Tent:
Anti-Semitic riots and demonstrations are spreading across the Islamic world and Western Europe. Here is a partial list of events in the past three days:
ü Hebron (1,000 people)
ü Nazareth (3,000)
ü Baqa al-Gharbiya (10,000)
Islamic world –
ü Amman (2,000)
ü Beirut (2,500)
ü Nabatiya, Lebanon (20,000)
ü Jakarta (20,000)
ü Alexandria (50,000)
Western Europe –
ü Berlin (8,500)
ü Duisberg (10,000)
ü London (12,000)
ü Paris, Brussels and Barcelona (30,000 each)
ü Madrid and Seville (100,000 total)
In London 2,000 violent demonstrators were stopped by police before they attacked the Israeli embassy, with 15 arrests. Outside of Paris 2 Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Jewish synagogue Sunday night at Seine-Saint-Denis, while a Toulouse synagogue was rammed by a flaming car last week. In Brussels violent mobs overturned cars and broke shop windows.
In Milan white sheets with bloody handprints, and swastikas turning into bloody Stars of David were paraded. An impromptu Islamic prayer service was carried out in the main square across from Milan’s Cathedral a week ago, and on Saturday another call to prayer was carried out across from the main train station. Italy’s Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said, “I say enough of the provocations of Islamists in Milan. In Milan, a legitimate demonstration ended in a deliberately provocative mosque under the open sky. What would have happened if a group of Christians gathered together to pray with a rosary before Mecca? They probably would have been stoned”.
In Duisburg Germany 10,000 people marched with placards reading “Down with the murdering of children”, while in Barcelona blood-stained blankets and mock dead babies were carried by demonstrators,
America also witnessed crass anti-Semitic displays. In New York‘s Times Square, anti-Israel marchers carried placards reading “Israel: the Fourth Reich”, Stop Israel’s Holocaust”, “Stop the Zionist Genocide in Gaza”, and “Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors”.
On December 30 the Israel Consulate in Los Angeles was picketed with signs including “Every Israeli committing the genocide in Gaza is a ‘Hitler'” and the swastika/Star of David morph above the words “Upgrade to Holocaust Version 2.0”.
Tampa had demonstrators on the same day who carried placards reading “Zionism is Cancer; Radiate it” and showing an Israeli flag with the word “Nazi” written on it. Calls were made by Tampa Muslims in hijabs, “Jews go back to the ovens” (a reference to Nazi crematoria).
Chicago has seen four synagogues attacked in the past three days with anti-Jewish spray-paintings, bricks and death threats. These include Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation; Young Israel of Roger’s Park; Congregation Anshe Motele; and the Lubavitch Mesivta. Earlier, on December 29 Temple Shalom in Lakeview IL had a Molotov cocktail thrown at the building.
These very serious events show an explosion of anti-Semitic words and deeds. The Director of the Yad Vashem Libraries Dr. Robert Rozett, commented, “By accusing us of being Nazi-like, Europeans alleviate some of their own feelings of guilt and responsibility for the Holocaust … Moreover, by saying that the Jews are acting like Nazis, they are delegitimizing the very existence of the State of Israel”.
The National Director of B’nai Brith’s Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Araham H. Foxman, added, “Anti-Semitism in Europe was never really rooted out, just contained”.
Though this may partially explain European manifestations of anti-Jewish hatred, there are roots darker and deeper still that have also infected Islamic and American societies.
The following video was taken at a January 10th San Francisco protest of Israel’s Gaza invasion. It depicts part of the crowd burning an Israeli flag: [Link to Video]
Here are some pictures from the rally (more here):
On Saturday, January 3, a Muslim-led rally for peace in Gaza was held in Charlotte’s Marshall Park. Similar rallies have taken place in recent days in cities across America and around the world with a clear and consistent theme: Stop the massacre of the Palestinians!
To be sure, even Israel’s staunchest allies and friends rue the loss of Arab lives — especially the lives of innocent civilians — and one would be hard-pressed to find Israelis celebrating the deaths of defenseless women and children. No caring person – regardless of their religious beliefs or ideology – can remain unmoved by the suffering of so many people, which is why Israel does its level best to avoid civilian casualties.
Even the media has reported that the Israeli army has sent out hundreds of thousands of text messages, placed specific phone calls, and dropped countless pamphlets, urging civilians to flee from targeted sites — sites which Hamas intentionally placed in populated neighborhoods so as to maximize potential civilian casualties. The dictum still holds true that the Israelis consider it a tragedy when Arab children are killed by their troops, while Muslim extremists consider the killing of Israeli children by terrorists a cause for celebration.
But there is something terribly hypocritical about these anti-Israel protests, and it is fair to ask why these same protesting voices have been so deafeningly silent while hundreds of defenseless Israelis have been intentionally killed or maimed or orphaned by the very terrorists whom Israel is presently targeting. Which act is more deserving of protest, the unintentional (and much regretted) killing of civilians during an attempt to stop the murderous attacks of terrorists over a period of weeks, or the intentional killing of civilians over a period of years?
If Mexico was raining down missiles and rockets on cities in Texas — targeting schools and shopping malls and neighborhoods — also sending in suicide bombers whenever possible, how long would America wait to respond? And what if the government of Mexico had vowed to wipe Texas off the map? America’s response would be swift and devastating. Yet Israel has endured 10,000 rocket and missile attacks over the last eight years, along with devastating suicide bombings, resulting in more than 1,200 deaths and 7,000 injuries (from all terrorist attacks).
And how did Israel respond to this bombardment? The Israeli government, under Ariel Sharon, chose to forcibly evict its citizens from Gaza in 2005, pulling out all its troops as well, in an attempt to promote peace. (This was a terribly costly endeavor for Israel, in terms of both financial expense and emotional trauma.) Hamas responded with increased attacks against the Israeli people, causing daily terror and shock in these communities, not to mention the terrible loss of life.
Where were the Arab and Muslim voices saying, “Stop the massacre of the Jews”? Why the outcry over the loss of Arab life today but no outcry over the loss of Jewish life over the past decade? Is Jewish blood somehow less precious than Arab blood? Or do the Arabs have some kind of “right” to kill the evil, occupying Israelis?
Let’s remember that Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States — think of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida as a point of comparison — and the Hamas charter states, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” And, “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.” The Hamas charter also endorses the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious, anti-Semitic forgery that claims Jewish leaders are secretly plotting to take over the world, a document exploited by the Nazis as well.
But this is not all. The Jerusalem Post reported on January 7 that Hamas was imprisoning and crippling fellow Palestinians: “The Hamas government has placed dozens of Fatah members under house arrest out of fear that they might exploit the current IDF operation to regain control of the Gaza Strip [Fatah was ousted by leadership in Gaza by Haams]. Fatah officials in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas militiamen had been assaulting many Fatah activists since the beginning of the operation last Saturday. They said at least 75 activists were shot in the legs while others had their hands broken. Wisam Abu Jalhoum, a Fatah activist from the Jabalya refugee camp, was shot in the legs by Hamas militiamen for allegedly expressing joy over the IDF air strikes on Hamas targets.”
So, Hamas activists are brutalizing fellow Muslim Arabs, and yet Muslim protesters in Marshall Park held up signs directed at Israel saying, “Stop the hate” and “End racism,” the latter slogan being connected to the particularly ugly charge that “Zionism is racism.” How can these demonstrators make Israel out to be the guilty party? It is common knowledge that Palestinian children are taught to hate the Jews from their earliest days, with one famous textbook even stating, “There is no alternative to destroying Israel,” yet is Israel which must “stop the hate.”
Middle East expert Daniel Pipes noted in 2005 that out of Jews worldwide, “Israel faces the most extreme danger, surrounded as it is by enemies who in the past generation have dehumanized Jews in ways reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. In both cases, governments have engaged in a systematic campaign to transform the Jewish next-door neighbor into a beast-like threat that can only be controlled through his destruction.” Not surprisingly, one pro-Hamas demonstrator at a rally in Fort Lauderdale, FL on December 30 shouted to Israeli supporters, “go back to the oven” and “you need a big oven, that’s what you need.”
This is the reality that surrounds the people of Israel every day — from Hezbollah in Lebanon, from Hamas in Gaza, from Syria, from Iran (just to name a few) – and at this point, at least 500,000 Israelis are within range of Hamas rockets. Yet when Israel finally said, “Enough is enough,” taking the necessary action to stop terrorists from trying to kill its people, there is an uproar of protest. The moral outrage of these protesters rings hollow, to say the least.
If Hamas would put down its weapons for good, there would be peace, along with the massive improvement of the quality of life for the population of Gaza. Until then, Israel can be expected to do what is necessary to stop the murder of its citizens, and those calling for peace should focus their attention on putting an end to extremist Muslim terrorism rather than protesting Israel’s self-defense.
Dr. Michael L. Brown is the President of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina and the Director of the Coalition of Conscience. His most recent book is, 60 Questions Christians Ask About Jewish Beliefs and Practices
Editor’s Note: For a list of pro-Hamas demonstrations around America and the globe, click here
Tom Trento of watchobsession.org posted this video of a December 30th pro-Hamas demonstration in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Israeli supporters are on one side of the street, with the Palestinian supporters on the other. The video shows the pro-Hamas crowd yelling “there is no Israel”, “nuke Israel, and “go to hell.” One young pro-Hamas woman can be seen yelling “go back to the oven” and “you need a big oven, that’s what you need” at the Israeli supporters, clearly referencing the Holocaust. Mr. Trento gives some opinion and analysis in the video, and be aware that it contains profanity: [Link to Video]
What could be behind such hatred?
In reality, there is only one way to explain anti-Semitism: The devil hates the Jews, and his demented nature is revealed in his treatment of the Jewish people. While many other nations and groups have felt the fury of his wrath, none have felt it so often, so consistently and so powerfully as have the Jews.
… Islam thrives on hatred of Israel. Arab nations eagerly await Jihad (holy war). There must be a scapegoat for the ongoing Middle East crisis, and Israel will certainly be blamed. Why should Asia and Africa side with Israel? Why should South America unite with the Jews? What will keep the U.S.A. faithful? Why should Russia befriend a nation that is an enemy of its Middle Eastern friends? The devil is convincing the world that Israel is the problem. It’s time to get rid of the Jews!
— Michael L. Brown: Our Hands Are Stained With Blood
This is more than just a political disagreement, this is the American manifestation of a spiritual battle taking place. Let’s pray that those caught up in this demonically-inspired hatred would be converted heart, mind, and soul to the Lord Jesus, and be awakened to the fact that “salvation comes from the Jews.”