This last week has seen an upsurge of violent attacks in the Middle East in general and Israel and Turkey in particular. The focus of the Palestinian Arab community’s rage has been the Temple Mount and specifically the sanctity of the holy sites there: the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Harem Al Sharif (Noble Sanctuary).
At the same time the violence is escalating in SE Turkey between Kurds and the Turkish government, the violence found its way to the capital, Ankara, this weekend. A double suicide bombing at a peace rally killed over 90 people and injured hundreds.
A Jerusalem Post columnist concisely summed up the events of the past week weekend column. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“All the Palestinian terrorist attacks that have been carried out in recent weeks share one common feature. All the terrorists believe that by attacking Jews they are protecting the Temple Mount from destruction.
“And why shouldn’t they believe this obscenity? Everywhere they go, every time they turn on their televisions, read the paper, go to school or the mosque they are told that the Jews are destroying al-Aksa Mosque. Al-Aksa, they are told, is in danger. They must take up arms to defend it from the Jews, whatever the cost.
“One man stands at the center of this blood libel. The man who propagates this murderous lie and orchestrates the death and mayhem that is its bloody harvest is none other than the West’s favorite Palestinian moderate: PLO chief and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
“On September 16 Abbas gave a speech. It was broadcast on PA television and posted on his Facebook page. In it, he incited the Palestinians to kill Jews. In his words, ‘Al-Aksa Mosque is ours.
“‘They [the Jews] have no right to desecrate it with their filthy feet. We won’t allow them to do so and we will do everything in our power to defend Jerusalem.’
“Abbas added, ‘We bless every drop of blood spilled for Jerusalem. This is clean and pure blood, blood that was spilled for God. It is Allah’s will that every martyr will go to heaven and every wounded [terrorist] will receive God’s reward.'” (JPost Column One, 8 October 2015)
While this unrest began during the Succot holidays and the Eid Al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) Muslim holiday it’s picked up pace and escalated over the week.
But this week things got especially violent. There were attacks both in Jerusalem and around the country which eventually spread to renewed missile attacks from Gaza and riots with protesters attempting to break through the border fence there.
How to Pray
- Pray for leadership on both sides (1 Timothy 2). In Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and the Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan. Among the Palestinians, President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Be praying also for those young men and women serving in the Israel Defense Forces and Border Police, who often are faced with very difficult decisions in crisis situations. Pray that they would act with both wisdom and compassion where possible, realizing that those carrying out these attacks have been taken captive by the enemy to do his will.
- Pray specifically for those of the ‘household of faith’ who live and work in Jerusalem. That they would be supernaturally protected, not giving into fear, hatred or the desire for revenge. (Matthew 5:43ff.)
- Pray that more would pray throughout the nations regarding the true destiny of the Middle East and God’s purpose for the salvation and reconciliation of the both the houses of Abraham. A friend recently shared in interesting quote by Mark Twain: “A lie can travel half way around the world, while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” Pray for discernment for the saints as they pray into these issues.
Saturday there was a bombing in Ankara. We immediately contacted friends there to find out if anyone in the believing community had been hurt. While the report from our friend seemed to indicate everyone there was OK, the numbers of those killed or injured grew as the day progressed.
The blasts, called the largest terrorist attack in Turkey’s history, targeted those of the mainly Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) who were gathering for a peace rally in the days drawing up to the elections on November 1. Similar to attacks on the HDP and its supporters in Diyarbakir and Suruc, earlier this year, this latest one has the potential to bring further division to already tense situation in the country. You can read more at Hurriyet.
How to Pray
- Pray for the people of Turkey, for those in authority of all political parties (you can read about them in the above article) and specifically for those in the southeast of the country where clashes between security forces and Kurdish youth continue almost daily.
- Pray for the peace for this nation, for lies to be exposed and truth to be revealed especially the run up to the election in November.
For those of you who prayed for the former mayor of Diyarbakir and who has been in prison for the last 6 weeks, we received news that he was released this last week. Thank you for your prayers. His health had deteriorated to the point that he was released on humanitarian grounds, but we are not sure if they will return him to prison in the next weeks. Please continue to pray for Abdullah Demirbas, for healing and protection for this courageous man.
Also pray for the pastor of the Diyarbakir Evangelical Church and the community there. The situation in the city of Diyarbakir remains quite tense especially around the walled city where they meet. Pray for protection and for boldness to share the message of true freedom in Yeshua.
Thank you again for standing with us, for those serving in the Middle East and those who are yet to trust in Yeshua, God’s righteousness that comes through faith in Him.
May He give you wisdom and perseverance in your prayers.