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BREAKING: On Day #50, new cease fire takes effect after 4,450 rockets fired at Israel. Will the truce hold?

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

(Central Israel) —  Today is Day #50 is Hamas’ war against the people of Israel. Thus far, Hamas and its Radical Islamic terrorist allies have fired 4,450 rockets, missiles and mortars at Israeli civilians, both Jews and Arabs.

Yet in the last hour or so, Hamas and Israel have agreed to a new ceasefire deal, one that was negotiated by the Al-Sissi government in Egypt.

Admittedly, this is the 12th ceasefire deal in the past seven weeks. Hamas has broken 11 of them. So there is not a great deal of confidence here in Israel that the true quiet and calm has come.

That said, we are certainly hoping and praying that this quiet will come at last. We are cautious, and somewhat skeptical, but we’re trying not to be cynical. We all want peace to come. Where Lynn and the boys and I live, we have been spared the rocket fire. But Israelis living in the south have been under relentless attack. They are brave and determined. But many of them are exhausted as well. Not since the Nazis fired rockets at London during World War II have civilian populations been under such relentless rocket attack. The sooner this ends — with as few casualties as possible — the better.

What has been extraordinary is to see how the Lord God of Israel has been so kind and gracious to the Israeli people during this time. There have been deaths, and injuries, to be sure. But if it weren’t for the Lord’s mercy and the miraculous Iron Dome system, this could have been a horrific massacre of the Jewish people. And it wasn’t.

The Israeli people have much to be thankful for, and I hope and pray that Israel’s Prime Minister and other leaders will call the nation to give thanks to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for His many blessings.

Here are the latest details on the cease-fire. I’ll post more details and analysis in the days ahead.

“Israel and the Palestinians agreed to an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire to end Gaza hostilities which went into effect at 7 p.m. Israeli time on Tuesday,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “Despite the Egyptian announcement of the cease-fire, red alert sirens continued to be heard in Israel’s southern communities after 7 p.m. An Israeli was killed by one of dozens of mortar shells fired at the Eshkol Regional Council just before the cease-fire was set to commence.”

“Senior Israeli officials said that the cabinet ministers were updated by phone that Israel would accept the cease-fire,” the Post reported. “The eight-person security cabinet was briefed on the decision to accept the cease-fire, but not asked to vote on it. The Egyptian proposal which the sides agreed to entails an unlimited cease-fire letting material in to rehabilitate Gaza under supervision. In addition, each side will raise other demands within a month. The announcement came after Palestinian officials had earlier stated that a deal had been reached to end the nearly two months of fighting.”

The Times of Israel is reporting the following summary of the past 50 days of fighting:

  • Hamas has fired 4,450 rockets and other projectiles at Israel.
  • Of these, 3,555 fell in Israel – 221 of them in residential areas.
  • The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 714 incoming rockets.
  • In Gaza, the Israel Air Force has hit 5,226 Hamas and other terror targets, the army says.

 

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.   

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