Shalom from Tel Aviv!
The world is a raging storm of events entering and leaving the stage. Somehow Israel seems to stay near the eye of the storm, the epicenter of the never-ending earthquake.
One of the great repeating shocks to mortal man looking for something solid in this life is the realization that the "stable elements" of the world are only passing moments in man's history. Kings, rulers, rich men and fearsome dictators are wrenched from their places of power and honor in a tidal wave of uncontrollable surges of passions.
These events reflect battles of Good and Evil in locked combat for the souls of men, and the destiny of nations.
The Iran-Contra crisis in the U.S. is a very sad event for Americans on all sides of the political spectrum, and also for Israelis.
President Reagan has by every standard been the finest friend to Israel of all American presidents. Likewise, Secretary of State George Shultz has won the admiration and gratitude of all Israelis. Thus to see the presidency again bowed low over far-reaching accusations and conflicting stories is agonizing to all who love America.
Israel is politically and physically distant from the Nicaraguan scene. Thus we do not feel in any position to comment on that situation. However, we would make a few comments on Iran.
WHY THE U.S. SEES IRAN AS STRATEGIC
The Iranian-Iraqi war has occupied two of the most barbarian regimes in the world. And in this 20th century that is saying a lot. This war which has been going on for six years and which has received relatively little attention, has extinguished 1.2 million lives. The fears that haunt not only the West, but also the Arab world and Israel is: What if either side should win this war?
On one hand, an Iranian victory would "rewrite the map of the Middle East", unleashing a tidal wave of Islamic fundamentalism of the Shi'ite sect, which could prove too strong for the pro-Western regimes in the Gulf and in Saudi Arabia. Iran's sworn Islamic goal is to make the Arab nations into a holy theocracy for Mohammed and then destroy Israel, a non
Moslem state and also chief ally of the U.S. which the Ayatollah Khomeini calls, "the Great Satan".
Iraq itself would probably disintegrate along tribal and religious lines, the majority Shi'ite Moslems, in sympathy withKhomeini, establishing a sister Islamic fanatical state. That would leave the more moderate Moslem sect, the Sunnis, to fend for themselves, not to speak of Iraq's fierce Kurdish tribesmen which have been fighting for an independent state most of this century.
Whether a victorious Iran would refrain from the temptation to extend its borders around the Gulf is not at all clear. Furthermore, Russia has long desired warm water ports such as exist in this area. Any such military moves against other oil states would almost certainly bring intervention by the U.S., Britain, and thus risk a superpower confrontation in the area.
However, an Iraqi victory does not look any more inviting. An Iran broken by military disaster would prove no more stable than Iraq and might provide an almost irresistible dish to its hungry neighbor the Soviet Union.
What most experts are hoping for is some kind of military stalemate where neither side could claim victory, but in which both would slink behind their lines and a messy armistice would be arranged. For example, a coup which would oust Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, the man who started the war, could then open a way to a peace settlement which would otherwise leave the status quo undisturbed.
EXPERTS SAY IRAN LIKELY WINNER
So far, Iran seems more likely to be the winner. Her tactic of hurling thousands of young and barely trained soldiers at the Iraqi lines has simply pushed back Iraq's army with human missiles. Iraq's early gains have now all been lost and she has been driven back into her own territory.
However, Iraq does have, according to Jan's Defense Weekly, a 12-1 air advantage. Iran only has about 40 combat aircraft left in operation. The Iraqi Air Force with about 500 combat aircraft plus 100 helicopter gun ships is getting more aggressive, going from strength to strength.
But now that the U.S. has admitted to supplying Iran with military aid, European arms men are swarming into Teheran to supply the Ayatollah with whatever he needs, especially equipment to build up his air force.
SYRIA SITUATED BETWEEN ISRAEL AND IRAQ
Israel is seemingly more terrified of an Iraqi victory than an Iranian one, mainly because Iraq is physically closer to Israel. Syria, Israel's immediate neighbor to the north is Israel's number one enemy. Syria's neighbor then to her east is Iraq. The greatest evil for Israel that could possibly be foreseen in the near future - outside of an attack from Russia - would be a combined attack from Syria and Iraq. However, Syria and Iraq are sworn enemies themselves and above all Iraq is absorbed in her own horrific war. However, Arab alliances quickly change...
The London Observer, in response to this scenario, states: Small wonder, therefore, that Western leaders shiver inwardly when they examine the prospects in the Gulf, and make bungled attempts to improve what looks like a very unattractive hand by currying favor with Iran.
PRAYER: We cannot profess to know who should win or lose this war, but we can pray that God will hold back the forces of Islamic fanaticism, which would attempt to stomp out any revival that God desires to bring to the Arab people and which of course desires the destruction of the nation of Israel. We are sure all are praying for the President of the United States.
ISRAEL’S ROTATING GOVERNMENT
Somewhat over two years ago, Israel had elections for a new government. But because of a very faulty electoral system which creates many tiny parties, including extreme rightist, Communist and pro-Palestinian, it became impossible for either of the major parties to form a coalition. After arriving at the dead-end road, the leaders of the two major parties, Shimon Peres of Labour, (center and left of center) and Yitzhak Shamir of the Likud (right of center) decided on a unique solution. Peres would serve as Prime Minister for two years, with Shamir as his Foreign Minister. The last two years then Shamir would be Prime Minister with Peres as Foreign Minister.
FROM 445% to 16%
The second two years began on October 14, 1986. A short review of Shimon Peres' accomplishments would look something like this: Peres greatest success was in economics. The Likud Government under Begin, had brought the nation to the brink of disaster with 445% inflation. Peres, through a remarkable recovery program, has brought it down to 16%.
Secondly he led us out of the deep quagmire of the Lebanese War. Because of the many tribal - religious factions in Lebanon this once beautiful country is simply a mosaic of warring groups. And anyone entering the Lebanese morass now will find himself in the proverbial quicksand with no possibility of success, however the equation is solved.
It was Israel's first war which she did not win outright, and it was devastating to her moral. The feelings of hope that were aroused by Israel's alliance with Lebanese Christians turned into an instantaneous marage with the assassination of the newly elected president Bashir Jamail and the subsequent slaughter when the Christians went into the Palestinian refugee camps Sabra and Shatilla for revenge, with Israel getting the blame.
What the world did not grasp was that Israel and her military leaders just could not believe that its Christian allies were capable of such atrocities. Israel was so gratified to have Arabs as allies, that she nearly idolized these warring "Christian" tribesmen. In Israel's eyes the Lebanese Christians were the good guys, the warriors fighting for freedom against the great Moslem majority.
With the grace of God, Peres pulled us out of Lebanon after over 600 Israeli soldiers were killed. No one in Israel regrets the end of that war.
Interestingly, the part of Peres's political platform that does not line up with Biblical prophecy -- that of giving back to the Moslems Judea and Samaria, was kept in limbo because of his necessary alliance with the Likud party. On the other hand Peres' secular (non-religious) bent kept the Orthodox Jews from becoming even more powerful then they are.
It is hoped that as Shamir takes over, he will be kept from erratic economic behavior by his more moderate Foreign Minister Peres. On the other hand, Shamir's desire to settle the hill areas of Judea and Samaria is in fulfillment to many Scriptures. (Jer. 32:41-44)
We must respectfully add that Peres gave to Israel an image of moderate speech, behavior and thought, a relief after the fierce hyperbole and harsh speech that characterized the Begin years. For that we thank Peres. And we pray God's blessing and help to the New Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
FROM GERMANY WITH LOVE
A month ago we traveled to Germany for two weeks of seminars and meetings, where we spoke of Israel's spiritual rebirth, and the part that Gentile Christians would play in it.
We witnessed a tremendous flow of love from the German people to our work, our congregation and our nation. We believe that the message of the Scriptures for all nations, including the German people, is that God forgives sin and cleanses from all unrighteousness. Our challenge was: As Jewish born-again believers choose to forgive those who caused such grief to the Jewish people, they will in God's plan release the German believers who are crying for revival in their land, to reach out in bolder faith than ever before. It will release the German people from the curse that they put themselves under through Adolf Hitler.
"If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:22)
Likewise the Jewish believer will be released from the prison of torment that is a certain dwelling place for those who have not been given the supernatural power to forgive.
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions." (Mark 11:25,26)
Furthermore, Germans and Jews can minister to each other the message of reconciliation, hope and of spiritual resurrection, a true representation of Isaiah's Gospel of Peace! (Isa. 52:7) What a spectacular example to a world which knows little else but hatred between nations!
We are full of gratitude for the love that the German believers poured forth towards Israel, and we believe that Germany will have a significant part in Israel's restoration.
In Israel, we have tremendous needs only because of our rapid growth and the absolute necessity of finding new quarters. We know God will never leave us facing a sea that cannot be crossed. So we are looking for direction, and when God says "walk forward" we will step into the water and watch the sea open up.
This month we received a large gift in the form of a language translation," device where non-Hebrew speaking people can receive a simultaneous translation without disturbing the service. God is giving us modern equipment for our singers and musicians and for our speakers. We are preparing for the mighty revival which is coming to Israel!
If you want to be a part of what God is doing here, we invite you to do it! We have already begun a building fund which, with prices in Israel, will be by far the biggest project Maoz has ever undertaken. But yes, the sea will open! For we are simply unable to continue in our small hall that seats a maximum of 100 people. God knows that and we know He will supply our needs!
In our Messiah.
Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram