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Some Call It Luck

written by Asher Intrater
September 01, 2002

They refer to themselves as “the group,” the five of them. There’s Yehuda Zarka, a retired policeman; Shaul Solomon (50), an engineer; Raphael Ben Zeev (48), a farmer. And then there’s Nurit Aveshar (33), an Israeli woman with long, curly, brown hair, tour guide by day. And let’s not forget Mia Goldner, an M-16 toting grandmother with seven grandchildren.

They are regular volunteers who help out the Israeli border police on night patrols, watching out for terrorists and “guarding our homes,” in their own words. Last night (Thursday, September 5) around 1:30 AM, they spotted two cars coming out of the village of Kfar Kera, near Jenin, heading on back roads toward the Israeli town of Zichron Ya’acov. One car was a Volkswagen Golf, the other an Isuzu Trooper.

As stolen cars are often trafficked in this area, they assumed that these were stolen and began to pursue them. As they closed in on them, the cars stopped and two passengers from each of the cars fled into the night and escaped. As “the group” opened the back of the Trooper, they were stunned at the sight: Three barrels containing 200 liters of gasoline; around the barrels were cartons of explosives weighing approximately 500 kilograms.

500 kilograms! That’s 1,100 pounds of explosives. That’s enough to topple a sky-scraper or destroy a shopping mall. This is the largest explosive device ever to be found in the Middle East. The terrorists obviously had Bin Laden and the Twin Towers in mind, seeking a “mega” terrorist attack. This is the week of the Jewish holiday Rosh HaShana, and the anniversary of 9/11. Even Shimon Peres, the peace accord architect, said, “This explosion would have changed everything in the Middle East.”

In the glove compartment were found two cell phones with electric wires attached to a detonating device. Next to the driver’s seat was found a video camera. Apparently, the terrorists wanted to get good footage for television of the hoped for gore and wreckage.

On the same day, an Israeli tank patrol in Gaza by the Kisufim strip had a skirmish with terrorists. Large amounts of explosives were identified, including anti-tank missile launchers. As one of the tanks advanced, it hit a huge, underground mine that by mistake, the mine detector had missed. The tank was flipped upside down by the explosion. The huge turret was detached from the hull and landed some twenty feet away. The driver of the tank, Aviad Dotan, 21, was killed instantly. The commander of the unit, second lieutenant Omri Gal was blown through the air in another direction and landed relatively unhurt. Two of the tank crew however, Nir Leshem and Amir Monber, were trapped under the turret of the tank. Their bodies were partially crushed with only their arms and legs visible, sticking out from underneath the turret.

The hull of the tank that had flipped upside down was on fire. Parts of the ammunition from the tank were continuing to explode all around them from the fire. What terrified everyone, was the possibility that the fire would reach the main ammunition storage inside the hull of the tank, causing an explosion that would wipe them all out.

Rescue squads were rushed to the area, but were faced with a dilemma. Any effort to try to move the turret of the tank would obviously crush and kill one of the two soldiers trapped on either side. Rescue workers squirmed in through the turret base to get liquids to the two soldiers. Their faces were burning up from the heat and the shrapnel. It would take hours to get the heavy equipment to them that would be needed to raise the turret.

The other soldiers surrounded them continually shouting encouragement and keeping them talking, so that they would not lose consciousness. In this nightmarish scene, Nir and Amir were sure they would never get out of this alive.

Finally a huge bulldozer was brought in that blocked the way of the burning hull, and workers were able to put out the fire. Another piece of heavy equipment – a tank with a crane on the top – was brought in to try to lift the turret. Special engineering airbags that were designed to help lift walls from fallen buildings were set under the corners of the turret. Between the airbags and the crane, they managed to lift the turret up and pull the soldiers out. They were whisked by helicopter to Soroko Hospital in Beer Sheva.

The rescue operation lasted 4 1/2 hours, which seemed like an eternity. Both soldiers are recovering well.

Everyday, here in the Middle East, are stories of miraculous deliverance and horrible catastrophes. What makes the difference? Some would call it luck. Part is the alertness of the citizens. But I believe there is another factor. It’s called prayer. Prayer with real faith.

In Acts chapter12, James the apostle is arrested by King Herod – and killed by the sword. A few days later, Peter is arrested and set in prison awaiting the same fate. This time however, in the middle of the night an angel appears to him and causes the soldiers to sleep, the chains to fall off, and the doors to fly open. To the astonishment of everyone, Peter walks out unharmed.

What was the difference between James being murdered and Peter’s miraculous deliverance?

Acts 12:5
Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.

Acts 12:12
He came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname is Mark, where many were gathered together praying.

It was the force of prayer that made the difference. When Daniel prayed (Daniel 9) angels were set into motion and the course of history in the Middle East was changed. Your prayers CAN make a difference. Please pray for terrorist activities to be thwarted, for innocent Israelis and Palestinians to be protected, for the gospel to go forward to both, the Jewish and Arab peoples, for the Messianic Jewish congregations in Israel to be strong, and for God to direct the political leaders with wisdom and righteousness.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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