Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel, is famously quoted as saying, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” We see the truth of this statement playing out in real life, time and time again here in Israel.
For instance, a couple of days ago, Gaza fired 460 rockets into southern Israel over a 24-hour period—I had to silence my phone for nearly a full day because of the sheer number of Red Alert notifications. The Iron Dome system was activated to intercept approximately 100 of those incoming missiles. You might be asking why the Iron Dome system was only used on 25% of the rockets when 460 were launched. The reason is that the Iron Dome system is designed to shoot down only those missiles which are calculated to hit populated areas, meaning those that will hit “open ground” are allowed to get through the “dome.”
As good as the Iron Dome system is (the best in the world), it does not have a 100% success rate, so a number of Gazan rockets were able to penetrate the shield and landed on Israeli homes and apartment buildings. Amazingly, only one person was killed by the incoming missiles; ironically, this victim was a West Bank Palestinian man who was working in Ashkelon at the time.
Although hundreds-of-thousands of Israelis were huddled in their bomb shelters for a good bit of that 24-hour period (including friends of ours who live in that area), the flare-ups and wars with Gaza do not present an existential threat to Israel. This is not to minimize the tremendous stress and shock that one experiences when sirens sound, alerting you that rockets are being shot into your neighborhood—we can personally attest to that stress. Gaza just doesn’t have the power or resources to destroy Israel. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other true threats.
Whenever you see a major flare-up like the one we just saw in Gaza, you can be certain that a bigger problem is building from some other direction. Sun Tzu, writing in The Art of War says, “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
So if deception is a basic truth of warfare, then you can be certain that what we see in the physical world is just a mirror of the things happening in the spiritual world, and that the noise that we hear happening in one place is really just a distraction to make us unaware of the bigger problem. The same thing is happening in Gaza. They aren’t able to destroy the Jewish state, but they still are a constant thorn in Israel’s side. This type of back-and-forth low-level warfare and national stress—and most certainly some rather substantial wars, as well, with Iran/Hezbollah/etc—will eventually set the stage for an agreement that appears to give this Land some long-deserved peace.
But that “peace” will be a deception. Some individual or entity will appear to give Israel a guarantee of peace and safety for a period, but is instead setting it up for destruction. The Hamas charter states that Gaza’s basic goal is to destroy the State of Israel. Of course, Israel would rather have peace, but how does one make permanent peace with an entity bent on its annihilation? Golda Meir makes a great point in her quote, and there is much truth in her statement. However, the agreement that will eventually be signed will enforce a type of peace and stability—without any real changes in the hearts of those who surround them—such as the Gazans.
Just as Sun Tzu warned, however, this reinforced covenant that Israel willingly makes will actually be another deception. So although there are wars and rumors of wars happening all the time here in the Land, keep your eyes focused on what is happening in other realms, both spiritual and physical. The enemy of our souls, Satan, is the father of lies. It is his natural language, and so we must all stay alert to his schemes, both in our personal lives as well as the world around us. We cannot allow the latest political scandal or our favorite sports team’s win/loss record to draw our attention away from more important eternal things. Because it won’t matter who won the last game—or who is elected president—when these things happen.