(I wrote these words while in Israel during the fighting there a few years ago. They are on my heart and mind today because Israel is once again on the brink of war, and I believe they convey a sense of what the Jewish people are facing.)
I’m in northern Israel, which is under a rocket attack by the Hezbollah terrorists of southern Lebanon on this bright summer day. A few days ago, armed Iranian militants staged a raid into northern Israel, ambushing an Israeli Defense Forces patrol, killing three soldiers and abducting two as hostages for ransom. When Israel sent in an armored column to rescue its soldiers, Hezbollah unleashed a pre-planned missile attack across the entire northern border. At the moment I write this, more than a million Israelis are in bomb shelters, driven there by more than 2,000 missile strikes.
I am looking across a deserted intersection in the normally bustling seaside town of Nahariya, home to one of the soldiers taken hostage. I traveled here to bring comfort the Goldwasser family. Ehud’s wife showed me her wedding album. They had been married just nine months. My heart broke, and I wept with this brave man’s family. [Ehud Goldwasser was killed by the terrorist kidnappers and his body would not be returned to his family for more than two years.]
We left Nahariya and rode for some 20 minutes toward the northern front, passing the hulks of two crashed helicopters and glimpsing fires on the distant hills from artillery strikes. We decide the safest place to spend the night is in Haifa. This beautiful city was Hezbollah’s prime target, not because of its industry, but because its mixed Jewish and Arab population has made it a symbol of coexistence. Civilians from both groups are among the victims.
As darkness falls, I stand with the earth shaking beneath my feet from the guns pounding and think how ironic it is that the peaceful Galilee of the Scripture has been brought to the brink of Armageddon.