Arafat’s Death: What Impact Might It Have and How Can We Pray?
Here are some reflections from members of our staff:
Moishe Rosen, founder
It might or might not be that Arafat is the lesser of evils, but the evil that does exist was in part created by him. It will take either a person of great power or a great deal of time for the climate of hatred to change. Pray that God will raise up a hero amongst the Palestinians who has the courage to be fair.
David Brickner, executive director
It is possible for a more moderate leadership to help move the peace process forward. It is also the possibility that even more radical elements will seize upon this transition to wrest control for themselves. God’s Word gives us clear instruction regarding our posture toward Jerusalem and the Middle East at this time. We are to pray for peace (Ps. 122:6). We should also pray for wisdom for the leaders among the Palestinians, Israelis, moderate Arab states and our own government. Also, times of uncertainty and transition often lead to a greater openness to the working of the Holy Spirit. Pray for believers in the Land to be bold in pointing the attention of all who will listen toward the only One who is able to bring a lasting peace to Jerusalem.
Susan Perlman, first assistant to the executive director
Arafat’s desire to effect positive change in the Middle East throughout his time as spokesperson for the Palestinian people, was always questionable at best. It’s my hope that a person who has the long term interests of the Palestinian people in mind will assume the lead. I’m more inclined to believe, however, that Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah, who will all vie for the top spot, will not concede the role of spokesperson to any one man or woman. How should we pray? That the power of Yeshua (Jesus) to reconcile individuals to Himself will be realized by more and more Palestinians and Jews, and that there be freedom for both peoples to hear the gospel without fear of persecution or reprisal.
Stephen Katz, Washington, D.C. branch leader
Pray that the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian people will look for a fresh start in their work toward peace. Thank God for His choice of the next Palestinian leader who will replace Arafat. Pray that any violence of Hamas will turn back on their own heads.
Efraim Goldstein, Tel Aviv branch leader
The hope is that this will break the stalemate that we have been experiencing in the peace agreements for the past four years and maybe stop the waves of terrorism we have been experiencing in Israel for the past nine years. Pray for the Palestinians to have a new openness to the gospel and for the PLO oppression to be broken or loosened; pray that the Palestinian community will not erupt in a form of civil war as various factions struggle for power.
Tuvya Zaretsky, Los Angeles branch leader
I was in Israel through Wednesday of last week. The mood on the streets of the main cities was cautiously optimistic. First, there needs to be a smooth transition of the government. Second, the hope is that a more moderate leadership will be able to reach a peace agreement with Israel now that Arafat is out of the way. Third, if all that happens, there should be an economic rebound in Israel. That could be good for the gospel if people open their minds to a new day in the life of the state. It could be bad for ministry if people get self-satisfied. Pray for the smooth transition of the Palestinian leadership as they fend off extremists, like Hamas and Arafat’s militant Fatah militia wing. Pray for a successful Palestinian-Israeli peace process, and an environment that is conducive to the Gospel. Pray for the Lord’s will to be done among the people in the Middle East at this time. Pray especially for the salvation of the Palestinian people and Israeli Jews. May there be fellowship between them that wows the world.
For further reading on this topic, try a column by a Jewish believer named Joel C. Rosenberg—a best-selling author and one-time political consultant—.