Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Israel Under Fire

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We've seen the missiles flying toward Israel since October 7, and we've seen the resulting carnage.

Now a senior Hamas official is vowing "A war of liberation” surpassing "the unprecedented October 7 terror attacks is coming soon" while expressing no regrets over the U.S.-designated terrorist group’s brutal massacre in Israel — the deadliest against Jewish people since the Nazi Holocaust — which saw the torture, rape, execution, immolation, and abduction of hundreds of Israelis of all ages, mostly civilians, and dozens of Americans.

And one of Washington State's congresswomen is criticizing Israel for fighting for their life. 

The irony is that December 7 is the first day of Hanukkah this year---a time when Israel celebrates God's provision in extending the oil in their lamps as another enemy tried to eliminate them from the face of the earth.

Be informed, not misled.

Hamas Political Bureau officer Osama Hamdan told an Arabic television station in Lebanon last Wednesday that a “war of liberation” is coming that will dwarf the terror attack of October 7. He added that Hamas had no regrets about the attack.

Last month, another Hamas official promised that the terror group would repeat October 7-style attacks until Israel was destroyed.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated the interview. In it, Hamas political official Ghazi Hamad says that attacks on Israeli civilians are justified, that the cost in terms of Palestinian “martyrs” is worth the ultimate goal of ending Israel, and that Hamas will continue to mount such attacks. He said, "Everything we do is justified."

There is evidence that some residents of Gaza are starting to turn against Hamas, as well as the countries that have sponsored it. Still, these criticisms are being suppressed by Arabic-language media, including the widely-viewed Al Jazeera.

While the people in Gaza are turning against Hamas, many in the West are not---including Washington State's own Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

Jason Rantz, a local Seattle talk show host, says, "One of the loudest antisemitic and anti-Israel voices in the House, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle), is under fire for defending Hamas on CNN. When asked to condemn Hamas terrorists raping Israeli women, Jayapal dismissed the question in order to condemn Israel instead. She argued that we must be 'balanced' in our condemnation of rape."

Balanced in condemning rape?

On CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash asked Squad grandmother, as she is known, about the ongoing war against Hamas by Israel. Jayapal made a number of eyebrow-raising assertions and observations. She repeatedly accused Israel of “indiscriminately” targeting civilians and committing war crimes. She downplayed Hamas using civilians as shields and even questioned the well-established fact that Hamas ended the ceasefire, instead arguing that Israel must indefinitely stop defending itself against Hamas.

But it was Jayapal’s disgusting comments about Hamas raping women that earned the ire of voices on both sides of the aisle.

Bash noted that progressives who typically condemn violence against women have been “downright silent” in condemning Hamas for committing sexual violence against Israeli women on October 7. Jayapal said she didn’t “know if that’s true” because “we always talk about the impact of war on women in particular.” As an example, she didn’t quote any progressive condemning Hamas but instead said, “I remember 20 years ago, I did a petition around the war in Iraq.”

Claiming she condemned Hamas raping Israeli women, Jayapal immediately pivoted to attacking Israel.

“But I think we have to remember that Israel is a democracy,” Jayapal said. “That is why they’re a strong ally of ours. And if they do not comply with international humanitarian law, they are bringing themselves to a place that makes it much more difficult strategically for them to be able to build the kinds of allies, to keep public opinion with them, and frankly morally, we cannot say that one war crime deserves another. That is not what international humanitarian law says.”

The CNN host then interjects, telling Jayapal: “With respect, I was just asking about the women, and you turned it back to Israel. I’m asking you about Hamas, in fact.”

There's more, but you get the cadence and content of the interview.

There was a substantial pushback from some on the Left.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former head of the Democrat Party, posted on "X": "Hamas terrorists raped Israeli women and girls. The only ‘balanced’ approach is to condemn sexual violence loudly, forcefully and without exceptions. Outrageous for anyone to “both sides” sexual violence."

In a statement celebrating the temporary pause in the war, Jayapal released another statement with another baseless claim that Israel is committing war crimes.

Does Jayapal really represent a majority of Seattle's residents in District 7?

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for “dedication.” Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem that happened in the second century (BC).

It begins on December 7. A little background:

Hanukkah is tied to a time when Israel was struggling for existence. In 167 BC, Israel was under the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes (Greek for “God Manifest”), who was known for his cruelty and delusions of deity. His enemies mockingly referred to him as Antiochus Epimanes (“madman”).

Among many atrocities he committed to Hellenize Israel, Antiochus desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem, dedicating it to Greek gods and even sacrificing a pig on the altar.

The apocryphal books 1 and 2 Maccabees describe Israel’s plight under Antiochus’ mad rule, as well as the successful revolt against Antiochus, led by the Maccabees, a Jewish family of priests. After winning their freedom, the Jewish people rededicated the Temple to God.

According to Jewish tradition, when the Temple was rededicated, there was only enough pure olive oil to light the Temple menorah for one day. As the story goes, the oil miraculously lasted eight days, long enough to purify more oil. 


In remembrance of God’s provision, Jewish people light the eight candles on the nine-candle menorah (the ninth candle, the shamash, is used to light the others). A new candle is lit each night of Hanukkah, one for each day the oil burned. The candle lighting is often accompanied by readings of Psalms 113–118 and Numbers 7:1–8:4. Families also play games, exchange gifts, share meals, and attend plays and concerts at synagogues and schools.

Hanukkah is a testament to God's faithfulness to the Jewish people by preserving them through war and persecution – and His faithfulness in fulfilling His promises to produce a Messiah from the line of David. If the Jewish people had succumbed to Hellenizing pressures and lost their religious and ethnic distinctiveness, the Messianic prophecies could not have been fulfilled.

Some day, they too, will also celebrate their long-awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ.

For believers in Jesus, Hanukkah reminds us of two important points. First, it is a sobering reminder of the force of antisemitism (hatred of Jewish people) in the world. We believers should emulate God’s love and concern for His chosen people by standing against antisemitism.

Second, Hanukkah reminds us of God’s faithfulness – past, present, and future – to His church. Like Jewish history, church history has been marked by periods of intense persecution, yet God has continued to bless the spread of the Gospel---faith in Jesus--- throughout the earth, preserving the church since its birth.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Vote.