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Pivotal Moment for Israel

ICEJ Special Report

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15 Sep 2011
Pivotal Moment for Israel

The month of September 2011 may well go down as one of the most pivotal moments in Israel’s modern’s history, as the entire Middle East is convulsing before our very eyes.

September was already earmarked as a key date on the regional calendar due to the looming diplomatic showdown over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. The Palestinian Authority has refused to back down from its reckless unilateral push for a state along the pre-1967 lines, and thus decided to take a very dangerous path given the volatile political climate in the region. The PA’s official calls for mass marches on Israeli towns and checkpoints in support of this effort is already inviting chaos and bloodshed.

Read the 'Isaiah 62' Prayer Guide for September »

But then suddenly last week, Israel’s ambassadors in both Egypt and Turkey were unceremoniously chased from Cairo and Ankara within days of each other. Each nation is a regional power with long-standing security ties and shared concerns with Israel. Yet decades of prodigious efforts to forge close relations, often against the popular will of their peoples, may now be down the drain.

Only time will tell if this is indeed a rubicon moment for Israel, as the Palestinians sow the seeds of another intifada and strategic ties built up over many years with Egypt and Turkey now face the risk of being irreversibly severed. Even worse, the region could be slipping towards an unthinkable war.

The Islamist party ruling Turkey has been on a deliberate collision course with Israel for years now and finally found a pretext for breaking off its decades-long strategic alliance with Jerusalem over the Mavi Marmara flotilla raid last year.

Ankara has demanded an apology and compensation over the flotilla incident, as well as a complete lifting of the Gaza arms blockade. Israel has concluded that these demands are so excessive, it can only mean the Turks really do not want to reconcile.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has responded by suspending all military ties and government–related trade with Israel. The Israeli ambassador was given two days to pack and leave. More ominously, Erdogan has threatened to dispatch Turkish warships to escort aid convoys bound for Gaza.

Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu has said he is determined to “lower the flames”, but Erdogan turned up the rhetoric again by claiming this week that the Gaza flotilla incident was “grounds for war”.

Meanwhile, Israel is struggling to maintain its tenuous ties to the ruling military council in Cairo after a cross-border Palestinian terror attack near Eilat left five Egyptian troops dead in the ensuing IDF response. Angry Egyptian mobs kept storming the Israel embassy in Cairo before finally forcing Amb. Yitzhak Levanon to flee the country.

The violent protests reflect the ingrained hostility among many Egyptians towards Israel, and it could prove difficult for Jerusalem to return to even the ‘cold peace’ with Cairo of the past three decades.

So for Israel, there are steep challenges all around: mend fences with Turkey and Egypt, navigate the volatile Arab uprisings, renew peace talks with an obstinate Palestinian leadership, and keep vigilant watch over the looming threat of a nuclear Iran.

Whatever happens next, something about the region has already changed. For the first time since Israel was reborn in 1948, the nation faces the risk of hostilities from the other three major regional powers – Egypt, Turkey and Iran – all at the same time. Can this downward trend ever be turned around?

The surest answer is that God can and will defend Israel! We are invited to entreat the Lord in prayer to be that mighty Deliverer once again on her behalf. The greatness of the peril only means the deliverance will have to be all that much greater. So please continue to join us in our Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative, as we set aside every Wednesday of 2011 for a special time of intercession on Israel’s behalf.

We also encourage all our friends and supporters worldwide to continue raising up a biblical standard, by reaching out to the elected leaders in your respective countries with an appeal for fairer treatment of Israel in the international arena. By voting for a premature, unilateral Palestinian state, many nations of the world will be trampling on important moral and legal principles that define the modern global order. The result will undoubtedly be fading prospects for peace, greater instability in the Middle East, and a loss of integrity for the international community.

Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative

In January 2011, even before widespread unrest spread across the Arab world, the leadership of the ICEJ called our global constituency to set time aside in fasting and prayer for Israel and the nations...
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