Tzachi Hanegbi — a close, trusted, long-time personal friend and confidante of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — made remarks on Tuesday at a security conference in Tel Aviv that did not make news in the U.S. But they should have.
Hanegbi explained that the time for sanctions and diplomacy and covert options to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat is over, and the time for Israel to use its military option has come.
“It’s now or never,” said Hanegbi, “and the option of never does not exist.”
Hanegbi formerly served as the Minister of Intelligence and as Justice Minister in previous governments. He is currently a Member of Knesset (Likud).
“Israel has to act according to its own imperatives,” he said.
Given how close Hanegbi and Netanyahu are — and given how sensitive the current moment is — it is difficult to believe Hanegbi spoke without knowing the Prime Minister’s mind, and without having his blessing to make such ominous remarks.
I, for one, am praying for peace. I don’t want to see another war in the Middle East. I’m asking the Lord to bring down the regime in Tehran, and sabotage their nuclear weapons projects, and keep Tehran from going to far. But even as I pray for peace, I know Israel is preparing for war.
Consider other indicators that an Israeli first strike may be increasingly close at hand:
- At the same conference, Israeli Major Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, a former head of IDF Military Intelligence, said that “for all intents and purposes, Iran has crossed Israel’s red line…in the summer, Iran will be a month or two away from deciding about a bomb.”
- Netanyahu and his inner circle are watching how Iran has been accelerating its building of uranium centrifuges, expanding its nuclear facilities, and possibly building secret new facilities.
- President Obama is doing nothing after the Assad regime in Syria crossed the Obama “red line” by using chemical weapons against the rebels, killing and wounding many. Are they concluding the White House is serious about dealing with Iran if and when Tehran crosses the “red line”? Hardly.
- Netanyahu and his inner circle are watching how President Obama is doing nothing to stop North Korea from building — and testing — nuclear warheads and the ballistic missiles to deliver them. Are they concluding the White House is serious about preventing nuclear proliferation? Again, hardly.
- Netanyahu are his inner circle are watching how President Obama has pulled U.S. military assets out of the Persian Gulf region, claiming budget cutbacks.
- All this suggests the Netanyahu team believes it is all alone to deal with the Iran problem.
Now, let me be clear: I don’t know if war will happen or not. I hope not. I pray not. But I want to be honest and keep you up-to-date on the latest developments.
The Joshua Fund and I are going forward full steam ahead with our plans for our “Prayer & Vision Tour” in Israel this summer (June 25 to July 7) and the 2013 Epicenter Conference on July 5th in Jerusalem. We have nearly 200 people signed up for the trip — mostly evangelical Christians — are we are grateful for their trust and eager to take them into the Holy Land to pray, study God’s Word, meet Israelis and Palestinians, learn about TJF’s humanitarian relief work, and even participate in humanitarian relief projects. If we need to cancel the trip because war breaks out or is clearly imminent, we will do so — and our guests will receive 100% of their money back. But we won’t be swayed by rumors of war, and we’re impressed with this group that’s signed up because they don’t seemed to be swayed by the rumors either. They know we won’t knowingly take them into harm’s way. But they also know that this is the right time for Christians to stand with Israel and show our love and support by going there and praying for the peace of Jerusalem, as we are commanded in Psalm 122:6. There’s still some room on the trip if you’d like to join us. Click here for more details.
In the meantime, let’s keep praying for peace from wherever we are on the globe. Let’s keep a close eye on the developments in the region. And let’s keep preparing for war, should it break out [see video of how The Joshua Fund is making war preparations].
I’ll be in speaking and ministering in Europe for the next two weeks. While I’m there, I’ll do my best to post blogs and Tweet on a regular basis, as possible. Thanks, and God bless.
- To learn more about Damascus Countdown, please click here.
- To learn more about The Joshua Fund — and/or to make a tax deductible donation to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus – please click here
- Come with Joel and The Joshua Fund for a tour of Israel and the 2013 Epicenter Conference this summer
- Follow Joel on Twitter — @joelcrosenberg