It’s been a while since I’ve penned some words on this blog. There was a period of time when it seemed that our most repeated involvement outside of our home was attending the funerals of people we knew. Some had the hope of the resurrection, while others did not. The pain of loss was evident on the faces and behavior of those who remained, but the way that they related to death was very different. For those who placed their trust in the completed work of Messiah Yeshua, there was the understanding that the grave is not the end, as being absent from the body meant to be present with the Lord, where there are no tears, no more death, or mourning, or crying or pain. But, more than that, in His presence there is joy forever. That is a hope that will not disappoint. For others, the pain of loss and separation was accompanied by despair and a sense of hopelessness and finality. Indeed, we all grieve in our own ways.
Israel went through a few things during this time – a government was formed and began to function; seven prophetic holidays came and went; we wept during Holocaust Remembrance Day on Memorial Day for our fallen soldiers and rejoiced when the country celebrated its 67th Independence Day; we experienced a Biblical “shmitah” year (when every seventh year, the land is to lie fallow); we saw a “blood moon” come and go; our concerns over the agreement with Iran and its nuclear program were, essentially, ignored and relationships between Israel and the United States have considerably deteriorated; Prime Minister Netanyahu gave an impassioned and brilliant speech to the U.N. General Assembly about, among other things, the dire consequences of enabling Iran to increase its nuclear capability, which fell on deaf ears – he paused for 44 seconds to allow consideration of his words, but more so, it would seem that his silence mimicked the world body’s silence in the face of the threat of a nuclear Iran; Russia made its military entrance into the free-for-all in Syria and Israel discovered a significant amount of oil on the Golan Heights. These things and more captured most people’s attention here.
Nevertheless, with the multitude of things that have happened in and around and affecting Israel since the election here in March, probably the most significant is the significant increase in terrorist incidents, which has primarily targeted civilians. The U.S. Consulate General has issued security messages for U.S. citizens, with travel warnings in and around Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (referred to in the messages as “the West Bank”), northern Israel, upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. Despite the growing security challenges that Israel is facing and the increasing terrorist-related deaths suffered by ordinary citizens, the world, as a whole, remains silent. It seems that the nations of the world have gotten used to terrorism and they only complain when it occurs in their own back yard.
“Have gun, will use. Do likewise.”
|Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat with carbine rifle/gun|
Following a spate of fatal shootings and rock-throwing incidents, as well as car-rammings, Molotov cocktails and stabbing attacks in the capital city and elsewhere, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is certain that we will overcome this latest wave of terror and came up with a two-fold plan to encourage the citizens of Jerusalem: “Fight the bad guys. And be very, very good — as much as you can — to the majority of the population that is seeking peace and quiet.” Barkat, who has a license to carry a gun, told Army Radio: “Every time there is tension, I instruct people who are allowed to carry weapons and are experienced in using them to carry their guns with them. If you check, you’ll see that in many cases, those who neutralized terrorists were citizens who aren’t necessarily police officers, like former soldiers.” He was not just making nice-sounding statements. He encouraged residents of the city, who have legal gun permits, to follow his example and carry their weapon with them at all times. The purpose is to be able to stop a terror attack, if the situation should occur, as well as to give generate a feeling of safety for the residents, noting: “In Israel, if you see someone carrying a gun you get a sense of security, not a sense of insecurity as you do in America.”
Barkat’s comments drew expected criticism of concern over arming a fearful population, which could result in accidental shootings. But, the Jerusalem Mayor defended his position, saying: “Here we have trained combat soldiers, who, when they finish their army service, are still reservists…They are well trained, and some of them have civilian licenses to carry weapons.” Noting that those licensed to carry weapons are not novices to warfare, but were ‘professionals’, he said that was “calling those professionals to carry their guns, because you don’t know where a terrorist attack can happen…In the past few years, many terror attacks were neutralized by ex-soldiers who carried their guns legally.”
In an uncharacteristic stress move by Israelis, following the recent wave of violence, many rushed to buy pepper spray, electronic shockers and other protective devices, as well as signed up for various self-defense courses. One expert on self-defense, after giving some very practical advice on how to react in an emergency situation, added: “The important thing is not to stop living because then they’re [the terrorists} winning…But be careful and take your security seriously.”
The Jerusalem Police installed metal detectors in the Old City’s gates, as part of its on-going efforts to make the area more secure and prevent people from entering the Old City with guns or knives. These are similar to the detectors used at mall entrances and central bus stations in Israel, and their use is intended to have a deterrent effect on potential assailants.
These things are an Israeli reality, part of daily life. Even as these words were being penned, additional terrorist attacks were taking place in Jerusalem. Terrorism and terrorist activity has affected our society as a whole, as well as individuals, who are real people, people who have names and families. But, in a world that is easily swayed by media lies and propaganda, Israel is portrayed not as a victim of terror, but of terrorism against so-called “Palestinians”. A classic example of this is an article that appeared earlier this week in the NY Times. I would encourage you to take 3 minutes and read the article in Frontpage Mag (New York Times: No Israeli Victims of Palestinian Terrorism). To the same effect, see: Blatant Israel Bias at the New York Times.
|It’s raining – rocks and knives|
Everyone is talking about it. Television and radio reports and, of course, newspaper articles. Labelling situations helps make it easy for people to relate to them in short, convenient phrases. The so-called “Palestinians” have already referred to this latest wave of terrorism and violence as the start of the “third intifada”. For most of the past year, Israeli commentators and analysts have referred to these incidents as “teen intifada”, “auto intifada”, “stabbing intifada”, “rioting intifada” and everything else that is related to “intifada”. The latest of these is “lone-wolf intifada”, manned and manipulated in the media of cyberspace and carried out by individuals, whose names are published in anti-Israel media and treated as victims, while the names of the real victims, and the harm done to them, are not. Social media unites people of a similar mindset and enables them to encourage each other to keep pursuing a common goal, even if it results in martyrdom. This latter status was published in the social media as something that some of these terrorists, mostly in their teens, want to achieve. Earlier today (Sunday), on the road between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem, Israeli police stopped a female suicide terrorist from carrying out a car bomb in Jerusalem. The police officer who stopped her was wounded and the woman herself was seriously injured when the car bomb exploded.
|9 October, 2015
So, does it really matter what we call these events? Terrorism, whether called “Lone Wolf”, or by any other name, remains terrorism. For us, it is nothing new. It has been part and parcel of life in Israel for the past 67 years, sometimes organized and sometimes isolated. It remains as part of the on-going conflict here and will not disappear if an Islamic state were to be established in our midst.
Those who push for the establishment of a “Palestinian” state in our heartland, thinking that the Arab-Israeli conflict would then come to an end, are putting their heads in the sand. The so-called “Palestinians” have had endless opportunities to move in the direction of preparing for statehood, but chose not to do so. The “Palestinian” Authority received billions of dollars in foreign aid over the years, but most of it was never used to develop infrastructure that would serve a future state. Instead, the money went to the leadership of the P.A. and their families, who became rich at the expense of the population, the vast majority of which continue to live in squalid conditions and who are being used as ploys to continue to blame Israel for the failure of the P.A.’s leadership. And the world community continues to buy the “Palestinian” narrative, while failing to listen to anything Israel has to say that is condemnatory of those whose ultimate goal is not the establishment of a “Palestinian” state, but the destruction of the existing State of Israel.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is being kept alive by Islamists and by the United Nations. It could have ended decades ago, if those who voluntarily left Israel prior to the War of Independence would have been absorbed in the various Middle East countries. But, then, the myth of stealing land that never belonged to a non-existent group that calls itself “Palestinian” would have to end. It seems that Never-Never Land continues to exist in the minds of history-ignorant politicians. We can brainwash people into believing a lie, but most people save us the trouble. They believe a lie because they want to.
And that’s what’s been happening.
“Now when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem, … he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, and built another outside wall and strengthened the Millo in the city of David, and made weapons and shields in great number. He appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, ‘Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 32:2-8)
“Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege? Is not Hezekiah misleading you to give yourselves over to die by hunger and by thirst, saying, “The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria”? … He [Sennacherib] also wrote letters to insult the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, ‘As the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver His people from my hand’.” (2 Chronicles 32:10-17)
“Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, “Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you.” This is the word that the LORD has spoken against him: … “And against whom have you raised your voice, and haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! Through your messengers you have reproached the Lord … Because of your raging against Me, and because your arrogance has come up to My ears … I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake”.’ Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and … as he was worshiping … his god, [his sons] killed him with the sword” (2 Kings 19:20-37; 2 Chronicles 32:21)
Have a great week.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.