Rachel weeps for her children
Israel’s fight is our fight as well
Thus says the Lord: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15)
The terrorist attack on Israel started early Saturday morning, with a massive barrage of rockets, men riding parasails, and others moving swiftly over Israeli territory. Within hours, thousands of rockets would be launched and hundreds of Israeli citizens would be dead, while others were taken hostage back to the Gaza Strip. The massacres were horrifying, with women, children, young people, and the elderly murdered—many in their own homes. The murderers killed one grandmother and then used her own phone to take photos of her body, leaving the phone for family to find. At least 260 people attending a music festival were massacred and many were taken hostage. The attack was undertaken by Hamas, a well-known Islamist terror organization that also functions as the governing power in Gaza. Just as a major Jewish holiday was about to end, Israel found itself at war with Hamas.
The carnage in Israel produced dancing in the streets of Gaza and Hamas called upon fellow Islamic terror organizations like Hezbollah in Lebanon to join the attack, hoping to put Israel between one terrorist force to the north and another to the south. The United States and other allies announced solidarity with Israel, and Israel declared a state of war. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke for his nation in pledging to avenge the massacres and put an end to Hamas as an operational force. This will not be a short war, but Israel must win it, and the nation knows it.
Giant questions loom. How could Israel’s legendary intelligence services fail to detect a mobilization of this size? How could thousands of rockets and missiles be stored for months in Gaza without detection? Was this not also a massive failure in U.S military intelligence? What is Iran’s involvement? The political repercussions will certainly come, but right now Israel is united in understanding the plain fact that the nation faces an existential threat. Sadly, Israel has a lot of experience in pulling together against threats to its existence. The Jewish state has had no choice but to defend itself over and over again, against enemies that want it destroyed, and have declared so.
We must stand with Israel in its right and responsibility to defend itself against murderous aggression intended to destroy the nation and kill Jewish citizens. A nation will only survive if it sustains courage and determination greater than the threats it faces. Israel knows this truth well, and there is every reason to believe that it must translate that truth into actions that put an end to this threat, knowing that even greater threats will come. The lives and liberties of Israel’s people are threatened by a genocidal enemy that does not want to see the Jewish state weakened, but destroyed.
Americans and others who love liberty and prize human dignity must know that Israel’s fight is our fight as well. We share with Israel a few common friends and many common enemies. That is not a coincidence. We are linked by a common history and by common convictions. Americans must take pride in the fact that the United States was the first nation to extend official recognition to Israel when the new nation was founded in 1948. We must stand with Israel now.
We must also know that our deepest civilizational principles are also threatened by the rise and empowerment of terrorist threats and that Islamic terrorism, rooted in an explicit and deadly worldview of its own, has declared itself the enemy of those principles and the nations that embody them. Thus, Israel’s war is our war, too.
The cumulative shock, grief, and horror experienced in Israel over the last few days is unspeakable and incalculable. The anger is palpable and justified. The righteous wrath of Israel is now to be unleashed, and difficult days lie ahead. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Among the residents in Gaza are Christian believers, trapped in a war started by Hamas and now prosecuted by Israel. We pray for those Christians even as we pray for Israel. Some of these believers are also victims of Hamas and its ideology.
I firmly believe that Christians bear a special responsibility to the Jewish people, and that our responsibility is extended to the Jewish state of Israel, brought into existence after centuries of genocide against the Jews. I believe that Israel is a providential nation that serves as evidence of God’s continued faithfulness to the Jewish people. The very survival of the Jewish people in the face of genocide, pogroms, the Holocaust, and deadly forms of antisemitism is evidence of God’s promises and providence. The state of Israel’s experience with constant enemies is also tragic evidence of the presence of evil in this fallen world. Evil is on full display in the Hamas attack and in their hostage taking and threats against unarmed Israeli citizens, including mothers and their children.
This attack came almost exactly on the 50th anniversary of another surprise attack on Israel—the Yom Kippur War of 1973. That was no coincidence. Israel is again at war, and Israel’s fight is our fight as well.
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