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GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #46: Israel scores enormous intelligence & operational coup, killing 3 senior Hamas commanders in airstrike. I spent day with NRB solidarity delegation in Israel.

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2014 at 11:12 pm

I joined the NRB delegation in Jerusalem today as part of their solidarity visit to Israel.

I joined the NRB delegation in Jerusalem today as part of their solidarity visit to Israel.

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Visiting the Prime Minister's office.

Visiting the Prime Minister’s office.

(Jerusalem, Israel) — The last 48 hours have seen a dramatic surge of violence here in Israel, and horrific atrocities throughout the epicenter. At the moment it is 2:15 in the morning here, the beginning of Day #46.

Here is the latest:

  • Hamas and its allies have fired more than 320 rockets at Israel since Tuesday night when it broke its 11th ceasefire agreement.
  • This represents one of the largest surges of violence in the past 46 days.
  • Why such a ferocious barrage by Hamas? Because the Shin Bet and IDF just scored an enormous intelligence and operational coup — IDF airstrikes killed three very senior Hamas military commanders.
  • Hamas’ remaining leaders seem stunned by how Israel could have known where such key men were.
  • They are now reportedly arresting and murdering suspected collaborators and trying desperately to figure out how Israel penetrated their most tightly held secrets.
  • Is there an Israeli mole inside Hamas? Did Israel intercept Hamas phone calls? How did they do it?
  • Israeli officials warn Hamas could become desperate and launch a wave of attacks inside of Israel if they have sleeper cells inside the country.
  • Meanwhile, senior Israeli sources are telling us they believe Hamas is down to the last 25% of their rocket arsenal.
  • They started with about 9,000 to 10,000 rockets. They have fired about 4,000 so far. The IDF believes it has destroyed another 3,500 or so through airstrikes and its recent ground campaign. That leaves an estimated 2,500 or so.
  • On another front, ISIS has beheaded an American journalist, James Foley, after failing to receive the $100 million-plus ransom they were demanding.
  • ISIS continues beheading and crucifying Christians and Muslims in Syria and Iraq.
  • Increasingly, U.S. officials see ISIS preparing to attack Americans directly in the homeland.
  • “ISIS today represents a direct and growing threat to the United States,” reports National Journal. “It has attracted an estimated 12,000 foreign fighters to its black banner flying over Syrian and Iraqi territory, including hundreds of Europeans and Americans who can travel freely with Western passports. It has a bigger sanctuary, far more money, and is more indiscriminately murderous than al-Qaida was on Sept. 10, 2001. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has assured anyone who will listen that he eventually intends to direct his jihad at the United States, telling the U.S. soldiers who released him from prison in 2009, ‘I’ll see you in New York.'”
  • Headline in the Washington Times: “Americans brace for new wave of Islamic State terror.”
  • “They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon,” reports Reuters. Asked if the hardline Sunni Muslim organization posed a threat to the United States comparable to that of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Hagel said it was “as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen.”
  • The U.S. has launched more than 90 airstrikes against ISIS forces in northern Iraq to keep them from taking over the region known as “Kurdistan,” a key friend of America inside Iraq.
  • Meanwhile, the death toll in Syria’s horrific civil war has climbed past 190,000 people.

Amidst this Radical Islamic rampage in the Middle East, I have been deeply encouraged by the fact that some two-dozen American pastors, evangelical leaders, journalists and businessmen chose to spend this week here in Israel. They came to show their deep love and support for Israel and the Jewish people, as well as to speak out against the reign of terror Hamas is imposing on the Palestinians in Gaza, and I am so glad they did.

One delegation was led by former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, founder of a grassroots action group called Patriot Voices, and a long-time friend of mine. My son, Caleb, and I spent three days with them, meeting with senior Israeli officials to discuss the latest developments, visiting IDF soldiers less than a mile from the border of Gaza, meeting with Israeli civilians who have suffered first hand from Hamas terrorism, receiving a briefing on the miraculous Iron Dome rocket defense system, visiting Biblical sites, reading the Scriptures, and praying for the peace of Jerusalem, as we are commanded in Psalm 122:6. We were scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu at his office on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the PM had to cancel due to a hastily scheduled Security Cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv to determine a response to the sudden surge of violence which began on Tuesday evening. Instead, we met with Dr. Jonathan Schachter, a senior foreign affairs advisor to Mr. Netanyahu, who gave us a briefing on the latest situation and took our questions. Then, on Wednesday evening, we all concluded with a farewell dinner and Caleb and I saw the group off at Ben Gurion International Airport as they prepared to fly home.

The other delegation was led by Dr. Jerry Johnson, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters. It included Bible teachers and Christian leaders such as Anne Graham Lotz, Kay Arthur, Tony Perkins and Dr. Richard Land, among others. I was humbled and grateful that Dr. Johnson invited me to spend today with his group to do interviews for their various radio and TV programs and brief them on the latest geopolitical and spiritual trend lines in Israel and the region, as well as to hear a fascinating briefing by one of the senior Israeli engineers who invented the Iron Dome system. The group arrived on Monday and flew back to the States tonight.

It is always a wonderful thing when Christian leaders come here and show their love and support to the Israeli people. But it took special courage and commitment to come here during a hot war when rockets are flying. Each member of both delegations experienced the Code Red sirens first hand and had to run to bomb shelters. Yet they refused to become fearful and instead counted it an honor to be with Israelis through this enormous challenge and try to better understand what people here have faced for the past 45 days straight. 

During my briefing to the NRB delegation, I shared several points from my recent speech in Iowa. I also shared several new observations based on the fast-moving developments in the epicenter. Let me share just a few for now.

  • An evil wind is blowing. From Syria to Iraq to Gaza, we see the jihadists on offense — they’re killing Christians, Jews and moderate Muslims.
  • The beheading of American journalist by ISIS an atrocity and a wake up call. The Jihadists aren’t just going after Israel or the Iraqis — they’re coming for us, too.
  • We are beginning to reap the harvest of the President’s policy of retreat, weakness, vacillation & golf. Radical Islam is on the move.
  • America must not abandon friends like Israel, Jordan & the Kurds. We must bravely stand with them against the forces of darkness & barbarism.

More on this soon.

In the meantime, here is the text of the NRB press release that was issued several days before the delegation arrived.:

NRB leaders will take stand-with-Israel delegation to Holy Land

Leaders of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) leave for Israel this Sunday at the invitation of the Israel Ministry of Tourism. 

NRB President and CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson will lead the diverse group of Christian leaders, whose purpose in the trip is to support the people and leadership of Israel and the right of Israel to defend itself as a nation.

Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, is one of many noted evangelical leaders joining the team. “I think it’s important that we show solidarity with Israel, especially with the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the world,” he tells OneNewsNow.

Land says the group will talk with Israeli leaders as well as Palestinians who have been victimized by Hamas.

“They’re using them as human shields,” he says of Palestinians, pointing out there is disagreement between Palestinians in the West Bank and those in Gaza. Many support Israel, he says. 

In a statement, Johnson said the trip will “communicate to Israel and to the Palestinians who stand in opposition to Hamas that we, leaders who represent the Christian community, stand with them.”

The NRB “Christians in Solidarity with Israel” trip is August 17 through 22.

GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #44: Hamas breaks 11th ceasefire. Massive barrage of rockets fired at Israel. IDF prepares for new ground offensive. I’ve joined Sen. Rick Santorum’s Solidarity Delegation in Israel

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2014 at 4:27 am

Standing with Sen. Rick Santorum near the border of Gaza on Tuesday.

Standing with Sen. Rick Santorum near the border of Gaza on Tuesday.

With the Santorum delegation at the Western Wall on Monday.

With the Santorum delegation at the Western Wall on Monday.

Meeting with Amb. Dore Gold, senior advisor to the PM, and giving him a copy of "The Auschwitz Escape."

Meeting with Amb. Dore Gold, senior advisor to the PM, and giving him a copy of “The Auschwitz Escape.”

(Jerusalem, Israel) — Greetings from Israel. Thank you so much for your prayers and notes of encouragement. Please keep praying for the peace of Jerusalem and all of Israel. Please mobilize family and friends to pray more. Events are moving rapidly here.

  • On Tuesday, Hamas broke another ceasefire agreement.
  • This is the 11th time Hamas and its terrorist allies have done so.
  • They began firing rockets in the late afternoon here.
  • On Tuesday evening, Hamas launched a massive barrage of rockets at southern and central Israel, including Jerusalem, more than 50 rockets in less than two hours.
  • In response, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered devastating new airstrikes at Hamas targets in Gaza.
  • The IDF is re-mobilizing on the borders of Gaza.
  • Media reports here say the IDF is preparing for a possible new ground invasion.

Lynn and the boys and I arrived here in the Land on Friday night after making Aliyah. We moved into our apartment and spent the weekend doing errands, going to church and beginning to get settled in.

Then on Monday, I met my friend Senator Rick Santorum’s Solidarity Delegation as they arrived at Ben Gurion Airport for a several day visit to stand with the embattled people of Israel. The delegation includes American businessmen, pastors and journalists, most of whom have never visited Israel before. My eldest son, Caleb, is also with me for these few days.

  • We had the honor to visiting the parents of Gil’Ad Shaer, one of the Israeli Jewish teenagers who was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas in June, an event that set into motion this current war.
  • We met with and received a briefing from Amb. Dore Gold, senior foreign policy advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
  • We visited the Gaza border, soldiers, and an Iron Dome installation and received briefings on the latest developments from military officials.
  • We visited Biblical sites such as the Mount of Olives, the City of David excavations, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall.

For a detailed update on what we’ve been doing, please review my Twitter account for the last few days. I’ll post more details, insights and pictures in the days ahead.

For now, let me post the press release that the Senator issued that explains the delegation’s objectives.

SANTORUM LEADS SOLIDARITY DELEGATION TO ISRAEL

(Verona, Pennsylvania) — Former U.S. Senator, former Republican presidential candidate and Chairman of Patriot Voices Rick Santorum will travel to Israel on Sunday, August 17, for a 3-day mission with prominent conservative and business leaders.

The trip will focus on three goals:

  • To show solidarity with the State of Israel – with her courageous people and leaders – who are engaged in a fight for their lives and freedom against the twin evils of Radical Islam and Repugnant Anti-Semitism.
  • To reaffirm the moral and strategic imperative of maintaining a strong, close, enduring U.S.-Israeli alliance.
  • To pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all who live in the Middle East. 

The trip will be mainly in Jerusalem and also include a visit to an Iron Dome facility.  The delegation will make visits to Mount of Olives, City of David, Mount Herzl Military Cemetery and other sites. 

Senator Santorum and the delegation will meet with Israel government and military leaders, Israeli soldiers, local residents directly affected by the violence, religious leaders, and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer.

The delegation will include:

  • Pastor Douglas M. Bankson, Pastor (Florida)
  • Dr. Mark T. Barclay, Pastor (Michigan)
  • Former Congressman Gresham Barrett (South Carolina)
  • Simon Conway, WHO radio host (Iowa)
  • Foster Friess, Businessman (Wyoming)
  • Pastor Cary Gordon, Cornerstone World Outreach (Iowa)
  • Quin Hillyer, nationwide columnist and writer (Alabama)
  • Greg Rothman, businessman (Pennsylvania)
  • Bob Vander Plaats, President of The Family Leader (Iowa)
  • Joel C. Rosenberg, author, will join the delegation upon arrival in Israel.

“This trip will be an important opportunity as representatives of the American people to show our solidarity with the people of Israel.  Our goal is to tell Israel’s leaders and its people that Americans support them despite President Obama’s inconsistent rhetoric and actions regarding their country,” said Senator Santorum.

Senator Santorum served in the U.S. Senate from 1995-2007. He was a leader on U.S.-Israeli affairs, advancing American interests in the Middle East, and standing against the forces of Radical Islam and tyranny. He authored both the “Syria Accountability Act” and the “Iran Freedom and Support Act.”  He also served eight years on the Senate Armed Services Committee where he led the fight before the attacks of September 11th, 2001 to transform our military from a Cold War force to meet today’s threats.

In addition, Santorum led the Program to Protect America’s Freedom at the Ethics and Public Policy Center from 2007 until 2011.  The program focused on raising awareness about the threats to America from anti-western groups.   

I have just interviewed an Iraqi pastor on the terrible persecution Christians in Iraq are facing. Please listen & share with others.

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm

iraq-map2

(Washington, D.C.) — Right now, we are witnessing horrific war and bloodshed and lawlessness in the epicenter. We are seeing some of the worst persecution in the modern history of the Middle East unfold before our eyes. Radical Islamic extremists are crucifying and beheading Christians, forcing followers of Christ to convert or die, driving Christians from their homes and looting all their possessions. This is particularly true in Iraq and Syria, where genocidal conditions are emerging.

Much of the world is silent, but the Church must not be. We must stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ — pray for them, love them, stand with them, encourage them, and help them in every practical way we can. We also need to love and care for Muslims and others who are being mercilessly attacked by the Radicals. They are sheep without a shepherd, harassed and helpless.

We must urge world leaders to take decisive actions to stop the advances of the Radicals and do everything to defeat these forces of evil and wickedness and protect the innocent.

We must also give Christians in the region the opportunity to speak to the rest of the world, to tell us what they are facing and how we can help.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to interview by phone a dear Iraqi pastor who loves Jesus Christ and is right in the middle of the crisis. I’ve known him for years. As founder and Chairman of The Joshua Fund, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Iraq four times to encourage him and other Iraqi pastors and Christian lay leaders, hold pastors retreats, provide humanitarian relief, and so forth. Our team and I decided to do this interview to help our brother speak to you directly, so you could hear his voice and his heart and get a glimpse of the enormous dangerous and pressures he and other Christians face inside Iraq at this hour.

The interview runs about 20 minutes. I hope that you will listen to all of it, and share it with others. You can listen by clicking here.

Then please take time to pray for this humble, faithful pastor, and his family, and the flock he shepherds. Please pray, too, for the many, many families who are fleeing from the Radicals and coming to him for shelter.

The Joshua Fund is providing financial assistance right now to care for Christians fleeing from this storm of extremism. Please consider giving a generous financial gift to The Joshua Fund as our team stands with these brothers and sisters in their darkest hours.

At the same, let’s maintain a Biblical perspective on all that’s happening. Bible prophecy warns us that such terrible things are going to happen in the last days before the return of Christ. Indeed, they are signs that the return of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom is getting closer. Therefore, as we study the Scriptures, let us not lose heart. Rather, let us be motivated to love our neighbors, and love our enemies, and care for the persecuted church in the Middle East and around the world. We may not have the power on our own to stop such evil. But we can help our brothers and sisters to stand firm in the Lord, and be to brave in sharing the Gospel and to show compassion to the helpless, and to be true lights in the darkness.

Consider the following Scriptures:

“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14)

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” (Matthew 24:42-44)

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

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