Israeli forces have been successfully pounding the Hamas terror leadership and infrastructure in Gaza over the past six days. There is much, much more to be done, but progress is being made. Smuggling tunnels are being destroyed. Rocket launchers — even those hidden in mosques and residential areas — are being destroyed. Terrorist shock troops and their commanders are being killed. And on Thursday, an IDF airstrike killed Sheikh Nizar Rayyan, a senior Hamas official and spiritual leader who just day before said in a mosque in Gaza: “We do not need money or weapons, we only need your prayers. We can handle the enemy ourselves.” Israel’s Channel 10 described the sheikh as the “mufti” of Hamas’ military wing.
That said, it is not clear that Israel’s political leadership has the stomach for truly doing everything necessary to crush Hamas in Gaza once and for all. Readers of this weblog will note that just yesterday I praised Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday for rejecting a French and European Union proposed 48-hour cease fire. Yet today Olmert blinked, saying Israel is not interested an extended war to truly crush Hamas. A top aide to Defense Minister Ehud Barak said pretty much the same thing, conceding that crushing Hamas is not the goal, just stopping Hamas’ rocket attacks against Israel. What’s more, Barak actually seems to be in favor of the two-day “time out” being pushed by the EU rather than fighting as aggressively as possible towards regime change in Gaza. A number of Israel’s intelligentsia is also arguing publicly that Israel doesn’t have either the will or the means to uproot Hamas from Gaza, and thus Israelis should prepare themselves for far less.
We must continue to pray for Israel’s leaders to have the wisdom, courage and faith — yes, faith — to do all that is necessary to protect the citizens of Israel and to help liberate the people of Gaza from the hellish reign of terror that Hamas has created there. Olmert, Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni seem to have forgotten that the God of the Bible is the God of Israel who loves Israel and wants to bless her and give her real and lasting peace and security. They seem to have lost any measure of faith in the Lord who loves Israel and is ready to rescue her if her leaders and people will truly turn to Him? Do they not read the Word of the Lord? Do they not remember the promises of passages like Psalm 121?
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
The Lord gave the people of Israel great victories in the Bible when they followed Him. He gave them great victories against overwhelming odds in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. Israel is far more powerful militarily and economically today than ever before. With the Lord at their side, they could crush Hamas and liberate Gaza from evil. Yet they seem so far from Him today. As we pray for peace and comfort for the victims of war and terror on both sides of the fence, let us, therefore, also pray for the leaders of Israel that they will rediscover the God who loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. Let us pray that they turn to the Lord and seek His face, His will and His power. Let us pray that they remember and take heed to 2 Chronicles 7:14, in which the Lord said, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Headlines To Track:
- Olmert in Beersheba: We’re not interested in extended war
- Top aide to Barak: IDF aiming to stop Gaza rocket fire, not crush Hamas
- Benny Begin: ‘Tzipi Livni is not worthy of being PM’
- Jerusalem Post columnist: “Uprooting Hamas rule from Gaza is beyond Israel’s power”
- Divisions emerging among Israeli leaders
- Israel’s economy grew 4.1% in 2008, far above U.S. and Europe, but slowest in five years
- Pope may visit Israeli in 2009