The Word: Where there is no revelation [vision], the people cast off restraint [perish]; (When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild) but blessed is he who keeps the law [Torah]. (Proverbs 29:18)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Pointers for prayer: As we look once again into the terrible events bringing chaos and instability within the Middle East, please pray for discernment and spiritual guidance as to how we should be interceding over these events. Do continue to pray for protection around the borders of Israel, and pray for the current leaders in Israel, including the Prime Minister Netanyahu. (“Show Your loving-kindness to Your people Israel… Hide them under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress them, from their deadly enemies who surround them.” Psalm 17:7–9)
Pray too for the Arab people throughout the Middle East and those within the nation of Israel. Cause them Lord to be blessed, and to be a blessing to their ancient cousin. May they desire to dwell peacefully with the Jewish nation and in reconciliation. Please guard against human anger replacing any righteous anger. Remember, we need to allow grace for all.
Hamas, Isis and the mind-set of denial
On July 4, 2001, after praying for two years, my family and I took the plunge to ‘step out in faith’ and go full time with Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) to live ‘by faith’. Following this massive faith decision, my wife Julia, our son Matthew (age 6 at the time) and I went to Israel and stayed with our then CFI Jerusalem Directors, Ray and Sharon Sanders, who at the time lived in Mevasseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem. The month before this happened on June 1, 2001, Ray and Sharon had been out celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary in Tel Aviv. After dinner, they had a walk along the sea front, when suddenly a huge explosion ripped into the night air, and had it not been for the protection of the Lord, both Ray and Sharon could have been killed there and then.
They were just passing the Dolphinarium nightclub on the long stretch of road running along the Mediterranean Sea from the old north of Tel Aviv down to the historic port of Jaffa. The Islamic Palestinian terrorist who blew up the nightclub was a 22-year-old observant Muslim from the ‘West Bank’ – Saeed Hotari. The terrorist was dressed as an Orthodox Jew. Strapped to his body was an explosive charge which was loaded with hundreds of screws and ball bearings. In a mere moment, the scene was transformed from a blissful warm summer night on the beautiful Israeli Mediterranean coast, to a place of Hell, with pools of blood, bodies literally ripped into pieces, and survivors staggering amid the smoke and carnage completely dazed and confused at what had just happened. Eighteen people were murdered that night, with another seven dying later, along with 90 wounded – the majority of them teenage girls. You can listen to Ray Sanders giving his testimony of how close Ray and Sharon had been to being killed in a video called ‘In the spirit of Ruth’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gFwK9zBXF0 (Ray’s testimony is at 6 minutes 24 seconds in). Following this murderous attack, the terrorist’s father, Hassan, said he wished that he had 20 more sons to die while slaughtering Israeli kids. And here lies one of the main problems in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How can there ever be peace when a whole generation have grown up on lies and hatred.
How can there be peace when the Palestinian Authority’s schools teach the children how to hate and murder Israeli Jews? I have lost count of the deaths of innocent Jewish civilians that have been the target of an Islamic Palestinian generation brought up on hatred. Whether it’s been night clubs, cafes, street shootings, car ramming’s, knife stabbings, or bus bombings – they are all carried out by a generation that have been taught in their own schools, and on their Palestinian Authority TV programmes, that this is the ‘right and honourable’ thing to do. And I personally know what it feels like to suffer the trauma from these attacks. In 2002, I had travelled, as per norm, to the place where I was staying on the No. 20 bus through the neighbourhoods of Jerusalem. I wasn’t as familiar with the City then as I am now, and I remember I had to follow the map of Jerusalem as I travelled. I knew that after two stops after passing Mexico Street I needed to get off. The following day on 21st November 2002, an Islamic Palestinian suicide bomber ripped that same bus – the Egged Bus No.20 apart on Mexico Street in Jerusalem. It’s a day that will stay in my memory as long as I live. Eleven people were killed and some 50 seriously wounded. Like Tel Aviv, the Kiryat Menahem neighbourhood of Jerusalem was turned into a blood bath. The bus was filled with passengers, including schoolchildren, travelling toward the centre of the city during rush hour. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Thankfully, my life was spared, yet the trauma lasted a long time.
Last Wednesday evening, June 8, 2016, I had just completed that week’s ‘Standing in the gap for Israel’ report and sent it worldwide when the latest horror story in Israel happened. Two Arab Palestinians from Hebron travelled to Tel Aviv. In the same way that the Dolphinarium nightclub was a very popular place for teenagers, the Max Brenner coffee shop in the Sarona shopping complex in Tel Aviv is also very popular. Again, within a mere moment, the scene was transformed into another horror story as the Palestinian youths started shooting into the crowd. At least four people were shot dead; several more had to fight for their lives including an infant girl. That terror attack came just days after reports that Hamas had deepened its ties with ISIS through its affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula. According to the BBC, the Sinai Province of the Islamic state is one of the most dangerous Islamic groups out there (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25882504). The group now known as Sinai Province pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014 and since that time has carried out a series of sophisticated and devastating attacks targeting Egyptian troops in the region and bringing down a Russian jet in October 2014, killing 224 people. But actually, are they any different to Hamas and the PLO? Hamas has a history of terrorist attacks, and Hamas and Daesh (ISIS/Islamic State) also share a pathology that makes them natural allies. Both groups have chosen terrifying brutality as a means of advancing their interests, and share a political program steeped in Islamic terrorism. While Hamas has been teaching ISIS how to fight in a conventional way, ISIS may well be inspiring Hamas to pursue a new wave of terror operations, which have devastated cities such as Paris and Brussels. The Tel Aviv attack certainly differs from the stabbings and suicide bombings that have already killed many Israeli civilians for decades.
Of course there are many who believe that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are actually only defending their rights, and once Israel ‘ends the occupation’, all will be peaceful. There are of course others who believe in Aliens from a distant planet and fairies in the garden. If the Palestinian society really wanted peace, why do they celebrate in the very disturbing way they do on the Palestinian streets? Fireworks, and gun shots were once again heard and sweets were distributed by jubilant Palestinians throughout the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza in honour of the latest killings, as has become the custom in Arab Palestinian society. Meanwhile, new polls have shown that Palestinians hold some of the most fundamentalist views in the Islamic world, with 89% believing sharia law should become the law of the land. Only Afghanistan and Iraq polled higher. Following the shootings in Tel Aviv, Salma al-Jamal, a Palestinian news anchor working at Al-Jazeera TV, wrote on Twitter: “The Ramadan operation [terrorist attacks] is the best answer to stories about ‘peace process’.” Read the report in the Jerusalem Post here.
Apart from those who believe that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are actually only defending their rights, and that once Israel ‘ends the occupation’, all will be peaceful, there are of course a large section of world leading politicians who simply appear to live in denial and convince themselves that Hamas, Isis, Hezbollah etc., have nothing to do with Islam. Now of course, there are many peace loving Muslims – I know many – but to publically deny that these Islamic groups have nothing to do with Islam is plain folly. Maybe this mind-set of denial should start asking those of the Islamic faith, or those who were once part of terror organisations but have renounced it and are willing to tell the truth.
One such man who is brave enough to speak out is Dr. Tawfik Hamid. He has been telling his story and campaigning since 2009. Hamid writes, “I was born a Muslim and lived all my life as a follower of Islam. After the barbaric terrorist attacks done by the hands of my fellow Muslims everywhere on this globe, and after the too many violent acts by Islamists in many parts of the world, I feel responsible as a Muslim and as a human being to speak out and tell the truth to protect the world and Muslims as well from a coming catastrophe and war of civilizations.” He states, “We Muslims are the ones who need to change. Until now we have accepted polygamy, the beating of women by men, and killing those who convert from Islam to other religions. We have never had a clear and strong stand against the concept of slavery or wars, to spread our religion and to subjugate others to Islam and force them to pay a humiliating tax called jizya. We ask others to respect our religion while all the time we curse non-Muslims loudly (in Arabic) in our Friday prayers in the mosques. What message do we convey to our children when we call the Jews “descendants of the pigs and monkeys”? Is this a message of love and peace, or a message of hate? I have been into [Christian] churches and [Jewish] synagogues where they were praying for Muslims. While all the time, we curse them, and teach our generations to call them “infidels”, and to hate them.”
Dr. Tawfik Hamid concludes, “Muslims demonstrated to get more religious rights as we did in France to stop the ban on the hijab (head scarf), while we did not demonstrate with such passion and in such numbers against the terrorist murders. It is our absolute silence against the terrorists that gives the energy to these terrorists to continue doing their evil acts. We Muslims need to stop blaming our problems on others or on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As a matter of honesty, Israel is the only light of democracy, civilization, and human rights in the whole Middle East. We kicked out the Jews with no compensation or mercy from most of the Arab countries to make them “Jews-free countries” while Israel accepted more than a million Arabs to live there, have their own nationality, and enjoy their rights as human beings. In Israel, women cannot be beaten legally by men, and any person can change his/her belief system with no fear of being killed by the Islamic law of ‘apostasy,’ while in our Islamic world people do not enjoy any of these rights. I agree that the ‘Palestinians’ suffer, but they suffer because of their corrupt leaders and not because of Israel. It is not common to see Arabs who live in Israel leaving to live in the Arab world. On the other hand, we used to see thousands of Palestinians going to work with happiness in Israel, its ‘enemy.’ If Israel treats Arabs badly as some people claim, surely we would have seen the opposite happening. We Muslims need to admit our problems. Only then we can treat them and start a new era to live in harmony with human mankind.”
Christian Friends of Israel help reach out to terror and trauma victims with comfort and compassion through one-on-one visitations and various practical and financial gifts. To learn more about this work and to support CFI’s ‘Project Under His Wings’ click here.
Daesh and the U.N. Human Rights Council
Britain is currently consumed about leaving or staying in the European Union. According to the BBC today (Wednesday), the Leave campaigners have set out a “roadmap” for the UK to “take back control” if it votes to leave the EU. Parliament should act to end free movement and curb the power of EU courts, Vote Leave said. However, the government has warned of a “decade of uncertainty” as the UK attempts to disentangle itself from Brussels and form new trade deals. But Vote Leave said a new settlement – including a UK-EU free trade deal – would be possible by May 2020.
The UK votes on whether to remain in the EU or to leave on 23 June. I’m not sure how you feel about this, or whether you feel we should stay or leave. I know what I want to do, but I don’t believe it’s the correct thing to declare it here. However, you’ll probably guess simply by this article. The issue I’ve been pondering on however is, why are we being all-consumed by the EU debate, when there is a much bigger international organization that we should possibly ask each other whether we would like to remain within, or vote to leave. But first, consider this. Below is a link to an interview on German TV of a Yazidi teenage girl recounting how she and her family had been captured by ISIS, and was abused and repeatedly raped. Imagine… if this was your daughter, or your sister, or your girlfriend, or your wife… how would you react?
How many Christians have been killed by Isis? How many Yazidis (Kurdish community) have been killed by Isis? How many Muslims have been killed by Isis? The total is unknown but the statistics are sickening. One source stated that to date, more than 170,000 people (mostly Christians and Shiites) were killed in Iraq alone by ISIS. In another report, after Isis (or Daesh – the acronym for the Arabic name of the group alternately known as ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State) took credit for the last brutal attacks on Paris that left 129 dead and hundreds of others injured, many were quick to blame the Muslim community as a whole for the terrorist rampage. However, a Muslim is far more likely to become a victim of Daesh than to join it, and the vast majority of the group’s victims are fellow members of the Islamic faith – it’s just that there are so many factions of Islam. However hundreds, if not thousands of Christians and Yazidis have also been murdered by ISIS (Daesh). So why isn’t the United Nations demanding action? Might it be that they don’t care at all, and are too busy trying to condemn the only true democracy in the Middle East – Israel? Did you know, the U.N.’s top human rights body recently declared Israel as the world’s worst human rights violator- beating Iran, North Korea, Russia and China for the number 1 spot. The last time the U.N. Human Rights Council wrapped up its session of judgement in Geneva, it adopted four more resolutions condemning Israel. That’s four times more than any of the other 192 UN member states.
Can you believe there were four resolutions on Israel, but only one on North Korea — North Korea – a country that is home to government policies of torture, starvation, enslavement, rape, disappearances, and murder – to name just some of its crimes against humanity? Can you believe there were four resolutions on Israel, but only one on Syria – where the death toll of five years of war is at a conservative guess of 100,000 civilians, with over ten million people displaced, and barrel bombs containing chemical agents like chlorine gas in action? Can you believe there were four resolutions on Israel, but only one on Iran. IRAN! Where there is no rule of law, no free elections, no freedom of speech, corruption is endemic, protestors are jailed and tortured, religious minorities are persecuted, and according to some reports I’ve read, “Paedophilia” is state-run. Did you know that at last count, in 2012 Iranian courts ordered more than 30,000 girls ages 14 and under to be “married”? Since then more reports have leaked out regarding this (see link 1’ Link 2). Can you believe there were four resolutions on Israel, yet countries like China, Qatar, Russia, and Saudi Arabia were not even mentioned? Why not? Well for starters, China, Qatar, Russia and Saudi Arabia are all members of the UN Human Rights Council. As a result, what counts, fast becomes unrecognizable. However in a surprise move, Russia is not ruling out using its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to thwart anti-Israel resolutions, an unnamed Israeli diplomatic official involved in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow last week told an Israeli news site. The official noted the high level of respect Russian President Vladimir Putin demonstrated toward Netanyahu last week and indicated Russia’s deep desire to bolster its relationship with Israel. Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow came against the backdrop of the concern among Israeli officials that US President Barack Obama, before he leaves the White House in January, will seek to promote, or at least refrain from vetoing, a UN Security Council resolution that outlines the parameters of a future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
As mentioned, being interviewed on German TV, a Yazidi teenager recounted how she and her family had been captured when ISIS attacked her village near Sinjar, Iraq. The girl, who was 15 years old at the time, said that the men, including her father, had been killed by ISIS and that over 5,000 Yazidi girls had been housed together in Mosul, where they had been beaten and sold into slavery. Girls as young as nine years old were raped, she said. Pervin (not her real name), tried to kill herself four times, but eventually escaped with the help of other Yazidis. The interview was aired on March 22, 2016. Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhFcV3Q2ejM.
“There has not been a moment in my seven and a half years as President where we have not been able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label “radical Islam,” remarked President Obama after a Counter-ISIL meeting on June 14, 2016. “Let’s step beyond the rhetoric of “labelling” with the “radical Islam” label.” Really Mr. Obama? Perhaps the UN etc. should simply stop pretending radical Islam doesn’t exist, and examine why they strongly oppose Israel?
Finally… Do you have A Heart for a Generation?
Do you have a heart for the young adults of today. And do you live in Scotland or the North of England? If so, this Prayer Conference is for you, from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday 18th June at the Abundant Life Church in Hawick, Scotland. Click here to download the poster.
(Middle East News Correspondent) Tweet me @David_CFI
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio