A narrow gorge near SdeBoker in the Negev south of Beer Sheva.
On Tuesday, Israel enters the 3rd week Bein haMetzarim—“Between the Straits.”
MURDER, INCITEMENT, RIOT, MASSACRE—THE UNHOLY ZEAL FOR AL-AQSA.
“Do not deliver me to the soul of my adversary; for lying testimony has risen against me, those who breathe out violence. Oh, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of God in a living land. Hope in the LORD, BE STRONG, and He will infuse you with courage. Hope, I say, in the LORD. (Psalm 27:12-14)
“For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest…He will bring down their pride together with the trickery of their hands.” (Isaiah 25:10, 11b)
This week, the storm awakened in Jerusalem with the murder of two border policemen on the Temple Mount ten days ago has intensified.
Last week, crime analysts in Jerusalem released to the media footage taken by surveillance cameras of the three Israeli Arab terrorists who would execute the attacks entering the Old City through “Herod’s Gate.” They were followed afterwards by a fourth figure, an accomplice carrying a bag. Footage from another camera then shows all four passing through a gate used only by Muslims onto the Temple Mount, and then together entering their point of rendezvous, the Al Aqsa mosque located on its southern end. Later the three are seen departing from the mosque, one carrying the bag (in which are weapons and changes of clothes. They leave the mount and Old City briefly (again using Herod’s Gate) to change clothes and conceal their weapons; they are next seen vaulting through an alleyway just before attacking the policemen. After the terrorists had been killed, Israeli authorities closed the Mount for 48 hours to all visitors while they looked for weapons. This included the thousands of Muslims who would normally ascend for Friday prayers. On Sunday, the Mount was reopened to Muslim worshipers, after Israel had installed metal-detectors with guards at all the Muslim entrances.
Rather than helping to restore calm, the presence of the detectors has been used as a pretext for triggering fury and riots in Jerusalem, with anti-Jewish/anti-Israel riots extending to the Kingdom of Jordan and Turkey. Because of the Islamic holy sites (the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock—where Muslims teach that Mohammed ascended to heaven), tens of thousands of Muslims are allowed weekly on the Mountain to worship. The so-called “status-quo”, which does not allow Jews or other non-Muslims to pray at the site is protected by Israel’s treaty with Jordan, whose WAQF forces are deployed there as custodians of the holy sites alongside Israeli security forces. Until now this “status quo” has allowed the floods of Muslims entering through their gates to do so with little or no security measures.while requiring heavy security (including metal detectors) at the one entrance accessed by non-Muslims (mostly Jews and tourists from the nations).
After the attacks of July 14th, this has changed.
Israel sees the detectors as necessary at the Muslim entrances to prevent weapons being smuggled onto the Mount. The Muslims view their presence as a provocation and a humiliation. Yesterday, Israel installed surveillance cameras, powerful enough to alert if someone were carrying a weapon, the implication being that they might take the place of the offending metal detectors, which would be eventually removed. But those stoking the incitement have already responded that these too are crossing a line unacceptable to Muslims in Jerusalem or around the world. Any security measures affecting Muslims at all are seen as an affront by Israel to the religion, calling into question its sovereignty over the Al Aqsa mosque (considered the 3rd holiest site in Islam). Another element fueling the unrest, has been wide release of the entirely unfounded rumor that the metal detectors are actually the first moves of an Israeli strategy to take over the Mosque, tear it down, and build a Temple there. As always, the incitement is being done under the banner of “Holy Al Aqsa is in danger!” The battle cry is finding resonance far outside Israel. On Sunday, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the 22-state Arab League warned that “Israel is playing with fire when it tries to change the status quo in the Holy City, especially the Al-Aqsa mosque.”
This past Friday evening, the violent, murderous nature of this Al-Aqsa zeal was manifest in a horrific way in the West Bank.
Elad Salomon and his wife Michal had gathered with their children and Elad’s sister Haya at their parent’s home in Halamish, a small Jewish community in Samaria northwest of Bethel. It was Erev Shabbat, and they had come to celebrate the birth of a new grandson to another daughter that morning. Others would be arriving to celebrate later in the evening. After the meal, Yosef the 70 year old grandfather, his wife Tovah, Elad and his sister Haya were in the kitchen. Micha was in the living room with three of her children when she suddenly realized a man had entered the house, and she heard someone speaking Arabic in the kitchen. Sensing danger, she took the children upstairs, barricaded the door and called police. From there he began to hear loud cries from the kitchen, eventually followed by gunshots. When she was finally able to venture downstairs, the kitchen and living room floor was covered with blood, her 70-year-old father in law, her husband Elad and his sister were dead with knife wounds; the 68-year old grandmother was severely wounded. An off-duty military neighbor had heard the noise, run to help, and, immediately taking in the situation, had shot and wounded the terrorist through a window. Yesterday, thousands attended funerals for the grandfather and his two grown children. The terrorist from a near-by Palestinian village was identified as 19 year old Omar Al-Abed. Shortly before commencing upon his massacre, he had placed a message on Facebook, part of which included, “All I have is a sharpened knife, and it responds to the call of Al-Aqsa…Allah will take revenge on you…you [Jews], sons of monkeys and pigs, if you do not open the gates of Al-Aqsa…”
This last is quoting the Quran, which three times (Suras 2:67; 5:60; 7:166) speaks of Allah as turning Jews into these creatures.
Islam means “submission”. It is related to a verb meaning “to surrender, resign oneself”—the lives of all creatures are to be submitted to the dictates of Allah. Allah is Arabic for “deity”, but the “Allah” of Islam is not the God worshiped by Jews and Christians; rather one of many moon-gods (there is a crescent moon atop all of its mosques) traced back to the Arabian peninsula. The spiritual power behind Islam demands submission. Thus, the presence of a people who hallow another deity (the Jews) administering authority (Israeli government) over what Islam considers to be its “holy places” requires that it stir those under its dominion into a fiery zeal of rebellion. This is what is being manifest on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem this week—on that mountain to which God, fifty years ago, returned ultimate oversight to His people Israel, and upon which one day His Son, their Messiah, will judge the nations from His throne (Psalm 2).
* The mercies of the LORD, the God of all Comfort, to attend the Salomon family and their loved ones. Pray especially for Tovah the 68 year old mother who lost her husband and two of her grown children, and Michal, the brave wife of the slain Elad, and her children. Pray that the light of the Savior, their Messiah, would penetrate into their hearts, and into the hearts of the “settlers” in Halamish and throughout Judea and Samaria.
* For the veil spread over the minds and souls of Muslims will be pulled away (Isaiah 25:7), that they may come out from under the curse of a false deity—that they will in Lord’s mercies be shown the true way to life, which comes through God’s covenant with Isaac, and is revealed to all Humankind in the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God, Yasuah/Jesus/Yeshua.
* That in Yeshua’s name, the powers releasing incitement to ignite a major conflict outside of the timings and purposes of God would be bound from doing so.
* For armies of angels to be released to battle the spiritual powers at work over Jerusalem.
* For wisdom, guidance, integrity over Prime Minister Netanyahu, his Cabinet, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, the head of Shin Bet (Intelligence) and the Jerusalem Chief of Police and Mayor. Pray Psalm 33:101-11: “YHVH brings the counsel of the nations to nothing, He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of YHVH stands forever, the Thoughts of His heart to all generations.”