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  • Writer's pictureSimon Lawry

A NATION'S STRUGGLE



I truly believe The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry (FOI) was formed for times such as these.


In 1938, as pogroms against the Jewish people were breaking out across Europe, FOI was birthed to give assistance to those fleeing the persecution. Today our mission continues to support Israel in exactly the same way and more.


Following the Holocaust, the world said “never again”, but it is happening again and while Israel’s enemies may look different to the 1930's, the Archenemy, Satan, continues in his vain attempts to thwart the coming of Messiah and to destroy Israel with the same hatred.


The events of October 7 in Israel and subsequent war on Hamas has once again brought the nation of Israel into the news and put the whole world on edge. But what are we to make of these things and how should we respond to Israel’s ongoing struggle?


Ezekiel 37 records a remarkable vision of a resurrection and regathering of Israel following her lengthy exile in foreign lands. Ezekiel also sees a reunification of all Israel (vv 15-23) before a full restoration and spiritual revival takes place and Israel is united with her King.




In the past few years, Israel has seen significant social, political and spiritual divisions.




Following many political stalemates, Israel went to the polls five times in four years and eventually in November 2022 Benjamin Netanyahu was reelected with a conservative religious right coalition government.

In a Pew Research Survey in 2016,

“Most Jews across the religious spectrum agree in principle that Israel can be both a democracy and a Jewish state. But they are at odds about what should happen, in practice, if democratic decision-making collides with Jewish law (halakha). The vast majority of secular Jews say democratic principles should take precedence over religious law, while a similarly large share of ultra-Orthodox Jews say religious law should take priority”.

Israel’s disunity was especially evident building up to the October 7 attacks. In a Poll held on 26th July this year in Israel – “almost a third said they were seriously considering leaving Israel. Over half believed the disunity was affecting National Security. 55% believed it could even lead to civil war.” (Camille Fuchs carried out the survey for Channel 13)


In conversations with Israeli backpackers in March this year, I observed first hand the divisions that exist between the irreligious and religious Jews and how many felt the proposed judicial law reforms threatened Israel’s democracy. Many felt broken hearted by the disunity in their country and wondering what it was going to take to bring unity to their fragile nation.



The Jewish Population in Israel:

49% are secular

22% are religious (Divided between ultra orthodox and orthodox)

29% are traditional (Observant in some matters of Judaism)


Divisions were evident on October 7. On the one hand you had religious Jews celebrating the end of the Autumn Holy Days. The combined observances of Simcha Torah (“Rejoicing over the Law”) and Shemini Atzeret (8th day Sabbath following Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and on the other, around 3,000+ irreligious Jews attending the SuperNova Music Festival on a Kibbutz near the Gaza border. The festival “a celebration of friends, love and infinite freedom” uses “trance” music (originating in Goa, India) to “transport” the audience to another “dimension”.


As Israel was distracted, Hamas, the terror organisation that politically & militarily represents Gaza were preparing to launch an attack on Israel.


At 6:30am using paragliders, utes filled with armed men, motorbikes and on foot they breached the fence bordering Gaza and Israel to attack as many Israelis as possible. All this while distracting Israel with a barrage of some 2,500 rockets, Hamas terrorists went on a satanic, murderous rampage killing 1,200 men, women and children. They committed heinous acts of torture, rape and sadistic crimes reflecting their hatred of Jews. Over 5,000 mostly civilians were critically injured and, as many of the terrorists fled back to Gaza, they took approximately 240 hostages as bargaining chips. They had no regard for the elderly, for little children or even pregnant women. Over 900 of the slain were civilians from around 22 communities near Gaza with over 260 murdered at the music festival alone. The extent of the injuries was enough to shock even the most hardened forensic experts.



OPERATION SWORDS OF IRON

ISRAEL’S DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST HAMAS





Israel’s response was swift and determined as Benjamin Netanyahu immediately declared war on Hamas (a declaration not seen since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which incidentally was when Israel were last caught off guard exactly 50 years and one day before this attack)


Around 300,000 mostly young Israeli reservists returned from overseas to join the approximately 150,000+ regular IDF (Israel Defence Force). In addition, the US and a number of other Western allies gave support to Israel. The US, sensing the immediate threat, mobilised two Aircraft Carrier strike groups, and a nuclear capable submarine to the Middle East as deterrents to Iran and other nations looking to exploit the situation.


The US military bases in Iraq have also been attacked numerous times since the war began and Israel continues to be attacked by Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the West Bank, and as far away as Yemen at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula. Israel has also determined to take responsibility to govern Gaza when Hamas has been eradicated. This may result in an arrangement like the West Bank where the IDF continues to provide overarching security.


The question is, what will the international community be pressuring Israel to do, and how will the enemies of Israel react in the longer term? Historically, Israel has always had international pressure to appease the openly hostile Palestinians who persistently follow through on their ideology to kill the Jews and become martyrs for the Islamic cause. As with global antisemitism, this will not cease.



ISRAEL STRUGGLES AGAINST LIARS AND THEIR LIES

Deserted by the UN, the mainstream media, most other nations and those that are indifferent, and sadly also much of the church.


While Israel has enjoyed reassuring multilateral support from a number of allied nations, significant anti-Israel support from sympathetic Islamists and their supporters (including many left wing Universities and political institutions) have rallied in almost every major city in the world. With antisemitic slogans, pure hate speech and violence towards Jews and their supporters, they are are fuelled by the erroneous notion that somehow Israel is deserving of the evil Hamas has inflicted! Whether it is the biased UN or left leaning media, a silent, supersessionist church, or an indifferent secular majority, Israel has long been left unsupported and alone.


A remnant of believing Christians, who see a future restoration of national Israel as described in the Bible, have been the most avid supporters of the Jewish people. With ongoing attacks on Jewish people around the world, both online and physically in their communities, they have never felt as unsafe. Here in Australia, antisemitic acts and threats have made many uneasy and afraid. So right now, Israel and the Jewish community needs our comfort and hope!


And a silent church needs reminding…without Israel…

  • We would not have the Gospel (“Salvation is of the Jews”)

  • We would not have the Saviour (Jesus was Jewish)

  • We would not have the Revelation of God’s Word (The Scriptures were written primarily by Jews)

  • We would not have a tree of Spiritual Blessing – Romans 9-11 (Non Jews have been grafted In)

  • We would not have a second coming of Jesus. (Jesus will return to Israel)

  • We would not have a kingdom to inherit. (Situated in Israel)

  • We would not have assurance of Salvation (God’s unconditional promises to Israel are the foundation of His trustworthiness. If God breaks His promises to Israel – He can break them with you).



It is often asked, where does Israel fit into Bible prophecy now?




In broad prophetic terms you could say Israel is between two valleys. The valley of dry bones Ezekiel saw in his vision (Ch 37) representing the restoration and regathering of Israel to the land they are in now. Israel has been regathered in unbelief, but Ezekiel also sees a future valley (Ch 39) where the corpses of Israel’s enemies will fall for the vultures to feed on and a time when God will deliver Israel as a nation and restore her fully to Himself. A time Ezekiel describes when... “They [Israel] will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 37:23)


The Apostle Paul, quoting the prophet Isaiah also wrote...

“and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ’The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’” (Romans 11:26–27)


Time will tell whether Israel’s deep divisions are healed in the short-term, perhaps in their renewed shared determination to defeat their enemies it is possible. Israel will however continue to struggle at the hands of the ”Father of lies” and his earthly servants until the Deliverer comes from Zion and brings peace on the earth and security to Israel forever.


In the meantime, please pray for Israel, stand with Israel and support Israel and the Jewish people around the world as often as possible. Become a visible, tangible advocate for those described as the “apple of God’s eye”. (Zech 2:8)

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