(Photos by Dan Zelazo)
Israel (MNN) ― What is going on between Syria and Israel?
Exchanged mortar shells, tanks in a demilitarized zone, a 19-month-old civil war mixed with a ceasefire from 1973, and you have what appears to be a really threatening situation.
Some sources have said Israel doesn't regard the errant Syrian mortars as intentional. Others say there are now questions of whether the rebels have gotten their hands on military-grade armament and what that might mean for the fall of the Assad regime. Still others wonder if this is an ill-disguised effort to draw Israel into a conflict to distract the other Middle Eastern countries weighing in on Syria's feud.
Speaking from Jerusalem, Tom Doyle with E3 Partners witnessed some of what was going on in the Golan Heights a few days ago. On the one hand, he says, "That's kind of an old trick to play in the Middle East. If there's an international civil war, provoke Israel into something, and of course, that trumps everything. The people can unite over some kind of military incursion against Israel."
On the other, it's a tricky situation that could explode at any moment. "We really need to pray for believers in Gaza right now, also for the believers in Syria, and then for the nation of Israel."
Doyle goes on to say that concurrent with the concerns over Syria, Gaza fired more than 100 missiles into Israel. Provoked, explains Doyle, Israel responded with force. "Israel just had a targeted assassination and killed six people in Gaza (what we're hearing). One of them was the head of the military, Jabri, who Israel has been trying to take out for about ten years now."
Appeals to the international community for help have yielded mostly counsel to keep a "cool head." Doyle says Israel is trying hard not to be provoked further, but it's a scary time. They have no friends nearby. "It's just all around them: with Hezbollah to the north in Lebanon, and then Syria probably needing a diversion to somehow manipulate the civil war and turn it on Israel, and then Iran threatening to shoot nuclear missiles."
With all the activity this week, Israel remains on high alert. In fact, says Doyle, "We just came from the Western Wall, and there was a massive military presence, police presence there, just in case the Palestinian terrorists would try to retaliate."
Nerves are fraying, and believers are praying. Some are praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Doyle explains, "Really, the ultimate peace comes when Jesus returns. So when we're praying for that peace, we're really saying ‘Maranatha: Lord, return. You're the only One who can fix this mess.'"
It also means change. Change in an areas steeped in tradition requires a bold response. Doyle says many refugees are simultaneously having dreams about Jesus and entrusting their lives to Him. E3 Resources offers tools that will help present the story and message of Christ to people who are seeking hope as the events unfold with Israel in the region.
Doyle says, "Pray for the believers." There are vibrant but small churches scattered throughout the region. Muslim Background Believers can be found throughout Gaza, the Syrian refugee camps, and more. They are all affected by the uncertainties. "When it's bad like this, when it's difficult and the real threat of war hangs over everyone, this is when people are desperate. This is when we see more people surrender and come to faith in Christ."
Check our Featured Links Section for a look at some of the tools.