By David Pileggi.. This is how the former Israeli intelligence officer, Miri Eisin, commented on the size of Hezbollah’s massive (Iranian supplied) arsenal. Eisin was giving us (a group of tour guides) an intensive study day of the political and military realities of Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. As she pointed out the different Lebanese towns and villages (and knew the names of the mayors of each) she noted that there are 120 Shiite settlements in southern Lebanon – mostly sympathetic to Hezbollah. Here, weapons, rocket launchers and command centers can be found under mosques, schools, and orphanages making them extremely difficult to destroy in a war without bringing about the death of many civilians.
When will the war begin? This is the question that everyone is asking. Several days ago Israel took some concrete steps to discourage a Hezbollah provocation on its northern border (which you won’t read about it in the press). According to observers, Hezbollah may launch an incursion into Israeli territory, hostilities they hope might save the Assad regime in Syria. And if Hezbollah would acquire Syrian chemical weapons – this would be a reason for Israel (and the US) to strike. Hostilities with Hezbollah would undoubtedly break out if Israel attacks Iranian nuclear facilities.
The press here and abroad is full of stories of an imminent attack on Iran. Everyday we read reports, some serious, some hysterical, and others fanciful about when and how the attack will happen, and who in the government is for or against. If this was to be a surprise attack, it’s been the most openly talked about secret in the history of modern warfare.
A friend with a background in security and diplomacy, on a first name basis with some of the top leadership in the current government, recently stopped by Christ Church. He is convinced that an attack will happen because no Israeli government can allow Iran to go nuclear. I asked him why there were so many leaks in the press and suggested three possibilities: the security establishment is hysterical; officials can’t keep their mouths shut; the reports in the press are deliberate leaks to confuse the Iranians and the public, he replied, “all of the above”.
Others are convinced that Israel cannot afford to attack Iran and that a “balance of terror” with a nuclear Iran won’t be much different from the cold war between the US and the Soviets a few decades ago.
Obviously, we have no way of knowing what’s really going on and we can’t rely on the press as a guide for our intercession. The situation is indeed serious and we need the Spirit to show us how to pray.
I believe we need to pray that God would accomplish his purposes for our region without the nations rushing into war. If conflict does break out it will bring much death and destruction to both Israel and Lebanon, not to mention the consequences for our fragile world economy.
I am reminded of God’s will as revealed in I Timothy 2, “First of all, I urge that supplication, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high position, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in ever way. This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.”
Below are some possible prayer points remembering, “The heart of the king is like rivers of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” (Pv. 21)
• that God would restrain leaders who may be quick to resort to violence
• that God would bring a negotiated solution to the crisis in Syria
• that God would protect his people in Syria, Lebanon and Israel and use them as his witnesses
• that the Iranian influence would begin to decline in Lebanon and Syria
• that the Iranians will abandon their nuclear weapons program and their demonic hatred for Israel and the Jewish people
Please join us in praying daily for our region.
David Pileggi, Rector
Christ Church Jerusalem