War stalks Israel in these days.
The horrible civil war in Syria, which has dragged on for almost 7 years, appears to be nearly at an end, as the Islamic State group has been destroyed as a cohesive force and all the other rebel groups which had been fighting against the regime of President Bashar Assad have been annihilated.
Assad came close to being overthrown a couple of times over the last 7 years, but he was rescued first by Lebanese Hezbollah, then Iran and finally Russia, all of whom sent powerful military forces to Syria to fight against the various armed factions battling the regime. Now, with the war nearly over, these battle hardened and experienced forces look set to stay in Syria and Iran seems eager to turn them against Israel.
The leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps recently boasted that Lebanese Hezbollah, the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and several other Shi’ite militias stocked with recruits from as far away as Afghanistan and Pakistan, which Iran brought to Syria to participate in the civil war there, were poised to attack Israel all together when it would be most advantageous to do so.
Iran’s ability to support a war against Israel has also been greatly enhanced by its acquisition of effective military control over territory stretching from its northwestern borders, through northern Iraq and central Syria to the border between Syria and Israel.
Turkey has also grown much closer to Iran and Russia in recent months as its traditional allies in the US and Western Europe seem to have gotten distracted by internal politics and the threats coming from North Korea and China, losing the ability or interest to tend to geostrategic matters in the Middle East.
I know what some of you are thinking, but there’s a couple of key players in the “Gog Magog” scenario outlined in Ezekiel chapter 38 which aren’t quite in place yet, and I doubt Turkey will take part in any near-term hostilities with Israel.
But the war which many regional analysts say is very likely to take place in the near future, possibly by next summer, will be bad enough. Rockets are likely to be fired into Israel from Lebanon and Syria as well as from the Gaza Strip. The IDF has warned that hundreds of rockets a day can be expected to be fired into the north from Lebanon, and as happened in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, even rockets that land far away from towns or military bases can start fires in the parched Galilee, which is in the depths of a severe drought.
At the same time, conventional ground attacks are likely to be launched from those places (Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that he would order his forces to take control of the Galilee in a future conflict) while air attacks by Iranian planes flying out of bases in Syria are also possible. While all this is going on, it’s possible that Israelis will face old fashioned terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and other cities, from bus bombings to stabbings on the street.
As an Israeli Police officer who gave an informal security briefing I recently attended put it, they are bracing for attacks that will be “all of the above, all the time, everywhere, all at once.”
What can Israel’s Christian friends do to help?
First of all, obviously, pray for God’s canopy of protection over this country, for its leaders to have wisdom and courage and for its army, police, firefighters and civilian emergency response crews to be strengthened.
If you can do more than that, if you feel led to send money to Israel, I hereby offer a few options. Keep in mind that in the coming conflict, hospitals and firetrucks will be just as important as air fields and tanks.
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has an “Israel in Crisis Fund” which goes towards supplying portable bomb shelters to communities in range of rocket fire, communications equipment and tactical clothing for medical response crews and other first responders and psychological treatment for the traumatized.
The Christian Friends of Magen David Adom requires little explanation. Magen David Adom is the Israeli version of the Red Cross, a civilian organization (the government does not fund them) which provides ambulance services, first aid training, blood banks and many other essential services.
If you are able to do more than send money, if you are a fire fighter, EMT, psychologist or some other type of emergency first responder and you think you would like to come to Israel and put your life-saving skills to work, there’s an organization called the Emergency Volunteer Project for Israel which you should be in touch with.
There are many other organizations which will make important contributions to Israel’s survival in the next war and if you’re already supporting one of them keep doing so. I merely suggest these three because I am personally acquainted with them and feel comfortable vouching for them that the support you give them will be worthwhile.
If you’ll be living in Israel over the next year or so and you’re reading this, I can only advise you to prepare yourself, your home, your workplace, your congregation and your family as best you can. Get in the best physical shape you can, buy a first aid kit and /or take a first-aid course, clean out your bomb shelter if you have one, take a self-defense course if one is available, etc. If you’re in the IDF Reserves than you’re probably getting better advise than I can give you about all this.
In any case, may God help Israel and all who love her in this difficult season of history we’re moving into.