John's LIVEBLOG: War In Israel
On the ground, in Israel, John Enarson's personal updates and perspectives on the war from the start.
Day 60, and the war is back from the pause in earnest. In fact, in many ways, the fighting is fiercer than before. The jets, choppers, and rockets are flying overhead throughout the day. Attacks continue from Lebanon and Yemen, and reportedly, for the first time in the war, Israel may be striking targets inside Yemen.
The sheer stress of it all has kept me from writing updates for a while. Pardon me if I rant for a while this time.
The IDF have moved south into Khan Yunis in Gaza. At the same time, the White House has seen fit to hamstring Israel. No more strategic bombing to clear the way for ground troops, says Biden. As one Israeli retired general put it,
“All of our missiles, the ammunition, the precision-guided bombs, all the airplanes and bombs, it’s all from the U.S. The minute they turn off the tap, you can’t keep fighting. You have no capability. … Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.”
And Biden does not want Israel to win this war completely, just to win—a little bit— and then let the terrorists from the PLO take over Gaza. That’s the US plan. The Obama-style State Department is playing all sides and hedging all bets. So Israel must fight under conditions that neither the US, nor any other Western nation would be willing to fight under. But it looks and feels virtuous to make Israel do it.
Now the IDF is loosing seemingly twice the number of soldiers per day in Gaza under the US constraints. Some 80 soldiers have fallen thus far in Gaza, not counting the hundreds fallen at the start of the war.
As former British head of forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp said, “I find it very annoying when I hear that sort of comment coming from world leaders because they know, as I know, that the IDF is doing everything they possibly can to protect the lives of innocent civillians on the battlefield—MORE than their own armies would be able to do in these circumstances.”
But—at least they are fighting again to achieve the main goal of destroying Hamas, because Hamas broke the ceasefire and launched a massive barrage of rockets.
THE “PAUSE” AND HOSTAGES
The seven day “pause” for prisoner exchange was a turmoil of mixed emotions.
One of Israel’s leading rabbis (Melamed) finally came out with an extensive article addressing the situation. He examined the issue biblically, throughout Jewish history, and Israel’s modern conflicts as well. He concluded as follows:
Redeeming captives is one of the highest values. However, the sages of Israel were right 2,000 year ago when they said captives cannot be redeemed for a higher price than one life, for one life. Otherwise, Israel’s enemies will be given incentive to hunt more Jews and the result is worse than the cure. Moreover, if we examine the issue biblically, whether it be Joshua against the Amalekites or David against the Amalekites, Israel has gone to war to rescue its captives by force, without negotiation. The modern Israeli policy of trading, sometimes, multitudes of terrorists for one single kidnapped victim, has led to disaster repeatedly.
No one can blame the victims families who demand that any price whatsoever be paid. But, reality is that it’s a deal with the Devil himself and the compromise always seems to come back around to bite us.
This “prisoner exchange” between Israel and Hamas was roughly 3 convicted terrorists for every one innocent woman or child kidnapped. The released terrorists were reportedly women and minors who had not succeeded in murdering Jews. They had tried and failed (such as mistakingly blowing up a car bomb too soon and injuring themselves instead of school kids etc).
The leader of Hamas in Gaza now, who was in charge of the 10/7 massacre, was himself released in just such a “prisoner swap.” And just a few of days ago, two terrorists affiliated with Hamas and released from prison, committed a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, murdering 3 Israelis, and wounding 5 at a bus stop.
In the deal, Hamas released 105 civilians. We all rejoice to see so many, especially women and children, free and back in Israel. But it is a bittersweet pill.
The pill has become even more bitter with new revelations:
“Based on Israeli sources, the British Daily Express reported that Israel knows where many of the hostages are located. It has opted not to rescue them because Hamas is holding the hostages among civilians. Rescuing them would involve collateral damage to those Palestinians and risk U.S. resupply, which Israel cannot fight without.”
In other words, because of Biden’s pressure to use kid gloves and not hurt anyone in Gaza, Israel had to back down rather than kick down the door, guns blazing to free the hostages. The compromise ceasefire allowed Hamas to reorganize and resupply with the US demand that aid be sent in, while it also endangering the IDF who are always attacked by Hamas during ceasefires anyway.
The released hostages have begun to tell their tales.
Therapists who help them are themselves having a hard time sleeping at night. There are tales of sexual abuse, children burned to mark them in case they escape. Some children were forced to watch the Hamas GoPro footage of the 10/7 massacre on repeat. Some of the children would not speak in anything but a whisper after release because Hamas had forced them to always be silent.
At their release, they were drugged and forced to smile and wave to cameras while being handed over to the Red Cross. Many had no idea what was happening and thought they were being led away to be shot. Meanwhile, world sentiment is so desperate to sympathize with Palestinians, is seems people would even believe the thin charade.
An unknown source at the IDF said this morning that they expect that Hamas estimate of the death toll in Gaza may not be too far off: 15,000. However, we know for a fact (though it’s rarely stated) that Hamas counts everyone single one of its dead fighters as an innocent civillian in its “health ministry” reports. Thus, we have absolutely no idea if 95% of the 15,000 are dead Hamas terrorists.
According to Colonel Kemp, the NATO average is 5 civillians killed for every enemy combatant. Israel’s previous record when not in full-scale war in Gaza is 1 civillian for every 1 enemy—five times better than NATO. Israel estimates Hamas forces at 30,000 to 40,000 at the start of the war. Hopefully, Israel has defeated a third or half already. Here’s hoping.
In the meantime, everyone—even veteran journalist Piers Morgan—seems to think “proportionality” in war means an equal death toll on both sides. In reality, “proportionality” in the Geneva conventions, means that all civillian death toll must occur in direct pursuit of a just military aim, and not in the aim of simply killing non-combatants.
As everyone knows, the war could have been over on October 8th, but for the fact of how much Israel cares for civilians in Gaza.
Riddle me this:
Hamas started a war with Israel and Israel responded with the just and unavoidable aim of eliminating Hamas completely. Many nations agreed there is no choice but for Israel to do this.
Given the NATO average, wouldn’t any western military immediately estimate it would cost a death toll in Gaza of about 200K to eliminate 40K Hamas combatants, while legally following the Geneva conventions of proportionality?
I’m not saying Israel will go anywhere near those numbers. They have a much higher standard. They have an entire legal department at HQ, quarterbacking every single strike on the fly. Whenever you hear a media pundit talking about Israel “carpet bombing” or “indiscriminate bombing,” you can be sure they are full of it.
But let’s be real about the hypocrisy—especially from DC and Europe. This is a war. In WWII, over 2 million German civilians died, while less than 2 thousand American civilians died (Statista). Did that mean the Allies were the bad guys in the fight against the Nazis? No, they had to fight that war to the end. Like Colonel Kemp said, the western critics know very well their countries couldn’t perform half as well in a similar conflict.
Nobody wants war. (Well, most anyway.) That’s why you don’t start one.
New information Dec 6:
The IDF on CNN said that they estimate their current death toll in the war is 2 civillians for every terrorist. While every death is tragic, it is an astounding achievement, perhaps even unique in the world, said the IDF (remember previous NATO stats of 5/1). That would mean the IDF have killed around 5,000 of Hamas.
CNN thought the information was horrific—“callous”—and clearly expects that war is a fairy-land where only enemy combatants die (something that has never happened in history, ever). CNN articles proceeded to ramble standard fare about “senseless cycles of endless violence.”
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary general, reacted by saying, “We’re not in the business of establishing those kinds of ratios, which I think are tasteless, to say the least.”
Isn’t that exactly—precisely—the kind of ratios that the UN should know? Would that not be something the UN should be uniquely qualified to know in order to check if a conflict has begun to target civillians in a 20-to-1 ratio? Apparently not. Apparently, it’s much easier to sit back and say everything is a “war crime” because one personally considers all war a crime (or because it pleases one’s political base). All the while one withholds from the public that these personal opinions have nothing whatsoever to do with the legal rules of war.
US Congressman Moulton responded to the death toll with Obama’s old logic that every dead civillian creates 10 new terrorists. “By that number, Israel so far killed about 5,000 Hamas terrorists but in the process they’ve recruited about 100,000 new adherents.”
As Douglas Murray has pointed out, with Obama’s logic, no one should ever respond to terrorism. Moreover, that logic has no place in a fully committed war like WWII, or the war with Hamas. What would that logic have meant in WWII? “Don’t shoot them! It will only make more Nazis!” Senator Graham also noted that Gaza’s are already “taught from the time they’re born to hate the Jews and to kill them.”
But all these facts have no effect. The entire death-toll debate is branded by the media as attempts to “explain away civilian carnage.” The media churns out endless stories about “rising concern” for the death toll, over and over. The fact is, there would be no “rising concern” whatsoever if the media didn’t churn out constant “rising concern” articles and obsess over Israel every waking second. Literally hundreds of thousands could perish in a conflict without the media barely noticing, but not so with the Jewish State. As veteran journalist and former AP editor Matti Friedman has said, “Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization.” By that metric, “They believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close.” There is something sick about that obsession.
DESPITE IT ALL
Despite all the the odds that are stacked against Israel, Israel is winning.
The country is more united, stronger, and more determined than ever. It’s an astounding thing to see. It doesn’t take the sting out of the the lies and the attacks. But It nonetheless emboldens our faith in the midst of war.
The festival of Hanukkah begins tomorrow night in Israel.
I have been encouraged by the list that our Jewish friend Jonathan Feldstein of Genesis123 Foundation has put together: “8 Prayers to Pray over Israel this Year as Hanukkah Begins.”
1. Pray for ALL the hostages to be released and come home to their loved ones safely and right away
2. Pray for the families of the hostages, that they continue to remain strong physically, emotionally, and in their faith
3. Pray for the families and loved ones of more than 1200 people who were massacred by Hamas terrorists on October 7 that they should find strength despite their loss and derive comfort from the love and support of Christians and Jews around the world.
4. Pray for the full and speedy physical and emotional recovery of thousands of Israelis who were injured physically and scarred emotionally since October 7
5. Pray for the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have been uprooted from their communities that have been destroyed and must be rebuilt and those who have been evacuated from border areas because of the threat of war and terror literally in their backyard.
6. Pray for the safety and success of the IDF, that collectively and individually, they will have divine protection to defend Israel with the morals and courage that are needed.
7. Pray that millions of Christians around the world will lend their voices by signing the petition to free ALL the hostages and encourage Israel to resist international pressure at this time in any way that will put Israel at greater risk.
8. Pray that God will change the hearts of evil Islamic terrorists of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad on Israel’s borders, and the source of the evil from the Islamic regime in Iran, and pray for Palestinian Arabs, who will also have a change of heart, that they will no longer support terrorism, and that they a new generation of leaders will be raised up who will put the well-being of the Palestinian people above the hatred of Israel.
Monday, Nov 6. Day 31, one month of war. Do not grow weary in well doing. This is the time. Do not get attention fatigue. This moment calls upon us to rise to the occasion. We can only gaze back at previous moments in history, wondering what we would have done. But we are living in this moment.
The attention of the world is mostly diverted to other things, if it were not for the hundreds of thousands of Hamas supporters in their streets and campuses, screaming for the west to force Israel—rather than Hamas—to surrender.
Since the last update, the long awaited ground operation has entered full force. With methodical care, the IDF has entered the northern Gaza Strip from all sides and surrounded Gaza City. The fighting is incredibly fierce and dangerous.
Gaza is known as one of the most dangerous urban warfare situations in the world. It can hardly get more densely built and there are ca 500 km (300 miles) of underground terror tunnels and bunkers, the “underground city” housing some estimated 40,000 Hamas terrorists. Hamas boasts about the thousands of booby traps and mines they have put everywhere.
When asked by media why the tunnels did not feature any bomb shelters for civilians, Hamas spokesman said on TV that the tunnels are for Hamas fighters and it is the UN’s job to protect the civilians overhead!
Nearly a million Gazans have evacuated south to the safe zone designated by Israel. Some refuse to leave. Some are kept by Hamas, and others who try to leave are reportedly shot by Hamas snipers on the roads. This is a cold-blooded tactic Islamists have also used effectively in Syria to keep human propaganda around for the press.
According to the IDF, the evacuated families in Israel has reached 250,000+, a quarter of a million displaced into homes, hotels, and everywhere else. On top of that, Israel has just announced the evacuation of the well known city of Kiryat Shmona from the attacks from Lebanon. Imagine getting this on your phone:
“EVACUATION NOTICE: Due to deterioration in the security situation WE ADVISE ANYONE LEFT IN THE CITY TO EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY! Anyone wanting to evacuate can call the National Evacuation Hotline…”
Unfortunately, Israel has not decided to make Hezbollah back up and flee instead. However, Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have warned Hezbollah that Israel is ready to reign down hell on them in Lebanon at a moments notice if they don’t watch it.
Netanyahu has also instructed the IDF to be prepared for a scenario like 10/7 in Judea and Samaria where thousands of terrorists would possibly storm and infiltrate Jewish towns for repeat massacres.
Masses of innocent Arab civilians are currently marching in the streets of Ramallah, screaming over and over, “If you have a gun, either kill a Jew, or give it to Hamas! If you have a gun, either kill a Jew, or give it to Hamas!”
THE AID CAMPAIGN
War has passed one month now. It’s unreal.
We have spent our time supporting both civilians and soldiers. We continue to provide soldiers with some of their most requested items—one of the biggest is often good boots.
With your help, we have provided soldiers in need, both on the southern and northern border, with 44 top-of-the-line boots that will not fail them. Also with clothes, food, headlamps, and many other necessities.
To many people, this seems strange. “Isn’t Israel a super military?” Well…
(1) Israel’s enlisted men generally have decent gear during regular deployment. But Israel has mobilized the greatest number of reserves in its entire history. The citizens have responded to far above 100%, some say even 150% have showed up to serve. (Good thing too as the IDF is fighting, to one degree or another, on five fronts now.) There is nothing left in the storage locker at that point.
(2) In many ways, Hamas war on Israel has shown that Israel is not as strong and amazing as everyone thought. It is God’s help that has made Israel prosper. It is a miracle that many things in this fledgling country even function. But for the grace of God… Some things are just in shambles.
YOU’RE A PART
The great part about this country are the many amazing people banding together and springing into action to meet the needs.
And you are part of being that help!
This war has shown Israel, more than any other time in its modern history that there are multitudes of friends in the Christian world, who refuse to let them down. By no means everyone. And not governments. But by more truth-loving Christians than have ever been seen before.
So, with your help, we drive, purchase aid, haggle with bureaucracy, banks, and customs, and drive some more, and deliver aid, and repeat.
Also, in partnership with our amazing friends at All Things Possible Ministries (ATP), we have handed out stuffed trauma-toys to displaced children who have been evacuated from the terrors in southern Israel. The beautiful stuffed animals come with the possibility for parents to play soothing music and Hebrew Psalms to comfort children at night.
It was ATP’s desire to comfort children in Gaza with God’s love and stuffed animals in Arabic as well. But they were informed by Palestinian Arab friends not to come as they would be immediately murdered or kidnapped if they came to Gaza. What a tragedy. Hamas hate Jews more than they want their own children blessed.
Pray the jihadist spirit will be humiliated, broken, and young and old be set free.
One still feels how all aid efforts pale in comparison to the struggle of the IDF troops inside Gaza, surrounded by traps and ambushes on every side, under constant fire that can materialise from hidden tunnel openings in the ground, anywhere.
ON THE DAILY
Throughout the day, the phone rings. Red alert. There is the visceral reaction to check to see where exactly Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, or Yemen are shooting at us. If it’s not in our immediate vicinity, we often have to say a quick prayer and simply ignore it to get any work done at all.
But sometimes, we pause to watch the fireworks in the sky. The rockets fly. The missile defenses respond. In a cosmic scene with weirdly shooting stars, the sky explodes in points of light. The rumble of the explosions reach you sooner or later and punch you in the gut.
Other times, fighter jets fly overhead with full afterburners, at a decibel level so high, the house shakes and it just compels you to stop what you’re doing to check the sky and see what they’re doing.
Thank God, the terrorists don’t have much of an air force like 50 years ago. But inside Gaza, they have seemingly innumerable drones mounted with mortars shells and RPGs. It’s often these that cause the Israeli casualties.
As of writing this, 34 IDF warriors have given their lives to do the most dangerous job in the world, to rescue the hostages and crush Hamas from ever repeating this massacre on civilians again. The number wounded is much higher.
HOSTAGES & MIRACLES
So far, there has been one female hostage rescue by the IDF in Gaza, Ori Megidish.
The story is a true miracle. The testimony of the Megidish family’s prayers are one of the most encouraging points in this entire hellish war. One member of Knesset spoke in profound terms to the assembled parliament about the incredible faith of the mother of the hostage and that we should all strive for such incredible faith in the Lord. As captured on video, “God, I love you!” the distraught mother had burst forth in the anguished prayers for her daughter’s rescue. The Member of Knesset was absolutely stunned by such faith.
Today is a National Day of Prayer in Israel and around the world for Israel to be victorious and the hostages rescued.
The Knesset witnessed a video of the accounts of Oct 7th this week, and a short documentary on the prayers and faith of the family whose daughter was found and rescued by the IDF.
20 Knesset members went to leading rabbis in Israel to call for a National Day of Prayer.
Our good friends at Israel365 joined in and it was announced that 6 Nov 2023 is a call for the Nation to come together in prayer, while others from around the world join in.
Still, 242 known hostages still remain captive by Hamas, some 30 of them minors and children.
HOW TO STAY INVOLVED RIGHT NOW
I want to mention key resources and call to specific action.
1) Continue to pray.
Pray informed by God’s Word and in line with His will.
This is why it is important to continue to stay informed.
2) Stay informed.
The ideological war for the truth is simply another flank of this war.
The war continues into a second month, but whatever local responsibilities and battles you have elsewhere, you are unavoidably connected to this battle in Israel. If we care for what is on God’s heart, he will care for our needs. If we pray for His city, He will also care for our city.
I want to mention some of the most important video clips of late to equip you.
—See the testimony of the Megidish family who cried out to God so earnestly for their daughter to be rescued.
—Watch the Knesset speech in reaction to the testimony of the Megidish family
—Lars Enarson’s specific and short war update on how to pray prophetically right now.
—Rabbi Pesach Wolicki continues to provide key tactical intelligence for this fight, easily understood by every Christian. His video “What Is Hamas” has been viewed innumerable times. His latest key video is called: “Is Israel Going Too Far?” Is their response "disproportionate"? Why are they cutting off Gaza's electricity?
—To dig deeper in defeating the PR accusations of “Disproportionality” etc, its hard to get better than Professor Eugene Kontorovich, legal scholar and expert in international law. Despite his degree, he makes things plain and simple.
—I have some sympathy for the Neo-Reformed crowd and "Sovereign Grace" movement in America. They have stood on the barricades for faith in the Bible, for core gospel truths, and for a life of holiness. But, their blindess to God’s Word regarding Israel is now failing the church massively. The influential Apologia Radio youtube channel with Jeff Durbin put out a truly atrocious video about Israel and Jews. Watch Dr. Michael Brown’s gracious and powerful response to arm yourself against similar errors and accusations.
3) Put up the posters of the kidnapped children. Everywhere!
They’re available in multiple languages. Go to kidnappedfromisrael.com
Beyond the need to put these posters up, this is clearly something that enrages the enemy around the world and must truly hurt their efforts.
Secondly, it is doubly effective, for when they tear them down, they reveal the evil of their cause to everyone.
4) Continue to Give.
Give according to your means, as God leads you. The needs in Israel are still here and growing.
For the Campaign to "Support Israel Now," go to cryforzion.com
This is our time. We are not living another time in history.
We are living in this moment.
Thursday PM. Day 20 of War. Our personal families are ok, as much as one can be in a war. Please continue to pray for the children to not have fear or night terrors. We scramble to have as much prepped and ready as we can for both the soldiers and the home-front for whenever the much promised ground invasion begins. Soon, God willing.
We make deliveries nearly daily down South and look to find supplies in a land where much of the most important materiel is gone from the shelves. Bringing stuff from outside the land through customs is a nightmare. (Pray customs will somehow get the fear of God and start helping all the little people do the best they can in this war effort.)
We have now shifted our aid work with a greater focus at helping the evacuees. We spent the evening with 60 refugees by a hotel in Jerusalem, where they have lived ever since evacuating the South. They had been living in bomb shelters for over a week—up to ten days, under Hamas rocket fire. Finally, private initiatives of Jews and Christians stepped in to help at least one small community stay in a hotel in Jerusalem. CRY FOR ZION (all of you!) funded a BBQ cookout for them. Jews and Christians came together to provide kids activities, making shabbat flower arrangements, toys, fellowship, and distraction from the wartime situation.
The State of Israel is in a war. Between 100,000 and 200,000 people have evacuated the rocket fire at the borders and a displaced in the country. Private initiatives and NGOs like CRY FOR ZION have to take care of so many, both soldiers and civilians. The needs and expenses are staggering. The failures of what has happened for Israel to be vulnerable in this way loom large on everyone’s mind. We pray for the hostages wholanguish every hour. The ground invasion is inevitable. When it comes, God only knows what will happen.
We pray the spirit of Jihad will be humiliated militarily and that many in the Middle East will become disillusioned with that ideology of death and be set free (Psalm 83). In the end, our only assurance is our Father in Heaven and that he must vindicate His faithful name in the sight of all the Nations. In that trust and faith, is the only sure anchor for the soul in this mess. The God of Israel is ultimately in charge. And without that, we are lost.
Keep supporting the CRY FOR ZION campaign and share with others. The needs are big and do not look to be letting up soon.
The beginning of WWII was known as “The Phoney War.” Britain and France had boldly declared “War!” after Germany ruthless invasion and slaughter of Poland. But for several months, there was only one limited land operation. With little in the way of actual fighting, the sense of unreality earned this period the nickname, the “Phoney War,” Drôle de guerre. Many people died during the Phony War, but apart from a few brief skirmishes, both sides were content to remain behind their defences.
It’s Tuesday PM, day 18 of war.
In Israel, we are having our own little “phony war.” Israel was brutally attacked in the unprecedented Hamas Massacre, the worst single day since the Holocaust. Israel boldly declared, “War!” The government spent the next week haggling over a new coalition. The new war cabinet continues to make make daily pronouncements: “Hamas will be wiped off the face of the earth! When we are finished, this thing called Hamas will no longer exist! We are mobilized! We have well prepared plans! We are not listening to any international pressure. Our response will change the entire Middle East! Our response is imminent!”
Meanwhile, more than half a million troops have mobilized and are sitting around for weeks, waiting. There has been one limited ground operation. But otherwise, both sides are pounding each other, rockets flying, remaining behind their normal positions and doing Gaza-conflict in the business as usual way.
This inaction and procrastination is producing what the WWII-generation called a sense of “unreality”—the Phony War. And all the while, people are still dying. And all the hundreds of thousands of reservists at the front are more than ready to go. And the hostages in Gaza are still suffering. Every day, the multitudes of young Jewish women (as seen in videos to be designated as sex slaves for rape), are languishing by the hour in the company of some 30,000 Hamas fighters in their Gaza tunnel bunkers.
Israeli brass deliberates and vacillates over whether they can starve Hamas out of their tunnels for months, or whether they can stand up to American pressure and actually attack. Which way will lose more troops, and which way looks worse in the international press?
The Americans and the rest of the West say, “We stand in sympathy with Israel—for now—and recommend them to do something about Hamas—so long as they don’t actually hurt anybody and Gaza has plenty of fuel. But get on with it, because we have gazillions of Muslims in our streets and we certainly don’t have the moral fortitude to stand up to them!” A steady stream of world dignitaries arrive to tell Israel this comforting message in person. “We will give you billions in aid, just don’t hurt anybody. If you invade, we will fry you on a spit, slowly.”
And so we all pray, and we plead with Heaven, daily, that God will give Israel’s leaders enough backbone to defy the whole world and let the warriors of Judah GET THE JOB DONE!
The start of WWII was marked by that strange period of “Phony War.” But it did not stay that way forever, and no one ever called WWII “phony” when it was all said and done.
Likewise, I cannot possibly see how Israel’s leaders can “deescalate” and give up like they have done for the past five (5!) Gaza conflicts. (Can they?) Not after the Hamas Massacre. Not after the amount of brazen promises they have made the entire Jewish world for weeks. No, this phony war must also inevitably end.
But in the meantime, the whole nation is waiting, scrambling to remain ready, on the edge of their seats, nerves raw for weeks, waiting …
“Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:3-4).
Friday, the Eve of Sabbath. Nearly two weeks have passed since that black Sabbath on October 7th. Over 200 kidnapped victims confirmed, nearly 30 of them are minors, and 10-20 are elderly. There is so much work to be done in supporting Israel in this war, that there doesn’t seem time to write. I think we struggle with some adrenaline fatigue at times. But, I feel compelled to write a few things.
For one, I would like to list some of the more significant videos that have released the past week.
Secondly, I wish I had time to censor all the sensitive images taken in blessing the frontline troops who have been in Gaza and come out alive again. (May God protect them.) That way I can show them to you. (I'll work more on it.) We give them socks, air mattresses, winter clothes, food, underwear, boots, and smiles, etc. Finding these things in wartime send us scouring the country for hours across Israel, driving dawn till dusk. (Please consider helping the campaign.)
Thirdly, I want to quote an article I wrote about the spiritual-psychological warfare raging across the world, as we have warned, in an ever increasing tidal wave.
It should also be said that most of the news cycle, (instead on focusing on the current war front in the north with Hezbollah in Lebanon) has mostly spun around a Gaza hospital. As Naftali Bennet put it: “So now we know: - There was no Israeli airstrike. - It was Islamic Jihad who misfired a rocket. - It was a parking lot, not a hospital. - It was about 20 people killed, not 500 or the original report from Hamas it was 5000 dead. Lesson learned: Terrorists who rape, murder and sever heads of babies, might also lie.”
So first, some worthwhile videos.
“Noach vs hamas (Parsha Noach)” - Tehila Gimpel: The Land of Israel Fellowship
“Video Prayer Alert | ISRAEL AT WAR: DAY 12” - Lars Enarson
“Jews AGAINST Israel?!?” - Rabbi Pesach Wolicki
“The Real (and Awful) Reason Biden is Coming to Israel” - The Caroline Glick Show
“THIS IS THAT TIME: A Wartime Call to the Christian World” - Rabbi Pesach Wolicki
[Swedish] “Kommer omvärlden tillåta Israel att krossa Hamas? | Aron Flam | Hotspot Extra” - Hotspot
“Who is Hamas?” - Rabbi Pesach Wolicki
I would also spend some time checking the website of the hostages #BringThemHomeNow
I also participated in a webinar with my sister for an introduction to the conflict over Israel. She made a helpful FREE webinar and Resource Guide I would recommend.
Moving on the the article I actually wrote last Gaza war. (There have been five of them, btw.)
I have very little hope for those secular leftists around the world who are not Bible-believing Christians, or for Christians who have convinced themselves that they are actually the authentic, long-lost, Israel (physically or spiritually) and those Jews in Israel are really “fake Jews” from the Khazars! There is little time left over, especially in war, to have much meaningful conversation with such nonsense.
But for actual Bible-believing Christians who do love Israel, my heart continues to be burdened for their clarity and strength as the tidal wave of Israel-hate will probably soon become the feared tsunami.
That is why I wrote the following:
True love and grace for Arabs in the Middle East does not mean compromising on truth.
The God of the Bible does not do that. Grace and truth go together, always. Firstly, I love and have compassion for the Arab peoples caught in an ideology of death, lies, and violence. My biblically mandated love does not, however, require that I accept a false premise of a “Palestinian” national people. It is a convenient fiction which Arabs themselves (like PLO leader Zahir Muhsein) have admitted was very recently invented to fight Jewish independence in Israel. One simple example is the common and telling “Palestinian” surname “al-Masri” which simply means, “The Egyptian.”
There is a needed truth to love and pray for the Arab enemies of Israel. But too often it is coupled with penchant for bartering away the truth in the name of misguided compassion.
Consider some of these biblical truths. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, rather that he should turn from his way and live (Ezekiel 18:23). It stands to reason, if a murderer does not turn from his murderous attempts, he might also not live. “Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain” (Romans 13). There is much debate over this well-known passage. All the same, it does say that legitimate authorities do not “bear the sword in vain.” Turning the other cheek applies when someone personally insults you, but it does not biblically extend to legitimate judges and rulers of a society. That would make a mockery of justice.
I am reminded of the difference between two famous Christian leaders during WWII, Watchman Nee and Rees Howells. Watchman Nee was convinced that his flock must remain neutral during WWII or else risk losing their witness to former combatants on both sides after the war. In contrast, Christian intercessor Rees Howells led his Bible school in deep prayer for the Allies throughout the war. He did not permit those praying to sleep any more than soldiers on the front. He took it on as a personal obligation to defeat Hitler himself in prayer. I believe Howells made the right choice.
Christian pacifism has a long history which space does not permit me to address here. Suffice it to say that it is based on replacement-theology which attempts to interpret only the New Testament as normative, while in some sense relegating the Hebrew Bible (the “Old Testament”) as something old, passé, and not normative. Interpreting 25% of the Bible, while in some sense disregarding 75%, should be the definition of taking something out of context. And Christian pacifism does not work. Even the heroic pastor and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was inspired by Gandhi and WWI to become a committed pacifist, felt morally compelled to partake in the assassination attempt against Hitler! If you struggle with ideas of pacifism, you may want to consider different sides of the issue in “The Morality of War” (Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics by Scott B. Rae). (If you are an anti-Zionist, I’m surprised if you have read this far and there is a whole other discussion that needs to be had.)
If you are not grounded in the truth of Scripture and history, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with complexity. Whenever actual conflict resurges, the airwaves immediately begin a bombardment with subtle deceptions and animosity toward Israel—the world’s only Jewish state. Times of open conflict make it even that much harder for anyone to listen to the truth. Some Evangelical organisation in the Middle East even find the whole issue of Israel to be a “stumbling block” for the gospel. They effectively try to trade away Israel to win more Arabs for Jesus. The results are few and produce some of the most anti-Zionist Christians you will ever meet. God will not grant a great harvest in the Arab world to an Israel-hating, replacement-theology “gospel.” It is also a betrayal of those Arab Christians who under great threat and persecution stand for God’s Word and truth regarding Israel. We personally know of a few who can never go public or else they risk loosing their lives.
Too many Arabs are steeped and trapped in indoctrinating lies from childhood. The answer is not to compromise with untruths in the name of misguided emotional compassion. It may also require miraculous signs for many to be set free. The Six-Day War was a severe blow to jihadist faith in the Middle East. Islamism was deeply shaken, but it revived after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, when Khomeini said they lost to the Zionists only because they were too backslidden. Muslims must recommit. Any future losses in today’s Middle East cannot be explained away so easily. Hamas needs to see the fact that the God of Israel supernaturally fights for Israel. Pray that this truth will set more people free. Psalm 83 says, “Cover their faces with shame, LORD, so that they will seek your name...Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD—that you alone are the Most High over all the earth” (Ps 83).
A wise Jewish proverb says, we should pray for miracles, but not rely on them. I recently sent out the official “Prayer for the State of Israel” and the “Prayer for Israel’s Defense Forces” including prayers for granting Israel military “victory.” But many Christians feel they can only pray generally for peace, and hope for the best. Maybe it will just go away soon and all violence will stop. At most, they pray for God to strike the enemy with “confusion,” and hope the rockets miraculously end up in the sea. That might happen. But praying for the IDF to have wisdom and victory in stopping jihadists from killing both innocent Jews and Arabs, may legitimately entail that those jihadists die. That is not unbiblical to pray for. The key is that it saved other innocent victims from dying and going to their graves. This may even extend to innocent bystanders who die in war. As Naftali Bennet put it bluntly on Al Jazeera, by turning a private home into a rocket launcher, it is the same as if Hamas effectively murdered those innocents too. If it necessary in order to protect innocent lives, including undo risk to the soldiers’ own lives, it is the justified obligation of a nation to kill such murdering jihadists if they refuse to stop their attempted killings. According to the British Col. Richard Kemp, Israel has done more than anyone in the history of warfare to protect the rights of civillians in a combat zone. Israel drops non-explosive “roof knocking” devises, drops leaflets, and even make personal phone calls to residents, well in advance of hitting a sensitive target! Any further resulting deaths are squarely on the heads of the jihadists. That blood will require a reckoning from Hamas on Judgment Day.
Some observers also wonder how the number of casualties can be so skewed. This is either a disturbing way of asking why more Jews can’t just die, or it is moral confusion. A battle between good and evil is not somehow supposed to be an “even fight.” The reason the casualty number in Israel is tragic, but low, is because Israel does everything it can to keep it low. The reason the death toll in Gaza is also tragic, but so low, is because Israel (not Hamas) does everything it can to keep it that low. Israel has the full capability of wiping out all of Gaza. But they don’t because they don’t want to hurt anyone unnecessarily. One should also keep in mind that most death tolls reported by the media or the UN are generally just taking Hamas’ own “honourable” word for it. This, coupled with the well documented phenomenon of “Pallywood”—staging tragedy, photo ops, and funerals—effectively render Gaza death tolls wild guesses in the dark. Israel has good values, independent democratic institutions, and a free press to keep it honest. Hamas and the PLO’s relationship with the truth is simply absurd. It doesn’t even factor in.
Pray for the Arabs in Israel, in Gaza, in Lod, in Ramallah, in Shechem, in Bethlehem, in Hebron, in all the Middle East. Pray that those jihadists who try to murder the innocent are stopped. Pray that truth will prevail and deliver those who are trapped in lies and darkness. Pray Psalm 83, that the jihadist spirit will be humiliated and that many will see that the LORD God of Israel is the true and living God, who will not allow Israel, His “firstborn son,” to be destroyed. Pray that the love and truth of the gospel would pierce the darkness. Pray for those brave Arab believers who already stand with the truth in God’s word regarding Israel.
Christian Relations Director
Cry For Zion, Israel
Sunday PM. Dear friends, it’s the 8th day of the war. The victims of Hamas’ attack now stands at 1,400+. We have talked about how this relates—per capita—to 9/11 in America, but now we are nearing 50% in actual numbers. It is staggering. The nation is reeling, but must commence with war.
I am hyper with activity, doing everything one can think of to help, buzzed on tension. At times, I catch myself, and purposefully regain the peace of God.
I was at the neighbours a couple of days ago. I asked him if he was alright and if his extended family was ok. He smiled politely and gave the obligatory “Ok” and that the relatives were ok. His grown daughter, who lives one door down, said the same. But standing in the doorway, his wife burst out, “I’m not OK! I’m so stressed, I’m gonna have a heart attack!”
All of this utterly pales in comparison to the soldiers at the front who are now entering Gaza, recovering dead bodies of friends and civilians. Those I speak to, speak of the stench of the corpses at the terrorist attack sites, as the really difficult thing. It wont go away. The Gaza theatre is pure hell to fight in, every infantryman’s worst nightmare. The stress level is extremely high.
Pray for these soldiers now, because now it has begun.
After a week, on Shabbat the first ground forces went in. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said to troops in southern Israel this afternoon:
"Our responsibility now is to enter Gaza, to go to the places where Hamas is preparing, acting, planning, launching. Attack them everywhere, every commander, every operative, destroy infrastructure. In one word, to win."
Every leader warns of a long and tough job.
Pray for the soldiers.
We keep blessing the boys as best we can, filling needs, delivering socks, air mattresses, food, encouragement, and more. Especially quality air mattresses have been a blessing. Many get the first good night of sleep in a week. Thank you for bringing this encouragement to them!
They are so grateful, but many faces have an other-worldly look from gruesome experiences. As we chat, one can hear screams from a nearby residential house in the southern neighbourhood.
One of the soldiers explains.
First the condolence call comes to the immediate family that a body has been identified. Then they inform the extended family. And behind closed doors, screams spread from house to house, randomly throughout the towns.
They hear it a lot.
The news cycle is impossible to keep up with now. The war has essentially, unofficially, spread to Lebanon today. Hezbollah, the “Army of Allah,” are testing the waters with more and more attacks. No longer denying credit for the attacks.
Meanwhile, much of the Christian world is caught up in crackpot theories that, either Netanyahu planned the attacks himself, or the Left planned to let it happen to overthrow Netanyahu. Others gush over the latest end-time theory as some kind of spectator sport.
It’s all rather cold, heartless, distant, bizarre, ugly.
The truth is, Israel committed another Yom Kippur intelligence failure, exactly like 50 years ago in 1973. It really is Yom Kippur 2.0. Hamas took advantage of Israel’s heart and willingness to let Gazans earn some money in Israel. These collected intelligence of where to murder Jews. Iran backed Hamas with high tech attack drones that blew out each communication tower, snipers shot every security camera on the border, the terrorist conquered each base along the border.
Total surprise success in minutes. Almost everyone dead and no comms. Much of the news from the attack only came from Hamas live streams of their terrorism and private citizens freaking out.
And then, in the greatest tragic mistake (according to Amir Tzarfati): When word finally reached IDF HQ in Tel Aviv, they thought it was a diversion for an attack from Lebanon. They proceeded to send the special forces immediately to the north. This left the south fields open to Hamas.
Humans are not as bright as we like to think. Think of how many mistakes we make. Without the grace and help of God, we are lost.
Pray for the families of the bereaved in Israel.
And pray for the Arabs of Gaza to be free of Hamas, as well as the spirit of Hamas.
Wednesday PM. Day 5 of the war draws to a close and peace is nowhere in sight. Volleys of attacks still come sporadically in the south from Gaza and in the north from Lebanon. Arab Muslim neighbourhoods in Israel continue to celebrate the massacres and rally in support of Hamas. Many streets are empty and the country is in a strange place—at war.
And still no decisive counterattack. This is a fact that is beyond frustrating. Israel has mobilised nearly half a million troops at this point. But they have yet to deploy them in any larger action, such as crushing Hamas and rescuing the hostages.
Apparently, much time has been spent in hammering out an emergency unity government with the opposition to run the war. It’s seems to finally have happened. PM Netanyahu, Benny Gantz from the opposition, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will lead the war. The war cabinet will also have two observers: former chief of staff, Gadi Eizenkot, who is in the National Unity Party, and Ron Dermer, a close ally of Netanyahu and strategic affairs minister.
Now that it is out of the way, I pray Bibi does not bargain away the war for some political peace deals, international pressure, etc, without truly beating Hamas and rescuing the hostages. We have had many, many rounds of “Gaza wars” that only end in some bombing runs by the Air Force, having a press conference with the amount of bombs dropped, and calling it a day.
Three days of fasting and prayer for Israel are going on in many international prayer movements. We pray Netanyahu will make the right decisions and not be swayed by politics, or the international preassure.
The day has swung like a pendulum. One the one hand, there are encouraging miracles and heartwarming moments of support and acts of courage. Videos of multitudes of Christians who were here for Tabernacles singing and praying for Israel in the Ben Gurion Airport. (The flights are haywire right now and the air raid siren has gone of a time or two there as well.) There are beautiful moments of unity that Israel has badly needed for a while.
On the other hand, more and more continues to be revealed of Hamas’ crimes on the Sabbath, beheaded babies and all the rest.
We continue to work with Humanitarian Aid for the effort here. Praise God for many people’s generosity. Pray for the logistics. And the media production to keep all of you informed. I woke up with such a migraine from the intensity of the last few days, I was vomiting.
Spiritually, we are encouraged by our trust in God. He has promised to bring Israel back and restore her. He is doing it. Nations are enraged, but the LORD scoffs at them. We will see Him sanctify His name in the sight of all the nations.
Am Israel Chai
Livestream. Many Christians are going to be deceived!
We also made our first delivery to the front with 24 units of Humanitarian Aid!
Thank you all for your amazing support!
Please pray for the safety and God's leading for this aid effort in the "Support Israel Now" Campaign. Our team member had to turn around and wait for awhile while the IDF cleared an area of terrorists.
Pray that we get the right suppliers and bureaucracy completed in a time when almost all places are closed and the men are all gone at the front.
For a situational update, I recommend a local Israeli intercessor in Jerusalem who is putting out absolutely top quality updates on a Telegram stream here. Often up to the minute with uncensored full-quality media and translation of Hebrew-only sources:
I will quote his summary update for today:
Number of Israeli deaths from the Gaza infiltrations remains over 900.
Rocket barrages this morning in the south.
The focus being on the closer population centers to Gaza, being Sderot and Ashkelon with some barrages to communities in thw western Negev.
Red Alert sirens also sounded in Beershevah.
The Israeli security cabinet approved the IDF an additional 360,000 reservists call up.
Special flights are being dispatched to the whole world for bringing reservists living abroad and willing to fight for Am Yisrael.
The Israeli Air Force airlifted home hundreds of Israeli troops who were abroad across Europe over the past day.
IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari says the military has notified the families of 50 Israelis being held hostage in the Gaza Strip by Hamas. More families will be contacted as the military verifies the information.
Gazan terrorists continue to try to infiltrate the security barrier.
Within the past minutes of this writing, 4 were eliminated as they tried to infiltrate Zikim.
There have been no infiltrations today.
If you are seen approaching the fence you get shot, a policy that should have been in place all the time given Hamas’ declaration of the destruction of the Jewish race.
The IDF continues dropping leaflets, texting every phone, and even calling cell phone lists in Gaza warning people who don’t want to be in the conflict to leave and go south.
Before striking underground targets of weapons and missile storage facilities and launch sites, the IDF has been giving 1 hour notice to people before they level a building or penetrate under streets and other infrastructure.
The borders with Lebanon and Syria continue to see massive formations of Israeli soldiers.
Syrian President Assad has moved with his family to a secure location.
The thought is that Iran will open a war front from Syria as well as Lebanon.
Monday afternoon. The third day of war. In the night, the IAF has pounded Hamas with almost 1200 airstrikes. The windows rattle more intensely with the constant thunder of it.
But air strikes is how Gaza has been dealt with since 2005, when Israel unilaterally made the grave mistake of pulling out of Gaza. Air strikes are not going to get the job done. We still await IDF’s big action. It seems confirmed that Hamas has taken at least 100 men, women, and children hostage.
70 terrorists snuck back into Israel in the night and Israel has again been engaged in tough battles to eliminate them. They are not so impressive when facing real IDF troops verses attacking teenagers having a beach party.
The victims of Hamas terrorism rise to over 800. I’ve heard that, proportionally, it is the equivalent in size for Israel as well over ten 9/11s.
Still no major counteroffensive.
The government has apparently needed time to establish a formal state of war, which grants greater wartime powers. They have haggled with the opposition to establish a unity government for the war. More time.
300,000 reservists have reported for duty in 48 hours. The most ever.
Personally, we are at work raising support for specific needs. One in our team drives our car literally across the entire country, picking up supplies and needs for the soldiers.
We have started a campaign and many have begun to support it. Cry For Zion: "Support Israel Now.” https://donorbox.org/stand-with-israel-campaign-1
Currently we are in need of an aid vehicle, water hydration systems, and protective vests. The situation is fluid, and we expect that humanitarian aid and food may be needed as well.
Enlisted forces in the IDF often have good gear. But in recent conflicts, the many IDF RESERVISTS have ended up with outdated vests, or cheaper Chinese water systems that break and leave the men vulnerable.
Our members have in the past equipped units in Israel with this equipment and we know the best local suppliers.
Another volley of Hamas rockets flew at us today. Sirens wail. The kids are quick at running to the shelter now and we spend the time in song and prayer as loud explosions sound overhead.
Details of how Hamas tricked Israel are starting to leak out. Iran seems to have been heavily involved, while Hamas spent a year prepping their deception against Israel. It is striking how well Hamas knows its opponents. They knew it would be tempting for Israel to think that they were moderating and becoming less radical, so they pretended to be more too interested in humanitarian aid assistance than doing any more fighting.
The news cycle is spinning faster than a jet engine.
Several terrorist on the northern border have tried to infiltrate today. We pray that a second front with Hezbollah in Lebanon does not develop. News of another volley of rockets coming from there. Residents told to stay locked in their homes.
An IDF spokesman says Gaza is under complete lockdown. No one comes. No one leaves. The border is locked down. All passages are closed. We have shut down their electricity. We have cleaned our towns and cities of the terrorists.
And now we still await to go on the offensive. To end Hamas and rescue the hostages.
In the first statement to hint at the future, PM Netanyahu tells the southern residents of Israel regarding the military operation, “We have only just begun.”
The traditional prayer for Israel’s soldiers is this:
“May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, bless the members of Israel's Defense Forces and its security services who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God from the Lebanese border to the Egyptian desert, from the Mediterranean Sea to the approach of the Aravah, and wherever else they are, on land, in air and at sea. May the LORD make the enemies who rise against us be struck down before them. May the Holy One, blessed be He, protect and deliver them from all trouble and distress, affliction and illness, and send blessing and success to all the work of their hands. May He subdue our enemies under them and crown them with deliverance and victory. And may there be fulfilled in them the verse,
“It is the LORD your God who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to deliver you” (Deut. 20).
And let us say: Amen.”
Another volley of rockets land in our area as the sun is setting. We just got out of the shelter with the kids again.
Signing off for now.
Sunday PM. The sun sets on the second day of war. Frustration. A large and decisive counteroffensive has yet to materialise. As far as we can tell, the day was spent with troops bogged down in bitter fighting in a big mess in the south and attempting to evacuate the entire region wholesale. They worked painstakingly to clear out the rest of the terrorists still in Israeli towns, some in dire hostage situations. It has taken all last night and all the day. A massive manhunt and shootout ensued with one vehicle driving north into Israel. The border has seemingly been reestablished, but the large IDF forces assembled in the south seem to just be waiting. Waiting.
In the meantime, we are left to see just what an unbelievable and unmitigated disaster yesterday truly was. (Will the government resign after this?) The worst day of carnage and murder in the State of Israel’s history. Israel’s 9/11. Yom Kippur 2.0.
700 dead and counting. 2100 wounded and counting. The masses of men, women, and children kidnapped. Police officers still missing. The endless numbers of missing and their families appealing for any news at all of the fate of their loved ones. We look for the best ways to help the war effort. Filming studio updates for prayer.
But… no decisive action. Yet. Is the government just trying to keep a cool and steady head? Or, is it chickening out, bargaining away decisive action for some diplomatic pot of slop? That seems unimaginable. But all the waiting spurs on the imagination. It feels like every donation of financial support from the Biden Admin is just one more bribe and pressure point for Israel not to go in to Gaza, as it must do.
Hizbollah in the North have been rumbling and firing a few shots. All coordinated signs point toward Iranian backing to this barbaric crime of historic proportions. This is how the Second Lebanon War started in 2006. Will Lebanon become the real front? It seems doubtful, but it’s possible.
If God were not in charge, I would be really worried. Hope our kids will sleep with less terror in their hearts tonight.
As darkness falls, the house begins to rattle more. And more. The air force begins to bomb targets intensely.
Is this it? Will Israel finally strike back? Will they go in on the ground this time and rescue the hostages?
Pray Psalm 20 and Deuteronomy 33:26-29 for Israel.
Israel mobilizes up to 100,000 soldiers to invade Gaza. Thousands of young people partied all night on a beach just north of Gaza. Hamas surrounded the entire party in the morning. Horrible scenes. Many r@ped, t0rtured and murder€d or taken hostage. However, many youths managed to escape into the forests next to the beach where they hid for up to 8 hours or more before the Israeli military arrived.
Over 300 confirmed dead now and over 1,600 injured in hospital. The military is now in place in all the communities that have been invaded and report that “most” situations in the cities have been neutralized. 8 situations inside the land remain unresolved! Hostages?
We all slept with our clothes on tonight.
As dawn comes, everyone awaits the real IDF response and how the hostages will be rescued.
In a powerful summary and op-ed on Times of Israel, Haviv Gur writes,
“Hamas seemed to do everything possible to shift Israeli psychology from a comfortable faith in their own strength to a sense of dire vulnerability.
And it will soon learn the scale of that miscalculation. A strong Israel may tolerate a belligerent Hamas on its border; a weaker one cannot. A safe Israel can spend much time and resources worrying about the humanitarian fallout from a Gaza ground war; a more vulnerable Israel cannot.
A wounded, weakened Israel is a fiercer Israel.
Hamas was once a tolerable threat. It just made itself an intolerable one, all while convincing Israelis they are too vulnerable and weak to respond with the old restraint.”
Thank you for your prayers!
The latest development is the hostage situation. Not only have bloody and naked corpses of Jewish soldiers, and civilian men and women, been dragged through the streets of Gaza. Now Hamas is releasing plenty of video of live hostages, including (God help us) young and bloodied women. Israel has previously ended up in major military confrontations over one or two kidnapped soldiers in both Gaza and Lebanon. Now we are talking about multiple, multiple hostages of men, women, and possibly children dragged back into Gaza. Hamas is claiming 50+. I do not see how Israel can avoid a full counterattack on the ground in Gaza to rescue multiple civilians. Pray for a decisive and successful rescue and for those being tortured in Gaza as we speak.
The Scripture today for all Israel during the attack on the holy day of Simchat Torah was of great encouragement and significance:
 The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
And he thrust out the enemy before you
and said, ‘Destroy.’
 So Israel lived in safety,
Jacob lived alone,
in a land of grain and wine,
whose heavens drop down dew.
 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
a people saved by the LORD,
the shield of your help,
and the sword of your triumph!
Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
and you shall tread upon their backs.”
The situation continues to be quite fluid. And worse than can be imagined. The invasion of trucks and gliders of jihadis from Gaza have left carnage in their wake. The images and videos cannot be shown on Facebook. I’ve tried. Go on X, search for #IsraelUnderAttack. All the videos and pictures are there. They deserve to be seen. It’s important and should be remembered in the days ahead.
I will post just a few here since it is not on social media. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Air Force seems to have pounded the Gaza rocket attacks to a lesser intensity. Nearly every air raid warning is now seemingly short range attacks on the Israeli towns in close range to Gaza.
Shabbat. Our family safe right now. Many others are not. As you are probably aware by now, Israel is under attack. Prime Minister Netanyahu has declared that Israel is now at war, not in an operation, but at war. Hours of rocket barrages from Gaza have pounded much of the country. Over 2000 by the latest count. Our families have spent almost all morning in the bomb shelters.
At the same time, Hamas tactical mechanized units breached the border and drove into cities in the south, going on a murderous rampage. One report said Israel is engaged with dozens of terrorists on the streets in at least 21 locations.
From what can be seen on social media, Hamas has seemingly destroyed an Israeli tank, captured a Hummer, dragged back dead soldiers and civilians into Gaza, and are parading them through the streets, shouting that their god is greater. Videos on social media show Israelis hiding under trash bags in dumpsters on the streets, hoping that Hamas gunmen will pass them by.
The number of casualties is, as yet, unknown. How many Hamas soldiers remain on the streets is also unknown.
Israel has not been this caught off guard since the Yom Kippur war in 1973, which began exactly 50 years ago on October 6.