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Information concerning the current Gaza-war

Again, rockets are flying into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Millions of people live in fear that rockets could hit their homes and kill their children. There are many opinions and accusations of guilt in the current war. Israel is often blamed for initiating hostilities. But is this based on facts?

Why did Hamas attack Israel?
In 2007, the Islamist terror militia Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in a violent coup against the Palestinian Authority, which had been granted jurisdiction over the area foloowing the Israeli withdrawl in 2005.

In their Charter (1988) Hamas describes itself as “one of the links in the Chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion.” In their war against Jews they rely on a saying of the Moslem prophet Mohammed who said: “The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” The Hamas-terrorists see themselves as devout Muslims, when they fulfill the quoted prophesy and try to kill Jews by all means. Thereby “Jihad [is] its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief”. This is the why Hamas is considered to be a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Germany and many other countries.

Since 2001 rockets have been launched into Israel from Gaza
From 2001 to 2009 there were 12,000 rockets  launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, 3-4 per day on average. Since the start of the current round of hostilities, nearly 2,700 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza, including several fired at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ber Sheeba and other major population centers. Two Israeli civilians and an agricultural worker from Thailand were killed by these rockets, and several other Israeli civilians have been wounded. Israel has also suffered extensive property damage, with farmers reporting a risk of losing the entire fruit and vegetable crop and the main Tourism trade association projecting nearly half a billioni dollars in lost business.

This is already the forth time Islamist terror organizations in the Strip have launched against Israel since 2006 (2006 from Hisbollah in Lebanon, 2008/09, 2012 and 2014 from Hamas in Gaza).By shooting missiles at residential areas Hamas is committing at least two war crimes : They misuse their civilians in order to launch rockets and they attack civilians in Israel. The Palestinian representative in the UN, Ibrahim Khraishi , confirmed that every rocket that is launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, is a crime against humanity. When Israel warns Palestinian civilians before they attack structures and people stay in their houses, this is not a crime against humanity.

Israel's "Iron Dome" air defense system, developed at great expense and with American assistance, has saved countless Israeli lives during the conflict. But the emotional and psychological stress of living under fire has already taken a tremendous toll on millions of Israeli men, women and children. These invisible wounds will affect the Jewish State for years to come.

Hamas’ tunnels for more terror
In order to arm themselves, Hamas built more than 1,000 smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt . There are also attack tunnels that reach under Israeli residential areas in communities close to the Gaza border. Terrorists can use these tunnels to suddenly emerge from under the homes and playgrounds of Israeli civilians, spreading death and destruction without warning. Attempts to carry out such attacks have already been thwarted in the present conflict.

The main goal of ‘Operation Protective Edge”   is to destroy these tunnels which is impossible to do with air strikes. Therefore Israel is conducting a large ground operation.

Israel protects its civilians
No democratic state on earth will tolerate rockets that are launched into their own territory. In order to protect its population, on July 8th Israel started to attack terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, eventually making more than 2,000 air strikes. With the ground operation, more of Hamas’ weapons stockpiles and tunnels were found and destroyed.

Israel protects Palestinian civilians
Israel warns Palestinian civilians with leaflets, phone calls, SMS and warning bombs , so that they might leave their houses and save their lives. Hamas requests or even forces the civilians to stay in their houses and people die. Despite the war, Israel provides the Gaza Strip with electricity and water.

Why do so many Palestinians die?
Over 1,000 Palestinians have died in the current war. On the Israeli side, 3 civilians and 53 soldiers have been killed. The IDF kills terrorists and protects the Palestinian civilians. When people don’t take the warnings seriously or deliberately ignore them (because Hamas orders it), then one can’t blame Israel concerning the casualties on the Palestinian side.

How can one identify a terrorist?
Is a person in plain clothes is killed, how can it be known if they are an innocent civilian or a terrorist? Hamas tries to portray a large number of “innocent civilians” that were killed. There is an official Hamas directive which tells its supporters to use social media and describe any Palestinian killed in the Strip, whether by Israeli fire or not, as an “innocent civilians/citizens.” This explains why the number of civil casualties is higher according to Palestinian sources compared to Israeli ones.

Questionable coverage
Many reports by the international media explicitly or implicitly blame Israel for initiating the war, and by extension being responsible for the high number of civilian casualties. But it was Hamas who launched thousands of rockets into Israel, who protect themselves behind human shields and who try their very best in order to kill as many Jews as possible – civilians and soldiers. Israels reaction to this onslaught is designed to protect Israelis and weaken Hamas. The focus is on destroying Hamas’ weapons stockpiles, launching platforms and tunnels into Israel.

How long will it go on?
Hamas started to launch thousands of rockets into Israel and they continue to do so, despite several attempts for a cease-fire. For this reason the Egyptian Foreign Minister and other international leaders blamed Hamas for the current Israeli ground operation. Hamas continues to attack Israeli civilians and this is why the Israeli ground operations will last as long as peace will be restored for the Israeli citizens.

Envision 2018

(Yehuda Glick, MK, addressing Christian pastors and leaders at the Knesset.)

Gathering its largest contingent ever of 160 pastors and church leaders from around the globe, the 2018 ICEJ Envision conference in Jerusalem was exceptionally more than we asked or imagined! God moved powerfully in the hearts of these pastors and leaders throughout all of the seminars, times of worship, excursions throughout Jerusalem and Israel, and even through conversations just over a cup of coffee. Here is a snapshot of what God did throughout this four-day conference. (To purchase audio recordings of Envision 2018, please visit:

The first full day of the Envision Conference kicked off with worship led by Steve Carpenter, followed by seminars by ICEJ senior leadership, and pastors and leaders from the Middle East. Calev Myers, a lawyer and founder of Jerusalem Institute of Justice, spoke about ways to overcome Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS). Calev explained to the influential leaders in the room, “You can be powerful ambassadors to help create a more balanced picture of Israel!” He encouraged all to purposefully purchase Israeli products and services to support and stand with Israel. 

Lovers of Jesus

The morning concluded with a faith-inspiring session led by Fabian Grech testifying of the powerful move of God in the hearts of Muslims. Many are going to churches to be baptized and hungry to read the Bible. He encouraged all to pray for the believers in the Middle East to continue in the strength and grace of Jesus to share the gospel and make disciples among Muslims. With great passion, Fabian continued by saying that the key to sharing the good news of Jesus is to love Jesus first and foremost. “Our first priority is to be lovers of Jesus! Our Father is a God of love, not a God of fear, so the more we gaze at Him the more we will become like him.” Fabian finished with a powerful prayer saying, “Father, thank you that in the midst of darkness your name is becoming famous!”

Continuing on into the next day, Ingolf Elsell also emphasized the first importance of being lovers of Jesus. He explained, “You can’t fall in love through study only. You need revelation. This goes for both the gospel and for Israel… You have to step away from your own guidance to let God’s guidance take over.” Later that evening, Steve Carpenter and his family led us into a beautiful time of worship, and shortly afterward they showed a documentary film about Ya’akov (Jacob) Damkani, who is a local Messianic Jewish leader. The evening continued with a message from Pastor Peter Tsukahira, who is the lead pastor at Carmel Assembly in Haifa. He explained, “Eventually, the Gospel will go so far west that it will make its way back to Jerusalem, where it all began 2,000 years ago.” Above all, Peter concluded that Believers need to keep their eyes focused on God and what He’s doing!

(Christian pastors and leaders from all around the world in the Knesset building.)

Get the Word out About Israel

A wonderful and unique aspect about the Envision Conference is that it incorporates excursions around Jerusalem and Israel. One of the special excursions was to the Knesset where the pastors and leaders were able to hear from Members of Knesset who are members of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. One of the speakers was MK Yehuda Glick, who welcomed his guests and delivered a stirring speech appointing them to be “goodwill ambassadors for Israel” in their home churches and communities. He wholeheartedly concluded, “Now it’s up to us to get the word out and tell people about what God is doing in Israel and the world!”

(The old city of Shiloh with the spiral building that holds a museum and a small theater.)

Adventuring through Judea and Samaria to Shiloh

The last but definitely not the least day of the conference began with an adventurous bus excursion through the mountains of Judea and Samaria to the old city of Shiloh. As the wind picked up and the rain drizzled down, we moved inside to watch a film that began with the lights dimmed, allowing the translucent screen to reveal the majestic hills of Samaria in the background. The film portrayed the history of Israel from Moses leading the Israelites up out of Egypt, to Joshua leading them into the promised land, to the Philistines attacking and destroying Shiloh, to Hannah praying for a son and having Samuel, and finally to the Tabernacle of God moving from Shiloh to Jerusalem. Today, the biblically rich city of Shiloh attracts thousands of visitors each year, many of whom come to pray for a child and hundreds have had their prayers answered just like Hannah.

The excursion in Samaria ended with a short visit at the Shomron Regional Council Memorial. The Mayor greeted all of the Christian leaders and pastors by saying, “Thank you for standing with us so that we are not alone. Thank you to Jürgen Bühler, Barry, and all of the leaders that have helped us build Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem! We are strong because you support us. Take this mission and share it with your people in your country. Share what happens here in the land. Our biggest enemy is ignorance.”

From the rainy and beautiful hills of Samaria to a warm and classy hotel, the pastors, leaders, and ICEJ staff members from all around the world concluded the Envision conference with a delightful banquet! Throughout the meal, many speakers shared messages that have been deeply impressed upon their hearts about God and Israel.

All for Him

Amazingly, Yehuda Glick (MK), not only spoke at the Knesset, but he also personally came to the last night of the conference, even after losing his wife only a few weeks prior. Taking the stage, a round of applause filled the house for Yehuda, and his first words were, “That applause was not for me, it was all for Him” (pointing up towards God). He expressed his gratitude to Christians partnering with Israel, and also spoke directly to the pastors and leaders, saying, “You cannot return to your country the way you came here 5 days ago. You are new people. Thank you so much for your support for Israel, and for your prayers for Israel.”

(Worship lead by Steve Carpenter, while Peter Tsukahira leads these pastors and leaders into a time of prayer.)

With no better way to conclude this year’s exceptional Envision conference, worship and praise to God filled the banquet room. Hands were raised, mouths were singing praises to our God, and hugs were exchanged between these Christian pastors and leaders from all around the world. Many lives and hearts were changed through their time together here in Israel. We give God all the glory and honor, and we look forward to what He will do next year. For more information about Envision 2019, please visit:

To purchase audio recordings, please visit:

The Soler Family

Through the storms of life, God teaches us to keep our eyes on Him as we continue to dance with Him in this journey of faith. The Soler Family endured two hurricane storms that wreaked havoc on their city in Puerto Rico, and caused severe damages to the Christian dance studio they own and operate. The second hurricane hit their city only days before they were planning to fly to Israel for the Feast of Tabernacles, to serve as leaders for the Feast’s Dance Company.

For 11 hours straight, the Soler family prayed to our God who saves as the hurricane raged on with winds blowing around their house at 185 miles per hour! The kids were sleeping, but the parents were up praying over each side of the house declaring God’s protection as water was pouring into their home.

In the midst of the storm, Mr. Soler received a message on his phone from someone from the Feast dance team asking, “How are you?” This deeply touched Mr. Soler as he knew God was reaching out to him saying, “How are you my son?” With great tenderness, Mr. Soler shared, “Even when we are right in the middle of the storm, God always wants to know, ‘How is my son?’ and ‘How is my daughter?’”

Throughout the seemingly impossible journey to get to Israel, the Lord performed miracle after miracle to help the Soler Family safely arrive in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles 2017! “Sometimes God will take you out of the storm and put you in another area to reveal something to you and encourage you, so that when you get back home you can share what God gave to you. You can rebuild, restore, and help others to lift their hands to start the restoration process,” expressed Mr. Soler.

Please continue to pray for the Soler Family and the island of Puerto Rico, as our God turns this land of devastation into one of restoration! We also want to encourage you that no matter what storm you find yourself in right now, remember that God is with you showing you how to dance upon the waters of the storm with your eyes fixed on Him!

Balfour Declaration

On 7 Nov. 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, thousands of Christians and Jews met to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour declaration. Using the words spoken by Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary in the War Cabinet at the time, they named the event “Partners in this Great Enterprise.”

Balfour 100 Committee
The partners both then and now were primarily Christians and Jews. However, the Balfour celebration in the Albert Hall (London’s most prestigious venue) took place because Christian Zionist leaders put aside differences to work together to produce this magnificent pageant of praise and history. Later known as the Balfour 100 committee, this group brought Jewish and Christian leaders together in the British society, including royalty and the present Lord Balfour. However, the key organisation behind the scenes was the ICEJ UK. The president of the ICEJ, Jürgen Bühler, was a keynote speaker along with the ambassador for Israel Mark Regev.

A Nation of Destiny
Jürgen spoke about the UK being raised up as a Cyrus nation in the purposes and plans of God for his ancient people. Interestingly, the souvenir booklet carried the same theme. Nations, as well as individuals, are raised up to fulfil a destiny. During World War I when the Turkish Ottoman Empire fell and Jerusalem was freed, it was an amazing privilege, in spite of the appalling carnage amongst the nations, that the birth certificate for Israel was issued by the United Kingdom!

Jerusalem was liberated following the world changing battle of Beersheba that was won by the Australian and New Zealand forces known as the Anzacs. At the same time the Anzacs were defeating the Turks, the British war cabinets in London voted overwhelmingly for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. In 1920, the Balfour Declaration was internationally ratified at San Remo, Italy. All of this was foundational for the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

A Night to Remember
The evening programme consisted of a wonderful cross-section of both Jewish and Christian artists honouring the historical narrative of the Balfour events. It included speeches given by such luminaries as Spurgeon, Bishop Ryle, Balfour and Theodore Herzl. The uplifting choir was from Holland, and the Adoramus orchestra was from London. Other participants included the redeemed Church of God choir, the Israeli Dance Institute and ICEJ’s very own Serguei Popov.

Souvenir Booklet
We have issued a souvenir booklet written by both Jews and Christians with a comprehensive history of Christian Zionism and knowledge about the emergence and legitimacy of Israel as a nation. There is also an excellent DVD of all the evening events. Both are available at a special discount for ICEJ supporters.

Please contact the UK office for more information:

God's Calling on Great Britain

ICEJ President, Dr Jürgen Bühler, gives Christian keynote address at the Balfour Centenary Celebration.

“My Lord, ladies and gentlemen, what a privilege and what a joy to be here today with you to celebrate 100 years of the Balfour Declaration. Looking at this evening’s program, I believe we all can come to the conclusion that God’s powerful hand is resting upon your nation. There is a special calling on Great Britain.

Many people say there is a Cyrus calling on your nation. Cyrus, the Persian King, who was foretold centuries before he was actually born, by the great Jewish prophet Isaiah who says, ‘Behold, Cyrus, my shepherd, my servant.’ He will say to Jerusalem, ‘Be rebuilt.’ He will speak to my temple and say, ‘Be rebuilt and your foundations shall be laid.’ 

The Balfour Declaration, indeed, was a declaration to the world to rebuild Zion and to rebuild Jerusalem. Out of the Balfour Declaration, the desert has become a green place. Out of the Balfour Declaration, Jewish people from the ends of the earth have returned back to their homeland and they rebuilt the ancient cities. 

Today, I was at the British museum and I looked at what is called the “Cyrus Cylinder.” You could read exactly what he was doing, calling forth the rebuilding of the Temple. Calling forth the restructuring of the nation and allowing the Jewish people to return to their homeland. Your nation did this in our modern days, and you should be proud of yourselves. 

This little cylinder also stated that the Cyrus declaration was maybe the first declaration of human rights. And I believe this is also true for your nation. Because the establishment of the state of Israel was also paralleled by the establishment of many other nations in that region. 

There are many people that say the Balfour Declaration is a colonial declaration, but the truth is exactly the opposite. It’s a declaration calling for freedom for the nations. And I know that my Bible tells me that he who blesses Israel shall be blessed. And looking at you here tonight, it makes me believe that God has a great future for your nation. The best days are still ahead of you. May God bless your nation. May God bless the nation of Israel. May God bless you all.”

Expanding and Uniting

In recent years, the number of ICEJ branches worldwide has been increasing at a constant rate. Currently, we have offices or representatives in 90 countries and contacts in 176 nations around the world. This blessing, however, also brings a great challenge: How can we work together in unity as a global team, learning from one another, and fulfilling our calling in each country to comfort the Jewish people and connect the churches to Israel?

To meet this challenge and strengthen the development of the international work, we envision bringing our branches together in regional meetings to provide the opportunity to get to know one another, spend time in prayer together, and share practical insights.

Belgrade Regional Conference
The Serbian capital, Belgrade, witnessed the first regional conference of this kind in October. Sixteen European nations were represented from East and West of the continent. The participants included national directors and members of staff from our strong and experienced branches like Germany, UK and Finland, and also from our new branches like Albania and Bulgaria. The ICEJ team of speakers was led by President, Jürgen Bühler, and VP International Affairs, Mojmir Kallus, as well as our US Branch director, Susan Michael, and Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem, Susanna Kokkonen.

The three-day program kicked off with a reception for local, political, and church leaders. The impressive line-up of speakers included the deputy speaker of the Serbian parliament and the Chief Rabbi of Serbia. The organisers from the local Serbian branch, led by the national director, Rodoljub Oreščanin, proved they are already well-connected in their country.

Fellowship and Team Spirit
Jürgen Bühler presented the DNA of our organisation, which was a highly appreciated understanding of our identity. Other sessions addressed questions on how to grow a branch and the basics of fundraising, while providing tips for interesting projects. Many fresh ideas came from round-table discussions, but the most important element was the fellowship. A strong sense of unity and team spirit developed, which implanted a fresh dose of encouragement and inspiration to all.

The first regional conference confirmed the expectation and will be followed in the coming months by similar events in other parts of the world that will be adapted to local needs and cultures.

Christian Volunteers Making an Impact in Israel

Israeli Parliamentarians Honour Christian Volunteers - By Kayla Ellingsworth

A special event honouring Christian Zionists volunteering in Israel was held at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Monday, November 6, 2017. Hosting the event, MK Sharren Haskel addressed the Christian volunteers with these words, “Today, it is important that we appreciate and value those who come and volunteer and support our nation.”

Christian Zionist volunteers, about 200 in number, had the honour of attending this gathering inside the Knesset. Jewish leaders and Knesset Members expressed their deep gratitude to Christians in Israel and those all around the world who have given their time, care, love, and finances to stand with Israel and the Jewish people. 

Rabbi Yonadav Zar stated, “The Knesset in Israel is like Israel’s national house, but no house is complete without guests. So, thanks to each of you who are here today as our guests. Thank you for coming today because without you we cannot be complete.” Sondra Baras, Director of Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, said to the Christian Zionist volunteers, “You understand that the land belongs to Israel, and we couldn’t be here in the land without knowing that we have Christian friends standing with us and cheering us on.” Rabbi Yehuda Glick also shared the importance of Jews and Christians working together to bring the God of Israel, who is a God of love, to the world. 

The main message of the event was to encourage more Christians to volunteer and stand with the Jewish people here in their land with the God of Israel! The day closed with Christians and Jews connecting over refreshments in the lobby. This truly was a remarkable event where Jesus was glorified in the Knesset building of Israel!


Fresh Coat of Paint Breathes New Life Into Family Home - By Nicole Yoder, ICEJ AID Director

Beginning life in a new land is challenging, and successful integration can be a process of several years. This is where ICEJ Aid steps in by providing mentors, encouragement and practical help essential for new arrivals. This week it involved taking our paint brushes and several staff to repaint the apartment of a young single Ethiopian immigrant mother of two. Working hard in elderly care leaves her with minimal resources making it difficult to invest in home repairs.

A few days later, we left with the make-over completed, the apartment sparking clean, and a huge smile on the face of our new friend. The family’s mentor, Birtukan, conveyed in words what the mother’s smile had already spoken to our hearts, “The family was very excited and happy with the assistance they received. It was like getting into a new house for them! Thank you for your generous giving to families in need. You are doing a holy work. We hope you will continue to assist families. Heartfelt thanks!” In fact, the next families are already waiting in line.

Operation Good Neighbor

Outreach to Besieged Syrian Communities - 

By: Barry Denison - VP Operations

The ICEJ is well-known for our support of Israel and the Jewish people. So much so, that we sometimes are described as being anti-Arab. This is unfortunate and incorrect because the ICEJ continues to reach out to all the people of Israel and the Middle East with the love of Jesus. For instance, in 2017 we had several significant outreaches, which for security reasons, we could not speak about until now. 

The IDF has now gone public with “Operation Good Neighbor”, the name given to the ongoing assistance Israel provides to the devastated communities in Syria near the border. We were approached with a request to assist a secret IDF-outreach to Syrian villagers near the border of Israel. The IDF specifically asked the ICEJ for baby formula to help feed the infants across the border in these villages.

Another outreach involved my wife, Deb Denison, who is an Intensive Care Nurse and Trauma specialist. Together with a close friend, Dr. Sally Parsons, a Trauma Surgeon, traveled into Syria with a team of Christian medical workers. Thanks to a designated donation from ICEJ Taiwan, we participated directly in this outreach by helping purchase the vast amount of medical supplies needed to keep this team supplied and able to minister through medical care.

For seven weeks, the team showed the love of Jesus in a Syrian village, treating over 1,000 individuals. There were over 120 wounded from the war and 11 babies that were successfully delivered with six of them requiring extremely difficult caesarian surgeries. Had it not been for the C-section deliveries, many of the births would have resulted in death for either the mother, baby, or both.

The ICEJ has given the remaining funds of the designated donation to help purchase medical supplies for the new team going into Syria to equip them to serve for more than 4 months in rough conditions of snow and isolation. Recently, a nearby town suffered an attack of 50-barrel bombs including chemical munitions. “Casualties had muscles clamping, barely breathing, spasms and smelled like chlorine,” reported the medical team.

Deb and I counted the cost before she went in, and we said yes to the voice of our Lord knowing the risks involved. When I saw my wife escorted through the border fence by IDF soldiers coming out of Syria, tears of joy and relief flowed forth.
It seems like a mirage, but it’s real: Jews helping Christians help Muslims!

To offer your support go to and mark your contribution: “”
Imagine: Jews helping Christians show love to Muslims in a nation that has been in a state of war with Israel since 1948. A short while ago, this was an unimaginable thought.

Since the beginning of the chaotic conflict in Syria, over 500,000 Syrians have died, and many more have fled as refugees. During this time, Israel has taken in over 5,000 sick and injured Syrians including women, children, and men with major illnesses and war caused injuries.

Saving Lives in Syria - By: Kayla Ellingsworth

The ICEJ is a hub and staging point for an impressive range of activities. One morning this fall, Deb Denison, the wife of ICEJ’s VP of Operations Barry Denison, returned to the Embassy to share about seven intense weeks in a Syrian war zone. With tears in her eyes, she recounted the horrific situations her medical team endured to shine the light of Jesus in a place that had no understanding of Christianity.

With two doctors, two nurses, two medics, and one photographer, God used a simple group of people to bring the love and healing of Jesus into a small village under attack. Debbie stated, “We were just a rag-tag team of non-military and medical people with a passion for the Lord and a desire to make an impact. God doesn’t need an army, he just needs people who are willing to say, “Yes Lord, use me!”

Debbie explained how she and her husband counted the cost, “I had to say, ‘Yes Lord. I love you enough to lay down my life to show your love to a people who do not know you!’”

Debbie also expressed her deep gratitude for all of the prayers people had prayed for her and her team while they were in Syria: “It was only by the prayers of those who stood behind us that helped us navigate some really difficult waters.” Please continue to pray fervently for the many other servants of God that are willing to go into places of war and death to bring the peace and life of Jesus Christ!


War Looming on Israel's Northern Border - By: Aaron Hecht

After almost seven years, Syria’s fractious civil war seems to be winding down. Despite Israel’s adversaries having expended much blood and treasure, the end of this war may provide them with a very advantageous position to launch a lethal assault on the Jewish State.

The Assad regime has been preserved thanks to Russia’s military, economic and diplomatic support, along with the enormous numbers of Shi’ite fighters from around the region that were mobilised, trained, armed and transported to Syria by Iran. The most dangerous of these Shi’ite militias is the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, which fought an inadvertent 34- day war with Israel in 2006 and has been threatening to renew hostilities ever since.

Intelligence officials warn that because of the estimated 120,000 rockets Hezbollah has aimed at Israel, along with the battlefield experience it has gained by fighting in Syria, it is much more dangerous than it was in 2006. If Israel does not aggressively react to meet these threats in a future war, its home front will be subject to severe disruption and devastation.

Moreover, Iran has used the war in Syria as a cover to move various military assets, Shi’ite militias, weapons manufacturing, and logistical equipment into Syria and Lebanon. These moves are part of its strategic ambition to establish a land corridor from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea, which will enable Iran to menace Israel directly. One ominous development has been the construction of an Iranian military base close to the Golan Heights. The IDF recently struck this base, but dealing with such threats now carries greater risks due to the proximity of Russian forces. One silver lining, however, is that much of the Sunni Arab world feels equally threatened by Iran’s growing strategic reach, providing new opportunities for Israeli diplomacy.

From Khartoum to Chaos

As the year of Jerusalem’s Jubilee comes to a close, and the events leading to the city’s reunification have been commemorated and celebrated, it is worthwhile to reflect on the historical aftermath of Jerusalem’s liberation.

Israel’s surprisingly swift victory in the Six-Day War of June 1967 was a pivotal moment in the modern history of the Middle East, and its repercussions continue to be felt throughout the region and world to this day.

To begin with, Israel’s military superiority over Soviet-backed Arab armies demonstrated to the democratic West that the reborn Jewish state could be a valuable asset in the Cold War struggle against Communist aggression. As a result, the United States soon became Israel’s most important ally and weapons supplier.

Yet the war also led to a deep societal rift within Israel over what to do with all the vast new tracts of land that came into its possession, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai, Golan and eastern Jerusalem. Leading doves in the ruling Labour party quickly sought to offer these territories in exchange for peace with the Arabs. But their humiliating defeat only hardened the resolve of Arab rulers to never accept Israel’s rightful place in the region.

This united Arab stand was cemented at the Khartoum conference in September 1967, when the Arab League issued its infamous “Three No’s”: no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel, and no peace with Israel. Today, many might mistakenly view this as a stand taken on behalf of the Palestinian cause. But at the time it simply reflected the blanket Arab rejection of Israel’s very right to exist.

Until then, none of the Arab states were particularly interested in the rise of a Palestinian state. In every war launched against Israel – whether in 1948, 1967 or 1973 – the invading Arab nations, if victorious, would have claimed the land for themselves. Such was the case with Jordan and its 19-year military occupation of the West Bank. But over time, largely due to airline hijackings and other brazen acts of terrorism, the Palestinians were able to put their nationalist movement “on the map.” Arab leaders would later explain that peace with Israel could only come if there was first a just solution to the Palestinian conflict.

However, Egypt (in 1979) and Jordan (in 1994) would eventually break with the pack and seek separate peace deals with Israel. Both countries still supported Palestinian statehood, but Cairo and Amman were no longer willing to let the PLO have a veto over the future welfare of their nations and the region.

Meantime, those Arab states which have been the most adamantly opposed to Israel over recent decades are in utter turmoil today. For instance, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched unprovoked ballistic missile attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa in the First Gulf War of 1991. Ever since the Second Gulf War ended in 2005, Iraq has been riven with sectarian violence and is breaking apart, with most of the country now under Iranian dominance.

Libya under strongman Muammar Kaddafi was home to numerous training bases for PLO terrorists in the 1970s and 80s, and today it is a failed state swarming with jihadists.

Finally, Syria mocked Egypt for its peace treaty with Israel, proudly hosted the Arab League’s boycott office against Israel, and gave sanctuary to the heads of the dozen worst Palestinian terror militias. Today, Syria lies in complete ruin due to a brutal five-year civil war that has claimed 500,000 lives and uprooted an estimated twelve million citizens from their homes. This all appears to be the outworking of the divine promise that those who “curse” Israel will themselves end up cursed (Genesis 12:3).

So, where are we fifty years after the 1967 Six-Day War? Looking around the region, we find the Arab nations are no longer united in their hatred of Israel. Instead, they are internally divided by the rekindled flames of the ancient rift between Sunni and Shi’a Islam. The Shi’ite axis is led by Iran and includes the Arab Shi’ite majority in Iraq, the Alawite regime in Syria, and the Hezbollah terror militia which currently controls Lebanon. The Sunni Arab bloc is led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Both sides have been using the raging conflicts in Syria and Yemen to wage proxy wars against each other.

Most analysts say that Iran has effectively won the war in Syria. This does not mean that Tehran’s ally, the Assad regime, will fully regain control over all of Syria any time soon. But it does mean that Iran has been able to establish a strong military presence inside Syria which will be very hard to dislodge. The key point came when Assad loyalists used chemical weapons against Sunni rebels and the US failed to intervene immediately and forcefully, as forewarned. Russia read this as American weakness and placed its own ground troops inside Syria, a move which guaranteed the survival of the Assad dictatorship and allowed Iran to expand its foothold in the war-torn country.

Tehran is now attempting to establish a ‘land bridge’ directly linking Iran with Hezbollah in Lebanon via a narrow corridor running through western Iraq and eastern Syria. This contiguous “Shi’ite Crescent” would give Iran greater hegemony over the region, and the ability to open new fronts against Israel on several of its borders. The added threat of an Iranian nuclear capability would give Tehran an even larger advantage over its Sunni Arab rivals and would endanger the Jewish state with annihilation.

This has all led the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states to join with Egypt and Jordan in forming a discreet regional alliance with Israel. They quietly closed ranks with Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood up to an American president by delivering a speech to the US Congress bluntly warning of the dangers of the pending Iran nuclear deal. His courageous call for Washington to stand behind its traditional allies in the region earned Netanyahu much respect in several key Arab capitals. 

Although the Palestinian cause continues to galvanise and inflame the Arab street, the end result is that it is not a high priority for most Arab rulers today – just as when the Arabs provoked a war with Israel five decades ago that they would quickly come to regret. 

Hanukkah Sameach

On behalf of all the staff at the ICEJ here in Jerusalem, I want to wish all of our Jewish friends around the world a very happy Hanukkah.

We join with the Jewish people in celebrating this special holiday, which recalls the miraculous provision the people of Israel enjoyed when the “sons of Zion” prevailed over the “sons of Greece” during the time of the Maccabees (Zechariah 9:13).

Furthermore, we call on our global constituency to tirelessly lift up Israel in prayer, trusting in the Almighty for His continued provision for the nation and to complete His work of making Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

Hanukkah Sameach!

Dr. Jürgen Bühler
ICEJ President


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