Israel prayer

A Pacifist’s Prayer for Israel and the Middle East

27 October 2023

4 MINS

It is tragic to witness world events unfolding since Saturday, 7 October, the Hamas attack on Israeli civilians. It has been so hard to think and pray in a constructive, peaceful way in the aftermath of these diabolical acts.

The rhetoric at the time of the attack was telling. Israel’s 9/11, bigger than Pearl Harbour, etc.

  1. Cities around the world light up their monuments with the white and blue of the Israeli flag.
  2. Then, almost instantaneously, demonstrations burst forth around the world in support of the Palestinians and in praise of the Hamas attack. How is it that so many cannot distinguish between the Palestinians and Hamas?
  3. These pro-Palestinian demonstrations were facilitated by governments around the world, not banned as in the COVID era when congregating was a crime, attracting rubber bullets, tear gas, and imprisonment.
  4. Why was, arguably, the best army in the world and the best intelligence service caught napping by the clear and present danger of Hamas? Why did they take so long to respond?

All my life, I have claimed to be a pacifist, but the horror of 7 October saw me justify the Israeli rhetoric that they would now have the right to eliminate Hamas from the face of the earth. What was I thinking as a pacifist? I was supporting a planned invasion of Gaza; I was supporting and justifying in my mind whatever Israel needed to do for the sake of defeating their enemy.

Then, almost immediately, the Palestinian rhetoric came from all sides of the globe, ‘gas the Jews’, ‘from the river to the sea’, and more. How should I respond to this, and much more importantly, how should Israel respond?

Today, 19 days on in the war, one thing is clear to me: God is not willing that any should perish, but all should have everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9). If God’s not willing, then neither should I.

Further, we are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you prosper. May there be peace within your walls, and prosperity inside your fortresses.” (Psalm 122:6-7)

I am sickened to my stomach by this whole affair. There is so much I don’t understand, and that is made abundantly clear by the rhetoric from all sides. I mean Israel, Hamas, Palestinians, Americans, Left-leaning journalism and Right-leaning journalism.

Obtaining Accurate News

I respect and trust Amir Tsarfati very much. He is a Christian Jew who lives in Israel. Why wouldn’t he give us accurate reporting of the war? Well, he is an Israeli who is reporting incident upon incident as they occur. While I respect him very much, I feel he is too close to the detail, so intimately involved in the detail, that perhaps his reports don’t give us the big picture.

Security expert Daniel Lewkovitz said that in an age of social media, lies can go around the world “a dozen times before anyone even realises”. He quoted Winston Churchill:

The pictorial battlefield becomes a sea of mud mercifully veiled by the fog of war.

Bluntly, we do not really know what’s happening. We must be so careful not to buy others’ narratives without giving them the necessary scrutiny.

The Gaza Wall and the West Bank Territory

When I learned that the wall was being built in 1994, I was saddened. I saw the checkpoints. The Palestinians ‘let in each day to work in Israel’ and then ‘let out’ at night to go home. I saw the West Bank decaying into a two-state community, not dissimilar to South Africa’s apartheid.

I understood Israel’s motive to contain and protect itself from terror. I got that, but that’s not a permanent solution. At best, it’s a necessary evil for a future greater good, but as the years have gone by, I feel it’s less and less a solution and has become a tragic way of life.

Then, the irony of it all. On 7 October, the Gaza Wall was breached by Hamas terrorists in more than a dozen locations by farm equipment as they entered Israel under their own terms!

To ethnically cleanse Israel, including Gaza and the West Bank, from all terrorists could effectively mean all Palestinians — how can the Israelis be sure they have identified all Hamas followers? Is this justified?

You might say they could all leave and go and live in the surrounding Muslim nations as refugees. But the Palestinians have been born in Israel; if they were to be evicted, cleansed, it would be like what happened to the Israelis at the hand of the Nazis in World War II. I don’t believe the Israelis should treat their enemies as they were treated, do you?

In 1971, when I worked in Israel on a kibbutz, I saw Israelis and Palestinians living together in Israel. Yes, there was evidence of recent war, the Six-Day War (1967), with many armed military personnel around the borders. But to me at the time, it simply looked like a multicultural society, a cosmopolitan community. It worked. Can’t it work again?

The only criterion seems to me to be that all terrorist factions and all neighbouring Islamic nations agree to denounce their anti-semitism and give up their ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘from the river to the sea’ rhetoric.

From my perspective, Benjamin Netanyahu, in his address to the United Nations on 22 September 2023, was on the brink of great success with the Abraham Accords. It seems to me that the 7 October attack was a final diabolical reaction to the potential of peace that was about to come to fruition.

 

I can’t escape God’s promises to the children of Israel. What do we do with scripture like this?

And I will provide a place for My people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time, I appointed leaders over My people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies. (1 Chronicles 17: 9-10)

Let peace prevail. Give peace a chance. Give God a chance. This is my prayer, and I have created a clip to help my prayers – What does God want with the Israel-Hamas War 2023?

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Image by krystianwin from Pixabay.

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One Comment

  1. Jim Twelves 3 November 2023 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Understanding the history of ‘Palestine’, is so crucial even though it is extremely complex. This lecture by Ben Shapiro, 6 June 2021, is brilliant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEoVzKyD_IM&t=1s

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