East Jerusalem Attacks Intensifies Shadow Wars Within the Country

The attacks during the fall of 2014 by ISIS or The Islamic State against Christians is unparalleled since the Romans lay siege against the few remaining Jews atop Engedi after slaughtering Jews across Palestine and throughout Jerusalem in the latter half of the first century

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By considering the most recent attacks, there are two primary concerns that can shed light on the dark places where the shadow warriors plan. There is darkness in the hatred fueled by lies. There is darkness in the vicious attacks that turns hatred into violence. Expats who are called to battle the shadow wars do so by bringing light to the dark places within the parameters of calculated risk.
The recent attacks in East Jerusalem bring into focus the problem that Benjamin Netanyahu has in the battle that Israel faces against lone-wolf terrorists whether they are homicide bombers or murderers out for a spree killing. The most recent attack was the brutal murder of two Orthodox Rabbis by two Arab cousins, Uday and Ghassan Abul Jamal who appear to have been neighbors of the Synagogue in the predominantly Arab southern East Jerusalem area of Jabel Mukaber. The media has picked up on the term grass-roots terrorist attacks. Such attacks have become the core of the shadow wars.
Recent reports have focused on a two-pronged problem for the Israeli government. The first is the random nature of the events carried out without what seems to be any serious pre-planning but are spontaneous attacks of opportunity fueled by systemic hatred agitated by virulent propaganda. If it were possible to stop the flow of the propaganda, it may be possible to reduce the number of attacks. The apparent lack of planning or at least any sophistication in planning is evidenced by the use of weapons at hand and targets of opportunity. It also signals something deeper. There must be a source of fuel for the fire of anti-Israeli hatred. That fuel is being supplied in large degree by known sources of anti-Israel propaganda. The most obvious means for Israel’s President to deal with them is to shut them down unequivocally. Hunting down the source of the propaganda would intensify the media driven strong-arm reputation of Israel’s security forces. As effective as such a hunt might be, the focus will be negative particularly because it will be centered on those exercising their ‘rights’ to express an opinion. The hunt for the propaganda purveyors would result as well in two other concerns:
1) The international community would have one more reason to ostracize the nation (assuming they need a reason at this point)
2) If the government shuts down one source of the propaganda another crops up. As with the Hydra, cutting off one of the many heads not only allows the others to continue to operate but it immediately springs two new ones who might take weeks for the intelligence to re-locate.
Shadow wars thrive on lies.
Re-Tooling a Previously Successful Response to the Shadow Wars
Beginning in the 1970s and through the 1980s Israel was dealing frequently with homicide bombers usually from the propagandized militant loners who sought to take a stand or make their mark against what they saw as an Israeli occupation.
It took some time and a great number of lives for Israel and the IDF and others to determine the only course of action that would effectively stop the onslaught quickly and reduce the number of civilian casualties. An automatic green light was built into the op-plan; immediately upon gaining target acquisition on the homicide bomber the first unit to engage would take him out. There was to be no discussion, no negotiation simply target acquired/threat neutralized. There are two striking differences between the two types of attacks.
1. The current attacks seem to be a blitz type assault. The assailant(s) arrive on–scene, enter and begin the attack whereas the homicide

bomber (that could be neutralized) arrived on-scene, made his presence known and then waited for a response from someone.

2. The targets of the homicide bombers appear to have been planned. That pre-planning sometimes gave the slimmest chance for the IDF to

intercept their  targets. These new assaults appear to not to be pre-planned. In the most recent attacks there was no information that would have given

investigators any direction to send them for a pre-emptive strike.
The Israel population has been an effective part of the stemming the tide of homicide bomber operations by immediately reporting anything suspicious. On more than one occasion, a local citizen seeing something even remotely suspicious warned those in the area and notified authorities. Those precious seconds were the difference between an effective intervention and a deadly attack. The question becomes, “Is it possible to help citizens identify this new threat quickly enough to make an educated report to authorities?”
The Arab-Israeli citizens have lived within a conundrum. They live freely and openly in a society that they are told they should hate. They live in a country from whom they hold a passport, a citizenship, and see as a homeland that has provided all of their basic needs including healthcare throughout their lives. As an Arab they are told they must hate these people who are their neighbors, co-workers, and friends. The people who are telling them these things have never provided for them any of the necessities just described. They have never provided even a modicum of such stability to their kinsmen who live outside of Israel but within the Palestinian controlled regions.
In 2013, there were an estimated 1,658,000 Arab Israeli citizens (also called Palestinian Arabs in Israel) which is almost 21% of the total Israel population. For the most part they peacefully co-exist. This, we are certain, drives the Palestinian leaders crazy; hence, the continual on-slaught of Israel hate propaganda. What the Arabs, who are not Israeli citizens, need more than a propaganda pushing proletariat are real leaders who genuinely care about their people. Perhaps then the grass-roots events will be more productive than destructive. Until that happens, the President of Israel will always be battling a shadow war.
AN EXPAT RESPONSE to THE SHADOW WARS
The Apostle Paul makes the case for the work that he does and the effort that he puts forth. He does not waste his time nor his effort with things that are futile. He gives his full strength and devotion to the work. The analogy is from his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul writes, “Therefore, I run thus; not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” He also explains that when a soldier prepares for war he must be free of those things that would distract him from the battle. A distracted soldier puts himself, his squad and the objective at risk.
Expats that are missionaries are residing within a country where they have chosen to live for the purpose of serving Christ and His church. Their objective is cause enough to willingly risk their safety and perhaps that of their family. Dr. Riggs makes it very clear in his work: “In Times of Crisis” the biblical principles and countless examples by giants of the faith which show that when risk taking is necessary, they are calculated risks. Knowing that God has called you to a particular people and He has asked you to serve in areas of unrest during times of increased trouble; His promises to be with you always are very clear. The Bible never guarantees physical safety but rather informs His followers that they should not fear what man can do to them. True Christians can know that their eternal safety is secure. There remains two primary considerations with which every expat living in troubled circumstances must wrestle.

1. How does my staying when times are explosively unsteady balance against my first responsibility to my family? (This does not specifically

require that the expat have children with them on the field but there are extended family members as well to be considered.)
2. How does my staying or my leaving impact the national believers with whom I work?
a. Am I putting them in more danger, being a westerner affiliated with them? Am I painting a target on them, so to speak, if I stay?
b. If there is no risk of added danger, does my leaving negatively affect the Gospel message?

The attacks during the fall of 2014 by ISIS or The Islāmic State against Christians is unparalleled since the Romans lay siege against the few remaining Jews atop Engedi after slaughtering Jews across Palestine and throughout Jerusalem in the latter half of the first century. More Christians have been murdered for their faith in the Twentieth Century than in all the 19 previous centuries combined. The 21st Century is setting a trend that will cause it to far out-distance even the 20th Century for violence against Christians. At the same time, when Christians become targets of terrorists, it is important to remember that terrorists kill indiscriminately.
It matters not to them whether Islāmic children are killed or Jewish as well as Christian women and children. Their desire to control by striking such intense, paralyzing fear into the hearts and minds of the public precludes them having any heart for those who are dying.
There is but one complete solution to the Shadow Wars. Never will the Israeli President be able to stem the flow of the lies being spoken and printed about Israel. No matter how well trained, how fast the response or how actively the citizens of Israel become in aiding the authorities to stop the homicide attacks; they will continue – though hopefully at a reduced number. The only possible source of peace from the Shadow Wars is from the One who is the light of the world, the Prince of Peace. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Found Guilty

Abedini…sentenced earlier this year to eight years in the nortorious Evin prison…

What if… you were arrested by the government on charges related to the way you live your Christian life? We have heard before the comment, “If you were charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” In the United States the evidence might only require that you were seen in a church somewhere that suffices. But what if you were charged with how intensely you live your Christian life? The level of evidence required has shifted!

Could these charges be proven against you and your Christian faith: Disturbing Public Order, Evangelizing, Threatening National Security, and Engaging in Internet Activity that Threatens the Government?  You may recall how the Jews, in an oratory against Paul and his ministry team, stirred up the crowd that they had “turned the world upside down!” What a great compliment!

Five Christians in Iran are now on trial for their lives and those are the charges against them.  Likely, they will be convicted. Likely, they will get, at the minimum, very lengthy prison sentences. Personally, any length of a sentence in any jail would be difficult, but a long one in an Iranian jail, as a Christian? No thanks. I’ll pass. It’s almost as if I just heard some reader say, ‘Shame on you! You should be honored to go to jail for Christ!’ I believe I would go to jail for Him and I would count it an honor, but even Christ, Himself, said to His Father, ‘if possible, may this cup pass from me…’ Just because it’s an honor, we don’t have to enjoy the prospect of it!

The five have already been in jail since October without a trial. They had been in a  prayer meeting in a house church when it was raided by authorities.[i] Those who understand the workings of the Iranian government report that the arrests of those seen as dissidents are increasing as the time for elections draw closer. They also report that Christians and others who choose any religion other than orthodox Shia Islam are being targeted by the government. Early this year American (from Idaho) Pastor Saeed Abedini, after being held in Iran for months before being sentenced earlier this year to eight years in the ‘notorious Evin prison that is an extremely violent place. Abedini had been arrested and released in 2005 upon promising to not evangelize in Iran again. This past summer he traveled to Iran to help build a secular orphanage. Obviously made aware of his travel, upon arriving in Iran, he was immediately taken off a bus and incarcerated. According to resources, anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity is seen as ‘waging war against Islam’[ii] which is punishable by death.


[i] Joel Rosenberg, joelcrosenberg.com

[ii] Lisa Daftari, FoxNews.com

The Need for Phylacteries

Riggs Ministry Minute: For when there’s only a minute for ministry              Rev. Ross L. Riggs, D. Min.       

True North Ministries   www.docriggs.com

6 May 2012

Immediately I begin with an explanation to our Jewish friends, particularly any orthodox worshippers of YHWH. My writing is not intended to mock or to give less importance to the use of, or the teaching concerning the Tefillin. In actuality, I hope to show how the concept behind the wearing of phylacteries (and the prayer time attached to it) is most needed in our hectic world today. Anyone with an interest in learning the specifics of their history, with what they are made and how they are applied may enjoy a visit to: www.Jewishencyclopedia.com. Actually, my path to where I rise at 3 a.m. to write this includes several stops along the way. I will mention only two. The first is an overseas flight where, as we approached Israel’s coastline with the new day’s sun greeting us, the gentleman sitting next to me took a phylactery from his luggage and began the slow process of donning it. I watched in ignorance and later read to understand. My second stop was just recently in the home of dear friends, the wife in her upper 80’s, the husband just into his 90’s. She explained a conversation she would have with my son, Daniel, before he leaves in a few weeks for the Army. This dear friend is a devout Catholic and her story is an off-shoot of that faith!

Both my friend who wishes to counsel Daniel and this stranger aboard an intercontinental flight depend on a similar interaction between man (a person) and God. My friend’s message is that we must, for a minimum of five minutes per day, stop completely what we are doing and remove all thoughts from our mind except that Jesus is all around us. She went on… “You don’t have to say anything”… just be still, waiting on God to speak to you. You will feel it perhaps when silent, an answer, a quiet peace, an incomprehensible feeling that you just received an affirmation. The key is to be silent and allow God to speak. A well-rehearsed verse is Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted among the earth.” (KJV)

This is where the phylacteries make sense. The two ‘boxes’ with scripture in them are held on to the forehead and left arm of the intercessor with a leather cord that is attached by a precisely tied knot. One represents praying with your entire mind, the other with all your heart (it is close in proximity to the heart). Here is where it truly hit home for me. The remainder of the cord is then wrapped several times around the left hand. It is not to just wrap up extra cord, it is to occupy the hand that otherwise would find a way to busy itself, even while the mind and heart are trying to commune with God. Certainly there is much more to all of this, the kosher aspects of each part of the phylactery is amazing, down to the way in which the threads are made. So please, this is just to make a point, not to teach the wonderful intricacies of the phylactery prayer model.

This is the theological anthropology (or Christian anthropology) with a smattering of pneumatology[i]   for the divinity students out there. God interacting with man. What is so incredible about the communing between the all-powerful, supreme ruler of the universe who chooses to not only talk and share with us; He chooses to patiently wait for us since we are often too busy to pray. So, God waits. He desires a relationship and we desperately need the direction and the peace we can receive by praying and studying God’s Word.

I desire to have my mind focused, my heart tuned and my hands kept from the distractions of life so I can more often and more clearly, hear that still small voice that brings about a peace that only God can give.


[i] The study of the Holy Spirit, His interactions in the world and within the believer