“Rebuke the company of spearmen…scatter thou the people that delight in war….To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. The God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people.” Psalm 68: 30,33-35b
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
Living in Israel, sometimes feels like you and your countrymen are walking on a swaying tightrope in fierce winds over a deep canyon with no safety net underneath or guarantee of reaching your destination. Each step you take brings on a new crisis. You must be sure-footed. Only God’s love for his people and the prayers of intercessors like you help this nation avoid failure and disaster.
This week brings more reports of threatening winds of war directed by her enemies to buffet Israel. As intercessors, I ask you to take a moment and pray for Israel’s safety and wisdom for her leaders. It is an hour to “rebuke the company of spearman” and “scatter the people that delight in war.
Bab al Mandab or “the Gate of Tears”
Last week Yemen’s Iranian backed Houthi rebels fired a pair of shore to ship missiles which targeted two Saudi Arabian oil tankers. One of the missiles landed short but another one hits its target and blew a nine-foot-long hole in the ship’s stern. This attack occurred in the Bab al-Mandab strait (Gate of Tears in Arabic), a narrow passageway at the lower portion of the Red Sea. All super tanker ships must transit, though this 22-mile-wide strait of ocean which separates the “horn of Africa” from Yemen.
As an immediate consequence to these attacks, Saudi Arabia announced that it will cease shipping its oil through this strait. World oil prices immediately soared, since blocking the waterway would halt shipments of about 4.8 million barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products. This narrow Red Sea shipping lane is also the only entrance/exit for Israeli shipping traveling to/from the port of Eilat as well as Jordan’s port of Aqaba.
Prime Minister Netanyahu announced this week that Israel will join a coalition of countries to open the narrow Bab al-Mandab Strait at the mouth of the Red Sea if the Iranians try to close it. Speaking at a graduation ceremony for naval officers in Haifa, the Prime Minister declared “At the beginning of the week we were witness to a sharp clash between Iran’s proxies that tried to sabotage international shipping in the strait at the mouth of the Red Sea. If Iran tries to block the Bab al-Mandab waterway, I am convinced that it will find itself against an international coalition determined to prevent that. This coalition will include the State of Israel and all of its branches.” ( www.jpost.com )
Please pray that Iran does not succeed in its plans to block this critical seagoing strait. Intercessors, rebuke the company of spearmen who would fire these missiles. One successful strike on a giant oil tanker could easily bring about an ecological and economic disaster.
Golan Heights on Alert
The Golan Heights is a small strip of land which is approximately some 38 miles long by 9-16 miles wide. It was captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967. Since that time, the United Nations has served as a “Peace Force” patrolling the area, between the two nations. Recent conflicts in Syria between the Russian -Iranian supported Assad regime and Sunni ISIS rebels have seen renewed fighting along areas bordering the Golan heights. Last week, Israel shot down a Syria Sukhoi fighter jet, further inflaming tensions. The Saudi supported rebels then surrendered their strongholds near Quneitra and were peacefully transported to safer zones. Israel has now warned occupying Iranian forces to not approach its borders. Russia has promised to keep them at least a sixty-mile distance. However, IDF commanders are expecting Lebanese Iranian supported Hezbollah forces to re-occupy this region, thus increasing the likelihood of further conflict.
Pray that this war in Syria, does not spill over into Israel. Iran is looking to increase its influence in these areas as is Russia. Rebuke this company of spearmen and scatter the people who delight in war in your intercessions.
Hamas Arson Attacks Continue:
Hamas’ arson campaign against Israel border communities is entering its fourth month. Sderot Negev Regional Council head Tamir Idan, speaking for the Israel communities that border Gaza, demanded the government take action. “This type of inaction is perceived as a serious weakness. Hamas continues to dictate reality on the ground,” he criticized. Just this week there have been over 36 separate fires caused by Hamas incendiary balloons.
The terrorist arson campaign, launched in late April, has so far decimated nearly 10,000 acres of forest and farmlands on the Israeli side of the border. Incendiary kites and balloons have caused millions of dollars in damage to the area over the past three months and environmental experts say it will take at least 15 years to rehabilitate the vegetation and wildlife that have been destroyed.
Several ministers have urged the IDF to target arson terrorism cells directly, but military officials have been wary of the move, saying that targeting incendiary kite and balloon cells, which mostly comprise teens, would lead to a rapid security escalation.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Wednesday that he was ordering a freeze on all fuel and gas shipments into Gaza through the main goods crossing into the enclave, in response to continued incendiary balloon attacks and ongoing violence along the Israel-Gaza border (www.timesofisrael.com 8/2/18). Israel permits oil, gas, food, and materials shipments into the Gaza strip through its port in Ashdod, but also controls the entry points into Gaza.. Israel also provides the majority of electricity to the Gaza Strip.
Pray that these arson attacks be stopped without Israel having call up its IDF to stop them. Rebuke the company of Hamas spearmen.
Kibbutz Nahal Oz
There are twenty-one agricultural communities, 20 kibbutzim, and one moshav, which are located less than 1.8 miles from the actual border fence. Two of the kibbutzim are religious (Alumim and Sa’ad), and the rest are home to a secular population.
Nahal Oz or “Mighty, strong stream or brook” is the closest community to the Gaza Strip, and for the last 15 years, has also been one of the most bombarded places in Israel. During the last war (Operation Protective Edge), it was under nonstop fire. Following Israel’s 2014 incursion into Gaza, at least 17 families (out of a total of 80 living there) decided to leave the kibbutz. No other place along the border witnessed a crisis of this scale. Most of the remaining community in Nahal Oz is non-religious. Politically, they support the left leaning labor party.
Only 875 yards (800 meters) of open fields, with an iron fence in the middle, separate Nahal Oz from the Gaza Strip. On the other side of that fence is Shejaiya, a neighborhood of Gaza City that was almost completely destroyed two years ago, when the IDF and Hamas were fighting door-to-door in its streets. Nahal Oz is a green haven, with tall, leafy trees and long patches of grass, surrounding modest one-story houses. Shejaiya is a densely populated neighborhood with barely any green spaces, where tens of thousands of people live in high-rises, amid piles of rubble. Residents who live here say that Nahal Oz is “a little bit of heaven, bordering hell.” Israeli fields near Nahal Oz produce wheat, vegetables, fruit and sunflowers.
In Nahal Oz, once the air raid siren goes on, you have seven seconds to reach shelter. The “Iron Dome” system, which protects large parts of Israel from rockets and missiles, doesn’t cover the Gaza border region — the distance is too short. Nahal Oz has land that literally touches the border fence.
Pray for the residents of this farming community. Pray Psalms 68 verse 35 for them: The God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people.
The Psalmist writes these touching words: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” We the community of believers in Jerusalem and throughout the world are mourning the passing of two of our own. Esther Ridings-Moore, the 28-year-old daughter of Succat Hallel founders Rick and Patricia Ridings, passed away last week. Esther was a gifted worship leader and songwriter. Pray the comforting love of Jesus for husband Will, son Levi, her parents Rick and Patricia, and her sisters and their families.
Our beloved ETH Florence Baldwin, also suddenly passed away last week. She was a long-time resident of Jerusalem, a true intercessor, a caregiver and champion for the poor, the elderly, the needy and forgotten. The believers in Jerusalem have been richly blessed to know her, pray with her and work alongside our sister. Thank you for keeping the body of Messiah in Israel in prayer this week.
Gene and Marylois / House of Peace