When we pulled out of Gaza in 2006, there was a feeling of anticipation in the Land, a hope that peace might be within reach. The Palestinians living in Gaza would now rule themselves. I even heard some Arabs commenting on the radio that with the occupation over, they were free. On the Israeli side, apart from a small group of religious extremists, the population was relieved. No more risk that the soldiers serving in Gaza would be harmed. The possibility of a peaceful, prosperous Palestinian populace was something that most Israelis believed would be good for Israel too.
But sadly, the situation did not improve under Hamas, and after years of that terrorist group shooting rockets at our civilians, Israel has now taken decisive action.
That is not to say that the Israeli army hasn’t carried out operations and retaliations toward Hamas for its terrorist activities in the past few years as well. However, the current situation in which the Israeli army is trying to substantially weaken the infrastructure of Hamas so that her citizens can be safe from regular attack, is an all-out response. And it has the world’s attention.
Should we despair? Or should we be hopeful once again? I’m not naive enough to think that if the IDF are successful in destroying the tunnels and weapons and the perpetrators of the terrorism, our problems are over. We have Syria, Iran, Iraq, Hezbollah, and others ready to take up the mantle to destroy Israel. On the other hand, does that mean we should stop believing in peace? That we should stop hoping for a better tomorrow?
As an Israeli, and more importantly, as a believer in the God of Israel who loves Jews and Palestinians, I have the faith to believe that the only hope for lasting peace is found in the one who was born in the Middle East— Jesus. And I appeal to all who hold that same faith to pray earnestly and faithfully. Today I saw a report on Fox News about a young Muslim man who was part of Hamas. His violent terrorist way of thinking was completely eradicated by the powerful change God made in his life. He said that it was the words of Jesus: “love your enemies…” that changed him. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear more such stories?
Jesus the Messiah is what my country needs to turn this situation radically around. Nothing but his supernatural intervention in the hearts of individual Israelis and Palestinians will do. At the close of this article there are some prayer requests for you to use as you think about what is happening in my country right now.
If you are not yet a believer in Jesus, let me challenge you. Read the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures that He fulfilled. These include the fact that He came and died for our sins and on the third day he rose from the dead. By believing and trusting in Yeshua we have hope that is not dependent on the political or economic situation. When we believe in him, he gives us a hope that is everlasting, that transcends our immediate circumstances. He promises us that we will spend forever with him. He gives us reason to hope.
- Pray that this war will cause more people in Israel and Gaza to consider the gospel message.
- Pray for the safety of all the innocent people in harm’s way in the south of Israel and in Gaza.
- Pray for the protection and safety of all the soldiers who are risking their lives serving in the IDF.
- Pray for wisdom and courage for our Jews for Jesus staff in Israel as we continue to bring the gospel to our people. Especially pray for our efforts to minister to people who live in the south of Israel.
- Pray for the enablement, protection and safety of believers in Jesus in Gaza and the West Bank as they minister to the many suffering Palestinians who need to know the love of Messiah.
- Pray that many among the Hamas fighters will be radically changed through an encounter with Jesus, and lift up the sword of the Spirit instead of instruments of destruction.
- Pray that all those seeking peace in the Middle East will find hope in the Prince of Peace Himself, Jesus.