The rift in Israeli society has been deepening over the past few months, exacerbated by the government’s proposed judicial reform that has caused mass protests, ongoing security threats, and the rapidly climbing cost of living (in an already expensive country like Israel).
A few days ago, everything reached a boiling point as hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets across the country. At the same time, the head of the largest labor union announced an unprecedented strike, effective immediately, that basically shut down the entire country. All in efforts to call for a halt to galloping reform legislation destroying everything in its path and tearing the country apart.
Everything came to a stop. Malls, businesses, and government offices were closed, and even the airport was shut down. The entire country was either out on the streets protesting for one side or the other or at home glued to the news, trying to understand what would be the next move and wondering if Israel would be able to climb out of this ditch we were thrown into as a society.
Throughout history, Israel as a nation showed time and time again that with God’s help, it can withstand and defeat any outer enemy… except when the enemy is on the inside. The only nation that can divide Israel is Israel.
Which is the crucial crossroads we’ve arrived at these days. Hatred and division are rampant within Israeli society, and the people must come to a point of understanding, agreement, and unity in order for this country to continue living out its calling.
My family and I have been in the country for so many years that sometimes it feels like we’ve seen and faced it all here. I remember when we first arrived in Israel towards the end of the 90’s. Israel was enduring one of its most challenging seasons, with terrorist attacks happening almost daily. Suicide bombers was a term that became very familiar to us. When we would leave for work in the morning, we never knew if we would get to come home again because suicide bombings were such a frequent occurrence, especially on public transport. In fact, it was so frequent that a week didn’t go by without at least two buses exploding. While sitting on the bus on my way to work one day, a thought popped into my head: “what if this is the day?”
I remember deathly silence on bus rides back in those days. Israelis aren’t the quiet “mind your own business” type of people, usually. They are lively, loud, vibrant, and full of life. Those days changed the face of the nation, and people became weary, alert, quiet, and always on the lookout. It was so tense in those days. One day, a young girl came on the bus with birthday balloons, and one popped. The entire bus gasped in fear and then burst out laughing. We all realized the absurdity of living like this, in constant fear.
Israel has never known peace or quiet. Our existence has always been plagued with the underlying threat. Israelis learned to be alert and aware, even when they were out shopping or eating at a restaurant.
There is so much this nation has faced and continues to face. However, from a personal experience, I can encourage you and say that we’ve been there, and by God’s grace, we have come out on the other side. Israel has always been able to find a solution to the problems that challenged its existence. In fact, Israel tends to thrive in crisis. When things are most difficult and tense is when Israel obtains its greatest victories. That’s just how God designed it… so that the glory will always be His.
This season is different, yet in many ways, it’s the same. Israel is facing an existential crisis, with both outside threats and division within. However, we are entering into the season of Passover, the Festival of Freedom. We have seen the mighty hand of God’s deliverance and believe He is far from being done with His nation. Israel is being purged and prepared for what is ahead.
We know God’s promises are eternal and His covenant with Israel remains. This is the solid foundation on which Israel is built we will continue to declare His promises as we weather this storm.
When it comes to the nation of Israel, your prayers accomplish so much.
Please continue to pray for Israel as watchmen on her walls; for wisdom for our government to navigate correctly in these turbulent times, as well as for unity among the people that are driven apart by the enemy that wishes to break this nation from within.