Shalom from the North Western Negev, 20 km from Gaza
Just as I was sitting down to begin writing to you there was a siren and then about 7 BOOMS, one of which was pretty close. The news says 5 were downed by Iron Doom and 2 exploded in "open areas". I guess the big BOOM was one of the open areas, somewhere near here. We thank the Lord for His protection over His people Israel! There were two other sirens in our area earlier today. Also, all evening long I've been hearing very intense sounds of the battle in Gaza, the sound of the IDF bombings, much more intense than any other day this week.
So much happens so fast and with smart phones, social media and internet, the information flows so quickly and we are constantly anxious to know every moment, each detail of what is happening.
Today began with the IDF preventing infiltration of 13 Hamas terrorists through a tunnel near Kibbutz Sufa. At 4:30 am the residents were told to turn off all lights and not move around their houses. The IDF bombed the tunnel but was not sure if all the terrorist were killed so blocked off the roads in the area. We heard through a source close to us that there may be more terrorists who have infiltrated and are in the region (our region). The IDF and police closed down other roads near Beer Sheva, evidently trying to catch these infiltrators. This is very serious as their object is to kill and kidnap Israelis.
This is a very real danger. One such terrorist entered a moshav (village) near our artichoke farm a year or so ago, entered a home, trying to kill the family, and the mother fought the terrorist, saving her and her children's lives. About 10 years ago a Palestinian Arab from Gaza who was running from the police arrived on our farm. The police arrived to try and catch him as he was hiding on our property and Avi caught him. Avi realizes the danger and is putting much effort into securing the property, fixing gates and fences etc. We are trying to raise finances specifically for this very critical security need. If anyone wants to help towards covering the costs for material needed to finish up fences and gates, let me know. This and the bomb shelter we hope to be able to bring for our farm, are both very critical needs.
I see this is a major prayer point- that any terrorist who were able to enter into Israel will be discovered and captured without Israelis being hurt. That no terror attacks, killing or kidnapping or injuring will take place. A hedge of protection over all the people, especially in the kibbutzim and moshavim (the communities) living next to the border with Gaza.
All morning long there were red alerts and rockets launched. At 10 am there began a humanitarian cease fire until 3 pm. Apart from 3 missiles launched towards Eshkol (the region of our artichoke farm) and then a response by the IDF, there was some quiet but at 1 minute to 3 the Hamas began launching missiles again at full force and between 2:59 and 11 pm more than 100 rockets were launched.
At 11 pm it was announced that the army was entering Gaza by land. Up to now the activity has been either from the air or the sea. The government has been deliberating all these past 10 days whether to enter by land, not wanting to endanger our soldiers, our sons, our brothers, our husbands, our fathers... but after the incident this morning, with the tunnel, and after the team that was sent to Cairo to negotiate a cease fire failed to make progress, the government gave the order to our armed forces to enter Gaza. The goal is to discover these many tunnels that serve Hamas for smuggling arms and for potentially entering Israel. The goal is to destroy these tunnels and destroy the many more missiles and weapons they are hiding. One older Israeli media correspondent said the amount of soldiers entering Gaza right now is more than he has seen in any operation in Gaza before. 41,000 reserves have already been called up and 18,000 more are being called. In the last operation Pillar of Defense, 30,000 reserve soldiers were called up and in the end there was no ground entrance at all.
One interesting thing to me is that it seems the Arab world is turning against Hamas and openly speaking out against them. Here is a link from Egyptian TV that is worth watching.
Hamas is being isolated. They are not getting the funding they need. Iran is helping finance Asad in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as protecting its borders from ISIS and other militant groups in Iraq. They don't want to spend money on Hamas any more. Egypt's new president has outlawed the Muslim brotherhood, who stood with Hamas and has shut the Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza for months and blocked many smuggling tunnels from Egypt into Gaza. The Hamas have less support than they have had in previous rounds of conflict. They are basically broke. They haven't paid salaries to their 40,000 government employees in Gaza for two months. What they do have are many more weapons than they had in the previous wars, because, while the Muslim brotherhood controlled Egypt, they were able to smuggle a lot of weapons into Gaza. There missiles have gone as far north as Haifa and as far south as Mitzpe Ramon. We have also experienced "solidarity missiles" shot in from Lebanon into Kiryat Shmona in the north, from Syria, shot into the Golan Heights and from the Sinai, shot into Eilat in the south. So, basically, every part of the country is under attack.
One Israeli has been killed. He was on his way to the Gaza border to bring food to the soldiers and was wounded from the mortar shell. Two Bedouin girls were seriously injured in a Bedouin town near us. A bus driving on the road from Beer Sheva to where our farm is was hit by shrapnel from a missile that landed near the bus this morning. Praise God, none of the passengers were injured. There have been many miracles. About 1200 missiles launched. Some landed in homes, gardens, greenhouses, barns, schools, playgrounds, synagogues, highways, gas stations, next to gas balloons etc. and yet, only a few injured and one man killed. I believe there is incredible divine protection. The prayers are heard by our God, keeper of Israel, who does not slumber or sleep. Keep praying for Israel. People here do indeed realize that God is protecting His people.
At the same time, keep praying for those in Gaza who don't want war but are trapped by Hamas, scared to rise up against them. Pray for protection for the innocent.
So, pray for:
• Protection from infiltrating terrorists.
• Protection from missiles.
• Protection from shrapnel.
• Protection for all the IDF soldiers.
• That those innocent people in Gaza would not be hurt.
• That people on both sides, Jew and Arab have revelation of Yeshua.
• For wisdom for our leaders as they must make very complex decisions.
There is of course much more to say, but can't all be said now.
Submitted to Shalom Adventure by: Iris Perez