1. UNPRECIDENTED ROCKET ATTACK, GOVERNMENTAL RESIGNATIONS, A GOVERNMENT POISED TO FALL—RECOVERED, BUT HOLDING ON BY A THREAD.
It has been an incredibly turbulent week in Israel. Two days ago our friend Shira Sorko-Ram of MAOZ ministries posted on Facebook the following cogent assessment of what had taken place up to that time, and what might be expected were they to continue in their present direction:
Hamas rained down almost 500 rockets on Southern Israel over a two and a half day period. Netanyahu sat 7 hours with his cabinet discussing whether or not to go to war.
Some of his cabinet felt there was no other choice except to go to war, as these last months of terrorism – sending fiery balloons over the border burning up farmland and forest areas, hordes of Palestinians trying to break through the border, etc., etc., etc. were bringing a living hell to the Israeli citizens in the south.
Others believed that because of the certain loss of many lives in the IDF that would occur, and the world’s condemnation that would surely come, if Egypt could help put together a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas, that would be the best direction.
Netanyahu chose the latter. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was furious and resigned, taking his party of 7 Knesset seats with him. That left Netanyahu with 61 Knesset seats in his coalition. Netanyahu needs 61 out of 120 to lead the nation.
Naftali Bennett, who also felt the nation must go to war to defeat Hamas and give relief to the hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the south, told Netanyahu he wanted to take Lieberman’s place as defense minister – or he would leave the government with his 8 Knesset seats. Netanyahu refused and Bennett says he is also leaving the government. That means elections are here.
It would seem logical that Netanyahu believes he can win a snap election, or he would not have let his government fall. He would have given Bennett the job.
Netanyahu is the most popular politician in Israel. The issue is that he has the entire group of ultra-Orthodox parties in his coalition, as he bends towards the religious. That means the Haredim (ultras) have tremendous power in Israel. They basically let Netanyahu do whatever he wishes to do, as long as he fills their coffers with shekels to support their men of whom the majority won’t work or serve in the army. Aside from the harassment and persecution against Messianic Jews and Messianic congregations, the Haredim take far more than their share of finances, and give back little to Israeli society.
Yet, there is no other strong leader in any of the other parties that stands out who the Israeli public have faith that he or she can keep Israel in survival mode. Israel lives in the most dangerous neighborhood in the world.
So let us pray for God’s will to be done in this upcoming election.
Lord, we pray, in the awesome Name of Yeshua, that You will hear the prayers of Your people who have a personal relationship with You and Your Son, and give us relief from the Haredi persecutors. We pray that You will put together the coalition that You desire. Hear the words of our hearts, because we don’t know who we should pray for or how to pray. But You have a plan. You have a plan to save all Israel and to bring revival to the nations of the world.
Use Your people here in Israel that love You. Give us opportunities and freedom to spread the Word of God more and more here in Israel. In Yeshua’s Name.
And indeed, until this morning (Monday), the nation was poised for its present government to fall, meaning early elections in the spring. Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party leader Naftali Bennet called a news conference at 10:30 at which all media sources predicted he would certainly withdraw from the government. Instead, he stunned the nation by making a 180 degree turnaround, declaring that, although PM Netanyahu has not given him the Ministry of Defense position which he had demanded, his party with its eight seats has chosen not to pull out, but to remain loyal to the present government at this time.
Netanyahu has, in fact, stated that for the present he will hold the Minister of Defense portfolio for himself. In a short speech last night, the Prime Minister contended that Israel is still in the midst of a conflict with Hamas, that there are strategic reasons which he is not presently at liberty to publicize as to why his security cabinet and the military chose not to go to war last week. He stressed that it is essential for his conservative government to continue at this critical time, rather than fold, and the reigns possibility be given over to the left (as happened in 1992, resulting in the disastrous Oslo Agreements). This means that the government is still presently afloat with 61 seats. Whether it can weather another year with a one-seat majority is highly questionable, but it must be remembered that it did so for its first year after the last elections, before Mr. Lieberman party came aboard.
* That God will “redeem Israel out of all of his troubles” (Psalm 25:22). That a government will be put in place which is not out of alignment with those redemptive purposes!
* That while it is time for the present government to stand, it will stand; when it is time for it to be replaced, that it will fall.
* That with the resignation of Defense Minister Lieberman, a man or woman of courage, integrity and wisdom for that job will be chosen to take his place.
* That, as Shira mentions above, the ultra-Orthodox members of the present government (or one which may arise in its place), will not be allowed to work injustice nor take unfair advantage of their positions to coerce the government in a direction which is unrighteous and unjust.
* That God minister strongly to Prime Minister Netanyahu during this time. That he humble himself before his God, and allow himself to be led in ways which are truly aligned with God’s purposes for Israel this year. That he fulfills the length of days God has ordained for him to lead. That a godly, strong God-fearing leader be being nurtured to be raised up to take his place.
* That the warm, strong relationship between the governments of Israel and the United States which God has brought into place during this season would not be threatened or adversely effected by a shake-up in the Israeli government outside of God’s timing.
2. UNITED STATES STANDS AGAINST UN RESOLUTION DEMANDING ISRAEL VACATE THE GOLAN HEIGHTS.
Of nine resolutions targeting Israel passed by the UN this past Friday, one was a resolution brought up annually calling for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights. The Heights are a high area (including Mount Hermon) northeast of the Sea of Galilee, taken by Israel in ancient times from Og King of Bashan (Deuteronomy 3:3-11), and later given as territory to the half-tribe of Manasheh. From this eminence the Syrian army rained rockets and mortars down upon Israeli settlements in the Galilee from 1948 until Israel wrested the Golan from Syria in 1967. In 1981 Israel effectively annexed the Golan as part of the nation, an annexation which has never been acknowledged by the rest of the world.
Each year, as the “Occupied Syrian Golan” resolution calling for Israeli withdrawal has been brought at the UN, Israel has been the lone nation to vote NO. The United States, along with some other nations, has always chosen to abstain. This past Friday, that all changed…the US voted NO. The vote was 151 in favor, two (Israel and the US) against, and 14 abstentions.
Prior to voting NO, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared, “The United States will no longer abstain when the United Nations engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights…If this resolution ever made sense, it surely does not today. The resolution is plainly biased against Israel.” She further stated that, “the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone.”
Although the present US government has so far resisted Israeli encouragement to acknowledge the Golan as part of Israel, the unprecedented move on Friday seems to signal a definite move away from Israel’s presence in the area being a point of contention between the two countries.
* That God’s blessings rest on the Golan Heights, which He gave in ancient times (Deuteronomy 3:18) to Israel, and which He returned to their oversight in 1967.
* That more nations will come into alignment with God’s purposes for that region in the north, as they are presently doing for Jerusalem!
* That God secure His borders for returned-Israel. Psalm 89:12 sings of Mount Hermon (in the Golan) “shouting for joy at the name of YHVH.” Psalm 42:6 speaks of God being remembered “from the peaks of Hermon.” Pray that the good news of Messiah be spread throughout the Golan Heights—that the hills ring with prayers and praises to the Most High. We are aware of more than one House of Prayer which have been established there in recent years!