April 22, 2024

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April 22, 2024

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Amir Tsarfati: Israel’s Battles Are Not Limited To The Physical

Shalom from the lush Jezreel Valley! Looking from my home to the vast swaths of farmland below, it is hard to believe that my country is at war. It is beautiful, serene, pastoral – until an Israeli Air Force fighter jet flies at low altitude over my head coming in for a land at the nearby airbase. On the one hand is a magnificent colorful bounty filling the land. On the other is war. That has been the juxtaposition of Israel for millennia. 

Because of the unique nature of this nation, however, the battles are not limited to the physical. Yes, there is the war in Gaza, the constant skirmishing with Lebanon and Syria, and the indirect conflict with Iran through its proxies, which sometimes, like last week, becomes very direct. It is this action of blood and bombs that gets the headlines, leads to protests, causes the United Nations to pass silly resolutions, and is turned into political fodder for upcoming elections. And it is right that this violent conflict receives its proper attention. Lives are being lost on both sides of the battlelines and humanitarian suffering is rife due to the disregard which Hamas feels for their own people, using civilians as human shields and turning hospitals and schools into military bases.

The other war, however, did not begin on October 7. True, it has been exacerbated since then, but it is a battle that has been going on since the early church. This is a spiritual battle for the legitimacy of the Jewish people and, since 1948, the State of Israel. It is astounding to me how many Christians believe that God is done with the Jews. Whether it is because of their idolatrous past that led to their exile or because there were a group of them 2000 years ago who were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus, they feel that God finally had enough of that rebellious people and kicked them to the curb in favor of the church. And, once again, this is nothing new. The whole reason Paul wrote Romans 9-11 was to address this exact fallacy. It’s also the reason why several years ago, I wrote the book Israel and the Church.

We are on the front lines of a serious battle. We are not warring in Gaza or up in the north. We are fighting the spiritual battle that the enemy has been waging against God and His chosen people for time immemorial. I invite you to join us in this battle. Invest time to learn how we can be sure that just like a father will never abandon his children, our God will never reject the people He loves – referring both to the holy people of Israel (Deuteronomy 7:6) and the holy people of the church (1 Peter 2:9). Then, armed with this knowledge, take what opportunities God presents to let those around you know that, yes, God has brought His people, the Jews, back to the promised land just as He said He would in Ezekiel 36-37, restoring them as a nation. And, yes, the Lord has a future plan for Israel that will include a mass revival (Romans 11:25-29) and a reconciliation with the One whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10).

Our God is faithful, and we must not allow the enemy to besmirch the character of our Lord by saying that His eternal love is only temporary and His promises are dependent upon our behavior.

Israel

The IDF is on its highest alert this weekend due to a convergence of events on Friday. 1) It is the last Friday of Ramadan. 2) It is Lailat al-Qadr (“Night of Power”), which celebrates the night the Quran was given. 3) It is Iran’s Quds Day (“Jerusalem Day”), a once-a-year show of support for the Palestinians. 4) Iran has already vowed to avenge the attack on Damascus, as described below.

Individually, each is excuse enough for a terror attack. Taken together, they are an ominous warning. The commander of the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) military intelligence said today, “We are not convinced that the worst is behind us. We are facing some very loaded and complicated days.” After the horrific events of October 7, we now recognize that we can no longer take any chances. We will not be caught off-guard ever again!

It was a difficult week for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on two fronts. First, Sunday saw him at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem where he underwent surgery for a hernia. The procedure went well, and he was released on Tuesday. Second, a four-day rally protesting his government turned into a small riot on the third night as those gathered tried to break through police barricades to the PM’s house. The emotion of the moment was heightened by the presence of some family members of hostages.

A vast majority of Israelis are strongly united against the common enemy of Hamas. However, these protesters are a very vocal minority who are heavily funded by outside sources that are looking for more pliable leadership in Israel.

The IDF Home Front Command is preparing to launch a media campaign to prep Israelis for war against Hezbollah. The terrorist group has at least 100,000 fighters on its rosters, many with battle experience from the Syrian Civil War, and is expected to fire up to 5000 rockets per day at Israel. The government is building up massive emergency supplies of fuel, food, and medical gear and is fortifying the electrical grid. The Bank of Israel has told smaller banks to prepare for a high cash demand in case of a run on currency. Amazingly, despite these bleak forecasts, the past couple of weeks have seen the Israeli stock market soaring as high as it’s ever been.

A UAV struck an Israeli naval base in Eilat, damaging a building but causing no injuries. Apparently fired by the Islamic Resistance of Iraq, the drone traveled through Jordanian airspace and past Israeli defenses before hitting the site.

Lebanon and Syria

Among the numerous Israeli airstrikes against Lebanon and Syria, there is one that stands out in significance. On Monday, six F-35 aircraft launched more than 20 missiles at the residences alongside the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

Eight Iranians were included in the 16 people killed. Among those casualties was Gen. Mohammed Reza Zahedi, commander of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who was responsible for all the shipments of weapons and precise ordnance to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This surgical strike, which left the nearby French embassy untouched, sent shockwaves throughout the Middle East.

On Tuesday, both Iran and Hezbollah vowed severe retribution in the next 48 hours. I, along with most of my fellow Israelis, will sleep better once that window of time has passed. If you want to learn more about the attack, watch my ten-minute Breaking News Update from Monday or my hour-long “Q&A with Amir Tsarfati: Israel-Hamas War” from Tuesday, during which I answer 28 questions from viewers of the live stream. The latter will give you much in-depth information that you won’t hear from your mainstream media sources.

Friday saw another blow for Hezbollah as one of its most senior commanders, Brig.Gen. Ahmad Jawad Shahimi, was killed in an Israeli airstrike near Aleppo, Syria. Shahimi was responsible for coordinating arms smuggling between Syria and Hezbollah.

Gaza

The fight at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is over. More than 900 suspects were found, of whom 513 were confirmed to be members of Hamas or Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Many weapons were confiscated, and infrastructure destroyed. The battle in Khan Yunis continues with the beginning of this week seeing the Israeli Air Force attacking more than 25 terrorist targets, including military equipment warehouses and other infrastructure.

Tragically, seven workers for the World Central Kitchen (WCK), a humanitarian relief group, were accidentally killed by an Israeli airstrike. Prime Minister Netanyahu was quick to apologize for the incident, adding, “This happens in war. We are conducting a thorough inquiry and are in contact with the governments. We will do everything to prevent a recurrence.” The PM is right. In war, there are tragic accidents. We are heartbroken for the families of those who lost their lives.

USA

There were some encouraging words coming from Washington for a change this past week. First, on Tuesday, White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby told a press conference that the US government has not found “any incidents where the Israelis have violated international humanitarian law.” While not an affirmation, at least it’s not a criticism. The previous day, American and Israeli officials came out of joint virtual talks claiming agreement on their shared objective “to see Hamas defeated in Rafah.” Where they differ is that the Biden administration wants plans to relocate all noncombatants before an assault. Israel has said they will consider the issue.

Turkey

There are certain stories that I think make those in the West gasp and shake their heads in wonder, while we Middle Easterners just nod and say, “Yep, that’s business as usual.”

Last week, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Israel’s prime minister and cabinet to modern-day Nazis and said that he would “send Netanyahu to Allah.” This week, Erdogan is reaching out to Israel in the hopes of improving relations between the two countries. What changed? The Turkish president’s party got trounced in the elections, with the secular main opposition party gaining huge victories in many of the major cities.

If it sounds cynical to you for me to label Erdogan’s criticisms of Netanyahu as simply political bombast, then maybe you’ll believe Turkey’s deputy ambassador to Israel. He said, “Erdogan’s harsh rhetoric against Israel stems from Erdogan’s political considerations in the local elections in Turkey.” Interpretation – “The president needed his party to do well, so he threw you Jews under the bus. But now that the elections are over, let’s be friends.”

It’s so typical, but some credit must be given. Politicians around the world do the very same thing. It’s only us Middle Easterners who have the chutzpah to come right out and admit to it.

North Korea

Kim Jong-un has a new toy. On Tuesday, the Respected Comrade supervised the launch of North Korea’s Huasong-16B hypersonic intermediate-range ballistic missile. Hopefully, the hermit leader will be careful with it so that he doesn’t accidentally shoot someone’s eye out.

Taiwan

Yesterday, the biggest earthquake Taiwan has experienced in a quarter of a century rocked the island nation. Measuring 7.2 magnitude, the temblor killed nine and injured more than 900 with at least 50 others missing. Many buildings in the eastern shore city of Hualien sustained major damage.


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