We are watching genocidal conditions emerge in epicenter. U.S. President orders airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq. Pray especially for Iraqi Christians who are being beheaded & crucified.

(Source: NBC News)

(Source: NBC News)

(Denver, Colorado) — “Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide.”

That is the first line of my most recent novel, The Auschwitz Escape. But while the book was fiction, I’m afraid that line is proving as relevant as today’s headlines.

We are watching genocidal conditions emerging in the epicenter.

This is as dark as any time I have ever seen in the modern Middle East.

Please pray for the world to stop ISIS, Hamas and the jihadist rampage. Pray for Israel. Pray for the Palestinians in Gaza who are being crushed and enslaved by Hamas. Pray for the Christians in Iraq who are being beheaded and crucified. Pray for the peaceful, moderate Kurds who are being attacked by ISIS.

We are watching a jihadist rampage across the region. This isn’t just war. We are watching the jihadists seeking to annihilate all who stand in their way as they try to establish and Islamic State or caliphate.

This evil must be checked, now.

ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — and Hamas and the other jihadist forces in the region absolutely must be stopped. Civilized nations much band together and crush these wicked forces before it is too late.

The free world dithered as Adolf Hitler came to power. Isolationists in America told us we should do nothing. So we waited. We hesitated. We argued amongst ourselves. We eventually fought. We eventually banded together with other civilized nations to check the evil. But only after we were suffered a devastating surprise attack. We waited far too long to check the evil that was rising in the 1930s and 40s, and millions upon millions of innocents died as a result.

Now consider what is happening today:

ISIS has captured half of Iraq and forcing Christians to covert or die, beheading children, crucifying enemies, tearing down crosses.

I’m hearing from Christian pastor friends in Iraq that ISIS forces have conquered all or most of the Christian towns in the north of Iraq and are now only 20 to 40 kilometers from Erbil (Irbil), the Kurdish capital in the north with 1.5 million people, mostly Sunni Muslims but also most of the Christians leaders in Iraq (I have been four times in recent years to encourage and support the Christians).

More than 170,000 have been murdered in Syria, millions of Syrians have fled their homes to escape the violence, millions more have fled to neighboring countries as refugees as ISIS and other jihadist groups seek to conquer Damascus and seize control of the entire country.

Israel is under attack by 3,000+ rockets from jihadist terror groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others. After several days of quiet during a ceasefire, Hamas has re-launched the war. Just since midnight, they have fired more than 45 rockets at Israeli civilian population centers.

Meanwhile, in the shadows, Iran marches forward with its nuclear program while threatening to wipe Israel “off the map.”

Imagine if ISIS and Hamas had nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

Up until now, there has been precious little international effort to stop the radicals — only blistering condemnations of Israel for trying to defend herself from the jihadist rampage. But on Thursday, seeing genocidal conditions rapidly emerging, the President authorized U.S. airstrikes against ISIS forces in northern Iraq. On Friday, a few, limited airstrikes began.

“President Obama, saying that he was acting to avert a threatened genocide, announced that he had authorized airstrikes against Sunni militants who have advanced quickly across northern Iraq, driving tens of thousands of people out of their towns and villages,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “In addition to the threat of airstrikes, Obama said U.S. cargo planes had dropped supplies to the displaced Iraqis in the area of Mt. Sinjar, who faced the risk of imminent starvation. ‘Today, America is coming to help,’ Obama said in brief remarks from the White House. Obama repeated his vow that no American combat troops would be sent back to Iraq, saying that ‘as commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.'”

The Washington Post reported on Friday morning that “U.S. military jets carried out two airstrikes Friday on Islamist militants outside the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil, hours after President Obama authorized attacks against the Sunni extremists advancing on the northern Iraq city. The F-18 combat aircraft targeted artillery being used by militants of the Islamic State extremist group against Kurdish forces defending Irbil, the Pentagon said. It said the artillery was fired at Kurdish forces ‘near U.S. personnel.’ The planes dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs at about 6:45 a.m. EDT, said Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. Obama authorized the strikes following the launch of a powerful offensive by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq. He also sent U.S. military aircraft to drop food and water to besieged Iraqi civilians in the region. The U.S. airstrikes hit Islamic State positions in Makhmour, about 35 miles southwest of Irbil, said Mahmood Haji, an official at the Kurdish Interior Ministry. ‘This is a victory for all the Iraqi people, for the pesh merga, and for America,” he said. “We need these airstrikes to destroy their bases and vehicles so the pesh merga can move forward.’ The pesh merga is the Kurdish security force.”



BREAKING NEWS: Hamas jihadists starts firing salvo after salvo of rockets at Israel. War starts again.

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSIt pains me to say that Hamas has started firing rockets at Israel again. The cease-fire period has ended and clearly the jihadists are not finished trying to murder Israeli Jews and Arabs and bring further devastation to Gaza.

This despite a new poll showing that “an overwhelming 92 percent of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are in favor of a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and 72% hope their leaders will work to achieve a lasting peace agreement with the Jewish state,” notes the Times of Israel.

Here’s what we know so far tonight.

“Jerusalem had hoped Hamas would agree to another 72 hour extension to allow time for Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams in Cairo to come to an agreement that would end Operation Protective Edge, which now enters its 32nd day,” reports the Jerusalem Post. ” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said his organization had rejected the idea of an extension, but would continue to negotiate.”

Economic Affair Minister Naftali Bennett called on the government to pull its delegation out of the Cairo talks,” noted the Post. “Its sends the wrong message to Hamas for Israel to negotiate under fire, he said, explaining that what was needed was a military response. ‘Our response has to be harsh. Operation Protective Edge has not ended. Israeli citizens have to stand strong.  The IDF said that 11 Gaza launched rockets and mortars had fired into Israel in the first hour after the cease fire ended. During that salvo, one rocket was shot down over Ashkelon and 7 more landed in open areas in the Hof Ashkelon region.”

Please don’t be discouraged. Please be praying for the Lord to restore calm and stability soon. But also pray that the people of Gaza — and the world — turn decisively against Hamas and its terrorist allies and that these evil forces are constrained and defeated once and for all.


Jihadist rampage: Hamas threatens to relaunch war. ISIS beheading children & Christians in Iraq. 170,000 killed in Syria. UPDATE: President Obama authorizes airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. US Navy starts bombing ISIS. Please pray for Christians in Iraq.

Jihadists are on a rampage.

Jihadists are on a rampage.

UPDATED: (Denver, Colorado) — We are witnessing a jihadist rampage in the epicenter.

Hamas has fired 3,000-plus rockets at Israel and is now threatening to re-launch its war against Israel as early as Friday. ISIS is beheading children, raping women, and killing scores of Christians in Iraq. They are also warning Christians to convert or be massacred. At the same time, ISIS jihadists are crucifying Christians and others in Syria, and the bloody civil war in Syria has left 170,000 dead and created millions of refugees fleeing for safety.

Please pray for Christ to show great mercy to all the people of the region. Please pray for ISIS forces to be stopped, and defeated. And pray especially for Christians in Iraq who are fleeing from the evil ISIS rampage, as well as all Iraqis who are being hunted, persecuted and killed.

Now here are the latest headlines: 

The world is doing little or nothing about these crimes against humanity. Instead, they are condemning Israel for defending themselves against a jihadist onslaught and threatening to charge Israeli Jews with war crimes.

[UPDATE: Late on Thursday, in a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy, “President Barack Obama authorized targeted airstrikes and emergency assistance missions in northern Iraq, saying Thursday the U.S. must act to protect American personnel and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the face of advances by violent Islamist militants,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The U.S. military said it completed a delivery of meals and water to thousands of members of a religious minority who fled the town of Sinjar and are trapped in nearby mountains by the group calling itself the Islamic State. Mr. Obama said he ordered the use of U.S. airstrikes if necessary either to stop militants from closing in on the northern city of Erbil or to allow local forces to aid the Yazidis, the religious minority. No U.S. strikes had been conducted by late Thursday, officials said. His remarks at the White House capped a day of soaring concern about militant advances in Iraq, where extremist fighters seized control of areas long considered safe and took over the Mosul Dam, the country’s largest, according to local reports.”]

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil,” wrote the Hebrew prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 5:20).

Woe to world leaders who are ignoring true evil and condemning those who are trying to defending themselves.

As Christians, we need to pray faithfully and consistently for Christians in the Middle East to have courage to stand for Christ and boldly proclaim the Gospel — the good news — amidst such darkness and evil. We need to pray for the Lord to protect Jews, Christians and Muslims from this jihadist wave of terror. We need to speak out — don’t be silent in the face of great evil — we must urge the democracies and all civilized nations of the world to fight such terror and help those who are defending themselves against Radical Islam. But we must not wait for governments to do the right thing. The Church must do all we can to help those who are suffering in real and practical ways.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the evil that is on the move in the epicenter:

Tonight here in Denver I will speak these issues in a message titled, “The Future of America, Israel & the Middle East in the light of the Scriptures.” I will deliver a similar address on Saturday at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. On Sunday, I will preach at Grace West Church in West Des Moines, also on what Bible prophecy teaches about the future of Israel and the Middle East and how Christians must live in these dark times.

On Monday, I hope to post notes on these messages. But please attend, if you can. For more details or to register to attend either of these events, please click here.


>> I’ll speak on latest events in Israel & Mideast in Denver tonight, and in Ames, Iowa on Saturday. Please register to attend.

Rand Paul has repeatedly called for ending US military aid to Israel. Now he’s denying it. Why?


Sen. Rand Paul tries to deny he has called for an end to all US aid to Israel -- but that's exactly what he's done.

Sen. Rand Paul tries to deny he has called for an end to all US aid to Israel — but that’s exactly what he’s done.

(Denver, Colorado) — With America’s ally Israel under attack from more than 3,000 rockets and missiles as well as terrorist squads from Gaza, Senator Rand Paul — increasingly considered the 2016 GOP presidential frontrunner  — this week insisted that he has never called for the end of U.S. aid to Israel.

What in the world is he talking about?

Senator Paul has repeatedly called for an end to the $3 billion the U.S. invests in the Israeli military every year. He has called such an investment “welfare.” He started making this case in 2011 in his budget proposal and in interviews with CNN and ABC News. He even repeated the call for an end of military aid to Israel on a visit to Jerusalem in 2013.

Consider these stories:

The Wall Street Journal reports: “In 2011, Mr. Paul proposed a five-year balanced budget plan that said it ‘eliminates extraneous tax subsidies that exceed tax liability, and all international assistance, among other cuts.’ And in an interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN early in 2011, Mr. Paul said he would end foreign aid to Israel as well as other Mideast countries. Noting that Egypt gets about the same amount of U.S. money as Israel, he said that ‘you have to ask yourself, are we funding an arms race on both sides? I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Israel as a democratic nation, as a, you know, a fountain of peace and a fountain of democracy within the Middle East. But at the same time, I don’t think funding both sides of the arm race, particularly when we have to borrow the money from China to send it to someone else. We just can’t do it anymore. The debt is all-consuming and it threatens our well being as a country.’ When Mr. Blitzer asked if he would ‘end all foreign aid including the foreign aid to Israel as well,’ Mr. Paul replied, ‘Yes.’ In a February 2011 interview with ABC News, Mr. Paul defended his call to cut the $3 billion in annual aid to Israel and assistance to other countries. ‘I’m not singling out Israel. I support Israel. I want to be known as a friend of Israel,’ Mr. Paul said at the time, ‘but not with money you don’t have. We can’t just borrow from our kids’ future and give it to countries even if they are our friends….I think they’re an important ally, but I also think that their per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world. Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don’t think so.'”

So why is Paul denying it? One possibility: he knows the nation — and especially the GOP — is strongly pro-Israel and he worries that he cannot advance politically if voters conclude that he is not.

On the merits of the issue of investing in Israel’s military as a key and important American ally, the Senator is dead wrong. 

Widely regarded as an isolationist (see here, here, here, here and here), Paul wants America to retreat from the world, not be the world’s leading superpower. He has demonstrated that he does not understand the gravity of the threats we face from Iran, North Korea, Russia, China or Radical Islam more broadly. Nor does he  truly understand the enormous threats the U.S., Israel and our Arab allies face in the Middle East, in particular, or how valuable it is to invest in the Israeli military.

Israel is America’s most faithful ally in a dangerous part of the world. Americans in both parties overwhelming support Israel and want to continue doing so. Israel is on the frontlines of the war against Radical Islam. The Israelis provide us highly-valuable intelligence, basing rights for our forces, and joint development of high-tech weapons systems that keep our people and forces safe, as well as theirs. The joint development of missile and rocket defenses such as the Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome systems have been lifesavers. With the proliferation of ballistic missiles throughout the Middle East, and Iran racing for nuclear weapons, now is not the time to end our investment in the most successful military in the world in shooting down rockets and missiles.

Now is the time to stand together with our trustworthy ally, not cut her loose.

There is a second issue at play here that is also troubling. Senator Paul is entitled to hold any opinion on any public policy issue he wants. He can even change his views if he would like to. But for any leader — especially a presidential frontrunner — to deny that he has a position that he has stated publicly and repeatedly is ludicrous. Indeed, it raises questions about his character and veracity.

One last thought: Senator Paul’s position to end military aid to Israel puts him far to the left of President Obama.

Is this the future of the GOP?


Rand Paul says he never proposed ending aid to Israel — even though he did

Paul proposed a budget in 2011 to cut off aid to all foreign nations.

By Chris Moody, Yahoo News, August 4, 2014

“Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Monday denied that he once supported ending federal aid to Israel — an idea he proposed as recently as 2011,” reports Yahoo News.

“I haven’t really proposed that in the past,” Paul told Yahoo News when asked if he still thought the U.S. should phase out aid to Israel, which has been battling Hamas in Gaza for weeks. “We’ve never had a legislative proposal to do that. You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question. That has not been a position — a legislative position — we have introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid. That’s the answer to that question. Israel has always been a strong ally of ours and I appreciate that. I voted just this week to give money — more money — to the Iron Dome, so don’t mischaracterize my position on Israel.”

Paul, who was in Omaha campaigning for Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse before a three-day tour of neighboring Iowa, may not like it when reporters bring up his proposal from three years ago to end all U.S. foreign aid — including to Israel. But that was in fact his position.

In 2011, the newly elected Paul proposed a budget that would have cut $500 billion from the federal budget in part by cutting off foreign aid to all countries, including financial grants to Israel. The United States provides about $3 billion to Israel annually, and last week the Senate approved $225 million to help support Israel’s Iron Dome technology, which blocks rocket fire from Gaza. (Paul supported the measure.)

Paul, in his first months in office, however, defended phasing out aid by saying that the U.S. could no longer afford to give cash to other countries.

“I’m not singling out Israel. I support Israel. I want to be known as a friend of Israel, but not with money you don’t have,” Paul said in 2011 during an interview with ABC News. “We can’t just borrow from our kids’ future and give it to countries, even if they are our friends.”

He even pointed to Israel as an example of a nation that doesn’t need foreign aid because of its own wealth.

“I think they’re an important ally, but I also think that their per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world,” Paul said, also in 2011. “Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don’t think so.”….

It’s one thing for a politician to admit that his views have changed on an issue and an entirely other thing to say that he never held the position at all.

“Their God changes the path of our rockets in mid-air, said a terrorist.” Reports of divine intervention in Gaza War?

(Source: Jewish Telegraph/WND)

(Source: Jewish Telegraph/WND)

(Denver, Colorado) — “More claims of divine intervention are being reported in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, with an operator of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system saying he personally witnessed ‘the hand of God’ diverting an incoming rocket out of harm’s way,” says a fascinating report published by WorldNetDaily.

Excerpts from the article:

Israel Today translated a report from a Hebrew-language news site, which noted the Iron Dome battery failed three times to intercept an incoming rocket headed toward Tel Aviv last week.

The commander recalled: “A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.

“We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident

“Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that … sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!’

“I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.”

The commander’s account is reminiscent of a recent newspaper headline which trumpeted the possibility of supernatural protection.

“Their God changes the path of our rockets in mid-air, said a terrorist,” was the headline in the July 18 edition of the Jewish Telegraph.

It was a partial quote from Barbara Ordman, who lives in Ma’ale Adumim on the West Bank.

Her exact quotation was: “As one of the terrorists from Gaza was reported to say when asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets more effectively: “We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air.”

She opened her piece by noting: “In October 1956, [Israeli Prime Minister] David Ben Gurion was interviewed by CBS. He stated: ‘In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.’”….

Meanwhile, the Times of Israel reported a senior officer in Israel’s army said divine miracles protected his soldiers during fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Givati Brigade commander Col. Ofer Winter told the weekly publication Mishpacha that he “witnessed a miraculous occurrence, the likes of which he had never seen before during his military career.”

Winter indicated a predawn raid intended to use darkness as cover was delayed, forcing the soldiers to move toward their objective as sunrise was approaching.

With the troops in danger of being exposed at daybreak, Winter explained how heavy fog quickly descended to shroud their movements until their mission was accomplished.

“Suddenly a cloud protected us,” he said, referring to clouds the Bible says guided the ancient Israelites as they wandered in the desert. “Clouds of glory.”

Winter said only when the soldiers were in a secure position, the fog finally lifted.

“It really was a fulfillment of the verse ‘For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to give you victory,’” he said, quoting Deuteronomy 20:4….

>> I’ll speak on latest events in Israel & Mideast in Denver & Ames, Iowa in August. Please register to attend.


GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #29: So far, cease-fire holding. Here’s the war by the numbers.

IDF-tanksilhoutte(Denver, Colorado) — For the moment, there is quiet in Gaza and southern Israel.

A newly-negotiated cease-fire began at 1am eastern time. As of 5:30pm eastern time on Tuesday, Hamas and its terrorist allies in Gaza still hadn’t broken it. Israeli military forces, meanwhile, have withdrawn from most of the Gaza Strip, but for a buffer zone where they are keeping a vigilant watch on any new possible terror attacks.

It’s too early to say the war is over, but calm is good. A time to catch one’s breath. A time to comfort the wounded and suffering. A time to take stock of what has just happened, and what the future could hold.

Please pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all the epicenter. Pray that the Lord would restore calm and stability. Pray that the people of Gaza would turn against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade and other terror groups operating in the Strip. Pray that Palestinians and Israelis would soon be truly liberated from Hamas’ ruthless reign of terror and the destruction and devastation they have caused. Please also pray that Christians around the world would faithfully and publicly stand with Israel and seek to bless her as the world tries to isolate and condemn her, and that Christians would also faithfully and publicly show love and compassion to the Palestinian people who have been so oppressed by Hamas for so long. 

Here’s a useful report from the Times of Israel, providing a snapshot of the Gaza War — “Operation Protective Edge” — by the numbers:

  • Number of rockets fired from Gaza at Israel: 3,356
  • Number of rockets shot down by Iron Dome: 578
  • Number of rockets shot from Gaza that landed inside Gaza: 475
  • Number of rockets launched from civilian facilities inside Gaza at Israel: 597 rockets — of these, “approximately 260 were launched from schools, 127 from cemeteries, 160 from religious sites such as mosques, and 50 from hospitals.”
  • Number of rockets the IDF believes Hamas and its allies began with in Gaza: About 10,000
  • Number of rockets IDF believes they destroyed: About 3,000
  • Number of rockets IDF believes Hamas and its terror allies still have in Gaza: About 3,000 to 4,000
  • Number of terror tunnels destroyed by the IDF: 32
  • Number of terrorist targets struck by IDF: 4,762 — “most of them rocket-launching sites, nearly 1,000 of them command and control centers, about 240 Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades buildings, nearly 200 weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, nearly 150 terror training compounds and 1,535 additional terror sites. “They were part of a strategic plan of Hamas, and an investment of approximately $100 million worth of materials, and we have now removed that threat,” Lerner said of the tunnels.
  • Number of Palestinians killed: 1,867 people in the Gaza Strip, according to estimates based on figures given by Hamas — the Israeli Defense Forces say between 750 and 1,000 militants were killed in Gaza.
  • Number of Israelis killed: 67 people, all soldiers except for three civilians.
  • Number of Gazans displaced by the war: about 400,000 Gazans, many of whom left their apartments and places of work because Hamas and other terror groups were operating in or near them, and the IDF told them via text messages, phone calls and leaflets to leave the area so they wouldn’t be injured or killed in Israeli airstrikes against the militants.
  • Amount of humanitarian relief the IDF said transferred into Gaza during the war: 1,856 trucks carrying 40,550 tons of food, medical and humanitarian supplies.
  • Number of IDF soldiers called up from reserves during the war: 82,201

>> I’ll speak on latest events in Israel & Mideast in Denver & Ames, Iowa in August. Please register to attend.


GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #28: 10,000 attend funeral for Messianic Jewish soldier killed in combat in Gaza.


First Sergeant Shai Kushnir, a Jewish believer in Jesus who died in combat in Gaza this weekend. (Source: Israel Today)

First Sergeant Shai Kushnir, a Jewish believer in Jesus who died in combat in Gaza this weekend. (Source: Israel Today)

(Denver, Colorado) — On Day #28 of the Gaza war, “Messianic Jews around the country are mourning after one of their young soldiers was killed in action last week,” reports Israel Today. “First Sergeant Shai Kushnir, who grew up in a youth group at a Messianic congregation in the Haifa area, was killed during operations along the Gaza border.”

“Messianic Jews” believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Messiah in fulfillment of ancient Hebrew prophecy and follow Him for salvation. There are presently about 15,000 Messianic Jews in Israel — many of whom serve faithfully in the IDF — and upwards of 300,000 around the world. 

“Over ten thousand came to pay their respects to Shai and the family, including two mayors from the Greater Haifa area, IDF generals and commanders from the Armored Brigade, as well as Messianic friends and congregational leaders,” the report noted. “Many wept openly as the 20-year-old fallen soldier was laid to rest in a full military ceremony at the IDF cemetery in Kiryat Ata, just outside Haifa.”

Please pray for the Kushnir family, for the Lord to comfort them in their grief. Please pray for their family and friends and for all the Messianic Jews in Israel as they mourn this loss. Please also pray for the families and friends of the other soldiers who have died in combat, as well for the family and friends of all the Palestinians who have been killed as well. Let’s keep praying that Hamas is defeated, and that Arabs and Jews are liberated from their reign of terror, and that this war will come to an end soon and calm will be restored. Thanks so much.

To read the full story, see below.


  • Since July 8th, more than 3,253 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza.
  • On Sunday alone, 119 rockets were fired at Israel.
  • Three civilians in Israel have died.
  • 64 Israeli soldiers have died in combat, while hundreds more have been wounded.
  • Palestinian officials say deaths on their side in Gaza top 1,80o — Israeli officials say at least half of those were terrorists.



By David Lazarus, Israel Today

Messianic Jews around the country are mourning after one of their young soldiers was killed in action last week.

First Sergeant Shai Kushnir, who grew up in a youth group at a Messianic congregation in the Haifa area, was killed during operations along the Gaza border.

Over ten thousand came to pay their respects to Shai and the family, including two mayors from the Greater Haifa area, IDF generals and commanders from the Armored Brigade, as well as Messianic friends and congregational leaders. Many wept openly as the 20-year-old fallen soldier was laid to rest in a full military ceremony at the IDF cemetery in Kiryat Ata, just outside Haifa.

Barely holding back his tears, the commanding officer of Shai’s unit addressed the mourners:

“Shai fought bravely in order to defend the citizens of Israel. Few are willing to put others before themselves, but Shai was motivated by a higher principle of love, generosity and sacrifice for others. Living by these principles did not just happen on the spur of the moment, rather they are the result of the upbringing that Shai received from parents and family.

“Shai, your spirit and willingness to fight has left a profound impression on us. Your desire to help and to do whatever you could to save a life gave us courage during the fighting over the past few weeks. Just moments before we went into battle you said, ‘You can depend on me. I will protect you.’

“You were more than a friend, Shai, you were like a brother to us. Your memory will be with us always and will continue to give us the strength to carry on. We are paying the ultimate price in order to defend our people, the price of our dearest sons and daughters.”

According to IDF regulations, as an only son, Shai was not permitted to serve in a combat unit. “But Shai was absolutely adamant,” said his father, Michael. “He just kept on insisting that he wanted to serve in a combat unit.”

When it became clear that Shai would have it no other way, he was eventually allowed to serve in the Barak (Lightning) Division of an Armored Brigade, the same unit in which his father served.

Shai was a medic in a reconnaissance platoon that suffered a direct hit by Hamas mortars. Four other soldiers died in the attack along with Shai.

The day before he was killed, Shai’s father sent a message to his son:

“Sheiky, I miss you very very much. Not a minute goes by that I do not think of you, day and night. I try to imagine how you and your friends are facing this difficult situation. How are you responding to all this dangerous? You and all the other youth have an extremely difficult task to shield our tiny country. With your very lives you are our Protective Edge. I believe that you and your friends are strong, determined and full of motivation to complete the difficult task that you have. You are the best this country has to offer. We trust you. Daddy loves and misses you.”

The funeral was concluded with a prayer by the IDF Rabbi:

“To First Sergeant Shai, family and friends who have gathered here to honor you, I ask you for forgiveness. We called upon you to serve our country and you have given your life for us. May you go in peace and may you have eternal rest. May you now stand before the Judge all of flesh and have Shalom. And may there be Shalom on Israel, now and forever.”

>> I’ll speak on latest events in Israel & Mideast in Denver & Ames, Iowa in August. Please register to attend.

GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #27: Netanyahu addresses nation. Operation against Hamas to continue. IDF has destroyed the terror tunnels, will unilaterally withdraw soon. But Israel won’t negotiate a ceasefire any longer. IDF determines Hadar Goldin is dead, not captured.


PM Netanyahu (right) and Defense Minister Yaalon (left) address the nation and reporters on Saturday evening. (Source: Ynet)

PM Netanyahu (right) and Defense Minister Yaalon (left) address the nation and reporters on Saturday evening. (Source: Ynet)

UPDATED: >> Watch clips of Israel’s Prime Minister speaking in English on Saturday evening (Israel time) on the latest developments in Gaza, and the state of U.S.-Israel relations.

>> Kidnapped soldier Hadar Goldin is dead, IDF tells family — Army’s chief rabbi, defense minister bring the bitter tidings to Givati officer’s parents, siblings and fiancee, as large crowd mourns outside (Times of Israel)

(Denver, Colorado) — It’s not over yet, but Israel is winning in the battle against radical Islamic terrorism in Gaza. Here’s the latest.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon addressed their nation on live TV in Hebrew at 9pm on Saturday evening, the beginning of Day #27 of Operation Protective Edge.

Here are highlights of their message:

  • Israel’s military operation against Hamas and the terrorists in Gaza is not over —  but they are making tremendous progress and will continue aggressively until the terrorist attacks on Israel are neutralized and the situation is calm and stable.
  • That said, Israel will be done destroying the terror tunnels threatening Israel in the next 24 hours or so.
  • The IDF will then begin withdrawing ground forces from Gaza unilaterally.
  • Israel will not try to negotiate another ceasefire with Hamas.
  • Israel will continue to hit the terrorists with air power, and will retain full freedom of action against the terrorists.
  • In effort to calm tensions with U.S., Netanyahu thanked President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for their support for Israel’s right of self-defense.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in a press conference that IDF forces have ‘destroyed thousands of terror targets,’ and that after the tunnels inside the Gaza Strip are destroyed, the IDF will continue in its mission to restore security to Israel’s citizens,” reports Haaretz.

“All the options are on the table to restore security,” he said.

“The prime minister said Operation Protective Edge is complex, due to fighting in densely populated areas, and said Israel regrets the death of every Palestinian civilian,” Haaretz noted. “Netanyahu also said the operation has the support of the United States and of Europe.”

“The U.S. has been terrific and has given us tremendous support during the Gaza crisis,” Netanyahu said during the question time of the press conference.

“Netanyahu’s press conference was held shortly after the family of 2nd. Lt. Hadar Goldin, believed captured by Hamas, demanded Israel will not leave their son behind,” the Israeli daily noted.

“Israel will continue to do everything it can to bring its missing soldier home,” the Prime Minister said.

>> I’ll speak on latest events in Israel & Mideast in Denver & Ames, Iowa in August. Please register to attend.

GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #25: Hamas uses ceasefire to capture IDF officer Hadar Goldin, 23. IDF unleashes ferocious attacks on Hamas. Please for Goldin’s rescue & family. Also: Hamas plot for massive terror attack on Rosh Hashana uncovered.


Please pray for Hadar Goldin, 23, IDF officer who was declared missing in Gaza on August 1. (Source: Times of Israel)

Please pray for Hadar Goldin, 23, IDF officer who was declared missing in Gaza on August 1. (Source: Times of Israel)

UPDATED: (Denver, Colorado) — It lasted barely 90 minutes.

The ceasefire that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon negotiated with Hamas, and put enormous pressure on Israel to accept, commenced at 8am Friday Israel time. 

Yet around 9:30am,  the whole thing collapsed. Palestinian terrorists attacked an IDF unit. They killed two Israeli soldiers and apparently captured a third, an officer. Almost simultaneously, terrorists began firing rockets and mortars at Israeli forces.

The missing officer is Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin from Kfar Saba. He is 23 years, was born in Great Britain, has three siblings, and is engaged to be married.

Israeli forces immediately fired back at the terrorists. They also initiated the “Hannibal Protocol.” They unleashed a ferocious bombing and artillery campaign against the area where their officer was abducted in hopes of either creating so much chaos and confusion that the officer could escape his captors, or that the officer would be killed and thus couldn’t be used as leverage against the State of Israel. 

This has been standard IDF procedure since the 1980s when Israeli leaders decided the capture of a soldier was not a tactical development affecting a single unit but a strategic one that endangered the affected the entire state. The last time an IDF soldier — Gilad Shalit — was captured by Hamas, he was held for three years before Israel  finally released 1,027 Palestinian Arabs, including 477 convicted terrorists to get Shalit back.

It now seems clear Hamas used the cover of the agreed-upon 72 hour humanitarian ceasefire precisely to kill and abduct Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli public is both horrified and enraged. There is little appetite, much less trust, for another ceasefire any time soon. The Israeli security cabinet is meeting with IDF generals and intelligence officials to map out there next steps.

In an appalling development on Thursday night, the U.S. Senate voted down a proposal to provide Israel with $225 million in emergency aid for the Iron Dome system, the Israeli-designed, U.S.-funded system that is successfully shooting down 90% of the rockets it is fired at.

UPDATE, 12:50pm eastern, Friday: The Senate approved $225 million for Israel’s missile defense system on Friday morning, hours after an ugly floor spat nearly left the U.S. ally without additional aid before a long congressional recess,” reports Politico. “Fiscally conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Thursday night blocked the emergency cash infusion for the Iron Dome, which intercepts rockets fired at Israel by Hamas, over concerns that the spending was not offset and would increase the deficit. But Coburn only represented a narrow minority of GOP senators who wanted to see the funding offset, and his objections were opposed by nearly the entire rest of the Senate.” 

MEGA-TERROR ATTACK BY HAMAS THWARTED: One last note for now: In discovering some 40 terror tunnels so far, the IDF has developed chilling new insights into how the terrorists planned to use them to kill Israelis.

“Hamas had apparently been preparing a murderous assault on Israeli civilian targets for the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which begins on September 24, according anonymous sources in the Israeli security services, as reported by the Israeli daily Maariv,” notes the Gatestone Institute. “The Hamas plan consisted of what was to be a surprise attack in which 200 fighters would be dispatched through each of dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel, and seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians. Israeli soldiers already frustrated a surprise assault by Hamas through one tunnel from Gaza into the Eshkol district of Israel on July 19. The Hamas fighters escaped back into the tunnel, but the clash cost the lives of two Israel Defense Force [IDF] troops.”

Such intelligence is what is driving Israeli leaders to push forward to identify and destroy all the terror tunnels, despite the high cost. Netanyahu and his colleagues fear that if they don’t deal with the tunnel threat with now, Hamas will be able to prepare for much more devastating mega-terror attacks in the near future.

Please pray, and mobilize others to pray:

Here’s the latest:

“An IDF soldier was kidnapped by Gaza terrorists, the IDF said Friday, with a senior official blaming Hamas for using the ceasefire to take the soldier hostage. Two other soldiers were killed in the incident,” reported Ynet News. “It was cleared for publication that Givati Battalion Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin (23) from Kfar Saba was missing and feared to have been abducted Friday morning during clashes in the Gaza Strip near Rafah.”

“According to an announcement by the IDF, at 9:30 am Friday, terrorists opened fire at IDF forces in southern Gaza. Initial information from the scene indicated that there is a chance that an IDF soldiers was kidnapped during the incident,” Ynet noted. “‘(Israeli) forces operating to decommission an (infiltration) tunnel were attacked. Initial indications are that a soldier has been abducted by terrorists during the operation,’ the spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said in a conference call with journalists. Speaking with Ynet, a senior IDF source said that the possible kidnapping of an IDF soldier was carried out in a skirmish near a smuggling tunnel and was aided by a suicide bomber. According to him, a terrorists appeared while forces were searching for tunnels, one of them then blew himself up, during which time others kidnapped the solider.”

“Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip will bear the consequences of their actions,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Secretary of State John Kerry during a phone call early Friday afternoon, reported the Times of Israel

The two spoke “a few hours after a Hamas suicide bombing and attack near Rafah during which two Israeli soldiers were killed and 2nd-Lt. Hadar Goldin of the Givati Brigade was apparently captured, the Times noted.

Israel will “take all necessary steps against those who call for our destruction and perpetrate terrorism against our citizens,” Netanyahu told Kerry.

“According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, [Netanyahu] told Kerry that ‘despite his joint statement’ with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to which ‘assurances’ had been received from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza regarding a ceasefire from 8:00 a.m. Friday morning, the Palestinians ‘unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian ceasefire and attacked our soldiers after 9:00 a.m,'” reported the Times.

>> I’ll speak on latest events in Israel & Mideast in Denver & Ames, Iowa in August. Please register to attend.