Note: The below statement is attributable to Jim Showers, D.Min and President/Executive Director, The Friends of Israel.
“Our hearts are heavy with concern for the 4.5 million Israelis living under the constant threat of Hamas rockets being launched from Gaza. We’ve seen in recent days that Hamas’ upgraded missiles are now capable of reaching Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Our workers and friends in Israel are affected by the conflict. Some have a son or daughter who is in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and may be involved in fighting for Israel in this conflict with Hamas.
As Hamas continues to rain rockets down on innocent civilians, the potential increases for the situation to escalate into a major Middle East conflict. The ‘Arab Spring’ has put extremely radical Muslims in control in the region. Egypt, now run by the Muslim Brotherhood, has threatened to attack Israel if the IDF sends ground troops into Gaza, and missiles fired from the Sinai into Israel seem to be confirmation of the threat.
We should not be surprised if Syria and Hezbollah attack Israel as well. Syria’s failing leadership, desperate to hold onto power in its civil war, may try to draw Israel into its conflict. Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist organization that has built a missile arsenal in southern Lebanon and is Syria’s ally in her civil war, is unpredictable and may enjoin the attack on Israel.
Israel’s military action, called ‘Pillar of Defense,’ is a defensive action designed to stop the continuous assault of rockets from Gaza into communities in south-central Israel. Since the Israeli ‘Cast Lead’ military operation in January 2009, Hamas has fired 3,000 missiles into Israel. Between Wednesday, November 14, and Saturday, November 17, approximately 800 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. The Iron Dome Missile Defense System has been successful in intercepting 250 of the 275 missiles on target to hit residential areas.
The contrast between Israel and Hamas in this conflict couldn’t be starker. Hamas is not firing on military targets. Rather, it intentionally aims its missiles at Israeli villages and cities, hoping to kill and injure as many innocent civilians as possible. On Thursday, November 15, three Israelis were killed when their apartment building was struck by a missile in Kiryat Malachi. The blast also injured a young boy and two infants. Were it not for the ingenious Iron Dome System, there would be far more casualties.
Israel, on the other hand, is making every effort to avoid collateral damage to civilians when striking Hamas missile targets. This is not easy because Hamas places its rocket launchers around schools, hospitals, mosques, and homes—in violation of the conventions of war—making it difficult for the Israeli Air Force to destroy the launchers without injuring civilians. Israel has been using weapons with great precision to strike Hamas terrorist targets to minimize injury to civilians.
This conflict is disrupting the lives of millions of Israelis. They are being held hostage in their own homes. Simple tasks, such as going to the grocery store, put one’s life at risk. Schools are closed, and many people are unable to work. Hours upon hours are spent in bomb shelters and safe rooms.
What can Christians and supporters of Israel do?
First and foremost, PRAY:
- Pray God will grant wisdom to Israel’s leaders.
- Pray for those in the IDF, the young men and women who put their lives on the line to defend Israel.
- Pray for the parents, families and loved ones of IDF soldiers.
- Pray for FOI staff, friends and all who are within missile range.
- “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6).
Second, people may contribute to the ISRAEL RELIEF FUND through The Friends of Israel’s website or by calling our office at 800-257-7843. The Lord told Isaiah, ‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ (Isa. 40:1).
Giving to the Israel Relief Fund provides comfort to God’s people. The Friends of Israel is positioned to direct the contributions quickly to provide help and comfort to Israelis who are suffering. Because many Israelis are unable to work at this time, donations will be used to help make up for lost wages and to pay for food, rent, utilities, and so on.
Finally, The Friends of Israel calls on individuals to be Advocates for Israel. They encourage everyone to join in standing with Israel in these difficult days, to attend rallies, to be prepared to answer those who misrepresent Israel as the instigator of this conflict.
In the same passage of Isaiah, God said, ‘Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended’ (v. 2). Words and actions in support of Israel are a comfort to her. May Israel’s warfare end soon! Keep in mind that:
- Israel’s military action, ‘Pillar of Defense,’ is a defensive measure in response to repeated and continuous terrorist attacks.
- 4.5 million Israelis are being held hostage by Hamas missiles.
- Hamas is targeting innocent civilians, Israel is targeting terrorists.”
The Friends of Israel was founded in 1938 by Christian leaders in response to the desperate needs of Jewish people afflicted by the raging torrents of Nazi hate during the Holocaust. Through this Christian ministry, funds were raised and aid was distributed to Jewish refugees in their darkest hours of need. Today, The Friends of Israel is a worldwide Christian ministry that communicates biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while fostering solidarity with the Jewish people.
For more news and information from The Friends of Israel, visit www.foi.org.