Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on David’s Tent, a ministry of Israeli believers Avner and Rachel Boskey. The Boskey’s have ministered at Tabernacle of David, and we consider them trustworthy and Biblically sound.
The surprise invasion by Islamist jihadi group Hamas has so far resulted in over 700 Israelis murdered, over 2,000 wounded, and an unknown number of Israeli citizens kidnapped to the terror enclave of Gaza (this includes retirees, fathers and mothers, children and babies). This is a terror attack of proportions heretofore unknown in Israel; the casualties are more in line with full-scale war. Prime Minister Netanyahu has indeed labeled this a war and not simply a military operation.
One question that many in Israel are asking, is this: how could the most technologically advanced power in the Middle East, constantly under attack by its neighbors and well-defended with the latest in military alarms and protection systems, be overwhelmed and totally surprised by fairly low-tech forces? How could an IDF network of tripwire observation posts and CCTV monitors have been completely overwhelmed? Why were there glaringly insufficient boots on the ground, and why did it take an average of between five to twelve hours for IDF forces to show up (whether by land or by air) to rescue Jews held hostage by kidnappers and terrorists?
Some of the answers to these questions are known and they are technically based. Other answers will only be discovered by digging more deeply. The most telling answers come from consulting biblical principles and they are spiritual in nature. This newsletter considers these various factors.
Blinding eyes through subterfuge
The motto of Israel’s Mossad (Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations) is taken from Proverbs 24:6: “For by stratagems you will wage war, and victory comes from much planning.” Israel’s top-notch secret service has won grudging respect world-wide for its bold and inventive operations, one of the latest being the smuggling of much of Iran’s secret nuclear bomb archives out of downtown Tehran. Yet in this latest terror incursion by Hamas, it seems that the Islamist terror group also made use of strategic deception, and planning which made use of low technology.
The massive launching of rockets at 0630 hours on what was both a Shabbat and a Jewish holiday was also a strategic diversion. With the IDF focusing its attention on Iron Dome defense, it did not pick up the fact that Hamas simultaneously was launching an entire fleet of motorized ultra-light hang-gliders with no radar footprint, which manually dropped bombs on many of the Israeli lookout positions. As soon as the lookouts were blinded, Hamas terror squads raced to 20 pre-arranged points along the fence, where up to 1,000 jihadi terrorists were waiting. Pre-positioned bulldozers razed IDF fences, and many white pickup trucks loaded with Islamist terrorists sped into Israel to wreak murder and mayhem, destruction and kidnapping. The IDF had never had the experience of facing an invasion by many squads of Hamas operatives. Similarly, many groups of naval commandos broke into Israel by way of the sea near IDF’s Zikim base – a departure from Hamas’ usual tactics of sending over only one or two Zodiac boats.
Between 12 to 24 IDF battalions which normally would have been present in Gaza were serving in counter-terrorist operations (again from Hamas) in the West Bank. The IDF reserves framework has recently been weakened as a result of the boiling internal debates in Israel over the judicial overhaul, and the Israeli Police were similarly weakened due to being used to guard anti-overhaul demonstrators instead of more pressing security needs. The Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah also distracted Israelis over this past weekend – all in all, the ingredients for a perfect storm.
In a recent interrogation of a Hamas terrorist captured by Israel, he noted a few points: Hamas had planned this coordinated attack for over one year; the anti-government demonstrations in Israel (which divided, distracted and weakened the nation) were a great encouragement to them; they broke through into Israel and were free to murder and kidnap for 5 hours before the IDF responded to them; 1,000 Hamas terrorists participated in the operation; they made 15 holes in the security fence; the Hamas forces were astounded that IDF forces were not there at the fence to confront the jihadi forces.
Politically correct gatekeepers
In 2012 an Israeli film was released entitled ‘The Gatekeepers.’ Interviews with six former heads (‘gatekeepers’) of Israel’s security agencies Mossad and Shin Bet (GSS) discussed their history of combatting Islamist terrorism. Amazingly enough, nearly all of them exhibited a strange sympathy for the terrorists, a stunning example of what is known as the Stockholm Syndrome.
Swedish criminologist and psychologist Nils Bejerot coined that term to describe that puzzling phenomenon, where a hostage actually buys in to the oppressor’s or captor’s perspective, and then finds his own soul overwhelmed by his captors’ lies. The Stockholm Syndrome should be understood first and foremost as a survival mechanism for cornered victims. Typical behavior of those suffering from this syndrome includes focusing on the abuser’s positive side and denying his violence; seeing the abuser as only a victim; believing that one deserves the abuser’s violence; hating that part of ones’ self which the abuser said caused the attack.
The Stockholm Syndrome has specific significance for Israelis in the Middle East. Nearly a hundred years of Islamic Arab war, hostilities and terrorism have triggered Stockholm Syndrome attitudes within many Israeli hearts: we have begun to defend our enemies, to ignore their murderous goals and to blame ourselves for their hateful attacks. The world has encouraged our syndrome through slanted media and through political and economic pressure. As a result, many in Israel have bought into an attitude of accepting the necessity of retreat from portions of our ancestral homeland, of needing to shrink Israel’s borders in order to be accepted in the Middle East, of hiding behind anti-terror walls, and of “shutting ourselves in and hoping for the best” in the words of a March 23, 2006 article in The Economist. Two of the three main parties on Israel’s election rolls state that retreating from and surrendering our land to our mortal enemies offer us the best chance for peace.
Approximately one year ago Rachel and I went out to buy shawarma at a popular food stand in one of Jerusalem’s outlying suburbs. I immediately recognized a former head of Israel’s Shabak/GSS who came in to order take-out. For many years I had hoped that I would be afforded an opportunity to ask this man a few questions related to the ‘Gatekeepers’ film. I introduced myself to him, letting him know that I was familiar with both his security history and the film. One of the questions I asked him was this: is it possible that the General Security Services and the Mossad underestimated the spiritual dynamic of jihadi Islam, and could that underestimating have hampered the security services from being more effective in dealing with these people. He agreed that this was a possibility, and also that most of his fellow gatekeepers were now advocating for a Palestinian state. He did not want to talk more deeply about the subject.
The Gatekeepers interviewed in the film nearly to a man, believed that it is possible to work with the PLO and that a Palestinian state is something with which Israel can co-exist. They see the problems as solvable – if Israel makes it financially worthwhile and stays out of Gaza’s way. This was also Ariel Sharon’s perspective when he marched Israel out of Gaza in 2005 – and Hamas happily obliged to fill the gap.
One huge reason that these gatekeepers have been blinded is because of their secular worldview, which ignores or mocks the biblical reality of Satan and the demonic. For them, Islam is simply one of the three great monotheistic faiths, and the murderous anti-Jewish teachings of Islam’s source documents should be dismissed out of hand as ‘bad form.’ See my book ‘Jews, Arabs and the Middle East: a Messianic perspective’ for much more source background, available at www.davidstent.org.
- The threats that jihad poses to Israel are all too real, yet they are being ignored by a secular Jewish country more in tune with McDonald’s than with Messiah Yeshua. The gatekeepers are no longer guarding the gates, and 1,000 jihadis just flooded in. These gatekeepers are not only in the security services; they are also Israeli politicians and diplomats, professors and oligarchs. Instead of warning Israel and preparing for the clash with international jihad, these gatekeepers have become ‘partners in peace’ with our mortal enemies. They have fallen asleep on the job.
Gatekeepers, watchmen and prophets
The Hebrew word for watchtower observer is tatzpetanit, related to the Hebrew root tsaphah. That word is the root used for ‘watchman’ or ‘tsopheh.’ YHVH’s commission to Ezekiel focuses on this word: “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for the House of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me” (Ezekiel 3:17). A watchman is someone who observes what the God of Jacob is saying, and then speaks it out in obedience in the right circumstance.
Hosea puts some meat on the bones here, explaining that a watchman speaks out for God; therefore, he is a prophet: “Ephraim was a watchman with my God, a prophet” (Hosea 9:8). To be a gatekeeping watchman is a prophetic calling.
The serious responsibility of being a watchman is laid out in Ezekiel chapter 33:2-6:
- Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, “If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the horn and warns the people, then someone who hears the sound of the horn but does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. He heard the sound of the horn but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the horn and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away for his wrongdoing; but I will require his blood from the watchman’s hand.”
In that light, Isaiah’s warning chills the blood: Israel’s watchmen, gatekeepers and prophets are sometimes asleep at the wheel, dumb dogs who have forgotten how to bark and to warn: “His watchmen are blind; all of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark – dreamers lying down, who love to slumber” (Isaiah 56:10-11).
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, warns us all: “Unless YHVH builds a house, they who build it labor in vain. Unless YHVH guards a city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Israel’s leadership needs a spiritual visitation and revival. We are unprepared for the severe challenges facing us.
Mopping up, moving out, moving in
There are still pockets of deadly Hamas terrorist gangs roaming the Western Negev. The IDF is finding them one-by-one and two-by-two, and dispatching them. Today saw an organized evacuation of all Jewish kibbutzim and moshavim which border the Gaza Strip, as well as an evacuation of seven kibbutzim and towns bordering Lebanon in the north of Israel. As soon as these moves are completed, probably in less than 24 hours, the IDF’s entrance into the jihadi terrorist strongholds of Gaza will commence, probably preceded by the softening up of Hamas fortresses through artillery barrages, tank fire and pinpoint smart-bombs. Since Hamas strategically locates its rocket pads, command and control centers, and weapons depots in civilian areas, next to hospitals, tunneling under mosques and UN schools, one can be sure that world opinion (now sympathetic to Israel’s warm aims) will swiftly pivot and turn against the Jewish state and her army.
How should we then pray?
- Pray for the defeat and destruction of Islamist terrorist invaders on Israeli soil
- Pray for the physical rescue of the many Israelis under siege, those who are kidnapped, and those who are wounded
- Pray for divine wisdom and decisive strategy to be given to Israel’s leaders in every area required here
- Pray that Lebanon’s leaders will be able to restrain Hezbollah from making moves which are suicidal to that country
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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