To Those Who Prayed Against Sharon's Disengagement Plan
by Asher Intrater
May 2004:This week Sharon's disengagement plan was voted
down within the Likud party registered
members. To my view, great damage was done to the kingdom of God. Here are a few figures:
are over 5,000,000 citizens in Israel
. There are 193,000 registered members
of the Likud party and only about
40% turned up for the vote. That means that approximately
50,000 people voted against the plan. There are approximately
7,500 Jewish settlers in
Gaza. The Arab population in Gaza is 1,300,000.
years ago, an extreme right wing leader, named Moshe Feiglin,
started a campaign to infiltrate the ranks of the Likud party
by registering traditionally "non-Likud" people
into the party. It was kind of a "hostile takeover" from
within. Their numbers are still relatively small, but enough
to tip this kind of vote.
majority of Israelis are for the disengagement plan, and
should it go to a normal vote in the general population,
it would pass easily. (Although Likud is
the largest party, it is one of ten political parties in Israel.)
result of this vote, the current government has been shaken; Israel's position in the world has been
weakened; Prime Minister Sharon has been weakened; President
Bush has been weakened. Those who understand spiritual
warfare will see that the real attack here is not over
losing ground in Gaza, but in discrediting and undermining
the authority of both Bush and Sharon as they stand against
groups of Hamas, Jihad and El Fatah are delighted
with the vote, since they are also opposed to the plan.
(They are opposed to anything that might bring even a temporary
partial calming to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.)
to my dear friends who are staunch Christian Zionists and
looking for discernment in praying for Sharon and his plan, I am writing an open
letter to suggest what I believe is an essential emphasis
for your prayer direction.
Lest I be misunderstood, let me repeat what I have said many times before:
the land in Israel belongs by divine covenant to the
Jewish people. Claims of the Islamic world of ownership
of the land of Israel are a direct rebellion and challenge
to the Word of God. All Christians are called to stand
with Israel in these end times. Islamic terrorism
is a horrible evil whose intent is to destroy human society.
It is immoral for the nations of the world to ask Israel to give up any of its territory.
The Bible portrays all human conflict as culminating in
a great war where the forces of evil join together in an
attack against Jerusalem, which God considers to be an attack
against Himself. Yeshua is portrayed
as returning at that point at the head of a heavenly army
to destroy the nations that attack Israel.
there is a terrible double standard in which Israel is
being asked to treat all Arabs within Israel with "western" style
human rights, and allow all of them within Israel to maintain
their property and citizenship; whereas anywhere there
is Muslim rule, all Jews must surrender all property and
flee for their lives, or be brutally murdered.
a fervent Zionist; my wife and I and our four children
are Israeli citizens; and my two older boys currently serve
as commanders in battle units in the Israeli army.
as the Disengagement Plan goes, I think it is a terrible
plan. But at this point, it is the best one available.
Actually, whether it is a good plan or not, is not my issue
here. I am not for the Disengagement Plan, per se, but
rather "for" supporting the state of Israel and its people and its elected
leaders. Sharon is one of the most experienced soldiers and leaders to
ever take the reigns of Israel's government. If a man so strongly
Zionist, and so experienced, feels he has no choice but
to pull back, we should consider that he has very well
thought out reasons for doing so.
NOT saying that we should blindly support the Israeli prime
minister whether right or wrong. I am saying that with
the complexities of the issues on both sides concerning
disengagement, there is not an overriding mandate in this
case to stand publicly and prayerfully in bold opposition
to his experienced leadership. There does come a time when
a soldier must oppose his commanding officer because of
overriding moral violation. Disengagement from Gaza is not even close to that kind
terrorist war against Israel is complex and multifaceted. There
are more issues than just the land. There are military
strategy issues. There are financial and social and educational
and moral issues as well. If Sharon, as the commander in
chief of the nation of Israel, and ShaulMofaz as the defense minister,
and Moshe Alon as the head of
the Israeli army, all say that it is better for us to pull
back from positions where there are a relatively small
number of Jewish settlers in the midst of major Arab populations,
toward positions where we can have more effectively defensible
borders, then I believe I should be supporting them with
my prayers, asking God to give them wisdom in directing
same way, if they determine that a security fence will
help keep back terrorists, I want to support those decisions.
This is not a left or right wing issue, but one of strategy,
support and submission. I am not for or against a fence;
I am not for or against disengagement. I am for my people
and its government.
difficult enough for us to be sending our children out
in the forefront of the battle against terrorism. Should
we also do that in areas where all the most experienced
military commanders are saying that the positions are strategically
unwise, if not untenable? The Israeli young people are
courageous and willing to risk their lives to defend their
country, but not to do so stupidly and wastefully.
Israel has been engaged in a terrorist
war since the fall of 2003. It is not wise for us to be
praying against our leaders. I have noticed over the past
two decades that both right and left wing candidates tend
to move reluctantly to the middle when they take office
as prime minister, because they have to deal with the very
difficult realities and responsibilities of that office.
It strikes me as somewhat prideful to think that we are
more "Zionist" than Ariel Sharon. (Actually as
Bible believers we are more Zionist than the Zionists.
However here I am talking about adherence to particular
political policies and military strategies.)
strikes me as somewhat rebellious against the governing
authorities. If we can't support Sharon and Bush according
to I Timothy 2 and Romans 13, whom could we support? Some
of these prayers against Ariel Sharon are coming from dear
Christian friends of Gentile background, living in Israel on visa status. This could even
be conceived (in its most radical form) as a kind of "reverse" Replacement
Theology; that replaces respect for God given authority
in our nation with a sense of super "prophetic" knowledge
that purports to know what is best for Israel at any given
worrying aspect to some Christian and Messianic leaders
living here in the land is that there are those who are
not connected or submitted to the local community of faith
in Israel. There is no recognition of local
Messianic Jewish pastoral authenticity in the land. In
other words, there is an element of rejecting governmental
authority in Bush and in Sharon; and even rejecting the spiritual
authority and significance of the local believers.
with the most radical proponents of total land possession
for Israel. However, land possession is not
the ONLY issue involved. When you stress one issue to the
lack of others, you can make a mistake, even when what
you are saying is right. There is also the issue of evangelism.
Many of the "land only" prophets are not involved
in evangelism, discipleship or congregational development.
When evangelism is avoided, then other issues get a bigger
share of the emphasis than what is due.
are other issues in Israel, such as the moral collapse in
schools, drug use, sexual abuse, religious coercion, governmental
corruption, unemployment, violence, mental and emotional
traumas, and on and on, that we must consider. Caring
for these issues must also be on the agenda. There is also
the issue of requiring the Palestinians to take responsibility
over their own social and political problems. We must have
compassion for the horrible conditions that the Palestinians
are living in, even while we are fighting terrorism with
all our strength.
will is ultimately for Israel to control all of the land. Yet
that process goes little by little (Exodus ; Deuteronomy ). For most of Israel's history we have not been in the land. And because
of our sins, that was God's will for a time. Now we are
in the process of being restored, though not yet completely,
again because of our sins. (While ownership of the land
by the Jewish people is an unconditional covenant, our
occupation of it is conditional on obeying His moral
begin to put nationalism and land possession above all
other issues of the kingdom of God,
we enter into a spirit of Zealotry. There is a difference
between zealousness and zealotry. Zealousness is commended
to us, whereas zealotry is not. An exaggerated zealotry
was punished by God at Hormah (Numbers ); at King Saul's stubbornness (II Samuel 21:2);
at the destruction of the first temple in Jeremiah's
time, and at the destruction of the SecondTemple in 70 AD.
name of Yeshua, let us stand with a full heart of faith
for all of the Biblical promises of the restoration of
the land of Israel. Let us persevere to see all of the spiritual and moral aspects of
the kingdom of God in
this nation. Let us fight terrorism with both prayers
and modern weaponry. Let us purge ourselves of zealotry,
pride, rebellion, and religiosity. Let us pray to support
the men and women that God has put in governing authority.
May they receive wisdom and direction from the Lord. And
may His will be done.
not written this letter to condemn my dear friends who
are praying so zealously for our land. Quite
the contrary. I am asking you to pray with wider
discernment of all the issues involved, and to pray in
a supportive way of those who are carrying the responsibility
to deal with the situation. We appreciate you and we
need your prayers.