Shalom from a land at war. “But, Amir, how can you have peace when there are enemies to your north and south?” First of all, we’ve always had enemies to our north and south. They are just more active now. But second, my peace does not come from the crazy or calm that surrounds me. That kind of situational peace is temporary and has no real foundation. My peace is of a permanent kind because it is built upon the strong footing of Scripture and finds its backing in the character of a promise-keeping Creator. While I love and support the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and I am thankful for the help that the U.S. is giving to us, I recognize they are just tools in the hand of the One who is truly in control. Some trust in jet planes and some trust in Iron Domes, but I will trust in the name of the Lord our God.
That being said, this is not a peaceful land right now. I used to tell tour participants who were worried about safety in Israel, “You’ll be in more danger on your drive to the airport than you will be here in Israel.” That is no longer the case. There is an unease in my country that you can feel everywhere you go.
The first source of that anxiety comes from being in a nationwide post-trauma. Parents no longer let their kids go out on their own. Children sleep in the beds with their parents, certain that tonight will be the night the men come bursting into their homes. We are a small nation, which means that every citizen of Israel was and is within striking range of the genocidal terrorists who perpetrated the October 7 attack. So many cannot close their eyes at night without asking, “What if that had been my family,” then picturing the horrific scenario playing out. This is a wounded society, and those wounds will take years to heal.
The other source of our unease is the knowledge that the real war has not yet begun. The ground war in the south is prepared, but the invasion hasn’t yet occurred. The IDF is holding back for a couple reasons. First, every day that passes allows Gaza to be softened up even more. Civilians have been warned for well over a week to leave the border regions and head south. The expectation is that all those still left behind are Hamas and Islamic Jihad who are hiding out in their deep and intricate tunnel systems. The more the IDF can deal with these terrorist organizations from the air, the safer it will be when ground troops march in.
The second reason for the delay is that the U.S. has asked Israel to hold off on the ground attack. They are still in the process of preparing their military so that it is fully primed and protected for the next phase of the war. There is nothing binding in their request, but the Israeli government is honoring it. First, because America has been a good military friend and a great supplier of weapons and materiel. Second, because it’s the right thing to do. When the IDF feels they have weakened Gaza enough for invasion and the U.S. military is ready for the next step in the war, then Israel’s military will cross the southern border to root out the terrorists.
But it is not just the war in the south that has yet to begin. In the north, Hezbollah hasn’t begun their attack. When they do, it will launch with tens of thousands of rockets fired across the border from Lebanon into Israel. All you need is basic math to understand Israel’s unease. If Hezbollah fires only 25,000 of their rockets and the Iron Dome takes out 90% of them, that means that 2500 missiles will still land in the cities and towns of Israel with devastating effect.
That’s just the air attack. Hezbollah claims that they have 100,000 suicide bombers prepared to cross Israel’s northern border. These are terrorists brainwashed in a culture and religion that celebrates death. This zombie-like horde is excitedly anticipating their opportunity to invade Israel so that they can kill Jews and become martyrs for Allah. How must our culture which loves and respects life confront such a violent death cult? With devastating force. Words our military can’t worry about in times such as these are “proportionality”, “moderation”, and “compromise”.
What’s taking place in Israel is still in its beginning stages. The situation remains volatile and ever-changing. As the days move forward, there are certain areas to which you should direct your attention:
The Northern Border
The IDF will take care of Gaza in the south. Hamas has been battered and will soon be no more. But Hamas is to Hezbollah what a schoolyard bully is to Mike Tyson. Hezbollah in Lebanon has finances, training, weaponry, and organization that Hamas could only dream of. They also have a close and direct relationship with the especially violent Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC – Iran’s military). When the northern war begins, Israel will face a force far stronger and just as ruthless as the one that invaded from the south.
The Houthis in Yemen
Already this Iran-allied rebel group has fired a major air assault toward Israel. Four cruise missiles and fourteen drones were launched at the southern Israeli city of Eilat. Thankfully, an American guided-missile destroyer, USS Carney, shot them down before they could reach their destination. Iran has well-supplied the Houthis in their fight against Saudi Arabia, and it appears that the ayatollahs are ordering these terrorist rebels to begin directing some of their weaponry Israel’s direction.
At the center of it all is Iran. This Islamist regime has spent many years and countless dollars recruiting, training, and arming thousands upon thousands of terrorist warriors in a network of proxy militias. Mostly located in Iraq and Syria, they also extend south to Yemen, southwest to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and west to Hezbollah. The ultimate goal of Iran, and thus of the militias, is the destruction of Israel and the eradication of the Jews. This is why it is so frustrating to see the current US administration release $6 billion to Tehran. That money will not be spent on the welfare of the Iranian people. It will be funneled into more of what we saw take place on October 7. It will also be directed at the increasing attacks on US troops in Syria. Just last week alone, two dozen US personnel were injured by drone attacks. And yesterday threats were made by another of Iran’s armed militias against American bases in UAE and Kuwait.
The United Nations (UN)
Already the nearly global support of Israel after the attacks is beginning to wane. The bellwether of international sentiment has always been the UN. On Tuesday, Secretary-General António Guterres made a comment at a Security Council meeting that the Hamas attacks “did not happen in a vacuum.” He went on to give justification to the butchering of babies and burning of families by claiming that the Palestinians live “under a suffocating occupation.” That anyone can provide a rationale for what was perpetrated is appalling. But his sentiment is spreading wider with each passing day. Once the southern attack begins and the northern front opens up, expect debate to begin on resolutions condemning Israel for disproportionality. It will not be too long before the first resolution censuring Israel is passed, and the world slips back into its default state of antisemitism.
The Liberal Media
One week after Hamas falsely claimed that the IDF targeted a hospital killing hundreds, the New York Times is still desperately trying to prove that it might have happened. On Monday, the paper apologized for relying on Hamas information and getting the story wrong. Then on Tuesday, they were back with a new investigative report entitled “A Close Look at Some Key Evidence in the Gaza Hospital Blast”, in which they essentially say, “Actually, we really can’t tell who did it.” For the cable news networks and major newspaper outlets to report stories in which Israel is good and Palestine is bad is so against their nature that it can’t last for long. Once the media feels that enough time has passed for them to go back to anti-Israel stories, expect public opinion to revert with them.
The Palestine Protests
Europe is waking up to the truth that there are many within their countries that want to overturn their governments and replace them with Sharia law. By opening their borders to a flood of immigrants from Northern Africa and the Middle East, western nations have invited in a sleeping giant. In the mass pro-Palestinian protests following October 7’s butchery, many are seeing that giant beginning to stir. Radical Muslims are no longer hiding in the shadows planning random terror attacks. Now they are marching in the streets of London and Paris and other major cities shouting their Nazi slogans of “Death to the Jews”. There is still time for nations to deal with these radicals now. But if they are left to deepen their ideology, there will soon be blood in the streets of Western Europe.
I recognize that this is a very pessimistic newsletter this week. Normally, I will include the good news at the end. A “let’s celebrate this” or a “see how God has worked here”. But I have been immersed in this story for two weeks now. There are things that I could never have imagined one human being doing to another. But now I know that they are possible because I’ve seen photographic evidence of them being perpetrated on my own people.
I do know that God is in charge. My faith has not wavered at all. Because I’ve studied the Scriptures, I know how this story ends. But as King Solomon told us, there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). This is not the time for laughing and dancing. It is a time for weeping and mourning. It is also “a time of war” (v. 8). Please join me in praying that God leads His armies to fight this battle, so that the enemy will soon be defeated and we in Israel can once again return to “a time of peace.”
One last item, thank you so much for all the birthday greetings this past week. It was certainly a very unusual day. I said goodbye to half my family, and it was a particularly eventful day when it came to the war. But I could feel the love and support of so many people. Please know that you truly blessed me that day.
Once again, I will leave you with a list of resources:
My Telegram Channel – a constant flow of news throughout the day. Subscribe to my channel to make sure you know exactly what is going on.
“Live Q & A” – recorded yesterday, this live session answers questions from viewers on the war in Israel.
“The Final Jihad” – this video takes a deep look at radical Islam, then processes it through the lens of Scripture.
“The Deception of the Nations” – this video looks at five lies the world has bought into about Israel.
“I Have Many People in this City” – shot on location in Corinth, Greece, this video, premiering Friday, October 27, at 12:00 PM PDT, looks at the impact of the Gospel around the world.
Out of the Far North – this third novel in my Nir Tavor Mossad Series looks at Russia’s role in the growing tension in the Middle East and their animosity toward Israel which will one day explode into war. Like the previous two bestsellers, they present both biblical truth and geopolitical realities in an action-packed story exciting enough to have had my previous novel, By Way of Deception, nominated as an ECPA Christy Award finalist for 2023.
Discovering Daniel – so much of what is taking place in the Middle East ties in with the Old Testament book of Daniel. This book, a prequel of sorts to my bestselling Revealing Revelation, is available for preorder leading up to its May 7, 2024 release.
Awaiting His Return.
Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian, is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.