I. Needle in a Hay Stack
The last month warnings about planned terrorist attacks have gone up 50% according to Israeli security forces. There are currently seventy (70!) warnings out, thirteen of them described as “hot” or “pointed.” With the Israeli elections just a few days away, a major terror attack could influence the already volatile environment.
On Monday (March 20), Israeli intelligence picked up several leads that caused them to believe that a terrorist was on the way. On Tuesday morning they began following a lead coming from Kalandia toward Jerusalem. At 11:00 they lost contact with the suspect in East Jerusalem. At 11:43 they put out an all point alert on “dagger code,” meaning that a loaded terrorist was already within Israel on the way to an explosion.
Traffic in Jerusalem jammed completely. On the main highway from Jerusalem two barricades were already in place by 11:47. At the Haggai gate exit, a blue GMC van broke away from the barricade and began to flee down the highway toward Tel Aviv. It arrived at the traffic jam 200 yards from the next barricade near kibbutz Shalabim. Two traffic police, notified by radio, ran from the barricade toward the van, with pistols waving, shouting at surrounding car passengers to lie down on the floor of their cars.
By 12:02 the suspects in the blue van (the 20 year old terrorist from the Shechem area, the Israeli Arab driver from East Jerusalem, and 8 other Palestinians without papers to enter Israel) were prostrate on the ground and handcuffed.
Israeli explosive experts found the terror bomb with 15 pounds of explosives and over 200 metal pellets under the passenger seat. The bomb had not yet been assembled in form to be detonated.
While newspapers referred to the capture as a miracle, concern is mounting in the Israeli public that one of the many planned attacks will get through. Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz declared yesterday that in the past year 1.8 million dollars (!) has been transferred to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Iran, mostly through Jihad offices in Damascus.
II. Strangely Quiet
Please pray for God’s will to be done in the Israeli Elections, scheduled for this coming Tuesday (March 28). The campaign has been surprisingly quiet. Some attribute the quiet to boredom, disillusionment, apathy, or lack of an appealing option. Others see the quiet due to the new Hamas government in the territories; either for Hamas’ need to stabilize the situation to organize their government, or simply the quiet before a new storm of attacks.
In any case, quiet on the political front is somewhat positive (no news is good news in the Middle East); and we are instructed to pray that the government will lead to a quiet and stable society (I Timothy 2:5).
Current polls indicate the block of religious and right wing parties have over 40 predicted Knesset seats. However, they are divided into 4 major groups: Likud (Netanyahu); Sefardic Religious (Shas); Ashkenazic Settlers (Mafdal); and Russian right (Liberman). Although together they are the largest block, because they are divided into four groups, it is unlikely that they will be able to win the election under current conditions.
The central group, Kadima (Olmert) is polled at more than 35 seats predicted, and because there is no other central party, they currently have the best probability to win the election. The liberal wing has between 25 and 30 seats predicted, but they are divided into two groups: Labor (Amir Perets) and Merets (Beilin).
A large terrorist attack could swing voters more to the right. The election of Hamas among the Palestinians moved Israelis toward the right, but less than expected. The dramatic capture of the terrorist this week and of the prisoners from the Jericho jail last week strengthened the position of the Kadima party.
The handling of the Amona settlement protest over a month ago lost some support to Kadima because of the violence, but gained some support for maintaining law and order. In all, the incident hurt Kadima a little, but not much. In my opinion the rather liberal Israeli press has been somewhat biased against Netanyahu.
A big question in every Israeli election is not just which party will win, but what coalition will be formed. A Kadima – Likud right wing coalition would be different from a Kadima – Labor left wing coalition. Luke 11 tells us that a house united will stand whereas a house divided will fall. Therefore my tendency is for those who want Israel to be strong to pray for a unified government coalition.
III. President Bush’s Stance
Israeli papers reported a statement by President Bush that the U.S. would stand by Israel against any attack from Iran, even if that meant a military confrontation between the US and Iran. He referred to Israel as the U.S.’s primary ally in the Middle East. I consider that to be a courageous and loyal statement.
Let us pray for stability for the new government in Iraq; for a righteous ending to the Saddam Hussein trial; for the destruction of the international terrorist groups who have entered Iraq; for the capture of Bin Laden and the destruction of the Al Qaida network; for strong international opposition to Iran’s nuclear development and their anti Israel, pro terror stance; and for the European community to wake up to the dangers of militant Islam.
Let us pray for evangelism breakthroughs in the Islamic world, particularly with our Palestinian Christian friends.
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.