Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Letter From Jerusalem

When Kelly and I were over in Israel, 5 years ago, we kept hearing how the world never really got the whole story on news coming out of the Mid East. Things have not changed much since then.

I got this letter from a friend in Jerusalem today. For security concerns, I've edited out the names.

Shalom from Israel,

It is 6PM here, Wednesday night, and Jerusalem is feeling tension like it has not felt for some 7 years. It has been about 3 hours since a bomb was detonated near the main bus station in downtown Jerusalem. Latest reports state that around 30 people have been taken to the hospital and one woman has died from her wounds.

Just to let you know, all of our family is safe and accounted for. I was at work and after making sure that everyone was accounted for, I came home to be with the family and to watch the news on TV.

Not much is known for certain yet about the bombing except that it was a terrorist event. It was not a suicide bombing but rather, a bomb was left at a phone booth near the bus stop and then detonated from some external position.

This is a different footprint from years before. Also, no group has stepped up to claim responsibility which might point to a single actor being the bomber. Also, some of the West Bank leaders have come out to speak against the attack and condemn it. Still, all of Jerusalem is on alert and Prime Minister Netanyahu has delayed his scheduled trip to Russia for the time being.

What, I feel, is more important to be in prayer about is what is going on in the south and out of Gaza. In the last 24 hours, three southern cities have been hit by long range Grad rockets fired from Gaza. One of them, Be'er Sheva is a city of some 1/4 million people and Ashdod and Ashkelon are well populated too. Tel Aviv is in range of these rockets! Gaza has become more armed and Hamas more militant in the recent past and they are now acting out their military strength and militancy. Israel has hit back and their have been deaths in Gaza of civilians. This is never good. But Israel does not target civilians as at a bus station and her strikes are retaliatory and not pre-emptive.

Is it no wonder that Israel was worried when Iranian ships passed through the Suez Canal to dock in Syria. Was it a surprise when Israeli commandos found stashes of Iranian supplied arms in a ship that was to dock at Gaza and had come from this very same Syrian port. Gaza is armed with more and more sophisticated missiles and armaments and Hamas is openly threatening to use them. My fear is that Israel will have no choice but to enter Gaza again...only this time they will have to do a much more thorough job of dismantling the Hamas war machine.

An armed Gaza and a safe Israel cannot exist at the same time. And of course the world will come against Israel if and when it comes to this.

So please be aware of what is going on here, be in prayer for our family and know that the work of God keeps on going no matter what. We live in dynamic times in the most dynamic region in the world. I cannot think of being anywhere else.

Blessings from Jerusalem,

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