“He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth, he breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still and know I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” Psalm 46:9-10
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
Greetings from Engeltal. Marylois and I are spending our summer in the United States before returning to Jerusalem for our 20th season.
Last week, the Gaza strip became the source again of renewed hostilities between Iranian-supported Hamas terrorists and Israel. Some 200 short ranged rockets and mortars were launched into surrounding Israeli communities. Most landed in surrounding fields, but even so, Israelis were forced to spend their Shabbat in bomb shelters. One missile landed near a Synagogue, another fell by a children’s playground, and one exploded near a home in Sderot injuring a family of four. Israel responded with numerous air attacks on targets. One was a Hamas “training center” housed in the Palestinian National Library in Gaza. This limited war appeared to be over by last Sunday, short of engaging in full warfare. Hamas is desperately seeking the world’s attention and sympathy. This sudden renewed bout of missile launches against Israel may have been an Iranian sponsored diversion. Israel currently is staging its forces near the Golan Heights, to counter any possible attack from Syrian-Iranian forces near its Northern borders. Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders wisely decided to avoid taking Hamas’s “bait” and not send IDF forces into Gaza.
Palestinian Kite Warfare
The “air war” in Southern Israel has been strange. Hamas has changed its tactics somewhat and is launching hundreds of incendiary kites, balloons, and in one case a kestrel falcon harnessed to burning device. These simple weapons have set fire to thousands of acres of Israeli crops and nature reserves. Israel in turn counters with modern aircraft shooting guided pinpoint missiles, drones, and by deploying its “Iron Dome” anti-missile system. Each Tamir missile costs over $50,000 to launch. Each Iron Dome system costs over $50 million dollars. Israel has ten of a planned fifteen batteries in place. Israel has restrained itself from firing directly at those who launch these “fire kites”, because more often than not they are children, put up to it by their elders. But millions of shekels-worth of damage has been done, and patience is wearing thin. Last Sunday, the IDF struck three cells of adult Palestinians who were launching the balloons.
The fighting in Syria by Iranian- Russian backed pro President Assad forces and Syrian rebels who are backed by the U.S., Turkey, Saudi-Arabia, and Qartar, has reached new levels of violence. Pro-regime forces have driven out anti-Assad forces from areas near the Golan heights. Thousands of refugees have fled to the borders of Jordan and Israel. Israel is distributing aid and assistance in a small strip of “no man’s land” and admitting those who need medical attention. IDF forces were also placed on alert this week as the violence may spill over into Israel. Israel has repeatedly bombed the airport at Damascus, destroying shipments of advanced air defense missiles. Both the United States and Israeli warplanes are patrolling over the southwestern Syrian battlefields armed and ready to go into action if shared red lines are crossed. Russia and Syria also have their warplanes flying over this crowded air space. Iran is threatening to deploy its forces closer to Israel’s borders and have recently captured a mountain top near Quneitra. IDF ground forces are on high alert, since this abandoned town may soon become the center for warfare between U.S.-Saudi supported rebels and Iranian-Russian Syrian-Hezbollah forces.
In the course of possible violence surrounding Quneitra, the IDF could be faced with three possibilities (www.debka.com):
- Russian and Syrian warplanes, which have so far kept their distance from Israel’s borders, may drop bombs on rebel-held Quneitra. How will the Israeli air force and anti-air batteries then respond?
- Will the Syrian soldiers entering the Quneitra region bring with them the Hezbollah and pro-Iranian Shiite militias taking part in the battle for Daraa? Israel has made its intention of countering this move clear in messages to the US and to the Russians via Damascus.
- What happens if the Syrian army moves into the Golan demilitarized zone set up by the Israel-Syrian ceasefire accord in 1974 and monitored by the United Nations? Many refugees are in this area as well as IDF protected teams of international doctors and nurses. Both the US and Israel would not accept an occupation of this “no man’s land.”
- That the spirits of violence which are fueling the hostilities on Israel’s north-eastern and south-western borders would be silenced
- That Israel will not be drawn into a major military operation on the ground in Gaza, Syria, the Golan, or Lebanon, and/or an air war with Iran and Russia outside of the timing of the LORD
- That the LORD who “guards over Israel” (Psalms 122) will release counsel to Israel’s civil and military leaders regarding stopping these incendiary kites and balloons which are burning up its pastures and nature reserves. Some of these incendiary balloons have landed near Jerusalem’s forests
- That when necessary, the IDF may possess the correct intelligence to conduct accurate strikes to take out Hamas leadership cells which direct these violent attacks against Israel.
- That angels will be released by the LORD of hosts to defend Israel’s borders, and to minister to all who will receive salvation.
Every year in the Hebrew month of Av, the ninth day is observed. Formally called “Tisha b’Av”, this day of fasting commemorates the loss of the First and Second Temples. Other major calamities have fallen on this day, such as the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the beginning of the First Crusade, and the deportation of the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. The bad report by ten of the twelve spies sent into Canaan was said to have happened on this day as well. This annual fast is observed throughout all of Judaism as synagogues are crowded with many who are religious praying against calamities. The Book of Lamentations is read. Tish B’Av falls this Saturday night July 21st to nightfall July 22nd. Perhaps this would be a good time to pray for the Jewish people and that they would see their Messiah and rejoice.
Eilat Airport Opened
Israel’s Red Sea resort and vacation city of Eilat welcomed the first flight to its soon-to-be officially opened Ramon International airport last Monday. When the new airport which is about 10 miles North of Eilat is fully operational in March 2019, it will accept larger passenger jets. The old airport, now located in the center of the city and the beach front will be closed and the land set aside for future real estate development.
However, I and others shall miss the old airport. Approaching as well as aircraft departing would either take off or land right beside the hotels. If you were fortunate, you could find yourself standing on an outside deck with a front row seat, watching take-offs or landings. Every aircraft would also turn over the ocean near the beach and enter into the landing pattern, an amazing sight to behold. Such plane-spotting activities in downtown Eilat will soon be just a memory.
Gene and Marylois / House of Peace